A thousand spells in your pocket, for a price.
So the email told Mathias, a creative teenager dreaming of freedom on a conquered Earth where magic is a resource to fight over, and a dragon despot rules the stars. The mysterious Magik website offers him the chance to purchase magical powers online, so long as he fulfills the requests of hidden benefactors. He accepts.
Now embroiled in a power game he barely understands, Mathias decides to do the only sensible thing: build a crack team of magicians, monsters, and would-be knights to take down their oppressive dictatorship. An easy Quest, right?
The cover was done by the amazing ChasingArtwork.
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Well written with excellent pacing and good characters/dialogue but... it breaks my suspension of disbelief. Considering the monumental difference in power levels, that the mc gets away with some of the things he does without getting stomped like an overripe grape, is frankly unbelievable. Its incredibly convenient that lie detection or mind reading spells don't seem to exist. Not to mention magical detection/tracking spells conviently not working or not being used at all, I could keep going. All the ignored or hand-waved plot holes add up to me being continually pulled out of the story.
I passed over this one a few times, but turns out it's actually about a person using magic. The game thing from the first chapter is quickly rendered irrelevant by plot introducing itself, and the true setting is revealed.
Bit of bait and switch I could have done without, but that's fine.
So far it's been a basic revenge story on 'system gives quests to do exactly what you're already doing' rails, but the metaplot about what is actually going on with all the magic is interesting, if as of yet not gotten to. (Ch 15)
Haven't gotten enraged by typos yet either, so that's a plus.
However, most of the introduced characters have been somewhat 2d; the ones that couldn't be described by an adjective in short order become noun-noun-nouns; ie cyborg knight priest. Hopefully they gain a bit more character development as the story progresses beyond 'this is how I gain this noun', as currently the ones I like best are minor characters.
Berserker Gargoyle Mercenary ftw.
The story of a noble advanced dragon empire that mixes technology and magic to stand against evil. These dragons seek to protect all races from Genocidel maniacs, A.I. revolutions, psychopathic criminals, and ever consuming elementals.
Whoops actually it's about the humans that don't like being ruled by another race and want freedom for Earth, even though the dragons are probably the most merciful of the powers of the galaxy.
Fun story, call me unpatriotic but I'm hoping the dragons win.
I really liked this story and it's premise. I lowered the rating because unfortunately the author drops the story halfway through Volume 3. He does provide an overview of how the story would have finished which is greatly appreciated but it left me wanting to actually read those arcs. The rationale on why he dropped it is understandable though. If you do end up liking this story, read some of his others. They are great too!
It shouldn't surprise people that authors have patterns, and this one does, too. Maxime Durand wrote multiple very fancy high-stakes adventure stories, and it seems to me that this one was his first attempt here on RR. I regard it as the training failure. It is grand beyond belief on a universal scale, and gets grander as the story progresses, but the cast narrows down just as much, the characters become parody and the story suffers.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me first state that I try to grade stories objectively, whch is hard given how many writing styles exist, but I do think there are really really great stories that deserve 5 stars, and so all others that are also pretty good but not that great, deserve less. Three stars (imo) mark still a pretty good story, why else would there be distinctions.
Now, the style and the grammar: There is little to complain about. I don't remember spelling mistakes and the sentences flow greatly when reading them. There is a good mixture of drama, humour, adventure as well... stylistically the author can't do wrong apparently.
But the story... Whooo boy. The basic story premise is grandiose, and is pulled off at first: The galactic dragon empire has subdued Earth, devastated it, and renamed it and keeps it as one fiefdom of its many possessions, but not as a main concern. That is the world that the hero grows up in, and begins to rebel. At first, I think it works, until Matt slays the first dragon. But then, we switch locations, and now follow his adventures on...
...a huge space station/flat world: Earth (= swampy Florida) has become too small for the story. After some adventures there, we switch locations again into a sphere of mystery, where the Asian Zodiac tests the worthyness of Matt, on a behest from the combined old Earth pantheons...
... at which point I dropped the story.
Each of these settings is comparatively small, but part of a larger world that remains unexplored: first Florida (on Earth), then the Black Market (in all of space), then the Home Dungeon (among all possible lore of Earth). Each time we get a sense of how large the bigger world appears to be, the author teases the reader with all the possibilities, but somehow the story remains constricted to the smaller world, and the bigger world remains a backdrop that hardly interferes at all... When it could and should.
Which brings me to the characters: We start basically with an entire human settlement in Florida, and the Chosen One who has to navigate that setting. That is all great, I think. He assembles a gang of trusted "followers"... and there it already began to fall apart for me: A very brilliant highschool student becomes the commanding officer of two highschool friends (not surprising), of his priest (who was previously the senior advisor to his father!!!) and of an alien mercenary from Hell. Successively, all other characters in the hometown began to fade away into NPC-dom, and that feeling got stronger when Matt left Earth. On the Black Market, they picked up...
...a drifter girl who worked as a mercenary for the one of the most shady people in the universe, and an undead healer.
All these people bond into a diverse group of Player Characters, on whom Matt the MC has to trust his life and the well-being of his world. This is basically the railroaded plot of some computer RPG, like 'Planescape:Torment', 'NWN' or 'Baldur's Gate': The MC assembles a group of battle-capable friends, they form a party, and if one of the "hired" guys potentially betrays them, they can get kicked from the party and will be replaced with someone else they happen to meet.
That is the pattern that really irked me in the story. It is more veiled in the later masterworks by Maxime J. Durand - all that I read were worth the effort, really!! But yes, in each of them the MC assembles a cast of combattants of dubious trustworthiness and balances them along the plot in a constant gamble of possible and quite fatal betrayal. But HERE, in this case it was so blatant that I had to make it the main point of the review.
I'm not complaining about the impossible feats that the heroes pull off constantly, and the often harebrained stategies that hinge on a gamble of somehow working cheats of the Magik Online System... that stuff peed me off quite a bit as well, but it's practically the story premise.
1. The author is awesome and has made some amazing works.
2. This work is incomplete and will never be complete. The author called it off at chapter 75 and instead explains the remainder of the plot in the conclusion.
3. As alluded above this story has some serious issues and some really unpopular twists during the later chapters.
All up I confidently say you will enjoy up to around chapter 50.
Loved it but sadly switched off when ===spoilers===
the brainwashing arch happened I know it was foreshadowed and all that but it just stopped being fun to read and I just could keep slogging through
First 50 chapters were 5 star so Much potential
a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a
Good but not great, and I only throw the 'not great' part on their because of how amazing the author becomes in his later works. Void Herald is one of if not the best author on the site, but if you're new to his works this doesn't reflect it as well. He documents his struggles with it as the narrative doesn't seem to go the way he expected it to and eventually he gives the story up to focus on his other works. You shouldn't necessarily shy away because of that, he does give a decent enough outline that wraps everything up enough to make the trip to get there worth it.
The world building and system development are both good but compared to "The Perfect Run", "Kairos" and his new "Underworld" doesn't have the polish and depth, the feeling of age and history they do. Character development is ok, maybe the only parts that drags a bit in reality rather than just in comparison to later works. His dialog continues to shine. Many authors in progression/gamelit/fantasy genres have issues with it, but it's consistently the authors stongest quality, just maybe not to the level it becomes in The Perfect Run. Grammer is solid, a few mistakes here or there but nothing enough to distract from the book.
On the whole it was quite interesting to see an initial entry from an author I respect, and kind of cool to read about his struggles as it didn't go by plan. Still worth a read but don't make any decisions about the author on this one.
I like this story, the writting is engaging the characters are engaging, the world is expansive, the magic system is good and the plot is moving forwards. Magik has all the major elements that get me to like a story, but the reason I'm writting this review is a nit pick that has been bugging me that I wanted to get off my chest.
Basicaly, the main character becomes a blue mage (basically this is information gathering and mental manipulation magic) and instead of doing the reasonable thing like staying hidden and bringing down the evil empire with subtle methods, he instead learns offensive magic and wins all his battles with physical force. This only works due to plot armour keeping him alive against superior enemies in battles he should have never gotten into in the first place.
Other than that there are a couple minor problems like some of the non human team mates being uniteresting and the MC being too reckless, but overall I'm realy enjoying the story and I would highly recomend it.
This is a story that plays in a post magic apocalypse setting. When magic returned to Earth it didn't come with a magic system, but an invasion from an interstellar draconic empire. Humanity didn't stand a chance and was conquered and annexed.
The story starts years after said apocalypse following the life of a teenage game developer who's got a worrying affinity with using illegal AI. This very tendency aroused the interest of an unknown sponsor, giving him access to magic and allowing him to do more than just petty sabotage against his alien overlords.
Overall this is a good story, I wouldn't call it realistic, but it demands far less suspension of disbelief than most other LITRPGs. There seems to have been significant effort in worldbuilding, making for interesting antagonists and protagonists. It also shows the ambiguity of a rebellion. Allying with people you'd otherwise rather not.
The MC is rather standard. Mother abducted by the aliens, so he's got reasons for a grudge, smarter than he's got any right to be, so he can pull off whatever he does. It's easy to empathise with him. Despite his teenage age, he's not an edgy anti-hero.
I'm honestly not sure what to think about the antogonists. The big bads seem to be walking clichées. The Evil Empire, the petty tyrant dragon, the Demon. On the other hand the lesser antagonists are far less so. The Imperial policeman trying to protect the locals from evils both demonic and subversive. I hope we'll see more of those. The nasty part of being a rebel is that good people are your worst enemies.
Overall I'd definitely recommend reading this. So far it's been a rather exciting read.