Cybernetic Dragon

by Zenopath (AEV)

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy Sci-fi GameLit High Fantasy Magic Non-Human lead Portal Fantasy / Isekai

Idea Seven, or Inter Dimensional Explorer Automaton Unit-7, has had a bit of an accident. Hijacking the egg of a dragon rather than its intended target of a bird egg, it isn't fully in control of its host brain. Rather the two, dragon and cybernetic AI interface, must work together to survive in a hostile world of magic, dungeons, beasts and adventurers. The AI must deal with being a machine from a world of science trying to carry out its mission of exploration, while the dragon, Rex, must deal with being a cyborg living with symbiotic nanotech that sets him apart from other dragons. What adventures await them?

 

Author Note: I tagged this story GameLit because it contains concepts like levels, classes, and dungeon/beast cores. But, it isn't tagged LitRPG because no one has status screens, other than occasionally Idea Seven who likes to organize data into blue boxes. It isn't a natural function of the world to display level ups or skill ups with an announcer voice. I mention this to set expectations, because otherwise I feel like LitRPG fans might be disappointed by my lack of LitRPG elements while others might be turned off thinking I have a lot of LitRPG elements. I think that if you approach the story with an open mind you will appreciate the gradual way in which the main character learns and expands his understanding of how the world works, but the game mechanics aren't meant to take center stage to the actual story.

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Zenopath (AEV)

Zenopath (AEV)

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ferdielance
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

How to Train Your Robo-Dragon

Reviewed at: Chapter 7

Cybernetic Dragon is a wonderful story in a literal sense: it is full of wonder. The main character, a technologically-augmented dragon hatchling, is charming and curious. So far, the problem at the heart of the story is not self-advancement or survival, but understanding. How do the dragon's new caretakers make sense of a creature unlike any they've ever seen? How does the dragon adapt to their care? Will it eventually become a hazard to them?

 

This is a refreshing approach!

Style:

But before we get back to the strengths...

The writing style could stand some improvement. It ranges from unobtrusive and highly effective (in Chapter 1) to repetitive and heavy-handed (Chapter 4).

Character descriptions are particularly problematic. Here's one from chapter 2:

“Should I feed it?” The nervous boy asked. The duke’s son, Eric, was a handsome boy, blond haired, blue eyed, he looked like a nobleman, but his strikingly pretty boyish face was clouded in fear. The boy struggled to master his apprehension. At the age of ten, the boy was quite brave to be facing a dragon hatchling not much smaller than himself.

That's a lot of repetition, not only of concepts (nervousness, apprehension), but also of words. I counted five uses of "boy" or "boyish" in four sentences. Five sentences, if you split the comma splice.

Here's another character description, this one from chapter 3. I quote it at full length because, well, that's kind of the problem:

Karla was a demihuman, as they were called, instead of normal human ears, the sides of her head were smooth, though covered by long thick fur that resembled bushy sideburns. Though her face was otherwise human, the tall triangular cat ears on top of her head were the clearest indicator of her species. Also on top of her head, besides the furry cat ears, was a long stripe of human hair that hung over her fur to give her a more human looking mop of long black hair that stretched down to her shoulders. But beneath the normal human hair, was a stripe of cat fur that formed a thick undercoat and stretched in a thin line down her back all the way to her tail, which was basically just a normal black cat tail with a cute tuff of white hair at the end. The tail swished back and forth nervously, but she did not complain at being pushed.

All in all, she was a very cute ten year old girl, who, if you discounted the ears and tail, would have appeared fully human. Her nose was small and adorable as a button, her green cat slitted eyes were large and bright. Despite the abuse she suffered, she was buoyed by a naturally bright spirit that was only partly dimmed by her circumstances, and a love of dragons. Since her job was to care for dragons, if she simply ignored the heavy iron collar around her neck that marked her as a slave, and the cruelty of the stablemaster, she could focus on caring for dragons and that gave her a rare passion that made her well suited for her job. Even Blake was careful not to permanently harm her, since he recognized that of the various stableboys, free and slave, that he had at his disposal, she was the best. That is why he had chosen her, after all.

This could best be described as "meandering." It's not the worst character description I've ever seen. But too often, the author tries to explicitly situate the body parts, rather than letting the reader draw reasonable inferences. So it needs to be stated not only once, but twice, that the ears are on the top of her head, and that the stripe on top of her head is next to the ears on top of her head. We need to be told that the cat fur is under her normal hair and that it is an undercoat. We need to be told that the black tail of the catgirl is, in fact, a normal black cat tail.

It makes me want to shake the author and say, "Have more confidence in your readers!"

Grammar:

In spite of the stylistic issues above, the grammar is usually fine. A few comma-splices here and there aren't the end of the world.

Story:

Okay, now that we've gotten the frustrating stuff out of the way, let's get back to strengths. This is a really cool story premise. We've got the compelling, heart-tugging Black Stallion formula animal friendship stories, combined with the cerebral, systematic puzzleyness of "intelligent MC with computer helper in a strange world" thrillers.

The tension develops naturally from the premise: from the point of view of the keepers, this creature looks like a dangerous animal, and it may be far more than an animal. From the point of view of the dragon, there are similar reasons to be wary of humans. Add in a cruel but canny stablemaster and a slave whose love of dragons is the only bright spot in her existence, and you have a lot of storytelling material.

Speaking of which, this story includes a character who is enslaved, and seems broadly cheerful in spite of the clear cruelty of her enslaver. The slavery is not depicted sympathetically, per se, but the main character isn't old enough yet to express clear opinions on it one way or the other.

It's too early for me to tell whether or not the topic will end up trivialized, but it's a risky move.

Character:

While it's hard to be sure yet how strong the characterization will turn out, there are good signs, at least when it comes to the dragon and the boy. The dragon's perspective is fun to read, and while some shortcuts are being taken, the story wisely recognizes that some things will be harder for the dragon to learn than others. I'm going to pre-emptively rate character high, at least for now.

Overall:

Writing peccadilloes aside, this is worth checking out. It's a story full of passion for the idea of learning, growing, and understanding, and not just leveling.

Tejoka
Overall

I've never seen a premise like this before. It's bound to get interesting.

The story hasn't really taken off yet, although it's been set up well. We have the main characters as a dragon and his cybernetic AI implant, in a fantasy world where magic 'corrodes' advanced technology. The pacing is good so far.

The characters are pretty well described, although they still feel a bit flat. But this is early days yet and there's a lot of room for them to develop. The author tends to rely on 'telling' rather than 'showing' what the characters are like to some extent. The interplay between the dragen and AI is fun.

There are a few grammar errors, like missing commas or mistaken words (like 'differential' instead of 'deferential'), but nothing major.

The style seems like a third person omniscient narrator, which some people don't like. It tends to be quite descriptive, and I think a little more 'showing' what the world and the characters are like in action would be good, instead of having the narrator explain it.

Felix Helixihare
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A very neat and unique story. The characters are very interesting. I almost thought that this was going to be a straight LitRPG, but is pleasantly surprised to be almost devoid of it.

We haven't seen much of the world yet, but I already find it refreshing. It isn't portrayed as very dangerous and survival being a huge challenge. The MC's motivation of exploration and knowledge gathering is certainly a huge breath of fresh air from a pile of subpar books with MCs motivated mainly by survival to proceed and become stronger. The fact the for the moment, it appears that knowledge and curiousity is the main driving force of the MC's personality.

The mix of naivety and caution the MC displays is a very interesting dynamic. I find the Rex and Idea 7 very charming.

MostRandomDude
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Alright, this is probably one of the best starts to an interesting idea I've ever read. This is very much something well worth anyone's time if it continues. This story would very much keep many people interested.

JK-sama
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The author has a impressive vocabulary and does well to be descriptive without going too overboard. The prose is well crafted and easy on the eyes, and so far chapters are easy to digest without feeling too long. 

I usually don't have the taste for these kind of genre (isekai/gamelit-etc) but this has such superb quality that I'll keep an eye on it. This seems trending-worthy, if not publishing-worthy if the author can keep this kind of quality throughout.

Perizou
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A very interesting Idea

Reviewed at: Chapter 7

It's a mix of a transmigration novel with a monster growth.
Without going too much into spoilers territory it's about a dragon that grows with the help of something from another world.

The story shows a lot of promise even though the dragon seems a bit too intelligent, but that can be attributed to the help he is receiving.

The author can make vivid descriptions and shows the characters when they become relevant and the small dynamic between the dragon and its... companion is a lot of fun.

Definitively a novel to follow.

Apocryphal
Overall

Cyber dragon protagonist? Neat!

Reviewed at: Chapter 8

Not much to go off of due to the limited amount of chapters, but I've never read an isekai that chose such a strange protagonist and delivered in a good way. The MC is what drew me in just to see how everything played out, and so far, it's looking pretty good. 

Structrually speaking everything flows well also, be it grammar or pacing. If you want an isekai with a weird, unique main character , this story is likely up your ally.

ztaylor
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A Different Kind of Isekai

Reviewed at: Chapter 7

I've never seen a story where the protagonsit is a cybernetic dragon, but here we are. This isn't your typical, run-of-the-mill fantasy. Instead, we're immediately introduced to this weird futuristic world and then thrust right into the fantasy. There's some sci-fi stuff at play here, but I have a feeling that will be a mystery for a while. 

We've been introduced to our main cast and characters, but no story has really taken off yet. However, I'm hooked. The plot's already got a nice air of mystery to it, leaving me wanting more.

The only thing I can say is a small gripe is some sentences are phrased a little weirdly, and I found mispellings here and there, but nothing too major. Well done author! 

SmolShrimpa
Overall

Not your average isekai

Reviewed at: Chapter 15

 While I don't normally read a lot of isekai stories, I thoroughly enjoyed this unique take on the genre and can't wait to read more!

The first chapter hooks you in while also doing a great job with world building. The two main characters, Rex and Idea 7, are a dragon and the AI-controlled cybernetic nanobots inhabiting him. The author did a wonderful job explaining the mechanics of their interactions at a biological/mechanical level, and I loved the attention to detail paid to how Idea is integrated into Rex. And while the two share a body and can access each other's circuitry in certain ways, they remain two separate entities/consciousnesses, each with their own personalities and desires.

The story also features well fleshed-out side characters (I'm especially rooting for Karla!), and does a good job of making the world feel alive and inhabited. The omniscient 3rd person narration helps develop the cast and reveal how different characters perceive the oddity that is a cyborg dragon.

My one criticism of the story would be how it introduces some side characters (mainly in Chapter 3). The introductions of several characters in a row leads to a slow-down in story progression after the more exciting first chapter, which is a bit jarring. I would suggest a rewrite of the introductions to be more dynamic and avoid an exposition dump that slows down the story. After that though, the writing style markedly improves and the story really picks up!

Overall, this is a story with a lot of promise and I look forward to reading more!

TaxReligion
Overall

This was a pleasant read.  I like the developing dynamic between Eric and the Rex.   The concept is interesting too, an AI symbiote providing internal dialogue, which so far hasn't been utilized that much, but I'm sure will lead to some interesting reading.  The story is well written with few grammatical mistakes.  There are litrpg aspects, but so far it's been used sparingly.  So far the story is lighthearted, however, there have been hints at some darker themes with regards to how slaves are treated.