by Vowron Prime
- Traumatising content
Updates daily at 23:06 UTC.
2/1/2021 NOTE! This trilogy is being published by Aethon Books starting with book one on 5/1/2021. Book one has been removed from RoyalRoad, and book two will be removed in August. Eventually, the entire trilogy will be taken down. I will post all of book three here before it is taken down, giving all readers a chance to read the story for free.
Magnus Cromwell kills for a living.
He’s organized, professional, efficient. Like a machine. But when his family’s life is on the line? That’s something else. That calls for the kind of warm-blooded vengeance that scorches earth and summons tungsten rods from space, leaves a whole lot of melted flesh, and no one to tell the tale.
It should've been a blue milk run. As by-the-book as it gets. With his sister Nina out safe and the opposition decimated by hypersonic gunfire, MC wondered where they got the guts to even try. Then something hits him. Lays him out cold, and leaves him waking up to a fantasyland with nothing but his armor and a half-written note to guide him. It's a strange place where even stranger predators eye him for their next meal. Where his life’s on a timer, and where the darkest horrors haunt his dreams, painting visions of death.
There's no right day to mess with Magnus Cromwell. But the universe sure managed to pick the absolute worst one.
- MC is stone-cold, strong(OP), and gets even stronger, but he'll still face his fair share of challenges, both internal and external.
- LitRPG-lite. No stats and an unconventional system. Expect abilities and progressions, but there will only ever be a handful of them.
- Science Fiction and Fantasy collide, with a touch of mystery, Lovecraft, and body horror.
- Professionally painted art scenes!
- This series is finished.
[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
- Overall Score
- Style Score
- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
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Overall Score: 5/5
The author takes his time to really develop the personality of the MC, Magnus (or MC, which happens to be his nickname as well) in the opening chapters. This is a good thing as connecting to someone so hardened by his career can be a bit difficult. By the time MC wakes up in what he (and I) assume is some VR reality, though, I haven’t yet connected with him as anything but a hardened soldier.
The author’s strength is definitely fighting/action scenes, which you will get a lot of at the start of this story. I’m also looking forward to the new world MC finds himself in with its bizarre predatory creatures.
Immediately after waking up in this VR reality, you know it's going to be a struggle to survive for MC. Particularly since whatever force brought him here stripped him of all his guns and tolls aside from a knife and his combat armor. If he is under the control of the Liberación, the bad guys we met previously who kidnaped his kid sister and put her in a sex VR pod, then he’s running on a timmer before his body will shut down if he doesn’t find a way out.
The biggest question I have is—if you’re stuck in a VR controlled world, how do you get out?
Style Score: 4/5
Overall the writing is crisp with just enough details to give you a glimpse of what’s going on. I would have preferred a bit more, especially when it comes to the characters who I was giving no physical description of (that I can remember), but that is a style choice I’m fine with accepting. Expect a lot of action in the opening chapters as MC proves just how much of an ass-kicker he can be.
That said, there were several moments of confusion that either forced me to stop and reread areas or ask questions, make assumptions, and move on. These can be found in my chapter comments.
The biggest thing to me was the overuse of generic, vague words like “it” and “thing.” They created confusion as well as alluded to a limited range of vocabulary imo. That might be because this is still in draft mode, but it stood out. Particularly when “it” was used 4x in a single sentence (as mentioned in my notes). I understand the use of “it” occasionally, but here it felt more like a crutch.
IMO “thing” is dead. You can do better than thing. I don’t care what you’re talking about.
Story Score: 4.5/5
If I removed all my points of confusion, this story gripped me. Brother rescuing sister. Heartwarming and tragic, given what Nina went through. Though I wish I understood how old they were if only to put their behavior and emotional reaction in context.
Nina seemed rather “strong” given the 24 hours of “SIM Sex/Torture” and god knows what else she was put through. MC cried in front of her because of his guilt but then proceeded to behave almost like a machine throughout the rest of his mission to exterminate the Liberación.
If I had one quirk with the opening chapters. It’s that one man took a compound so easily.
Even with the Security Room exploit. The fact that such an exploit to “turn against friendlies” was so poorly protected. It kind killed the whole high of him being a badass for me a bit. Talk about a built-in plot cheat.
That said—not sure how he’ll short cut his way through the VR world he’s not trapped in with only a knife.
Grammar Score: 5/5
Nothing major. A few repetitive phrases that were unnecessary but nothing else that I can recall at this point. The writing was pretty free of common grammatical mistakes.
Character Score: 5/5
Although it's hard to relate to someone so emotionally closed off, MC’s emotional distance is something I grew to understand as the story progressed. I think he was very well portrayed as the flawed human, soldier, and brother he is. Kind of wish there were more personalities to help balance this out though, but this story does seem to heavily revolve around MC, so no issues here.
If you took that title as a bad thing, then you are a fool. This here is well-deserving of its high rating. The follower rating could get a double or perhaps, but who am I to say?
While I have not yet read all there is to read, everything seems to be on point. The MC has most things figured out in his life. We know his goals, we know what makes him take a step forward, we know why he takes continuous drowning for days on end like a champ, and we partly know where that attitude came from. All in all, characters in this story are well-rounded, all having their share of flaws without seeming like pretty dolls with artificial problems attached.
I can't say too much about the current plot of course, other than it is utterly fantastic! If this keeps up, I might just buy the book so that I can show some support. Who knows? The only thing I currently know is that I will dread the moment that I don't have any backlog to catch up on.
The style is pretty good. Few words make the most meaning. This story lives up to that phrase well. While it does give a hearty serving of world-building, readers are left to figure out things on their own. Not sure if this is intentional or not, but if it is, then the author certainly deserves a good salvo of claps.
11/10 would review again.
A great example of what Royal Road has to offer. The story continues to follow it's narrative without getting sidetracked and the main character faces realistic struggles in an unrealistic setting. The author is hard working and is always listening to edits and advice and creates a fun environment to read in. The best part about the novel is how well the story meshes together magic and sci-fi themes without becoming too contradictory. A must read for fans of similar concepts involving a mix of mysticism and technology such as Halo.
The MC is not a psychopath, please continue reading as the MC has very understandable reasons for why he commits acts that would typically dissuade the average reader. He is most definitely an anti-hero lead, not villainous.
Imagine if you will, that someone put the trashiest, most generic, 80's action hero B-flick blockbuster into a book. That pretty much sums up Magnus in one sentence.
It's a good thing that I eat up trashy B-flicks like there's no tomorrow. The added stuff is just a bonus. Don't get me wrong, it definitely isn't for everyone and even I have some nitpicks. But, let's be real here, I'm here for some dumb, mind numbing fun with good writing and an "original"-enough story that I can get engaged with.
If that sounds like what you're looking for, you might also have a good time here.
More than half the first few chapters are spent meticulously describing tech and military stuff. Usually i wouldn't mind, but there're so many unnecessary details added (much of which ate inaccurate or make little sense) that i find it hard to calm myself and focus on the small bit of plot. The engineer in me cringes.
Hopefully the author grows out of it, or does an edit. It's always good to know when to be ambiguous or obsfucate when discussing future/ficticious tech. I'll update my review if later chapters prove to be a more immersive read.
Edit: It improved, and the few inconsistencies later can easily be explained away because "magic". I'll write a proper review when I'm done and have reread the prologue.
The author said the protagonist was overpowered, but that leaves the reader thinking “well then, there’s got to be some other exciting stuff here!” Well… it takes some time to find this out, but to use fake military jargon, “that’s a negative, good buddy!”
To me, this plot fails to generate any interest, because the tension feels meaningless. In fact, I rated this novel on the amount of tension that it elicited within me. I have never read any novel where the protagonist had so little challenge in their obstacles, both right from the start of the novel, up to the point where my interest asymptotically approached zero. It’s like the challenge is a technicality, so that there is something for the character to occupy their time, or talk to, or for the author to describe them running through. There aren’t relationships, there are shooting galleries. There is no rags to riches tale, the protagonist lacks for nothing in their human community. This novel is like watching a player of the Doom video game where they never die, just unlock more weapons -but it’s in literary format! It’s like watching a rock fall down the side of a cliff, and... smash through some bushes along the way. Uh… go rock!
On a separate note, I REALLY hope the author doesn’t leave a stub advertisement on RR after they take the novel down because they sold it to Aethon Books. They get all these useful ratings because for a window of time some people could read it on RR. RR allows these stubs (because hey, RR got clicks which lead to ad revenue), but they haven’t enabled a story tag that functions as “this book isn’t here, it’s really at Amazon. These ratings are for when the book was actually here on RR.” However, IF Royal Road does enable that tag to sort out story stubs, then everyone can re-evaluate whether they want to pay attention to story stubs. Then it will be a matter of which website better enables their visitors to search, collate, and review fiction: Amazon or Royal Road. Everyone wants a slice of that sweet sweet ad revenue, my friends. Well, not me, I’m just reviewing this here because the author disabled anonymous reviews.
Magnus starts off great, gets a lil lost but comes home for an absolute slam dunk and killer reveal. Well worth the slog to get to the gold!
Seems like a good story. some of the descriptions feel weird, especially with the interface he has.
Had to drop it at chapter 43/44. He goes from 'compulsed by system to mass murder people'. To 'oh hey its that kid again, better stop the senseless killing.' Then within the next few scentences he goes back to killing guards anyways.
From "don't want to attract too much attention" to mass murder (even if disguised) within 1 chapter. In a location he was just at. His whole goal was to make it to the capital, so he gets a dragon and next scene he is just mass murding again.
No investigations, or learning more information. Gods? The giant robot who killed him? Substance that stopped his abilities? Not important info, lets just wear someone else's flesh as a disguise and horrifically mass murder an entire city. Realize we aren't supposed to be killing 'innocent deffinitely not real people', then keep going anyways after regaining control.
One of his abilities being named Midar is very disjointing also.
Its well written enough, but needs some flow + logic checks.
Overall, the author is talented and does a great job telling his story, at least for the first forty-something chapters, however I found myself caring less and less over time, and eventually got tired of dissapointing chapters.
Style: I have nothing bad to say about the writing style. The author didn't clutter his story with too many POV changes, strange flashbacks, or leave readers hanging with bizarre mysteries (or plot-holes).
Grammar: I generally am not critical unless the grammar or spelling errors are repeated or aggregious. This story was fine; nothing negative that was noteworthy.
Story: Author introduces a special ops character who is saving his little sister from a VR sex-farm, where she is being held captive. The story transitions to him waking up in a magical world where he acquires powers. It is never really clear how he would know if he is in "reality" vs. a world of his own imagination, aside from the characters assertions. In the first book (few dozen chapters) there is a lot of combat. However, the author transitions the story from fantasy to space-fantasy and the scale of the story shifts so radically, with characters action is such ridiculous ways, that I lost interest.
Character: Biggest flaw... Mary Sue. The main character is too freaking all-powerful. The ability he recieves, very early in the story, allows him to instantly kill anyone and more or less be anywhere. Later, it allows him to be invulnerable. Also, make anything, do anything. Next biggest flaw... the main character doesn't seem to care that he is dying. He makes little to no effort to save his own life, even when he has achieved his "main objectives". He is ridiculously forgiving of the individual who kidnapped him, experimented on him, and...
,,, ultimately causes him to die, live in solitary confinement with his own brain parasite for a few hundred years. and then be resurrected in a humanoid robot body that is feared. Sorry, I don't care how attractive your not-girlfriend who you've crushed on for 2 months is; a dude is gonna be upset.
However, as an upside, this robo-transformation made the already too powerful main character, much more powerful, and immortal. So...
Another character issue... the supporting characters, especially women, are ridiculous and the main character is insanely tolerant of their dumb behavior.
Little sister, whom he saves from being mind-raped by drug lords. When he is reunited with her several months later, doesn't bat an eye when her brother, the "hero" is badmouthed.
A Queen who acts like a petulant child and threatens, to his face, a man who she claims is a psycho monster (is he, or not... because if he is, you are an idiot for insulting him to his face... if not... is this really how a supreme diplomat acts)? Also, she was technically a villian and the MC could have killed her without upsetting anyone, but he decided she got to live, and berate him, and demand concessions from him (for the crime of not dying), for unknown reasons.
An angelic girlfriend who from before day 1 has done nothing but screw the main character over. Later, who is chosen as the figurehead and takes all the credit for pretty much everything that the main character has achived SINGLE HANDEDLY.
The Resistance, a bunch of ineffectual idiots who basically steal the main characters stuff. Blatanly copy his creations/technology, even though they are supposedly world-hopping future-tech aliens, implement his plans ... and then forget he ever existed. Totally hanging him out to dry and betraying him when it is a tiny bit inconvenient, even though he single-handedly constitutes easily 90% of the resistances resource production and fighting force... super idiots.
I'd reveal perhaps more issues, but the rules limit the amount of spoiling that a reviewer is allowed, so I'll end with this. By the time I stopped reading, I was hoping for the main character to kill the supporting characters, go dark-side on everyone, resulting in the destruction of all life in the character's universe.
Which the author might do, and then laugh as he says, "It was all a simulation anyway."
I will do the author the favor of not reviewing his published book, so long as he doesn't gripe about my [I believe, fair] review.
A very good start. Very much like the MC. He is gritty and violent. Yet, he isn't a monster.
The story appears to have some dark content. So be warned. Still a very entertaining beginning.
The plot is your basic end up in a new world. But the MC is very much different from most you will find here. Very much recommend.