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A teenager struggling after the death of his best friend finds himself in a fantasy world - one which seems to be an amalgamation of every Dungeons and Dragons campaign they ever played together. Now he's stuck trying to find the answers to why he's there and what this world is trying to say. The most terrifying answer might be that this world is an expression of the person he was back on Earth.
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I'm not very far along in the story as I write this but what I've read so far is excellent. The story is an eclectic mix of genres so far and it's interesting and makes me want to keep reading to find out more. Grammer, spelling and prose are excellent. The characters are well done and the author makes good use of "show, don't tell". I'll keep reading along and unless something drastic occurs I'll be upping my review to 5 stars after I get further along.
I've been following this for a while. It's nice to see it on another platform where it can get more exposure.
This is a pretty neat story. If you are a fan of DnD and other such dice-rolling adventure games that require a game master, you will probably really enjoy this.
I think by far what keeps me reading this story is the characters. These are some of the most authentically crafted characters I have read in a fantasy story. This genre usually is more known for plot and worldbuilding than it is for nuanced characters. Not so with this story! I would argue that the characters are the real shining stars of this story.
The world building is good, don't misunderstand me. It can become a bit cluttered at times due to how complex the world is set up to be, but that is ok because it is merely the stage and props with which the characters bring the story to life.
Continuity is good. Logical coherence is also good, and of critical importance considering the premise of the story, so kudos to the author on that.
This story has authentically portrayed romance with a twist that I will not spoil for you.
There is abundant action and adventure into new and interesting lands. There are a seemingly limitless number of species. So if you only want the classic human, elf, dwarf trio with maybe an allowance for a few others, this is not for you. All the races in this story are original to the author except for humans. So I hope that interests you. There are creatures inspired by those in other fictions, but none copied directly that I have found so far.
Also, I know some really hate stories with a "person pulling strings behind the curtain" character that guides the journey of the MC, and this story does have that, BUT it does it in a way that I personally think adds to the story and is very directly and consistently addressed by the main characters such that it is a valuable plot point as well as a character development tool.
I don't want to give too much away. It's a good story. I say give it a shot.
It does deal with some heavy and unsavory topics like canibalism, suicide, etc. So be ready for a not so light-hearted read. I personally do not reccomend for those under the age of 10.
You can find this story on https://archiveofourown.org/works/11478249/chapters/25740126
Interesting and generally well written story, though darker and more meta than I expected. This is easily one of the best completed works on royal road. The characters and some of the themes felt very young adult, but there was at least some self awareness and plot related rationale. The ending is odd but better than I expected.
THE best novel I've ever read on royalroad, bar none. Probably better than most paper books. Thanks AW for this masterpiece :).
Pacing is great, plot is substantial and well-placed, and the ending is really well done. A lot larger than most novels, but in this case that is a good thing.
So one of the best stories I have read in a long time. My one complaint and reason I stopped reading for a while is they sometimes get stuck discussing what ifs and theory to the Nth degree. I'm all for it but it just got to be too much for me.
After dropping the story for some months(again!!!), i come back and still find myself skipping multiple paragraphs to the extent that i spent less than 5 minutes on a chapter, and i could still get the gist of the chapter.
Lots of pointless inner monologues and SJW b***********t, and my earlier love of the story can no longer keep me going.
I guess it's time to delete my bookmark and leave the story for good, but it was definitely worth the read especially for the earlier chapters and that's why I'm giving it 4 stars.
I'm kind of torn on what rating to give this. On one hand this story is written extremely well. I derive great pleasure from works that have words that are new to me. The plot contains fantastic twists and turns, the ideas within are very creative (a main thing I look for in stories). All of this would be an easy 5 star rating in almost every other situation.
But... I keep getting caught up something and I know this isn't a fair criticism: it's nonsense to most people, but it's a slight irritation of mine so I can't give this story 5 stars even though it really deserves it.
What slight aspect of this story do I find irritating? The characters are too well-spoken, too immediately-clever. They're not smart. I know many people think the characters in this story might be "above average" intelligence, but as someone who is a tier or two above that myself I find these kind of characters... childish.
I think to many, the conflicts and inner turmoil of these characters might be intriguing or full of "depth" but to me all I see are basic ethical dilemmas anyone with half a brain is used to tangling with and it creates a disconnect. On one hand I see characters with a good breadth of knowledge and a vocabulary to match, and on the other I see what are essentially kids struggling with basic ethics. The fact that the MC is a self-proclaimed "utilitarian" just means that he's going to have all the predictable and fallacious ethical dilemmas that all utilitarians have: and oh hey look that's exactly what happens.
Ironically, a story about someone with a passion for world-building has a well-built world itself. And this part deserves high praise. I found the A.C.S.L. part executed very well and it was incredibly humorous.
This really is quite a good story, and I enjoy the writing style and the language used. I just find fault that the characters speak kind of same-y (the same verbosity, the same vocabulary) and their inner-struggles are rather trivial. The characters themselves are rather distinct and the quest arcs they go through are very creative, just the emotional issues they deal with are things I was better at when I was their age.
This review is a waste of time. The story is near-perfect. The author is Top 5 material. This is the best pure LitRPG story I've ever read. It takes crunchiness to an ultimate level. Honestly, I doubt I will ever read another story that betters this one in terms of defining what LitRPG means.
HOW THE ABSOLUTE FUCK HAVE I NOT HEARD OF THIS STORY?!
In terms of its place in history it should rest securely at just behind Mother of Learning. Yes, I know, horned bunnies. Dakota has his place. But Dakota's place is in the LitRPG as fun fantasy domain.
This story is a meta take on the story told by a Dungeon Master and narrative structure. The only downside here is, um, the occasional wall of text. The author does tend to wax on, and I'll admit to skimming here and there was began to get the gist of their thinking. Story is character and action , and the lengthy philosophical discussions were at times too much. But overall, damn, this story is quite simple a seminal work of the subgenre and demands recognition.
Oh, and at a rough count, I've caught less than a handful of errors. A similar number of times I've reached for a dictionary. Not literally. This is the 21st century. But the bastard definitely has access to a thesaurus.
Also, character is generally a strong point BUT not within dialogue. Almost universally the characters sound the same: wordy and long-winded. Nevertheless, the characters have their own agency and one or two have something of their own voice.
All in all, I'm already looking forward to a reread in the future.
Read -> Ch. 26 Superman
I'm gonna start saying that this novel is a really good novel and every person that read Fantasy based on tabletop RPG (D&D, Pathfinder,...) should read it.
On why you should read it is pretty easy to say:
1) The description of person, items and places in done in a profesional way, if you are more of a dreamer when you read you could immagine easly places described in the novel.
2) The system is unique for what we saw until now (Ch. 26/Superman, latest Ch. in RR), it's easy to understand, but still have a layer of mystery of what will the protagonist unlock.
3) The world bulding is done right, you know for the most part what the protagonist know and most places, items and even some magics systems have some sort of flavor text, to know why they are there, what they do, or why they exist.
For most part those are the really good points without a doubt, the another part like unique style or good grammar that most novels would be plus in this novel is kind of expected because you know in 4-5 Ch that this novel is not like most of anothers in RR, it's set a standart that most people would expect in published book of some big publisher, so saying those are good points it's true, but that does not make justice to this novel.
Because of that standart i'm gonna be pretty harsh, but i would like to say that some of those defects could easly begone in future Ch or for some of the reader those could be not even be classifed as defects.
1)The narration need to be slow in more descritive moments, but eccentric and fast in combat situation or stressed situation. The author is pretty spot on the first part, like i said he/she is really good at describing stuff, but for the second part the novel is lacking in those situations, in some situations the author does a mix of description or action that slow the fight to becoming a slowmotion of what is appening, in anothers the author throw the protagonist in situation where the mosters does an ambush and it's a run for your life moments, the author tend to skip every bit of description and tend to do a full action moment, but even then those moments are short because the author is fully focused on the fast part without caring of the more "eccentric" narration, the reader should fell tension and not knowing what would append, that is why the more eccentic narration is in there to make the run/fight a little longer, little example is trying to write what everyone is doing in a fights with a simple phrase making the reader think the fight is going much faster that should be, but slowing down the narration of the fight and at the same time creating tension. Another easy example is creating "false" sense of urgency in the reader when the protagonist is fleeing for a monster but it's "forced" to change route of escape because there are more enemys in the front or the pursuer have created a wall to slow down the protagonist.
2) The characters in the novel are 2 dimentional, in the 26 Ch i read the characters are the same at the start when they are described and still the same for what we have read, this can be easly changed in future Ch (right know the novel in another site have 100+ Ch.). Writing a backstory of a character does not mean that character is realistic, writing a somewhat bipolar character does not mean it's not 2 dimentional. To make a character not 2 dimentional is writing something small or something that explode, everyone have a personality, but we have limits and defect. Stress is the most basic way to try to make a character "true", writing small tick in the face, not stoping to walk, whispering something, making the same question over and over, or in some cases full rage because of too much stress. Insecurity, agitation, and a bunch more. A person is not only the good stuff, and for what i read (Ch.26/Superman) the characters are pretty much robots that have bad luck, most of the times when they screw up is bad luck and there is no emotional mistake, no exitation, and in this novel that seems like realism seems an important point, this is a pretty big defect.
THE LAST POINT IN NOT SPOILER FREE SO BE AWARE
Spoiler: Last point
3) This is the most important part, and the most personal one. For some of the reader this one can or cannot be shared. Since 2-3 years ago most people that read web novels have always lamented about edgy/depressed protagonist in novels, well this one is a new peak of edgy/depressed protagonist genere. The backstory of the protagonist does have a reason for him to be depressed, but this is a new level of depression. On the real point of the third point i would like to say that the protagonist is beyond mentaly sick, i understand that he thinks that everything is a game, but after all have append, him almost dying and all, he still think everything is a game. I would have appreciated a part of a Ch of him saying that he does not know if this is real or not, but still move on on a more real thinking, with some D&D element in there since he does not have time at the moment to see what is real or game. The worth part of the novel is pretty recent (Ch 24/Like a Glove), when he thinks that Aerb failed him, the world does not revolve around him and i would like to see him relize that this is not a game and maybe it's real. It's frustrating to read all the description of everything, the world building and all, and read the most 2 dimentional character ever made in a novel that have a preatty realistic take on everything. I really hope it's changes in future Ch., but i have small hope of changes, meanwhile the first and second point are "easly" fixable.
There would be more difect, but those are more personal that another, so i will not write it since are more dislike of the style that somewhat objective "mistakes"
Like i said at the start, this novel is worth reading for fantasy readers, and i really hope the future Ch are even better that what we have right now.
I will update this Review when more Ch are publised in RR.
First take (11/06/2019 European date format - latest Ch. 26/Superman)
An excellent LitRPG. I don't have much to add that others haven't said already, but be warned this is not a"happy" story. There's plenty of darkness and sadness in the world Juniper built and nothing is held back. It's an absolute top notch story but if you're going to get sucked into it you should know ahead of time that it will definitely not always be a fun ride. There's been at least two or three times I've been tempted to stop reading but I keep finding myself coming back. Right now - ch160 - things look like they may be trying to not suck so hard, so I'm betting it's able time for the other shoe to drop again.
I don't need a story to shoot rainbows in my face nonstop but dayum can the council get a break already?