Capo: Rise of a Gang Lord
by Morgan Cole
Book 1 is now complete. Book 2 being posted.
Frank is on his way to his D&D game when he gets caught up in a meth head's convenience store robbery.
While trying to escape he is shot in the back at close range and everything goes black. When he wakes up he's not in a hospital or the afterlife—he's in a different city entirely, one called San Tadeo.
Things are different in San Tadeo. Frank has a status sheet, and he can see people's names and jobs just by looking at them (unless they're walking in Shadow). Even more than in the real world, Cash Rules Everything.
With his real life behind him and his only friend a high-school weed dealer, Frank has the freedom to make new choices and set new goals. What does he want? He wants it all.
If you've always wanted a Gamelit set in a GTA-style world, here you go.
Schedule: Back to releasing new chapters. Not a lot extra banked, but going to try to do 3/week. We'll see how it goes.
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this is one of the strongest stories on this website and it needs some more attention with its strong characters and story as well as the grammar which has almost no mistakes
i would recommend this to anyone interested in a fresh take on gamelit or just crime stories in general
edit: now that i have reached the end of the first book i would like to say that the story has gotten better over time,characters dont make stupid mistakes(unless it makes sense in context), there are no whiny edgelord characters which i was slightly worried about but instead there are actual consequences to actions so nobody can be "woe is me i put myself in a bad position" everyone ACTS instead of just talking (a personal pet peeve of mine) a way that is enjoyable 10/10 great upload schedule as well
This is a beautiful work of fiction, with interesting worldbuilding and characters that seem deeply human, and the whole concept of duality between the light and shadow lives is something that is interesting to see played out.
Artful, with nice exposition, the style is quite beautiful. My only issue is that, as a GameLit story, it uses tables to format character sheets - which are painful to read on mobile. That's less of an issue with the story, more of an issue with RoyalRoad in general. The writing style though is pretty well done, and it works well.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the worldbuilding, which is where this story truly shines. The world is incredibly fleshed out, with unique locations, characters and feel that makes it a treat to read (worldbuilding is my own achilles heel, so it's great to see someone with a true knack for it). The dichotomy of the worlds of light and shadow, while still remaining in the same tangible realm, feel distinct and separate - and I love the way that the author has artfully executed this. Well done!
While the story is wonderful, the only particular issue I have is chapter 1. Up until this point, Chapter 1 doesn't feel very much like it belongs with the rest of the story, and I believe it probably would've been easier to start from Chapter 2 and use a little more exposition to fill in the gaps. While the characters seem to have very rich personalities in San Tadeo, the people in the gameshop at the beginning are quite the opposite - and it doesn't seem at this point like any of Frank's friends transferred over with him. Chapter 1 kind of acts as a spoiler to this story's potential, so if you're reading this review: don't feel put off by chapter 1. At least try to get to chapter 2, where this story really starts to shine. Because of how this story starts though, I get the feeling that many readers might be turned off initially, which may be an issue further down the line.
The grammar is pretty good, nearly impeccable save for the odd spelling mistake or typo. It's clear the author has a strong grasp of the English language, and I think that shows in their writing. It's nearly perfect on this front.
The characterisation, along with the worldbuilding, is one of the world's strong suits. The characters seem to have very human motivations, as they balance the line between their shadow and light lives in a crime-riddled city in order to live their best lives. Manny is an especially interesting character, and overall, the story's differing characterisations allows for a unique and diverse cast of characters (as long as you get past chapter 1)
Overall, this story's weakness is chapter 1, in my view. If I'd stopped at chapter 1, my impression of it would probably have left me with a much lower rating, and I think that is incredibly unfortunate considering how amazing this story is turning out to be. I really hope you'll continue your work with this story, it's wonderful, and it's exactly what I was looking for!
For readers who enjoy GTA, changing between respectable & thuggish in seconds, and who like to find humor in gang names such as The Fatally Hip (and the MC's smart mouth).
Characters each have their own motivations and dreams; what's nice to see is that not every person wants to be a gang lord and that actions have a range of reasons behind them. There are a few times, though, that it seems as if no matter what happens a character is not learning/changing. Stylewise, this is fantastic - truly a gamelit / GTA combination and with an array of interesting world building.
Grammar mistakes are mostly small typos, some capitalization, and missing words - for most readers they won't detract from the story. As for the story itself, there have been a couple of places where information is suddenly known when it hasn't been explained yet, or there's a contradiction - it's getting better chapter by chapter though.
This is a very well written story. There are very few grammar or style issues to complain about. The characters are good to great. You won't like all of them, but they each offer something when they're given screen time. Even when they feel formulaic, they still remain engaging. Francis (His name may be Frank, but I call him Ajax) stands out as the most interesting, a strangely uncommon thing these days. Based on the first few chapters, how his charcater develops during the long road to kingpin will be a treat.
The problem is. The concept of the story.
It's fairly new and fresh, but like our good friend Joe, it feels inherently less interesting to me. I gave it a shot because I used to hate urban fantasy, but then Super Minion came along and smashed that opinion. The good writing in Capo: Rise of a Gang Lord manages to keep me engaged, but the story never really pulls me in. I love the focus on cash, I have an unhealthy obsession with hoarding money when I play games, but story-wise thats the only thing that keeping me going.
Of course, if you read the words 'Gamelit set in a GTA-style world' and get excited rather than skeptical then my statements won't apply to you. If that concept strikes a cord, I'd recommend.
Capo: Rise of a Gang Lord is an interesting new take on the GamLit genre. instead of leveling up by killing monsters, citizens of San Tadeo acquire EXP by making money. It's a hardcore capitalists wet dream.
The book is characterized by its stylistic decision to focus on vivid descriptions of the environment. As a result, the reader learns a great deal about the world Frank has found himself flung into. I found the focus on world-building helped ground the story for me. Though, for some readers, the emphasis on world-building may detract from their enjoyment of the story, as it lends itself to a slower style of storytelling.
Frank, is smart and an active protagonist. Both are definitely something I appreciate in a character. The supporting cast is full of interesting characters. It's to the point where I like some of the side characters more than Frank. For example, Mihn, Frank's best friend is both a wannabe gangster and a high school student that cares deeply for his family. It's very interesting to watch those two sides of his personality clash. The author has obviously put a lot of time and care into crafting believable characters.
I don't have much to say about the grammar as that isn't one of my strengths. There weren't any grievous grammatical errors that ruined my immersion in the story. I was only able to spot two minor grammar mistakes.
The story is definitely worth a shot. I sure as hell enjoyed it.
This beautifully written story is about a young man who, when given the choice to go down a respectable path or a dark path chose the latter. Fans of GTA will definitely enjoy it!
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of books about gangsters and the mafia (though I'll play the hell out of a good GTA game) but once I learned more about the actual system it started to read closer to how GameLit based on gangsters should read. It takes time to fully reveal the whole game system, but that is understandable when it is so different from what's currently out there. I think, as the story progresses it will continue to get better and better.
It was pleasant to read such a perfectly written prose. I noticed no horrible grammar or spelling errors.
The main character seems like a Nice Guy (tm) at first but his decisions slowly make you realize that, like most of those types, they're not necessarily "nice." I do hope that we see some grim humor from him at some point because he's been pretty serious throughout the story so far and I think when dealing with these kinds of law breaking situations you have to have add a bit of humor or you'll go insane (but that could just be my love and preference to have comedy, grim or otherwise, in the stories I read). There is definitely some comedy there in the names of the gangs and the brand names that are different from the real world but I hope to see more of that humor expressed by the character himself as he loosens up.
The side characters are all pretty fantastic and have beautifully constructed personalities. At this point there does seem to be a lack of non-love interest, non-librarian female characters but I hope that this is only the case because we're not far into the novel. After those hipsters, I wouldn't be surprised if there where whole gangs of badass women toting guns and stealing cars.
All in all, this is a fantastic start to an interesting story!
This is an actually interesting concept for a story that I recommend to anyone looking for something new.
Author keeps a consistent schedule and engages with his audience in the comments. Story is full of fresh ideas, new world mechanics and engaging side characters. Main character adapts to his environment well, no deus ex machina or plot armour as of yet. Grammar and style are consistent and author actually goes back to make edits. Capo feels like it's a real book with plot arcs. Highly recommend you give it a try.
Francis is a good main character. He isn't an idiot, he learns from his mistakes. He takes some risks and deals with their outcomes. All in all, he actually reacts to events in the story in a human way. Seeing his personality transform throughout the story feels natural and justified. His growth is steady and there is nothing that differentiates him from everyone else in terms of talent / ability.
He's learning at the same pace as the reader and the author navigates this wonderfully by explaining through dialogue rather than dumping exposition. His friend, Manny reminds me so much of someone that it became incredibly easy to envision the character and his style. I initially discarded this person as a side character, but became surprised to see the added depth that was developed for him.
Favourite character so far though, is Big El or Magnus. Side characters have their own personalities and aren't cartoonish bad guys. You can easily differentiate between all of the different characters and that in itself is worth reading the story for.
It's a slow burner for sure, but it's planned out and there is some foreshadowing that Francis is going to build a Criminal Empire... even if he has to drag some people along with him to do it. Where a lot of stories present one form of antagonist as the 'big bad', this story instead creates a number of issues for the characters to resolve. The story is driven forward by a sense of urgency, panic and high stakes. The stakes themselves are high enough for Francis and Manny because of their levels and current status. I really enjoyed the fact that I was engaged with this storyline, even though it's clear that it's only starting out.
The mechanics of the world are very interesting. A completely new take in the GameLit / LitRPG scene that works incredibly well with a Gangster / Mobster environment. Good vs. Evil, Ying & Yang, Light vs. Shadow. Giving Francis a criminal alias which he can slip in and out of is an incredible mechanic. It's explained well and as time progresses, more and more answers about the world, jobs, skills and system become apparent.
Top notch. Author goes back to correct mistakes that are pointed out to him in the comments. He takes pride in his work and it shows. Any changes that are made to the system and to things stylistically are edited in previous chapters. There are a couple of spelling mistakes here and there, but nothing that broke me out of the story.
The reason that I haven't given Capo: Rise of a Gang Lord full marks across the board, is because I felt there were some shortcuts taken. World Building is a difficult process and it can be incredibly tempting to just gloss over it at times, or to paint a picture that the reader is readily familiar with. San Tadeo is Los Angeles, pretty much a carbon copy with different names. Car manufacturers are the same as the real world, but storefronts are not. This got a few words of explanation from the author, but initially felt jarring for me. I'm Irish and GameLit / LitRPG has typically always been rooted in Fantasy or Science Fiction for me.
When you read stories in those genres, you can piece things together through intuition or from exposition. I don't know about the famous gang wars in LA, the rival gangs, or the obvious American culture references that may resonate with LA locals. When I read about those things, I feel stupid which can break immersion for me.
That said, I will say that the author has a dry wit which I actually quite enjoy. I genuinely laughed at the sentences: "She was our healer." and "He died that session."
You should definitely give it a read!
So I came into this not really expecting much, because of the concept. I like the GTA games, but they're not on my top 10. Personal preference. More of a Syrim and Fallout guy. What I am, though, is a D&D guy, and I deeply appreciate the insights into D&D culture the author has here and there. The references are wonderful and a few made me actually laugh loudly enough my girlfriend asked what was funny.
The characters are solid. The MC is a good, relatable everyman without being bland. He's not a glove to slip into his perspective--he has his own thoughts and emotions--but he's very relatable to anyone.
The world feels alive and vibrant, and the core concept--no spoilers--is a very interesting one. Technically well-written, too. Very few errors throughout.
Definitely give this one a read, you won't be disappointed.
This story has a great premise, and it delivers fairly well. The worldbuilding and characters are phenomenal, and we're just now starting to get into the mechanics of the world.
I love the descriptions - they're detailed and interesting and they help show the alternate world that MC now lives in. The boxes aren't clunky, which is a definite plus, and sometimes I actually wish we'd see more description boxes for things.
The grammar is almost perfect, with just a few little things here and there. Also, I know this probably falls more under characters, but I just love how each character has their own speech pattern that's very recognizable. It helps to really immerse the reader.
And, of course, the speech patterns are only a small part of what makes the characters so great. Each character has their own motivations, and the author really brings them to life. We get to see some internal conflict, which is mirrored (no pun intended) by their light and shadow selves.
Overall, I would highly recommend this story. Even if you don't usually like urban fantasy, I'd suggest giving this one a try. The MC is rational and driven, and even though they sometimes make stupid mistakes they learn for them (usually, at least).