The world, under the guide of the System, was prospering. The Dungeons gifted untold riches to those brave enough to challenge them, and the System watched and helped those who were willing to complete its Quests.
But not Charles. As soon as he appeared inside a dark cave, the system told him that he was an anomaly, that he was not worthy of its gifts.
His mind was damaged. His AI companion was convinced that he was in a world of sword and magic. All around, schemers and manipulators tried to play their part in a story that was thousands of years old. Spanning entire planes and worlds. And yet, he only saw what he wanted to see. For a while, it worked. Slowly, but inevitably, it became impossible. The threat was too big to ignore, the evidence too strong.
He was just a pawn in a game so large that it was impossible to comprehend.
At its center, the System. The System was not what it seemed. It was a tyrant, or maybe just a tool created by someone or something so powerful that it could control entire worlds.
And it had declared him its enemy.
Many thanks to Damiano, who helps with the world building and the character building.
Many thanks to Fuyu Dust for the cover art.
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Note: I'm going to try to avoid spoiling this, but the nature of this review requires at least alluding to some early plot beats and characterization choices. So if you want to go in completely unspoiled, skip this review.
Sometimes, a story seems to require two reviews in one.
The Low-Level Opening:
If I were to review only the first few chapters of The world traveler from the future, I'd mark it as unimpressive. Charles, an AI-augmented engineer, ends up in a generic dungeon in a new System-based world. His abilities rapidly climb as he manipulates the mana around him, even as he's locked out of normal progression.
In a creative move, De Rosa provides Charles the ability to zone out and let his AI control his body while he enters a sort of fugue state. On the bright side, this compresses and eliminates boring passages of grinding. Unfortunately, as these chapters went on, the narrative effect became that of watching someone unenthusiastically stream a video game, and I found myself entering a bit of a fugue state, too.
To make matters worse, Charles is an anti-hero whose chief interests are conquest and not dying. Early on, he seems to have the emotional depth of the sprite at the bottom of the screen in Doom (MS-DOS version). Everyone else is seen as an annoying NPC. Even as the author drops hints that the narration represents a limited viewpoint, that there's more going on here than Charles realizes, and that he's eventually going to have to recalibrate his expectations... man, it's a hell of a slog getting there.
When the main character himself refers to the world around him as "generic," I think at least some readers will give up then and there. It's one thing to satirize the conventions of LitRPGs, which this story sometimes does quite well. But it's another to make fun of a boring thing by being boring!
It might be telling that the following quote appears in chapter 15, perhaps 40,000 words into the story:
[...] for the first time since coming to this world he was being faced with a real challenge where his life was at stake.
It's not that there hasn't been any combat or killing until that point; just that the main character has been able to literally do it all on auto-pilot!
The More Cultivated Later Chapters:
Fortunately, it doesn't take QUITE that long for the story to show positive signs of improvement.
Eventually, the story's real strength comes to the fore: dropping an engineer with a helper AI into a LitRPG system world, and turning his problem-solving skills to the task. At that point, we're no longer dealing with the written equivalent of a bored RPG streamer.
Now comes at least the promise of an opponent, broad and abstract though it may be. The rules, once created, seem to be enforced in a way that at least feels consistent. De Rosa is trying with all his might to make a coherent system of magic as seen through the eyes of technology, explore its implications, and create a sense of danger.
I'm reminded of some older SF novels that feature a competent engineer/scientist in a bizarre world. There's overlap with David Brin's The Practice Effect, a novel about the power of invention and technology in a world where people get too accustomed to automated 'leveling' of their crude equipment. This is a fun concept, and the current chapters of the story execute it in an entertaining way.
Battles feel visceral from the start, and the methodical, careful narrative voice never seems to lose control of what's happening. However, it is once the story finds something worth describing that the descriptions get better. In the earliest chapters, the exposition is often jarring, with the main character seeming to leap to conclusions from scant data. Later, as the storytelling gets more assured, the revelations flow more naturally.
One reveal in particular is a nice surprise and a perfect example of dramatically showing an idea rather than passively relating it. No spoilers, but it involves storage space...
The lapses of grammar are minor at most, and almost never distract from the narration. Occasionally, a sentence could use some reworking of structure. All in all, the grammar is well above the median for RoyalRoad. The author states that he is not a native English speaker, but the work reads smoothly enough.
(The more recent decision to release chapters a little less frequently may have helped, too, allowing more time for proofreading and editing, too.)
As Charles encounters more artifacts of the world that hint at a history and broader principles, his more enjoyable characteristics, such as a driving curiosity, come to the fore. He's still an anti-hero, make no mistake about it, but he's an anti-hero who is starting to show more points of interest and engage with the world around him.
Besides the MC, we have one potentially promising character in a town leader, and some more forgettable ones as well. There's an elf sidekick, whose main function so far seems to be to gaze in wonder and amazement at the main character's actions, deliver bits of exposition from an in-universe perspective, and to allow Charles to grudgingly demonstrate vague, brief flickerings of concern for another person.
It's tricky to rate this story. On the basis of the first few chapters, my rating would be low, but as the novel progresses, the weaker pieces of genre parody are replaced with more enjoyable adventure and problem-solving.
I would recommend The world traveler from the future for people who like:
* Flawed protagonists who solve problems with the application of technology and reasoning.
* Stories that toy around with LitRPG tropes, rather than taking them as given
* "Slow burn" novels of cultivation and development that take some time to pick up speed.
First thing the concept of mixing cultivation, magic,Litrpg is a good concept with the use of AI. Grammer,Style and description of the scenes are good without a doubt.
But there are way, way to many assumptions here. AI is literally all assuming god system from modern Empire, that highly relies on technology but god knows why has all concepts related to cultivaion and magic.
Charles is born in space with Ai implanted and miliatry Engineer but he has all things figures out about this world just by level up message and his AI.
AI here does everything except what it should be. A great idea but too focused on AI and MC that does not make sense to me as MC was literally half or more than that controlled by AI or Group of it(As mentioned in earlier chapters) and now he is free from it.
But literally all he wants to do is make guns, colonise the world that he knows literally shit but asuumed he has figured everything out and he literally hate people so no chance of knowing.
Priorities misplaced, Concept of the world unknown or the word concept is.
The story certainly has much potential, and it could be clearly seen that the author's aimed to break the expectations of the genre commonly seen in these 'Isekai' novels, though it appears that the MC is somewhat... vicious.
The style of the novel is the backbone of the novel, and it certainly is excellently written. The atmosphere is well crafted, and the moments of methodical calculations during the moments where LAI takes control contrast well with it. Some may find the amount of 'fluff' in the descriptions a little excessive, but I personally have no issues with it.
The grammar has no issues, flowing smoothly with the style except on a few occasions.
In the novel, the story doesn't seem to be all that prevalent, since the novel has only begun. However, the innovative ways Charles deal with the situations he encounters is certainly something that can engage the reader.
The only major flaw that the novel has in my opinion, is the main protagonist. At the moment, he has little personal motivation to be so set on conquering the world. However, he is a rather interesting character, and the hints of a desire for his old universe add some depth to the character. I hope Charles would develop further in the future, or at least meet a semi-permanent companion to bounce off his personality.
It's clear to me that the authors style is still evolving, and it's doing so at a rapid pace. I love the direction that it's taking, and I hope he can find his style soon.
What began as a cliche, is soon turning into something very original. The common tropes are shattered, the MC is a badass who's overpowered but not too much, and the new arc seems promising.
Apart from veeeery minor issues, the grammar is at native speaker level.
The characters in the story are well built and defined. Their interaction are meaningful and credible, the dialogues do not feel strains for unnatural. All the people present in the story so far seem to have a role to play, and there are no useless people just sitting around.
The world traveler from the future is an interesting story that features hilariously tense situations involving the protagonist and his surroundings. I've enjoyed every chapter so far and will definitely keep reading as the world building and personality of the character are solid. I also really like the protagonists annoyed reactions towards the normal clichés in isekai stories. I definitely recommend reading this fiction :)
I'm forgoing an advanced review because I'm not a big reader of LitRP. There's some things that throw me off, but which I suspect is more a feature of the genre rather than a comment on the fiction itself.
that said, while I tended to skip over combat logs and stat explanations, i was drawn into the world the main character in trapped in. I want to see what Charles does, where he is, and how or if he gets out.
there's not a lot of other characters early on, but the few we do encounter are believable as characters in a game, and the outcome of meeting them is not what I expected, that's a good thing.
I judge grammar and writing style based on how often it takes me out if the story. It really didn't do that.
all in all, seems like a solid litRP to me!
Although the MC is OP in a number of ways, he still makes mistakes. He's pretty cold blooded but (probably) a decent guy at heart. Mostly. He's not a cardboard cut out anyway.
It's a bit early to be sure how the story is going, although I think I've got a good feel for it. Looks like there will be a mixture of power building, mystery uncovering, and a hefty dose of conflict. I suspect that the system won't be happy with the MC's non-magical technological powers.
Long term? MC is very pro-Empire (where he came from) but actually it sounds pretty boring to me. Will he still want to bring the Empire in to pave over the new, magical, frontier in thirty chapters time? Maybe not.
I'll keep reading unless it loses its way.
Hey, so to begin, I just want to get my own biases out of the way. I like likable characters, character interactions, isekais, slow burns, fantasy and through explanations. I’m not very well-versed with scifi, which I kind of regret going into this one, but I think I’ll do well enough here. Also, I struggle with English in much the same way that it seems the author struggles given comments, so I may not be the most reliable person when it comes to critiquing word choice.
So this story. I think if you’re interested in seeing a uniquely implemented main character, or if you’re interested in seeing a meshing of sci-fi and LitRPG, you should check out at least the first 8 chapters. It’ll be worth it. At chapter 8, you can say you’ve completed an arc, “The-Get-Out-Of-The-Dungeon” arc and by then you’ll have a pretty good sense of the main character.
So now the breakdowns and note, spoilers ahead:
I’m starting with characters because I believe this is where the author excels. Hard. Real hard. Now the main character, Charles. I don’t like him; he’s a dick. But he’s a well written dick. Right from the beginning, I had a sense of two fundamental traits for the character, one is he is trigger happy, or you know anger prone, and two the character seems to be very smart, the way the character thinks comes off as smart. For example to take a single line and derive a possible God rejects me does a lot to set the expectations one would have for the main character. And that tone follows through for a long time. In other words, that character at the beginning is seen all through out, but what’s really cool actually lies in his anger. The character is unhinged. But it all makes sense. The character is a zealot and a hypocrite, but it makes sense when you consider the world he was stripped from. What’s actually really interesting is when the character becomes the most unhinged. When things are stressful, the character devolves into murderous rage, but when people are nice to him, he’s just rude at best. The intention is clear, Charles is entitled because of the life he lived before being tossed into the world. He lived in a world where he always had an entity that could pat him on the back but now he’s been stripped from mom’s bosom so to say. So naturally, when things go his way, of course he’d be nicer since it wouldn’t provoke a temper tantrum. I was really happy to look on later and see that this was intentional but really I cannot overstate: Luca is really good at depicting an irrational character breaking at rational intervals. Best thing hands down.
Another character I want to speak on is the LAI, an artificial intelligence that Charles has in his head. Excellent plot device. The LAI is the sole entity that gives this story its unique gimmicks and interestingly, it’s in implementing the LAI that some criticisms come out. But before getting there, I do want to praise how the LAI is used, as it’s what lets a genre foreigner like Charles converse with the fantasy world. Really like how this aspect of Charles was implemented.
I’m giving style 4.5/5 because this is where having the LAI present causes some weird shenanigans. The first thing is that early on, you might notice segments where the narrator changes from 1st person to LAI. And with it comes some confusion due to no visual changes in the text and some hasty switches between past tense and present tense. Just to understand how jarring this is, imagine switching between 1st person and third person between paragraphs. I’m not docking points for this however, as I saw that another commenter pointed it out to the author, and it seems like some feedback was heeded. That said, switching to the LAI’s narration still causes some awkward issues. Check this out:
“Switching to spear guy. Target reacted faster than a normal human, but slower than expected given his improved body, noted. Aim at head, pull. Target dead. Examine bow woman.”
The problem here specifically comes from how the LAI refers to people. It used woman, and human, two technical terms, but guy? For the spear man? No. That’s what breaks the immersion. There’s no reason to believe the LAI would not use the technical term given that the technical term, “man” is in the other two other terms. It has to be “man”, otherwise, the woman can be referred to as girl or gal or lady. This is what tells you a human is writing this and not an AI. Especially when the author did such a good job before then. So this is a case where the author has to be careful to keep the formal, technical, sci-fi speak intact when switching to the LAI.
All that said though, the way the LAI is used is cool. Especially for the battles.
So the first seven or so chapters is the story of Charles’ escape from the dungeon. A good immediate goal. Unfortunately, it was a little bit hard for me to get excited because of how unhinged Charles is for a good portion of time. Again, I can respect it, but man, I wish he was cooler. Which brings me to the Bright side. Because Charles was so much, it was easy to tell when I became excited! And what I looked forward to were specifically the parts where Charles interacted with the worthwhile fantasy elements like the party he met at the beginning. And by the time Charles got out of the dungeon I was ecstatic. So I definitely know I like the portions of the story where the author looks at the magic and fantasy through scientific lens. It was a slow burn, but I was happy because it gave me the details I would have liked. But keep that in mind, you need to get past the first 7 chapters. Don’t leave the story until Charles leaves the dungeon.
Here I would also like to speak about the narrator. The narrator is a third person, very powerful narrator with also a bias towards Charles given some of the narrator’s word choice. As the narrator is the voice you’ll be hearing most of the time, it’s interesting how so much of Charles’ behaviors and thought patterns are told to us rather than shown. I know that the author is already aware of this point, but it was interesting the first time I read Charles’ dialogue to see it be so crude as opposed to how the narrator pretty up his thoughts. The contrast between the narrator’s description of Charles’ words and Charles’ actual dialogue is so sharp, it must be intentional, which just makes for a fun effect.
Finally, grammar: 4.5/5
This is pretty simple. The dialogue tags aren’t correct. Other commenters have pointed this out so it’s only a matter of time until the author fixes them up. Otherwise, I don’t see much trouble with grammar. But again, I might not be the most reliable in this arena.
Overall, I’m interested in where this will go, and will be returning to read it at a later date (I hope I’ll be able to amend my review).
But for now, I think as long as readers are okay with the slow burn, there’s enough reason here to believe that Luca has a handle on what’s being done, and seeing how responsive to feedback the story has been, I feel it’s safe to invest in it.
After speaking with Luka, my confidence is higher and Luka does seem aware of the some of the peculiarities so that can only mean future improvement and elucidation.
I just read everything after all the recent editing and I will say this, it's a wonderful story and feels written very well.
Author, please don't burn yourself out until I can read more of your story. We all want more chapters but more chapters over all is more important.
A non-standard approach to the system, more unique plot twists. I'm still at the very beginning of the story, but I already like it. Of course, there is a bit of "omnipotence" of the hero, so now I expect the appearance of really strong enemies (other than the system itself). It will be interesting to see how the system will affect the new confrontation.