Advent: Red Mage
by dm xanadu
- Traumatising content
Book 1 and 2 of the Redmage series are being published on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Due to the exclusivity clause, I have been forced to take down the vast majority of the book. You can read book one here. Book two here.Drew Michalik was working in a top-secret facility in Washington, D.C. when the Advent began. As all electronics in the world simply ceased to work, blue screens filled with information appeared before him.
Drew gained access to a mana interface and a limited number of reality-altering crystals called Xatherite. Following the instructions on his vision-impairing screens, he ‘slotted’ his Xatherite and changed his fate: he gained the ability to cast spells. Now alone in the dark, he must battle through the government bunker-turned-dungeon in a desperate bid for survival.
Escape is only the beginning; the first of his many problems in the changed world. Drew will be tasked to not only survive… but to guide the rest of humanity safely through the anarchy.
Light LitRPG elements, no harem.
Updates on Monday.
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Red mage is a well written story with an interesting magic system that takes the mod-ability of games like Path of Exile and incorporates it in an ambitiously creative system that must be hell for the author to maintain. Intellectually I love the system but the way it's implemented leaves a lot to be desired. In this story a persons power is permanently capped by their Xatherite layout, which is based on their personality. The MC is a fairly bland sort of guy but is somehow the strongest mage on earth because he has a bad temper that he keeps bottled up (I'm paraphrasing).
It really stretches believability that he is the only one with that kind of power out of billions of people. What's even the point of a system when everyone but the main character and a few others are basically useless? It honestly feels overly restrictive just to make the main character look better. There are better ways to make a character OP without stripping power from everyone else, especially in a story with so many characters.
That all said I enjoyed the first book, but the second made me quickly lose interest. It practically changes genre overnight from an action story to one about politics and drama, something I read litrpgs to get away from. All of a sudden the MC loses all agency and momentum, easily falling into a subordinate role once he reaches what is left of civilization. You'd think you wouldn't run into that problem from the most powerful mage on earth but there it is. I understand the desire to expand the story but the ever increasing set of characters I don't care about, doing things I don't care for, really waters down the experience.
When the Advent began everyone on Earth got the 'Begin' message. Then the power went out and society fell to shambles as the new world emerged.
I shudder to think about how much of the world has died at this point in the story, but it is totally believeable. DM Xanadu has (so far) done a great job of setting the scene, and establishing a system for magic in his version of Earth.
While I may not personally agree with some of the character choices up to this point (chapter 15) I can understand that not everything has been revealed and characters are still developing. The story is intriguing and draws you into the world of post-Advent Washington D.C.
I usually have to groan when reading some of the novels on this and other websites when it comes to the atrocious grammar and/or word choice, but this novel is excellent on both counts. The dialogue is generally believeable and concise; while the blue boxes are at times numerous, I believe that the author has taken feedback into account and written a way to streamline that for future chapters.
All in all this is a novel that has been added to my bookshelf since I first encountered it weeks ago and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an enjoyable ride into the post-apocalypse filled with magic, orcs, magic, ghouls, magic, giant mutated animals, and magic.
This review is written after the end of Volume 1.
I find that this story executes its plot very well. The main character is working in a military bunker when the entire Earth is converted into a lethal RPG game-like system giving all humans access to skills and turning once harmless creatures into killing monsters. The bunker the MC happens to work in is converted into a dungeon so things get deadly quick. This is an action heavy story with lots of deadly combat and the author isn't afraid to kill some people off so it maintains good tension when it needs it.
The magic system is what is the biggest draw for me about this series because it is loosely based on Final Fantasy VII's materia skill system. Regular people can get these orbs called Xatherite from killing monsters and permanently slot them into a grid-like skill map to get skills and abilities. Discovering the synergy between different skills can create new linked skills so there is a lot of strategy and guesswork by the MC of where to slot his Xatherite. There are some stats but most are abstracted out and streamlined to maintain a narrative focus on what really matters and is interesting: the skills and linked skills on the skill map.
The story starts out like a typical Apocalypse litRPG story but then it becomes quite a bit more epic (like galactic level) in scope once new unknown characters enter the picture. It is possible that the story might be a tad too ambitious with these additional plot threads but I am interested in seeing where the author goes with it so will reserve judgement on that until the author delves into that more in future volumes and I am sure my rating I give on this thread will be adjusted up or down accordingly.
Additionally, there is a bit of a tease that in the future there might be some sweet base building elements later on as well.
Review up to chapter 24.
First of all I would like to thank Jay for making the xatherite map much more "visual" and clearer. Helps a ton with making connections as to what goes where.
Now to the actual review.
The setting is apocalyptic, as we're thrown into the world undergoing a sudden change, blue screens appearing etc. Not something overly new, but well done nonetheless. It feels as if there is something else going on in the multiverse. Lots of potential in this premise.
The narrative, or as writers call it the voice, is clear and shows the story from a certain perspective. We can grasp the flaws if we read carefully, which is sort of like playing a detective. Overall a good character driven narrative that makes the story that much more realistic.
The story itself is what you would expect from an apocalypse, lots of shit going down, population dropping drastically and then there's the blue screens taking over. So far the story can only be called budding, for not much has happened outside of the dungeon, as the group is still recovering from the ordeal.
Nonetheless, the world-building is nicely woven in-between and we gets bits and pieces of how magic and everything might work (again the narrative is flawed) while at the same time not being spoon fed at all.
Grammar is excellent, a couple of mistakes that crawl into everyone's work, but nothing major to disturb your reading process.
Characters' score is hard to measure right now, as a lot of people have been well... apocalypse'd. You can't take too much comfort in liking someone as they might get Game of Thrones'd and then yeah... That's what the setting does for you. The characters were definitely researched and fleshed out though, so no issues there. Stabilisation is going to take a while, if there even will be one.
The magic system is what's very intriguing, as every human has a different structure or should I call it "magic physique" and thus can achieve different things. There are different potentials which sort of make it like classes in fantasy. Some people may be optimal supports while lacking in damage etc. The system itself is a combination of resources, management and a bit of luck in acquiring what you need. There are lots of combinations to be explored, let's hope the author's imagination continues to surprise.
However, what I liked the most is that the author has the written outline, yet still does include the random things such as loot drops. Having the outline and discovery writing gives that fresh feel that most stories lack due to their hero's journey structure. I am pretty sure he has a database with some items, most likely inspired by D&D, picks the loot according to threat and level of the creature slain and then presses the button. Who doesn't love the good ol' RNG? (Well, me, becuase I'm unlucky)
Overall 4,5 for now (chap 24)
Disclaimer: I'm friends with the author, but this is an honest review.
I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm enjoying it. I've seen a lot of "life is really a video game" story concepts, but a litRPG has never interested me. I enjoyed SAO, but everything else I've seen seems too derivative of that, or just plain over-the-top. I didn't expect to be interested in this story either, but since my buddy was writing it, I gave it a shot. Xan has taken a different approach, that makes such a situation plausible, and I find it honestly intriguing. I'm also enjoying that the characters have realistic flaws, and don't always act the way a person might in a video game or normal life, because this isn't either one of those. There's a rebalancing of life and what it means to be alive going on here, and the characters are, naturally, having a hard time of it.
Well, I'm the editor...
A grimdark story about how to function in life when the world reaches a system apocalpyse. The characters may not always make the smartest or 'right' choices, but that's what makes them real. Humans are weak, and if you want a story that deals with the dark underbelly of human nature, and yet has the hope of a brighter future, this story is for you.
The story is well planned, so there's no need to worry that it's just going to be one random tangent after another. It's a story of how to rebuild life, and the death that comes in an anarchistic world.
The system apocalpyse brings with it the litRPG elements of a magic system that is well-designed without info-dumps to bog you down.
So follow Drew's journey with us, and question what your own motives might be under the circumstances of death and destruction of all you once knew to be true.
DM Xanadu has created a new system for magic and the way people interact with it in this novel, Advent Red Mage.
Our MC Drew is fairly likeable and tend to make believeable (somewhat) deciiosns. At times his thought process is stupid.
But overall an enjoyable read.
Book 1 is on Amazon and is just as good as the book 2 which has just fininshed being posted here!
Before I begin I want to emphasize that you should give this story a try. The reason my review is so high is because, even though it isn’t perfect, it is leagues above other content on this site. Although it is LitRPG, these elements are very light. Status screens and level ups do not dominate the content of chapters. Instead the focus is on character development and interactions, with a lot of action.
STYLE-Has LitRPG themes, yet focuses more on how these change the world. These elements turn this story into a more traditional fantasy at times, although it would be Urban Fantasy. “Advent” is a more smooth system, allowing a more character focused story. People begin with “seemingly” random zatherite. These give certain abilities and can be slotted into a unique chart. They can be leveled up through use, or removed for a better or more useful zatherite. Powers range from fireballs to summoning to crafting abilities and even more.
STORY-A member of the Coast Guard, Drew, is our protagonist. The Advent takes place while he is deep underground one of their headquarters. Drew is very combat capable, being a Red Mage, compared to the other survivors. Yes survivors, the Advent is an event on an apocalyptic level. So, Drew is looked to as a leader and he must find it within himself to be more than he ever planned, or wanted to be.
GRAMMAR-This story is easy to understand, not using obscure words, as one or two typos may be found per chapter.
CHARACTER-These become people, not characters. Although Drew is our only perspective, we see enough complexity in other people’s doubts, worries, and values to sympathize with. A reader is able to question the motivations and/or backstory of characters on their own outside of Drew’s own ponderings.
This concludes my first review. I hope it is deemed as helpful by prospective readers. I have read past chapter 35 and these things still hold true. I believe that a theme change for the story, from Drew’s perspective is inevitable if this story is to grow. As Drew is still in the scavanging, skirmishing, saving phase on his journey, as he and his group are struggling to survive whilst they attempt to rescue other people from an enemy that is superior in combat. It is implied that there will eventually multiple characters, and multiple perspective, allowing Drew’s story to change in theme. Maybe allowing other stories to maintain a separate theme. Chapter 36 has just been released at the moment, so in comparison to other stories this one is still young.
Only problem is male female interaction, all other dialogs are good enough, but when MC speaks about or with a woman, well, writer seems to be a forever alone kind of dude or usa has some very weird male female interactions.
other than that I love the system of power, reminds me of ffX and ffVII.
MC has some weird personality jumps and I am sure the girlfriend turned into a dog to add some very forced and awkard romance.
I enjoyed, you probably will too becouse of the well developed characters and magic system that is a breath of fresh air