- Traumatising content
On Karell, you are either blessed by the gods, granted a unique power and the ability to gain experience and levels, or you are forgotten. Micah Silver was a boy picked for greatness. Chosen by the gods to bear a mythic power, he longed to take his place amongst the heroes and legends he grew up reading about.
Unfortunately his primary blessing only allows him to travel into the past by sacrificing his class, wealth, and levels. Even if Micah's unwilling, fate has a way of forcing you to take up your destiny, possibly at the cost of everything. Over and over again.
NOTE - Most of the first three arcs have been taken down for Kindle Unlimited Exclusivity related reasons. Click here if you'd like to know more (THIS WILL LINK YOU TO A CHAPTER LATER IN THE BOOK, POTENTIALLY RESETTING YOUR BOOKMARK PROGRESS)
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This is one of CoCop's earlier stories, and to be honest it shows. I've seen a fair amount of criticism laid at the overly frequent time-skips and the lack of character development...but I find one issue with this. To me, the story doesn't really begin until after the start of the third Loop. The prologue and first loop are more of a set-up for the main character and his conflict, and even the second loop mostly falls under that with how isolated and obsessive Micah is throughout it. It's not until the third Loop that there is significant character development in the text itself, to say nothing of how more of the other characters is explored.
With that said, there are still some non-trivial problems. The first, and biggest, is that it took nearly 50 chapters to properly start the story. That is not an acceptable amount of build-up, and while the quality of the rest is decent... it's not enough for 50 chapters in my opinion.
The next few issues in my mind all concern the main character, Micah, and the Durgh
On Micah's part, while there is character growth in the third Loop, it doesn't seem like enough. He's spent literal years in the past loops slaving away and struggling for growth and freedom. He even acknowledges the issues with his stress and obsession. And then he proceeds to keep power-leveling for years and single-mindedly advance. That's not to say that he doesn't encounter some problems in his decision making or correct them, but the origin of these problems has more to do with him stubbornly clinging to old plans, and correcting that behavior isn't particularly significant either. The fall-out of his actions yes, his personal behavior? Not so much.
Next, we have the Durgh. Personally, there seems to have been a major shift in the plans for them between their introduction in the pre-Loop, and the confrontation at the end of the second.
In the beginning, they are depicted as marauding hordes made by Ankhur to 'test' the inhabitants of the world. For proper motivation, they are suitably monstrous. Even beyond sheer strength or skill, the Durgh act with ruthlessness and cruelty; those they do not kill they enslave, those not strong enough to be worked to death (i.e. women, children, elderly, etc) they twist into war monsters. About the one thing they don't do, at least as a culture, is rape (and the nebulous origin of Drekt leaves that as a possibility on the individual scale).
Then, the literal next time we see them, Micah respects them? Admires them and their 'warrior culture'? There are pre-existing treaties? Wut? This is one of the bigger details to be omitted with time-skips. There have been others, but for the most part they were all before the story really began and other people were more then cut-outs or antagonists. This reads like a completely different people we are seeing...except it turns out, not.
From what I can tell, the Durgh are supposed to have a kind of blue/orange morality thing. They have honor and rules and rites and a devotion to their god's Darwinistic philosophy...but they are otherwise very inhuman. Follow the rules and they'll kill you without hesitation or remorse. Break them, and everyone nominally on your side, innocent or not, is free game for slaughter/slavery/monsterizing. Hell, even if you follow the rules and ass-hole nobles leave you behind, they'll still kill everyone because 'innocent people are supposed to flee in a Raid'. Their culture may internally consistent, but they expect all others to act like them and make no effort to do the same. Well, except when it suits them. Breaking treaties is dishonorable unless it's raiding time apparently.
Even with all of that, they could be mostly excused as just a subtly alien race of antagonists...except for Micah. This is the group that attacked unprovoked to kill his friends and sack his home. The ones that still planned to, and whose zealotry would have them enslave and use the innocent after some desperate guard did something stupid. To the Durgh all Humans in a Kingdom may as well be the same and responsible for each other, but the opposite is very much not true. Even after Micah's years dealing with the monstrous Nobles that rule the Kingdoms, the Durgh don't seem that much better. They are just more honest about their brutality, and motivated more by zealotry then greed or pride. But no, he instead knows all about their culture, respects their ways, and even admires the Khan. Hell, right before the second confrontation he even sees one of their siege 'war beasts' and is told their nice and efficient - just twenty sacrifices and some magic. And as this is before the blood-fued starts or the Durgh could have captured the people that actually attacked their civilians, the sacrifices in question are probably slaves or captures non-combatants (who weren't warriors remember, warriors are always just killed unless there's a lot of 'dishonor' which hasn't happened in years).
To sum all this up...maybe I could see the Durgh getting treated in a more sympathetic light. With more scenes of them, more exploration about them, and just more non-abominable aspects, and I'd buy the 'blue/orange morality, but better then Human nobles' schtick this story is trying to sell. But there isn't any of that, and NOTHING really justifies how buddy-buddy Micah is with them when he finally actually meets. Following all their rules and customs is only sensible, but all the internal admiration is wildly out of expectations and never had any reasons given to justify it.
There are still issues with the story, but for the most part they aren't particularly major. One example is the cartoonish evil of the Kingdom's Nobility. This is mostly not a problem because beyond specific antagonists it is never really addressed. Micah is busy enough with the Durgh, fixing the social structure is not something he cares about (yet). Another issue is Micah's seeming obliviousness to just...leaving his home-town. He only has his family and a few friends to really care about, and a few loops in he's more then able to facilitate just moving. This is fortunately eventually addressed, and even done satisfyingly so.
Though with that said, waiting till chapter 100 or so is FAR too long to reach a conclusion that obvious, even if it tied in rather nicely to other little sub-plots regarding his stubbornness and tendency to cling to obsolete plans. By this point in the story fighting anyway does still make some sense. The god of light isn't going to stop cheating just because Micah does the smart thing and leaves, and Micah is so exhausted and traumatized by this point that he cares more about finality then anything else.
As far as Grammar goes, for the most part it is impeccable. I have no complaints here.
Finally, we have style. I would say this is decent. Excluding the overly long prologue, the dialogue is immersive, time-skipping reduced, and more details for world and character building are actually present. It could have probably benefited from a few alternate perspectives, but otherwise does the job.
In conclusion this is a decent original fiction, flawed as it is, which means it's actually ahead of the pack for a free serial release. With that said, it has a very rough start and plenty of readers probably won't find the pay-off worth the investment.
The plot is amazing, the litrpg is well done, and I'm a sucker for time loops.
That said, there are a few quirks to CoCop that can get frustrating as they are repeated over and over again.
1) Characters make decisions that are dumb or unlikeable. Whether from barbarian culture, arrogance, or uncomprehensible stupidity, none of the characters in this novel are nearly as rational as I'd like.
2) Ending chapters. CoCop cuts off chapters abruptly after the climax, and the next chapter always time skips to a new scene. That means we dont have the "resolution" period after the climax where we can bask in the glory and come to a resolution. Instead, CoCop cuts the chapter off and leaves us a bit unsatisfied.
3) Writing style. There are some writing nitpicks I have; e.g. CoCop repeating words and overusing expressions like "snort", "rolls his eyes", etc. that speak of immature writing.
It was fine for the first 40 chapters or so while it was mostly just action and leveling. But the social interactions of the main character after preventing the invasion are cringe worthy. Not to mention all the drama queen attitude.
Also there are too many repititions of what we already know, I am not talking about the returns, I am talking about MC explaining the same things that happened to him over and over again in every other chapter when he meets a new character. The readers know all of it already, might as well just cut it short to some 'MC explained the situation' instead of retelling his 15 years of adventures for the fifth time.
Well this is one of the best fantasy stories I've read on RR. It's a gentle LitRPG, with things like stats and affinities taken into consideration but it's not as super game-y as others can be. Magic and being blessed by gods is important though, and our MC gets to go out of his way to pick.
And he gets a very interesting blessing. Once every 5 years he can go back in time by 5 years, keep his knowledge and skills, but lose his levels.
Where I am in the story now he's still grumpy that this isn't something he can do much with, but I'm betting that a lot of things happen very soon. Over and over again...
Grammar is wonderful, no mistakes. Flow of the story is great, desciptions and backstory woven in without overcrowding, and bringing a good lived in feel to the world.
Wonderful story- if you like fantasy, litrpgs, special characters, time-loops, anything vaguely similar: read it.
The Style is great, the writing flows well and is easy to read while maintaining a great level of detail. It's just fun to read.
The story is good so far, only 1 loop has happened by the point I'm at, so I can't comment more on it, considering the character knows about the time loops and has had years to think about it they still seem disturbingly naieve about it, making choices for immediate benefit and just sort of going with the flow afterward rather than holding to any sort of plan or method.
The grammar is great, not much more to say on that.
The characters are this story's greatest weakness in my opinion. The main character is... Childish, generally, and a bit of a flop. He just rolls along with whatever other characters do, passively, and seem to surrender any agency he has the moment he isn't alone. It's a shame, but it's something which I expect to change eventually when he loops more often.
The biggest problem is the side characters, and specifically the author's decision to morality system which feels like it came from a child. Let me sketch it out for you:
Poor and weak = good.
Rich and strong = bad.
That's it. No motivations, or character agency, or circumstances, or choices, or even differences in opinion. Any weak or poor characters are good, virtuous people who if they make a mistake or take drugs are simply doing it because they are so damn downtrodden.
And any nobles, or rich and powerful adventurers, or royalty are evil bastards who hate the gods and practice evil magic, and sacrifice children, and they're, like SUPER evil and mean all the time. Yuck!
Its like I'm reading a children's book, honestly. Could the author just not be bothered to come up with some kind of 'wants this, so s/he does this' system for each side character? It's a joke that this story has been getting 5/5 from everyone else on character.
So far it's the 'only' weakness of the story but it's such a big damn weakness. The enemies are literally just 'stupid evil' times 100. It's so damn lazy I can't believe it. Its like what's the laziest DM for a game of DnD would do, 'uhh, the local lord likes to do human sacrifices because.... Uhh, he's evil and thought he could get away with it? Yeah that sounds right.'.
Edit: Author seems to be reporting reviews which are critical of his work (I had to resubmit this...) and the 'top review' was released as soon as the story came out with 5/5 and of course, a reciprocated 5/5 review from this author to their story.... Well at least there's an icon to show off these exchanged reviews...
Style is ok, fast paced, doesnt linger on much details. Prose is pleasant.
Grammar is good though i am reducing a star as mistakes doesnt get fixed even after someone pointing it out in the comments.
Story seems to have been inspired from mother of learning with the time loop concept and all, but was botched by making the loop the method to get more powerful classes. Doesnt seem to rely on knowledge gained through the loops. Magic system kind of doesnt make sense, maybe due to the plot armour. Micah is able to select better classes and skip levels and do rituals. As someone else pointed it out, if I botch this ritual I will die, but I did a mighty save and get to live and got what I wanted. Most of the conversations and interactions between charachters happen in time skips so there is no real attachment. The conversations also doesnt make sense. Micah meets family after so much time and what they talk about is how his brother admire boys and the social problems with homosexuality. Interestingly enough it comes up in random coversations again. No precedent. Dont expect slice of life as all real interactions are skipped and the author expects us to understand the relationships.
Characters: Biggest flaw. All are one dimesional and literal cardboard pieces. There is the trope of rich guys bad and everyone else forced by circumstances and naturally good. Its tiring. There is the trope of rich guys bad and everyone else forced by circumstances and naturally good. Its tiring. The charcters have no motivation and personal opinion, they just go with the flow. They are evil because they are. Milked the 'rich ignorant stupid bad' too much. The book isnt meant for adults or even teenagers with these characters and story.
Suggestion for author: The characters and moral dimensions are the story's biggest flaw. M
I am writing this review after beta reading the author's manuscript. The review might contain criticisms which are no longer relevant by the time CoCo posts the later chapters on RR.
Time reset stories are hard to execute. Most authors use it as a crutch to excuse their protagonist's rationale and excellence at tasks a newbie wouldn't display. More than often it leads to poor character development. The heart-rending events that will have moulded the protagonist's personality has already happened.
Blessed Time doesn't suffer from such a problem. We get to know the protagonist before he gets his time reset power and the heartbreak of the situations that forces him to use it. Every time he goes back to the beginning, Micah is not only smarter and has higher skill levels but the events that force him to use the reset also helps him grow as a person.
The above paragraphs justify my reasoning for 5 stars in story and character, so I'll skip typing out these sections—I'm on my phone and have neaty fingers.
The story suffers from some pacing issues. Early in the story the author uses a few time skips but the build up to them could be a lot better. They feel a bit sudden at times which might jar readers.
Its surprising how clean CoCo's first drafts are. I cant fault him too much in this section as he is bound to do some heavy edits before the story is published on here.
Not terrible, but doesn't use the time loop premise very well. Every loop up until the -as of this review- final one feels like a prologue, waiting for the real story to start.
The power system is fairly interesting, an artificial system created by a pantheon of gods rather than the usual base-laws-of-reality style, but it doesn't do much with it.
I didn't enjoy most characters much at all. The main character is fine, but the secondary characters tend to be grating, the MC's brother especialy near the end.
The initial premise and story is tried and true. Village boy gains special power, in this case he can time travel 5 years to the past, gaining a diary (folio) which can records all the runs/experience.
He makes the usual mistakes an inexperienced child might make, with disastrous consequences. All well and good, gripping stuff that keeps you wanting to find out what is next.
Then upon rereading to see what details you might have missed, you realize the author crams lots of details into timeskips.
Emotional impact of characters is...severely limited, given that entire arcs happen 'off screen'. Years pass in a few sentences but then the author spends entire chapters going over small arcs.
The old adage of "Give Luke a Lightsaber and the Villains a Death Star" is taken out back and shot.
MC starts becoming OP and at first you don't mind...but after a while, you notice how suddenly he gains secret never before discovered power up... again and again. Foreshadowing of time magic and the one we shall not speak of...but whose feats MC will obviously replicate or surpass is about a subtle as a giant neon sign at night.
Soon, the village boy who you cared about from the earlier chapters becomes an empty author avatar for power ups to be handed out.
Recommend: If you dont mind guilty pleasures or can just turn off your brain for a bit and can stop yourself caring too much about the plot and characters, definitely give this a go. Cheap fun like one of those books you buy at the airport and leave there after the flight.
Avoid: If you want to care about characters, arcs, world building, etc or get into stories beyond the surface. This will just leave you disappointed.
I'm going to be honest: Time loop stories are my guilty pleasure. I loved the heck out of Mother of Learning, the First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, and Replay by Ken Grimwood, though Replay was a bit weak in some parts. That said, I also enjoyed Blessed Time. It's nothing to really right home about, though. Above average in Royal Road, but I wouldn't buy it off Amazon.
Style: CoCop has a good narrative voice, I'll give them that. Not too flowery or distracting. It flows very well, is what I'm saying. The problem with his voice, though, is that it's a bit "standard". It feels like I've read a hundred other stories with this exact voice.
Story: Again, pretty good, but it doesn't really wow me. There are problems with the story, but I'll discuss it in the character section of this review.
Grammar: Pretty good. Minimal grammatical errors. Not distracting at all.
Character: The entire reason why I'm writing this review in the first place. Don't get the wrong idea, I like the character concepts and the ideas for relationships, especially with Micah's relationship with Jo, but the execution is lacking. Where to start? Well, first of all, the dialogue is shit. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it. There's not a lot of nuance in how they speak, and, overall, the dialogue feels very stilted. Distracting. It's like they were written by someone who hasn't interacted with anyone in person for a long time. The best chapters in this story are where there is minimal dialogue.
I also feel like there's a lot of untapped potential with the characters. Jo is bland, Trevor is bland. They feel like cardboard cutouts with a tape recorder behind them that plays out their lines. The only characters I really found interesting were that one batman Micah had (because he was a layered, flawed character) and that fire grandma (Headmistress(?) if I recall correctly) (this was mostly because she was a enigmatic and powerful threat).
Overall, author, please work on the dialogue and make the central characters more layered and nuanced.