Sci-fi dungeon crawler.
Set in the far future when humanity has reached the stars and finds it is not the first to do so. Alien technology has been left behind by a long dead race. Ancient cities, abandoned starships, temples and fortified bunkers all contain artefacts and devices far in advance of what humans have been able to produce. Technology that feels more akin to magic, so powerful it can allow a single person to dominate a star system. But these relics of another time have been left well-defended and behind bewildering and impenetrable security measures.
There are those who are compatible with the alien technology, who can augment themselves to face the evermore extreme protocols in the depths of the alien ruins, and by doing so attain greater power. And there are those who just want to sell what they find to the highest bidder.
The rewards are high, but you have to be prepared to go further and risk more to discover the greatest secrets of a civilisation that vanished long before the first human walked upright. Secrets that could irrevocably change humanity's future, or end it.
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The story had a superb beginning, but -just- like with The Good Student, it has pacing and exposition issues. And just like The Good Student, while I loved and pretty much adored the beginning and had high expectations, it got to such a boring point that I dropped it and lowered my initial rating. First, the author has issues with dragging out unimportant scenes that don't add anything much to the plot, because the same 'stuff' was shown in the same general sense just a chapter or two ago, and the comedy gets old pretty fast. This concerns Ubik in particular, and while I'll avoid spoilers, I'll be honest and tell you that by the chapter 80+-, he feels like an entirely one-dimensional character with no prospects for development. To be frank I have yet to see any character development in any of the author's works. It feels like he's focusing on the narrative so much he forgets that characters are the centre of a good fiction. And credit where credit is due, aside from missing that one singular pillar of a good story, it's pretty damn good. I'm just kinda salty at a second missed opportunity for a great story written by the same guy. Not counting How To Avoid Death On Daily Basis because I stopped with that one too soon for my own liking because of the same issues. I think I'll revisit it at some point, just because how interesting the worldbuilding can be.
I made it to Chapter 80 before tapping out.
The beginning was really promising. I'm normally not a fan of multi-lead character fics, but the setting was sufficiently interesting that I was willing to extend some trust that everything would pay off.
Even from the beginning, though, the designated thief character sent up a bunch of warning sides, as being walking plot armor with convoluted plans that worked perfectly... and, in the end, he was indeed the character that made me walk away.
What was mildly amusing at the start just stopped becoming funny over time, and my suspension of disbelief just eventually gave up.
Beyond hitting the point where I would have been okay seeing Ubik die horribly, the dark humor of the setting (corporations filled with punchcard villains committing atrocities, but they keep their high customer service ratings because 99.5% of the time they don't kill their customers) eventually stopped working for me, as did the juxtaposition of 'This is a deeply serious serious situation that is also completely wacky and ridiculous'.
I thought there were some really interesting background elements here; it's just a shame that I had to cut my losses before I saw any payoff from the setup.
Reviewing this as of chapter 28 and while there may not be much to review as concerns the content,I have to say that the grammar,style and general premise is quite good, we haven't gotten to the main dungeon diving and mad adventure yet,but the world building and character introductions have been interesting, heck even me that doesn't really enjoy multiple povs all that much is interested in reading about these character's...atleast for now.
But what I would like to know is why the author refuses to engage his readers on what is obviously a logical inconsistency in his world building?, I don't really expect you to change *your* story because of your readers but atleast clarifying something that seems to be baffling people isn't too much is it. An author shouldn't have to spoon feed the readers every bit of information, sometimes you drop hints and tips then let us draw up conclusions about the story by ourselves, for me that's like half the fun of a good story, but when things in your story just aren't adding up it really kills any immersion that you have built up and yes I'm referring to the Seneca corps, how exactly are they able to carry out mass genocide and the entire galactic community is just there watching them? How can they at will decide to deploy biological weapons against an entire gender and again people just allow them,they don't corporate with the rest of the galactic community and yet they allowed to roam free and haven't been hunted down to the ends of the galaxy? It's not like there are no alliances, you made mention of some kind of treaty that other nations seem to be a part of but which the Seneca corps proudly state that they are not a signatory,that's all good..nobody is forcing them to sign but why are they still allowed into other planets airspace?...the power and threat levels you are doling out to this group doesn't make sense and we don't exactly understand why the rest of the human race aren't pushing back, this people can literally walk up and murder an entire generation of people and the populace would just nod their head like sheep and accept it, are you sure we are still talking about humans?
These are my thoughts 28 chapters in,all said so far it's a good story and would be better if this plot hole in the world building can be addressed.
It is no doubt interesting ,and the Ubik POV chapters are definitely more than worth it but some plot holes do exist.Still, I would recommend it as it is quite interesting.
Now to the big flaws-There is absolutely no sense logically for the existence of Seneca Corps at all and even Vendx corporation is only marginally more believable. Many of their seemingly cost-saving measures don't acually reduce cost in the long run ,and with heavy automation in the stellar human civilization along with all that entails of course the few human employees should be idk...more believable in thier actions instead of being cardboard cutouts of cliche villains.
The world building is excellent ,and it is more of a character driven story rather than one having some serious scientific jargon that is very popular in some sci-fi fictions(i.e it is a non-hardcore sci-fi).There are three main POVs and the author implements it very nicely.Of course, the star attraction and the most interesting POV here is that of Ubik and he just gets better and better.It is probably the only reason why I could easily ignore the few fallacies here
It has a good start. Everything is great until it devolves into one character doing random things that work for no reason. The character does things that should never work over and over again then the universe decides through a series of totally unrelated events that his plan should work. In addition, I have read up through the epologe of book one and there is no dungeon crawling whatsoever.
This review is current as of chapter 10.
Three protagonists, a techie gutter thief, a wealthy aristo, and a calculating fighter type. Each is from a different portion of the galaxy.
So far the author is just laying background. So far the setting is rich and complex, the characters interesting. I will be following this story closely.
Lets just say that a certain arc is one big clusterfuck of plot armor with barely any sight over the situation. Give us a flow chart of the happenings. This is getting too complicated. At this point most people are just accepting this flow of logic because they dont want to reread 30 chapters to confirm its logical or not.
so the first part of the summary is sci fi dungeon crawler, i read 20 chapters in and not even the slightest hint of that being the case.
The author has taken the monumentous task of putting 3 main characters and switching points of view. While he has been marginally successful in making the readers want to know what hapens to the characters, hes completely failed in driving the plot or quickly grabbing the readers attention to the plot.
I CANNOT state this enough to authors on royalroad in particular, if you want to build a huge backstory for your characters, do it within the confines of the plot. If you adertise a dungeon crawler, start with that and either use flashbacks or some other literary device to teach the reader why the character is doing what he is doing. This is the 3rd book ive ready like this on this site this week and I simply cannot continue ont saying anything.
The writing is good, characters have some actual depth. More importantly, they are all completely unique and so very quirky. Especially, Ubick. Every time I read a new chapter, I pretty much always laugh at his shenanigans, not to mention the digs at everything else. worth a read.
This is absolutely one of the best publications on Royal Road, let alone on the internet in general. I've read some of the author's other works, but this one is, imo, the best yet. Very consistent updates and a fast upload schedule make it very easy to stay riveted with the storyline, which is a big plus.
But why is this book so good?
The three main characters are all fantastic. I feel like I know them personally.
I generally don't like multiple POV stories because there is always one character I like/dislike and I start to care more about one POV than another... Leading to boredom in some chapters.
I have read innumerable books in my life, and I have to say that this book has perhaps been the most successful I have EVER read at making multiple POVs work.
The world of the story is also compelling, with mysterious alien technology and a fairly grand scope. Book 1 just concluded, and I feel like we've only scraped the tip of the iceberg.
Tl;dr read this one now; I guarantee you'll binge it and want more!