An NPC decides to become a hero, and a player sets out to see it happen. Meanwhile, an inquisitor realizes there is something strange happening in his world and begins to investigate, eventually stumbling upon a terrible truth.
[Previously titled Of the Cosmos]
An ancient world simulated for research and entertainment, filled with players who compete with one another in the shadows of kings and queens and global conflicts.
Rika is a player-killing mageknight who stumbles into Aztec Mexico, befriends a native youth, and embarks on a world-spanning adventure. Inquisitors, conquistadors, rogue religious figures, and effeminate cannibals cross paths throughout their journeys as the world of NPCs struggle against the arrival of the heretic players.
Disclaimer: This story contains lighthearted cannibalism, sexual innuendo, spooky clowns, Hispanophobes, grandma harems, consensual torture, and swear language.
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This novel wastes absolutely no movements, giving every character a chance to display their essence and their importance in the long run.
The style is easily comprehensible, a right blend of formal and informal. The story maintains a third person POV and shifts between different characters at times, which would have been a bad move if those POV shifts didn't serve any particular purpose, but here it does. This works best because the characters are so amazing.
Every single character that's introduced has a soul, and through their interactions with Rika, we come to gradually like them. Different motives clash, creating compelling conflicts that you can find yourself taking a side on. This is also done very masterfully on the author's end. One can tell when an author takes an opportunity to soap-box about their personal philosophies, but while reading this story, I forgot all about the author. All ends of the argument are presented convincingly, and while characters act as mouthpieces, they do so only after a whole character arc which justifies those beliefs. It is the justification that you'll get to enjoy the most, how one character is just a composite of differing ideologies pasted together after having gone through a series of experiences that changed their life.
Grammar is great. There's a noticeable shift in diction between different characters, and errors are practically non-existent. Because the author has managed to not only grant their characters a soul, but different voices to convey that soul, I'll have to give a five here, too.
Overall, it's a 5/5 stars. This story managed to capture my attention-deficit self for so long, and it sucked me in both intellectually and emotionally. This is a story that doesn't occur very often. You do yourself a disservice not reading it.
Review written as of chapter 6
I love pretty much everything about this story so far. It's very well written, and it has an interesting setting and premise that makes it stand out from the crowd of other LitRPG stories. Even the "outside of the game" world is interesting, as the players are on Mars.
There are so many different topics that a story like this can touch on. First of all, the entire setting is fraught with conflict. It's implied in game that the Americas have just been "opened up" and that all player characters come from Europe (unless I'm misinterpreting) [and in the last campaign, Morocco/Northern Africa/the middle east?]. There are a lot of implications to this that would be interesting to explore. Even just the moral quandaries of recreating historical atrocities again, but for funsies this time. It's one thing to play a strategy game a la Civilization, but what type of person gravitates toward a game where they can play an Inquisitor or Conquistador?
It is also fascinating to have a bunch of people playing out historical events on Earth, where they themselves are outside of that- what's it like to play around in Earth history as someone who's living on Mars? Do you feel any attachment to it? Nostalgia? Or is it just a diversion from being on a planet without any life, where you can't even go outside. Good stuff.
Also there's the usual "are the NPCs actually alive" business which can be fun if done right.
My only gripe is that the characters are pretty flat. The main character is the only one with much of a personality- and that just involves wanting to grief other players and get rich quick (level up). That's fun and I'm sure it will get better as the story goes on, but the characters are the weak point over the first few chapters.
Anyway I'm loving this story and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops! It has real potential to be great. I may update this review in the future after more chapters have come out.