- Sexual Content
Ouroboros Ascendant is a story about friends you meet on the internet, and then spend entirely too much time together hunting monsters, doing quests, earning experience, and risking your life. Except for Jack, Erin, Rory, and Layla, the video game they play together every Saturday isn’t nearly as real or as threatening as the primal world of Ayrgard. A mysterious force has drawn them across the darkness between realms for its own purposes, and they’ll need to survive monsters, politics, and a lurking threat they can’t yet imagine.
In the interest of disclosure and ease of access, Ouroboros Ascendant features gay, bisexual, and straight main and supporting characters, and features elements of romance between some of those characters. However, OA is not a story about romance.
If you're hungry for more chapters, there's always Patreon.
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People said that friendship is beautiful. Good friendships might even transcend space and time. That is certainly the case for our four protagonists: Jack, Erin, Layla, and Rory. I highly recommend the story if you want to read a tale of friendship and adventure!
Review contains a minor spoiler of the early chapters
Plot - Friends on an Adventure - Jack, Erin, Layla, and Rory were on a MMORPG quest when they were suddenly transported to another world with varying races, classes, and magic. Having played for a long time as a party, they quickly adapted to the magic system and were on their way towards exploring this new world. They were able to make good use of what they have, gather information, and quickly decide on what to do next. The tone of the story is light hearted, and that’s okay! It feels like having a stroll with your friends on a breezy spring. So far, I really enjoy their explorations and looking forward to reading more of their shenanigans.
World Building - World with a Lore - We spent only a chapter with our main cast on the original Earth, but we already get a sense of how their life was before the Isekai. In the new world, the author has prepared a good lore to explore, with the creation myth of Serpent and Tree, and an overarching quest to complete. Even though the tropes of the new world are not uncommon, I think the author has done a good job creating a believable and culturally-rich stage for our heroes to shine.
Characters - Realistic and Quirky - This is one of the strong aspects of the story. Even though we have multiple main characters, they are easily distinguishable from each other. Jack is calm and reliable, Erin is the tough girl, Rory has a charismatic presence, and Layla is the mischievous demon. Each of them have their own quirk and characteristics, and it’s really interesting to see the dynamics they have within the group.
Grammar and Style - Flowing Organic Dialogues - Speaking of group dynamics, that is also one of the story’s strong aspects. The dialogue feels organic and smooth. It didn’t feel forced at all. The way they’re comfortable with each other gives me the sense of long time friends hanging out. I really like their banter. Although there are many stories with good dialogues on Royal Road (like The Quest is Bullshit and The Devil’s Foundry), Ouroboros Ascendant gives a distinct feel to its characters’s dialogues. I think it’s worth reading the story just to experience the interactions between the characters.
Grammar and Style - Short Chapters and Multiple PoV - My main issue with the story is that the chapters feel too short. That’s understandable since we have multiple main characters and therefore each character needs their time to get in on the action, hence shortening the chapter's 'length'.
Conclusion - Read the story if you’re looking for a story with great dialogues and multiple lead characters!
Final Score - 9/10. Feels like hanging out with your friends!
I like this story. It follows a group of gamers who regularly play a MMORPG together that get isekai’d to a new fantasy world with classes, levels, and status screens. During their story they encounter a variety of different beings (some are sympathetic, while others are less so) and a Big Noodle. They engage in fairly typical ‘adventurer’ activities but there is also a focus on interparty relationships as well as an overarching plot/goal and the various local forces that seek to oppose, support or use this to their advantage.
The writing style fits in well with this type of story. Each member of the party gets a decent amount of focus on each of them and their interparty banter can be quite entertaining. The worldbuilding is also quite good. The author has built a cohesive and quite expansive world populated with different people, races, and organisations; without falling into the trap of providing walls of exposition that make you feel like you are reading an encyclopaedia. There are also lots of maps, and I am a sucker for good maps of which there are plenty of those of the world in general, specific regions and even one of a specific city.
The story contains typical isekai activities (e.g. gaining classes, registering as adventurers, dungeon delving, travel, item purchases and maintenance, etc.) while the group also work towards an ‘ultimate’ objective that they believe will help them get back home. The story also slowly reveals more details about the various people and organisations that will or already are affecting their activities and goal. The four main characters are a diverse bunch (including LGBT-inclined members) but they are all fairly well-rounded and have their own strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies. They also share a similar sense of humour, which makes sense since they chose to be in a group with each other but untold hours of gaming. If you have similar sense of humour, you will also greatly enjoy their interparty banter and hijinks.
The spelling and grammar are good. There are a very few minor errors, but most of them seem to have been found and mentioned in the comments and corrected by the author. Being willing to read and act on these comments meant I gave the book an extra star on the style score. And as far as I can tell, the author seems to have noted and responded to every comment where someone has spotted an error (or what they thought was an error). The author also seems to respond to all comments, which makes it very easy to give feedback and receive answers to your questions. Even if the answer is sometimes in a spoiler box or to tell you to read the next chapters! Hope this helps.
Review initially written when Interlude 76 was the latest chapter. Updated when Chapter 95 was the latest chapter.
(as of the interlude after chapter 48, i.e. the 59th post)
Four online-gamer friends are isekai'd to a fantasy world and given a very big task by an Ancient Power. They get a LitRPG system that seems to be better than what the locals have and some additional abilities. Then they travel around, fight monsters to level up, meet friend and foe, and try to stay away from the Big Bad (and the Little Bads).
Style/Grammar: The story is told in third-person style by an omniscient narrator. The numbered chapters follow the protagonists, Jack more closely than the other three. Interludes show other people, away from the main quartet, including the antagonists who are about as subtle and cliché as you expect. The fourth wall is scratched now and again (by the narrator, not the characters) but I have the feeling that this is getting less over time. Descriptions are done well and word choice is fine. Grammar is good and there are very few typos.
LitRPG elements are a big part of the story; while levels and stats and health points are mostly mentioned in passing (only one character sheet shown by now!), Class Abilities and Skills are very important and are used regularly. The system boxes are green, for those who want to know.
Story: If you have read as many fantasy stories as I have, you will recognize certain standard elements. That's not a bad thing, it just means that some things will not surprise you very much (*cough* description of the starting location versus first contact with a representative of that location *cough*). Apart from that, this is a great, tabletop-RPG-like fantasy adventure story with fights, monsters, social scenes, magic, some mystery, side quests... in short, a very enjoyable read. There are enough novel ideas that I can overlook a bit of predictability.
Pacing is done well, there is a lot happening but it doesn't feel rushed and there are quiet scenes in between. The author is showing us glimpses of a rather comprehensive lore, both about the world and the mechanics, there's certainly a lot more to discover later. The story has sexual content, but everything beyond lewd comments and kissing is kept to "they went to [outside of the scene] and noises were heard", I'm fine with that. As the protagonists have been friends for a long time, they banter and joke around; this means the story also has comedy, both the exhale-air-from-your-nose kind and the roll-your-eyeballs-around variety. Caution: this story has the "Horror" tag; while I wouldn't call this a generally creepy story, there are still some dark moments, as well as scenes and descriptions that are rather uncomfortable.
Characters: There are four main characters and even though we hear more often about Jack, there are enough details about the others to get to know them well enough. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses, their goals and emotions. Their characterizations are not perfect concerning the depth of their personalities but this story is more like a D&D campaign than a slice-of-life social story. With that caveat they are fine, and they complement each other in a realistic way.
One thing that is done excellently is that the group is "diverse" (I'm starting to hate that buzzword because of the toxicity often attached to it nowadays) but this is treated in a totally normal way: no special-snowflaking, no in-your-face, not more or less screen time than the others, just regular people who are a bit different from the majority (*gasp* as if we had reached the 21st century! What sorcery is this?!). BLUNT NOTE FOR THE HATERS: If you can't stand to read about a gay character who is sad that he might never see his boyfriend again, then stay away. I know that should be a very low bar but I've seen enough sh*t here to know better.
The side characters can be split into two groups which can mostly be separated along a rather clear friend/foe line. The friendly people are characterized as friendly (yes, I know, I'm so amazing with words...) and honest, down to earth, likeable. Many of the enemies are easily recognized as nominally-good zealots who like to torture innocents and kill everybody who is different, hitting every cliché on the way; lastly, the Big Bad is a capital-M Monster in human form. It's a bit too much IMO but I can still enjoy the story.
Other rating categories:
Suspense (higher is often better, but it depends of the type of the story; can be tied to predictability): 4
Predictability (lower is usually better but too low is bordering on madness): 3.5 for the big picture
Fun (do I laugh out loud while reading or at least chuckle? A low score is not bad, just different): 2.5
Happiness (does this story create happy feelings? NOT a higher-is-better score): 2 (some great scenes but only a tiny part of the story)
Sexual content (NOT higher-is-better. I usually prefer less of it, but others might want more): 3
Its so smooth it should come with a warning label.
Its creator is very obviously a well established creator, self admitted DM, and it SHOWS.
Everything is alive and dear golly these characters are hilarious. I dare say someone should look into if the author actually sent one of their D&D groups into this because each character lives and breathes, even the flaws.
RR take note, this is how you include minorities in a story without making it feel like its a PR grab. Its that organic and inclusive.
The worldbuilding is amazingly top notch, particularly the part where the MC's don't realize how dark and dire the stakes are stacking up against them, almost to the point where the back ground tension is getting palpable and you wonder when the shoes gonna drop becasue i don't think they are going to survive. But it is perfectly woven into our MC's character as even with endless evidence in front of them, they haven't quite realized how precarious their situation is.
Binge it, i dare you not to love these characters. These people. The side and background characters have more nuance in two lines of dialogue than half these stories on RR.
I'm a fan of LitRPG stories and i do enjoy Blue Boxes (green here) but they are rare enough that you almost forget they are part of the story and that you aren't just reading a D&D session typed up.
It's a good read. Nice interactions and I've always wanted to read how internet friends transported to fantasy would play out! And this one is okay.
Only problem was, I can't emphatize with the party. Idk why. Probably it's an expectation wasn't met kinda thing. Coz I was reading a lighthearted adventure then the heavy stuff felt like a sledgehammer outta nowhere. And the lightheartedness of the group was still there, so was expecting a change on dynamic, but it was too slow. Like so many heavy realizations that needed a lot of introspection was never there, which pushed me out of my immersion and suspension of disbelief.
One example is how they deal with death, of others and their own. The changes of their body and their psyche...but still not having any identity crisis...even how many chapters gone by. Just these things and other stuff cropping out that has no resolutions. And I really can't see how you can save a world that you don't care about? So hopefully they'll get there.
Maybe a more balance grimdark and lighthearted banter?
Anyway I still enjoyed it. Thanks for the series!
Mildly spoiler-y review.
I probably would have murdered Layla early on. Maybe 2nd fuck up. I deeply dislike her BS. She is becoming more sympathatic, but, man, if I had been one of the others, she never would have made it this far.
This group of gamers is also the least genre savy gamers I've read. "Let's choose the 'white' city of a human empire as our starter zone! What could go wrong?" To steal a sentiment from another fiction on RR, you gotta keep an eye on the ones yammering about purity. Left alone, they always get squirrely and start building camps. Never choose the "we're the righteous" faction! (Is there a current RPG game out there where the "light" faction is actually fine and not rotting at the core from corruption?)
Supporting characters are kind of archetypical, dwarves overly loyal to their drinking buddies, sexually sadistic inquisititors, etc. Also, there is some heavy torture implied, which makes sense in the world, but isn't fun to read.
Okay, done whining. Well written, fun bubble-gum attitudes from the MCs (which makes a great contrast with the side chapters), interesting classes, great world building (the creatures are creative and the dungeon rules are well designed), definite layers upon layers implied plot lines. I'm very taken with how the ultimate good guy and ultimate bad guy is subverted and could be unsubverted (or double subverted!) later on.
As a gay man, I appreciate the inclusion of a gay man without emphasis. For you who have a problem with it, keep in mind that if you are here on RR, we all have read a lot of stories with male dungeon masters that have a lot of coincidentally female minions. Coincidentally. That didn't kill me and Rory occasionally mentioning his husband isn't going to kill you.
This is a solid isekai story that I would recommend to you to read. I'll be checking the authors Patreon.
The four protagonists are a delight to follow along in this new world. The writing does a great job of making the reader feel involved in the learning process, while not being overwhelming, boring, or babying. Really does feel like a well-crafted game - but, still, storytime!
I'm also absolutely digging the comedy layered over a more intricate (I see you creeping in, sinisterness) setting.
Yes, please and thank you; I'll have another.
Every chapter of this story pulls me in further than the previous chapter. I am a Patreon supporter and have access to a few advanced chapters. Currently we are at chapter seventy two. Since I first wrote my original review the author has made great strides in the already good quality of his writing.
The way the author uses foreshadowing and the interludes to get the readers invested in antagonists is very good. If the formula holds interludes are used to give side scenes away from the main characters. These interludes are some of my favorite parts of the story. The main chapters have a different tone than the interludes but they still feel like they can exist in the same world. It serves more to show how little the main characters really know about the world.
Each character is distinct and feels real. Most decisions make sense for the characters at the time but not all of the decisions are the best or optimal decision just like real life. Layla gets a lot of flack for being irrational sometimes and making hasty decisions but I would argue that I know people like that in my life so it seems fine to me.
overall, i enjoy the story and drop what I'm doing to read the new chapter whenever it drops.
Easily one of the best stories of 2020. I have no idea why it isn't more popular.
Overall score: 5/5
It's a fantastic read that forcibly changed my plans of slow consumption to a rapid binge. It's interesting, it's relatable, and it has an emotional depth that grows with time.
Stlye score: 5/5
The author has a distinct style. Conversations flow very naturally and there is neither a lack nor an overabundance of status screens. I appreciate that they aren't a crutch that the author relies on but instead a small emblelishment to the narrative.
Grammar score: 4.95/5
Not too much to say here. Very good grammar with very infrequent mistakes. Only one mistake in 65 chapters really tripped me up, and I usually am pretty ciritical of immersion-breaking mistakes.
Story score: 4.5/5
It isn't the most unique story, but it has enough twists that it doesn't meld into the flood of isekai LitRPGs that have taken over RR's mainstream content. It's well written and well-told, and I thoroughly enjoy the diverse range of emotions and intensity the author plays with.
Character score: 5/5
Bad characters can break a story, but good characters can enhance a story. The latter is the case here. Every character interaction has felt real and relatable, from the silly banter between old friends to the intense emotions that are beautifully played in their individual character flaws and traits.
tl;dr: It's a great story, give it a shot.
I honestly had no idea what would happen at any point. Not wanting to give much away there is a weird stress about the side characters in this story. No one is safe. No one can stop it. The ominous evil grows in power and I'm enjoying it immensely.
I especially enjoy the banter between the characters it's like me and my friends sitting around bsing online. I enjoy the humor, sometimes a little shocking but always enjoyable and entertaining. The way he describes the creatures and the monsters are so realistic, I can't wait for this book to become popular so we can see all the fan art that's going to come out of this.
this is one of the first online weekly books that I have read but I am glad I chose this book to start with. It has been very instructional like I can almost play this as a D&D game. The characters are rich but they're leveling is explained in such detail is delicious. Speaking of delicious, the way he cooks food in this world I'm going to gain five pounds just from snacking during reading. I swear this book has convinced me is that I need to marry a master chef. Can't wait to read the next chapter or the next book from this author.