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What happens when a man gets transported into a foreign world filled with magic?
Will his knowledge in hardware technology help him out after he discovers its correlation to the words of power?
How will he fit in with the other noble houses as the lowly 4th son?
How will his story play out in a world where skills and stats equal power and status?
First time trying to write a LitRPG, so problems might arise x3
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I like the idea enough to be near halfway through it.
However the grammar and style structure is a grind.
The issue is both tenses, expanded sentences and a ton of tell not show per sentence. I don't mean long sentences either, but use of lots of trivial articles and in between words that are unnecessary. I adore well crafted, byzantine, labyrinthine, twisty, turny, branching and looping and exploratory great soaring diving wondering sentences of arcane and insane depth and complexity - just attempt to make every word count.
E.g. Roland continued, his grinding stone and sandpaper were used.
Maybe? He used then grindstone and sandpaper to complete his task.
Another: On the next day, he managed to get done with polishing and it was time to attach a wooden handle.
Maybe? Next day, after completing the polishing, he began work on the handle. He outlined the shape needed on two blocks of wood using the replica as a guide, carved these out and attached them to the sword with rivets.
OK, so my rushed phone typed edits are not so hot but my point is, every paragraph has this.
Why am I writing so much for this review?
I like the world building, I like the premise of the character and I laughed at the funny trope of the isakai truck scene.
Part of me feels this is the kind of story that with a serious, dedicated and thorough edit of just the sentence tense style and structure, could be a wonderful tale to put into a series on Amazon kindle etc.
Oh alright, I know this site is often just enthusiasts just throwing their stuff up because they love doing it and I love it and them for it.
I've had a great time reading royal road stories and one of my friends now has her own tale on here and patreon because of how I see it.
So, if my critique helps the author at all, then great.
Now everyone else can rightfully point out that not a scrap of my own writing exists on here at time of this review.
Aye and I know.
I don't trust myself to stick to a schedule and finish stuff!
Also, I can craft some sentences, even make up shit on the hoof but building a world and solid plot? Yeah... I'll try it sometime and you can judge.
Overall, I find Runesmith very compelling. It digs into crafting and magic and their actual mechanics in a depth that I've not seen before, and does this through a hero who is intelligent and driven rather than omnisciently capable. I also appreciate the (at least for me) unexpected connections drawn between
the main character's career as an computer specialist and the runic magic he uses in the story.
This take on magic really pulled me into the story and kept me reading it as the chapters went on.
Unfortunately, the storytelling is poorly done, with a disappointing lack of sentence variation and emotion. This detracts from immersion in the story and the characters as a whole and takes away some from the interesting mechanical background mentioned above--it's harder to appreciate the complexity and depth of information about magic when the style is so stilted.
The grammar is similarly lacking, inconsistent verb tense and dropped commas abound. Generally, the errors are not too glaring, but they do detract from the story.
The story, on the other hand, is engaging and enjoyable. The concepts are not unique but they are well used, and the hero is relatable and fairly believable. I've read through all the current chapters (up to 115 at time of writing) and I look forward to reading more.
First up my rating style:
1 Star - this is poor/really bad
2 Stars - below average
3 Stars - average
4 Stars - enjoyable/good execution
5 Stars - amazing/zero flaws
EDIT after catching up to chapter 128:
So because I really enjoyed the premise I kept reading and I have to say I do enjoy it a lot more again. Obviously, there are still the same issues with the story, especially in between chapters 60-95 or so. For a more in-depth analysis read the "OLD" part of the review.
Firstly, not every new female character that gets introduced has a huge bust, though some of the females still appear somewhat shallow, it is a good improvement.
Grammar is better in my opinion though I am not an authority on the matter.
The style is something I still struggle with somewhat. From time to time the story/pacing is just all over the place. I would really appreciate it if the author could indicate time skips through "---------" or some other form.
I still really like the story, sadly the inconsistency mentioned below will keep it at the current rating.
I will increase the rating for the last 20 chapters to around 4.25 which would result in a 3.75 for the whole story. Though be aware that there is a pretty big speed bumb in the middle.
It really hurts me to give this story such a bad overall rating, especially since the story is quite nice and without any issues, in the other areas, I would have gladly given it a 4.5 overall score. Heck, I would have done that, if there wasn't once issue.
Inconsistency is the issue for me. One of the best examples of this is world-building. Generally it is really good and interesting but it just doesn't hold up to scrutiny at all.
"Roland wanted to remind Bernir about dropping the honorifics but then he remembered. He was actually about double the age of this young man, so acting as his master wouldn’t be that out of the ordinary."
This is our PoV protagonist and he is talking to someone younger than him that wants to be his apprentice.
The character is around 16-17 years old. This means that "this young man" is firstly a child/boy with around 8 years. Ok this is borderline acceptable within the world building.
What is not acceptable however is that the MC got his first class at a super young age of 10 (super young in this world). It costs 2 small gold coins to manage that (around 2000$) but also has his second class. A total level of 45. The MC has a noble background while the boy is from a village and seems to have a poorer background. We also learn that most get awakened at the age of 15-16...
Issues like that appear sadly all to frequently.
Style is sadly only acceptable as well. Many people here in the ratings complain about "show don't tell" not being upheld. This is in my opinion not a good critique, as "info dumps" are not necessarily bad, if well done.
The infodumps used on the story overall are not bad though. What most people probably don't like, is that the same info is dumped on you multiple times, sometimes even in the same chapter just a few paragraphs between.
The rest of the style of writing is good though, so I think that with some improvements and editing this could very well reach 4-5 Stars.
Something I personally don't like but will not take any stars away is that the switching of PoVs is fluid. As in you can't see by scrolling through the text were one PoV ends and the next begins.
Characters are harder to rate, as the protagonist likes to do his own thing primarily.
I would like to give a higher rating, and I would have if I was rating this story at around chapter 30. A few of the characters introduced are bad, like they were actually really stupid and their bad character traits were way over the top.
The MC overall is alright. The primary issue I have with the character is that the stat intelligence actually increases someone's intelligence or at least comprehesion and thinking speed. Despite having said stat fairly high he sometimes lacks the ability to make smart decisions - even when there is no time pressure.
The Grammar is hard to rate for me, as my grammar is not great either.
However sometimes the sentence structure is difficult to read, and I would be willing to bet that if all the grammatical errors were cleared up, that many of the reviews would be more positive towards the story.
The big plus point in my opinion is the story the system is fairly well designed and I will not go into any spoilers here, but especially the class up system is really nice.
The exploration of the world is done well too and I generally enjoyed the described events.
For everyone that is looking for a purely action based story, you are wrong here. If you are interested in a combination of action/adventure/slice of life. This is a solid choice story wise.
Personally I think many of the fight scenes are too long, but I am sure most would disagree here with me.
The primary reasons I deducted half a star here is because the inconsistencies also take away from the enjoyablity of the story.
Lastly, I would prefer it, if all of the skills the MC gets are listed, as if they are not it feels almost like plot armor if we suddenly here of a newly gained skill. This would also be great after timeskips to see the progression we missed.
PS: Kuropon, I know it can be hard to read such dishartening/negative reviews, but I am willing to change my rating to the better if the issues are adressed. And overall the story is good. If you feel that some of my points are unjust feel free to send me a direct message here and I will try to elaborate.
*Sigh*. I don't like writing negative reviews, but if I only ever review things positively, that wouldn't be honest and good for RR. So here goes.
Good bits first.
There's a plot here. Not a particularly complex one, from what I can see, but it's enjoyable. There is a sense of progression, much more than the typical isekai webfic.
It's also down-to-earth. No silly overpowered protagonist here. The author puts in effort to build the world up, especially the magic system. They could have done better... but I could say that about nearly any story. There are details you don't often see in web fiction, like a map.
Unfortunately, there is a significant problem with pacing. Sometimes it's great. Sometimes, it's slow. By the end of it, however, I skimmed so much every chapter in the hopes of the plot picking back up, that there was no longer any point in reading. If it wasn't for that, this aspect would be an easy 4 or 4.5.
The protagonist is likeable. A rational human being who is neither a goody two shoes, nor heartless. His ambitions are relatable, and he sets himself above many other isekai protagonists by stopping to think about important decisions and making sensible judgements. It's nice.
Unfortunately, he's bland. He has no likes or dislikes. No hobbies carry over into his new life. He's a crafter, but he doesn't seem to take satisfaction in his work. He has no eccentricities, quirks or addictions. If you asked me which nationality he was in his past life, I couldn't tell you.
Beyond the protagonist, there are all the supporting characters. They, too, are lacklustre, and they seem to follow stereotypes and tropes too closely. Nobles are snobs; Warriors are dumb; Merchants measure all successes and failures in nothing but coin; Religious folk sound like NPCs stuck on a cycle (to be fair, that's partly because preaching is a literal magic mechanic). It's tiresome.
I've seen a few patterns emerge, the chiefest of them is that most people have short tempers (excluding the protagonist, thankfully). It only takes one mishap to bring about a hissy-fit. Fists are slammed, tables are broken, words are shouted, glassware is thrown...
I consider grammar a semantics score, not just whether the author missed a comma here or there.
Credit where it's due: the author does use Grammarly, and it shows. And they correct specific things that are pointed out.
But there are a lot of problems: missing words, poor word choice, clumsy sentence structure, redundant phrasing, the occasional awkward paragraph break (for example, a new line after dialogue but before the corresponding sentence identifying who spoke). I'm not sure that even covers it all.
Sadly, this is what will kill the experience for most readers. Here are the problems I noticed:
- Dialogue used in place of narrative description.
- Dialogue used for needless exposition.
- After the first five or so chapters, it still felt like the story hadn't begun, like reading a prologue.
- Passive voice saps the life out of the story. It makes the protagonist seem weak willed, when he isn't, and robs narrative tension. Coupled with many lengthy inner monologues, what would have been a curious romp becomes a slog.
- Despite the verbosity, there is often not an adequate description of settings, impeding immersion.
- Point of view is vague and whimsical. It switches from 3rd Limited to 3rd Omniscient and back without warning. The omniscient moments are usually there to show others' reaction to the protagonist, something which is invariably overdone and overblown. Please just choose a perspective character for each scene and stick to them.
- Many chapters do one small thing with a full chapter, where a simple paragraph or three would have served much better. The rest is meandering chaff. Sometimes I like slice of life, but not without excellent characterisation.
- No subtlety. Forget about reading between the lines, nuanced prose, any of that.
I don't want to discourage the author from writing but, up to what I've read, that's how it is.
The novel started out fine, but just becomes tedious to read after some time.
A lot of the chapters towards the end feel like they could've been combined together and nothing of significance would have been lost.
There are character interactions, which feel significant at the time you are reading the interaction but then are not as soon as the story moves on to something else.
I really like the world the author has created. Its differences to our own are are reflected in the plot and the attitudes of the characters, other than the main (presumably from our world). There is some interesting creativity in the reflection of scrolls and runes to circuitry and programming. I want to see how these ideas are used. Furthermore, the story is a fair balance between action and crafting, which is probably difficult to pull off.
Most of the characters have complexity, or if undeveloped, there are suggestions of development to come. A few are common tropes, but I don't think it detracts much, and serves more as a shorthand for the reader.
However, the writing could do with a great deal of editing and refinement. When in action or conversation it's generally fine, but exposition is poor. A certain person somehow does something in a certain place far too often. That's exaggerated, but it doesn't only happen from the perspective of a character, which would be more understandable. The phrasing also appears for the omniscient narrator (not personified). Sentences are not infrequently repetitive or oddly constructed, with no obvious grammar or spell check run.
These stylistic and mechanical problems really detract from what could be an interesting story. I was interested enough to read to the current point, and maybe even to check out more of it later. However, without an editor there is much better content available.
It started much more interesting, but the latest chapters haven't been great IMO. The premise is great and its potential even greater. I find myself almost skipping much of the content as they are either redundant, padding, or both.
The story tells rather than shows more often than I would like. Some spelling and grammar issues are fine, but too often being here early gives you a poorer experience than coming back to it later. The story also seems to have a habit of adding side characters that are eventually discarded. Perhaps the story will come back to them later, I think its latest chapter might be trying to do some of that now, but to be honest, very few of the side characters are interesting enough for me to care.
The main character seemed more interesting initially as well, but they seem too reactive for my taste. Which is weird, as they do seem to have a goal, and they seem to try to keep moving forward toward that goal, but when I read about him, it's as if I'm reading about a very passive character. I'm not sure, but I think it's their lackadaisical attitude that lowers my interest in what he's doing.
But the worst part remains to be my first complaint. It feels padded. So many words, so many chapters where I feel like nothing happened. Which, again, is weird. Things are obviously happening, but it feels like no progress is being made in some chapters. Heck, some of the chapters where it feels like nothing happens are the chapters where the protagonist levels up.
As I said it's a decent start but drops into mediocre for me. It's the same old isekai story with little to nothing unique about it. I’ll be giving this one a pass for now.
I'll also say that it needs a lot of editing. Beyond simple grammatical errors and misspelling that could be fixed by pasting the story in a google doc the author sometimes uses odd stilted sentences.
- "He and the girls were supposed to head into the lower floors of the dungeon this day, but from his standpoint that would have to wait till the next day." Chapter 12
- "He closed his eyes and rubbed the space between the eyebrows and his nose that was called the glabella." Chapter 13
It’s a no from me dawg.
The story flow is not smooth nor does the MC make logical decisions or put effort into improving. It's just a story. Sorry... The punctuations and mispellings make it really hard to stay involved in the story. Overall I would say the story needs a lot more editing. And the MC needs something to make him a character worth reading about.
I loved this book when it first came out. It was great in the beginning, centered almost entirely around its main selling point, which is crafting stuff and the main character figuring things out like a jigsaw puzzle that you have to venture out and find or make the pieces yourself. It was a delight to read.
But then as the chapters continued, the focus of the story started to shift away from the original attraction point. Sure, a battle-centered chapter once in a while is good to keep things fresh and give the MC more materials and inspiration to work with, but there are certain parts of the story that drag on too much, like for example,
an entire 20 chapters back to back solely about an escort quest. Not to mention that a sizable length of the non-combat scenarios in those 20~ish chapters were filler, inconsequential small talk and actions that aren't usually important enough to be mentioned.
The people Roland worked together with in that escort mission were also very one dimensional and hollow, Something about their dialogue made them really annoying to read in my opinion.
The book is full of interesting detail when it comes to the crafting, but pushes suspense of disbelief to its limit every time something happens. After a few cycles of the same structure, it can be observed that when a "crisis" type of plot point happens, everything HAS to go wrong, just to extend the non-crafting related plot points well beyond their expiry date.
When a story forces the main character into one crisis after another without stopping, the reader will eventually stop associating the story's "crisises" as actual dangerous points for the main character, and the story becomes more boring without the tension.
Reviewed at Chapter 286.