by Adam Ladner
All of the stories you’ve heard are wrong. They always tell you that starting a new life in a fantasy world is an amazing experience, full of magic, adventure, and true love...but they never tell you what happens when it’s over. They don’t tell you that it just happens again. And again. By the time you start your third new life in a row, all of that initial amazement wears off. That's where Lux finds himself now: Dropped into yet another fantasy world, forced to restart his life all over again. Having lost the people he loved twice over, he wants nothing more than to disappear and live a life of solitude...but it seems the world has other plans for him.
Restart Again Volume 1 and Volume 2 are now available on Amazon in paperback, hardcover, eBook, and audiobook formats. Early, rough draft chapters of Volume 3 go live here every Sunday and Wednesday at 6PM EST.
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Great premise and great grammer all let down by an inconsistent wimp MC and forced Cliffhanger.
MC has been fighting in wars the past 2 lives and has awesome gear but most of the time his experience is just ignored in favor of the need for a weak MC at the start. Furthermore all of a sudden he is making "amazing" discoveries in magic left and right even though they should be pretty common sense things you would test if you were as enamored with magic as described.
Lastly he is shown to completely break the readers trust in him in favor of a cliffhanger for the end of the volume.
Fustration makes this not worth the read.
"All of the stories you’ve heard are wrong." This story starts off promising a fresh break from the tropes of the genre, but ends book 1 completely betraying that promise. There was a lot of wasted potential here--the characters were interesting (Lia seems especially well-developed), the grammar is stellar for RoyalRoad, the pacing is good (though the flashbacks were a bit jarring in the first couple of chapters)...but if you mess up the plot that bad and betray your readers, none of that means anything.
Would strongly recommend the author Google "The Danger of Not Delivering on Promises" by Brandon Sanderson.
The premise alone is quite interesting, seeing a hero live through multiple worlds and lives with varying degrees of success. The flashbacks, which I would normally despise, as well as the occasional comments about his past lives tease just enough information that makes me super interested them, almost to the point of I think they deserve their own stories. Or just heart-wrenching.
Having a strong, somewhat capable female lead who worked hard to stand by the MC is also quite nice, in a genre where normally it's either given for free or like that from the start. When she was introduced, I honestly wasn't expecting
some crybaby merchant's daughter to become a badass, fighting on par with the strongest soldiers in the kingdom.
While somewhat dark, it doesn't strike me as super-edgy. Lux struggling with the trauma from his previous lives, being forced into a Fate of saving a the world, even if he tries to run, and so many mysteries that all seem to want him miserable ...
Despite several scenes of magic training and experimentation, Lux's desire and enjoyment of trying to understand it make them much more interesting and entertaining than typical training chapters... also they aren't full chapters long lol
Similarly with Lia's training, although it pops up several times, it solidifies her as a hard worker, her desire to improve and her enjoyment of it, as well as showing her progress, so it never feels like wasted space to me.
Long story short I really enjoyed this one. Despite my reading history over the past few years being almost exclusively fantasy isekai / other world stories, this story was one of the top 3 that had me constatntly thinking back to it and checking for a new volume.
The first volume is no longer on Royal Road, so I will focus this review on volume two. Volume two does a good job of reminding the reader of the important take-away moments from volume one.
By this point our main character has a fairly pronounced case of PTSD and is having lots of trouble trusting and relating to the world around him. If not for his loving apprentice/sidekick Lia, he'd have nothing to live for.
The side characters of the story keep everything interesting and moving, as the plot heads to a finale with interesting twists along the way. I am enjoying the story, and the character growth in all the players will keep me reading.
Title says it all really. Not a bad premise and the writing is pretty good. The characters are a problem however including the MC who keeps making every wrong decision possible whilst supposedly having learned their lesson from multiple previous lives.
Interaction with the other main character is just cringey as hell and so far appears to be a stick the Author is using to explain why the MC has to go along with the main plot.
There is enough in here that it could get better (1st book posted as a done deal) especially now that they can see the feedback and I may check back in at a later date to see if it has. However for now I can't recommend it.
Many reviews are somewhat unfair in that the review was written in Book 1 or Book 2. I say somewhat, because (a) many of the flaws apparent at that point remain, though some of the larger ones are resolved by end Book 2 or early Book 3; and (b) because it takes so long for those issues to be resolved, the plot seems like a REALLY slow burn. Actually so slow that I think it qualifies as slice-of-life. Which is also to say that the protagonist's character and actions taken thereto through Book 1, and partially in Book 2, are a bit unsatisfying.
There was a suggestion in another review about "The Danger of Not Delivering on Promises," which is a ten minute snippet of a lecture by Brandon Sanderson. To paraphrase the video, if you set up certain tropes or cliches in the beginning with the intended end result to subvert them, you need a touch of foreshadowing in Act 1 (of 5), and then you need to subvert in in Act 2 (of 5). That way, the audience sees it as "woah, this is some mind-bending work." If you take too long (e.g., the subversion occurs in Act 4 of 5), then the readers who enjoyed the standard isekai will be disappointed at the end, while the ones looking forward to the mind-bending subversion give up before they get there. Applied here, I'm seeing a lot of these reviews at the end of Book 1, and I can sympathetize: "I got to the end of Book 1 and nothing happened!" And that's because the subversions really don't occur into Act 4 of 5... of Book 2. And from then on, it's this grim, psychological, unreliable narrator action-adventure fantasy, which makes you reconsider everything you read in Book 1 and the first half of Book 2.
I have to admit that I read Book 1 on Kindle from Amazon. I liked it, it was somewhat middle of the road, though it ended oddly. Book 2 came out and I read through that. And the psychological twists that occur near the end of that were unnerving and confusing, and the book ended on a cliffhanger (ugh). And so I ended up rating both poorly on Goodreads, and I resolved not to continue the series. Then the author starts posting it on Royal Road and I give in, reading the chapters one at a time as they come out. And Book 3 is really good, if not exactly everyone's cup of tea. And so I like it now... but if I knew beforehand the hassle of Books 1 and 2, I might have skipped this entirely.
Those were the broad points, a few minor ones:
As to genres/tagging. First, I think we've hit one of the problems with Royal Road only allowing 4 genres max, but unlimited tagging. Action, Adventure, Fantasy and Romance are all correct or arguably so. But because a lot of the issues with the plot and the protagonist's actions/character are resolved by illuminating the protagonist's psychological issues/trauma, both generally and as associated with some sort of eldritch void entity, I really think "Psychological" as a genre is a must, moreso than "Romance." The psychological issues (which are insidious) also go a long way to resolving complaints about the protagonist's common sense/wisdom (see below)
Secondarily, I think the "Horror" and "Tragedy" genres could also work, especially based on the foreshadowing we have in Books 2/3.
Author does end each book with a cliffhanger. While there are plenty of novels that do that, it is frowned upon and for good reason.
Complaints about the synopsis are overblown. Yes, the first sentence--"All the stories you've heard are wrong"--is misleading. But as the opening sentence, I'll allow the author a bit of puffery. Really, the rest of the synopsis is correct in so much as it sets the starting point for Lux. If anything, the synopsis is misleading as the story becomes quite dark in late Book 2 and Book 3.
Complaints about the protagonist not being wise enough to avoid the problems that plague him are overblown. Sure he's lived a few lives, and he has some experience with avoiding common pratfalls, but life is damn complex and being dropped into an alien society limits how much you can act defensively. He's not some wise hermit; he's a guy who's seen some serious shit and knows how to avoid a tripwire. If anything, the story succesfully subverts the trope that a very old and/or very experienced person must be very wise, especially as this trope is played with various reincarnation and/or isekai stories.
The power progression regarding Lia and Marin is dubious. There is some suggestion about how magic varies between worlds and this particular world's magic system that might explain away why they can progress so fast, but the author's touch on this point is too light.
Style: 4/5; -1 star due to bad use of cliffhangers
Grammar: 5/5; very high quality
Story: 4/5; Book 3 resolidifies the entire series, though the slow pacing very nearly undid the entire plot
Character: 5/5; this is the one I'm most iffy about. At least a dozen of the characters are perfectly distinct in my mind, even after putting down and picking this series up. And they seem to act consistently with their motivations, even if some of them are disagreeable to an extreme.
Apologies for the alliteration in the review title.
Great grammar and writing skills. Good premise. Poor story and characters. Inconsistent power scaling and magic system. The MC is unlikable and unrealistic. He's supposed to be an old soul who has lived multiple lifetimes already and knows the mechanics of what happens in each new world yet repeats the same mistakes.
He states he wants to keep lia, his companion safe above all else but takes her on some aimless adventure away from the safety of her town and parents when he knows he's a wanted fugitive. His actions contradicts his stated beliefs and are sometimes infuriatingly illogical bordering on the pathological which ends up setting him back and endangering his party.
The mc is supposed to have the wisdom of multiple lifetimes yet makes very stupid decisions. The mc is supposed to have built up magical power from multiple lifetimes and different magic systems yet end up barely beating several generic prison guards and almost gets killed by a crossbow bolt but we're expected to believe that the elites of each of these worlds will stop at nothing to get his help to further their ends. All of this makes the power scaling wildly inconsistent.
The antagonists are barely one dimensional caricatures of bad guys and generic soldier minions.
It is very unfortunate the writing skills of the author is wasted on such a bad mc and story.
At the time of this review, I have just completed reading volume 1.
I am disappointed by the ending. I would say that I didn't like how the plot points were resolved, but they just... weren't resolved. The synopsis is nice, but most of the story's selling points don't start ubtil the novel is almost over. The only one that matters in volume 1, is that the main character has lived in a few different worlds.
The characters are okay. Their actions don't always match their words. Lux, the MC, claims he wants to live peacefully, but does nothing to achieve that goal. In fact, he does the opposite.
Lux says this is his fourth world, but he makes a lot of rookie mistakes. He hasn't learned what sorts of things give him away as a foreigner. He has not learned the value of disguising oneself. He tells people he's from another world for no apparent reason. He spends foreign currency. He doesn't spend much time learning about culture or customs. No wonder the local powers find him every time! He's as subtle as a brick through a window.
The story's saving grace is the grammar and the style. The first person narrative works well. There are no major gramatical mistakes. I wish the author had done a bit more research and had a better grasp of how people interact, but otherwise, I think this novel could be decent if serialized.... and if volume 1 didn't end where it does.
Be warned: to read this story in full, you'd have to buy book 1 on Amazon. Does it worth it? ... Not so sure of it. I personally hate buying books blind. Never support a cause you don't believe in and all that. Prefer to read it first, then decide wherever to support it or not.
Anyways. To features of this story!
This book is an interesting experiment with structuring of the story - with one main timeline and many many many many flashbacks to two other timelines.
Many. Many. Many. Flashbacks.
Ultimately, I feel this aproach have failed. It doesn't work well. At one point - around 1/3 of a book, I made decision to relax and skip all the flashbacks - and then story became much more enjoyable and coherent to read.
But I feel it's pretty valuable in itself - to experience such an unusual structure and to experience why is it failing. It's not apparent from dry words and short description, there are few intangible aspects to it that are best conveyed by experiencing it.
I pretty much enjoyed main timeline of this story. It's tinkering with and exploring magical system; and a cute love story with some dark aspects of isekai thrown in.
It's interesting to see how MC of this story really gives me impression of martial artist. In current timeline, he keeps his actions in check, in control - even outside of violent encounters. It's kind of thing many other stories tend to overlook. I.e. if you are swinging around in rage and overly passionately - if you have nice genetics you might become good with weapons, but you'd never become top-good. Because your movements and desires behind them are excessive; while they could have been less so to achieve the same result - with less spending of endurance, position, measure and time. And if you spend less resources, that means you have free resources you can deploy to achieve something more in compliment to what you've already achieved.
Somehow I get a feeling that MC is incompetent in ways of mitigating problems before they arise; setting up the battlefield to your favour to win battle even before it started; exploiting power of ambush and suprise to minimise your own losses; or making proper strategical decisions and choosing routes while being on the run. Many of his strategical mistakes in current timeline are pretty apparent. Or is it just me overthinking things?
I liked few chapters of exploring exotic city in the end of vol. 1 - evokes some interesting images and emotions. It does feel like exotic city ^_^
The premise of the story is interesting, but I, as the reader, need motivation to invest myself in the story. It is quickly established that the MC (main character) is now in his 3rd world, he mentions that he's already done with being transported. Assuming that his 1st world is the one he is born in this world is only his 2nd new world. It doesn't make sense for the MC to not only expect to be transported to more worlds. He mentions that he thinks that all of the worlds are the same, after only seeing 3 this seems strange.
My main point is that the MC seems to be wholy uninterested in exploring the world he is in and dislikes all other characters in the story. Why should the reader want to experience this along with the MC. Maybe there are some readers who would want this but I can't imagine there are a lot of them.
Another problem is that since the MC has experienced life in 3 separate worlds, and enough of it to be very cynic, it will be hard to give the MC goals for the story. In the start he enters the city and exchanges coin, why? so he can use coins to laze around all day? And then he starts creating new magics, again, why?