He Who Fights With Monsters

by Shirtaloon

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy High Fantasy LitRPG Magic Portal Fantasy / Isekai

Access the discord 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
Chapter 14: Worlds Apart ago
Chapter 15: Outworlder ago
Chapter 16: Rescue Party ago
Chapter 17: A Conservative Pillage ago
Chapter 18: One of Us ago
Chapter 19: I Want a Lava Cannon ago
Chapter 20: By the Power of Grayskull ago
Chapter 21: I Have the Power ago
Chapter 22: Apocalypse Stone ago
Chapter 23: I May have Made a Huge Mistake ago
Chapter 24: Astral Space ago
Chapter 25: Blasphemy is Kind of My Thing ago
Chapter 26: Waterfall ago
Chapter 27: Water, Fall ago
Chapter 28: How Did You All Fit in There? ago
Chapter 29: That's What Adventurers Do ago
Chapter 30: Closing the Door Too Hard ago
Chapter 31: Taming the Beast ago
Chapter 32: Monster Hunting For Beginners ago
Chapter 33: Mistrun River ago
Chapter 34: Waving the Flag for Secular Morality ago
Chapter 35: Greenstone ago
Chapter 36: The Island ago
Chapter 37: A Good Adventurer and a Great One ago
Chapter 38: Just Another Adventurer ago
Chapter 39: Training ago
Chapter 40: Eyebeams and the Ethics of Adventuring ago
Chapter 41: Vulnerable and Exposed ago
Chapter 42: This is the Pits ago
Chapter 43: The Nightingale ago
Chapter 44: Complimentary Ointment ago
Chapter 45: So Much For Atheism ago
Chapter 46: Blatant Manipulation ago
Chapter 47: Mirage Chamber ago
Chapter 48: An Endless, Inescapable Nightmare ago
Chapter 49: A Voice From Home ago
Chapter 50: The Full Keanu ago
Chapter 51: Song of the Nightingale ago
Chapter 52: Pain ago
Chapter 53: Nightlife ago
Chapter 54: Field Assessment ago
Chapter 55: Rune Tortoise ago
Chapter 56: Gary's Gift ago
Chapter 57: Rainbow Smoke ago
Chapter 58: A Man of Malevolent Intellect ago
Chapter 59: Falling Short ago
Chapter 60: Making Music ago
Chapter 61: Trade Hall ago
Chapter 62: Have Some Damn Adventures ago
Chapter 63: Sunk-Cost Fallacy ago
Chapter 64: Take My Wife, Please ago
Chapter 65: Curious Urges ago
Chapter 66: A Stronger Weapon Than the One in Your hand ago
Chapter 67: This is What it Means to Fight Me ago
Chapter 68: Good News For Clive ago
Chapter 69: Dumpling Soup ago
Chapter 70: Rewards ago
Chapter 71: A Bit of Poo ago
Chapter 72: Rat Race ago
Chapter 73: A Grim Sword to Live By ago
Chapter 74: Doing Better ago
Chapter 75: Progress ago
Chapter 76: Preparations ago
Chapter 77: Group Cohesion ago
Chapter 78: Jason Has the Good Biscuits ago
Chapter 79: Sand Everywhere ago
Chapter 80: It's Not Work if You Love What You Do ago
Chapter 81: Crazy Desperation Move ago
Chapter 82: Choices ago
Chapter 83: It makes No Difference to the Ant ago
Chapter 84: Injury & Death ago
Chapter 85: Because I'm an Adventurer ago
Chapter 86: Some Kind of Secret ago
Chapter 87: Can't Lose ago
Chapter 88: The Nature of Absolution ago
Chapter 89: Anti-Pirate Operations ago
Chapter 90: The Path to Bronze ago
Chapter 91: Life & Death ago
Chapter 92: Unusual Contract ago
Chapter 93: Truth ago
Chapter 94: Consequences ago
Chapter 95: Punishment ago
Chapter 96: You Don't Get a Third ago
Chapter 97: Integrity is Sexy ago
Chapter 98: The Point of Money and Power ago
Chapter 99: Someone Else's Game ago
Chapter 100: Legwork ago
Chapter 101: Fantasy World Goodness ago
Chapter 102: You Fight Like Me ago
Chapter 103: Silver Hair ago
Chapter 104: An Outcome That Satisfies ago
Chapter 105: You Aren't in Control of What Happens Next ago
Chapter 106: Something Shady ago
Chapter 107: All The Good People We Can Get ago
Chapter 108: You Don't Have the Strength ago
Chapter 109: The Tyranny of Rank ago
Chapter 110: Help Arrives ago
Chapter 111: Strange Star ago
Chapter 112: The Accumulation of a Life ago
Chapter 113: You Should Work on Making Enemies ago
Chapter 114: Climbing Mountains ago
Chapter 115: Nothing Can Hurt You Like Hope ago
Chapter 116: See You in Court ago
Chapter 117: Six-Month Lease ago
Chapter 118: The Perks of Being an Essence User ago
Chapter 119: This is the Moment ago
Chapter 120: Iron Rank ago
Chapter 121: Getting Stoned ago
Chapter 122: Children ago
Chapter 123: Star Seed ago
Chapter 124: It's About How You Use It ago
Chapter 125: We End Here ago
Chapter 126: Poison Pill ago
Chapter 127: Let's Just Fight Monsters ago
Chapter 128: Damage You Shouldn't Walk Away From ago
Chapter 129: Picking Out the Good Ones ago
Chapter 130: Events Loom Large ago
Chapter 131: What the Geller Name is Worth ago
Chapter 132: Cleansed ago
Chapter 133: It Just Takes Practise ago
Chapter 134: World Building ago
Chapter 135: Fabulous Prizes ago
Chapter 136: Any Team Except Yours ago
Chapter 137: More Than One Clown ago
Chapter 138: Resurrection ago
Chapter 139: Manifestation ago
Chapter 140: Potential ago
Chapter 141: Weaponising a Barbecue ago
Chapter 142: This Town Ain't Big Enough ago
Chapter 143: The Second-Best Adventurer ago
Chapter 144: Arrival ago
Chapter 145: Full Jason ago
Chapter 146: Versatile ago
Chapter 147: I Don't Like This Plan ago
Chapter 148: Impossible to Subdue ago
Chapter 149: The Price We Pay Doesn't Matter ago
Chapter 150: Make the Most of It ago
Chapter 151: Wake ago
Chapter 152: I Cant Trust Any of It ago
Chapter 153: Legacy ago
Chapter 154: A Rash Decision ago
Chapter 155: It's A Good One ago
Chapter 156: The City of Fallen Echoes ago
Chapter 157: Shade ago
Chapter 158: Seriously Hardcore ago
Chapter 159: Mixed Medication ago
Chapter 160: Giving People Choices ago
Chapter 161: A Well-Informed Man ago
Chapter 162: The Danger is Us ago
Chapter 163: Surplus to Requirements ago
Chapter 164: A Worse Plan ago
Chapter 165: No One Has That Coming ago
Chapter 166: Part of Being a Team ago
Chapter 167: Making a Spectacle of Himself ago
Chapter 168: Team Change ago
Chapter 169: Company Worth Keeping ago
Chapter 170: He Who Fights With Monsters ago
Chapter 171: Irreconcilable Ideals ago
Chapter 172: Meanwhile, Two Weeks Ago in Greenstone... ago
Chapter 173: Take the Loot and Go ago
Chapter 174: Making an Exit ago
Chapter 175: Shallow Earth ago
Chapter 176: Relief ago
Chapter 177: Glory ago
Chapter 178: Display of Gratitude ago
Chapter 179: The Person I Decided to Be ago
Chapter 180: You Have Friends to Help You ago
Chapter 181: Blob Body ago
Chapter 182: Particular Appetites ago
Chapter 183: Domineering, Territorial and Robust ago
Chapter 184: More Shady as We Go Along ago
Chapter 185: Magnificent Entity ago
Chapter 186: I Try to Find the Truth, But That's Your Hiding Place ago
Chapter 187: The Last Reward ago
Chapter 188: Impossible Wasn't Enough ago
Chapter 189: Eclipse 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

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Inferi
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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

IrateRapScallion
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Generally good but too in love with the MC

Reviewed at: Chapter 68: Good News For Clive

Generally a very well executed story.  If I'd written this 25 chapters ago I would have scored it much higher.  However, since then I've really soured on certain parts of the story, especially the MC.  Did you know that he's a brilliant social manipulator?  Well if you didn't, don't fret!  The other characters will tell you how smart he is, over and over and over!  Everybody loves him, you see, except the people who don't, and that's how you know they're the bad guys.  If I could find somebody to love me even a quarter as much as these people love Jason, I'd have the best wife in the world.

Update: Couldn't take it anymore and dropped it a few weeks ago.  Updated with my final ratings.

Rhadamanthine
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When I was a teenager, I was a bit of a smug, self-righteous atheist, over impressed with my own intelligence. The protagonist of this story is something I could shamefully picture myself writing back then.

His every half baked, awful plan at "social manipulation" of the local nobility and other elite is a success, and what should result in him getting punched or socially ostrasized instead results of some more politically savvy character cooing over how smart he is.

He's openly insulting and heretical towards members of the clergy and actual gods, despite having pretty good evidence they could smear him across the pavement. Besides intentionally getting himself beat up by two priests, he suffers no consequences for this, and in fact the gods like him for some unfathomable reason.

This is a world with cultivation tiers, where each level is vastly above the one before, and might makes right--none of the above makes sense, even with his connection earned by saving the lives of a few powerful people in the beginning. He should be dead or crippled, and I found myself rooting for his opponents.

The initial monster hunting, progression, and joking interactions were good, and it's a shame the character turns into a black hole, as everything revolves further and further around him.

Azcheron
  • Overall Score

Starts strong, tapers off into mediocrity.

Reviewed at: Chapter 124: It's About How You Use It

 The story started out very strong for me. It fun, enjoyable and exciting. The MC had some hilarious reactions and interactions with other characters, the blood cult villains were great, and every thing was wonderful. 

 

Then we get to Greenstone city and it all starts going downhill. The MC changes from a normal but pretty funny Australian dude trying to find his way around, to some kind of discount sherlock Holmes who is always second guessing people and some kind of social mastermind despite being a normal guy from modern society earlier. He deftly navigates the local high life and leaves anyone who matters impressed with him, not to mention become a cold blooded killer. But only sometimes, otherwise he's a great warm guy who doesn't believe in violence or immoral acts.

 

Yeah, it all gets a bit confused and contradictory. The funny stuff gets more and more rate, while somehow info dumps and boring drawn out sequences become more common. 

And it is very drawn out, the first 40 chapters feel fast paced, but it all slows down in the city and with how the MC changes for the worst into some kinda Gary stu it's a bit unpalatable. 

Side characters are ignored and forgotten, rotated through like a fresh outfit for the MC to wear for his daily witticisms, and other than acting as a canvas to showcase the MCs skills they never really seem to get better or improve. 

 

And then one of the oldest side characters dies and the story temporarily goes dark and it feels SO out of style. 

For gods sake in the first few chapters you have him almost served up to a cannabilstic blood cult and you made that light hearted and funny. It's not a dark story. People didn't read this for a dark story. People will stop reading this you make it that. 

 

XXxxxadisxxxXX
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Fun and enjoyable, but it has it's fair share of problems

Reviewed at: Chapter 116: See You in Court

Reviewed at Chapter 116

I'm going to be brief here and cover some of the things that I really enjoyed going into this story. Be warned minor spoilers throughout.

The first main thing was how the mc reacted when he was first summoned. For me at least I saw it as very realistic. He was pissed off, scared, and quite snarky. The whole lit RPG elements started to come in effect and I liked those as well. You also get to see some very humorous dialogue here; one of my favorites is how the Bloodcult family is introduced.

All of these things were really good in the beginning, but as time went on in the novel it started to go downhill. There was an overextension on the whole lit RPG elements. What I mean by that is that the author went too far into it. It started to turn into a number cruncher for me.

There are some stories that do this aspect well, but unfortunately, this one just went exposition-heavy with it.

Going into the world-building there are large info dumps that would be expected, but they are just not entertaining to read. I ended up skimming a lot of them because it just felt so boring to read. 

Going on the characters themselves it ends up going downhill as well. The mc starts to become a mary sue. He's not op power-wise, but for some reason, every single god, influential person, or just random bystander feels the need to stroke the mc's ego. 

You see these large halfbaked plans to take advantage of loopholes in the law or of people with political influence and for some reason, every single one of them succeeds perfectly. This coupled with the mc's incessant need to mouth off to everything and everybody around him just makes him less and less likable.

At this point, I was thinking of dropping it, but in the next few chapters one of his plans actually fell through as you would expect. However, it ends up later turning into his favor after he gets lucky. Earlier there was a romantic subplot that I won't get into, but it was completely unnecessary and brought the quality down.

After that, I completely decided to drop this story due to how much the world around the mc was bowing to his whims. It just became too unrealistic for me.

The last thing I'm going to cover is grammar. Overall this story had few mistakes at all and the ones that were present did not take away from my understanding of the story itself.

I still throughout enjoyed the beginning few chapters though I feel like the later ones need to be thought over again or even rewritten.

Zethuron
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A very enjoyable story with good litrpg mechanics.

Reviewed at: Chapter 45: So Much For Atheism

Great start so far, im liking this story, certainly a different kind of litrpg that i can recommend others to come read.

The MC, well hahaha. Jason is just such a enjoyable and fun character to read about. Its sort of to be expected from a Australian character. And the other characters arent that far behind in how well written they are. Overall their interactions are fun to read.

Jason is quite confrontial at times and honest about being a atheist, this does really show when he interacts with religious organizations or even the gods themselves, barely treating them with any respect, a thing which is considered suicidial by the denizen of the world he is in, this is inline with his belief of being a atheist, but i feel like its going a bit far. Issues are showing already with this story due to his behavior, i hope its set to change soon, or it could make this story less enjoyable.

While this story started off very strong, while it is still going on strong after forty or so chapters, i feel like it is less than what it was at the start.

So far the world this story takes place in, has been shown to be interesting and well developed, with so much more left to be unveiled over the course of the story. The author sort of went for his own kind of unique world, that uses common elements from Fantasy, but also goes in a original direction. Theres the litrpg aspect of this story, which i find to be quite interesting, the author has made his own kind of litrpg system, borrowing ideas from many different sources, and combined that into the system used in this story while avoiding adding stats to the story. Especially the way the abilities and skills are done, is quite different and unlike most stories, i wonder how the author will go with that, without making the MC go absurdely powerful from that system.

Ill be fair that grammar is sort of a problem, overall it is fine, with there being few spelling errors, but there are quite some mistakes overall, with missing words and thus odd sentences because of that, this story could use a good editing round to edit those out, and make it even better in quality. The recent chapters are better in terms of grammar, even if there are still the occasional mistakes that appear, normally they get spotted and corrected quite fast.

Nice style here, no obvious flaws to be found with it. Overall good pacing, even if fast at times, but i dont mind personally. Its pretty easy to keep reading this story without getting bored at all.

A great story, with much potentional yet left to be uncovered, This can be something actually good and fun, if the author can keep writing and not burn out, especially with the current release speed of chapters. There is the risk of the story stopping being fresh and fun, and turning out to be boring and stale while being full of common tropes, i personally hope the author can avoid going on that route.

Recommended for fans of litrpg, you will most likely really like this fun story thats of a good quality.

 

WintersSolace
  • Overall Score

The other reviews about the MC are true...

Reviewed at: Chapter 69: Dumpling Soup

This is my first review...I normally am the type of guy who does not write reviews, but this book forced me to...

In the beginning it was great, top-notch high quality stuff. MC was likable and the side characters were coming along.

Then out of nowhere, MC becomes a top-notch social manipulator...which I could accept in some situations. However, the MC just shows a complete lack of respect for anything and everything to the point where it just pissed me off.

You would think that a person who is at the bottom of the ladder would think twice before insulting beings who could wipe him from the plane of existence with one finger...but nope...he just ignores all manners and common sense. The worst part though is that he never suffers for it. At this point...I'm dropping it, but for the last 20 chapters I was hoping that he would end up tortured or suffering...but nope.

This is the first time, that I hated an MC enough to drop the book...I really wanted to see how this develops, if the MC shows change...

If the author ends up seeing this though, I know I gave a lot of criticism, and not much of it was constructive, I have nothing but the highest level of respect for you, since you put out so many chapters. Keep it up...just please CHANGE the MC.

P.s.: if you're too attached to him to change him...sigh...

Ironypus
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Could be really good with a solid editing run

Reviewed at: Chapter 199: Strangeness

The first few chapters were just strong enough to draw me in until the story started hitting its stride, and then I loved it. The characters were fun, the setting a whole new exciting world to explore and the magic system really tickled my fancy of endless combinations; then at roughly chapter forty, it starts to go downhill.

Style: There's not much to say here, the prose gets you from A-B well enough without being too bland but there's little flair to be found and a fair amount of cliche. The lack of show in the narration definitely hinders the story, with many chapters being dry telling rather than gripping showing.

Story: I'd say the pacing is still awfully slow, as of this it's at over a thousand and a half pages in and things drag on terribly, dry training arcs and chapters of doing nothing but awakening powers and talking about the awakened powers. I'm guessing this is the type of story that intends to keep going for as long as possible and just focus on the characters, but even then the end goal of the story itself seems vague. Is it about Jason's development? The world the author has created? Is it about a message? The world and magic system are certainly the strongest point of this work but aren't enough to carry a story by themselves, though at this point in the story the incoherence of the worldbuilding is starting to make its presence very known.

Grammar: Competent enough, some mistakes that get ironed out.

Characters: The weak point of the story with a lot of telling instead of showing, and the apparent main focus. The side characters range from ok to downright awful. On the upper end of the scale, you have Rufus and Humphrey who have gotten a decent amount of depth, the preference to trade bants with the main character over talking about anything with character substance most of the time aside. Not always a bad thing, the dialogue can be quite funny, though it does tend to drag on with everyone being so quippy all the time and suffers from same voice, where if you took out the dialogue tags all the characters could just be more Jason's. The other end of the scale is the one-dimensional characters who seem to exist solely to make other characters look better by being worthless shitcunts, a good sign that the author is too lazy to do it properly, or the various minor characters who invariably are in awe of Jasons ability to be annoying on purpose for some reason.

The introduction of a new important character, Sophie, while fine when she was not joined up with the main cast nosedives sharply once she takes her place in the group. The character herself is fine, is not totally sympathetic then at least very understandable, but the dynamic she enters with Jason is clumsy all round and is looking like it's going to end up in a very unhealthy romantic relationship built on an already unhealthy dynamic. Both characters have contributed to this, but the tone of the story indicates that only Sophie is going to change for it.

The main character, Jason, starts out likable and fun, a fish out of water in a world of violence and magic; standard but good. The biggest problem with him is that none of his many personality flaws or skill deficiencies causes him any kind of problem that matters. His outspoken atheism in a place where the people obediently venerate their gods never has anyone shun him. His deliberate provocations of people in power never give him a problem the story doesn't worm him out of quick smart. His utter lack of knowledge of the culture never has him make a faux pas that gives him trouble. His never having worked as anything resembling an adventurer or having been in a fight don't stop him from being so good at his job his boss has to tell him to slow down and stop making everyone look bad. etc. Very long list here.

Many of his actions caused by these flaws will instead have the other characters praise him for his intelligence, wit and charisma which is eye-rollingly cringey; but think about if you'd be willing to ever use his tactics in your life and decide for yourself if it's an informed attribute. Not all bad about him though, despite his transformation from normal Aussie dude into someone who will kill multiple people in the street with no emotion or second thoughts in a few months despite believing in his past life that such a thing was Very Wrong; he can be a nice, friendly character who goes out of his way to help others. Still a fucking Mary Sue though.

I've found out that this is actually a second draft, which makes it more disappointing. Not looking forward to a completed version as much, even if it has been finely combed through by an editor to tighten up the plot and spruce up the characters because there is a lot of work to be done there but it's not unrecoverable.

pldl
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Main Character is the weakest link

Reviewed at: Chapter 45: So Much For Atheism

Scores are somewhat based on RoyalRoadl's average level of quality.

Story-wise, world-building, and side-characters are good. It feels like the world is operating on an alien, but coherent logic. The story makes sense for the most part, and the side characters are interesting. I didn't notice any difficulties reading, so grammar is fine as well.

 

The main character is by far the weakest part of the story. Compared to other stories on this site, the characterization is about average. Most of the dumb mistakes at the beginning of the story are perfectly understandable, and he makes smart tactical decisions throughout. Unfortunately, his main characteristic is that he is a compulsive talker. Worse, it is true to form of a real compulsive talker.

People do not like compulsive talkers, and it makes it very difficult to empathize with the main character. Personally, there was an almost instinctual distrust of the main character once the conversations started going. His inability to shut up showed a lack of respect for everyone else, which implied a lack of trustworthiness and integrity. It's why I think a lot of people seem to be especially annoyed with moral quandaries he faces. He provides his opinion on everything, so it's basically worthless. He's so flippant about everything, why can't he be flippant about this shit too? 

He's told to shut up only a few times (too few to be believable, in my opinion), and it seems to garner zero reaction from him. He makes basically no attempt to improve or even acknowledge the comment and continues to interject every sentence with stuff he should know people won't understand.

He's a snarky character with little to show (mostly luck, even with the salt thing).

He's a talkative character with nothing to say.

I hope he goes through a character redemption arc because Overgeared had a similar issue at the beginning, where people HATED the main character. But for Overgeared, it was intentional. The main character showed growth and got incrementally better.

I hope the same would be for this novel, too. We already know he's going to grow in power/skill. He's got a system set up for that.

(Chapter 45)

 

Alcaron
  • Overall Score
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First of all, skip chapter 9. It does nothing for the story, except be unbelievable unrealistic.

Now, let's get the easy ones out of the way quickly:

Grammar is exellent, no mistakes I found (didn't specifically look for them though).

Writing style is overall great, but has some parts where the infodump is a bit much. Fitting for the story, but too much to be enjoyable to read.

The more difficult parts are story and character scores.

Story: The world and the LitRPG-System are great. Rich in new ideas and interesting mecanics. The overarching plot however is somewhat weak, not bad per se, but lacking in ... motivation? I think is the best word for it.

Character: Let's start with the side characters. They are decent. They fit neatly into the world, but most are too nice to the MC, in a trusting sort of way. They also seem to be affected by the mood of the MC way to easy. Apart from that there hasn't been enough focus on them to say more.

The MC however killed this fiction for me. At first (8 chapters) I really liked him. Snarky, level headed, confused, scared, everything you expect in an isekai situation.

After chapter 8 his fear simply got switched off. 

And in the following chapters he becomes more and more insane or rather his entire persona became compulsive snark.

Further, pain doesn't effect this MC. Sure there is mention of "it hurts", but it effects neither his movement nor his decision making.

At some point I simply didn't enjoy the MC anymore. I still kept going because I wanted to know more about the world and system. But when he started picking fights with every religious person he met it was too much for me. 

The MC thinks his ideals are right and argues with everyone who disagrees. Which would be ok, if his arguments made any sense, but in the world he is in they don't and if he would spent 10 seconds thinking about it he and anyone really would realize that. 

-------------Dropped at chapter 46