A Jaded Life
- Sexual Content
Succesfull gamer Samantha Jade Jacobs, formerly known as Titania, was feeling the bitter sting of betrayal, being kicked from the team she founded and made great when the gaming world was turned upside down. A new type of game was going into Beta and Samantha would be one of the few testers. Little did anyone know that the road would be longer than anybody thought.
Follow Samantha's Journey into the world of Mundus and beyond on a trip nobody could have forseen, not even the gods themselves.
Cover-Art by Straborvsky
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-This fiction contains Romance between two females.
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Our first impressions of the character are told to us, not shown. We are told that Sam is on the autism spectrum, something that gives her a unique way of looking at the world that lets her see patterns that others would miss. We are also told that her social skills suffer from this since she has trouble with empathy.
Because of this, Sam works as a forensic accountant. We are told that she is skilled enough at her job that divorce lawyers will avoid quibbling over financial issues to avoid her attention. We are told that Sam was bullied in school, but we see that Sam fondly remembers when she was able to use her job to, legally and correctly, expose the misdeeds of a divorcing couple that were popular during that time.
We are told.
Yet during the character creation portion of what becomes the main stage of the story we see that the “tests” used to determine the character’s starting attributes that Sam’s Charisma is 10, the score given as average for an adult. What we have been told about Sam’s intelligence and ability to see patterns show themselves in her starting characteristics, but what we were told about her weaknesses never materializes.
This becomes something of a theme.
Every negative trait that Sam receives serves to make working with other players a disadvantage and to remove the basic social connections that other players will receive. At first this seems like a rough circumstance since the very first thing we learn about Sam is that she was able to lead of team of gamers to national success. This is not the case.
Sam quickly gathers a crew of “natives” to work with which is something that her “flaws” don’t effect. She has no trouble winning the trust and affection of these allies despite her negative attributes and traits. To make it clear, we see that a player with an Intelligence of 8 is so lacking as to be relegated to simple canon fodder as a fighter, but Sam’s Charisma of 9 still lets her quickly seduce a virgin NPC into a lesbian relationship.
If you want some fridge horror, then think about the power dynamic between the adult savior and the teenage runaway and how it relates to a sexual relationship between them. The author even had to remove the mention of her exact age since Royal Road has a policy about depicting minors in certain circumstances.
The most interesting thing about this story was the exploration of the world and the systems that govern it, but that starts being left behind in favor of what feels like cheap titillation.
As a final note, the equipment used to run the game can interfere with the mind of the user, but the MC notes this and then just shrugs. For an anti-social character on the autism spectrum, Sam is soon enjoying intimate touching and prolonged close association with someone else. Someone she saved at risk because of her “feelings”. Maybe there is a future plot point here and we will learn that the extreme conflict between what we are “told” versus what we a “shown” has a logical rationale. The building blocks are there, but for me the author lost the benefit of the doubt long before that came to be. Which is a pity since I feel that there is a lot of potential in what we have here.
I really liked the story until the introduction of the 2nd main character. Their relationship just happens way too fast. It completely took me out of the story and shattered my suspension of disbelief.
I think it would have been a lot better to if you had the reason why she helped Sigmir was due to her moral code or something that happened in her past rather than some inexplicable NEED. Moreover, the relationship would have made a lot more sense if you did it as a slow burn where they are struggling to survive, relying on each other, fighting off their enemies, and slowly growing closer from that shared experience. I mean, there is not even any reflection by the main character about fucking and developing feelings for a VR character.
That is a ton of wasted character development potential, and for what? So we can have sex scenes by chapter 15? Not worth it at all.
You have a few big issues in this story that is going to hinder you, and they are getting more and more obvious as you continue.
You need to stop 'Telling' us what is happening, and show it to us instead. Over and over, chapter after chapter we get told what is happening, but I don't ever feel like I am there. I would suggest looking into some google searches about the difference in show and tell writing, it may help you.
Second, as many have mentioned the romance was so incredibly fast and out of place. (We are told that Jade is a loner, doesn't get along with people ect. But due to some strange 'need' she helps this woman, and ends up as her lover/master? It's really bad.
Third. Your magic. You need to explain it better. Or give us something. (Sort of goes along with show not tell) I don't understand a lot about the magic. How does it "hurt" her if she goes to fast? How does she sometimes not have the ability for new runes, and then she does? Ect.
There is more, but I will leave it off with that. I won't really be continuing your story at this point. Chapter 39, Frankly you have too many issues, in this story that really need to be fixed.
With the name 'A Jaded Life', you would expect some sort of MC who was cautious and not a happy go lucky sort of fellow. Unforutnately, that is not what we get.
The MC is betrayed, but we see no effect of this on the MC in her play style. It is so utterly disappointing.
The second thing is that the story starts with bonuses and negative effects that essentially force the MC to be a lone wolf. Some of them even the MC choses herself. Yet, all of a sudden, the MC starts getting a parade of side characters which pledge themselves to her only for the sake of plot. NO other logical reason. The author gets around this plot hole by trying to be clever and making all her companions as NPC. We are not fooled. This is not what we came here for.
Thirdly, an MC that is supposedly Jaded and was betrayed goes far and beyond to save the life of a random woman in the forest, because she "felt compelled" or some other crap. Then MC just randomly assualts the sleeping woman, who for the sake of plot, essentially falls in love with the MC.
So damn stupid.
Thirldy, the MC is so trusting of others, like she believes everything. Everything. There is nothing that would tell you that this MC is supposedly "Jaded". Nothing.
This story is like the "Everyone Loves Large Chest" in the aspect that they both use their Title for misdirection. While ELLC's misdirection is exciting and fun to read, this novel's misdirection is just disappointing.
Now, this story is not bad. It is not good either but it is not bad. This sort of falls in that 'Meh' category of average novels. Thus the 3 stars. But it is so not what it promises it to be. Thus I couldn't go past chapter 35.
P.S. While editing remove those walls of text. They are very displeasing the eye. Break them into short paragraphs instead.
I've read untill chapter 126 and enjoyed most of the story so far, I don't know if I will contiune reading it, because there are some glaring issues regarding world building, mostly becuase of lack of limits.
The story is about a person playing a virtual reality game. I won't go into detail about how the character only visits the bathroom, eats food and works out a bit in real life and why this is really bad for the story. My main concern here is that it seems its possible to sleep in game at 2x (or whatever it is) the speed and be just as rested.
In addition to that the game apparently also has a lobby of sorts where you can link your computer in order to work from there at more than 2x sped up time. You can't just write something like this into a story and never mention it again. Forget the game just this piece of technology alone has the potential to change all of human society. The full immersion game is worth nothing compared to just this aspect.
I believe the author should also consider how the game world progresses when the MC is offline, it seems a bit paused.
The magic system....
It starts of very interesting and good with the MC trying to discover limits on her own. However it spirals out of control as it appears magical effects are only limited to willpower, imagination and affinities. In addition the scale is limited by astral power, however there appears to be multiple ways of storing astral power for later use, even rocks can hold some astral power.
Having a magic system like this should enable any magical class to completely devastate other classes. It would also greatly influence the game world depending on how prevalent the use of magic is. It comes off very strange that so far(chapter 126) the opponents using magic haven't been that strong. There was mention of a dryad using some sort of icicle spell? The mc spent some 15 minutes on her own in order to aquire this knowledge, the dryad in question propably had years and possibly guidance by her faction.
With this kind of magic system the MC appears quite weak at the moment, which is understandable due to lack of experience.
It should be possible by using this system a level 1 lightning mage can sit around for some time storing huge amounts of lightning in some kind of battery connect it to one of those electric hand shaker doodands, find a level 1000 character, shake his/her hand and insta kill the person.
A fire/metal mage should be able to craft himself some kind of iron man suit and fly around in that in the same way the mc uses her shuttles.
Some undead monster lich with hatred for all life could use farsight into space grab hold of a meteor and exterminate all life.
All of this would take a lot of Astral power, but there are batteries.
I do believe this story has a lot of potential, but in my opinion there needs to be some better defined limits.
So, this story starts good, if a little on the 'telling' instead of 'showing' side. There are also a few incosistencies with the character, but it's nothing too egregious. A loner type MC that is magic focused, is jaded, and must survive in the middle of nowhere? With any help being out of the question, on account of negative modifiers stacking against socializing? Yes please!
Then she meets her chosen waifu at chapter 16 and everything falls apart, starting with any shred of already established charactization. Somehow, she is really invested in saving her. Somehow, she recieves a blood-oath because of it. Somehow, the aforementioned negative modifiers don't apply to her waifu. Waifu then proceeds to dump her entire backstory, because there's nothing like igniting reader interest via needless exposition from a forced character.
It only goes downhill from there.
Dunno why this story even pretends to be in the VR genre. Cz this has to be the shitties MMORPG ever if so. But then the MC is just this dysfunctional.
1. She clears up her schedule (where she works the perfect job where she never has to meet with anyone, ever, gets paid a shitton, and where she can screw with all her high school enemies, anonymously) for the next month. Translated to like, 2 years in game. New game comes out and tadah! Everyone's got a license to a 2 year vacation because, technology lol.
2. She's playing a MASSIVE MULTI PLAYER ONLINE (MMO) game as a single player. Sure I get that. I do that all the time. But there is zero consequences of playing an MMO as a single player. She's basically playing solo in the arctic circle with penguins and polar bears.
3. She got an insanely OP class, where she can control the weather at level 20. All other mages can't even light a match at that level. Wut?
4. Put these all together, I can see her meeting the 1st player character in chapter 2159 where she is level 19144, owns a castle, and she's on quests to kill the gods. The 2nd highest character in the game will be level 152 then, and dies to her glare. Which she will do. Gladly. Because she's an amoral yandere bitch who hates humanity.
5. She meets her 1st NPC. She falls in love in 1 chapter flat. She's now fucking her and treating her as real, not even once is Artificial Intelligence mentioned.
As for the game itself.
1. You start out completely normal. It takes you 2 weeks to kill your 1st kobold. Fine. Learning curve and all that. Then you have to meditate for 10 hours because you're out of MP. Kill a kobold, meditate 10 hours, kill a kobold, meditate 10 hours. Can't even just AFK, you have to sit in the fucking game staring at nothing to regenerate your MP.
2. NPCs randomly just spring a "you're now playing in hardcore mode, die and I'll delete your character lel".
As for the setting itself
1. Why bog her down with so many negative traits and positive traits that forces the MC to play as a lone wolf but let it ONLY affect other PCs? When she is gaining NPC companions every other chapter after 20 anyway? She's not even picking her companions. She's just auto-adding to party, 1st come 1st serve. And later author will add some BS like PCs can have a limit of 6 in a party, but since the MC only has NPCs in her party, she can have everyone in her empire in her party.
Author shoulda just made this a generic transmigrator story. MC gets summoned to be the hero, she hates humanity, runs away to the end of the world, decides she's more of a Hero of Dark instead of Light, then just survive on her own.
No seriously imbalance issues, no missing political/economic/social aspect of gaming author clearly doesn't understand, no this is really not an AI is it dillema, no sudden "you're now playing in hardcore mode". And no why the fuck would anyone want to grind kobolds when they have to meditate for 10 hours after every kill because now, they're forced to.
I'll bump this to 3 stars if story is rewritten to be a transmigrator story instead of this pretend VR story which just bugs the shit out of me.
It's your bog standard VRMMO story, except it jumps on the yuri train too quick. The MC knows the giant chick for a few thousand words and then they're in love.
The worldbuilding for the in-game universe so far has been great. Big, interesting setting that lives on its own rather than revolving around players, good way to introduce PCs into the world, sensible game mechanics.
That, in turn, makes a frontier tale of exploration and adventure good by itself, as a sort of pioneer slice of life, even without any kind of overarching plots. Good going so far.
Character development, on the other hand, does have issues. The previous game drama appears somewhat overblown, because the impression we're getting from there on is that the PC is an introverted curmudgeonly type who broke up with the group due to mounting friction reaching critical levels rather than any kind of backstabbing tradegy we're being told about. Basically, what 'show' and 'tell' do not quite match. Granted, this has little bearing on the story, so it's a pretty minor thing.
Sigmir, now... I actually like her, as a standalone character. And, again, by themselves, quite a few of her scenes are good. But the way she's been crudely plugged in via ample use of handwaveum utterly poisons her and much of events she's involved in. Like, scenes where MC is being all heroic and admirable about saving Sigmir are well-written and would've been inspiring to read, but instead they fall flat because Morgana's devotion to her is fake to begin with. Or all the lovely-dovely moments that are supposed to induce 'dawww' but instead violently clash with MC's surly characterization because we haven't seen the relationship organically develop around their personality quirks.
Essentially, even though the romance part of the story is decent quality now and also pretty interesting overall in how it's been tied into magical traditions, Morgana's growth and her relationships with local communities, the fact that it's built on a cardboard foundation keeps undermining it with no visible end in sight.
-The MC gains skills too easily
-Character interactions and meetings are too forced
-The characters don't have any depth