He Who Fights With Monsters

by Shirtaloon

Access the discord here.

 

Latest chapters appear here. Books 1 & 2 now available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, Audible and as paperback here.

All chapters following book 2 are available here, but due to Kindle Unlimited requirements, the chapters from books 1 & 2, except for the first story arc, can no longer be hosted here.

 

Jason wakes up in a mysterious world of magic and monsters. He’ll face off against cannibals, cultists, wizards, monsters, and that’s just the first day. He’s going to need courage, he’s going to need wit and he’s going to need some magic powers of his own. But first, he’s going to need pants.

Follow Jason as he makes a place for himself in a world that is strange, yet sometimes strangely familiar. He’ll meet crime lords and aristocrats, gods and monsters on his path from would-be victim to heroic adventurer. At least, he tries to be heroic. It’s hard to be good when all your powers are evil.

Release schedule is 5 chapters per week, Monday-Friday USA time.

Please note: I am Australian and this story is written in Australian English, so there will be less of the letter Z and more of the letter U.

This web novel is also available at scribblehub.com

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Shirtaloon

Shirtaloon

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1: Strange Business ago
Chapter 2: Of Course Magic is a Thing ago
Chapter 3: Local Cuisine ago
Chapter 4: Cannibals and Spelunking ago
Chapter 5: Wizard ago
Chapter 6: Potent Potable ago
Chapter 7: Spoils ago
Chapter 8: Dark Magic ago
Chapter 9: Escape ago
Chapter 10: The Evil Pit of Evil ago
Chapter 11: Dashing Heroics ago
Chapter 12: Sanguine Horror ago
Chapter 13: This is the Part Where We Step Back ago
Books available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and Audible ago
Chapter 190: A Question You Don't Yet Know to Ask ago
Chapter 191: Looking Forward ago
Chapter 192: Adventurers Are People Too ago
Chapter 193: Valkyrie ago
Chapter 194: Departures ago
Chapter 195: No Pot of Gold ago
Chapter 196: The Glory of Success or the Price of Failure ago
Chapter 197: Adequate ago
Chapter 198: Trash Bonanza ago
Chapter 199: Strangeness ago
Chapter 200: Full Circle ago
Chapter 201: Regretting it Later ago
Chapter 202: Swat ago
Chapter 203: The Purpose of the Adventure Society ago
Chapter 204: Elven Storage Solutions ago
Chapter 205: Disbanded ago
Chapter 206: The Man Behind the Mouth ago
Chapter 207: Search ago
Chapter 208: Defiance ago
Chapter 209: Hanging Around ago
Chapter 210: What Doesn't Kill You ago
Chapter 211: Lingering Doubts ago
Chapter 212: Scars ago
Chapter 213: I Won't Let Them Turn Me Into That ago
Chapter 214: Putting the Band Back Together ago
Chapter 215: Nothing Speaks Louder Than Power ago
Chapter 216: My Name is Jason Asano ago
Chapter 217: While They Watch Me Kill You ago
Chapter 218: Inherently Corrupting ago
Chapter 219: Beholden to No One ago
Chapter 220: Evil Detector ago
Chapter 221: The World Needs People Like You ago
Chapter 222: I'm Very Big on Cowardice ago
Chapter 223: More Powerful Than We Anticipated ago
Chapter 224: Fate Can't Wait to Kill Us All ago
Chapter 225: Running Towards Something ago
Chapter 226: Greenhouse Flowers ago
Chapter 227: A Man Transformed ago
Chapter 228: The Worst Possible Option ago
Chapter 229: Brave Little Tailor ago
Chapter 230: Terms of the Pact ago
Chapter 231: Trading Safety Today For Death Tomorrow ago
Chapter 232: Stalwart ago
Chapter 233: I'm Sick of Fighting Magic Rocks ago
Chapter 234: Crossing the Threshold ago
Chapter 235: Anyone Can Be Useful ago
Chapter 236: A Series of Familiar Powers ago
Chapter 237: It's Not About Killing Monsters ago
Chapter 238: Sin Eater ago
Chapter 239: The Most Dangerous Thing in the Dark ago
Chapter 240: The Boss Comes to Town ago
Chapter 241: It's Very Complicated and You All Need to Go Away ago
Chapter 242: Strong Foundations ago
Chapter 243: A Valiant Death ago
Chapter 244: Ambitions ago
Chapter 245: Faith and Glory ago
Chapter 246: Thadwick ago
Chapter 247: The True Danger ago
Chapter 248: Forsaken Place ago
Chapter 249: Being What He Needs to Be ago
Chapter 250: A Significantly More Dangerous Entity ago
Chapter 251: Losing the Battle to Win the War ago
Chapter 252: War of Adaptation ago
Chapter 253: The Hero of This Story ago
Chapter 254: Good News, Bad News ago
Chapter 255: Here We Go ago
Chapter 256: Outmatched ago
Chapter 257: The Power of Friendship ago
Chapter 258: A War of Stolen Moments ago
Chapter 259 (interval): Clive Takes Charge ago
Chapter 260 (interval): Lessons ago
Chapter 261 (interval): Recruitment ago
Chapter 262 (interval): Ducking Responsibility ago
Chapter 263 (interval): Show and Tell ago
Chapter 264 (interval): Beyond Our Ability to Control ago
Chapter 265 (interval): A Time For Parting ago
Chapter 266 (interval): Old Secrets ago
Chapter 267 (Volume II): A Better Pants Solution ago
Chapter 268: Time to Front Up ago
Chapter 269: The Single Greatest Thing on This Planet ago
Chapter 270: Some Secrets Change You Forever ago
Chapter 271: It Would Be Weirder If Magic Wasn't Responsible ago
Chapter 272: Not the Regular Sort of Dangerous ago
Chapter 273: Boogie Man ago
Chapter 274: More Plausible Than the Reality ago
Chapter 275: I Suggest You Be very Polite ago
Chapter 276: A Leather Coat and Tight, Black Pants ago
Chapter 277: A Knife in Its Sheath ago
Chapter 278: Underworld Bargain ago
Chapter 279: Time to Rip Off the Band-Aid ago
Chapter 280: Bullets, Bikes and Blood ago
Chapter 281: A Good Friend and a Very Bad Enemy ago
Chapter 282: Flavour Text ago
Chapter 283: Time For Context ago
Chapter 284: Brown Trousers Time ago
Chapter 285: The Complete Set ago
Chapter 286: More Valuable Than a Life ago
Chapter 287: Uncontrolled Factor ago
Chapter 288: Agendas ago
Chapter 289: Hegemons ago
Chapter 290: Guilty Conscience ago
Chapter 291: Uncommon Mistake ago
Chapter 292: It's Complicated ago
Chapter 293: A Big Dose of Normal ago
Chapter 294: Moppet ago
Chapter 295: Always Tell the Truth if You Can get Away With It ago
Chapter 296: Discretion is a Good idea ago
Chapter 297: The Cold Eyes of a Stranger ago
Chapter 298: Looking Down the Point of a Sword ago
Chapter 299: What Your Uncle Has Been Telling You ago
Chapter 300: The Moments That Decide Who You Are ago
Chapter 301: I'm Mysterious Now ago
Chapter 302: Hardline Position ago
Chapter 303: Otherwise Best Avoided ago
Chapter 304: Terms ago
Chapter 305: Section ago
Chapter 306: Core Users ago
Chapter 307: What You Call Observing ago
Chapter 308: Not the Monster ago
Chapter 309: Letting Him Run Rampant ago
Chapter 310: Old Testament Power ago
Chapter 311: My Turn ago
Chapter 312: Visually Distinctive Henchman ago
Chapter 313: Of Course It's Him ago
Chapter 314: The Price of Transgression ago
Chapter 315: The Time For Bold, Decisive Men ago
Chapter 316: Technical Issue ago
Chapter 317: The Long Game ago
Chapter 318: A Moment For Drastic Measures ago
Chapter 319: Foiled Plans ago
Chapter 320: Quite the Year ago
Chapter 321: Full Houseboat ago
Chapter 322: A Wizard Did It ago
Chapter 323: The King of Everyone ago
Chapter 324: I Came Back to Show You Wonders ago
Chapter 325: Mercy ago
Chapter 326: Ideal Circumstances ago
Chapter 327: The Blood and Death Guy ago
Chapter 328: A Lot of Anomalies ago
Chapter 329: Pitch Meetings ago
Chapter 330: Moving Forward ago
Chapter 331: Flemish Baroque ago
Chapter 332: Not Ready to Leave ago
Chapter 333: Decision ago
Chapter 334: What You Have to Do ago
Chapter 335: The Direction We Want Them to Go ago
Chapter 336: The Dangers of What I Do ago
Chapter 337: We Were All Monsters ago
Chapter 338: Options ago
Chapter 339: I Need Time ago
Chapter 340: Walkabout ago
Chapter 341: Too Valuable to Lose ago
Chapter 342: All I Can Do is My Best ago
Chapter 343: A Modern Myth ago
Chapter 344: Breakneck Pace ago
Chapter 345: Grand Tour ago
Chapter 346: New Groove ago
Chapter 347: Get to the Chopper ago
Chapter 348: What's Left of Your Principles ago
Chapter 349: Contingencies ago
Chapter 350: Humanity ago
Chapter 351: Media Blitz ago
Chapter 352: Grandmotherly Advice ago
Chapter 353: A Bloke With Vast Cosmic Power ago
Chapter 354: A Very Long To-Do List ago
Chapter 355: Another Step Forward ago
Chapter 356: Tactical Flexibility ago
Chapter 357: Broken ago
Chapter 358: Never Enough ago
Chapter 359: Media Landscape ago
Chapter 360: Instability ago
Chapter 361: Supernatural ago
Chapter 362: Arms Race ago
Chapter 363: Sword-Fighting With No Shirt On ago
Chapter 364: Candid and Authentic ago
Chapter 365: Warmth and Levity ago
Chapter 366: An Intelligent King ago
Chapter 367: Hunted ago
Chapter 368: Gamble ago
Chapter 369: Dying of Thirst in the Desert ago
Chapter 370: Enough Power ago
Bonus Chapter: Silver ago
Chapter 371: Old Affairs ago
Chapter 372: End Run ago
Chapter 373: Giving Face ago
Chapter 374: Not in a Position to Criticise ago
Chapter 375: Honour ago
Chapter 376: They Get to See What I'm Like
Chapter 377: Fanboy ago
Chapter 378: A Very Bad Mistake ago
Chapter 379: An Unexpected Direction ago
Chapter 380: Parade of Delights ago
Chapter 381: Collateral Damage ago
Chapter 382: I Intend to Do Damage ago
Chapter 383: A Chance to Control the Narrative ago
Chapter 384: You Shouldn't Lie to Your Wife ago
Chapter 385: The Decision Has Been Made ago
Chapter 386: First Priority ago
Chapter 387: Node Space ago
Chapter 388: Loaded For Battle ago
Chapter 389: Going For Gold ago
Chapter 390: Prepare For the Rematch ago
Chapter 391: Finish the Job ago
Chapter 392: Inevitability ago
Chapter 393: The Edge of Madness ago
Chapter 394: Trying to Be Merciful ago
Chapter 395: Appreciation ago
Chapter 396: Brooding Loner ago
Chapter 397: High Maintenance ago
Chapter 398: Treachery or Cowardice ago
Chapter 399: Comely Wenches ago
Chapter 400: A Lot Like a Guess ago
Chapter 401: It's Okay to Laugh ago
Chapter 402: Dignified Moment ago
Chapter 403: When Someone is Under Your Gun ago
Chapter 404: When, Not If ago
Chapter 405: Not Entirely Ethical ago
Chapter 406: Ahead of Schedule ago
Chapter 407: Open Wound ago
Chapter 408: Looting a House Burning Down Around You ago
Chapter 409: Domain ago
Chapter 410: Needs of the Moment ago
Chapter 411: A Beautiful Woman and a Sack of Cash ago
Chapter 412: You Have to Be True to Yourself ago
Chapter 413: One More Secret ago
Chapter 414: Instinct is All We Have ago
Chapter 415: Step Back ago
Chapter 416: Guns & Money ago
Chapter 417: Old Habit ago
Chapter 418: It's Still Not About Killing Monsters ago
Chapter 419: Open to the Unanticipated ago
Chapter 420: I'm Going to Bet on Myself ago
Chapter 421: No Perfect Options ago
Chapter 422: Stillness ago
Chapter 423: Whatever We Face ago
Chapter 424: You Really Aren't Local ago
Chapter 425: A Sliver of Hope ago
Chapter 426: End-User Licence Agreement ago
Chapter 427: Negotiations ago
Chapter 428: Another Day for Vampires ago
Chapter 429: Less Freud and More God of Healing ago
Chapter 430: Little Cost in Exploring ago
Chapter 431: Intentions ago
Chapter 432: I Need That Song to Play Out ago
Chapter 433: Wash Them First ago
Chapter 434: The Language of Passion ago
Chapter 435: Forthright Honesty ago
Chapter 436: Pertinent Factor ago
Chapter 437: More Focus on Nipples ago
Chapter 438: The Job That's in Front of You ago
Chapter 439: Going Suspiciously Well ago
Chapter 440: One of Asano's Secrets ago
Chapter 441: Swarm Against Swarm ago
Chapter 442: Necessary Evil ago
Chapter 443: Balls ago
Chapter 444: Which One of Us is the Villain ago
Chapter 445: That Passion Didn't Come From Nowhere ago
Chapter 446: The Upstart Magician ago
Chapter 447: Too Much Over Pride ago
Chapter 448: Trust All the Way ago
Chapter 449: Time to Choose ago
Chapter 450: Four-Score Men ago
Chapter 451: The Very Opposite of Fantastical ago
Chapter 452: Small Mercies ago
Chapter 453: Salus Mundi Suprema Lex Esto ago
Chapter 454: Something Other Than Human ago
Chapter 455: Everyone Calls Me Gary ago
Chapter 456: I'm the Bait in Question ago
Chapter 457: The Past Can Wait ago
Chapter 458: Dragon Lady ago
Chapter 459: What Could Possibly Go Wrong ago
Chapter 460: Kind of His Thing ago
Chapter 461: Of Course He Doesn't Have Pants ago
Chapter 462: Connotations ago
Chapter 463: What a Monster Surge Feels Like ago
Chapter 464: Strategic Doctrine ago
Chapter 465: I've Seen Your Best ago
Chapter 466: Responsible Dad ago
Chapter 467: Surge Protocols ago
Chapter 468: Disappointed or Relieved ago
Chapter 469: More Paperwork ago
Chapter 470: Multi-Talented ago
Chapter 471: Don't Say You Weren't Warned ago
Chapter 472: Contribution ago
Chapter 473: Small-Town Lifestyle ago
Chapter 474: I Don't Need to Invent Icecream ago
Chapter 475: Remaining Unremarkable ago
Chapter 476: A Damn Fine Way to Start Off a War ago
Chapter 477: It Will Not Be Fine ago
Chapter 478: A Story of War ago
Chapter 479: Any Help They Can Get ago
Chapter 480: Supplies ago
Chapter 481: Enemies Even I Would Fear ago
Chapter 482: True Elites ago

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TyrAurelius
Overall
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I just can't bring myself to keep reading.

Reviewed at: Chapter 310: Old Testament Power

I will start off by saying there are definitely great elements in this story. It was the story Iooked forward to the most for some periods of time. I especially live the way it portrayed group fighting and the strategy of facing the wide variety of monsters as an adventurer. 

But I just can't do it. The everyone is Jason problem is real. You can end up reading multiple chapters in a row of Jason "snark" dialogue, and that gets draining when you are up to date and you feel like you wasted a whole update reading that. Second, the storyline, despite the attempts to give an overarching scope, is boring. The moments when this story shines are when Jason is discovering new and wonderous things about the new world around Greenstone, when he is learning about the essence system, and when he is learning the tools of the trade as an adventurer. Shirtaloons ability to envision complex builds for his characters, wacky items, and creative monster encounters is top-notch. 

Unfortunately, most of the story is instead spent on drawn out political encounters with egomaniac villains, a mind controlling-esque cult, and a corrupt church. These plotlines completely deviate for the sense of discovery and growth and get bogged down in dumb conflict and poor ethical monologues. 

And this problem scales to a 10 when he goes back to Earth. 

 

Anyways, I love the world, but I think I am done with this now.

irondruid7
Overall
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Story
Grammar
Character

What made the mc interesting is slowly ruining him

Reviewed at: Chapter 371: Old Affairs

I'm sick of the main character's inner turmoil subplot. It's been going on for 371 chapters and with all the "progress" and "Finding himself" it still goes right back to normal after a couple chapters. Normal being a constant drone of questioning himself and angsting over who he's becoming.

I can't tell even a little bit what he got from his most recent walkabout to rediscover himself, and I'm half convinced that's because the author immediately followed it up by events that don't let him show his new inner stability. He does the utter opposite of that in fact; Putting the mc in a situation that tears him all the way back down. It's what always happens, so he might as well not have inner stability at all is what I'm saying. You told us he was getting it, but it's nowhere to be seen when it matters and when it doesn't it's only the appearence of stability. You've told us something that's never shown.

There's a lot to be said about a story that doesn't ignore the human elements of a character, but at the end of the day he's a character in a story and his angst just isn't interesting anymore. It's been done to death and I really want it to end. It doesn't serve its purpose anymore, not to a degree where it's worth still seeing it brought up every other chapter. Literally every other chapter.

Just stop it. After 371 chapters it's well past the point where he should've "Found himself" and chilled tf out. Basically, please for the love of god just write him as a basic power fantasy mc! You've gone so far with it in the other direction and I'm so DONE seeing it brought up that's what the story needs to happen now. Just end the constant drone of moral angst... Please...

MadPengu
Overall

I am not angry just disappointed

Reviewed at: Chapter 345: Grand Tour

Read the story up to 350 chapters and dropped it for few reasons. But let me preface that story managed to keep my attention up to this point so it did some things well. 

So lets start few "issues":

1. Dialogues - they are either snarky/witty or some kind of serious discussion about meaning of life or some other inconsequential thing. You will not see every day dialogue or any kind of dialogue normal humans might have. Which brings me to second issue.

2. Everyone is Jason - and if they are not you will not remember them. Honestly it weirds me out, Jason was supposed to be unique kind of character but he "infects" people with his personality just after few interactions. One of the side characters (Emyr) suddenly become more powerful copy of Jason with no prior indication that might be the case. And you will probably find difficult to describe any character that is not Jason or Jason-like, they either do not have enough screen time and/or their personalities are not distinctive enough.

3. Jason himself - I loved his character during first arc, he was perfect example why the Isekai genre exist. The utter confusion and choas when faced with utterly alien world meshed so well with his character. It gave a reason for his character of behaving nonsensically when faced with nonsense world. But then it kept going, Jason actually never changed even though story keeps "stating" that he did. Every event that he faced and the way he reasoned about them screamed kind of teen angst even though it was supposed to be a serious and adult. It was further diminished because no 10 chapters would pass without Jason pondering about his ego.

4. Apathy - I could not find myself to care about characters or events. Story failed to establish a bond between a reader and the characters. 

5. Lack of catharsis - simple, for the whole 350 chapters we have not seen any kind of major payoff, not a happy one, not a depressing one. Events that were supposed to be that payoff were undermined by the reasons above.

6. Show not tell - this one is probably my most subjective point. I always felt that story told to how are you supposed to feel and from time to time spewed exposition. 

JT8
Overall

My main issue is with the characters and the way they behave. Jasons niece Emi is 12 years old but she has formulated opinions on politics, speaks like an adult and has the intelligence far beyond what a normal teenager has let alone a 12 year old. I mean theres magic in this story but it needs some realism.

The story builds up to a point where farah dies and is impactful. Jason goes back to earth and all of a sudden shes alive again negating the impact it had on the reader.

I have a hard time believing that Jason the man who imploded his life over the fact that his ex girlfriend cheated on him with his brother would so easily allow them back into his life let alone into the world of life changing magic that he is involved in. I have two brothers and we have fought many times but we have never said we are no longer brothers as that is something you can never come back from. Jason doesn't consider Kaito his brother anymore which pretty much should mean that he is dead to Jason but he just goes ahead and gives them magical powers that are priceless and would be coveted by people around the world. He tells Amy she will never see the wonders of the world that he has experienced but then gives her the option between boring powers or cool lighting and fire powers. Jason just straight up contradicts himself.  For someone that should hate his brother and wife he sure is generous towards them. I mean he could've simply ignored them or shown minimal interest in them like a mature adult would.

Jason went backed to earth and magiced up his whole family and now theres talk of them following him back to the other planet. I mean this story is about Jason and his adventures with bis adventurer friends. Not Jason constantly watching out for his family who tag along and reap the benfits of his endeavours. I mean he's given them all that they need to thrive from a secure compund to resources. Once Jason reaches diamond rank he will be able to travel between planets and visit them whenever he wants.

Sophie gets rescued and given more essences by Jason. All of a sudden she's on the same level as Jason in terms of power and can beat him in a fight. Then to show how grateful she is she abuses him physically.

Jason is just a flaky MC who can't decide on anything I mean he still contemplates if he should kill or not when by any standard he is a seasoned killer. He says one thing then does another.

I keep reading in the hope that the characters will become more 3D and not seem like cardboard cutouts that just banter with each other but actually have ideologies and stick to them.

Hickups
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Others have talked at length about the shortcomings of this story, so mine will be merely a ranty update of sorts.

I slogged through this story's Greenstone arc and the ensuing Reaper Trial because I thought there was a silver lining. Surely enough, the fight against the Builder gave this story an overarching narrative and  measurable progression. Some of the side characters also seemed to finally stop being muppets. That's when the break came [Spoiler Alert] and Jason reached Earth, which basically reset this story.

'Fair enough' I thought. Maybe shirtaloon will now put to use the experience and feedback he has gathered. Fat chance. What has ensued is essentially Greenstone 2.0, where Jason again engages factions vastly beyond his power and they either start bending over backwards or become stereotypical villains, who will be dispatched without tension. The family side plot also becomes boring real quick and usually involves either 2-4 people snarking at each other or Jason mouthing off about his emotional butthurt and being an indignant prick. If anything he became even more immature and obnoxious, which is, on the few occasions this story shows self-awareness, explained away by the magic words 'psychological trauma'. It's ok if he's an ass because he has a trauma. It's ok if he lashes out at neutral parties, because trauma. I detest how that term is used for justification inside the story, as well as a meta tool to explain character stagnation (or even degenaration). 

For me, shirtaloon once again has squandered a wonderful opportunity to evolve this story and it's protagonist and I'm tired of waiting for pay-off. I regret not heeding the early signs.

noks
Overall

you'd think MC would mature

Reviewed at: Chapter 339: I Need Time

I mean I get his personal problems, but after all the shit he's been through you'd think he'd see how small other matters were. Well, no. Dude is still immature, just wished there were less of it.

It's not that he's unlikable and it diminishes the story, it's that I'm an adult and had been over the shit he went through, not the physically bad ones, but then again he's not crying about that which is JUST WEIRD.

And I'm not saying that since I'm over my issues this dude should be over his, it's more like, there's so much of it. Over and over and over and over. So yeah, it's not pleasant. And again, it's strange that more importance is given to his mundane issues, heartache and family problems and such, over all the shit he went through in the other world. WTF?! If his physical issues are somewhat average then I can understand how things closer to his heart will hit . . . closer to his heart. But good god, this should logically be an exception.

between getting tortured and your brother fucking your girlfriend, like holy shit. Yeah your brother and ex sucks, literally too, but god fucking christ you were kidnapped and tortured but so much of the story is devoted to the mc's cheating brother and now sister in law. Holy crap just don't talk to them, like a proper adult. You're rich, just hire someone to take care of contact with them. Dude's got the fortitude of a hundred year old veteran and a 13 year old butthurt teen. Which is it?

 

Well, MC will do as he pleases even if it goes against commonsense.

This story is better than a lot here on RR, so that's definitely something.

warownslife
Overall

It's becoming harder and harder as time goes on to keep dealing with that glaring, ultimate, MEGA flaw. At the beggining, ehh, yeah, you could kinda ignore it. And then no, its just Jason, it's like one man's soul is the entire cast. And its mind boggingly awful. It never stops man, I'm on chapter 357. It doesn't stop. Even the children are jason. That's not a joke, a child is talking about political law and systems of oppression and more.

It's so bad, you can't understand how bad it is and I'm left shocked on why. The author, has done something, that I feel immense, and I mean immense, sadness for. It's rare, but, he's gotten worse at writing as he's written more.

Go back to the beggining, sure, rufus was philisophical and so was henry and everyone seemed to have a bit of a wisdom chip on their shoulder but it wasn't so blatant or over done. They were all teachers and jason was brainless. Sophie, jory, belinda, thadwick, clide, they all felt like seperate enities. I have to come up with a new term just for how awful this has become:

Character Creep.

Slowly everyone is just a melodramatic theater actor copy, without the emotional connection of it all, jason. That guy that won't shut up about how he's sinned and gets emotional over killing and suddenly presses people down with aura when he gets angry and then waxes on and on and on about philisophy. On how hard it is for him to kill and see all the dead. Mix theater nerd, with edgy character, mixed with classic "killing is wrong" MC. That is a fine personality, nothing wrong with it...on 1 person. But there's no normal people left and all of them are like this. ALL OF THEM. It's like listening to an insane man talk to himself. All I want from the story I've invested patreon money and nearly 400 chapters of my time in, is for jason to stop interacting with himself. Please, just, no more pointless melo-drama from every character.

Normally, I'd be upset at the amazon and taking down chapters thing. This time, no, buy book 1 on amazon and ignore the rest of this story. Do not invest your time. You will only be disappointed.

Inferi
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Edit: I haven't had the time to update this review so it is still as of Ch. 222. Editing as I forgot to give spoiler warnings and spoiled other RR stories. My bad.

For Shirtaloon, this story started incredibly and has managed to garner and maintain a lot of attention becuase it can be so incredible at times. I write this both as a review, and because it's difficult to step back and look at your own work objectively so I'd like to point out some easy areas to improve.  

OVERALL

Overall this is a very fun story. It has been on the front page of Popular This Week for months now for good reason. That said, there are a few things keeping it from being a great story or, at times, good. Those things are, in order: the lack of character development, the lack of a believable villain/ plot, and the static nature of the main character. Many reviews get caught up in the minutia of these failings and fail to reinforce the fact that this story is still worth a read especially if the author shores them up. 

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

The MC's character development will be covered last. Here, I want to focus on the side characters. In few words, the side characters are not developed.

The beating heart of every story is its characters. Gintama is a comedy with the barest hint of a plot for hundreds of chapters and it's listed as the greatest comedic manga because its characters are full of such life, depth, and diversity. The first Pirates of the Carribean was such a hit not because of its rather cliche love story, but because Jack Sparrow was such a compelling supporting character. Also note later installments in that series were worse because Jack became the main character and the driving force of the series was lost.

Readers invest themselves into the lives of the supporting cast in order to be dragged along with the author's script. The emotional investment in stories - on Royal Road especially - come from our investment in characters that are actually at risk. The MC in most stories is protected by plot armor so it's the plights of the side characters that tend to draw us in.

Spoiler: Spoiler

 

Lack of a Villain/ Plot

If main and side characters are the heart of a story, the villain is the lungs. The villain is the one who breathes life into the little interactions between characters and creates the urgency that drives a story forward. It can't be something as intangible as monsters or the big evil cult because those aren't problems that can be directly addressed by the MC. 

Immediate - The villain creates urgency by doing something that needs to be addressed NOW. The cult is going to the end the world, but it's a big world and we have time for a few rooftop barbies before then.

Close to Home - If a villain isn't somewhere that the MC can challenge directly, then he's the villain of someone else's story. The big bad is, suffice to say, difficult to reach.

Just as good as the MC - This is the kicker. The villain needs to win. If the villain never wins there's no sense of risk, of danger. Even if it's something small, a villain has to prove themselves by triumphing over the MC in some way. Cyclostomata and Chad never do.

A good example is the Joker from the Dark Knight Rises. He is immediate: from placing timed bombs next to loved ones or running to ferrys filled with explosives at each other, he isn't a problem that can be solved later without massive consequences. He is close to home: Batman can reach him with his two orphan fists. He is better than the Batman: Batman loses to him. When the Joker creates Two-Face Batman loses to the Joker so completely that he needed to do something completely outside of the Joker's expectations to win. He had to sacrifice his own image of a hero to be a hero.

THAT is a villain. A character that can challenge and inspire the MC. Every hero needs his demon lord.

Luckily, adding one also fixes the other half of this issue, plot. What are the MC's goals right now? Get stronger? Who is he trying to beat? Oh he's trying to protect? Do some pushups every morning. No I want to know what he's working towards. I see a lot of rising action but not even the foggy outline of a climax. What will be the apex of this story arc? He gets so strong he can endure the monster flood? Why should we care? The plot so far hasn't been imporant because the MC has been in the 'adjusting to a new reality' phase. But he's almost bronze rank, it's time for Thanos to come knocking at the door.

How to fix?

Make a villain. I wish I could offer more actionable advice, but the flavor of the villain is heavily tied to how you want your story to develop, so it's all on you. Have some fun with it!

The Main Character

I saved the best for last because it is the easiest to fix. A lot of your readers have been getting frustrated (based on the other hundred reviews here) by the fact that your MC has stagnated. Let me explain, and this has two sides to it. Your MC started as a snarky, quippish guy who was just adjusting to his circumstances and it was done beautifully. I probably got past the first page of his character before recommending this novel to everyone I know. The issue now is that he hasn't changed. As I mentioned earlier, he has passed the adjusting phase of his tenure in this world and he still acts like the snarky, quippish guy who was using confusion and witticism as a defense mechanism. The other side of this, and likely the one everyone has issue with, is that your side characters don't react to this realistically. All of them are either awed by his gibberish, or don't react at all.

Spoiler: Spoiler

 

 

Lastly, you don't need to tell us that something is having an effect on Jason. We've read enough of his character to be able to see it when it happens. So rather than "Jason was, for once, silent. He had no words to say and Sophie was shocked when a bit of that mask fell away." you can just describe what happens like "Jason stood, quietly, admiring the simple beauty of the fireworks. Sophie spared him a quick glance, her worried frown giving way to a small smile as she saw rare sight of his unblinking eyes and open mouth."

How to fix?

This is the easiest one. A villain is a foil to the MC and will change him naturally as you write them both. Honestly exactly like your title implies. Hell, name your villain Abyss, that'd be fun. Also as you grow your sidecharacters you'll naturally flesh out your MC too so this one will literally fix itself once you address the other two.

FINALLY, AS THIS IS A REVIEW

Many stories aren't well written enough to have their issues wrapped up in a neat little bun with three little bullet points. Not many stories truly are cultured enough to include an appropriate Nietzsche quote. It is a rare story that has both of these and updates practically daily. Just know, prospective reader, that if you pick this one up, the story does suffer from the little issues that any story would if its author was required to output material as quickly as this one, pending edits. I say it is worth it. And, if you're an elitist that only touches stories from out of golden geese and dusted with diamonds, read the beginning.

UPDATE: My BOY the LION MAN has been given motivation, goals, and depth. Im so happy

Impulse
Overall

Good story, sadly MC killed it in Earth

Reviewed at: Chapter 290: Guilty Conscience

Normally I don't review stories, but this is the case of a story that a loved, which degenerated into something I loathe... So...

 

Story started out great and plot even after return to Earth is very interesting. The thing that kills story is MC... Prior to return back home to Earth everything was still ok, there were some hints of future story killer, but it was not a problem, but in Earth... Ohhh boy, author forgot moderation, almost everything is about Politics, though shall not kill, more politics, lots of whining, our MC having existencial crisis almost every chapter... Plot wise I can't wait to return to world he was summoned (can't remember name), but while being at chapter 438 in patreon, i drop the story, because at this point MC that loved, slowly become into something that is cancer for story and I feel no positive feelings while reading chapters. Just annoyance.

Eddie757
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

They story starts strong, first 100 chapters are gold. After Jason survives his 10th no win situation and some how gets an upgrade everyime. Fight scenarios start to lose the thrill when you know the outcome. The best part of the story was the witty dialogue, but after the MC goes back to earth it feels forced. Also everyone on earth is either dumb or weak, making it even less believable. But some how have been dealing with magic for hundreds of years... the story just goes so far down once Jason goes back to earth. 

A lot of the characters feel set up just to make the MC look better. Making them seem forced if not fake. Don't flow well making it hard to connect with characters. So when they die it doesn't really matter because you just don't care.  

Worst part is this was suppose to be a fantasy novel, but after main character goes back to earth the story becomes a PC/political hack show. Heavy on the judgment on who is politically correct and who is wrong. If you don't agree with authors views on politics which seep through every time Jason talks. Capitalism is evil and socialism/communism are gods gift. There is no difference between the earth section and watching CNN, poor story lots of judging.