The Dungeon Draft (A LitRPG novel)
- Traumatising content
All families must enlist one child into the draft at age ten to contribute to their survival. Few make it through the six months of mandatory service inside one of the numerous dungeons surrounding them. However, those that are chosen can greatly improve their families status depending on how long they survive, and most strive to provide for their loved ones even if their chances are slim of ever seeing them again. Three children from different factions are thrown together by fate, and perhaps a fair amount of luck, into a dangerous dungeon where nothing is as they expected. No one believes they will come out alive, but with tenacity and unexpected teamwork, they might just have a shot of proving eveyone wrong.
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It's a bit early to really know how well the story will be told, but at the time I write this 18 chapters have been written.
The first thing to note is it's a new author. The writing is a bit rough around the edges; that's simply a matter of practice and experience, to some extent. But, honestly, that aside, the prose is already better than a fair number of popular stories that are (inexplicably, to me) rated 5 stars for everything on RR.
I think the world will turn out to be interesting, although it's a little fuzzy early on. Partly that's because not a lot is known (yet) from the MCs' POV, but also partly it may be the new author factor.
There are 3 MCs, and they're at least potentially interesting. With 3 splitting the already limited screen time in this new story, char dev is obviously split 3 ways as well. So far so good, though, and I think the signs point towards relatively unique characters rather than cardboard outlines or cliches.
The pacing is pretty good for a newer author; not a ton of fancy techniques to control the mood, mode, and tempo, but it's engaging and not boring. That's the first thing to achieve, and the author manages to keep it interesting.
I'm not going to claim it's the best story on RR, or even the best start to a story. But it's a surprisingly decent start by a new author, and I have every reason to assume it'll get better as it grows. So, it's not gonna change your world right out of the gate, but it is a fairly promising new story from a new author.
It is a little early to tell, but it appears to be decent so far. We have three main characters, and they have only just reached the setting that (I assume) they will stay at for most if not all of the first arc. We have seen the MCs' Status and Skills, as well as a random mob's, but don't yet have a good understanding of the system.
The exotic three MC's style looks promising. I personally apreciate seeing/reading the viewpoints of different characteres about the same event. It adds to the worldbuilding and has a lot of potential for comedy, especially between vastly diferent characters, where the first makes something likes it is the most normal thing in the world and the second can't help being slack-jawed by the absurdity of the first. Unfortunately I did not see this type of use yet, but at least it is being well utilised for character development.
The main characteres are well balanced. They have their own qualities and faults, with budding signals of their own quirks. However, the development of others characteres lags behind by a mile. Filler characters are not even described a little, side-characteres a roughly described in appearance and badly in personality.
In general, the author should have taken his time describing the characteres appearance: height, body type, hair color, lenght, eye color, the feel it transmits, the face's shape, their posture, the way the port themselves. All this with a bit of subjetivity comparisons to make it easier to imagine and grave the characters. Ex: an intimidating aura, sharp eyes, green as a jade jewel, pink lips, voluptuous something something, balanced curves, trained muscles, waist long smooth scarlet hair. Adjetive usage plays the key role but the author doesn't make a good use because he appears to disregard its existence. And 'yes, I know a well detailed description can be boring, but it is something that you do early, consolidating a character, and will stay in the back of the readers mind for all future chapters. It makes the story more vivid and, sometimes, more understandable. With it, it is possible to make the reader remember a vast collection of facts and/or occurences with a very brief mention.'.
The story is progressing smoothly in general, but I feel a lack of worldbuilding and there are things that seem like they don't match, there also appears to have a major plot fail.
I simply can't understand why the army sends kids to dungeons to maintain they in check. I understood that they are all over the places in the bordes of kingdom and that they won't be limited in their activity when occupied, making it possible for the army to march the land almost unimpided to expand the land, or reclaim what is rightly theirs.
However I can't understand why it is said "unexplored territory" if their are going to reclaim. The worst however is the fact that the army has apparently no utility. They are going to unexplored territory, they are not the ones killing dungeons, they seem to go beyond the dungeons, they are going to reclaim the land, in their wake the dungeon killers will come. The army has no use.
Why they pass the dungeons? Where are they going? The only logical answer would be to conquer their neighbours (the dungeons pose obstacle both ways) but there is no mention of other kingdom and, if there was, it wouldn't make sense yet, because a neighbour kingdom can't be said unexplored, unfamiliar/unknown maybe, not unexplored.
You could still argue that the army is going ahead to kill the roaming monsters and have the area clear for the dungeon killers, but it still would not make sense, afterall, in this case, it would be better to have both united. If the arme passes an area, the monsters will already have started respawn when the dungeon killers kill their way until catch up with the army.
There are things that feel that they had almost no thought at all in their creation. The first Achievement ever shown has no such thing as connection between the earning conditions and the effect don't match. The conditions suggest there are are 6 Achievements with the same condition, only differentiated by the stat's type. With an effect so bland it makes you think that the 7 Achievements would have the same effect, which does not make sense and seems lazy. However, having the othe 6 with conditions and effects matching while this one remains so generic is a no go.
Almost forgot. The grammar is not so horrible. I am not fluent in English. When I read a novel I don't see the majorety of small errors, like article, conjuntive preposition. However there is a glaring lack of phrasal cohesion and coherence to the point that some paragraphs have two phrases directly contradictory while others make it hard to know exactly what is happening. You can read it normally without noticing, having one comprehension of what happened, read it again after a certain amount of time and arrive at a different conclusion.
Interesting take with multi-MC's, lots of potential for worldbuilding.
Does not flash the main characters enough, the others seem to have no identity.
Reasons for plot and some other events had not enough thought or were prejudiced by bad writing.
Despite it don't seeing a huge number of errors, the ones I noted are very important ones. Cohesion and coherence are the most important when it comes to understanding. When these are in lack, it is hard to know if some seemingly strange and/incoherent things are purposefully that way or just written badly.
A different take on Dungon diving and litrpg. The idea of a draft to deal with Dungons seems logical is you have large population. So far it's been intriguing and I find the stats to have an interesting twist based on the number values. Looking forward to where the story goes and how the characters develop.
I like the premise for this story and look forward to the direction it us heading. It should be interesting. The characters are relatable and not overpowered which is a nice change from what ive come to expect. I have enjoyed the frequent updates and generally long chapters along with decent writing. I was forgiving on my structure scores since this is a first time author and it is already a set above most books on Royal Road baring the more professional series that are the exception. The use of a female character is also nice as there are few in this genre that are not overly sexualized. So far I would recomend this story and look forward to reading more and hope the writing keeps going with it.
The dungeon has proven different than i was anticipating and the lack of contant fighting and exp grinding makes for a different dynamic but not an unwelcome one for me. With the foreshadowing from the previous chapters i wonder if more of the story might be told above ground and I am sure we will find out soon what path it will take. I hope to see the characters grow with time and come into their power and become true teamates. Right now its a little messy but that is to be expected given their age and inexperience.
I really like the idea for this book and while it is still getting going, I find myself getting attached the the characters more and more. I am planning to continue reading and recomend it to any dungeon fans who may be reading this review. It updates regularily as well which is a HUGE plus in my book. The chapters are fairly long as well with only the occasional short one.
Horace, Rita, and Aiden all have a fairly good amount of backstory and development. I personally prefer Horace since he seems like the underdog. They have a good setup with Horace being the strong silent type, Aiden the charismatic idealist, and RIta the mage/leader. Additionally, I have appreciated how clean the book has been so far. A lot of litrpg books tend to be super gross towards women, but Rita seems to be an equal to the boys in her group.
The setting is less clear than I would like, but I think the writer is doing that intentionally so I am forgiving in my score for that category as I think the idea of dungeons slowly taking over the world and humanity having to fight back to keep control.
The writing itself started out a bit bad, but I did notice the author imporving on the chapters as I read back to catch up which has made it much better and deserving of my 4.5 stars. For a first time author on royal road the writer is doing really well and everything is quite clear if not all that detailed yet.