The Infinite Labyrinth: Aetherist

by Vincent Archer

Original ONGOING Adventure Fantasy Dungeon High Fantasy LitRPG Multiple Lead Characters Steampunk
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore

Georgian Era Steampunk alternate history meets litRPG!

For nearly twenty years since they've opened, the Gilded Gates of the Infinite Labyrinth have brought power and wonders to the subjects of King George III. Fueled by the resources from the place beyond the Gates, the modern age is in full swing across the British Empire. Crystal marvels adorn the streets of London while Aether-powered Skyships patrol the skies.

But the Hordes of Napoleon are not standing still. They will not stop until they can achieve total dominance and destroying the British advantage is their first objective.

Leatherworker apprentice Jonas Sims never planned to be a Professional. But circumstances have thrown him into the Labyrinth. Now, he's an Arcanist, something he was not prepared for.

He and the rest of his team have to level, push themselves forward and grow beyond their origins. They have to join with all the good men and women in the Labyrinth and break the stalemate.

Or the sun may finally set upon the Empire!



The Infinite Labyrinth is a litRPG that explores different takes of some themes from my main series, Silvergates. It's a hard, crunchy litrpg. Expect blue boxes everywhere, and the system itself is very mathy and ripe for optimization (i need a spreadheet to give me the details).

It's a serial. I have prepared a good worldbuilding, with enough details and background for lots of different potential story arcs, and I'm going to write as I feel rather than following a Great Plan.

Publication is going to be irregular, as the series is intended as a stretching exercise for when I'm stuck writing book 2 and next of Silvergates. I'll try to have at least one chapter a week.

The Gore tag was added because there's a scene with some gore that will be coming in the future in an Interlude.

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Watching a 19th century noob party live in a MMORPG - funny and still great!

Reviewed at: 14. Late Caution

(as of chapter 15)

This story takes place in an alternate history of the early 19th century in Europe, Napoleon has not been defeated and there is a lukewarm war between England and France. Both countries have access to portals that lead to a huge fantasy world (the 'Infinite Labyrinth') where valuable resources can be found that changed the world. Normally only people with an adventurer class can enter but a group of youths from London is locked in that world after they fled from a French surprise attack on the portal. They form a party and have to fight monsters to survive while knowing almost nothing about the Labyrinth, at the same time they need to find a way home.

Style/Grammar: The story is told in third-person style by an omniscient narrator. The main storyline follows the party of six with Jonas as the main focus (and only internal POV), blue boxes are shown for everybody though. Interludes show what happens to certain other adventurers and politicians on both sides of the now-closed portal. The LitRPG mechanics have not been explained much, but this is intentional, as the youths here know nothing. Those (pretty complex) mechanics are shown in detail in the prequel which basically depicts a 'Labyrinth for dummies' training, but even from the glimpses here they are good. Descriptions are okay but there could be more. Grammar is good and there are few typos; it's hard to believe that the author is not a native speaker, as the prose is better than in many other RRL stories, although sometimes there are strange phrases (which could also be British English?).

Story: By now, the group works together like an adventuring party, has defeated some monsters and has leveled up a bit. Their working together went rather flawlessly and even though there have been dangerous moments their struggle did not feel as exciting as it could have. I can't assess yet whether the pacing is quick or normal (level 10 came easily but I think that's only because successful adventurers reach levels in the hundreds or thousands). The Labyrinth has a very MMORPG-like feeling, with many different zones of various difficulty, "lairs" and a loot system where a dead boar drops armor. This will make it familiar to readers but on the other hand it means there's not too much novelty. A nice addition are the author's notes which sometimes give information about those side characters that also existed in our world's history; these are only snippets with no importance but it's still interesting.

Characters: The story has six main-and-secondary and some "other" characters. There have been some hints to the background and personality of the main six, not so much that they feel real yet but they are a diverse group and will probably turn out fine.

Basically, this story is the literary equivalent of "playing a MMORPG without reading the manual", it's interesting to watch the noobs find their way. I, as the genre-savvy gamer watching from out of danger, am having fun. The good writing quality and the uncommon era the story takes place in are a bonus.

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Another subcategorie of LitRPG : stories in historical or alternate historical periods. This pseudo Georgian era tale use an interesting period, These last years  we had the Téméraire novels from Naomi Novak with intelligents dragons, and especially from RR “Age of Victoria by alstonsleet recently published on Amazon.

The synopsis give a good idea from the tale. I will give my attention to this well-written tale.

Matthew Robinson
  • Overall Score

An excellent beginning and what is shaping up to be an exciting adventure. Historical setting should make for some fun. The system so far seems fully designed rather than cobbled together on the fly. Some grammar and tense issues in the first few chapters so far, hopefully they don’t get out of hand and the proofreading improves. The two young male MCs seem well developed so far and I think we can count on the other four in their six person group getting fleshed out as well, as we have already gotten background allusions on one. Looking forward to more.