Esper: Search for Power

by JavinHawat

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy Sci-fi LitRPG Male Lead Strategy Strong Lead

Dan Martin has a good life. He's respected at his job, and enjoys his work. He is close to his family, and they love and support him. With engaging hobbies, relative financial security, and freedom to learn and pursue his interests, Dan is happy.

 

So it's not particularly welcome when he's selected by an inscrutable and seemingly omnipotent System as a test subject. The downsides: All of this is insane and by any rational analysis he's gonna die. The upsides: Super powers, a cure for a physical disability that had limited him, and above all, so very much to learn (for as long as he can avoid dying).

 

I am very much a beginner as an author, and any feedback or suggestions on how to improve would be deeply appreciated. Chapter releases should be daily for the first two weeks and sporadic after that as I use up my buffer. Please consider this work as a rough draft subject to revision and/or retcon.  It is not only my first attempt at original story telling, but at world building and RPG style system design.  The latter has been very difficult, even drawing  on the brilliant work of many RPGs and LitRPGs for inspiration.  Thank you to any willing to give a new story and a new writer a try!

Cover image credit to: NASA and S. Immler (Swift Team, Goddard Space Flight Center) and hubblesite.org.

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eccentrich
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Looks like a good start if you like smart MCs

So far I've read the first 10 chapters, and I've enjoyed them.  The MC is smart and thinks things out carefully, the writing is good and the action is decent.  It's still too soon to judge the plot, but what I've seen so far is good.  Don't recall much if any typos.

The overall setup seems to be the typical early stages of Earth being intoduced into a System, with RPG elements, leveling up, monsters, etc.  The MC is one of the early adopters/testees of the System, but not by his choice.

One possible negative (for some readers) is that so far it has all been just the MC, plus System elements.  No other people.  I don't mind that, but if you like lots of character interactions, none so far.  I'd be a bit surprised if it stays that way, but it doesn't seem like a priority so far.  I marked the character score down a little because of this, but it's still 4 stars because I do like the MC.  The story is also 4 stars, because I just haven't seen enough yet to tell if it deserves more.

The only other reason to dislike this story I can think of is if you dislike smart MCs.  Not a shounen type at all, he's fully an adult.  Not a stodgy adult, he's familiar with RPGs & such.

 

This is my 2nd review on this site, so feel free not to give my opinion too much weight.  But this seems like a good story to follow, and I have moderately high hopes going forward.

Guisarme
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A System Litrpg Story with Smart MC, Sign Me Up

I just happened on this story today when I got desperate for entertainment. My only criticism so far is that the cover plus title made me think this story was sci fi. It is not. It is a (so far) wonderful contemporary system litrpg. Early days yet but so far would heartily recommend.

Stractus
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Litrpg with a solid main character

 I like that the main character plans out things without randomly making choices.  Decent pacing while balancing action and world/character building.  Would recommend as it's better than most of the new litrpgs on this site.

Winged Thing
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Overall this novel draws on the established ideas presented by other RRL litrpgs, especially Genesis System and the better aspects of Randidly Ghosthound (Though the stupid ones seem to be discarded thus far and no random pov jumping has occured either which is a relief)

it also draws on aspects of The New World and with all of these disparate threads ties them all into a beautiful tapestry of potential and promise. Its small so far but the ideas, character & characters are there far and beyond what most writers (myself included are capable of) There is much more I could say but instead I will say this, read it for yourself and enjoy.

For A/N if you read this, your style is unique but lends itself to flaws that need to be ironed out or reworded to make better sense for the average reader. I am not asking for change, merely stating that some parts could use polish as with any and all stories. A decent PR or editor would curb most of those problems going forward. Either way, I'm loving the story perceived small flaws and all. : )

 

 

 

l nimbus
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When i say i like it, i damn well mean it.

*_*

Starstruck. Thats the first word that comes to mind after reading this story. It's a story in a genre where big names like Randidly and The New World dominate the game. Recently, i reviewed another story similar to this one, Skyclad. Esper is more similar to it than any other story in the genre.

And it's something great. I won't say it's the newest, most unique idea i've seen, although it certainly does have those elements, but what got me the most is how well thought-out it was. Extremely so.


Story:

Esper seems to follow a formula set by other stories like it. Earth recieves/is undergoing a trial to recieve a System. A certain person is indited into the System, and recieves a powerful Class. However, Esper then veers off into unfamilar territory by setting some hard limits. Instead of throwing the MC into another world for say, a month, where they will gain lotsa powah str8 up, it sets the limit for years. And doesn't timeskip.

It has an excellent portrayal of the usual Administrator type figure, and best of all, makes the protagonist aware of what is going on, and has deep, indepth thoughts and analysis on their situtaion. Gone are sociopathic characters who strive to kill everything in the quest for powah str8 up. Instead, the story chooses to focus on actual, meaningful details and questions. And honestly, i liked it that way.
It didn't revert to tropes.
It made the MC actually think about and reflect his actions.
It made sense.
And most importantly, it was interesting.
It makes the MC actually question the morality of what he is doing, examine hisnown shortcomings and failures. And it doesn't brush them off two seconds later. Instead it actually has opinions on thay sort of thing.

I found that one particular paragraph could be applied to, well, any MC from this sort of story. You'll know when you get to it.


Style:

Hmmmm, this one threads the line of good and slightly annoying, to be brutally honest. I love the author's wording, prose and vocabulary. The dry humor and excellent flow made it very readable and easy to follow, if at times deliciously complex.

What gave me pause, however, is that sometimes, particuarly in late chapters, i was faced with walls of text.
Now, these aren't page filling screens in any right, but still noticeable. It could be.much more digestable if broken up into a bit more....palateable sections.


Grammar:

Top notch. Impeccable wording, a single spelling mistake in 150 pages, and an extensive, but not too difficult vocabulary make this great.

I have no further criticism on this subject, only approval for a job well done.


Characters:

As of right now, a cast of three. Well, two and one passing encounter. Still, the cast manages to be good even with such low numbers. Dan is a complex individual. No, he doesn't have an uber tragic backstory. He's a man, while disabled for most of his life, is still soldiering on. Extensive experience in a subject isn't quickly used to fast forward make OP decision, but instead details his thought process, a fascinating thing in its own right.

He is likeable, to say the least. Competent, but without a handy dandy, right as candy solution to every single thing he faces. Instead, he focuses on preperarion and awareness, as well as careful thinking. He recognizes his own flaws and weaknesses, and works to cover them. Most of all, he's proactive, something i quite like in a character.

Sam was a welcome break from the usual all-knowing administrator, giving us, again, a fairly likable, if brutally honest character. Ray too, has been a good character, though i will abstain from going indepth as i've only seen him for a few chapters. Suffive to say, that, once again, he was a refreshing take on its own type of character/trope.


Conclusion:

Esper takes a story we've seen before, and makes something both new, thoughtful and great from it. One of the highest points of the story are the action scenes, which are phenomally well thought out and reasoned.

If you feel like you need something to give your brain a whirl, give it a go.

Just don't expect a twelve year old's self insert power fantasy. Expect quality.

War_X_Lord
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The details are too much that it kills the story, it's ok if it's given a couple of times but in this story it's given in every place possible, it's not that i hate details but in this story it's too much that it's a pain to continue to read. 

YesorNo
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Originality and flow have been sacrificed on the altar of verbosity in this fiction. Things that should take lines, take up paragraphs. Things that should take paragraphs require pages. Some reviews praise the action, how clear it is, how eminently easy to visualise. I say, it is the author shoving paragraphs down your throat. There is no room for your own mind to bring up images when every twitch of the character is described... Only in one instance was there some detraction from this... The fireball scene. Nothing special but better than the rest.

But action scenes aren't the worst offenders. That would be the magnanimous amount of redundant delving we are made to do into the mind of the MC. It totally alienates me from the character.

Let me present an analogy: How would you go about learning a new language? From the alphabet right? 

In terms of characterization, that would be the actions of the MC... show me how he acts in various situations... then when I have a grasp of his general persona, I won't mind a peep into his mind once in a while.

Instead, we are dropped right in the middle of the Shakespearean sonnet of his thoughts from chapter one without any inkling of the alphabet.

Then again, it does seem to have an audience... It is not for me though and if you are reading this, I hope it helps you decide whether to read or avoid.

And to the author: anyone with over a hundred pages under their belt is worthy of respect. Keep it up.

Arietate
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A protagonist who's nicely different from the norm

Awesome story! So far at ch. 22, I love it. Sure, it's another system integration story, but the main character is actually very smart and spends time thinking, which really is a nice change from the norm. Plus, there's a nice sense of purpose and direction going on with the protagonist beyond just surviving, with personal goals like "don't become something I regret" and "possibly save earth". I'm excited to see where this goes.

kao
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As Smart as Bruce or Sherlock

So ever wonder what would happen if Bruce or Sherlock had access to the System situation? 

Why brute your way to the solution like some new worlds, or beat others into submission like a hounddog? 

Give this a read if you wanted something a little different than those other brawns. 

Brains can beat out brawn at times too. 

I found this litrpgesque story a good ride. I'll binged to 20th chapter. I must now hold my urges and let the writer bank up a few more chapters before I binge. 

 

Bruce and Sherlock would be proud of this thinking MC. *two Guy Sensei thumbs up* (sparkly teeth)

octonus
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Passes the "Show, don't tell" test

It is a common meme that the MC is strong not due to his OP abilities but rather due to his brilliant use of them. It then turns out the amazing strategy involves basic RPG tactics that any gamer over the age of 5 knows. This breaks immersion, since we no longer trust the author to be reliable about the other things we are told.

This story is an exception to this: you see the thinking and planning that goes into the MC's actions. MC also avoids falling into the common genre tropes, being a calm, careful, well adjusted person who just happens to have a perfect skillset for the environment.

Positives
Show, don't tell - we aren't (often) told about MC's skills, nor do they show up in a vacuum. The skills are shown and explained in a natural manner
Great MC - Smart, not mopey, not a psychopath. What more can I ask for?
Writing - Pleasant writing. No glaring issues with spelling or grammar.

Potential Concerns:
Worldbuilding - So far (22 chapters), there has been almost no worldbuilding or interaction with other characters.
Pace - the explanations of MC's thinking really slow down the pace. It works for now, but I worry that I might tire of it in the future.
OP abilities - we have very little context for MC's power, but it looks like he will become nearly omniscient in the near future.

Neither are negatives yet, just things to keep an eye on. Hopefully the author will prove these concerns unfounded.