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On just another normal Monday, the world changed. The universe had reached a threshold humanity didn’t even know existed, and it was time to finally be integrated into the vast multiverse. A world where power is the only thing that one can truly rely on.
Jake, a seemingly average office worker, finds himself thrust into this new world. Into a tutorial filled with dangers and opportunities. In a world that should breed fear and concern, an environment that makes his fellow coworkers falter, Jake instead finds himself thriving.
Perhaps… Jake was born for this kind of world, to begin with.
5 chapters a week.
Average chapter length: 2500
Tags and content warnings are mainly to give me creative freedom later on. This is my first novel ever, and English isn’t my native language, so go easy on me chaps. Any feedback is more than welcome, of course.
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This is a really great read, and I recommend you check it out.
There is a proper flow to the story, the characters have proper growth and dont do random shit, Its interesting, has proper grammar and structure, all in all just a great read.
While the main character does have an op advantage, its not the be all end all kind of thing. There is still tension, he could still die, it isn't like he can suddenly just do anything and solve anything. This story does it right.
The rough arc I've read through so far entails the protagonist starting the battle royale of a tutorial, learning he has a strong individualist streak, refining his abilities and progressing through a trial to meet a certain someone at the end.
I can feel there is some consistency in the setting being sketched out. However, the setting lacks a great deal of depth which leaves makes engaging with the main character a bit if a trial.
For starters, Survival per se isn't much of a concern. No sicknesses, infections, hydration issues or similar ever actually make themselves known. People are certainly scared but not palpably tired, emotionally drained, fragile or otherwise overtly inconvenienced by the setting itself. The exclusive threat is by express violence delivered by some variety of monster - the human variety included.
The character writing is most accurately represented in the dialogue - there are no discernable characterizing traits at all. No verbal ticks that contribute to emotivity. No change in how contractions are (inconsistently) applied.
I can't much agree with how the rising action of leveling was arrested with a Challenge that shifted the combat focus to an academic one, either. Moreover, I take issue with it being far more rewarding than actually taking the survival challenge head on as the protagonist originally set out to do. The updates from all the side characters while the protagonist was off being spoon-fed power were far more intesting.
I did appreciate the portrayal of how the others are advancing during the tutorial on contrast with the protagonist's path. I just wish they actually had discernable characters
I forced myself to read this as someone recommended it. The main problem are the characters. They lack depth.
The main character is supposed to be a working adult but can't maintain a proper conversation with others. That's going to be very rare in real life. I've met a few people during my time but it's just not a common thing. Also, you are told that certain characters are great leaders, they're outgoing, etc. but they don't show those characteristics. A girl is beautiful because the author says she is. However the descriptions and her behavior doesn't convey it.
The aliens are not alien at all. Instead they behave just like human beings. A character who is supposed to be one of the most powerful and long-lived in the multiverse acts like the MC's close childhood friend. No sophistication at all.
I could care less about the leveling system. It's really dumb. The main gimmick is that the MC has a bloodline that makes him superior and that falls outside of the System. Then the author introduces 5 skills every few level ups and the author goes at length to explain why 4 out of those 5 skills suck. Repeat this ad nauseum.
Also, archery. Yes, I think using archery is a mistake. It's not even interesting archery. It's the stupid type that you see in most RPGs. Skills like power shot, split shot, etc. There has to be a way to make it more enjoyable. I groaned when I saw the author choose that class.
At the end of the Tutorial arc, you realize there was almost no character growth. Instead the MC is doing his own thing levelling up. What happens while he is doing dungeons? Exactly. Waste of charcters and the whole arc. Why would you do this to your characters that you have invested such little time in growing? Oh, maybe this makes a lot of sense. May as well have skipped the tutorial and pretend the novel begins afterwards.
Finally you have the MC learning magic and everything without the aid of the System. He also obtains beast allies and pets. They will guard his settlers while he is off training in the mountains again. Ah, I see, they are like turrets in Fallout 4. I understand now. They can act as mounts too and even teach the travel skill. What a bargain.
It's readable, but I ended up skimming through most of the self-training parts. It's not interesting enough to read as you realize it's the same litRPG recycled garbage. It's the characters and the decisions the authors makes that are bad in this story. If the MC was a bit more mature and interacted with others it could have been interesting. If you like a loner going into the mountains to train then you may love this story. I don't hate it but neither do I particularly like it. The writing is readable, as I said.
My recommendation is to pass this story and spend your valuable time elsewhere.
This story is a different take on the usual "System comes and knocks everything over" trope. The system itself is interesting in how it combines Class, Profession, and Race levels.
Grammar is good with little to no flaws that I can see.
The story itself has not yet gotten past the Tutorial by the time I'm writing this. There's a lot of potential in the story depending on how the author decides how the coming of the system affects Earth.
Reviewed at Ch 25. Some core stuff worth reading here, but the social and character dynamics are holding it back to feeling like another by-the-numbers power growth fantasy with too little character work.
A main character issue is the protag/antagonists themselves. Not sure I'm a fan of William on a meta level. Doesn't seem to add much, even if intended to just make the MC seem less antisocial/edgy by contrast, provide a cleaner bad guy opposite to MC than Richard. TBH, makes me want to see more from others like Jacob or Shield Guy Who Is Good #1. Give me someone to root for with agency and motivations.
Openly but irrationally sociopathic William (no reason to kill the trio, more to gain from connecting them to Richard's group and 'letting then grow') vs MC being neurotically, selfishly, myopically asocial vs Richard as social-but-Bad... the contrast is being set up but somehow they all scan as overly similar or at least equally hard to root for, with only Richard at least showing rational forethought (if scummily/clumsily). The MC isn't actively scummy to others, but neglecting/ignoring others isn't a big enough contrast to "sleazy but so far it's working to keep others safe and alive" to mark one as protag and one as antag.
Three levels of social dependency (Richard>William>MC) and social maladaption doesn't make for interesting commentary YET. William sucks, but he understands others can be useful. The MC is one moment of NOT having plot armor away from disaster with no acknowledgement of it.
No challenge has been presented that requires teaming for MC, but becoming an alchemist that can make potions or poisons for others is a synergy that'd be awesome to see explored. "Ooh, interesting, poisons are risky to experiment with and could require healing support or gatherers to help- oh, Got Skills For That, nvm, carry on."
Things so far are just a bit too tidy. MC rolls Archer class which has limitations, shows benefit of teaming with a good front liner and healer, gets enough vitality to not need anyone. K. Dungeon Challenges are a thing, but requirements are perfectly aligned to (so far) solely the MC. K. 1 dimensional awful destructive selfish nihilist DarGonz exists and MC is on the same path of strength for its own sake? K. Jacob says MC is his friend, K, but how shown in either direction?
Cool to see SOME agency, challenge (nameless workers trying to unlock profession at camp) and/or collaboration (early fights with Jacob group), but the three main driving characters are coming across pretty shallow or frustrating. MC: "oh I can make mana potions! yay stat points from discovery!" not " wonder if the healers (including that token love interest girl I forgot about) would need these/I could barter to have them help me search for other materials or items from chests."
Lotta good stuff here but the social and character dynamics so far are making it rougher going for me as a reader.
Reviewed as of chapter 159:
At first i thought it was just another Legend of Randily Ghosthound offshoot, but I’m surprised by the depth of this story so far. Things take their time as they should, and there is A LOT of potential plot for the future. things are still at their very beginnings but so far so good, no major stupid troupes or pitfalls and quite a few surprises.
Story is well structured and well written (some mistakes here and there but nothing significant).
Congrats to the author for the story and the publishing schedule we, your readers, know it is not easy to keep such a schedule.
Mainly I started reading because I like archery. Combined with poison and stealth, this is interesting to me and a bit different than many stories. I like the overall story and the author has clearly thought about the world/multiverse a lot. Good stuff, if not exactly unique.
The characters are good as well, if not great. I like that some aren't likeable and clearly have different views. A bit over the top with the metal mage, it was almost comic relief...
Grammar can be improved but is generally ok.
Now about the style... I am sorry, but this one was multiple times almost a reason for me to stop reading and I certainly skipped a few parts. The sentences themselves are ok (improved over time) but the story could be reduced to maybe half as long by removing unnecessary information. I do not need to read every minute thought a character has about a skill that he is clearly not going to take. I can think and deduce for myself that a profession that is far worse than his current one is a joke and should be disregarded without a second thought. I don't need a 3-paragraph explanation about a system mechanic that was mentioned in a past chapter.
Don't get me wrong: the system has some complicated mechanics that need to be explained some way. But the way to do it should not be via info dump by omniscient narrator. Some of it has been solved in a good way but I would suggest going over the story and embedding the information more into the actual plot. Also: sometimes short and sweet information is better than extreme detail.
Overall I think the story has a lot of potential but still has a lot of space to grow.
TL;DR: Style is too much detail and repetition which leads to skimming, grammar is fine, characters are mostly flat and clichéd and don't seem alive/real, story is nothing original up to where I've read (chapter 66). It's a mediocre LitRPG that you'll likely only enjoy if you've never read another mediocre/good LitRPG before. It's 'good', but only in the way that it's a decent amalgamations of all the current stereotypes and gives you a good idea of the 'average' LitRPG story.
If you go down a page or two in the reviews (sorting by 'top'), you'll see one of the first reviews to actually be critical of the story. Before that it's just a bunch of people for whom this is likely the first decent LitRPG novel they read. I get the feeling. I think most of us have been there, where you really like this new genre, you find your first decent story in that genre and then you sing its praises. It's like falling into the rabbit hole that is xianxia. It only takes your first mediocre xianxia-novel to make you think 'This is great!.'. Then, with experience reading more of the same troped clichés and overused story aspects, you come to see it for the mediocre story it is. This is one of those stories. Is this story good compared to some of the top stories online, like 'The Wandering Inn', 'A practical Guide to Evil', Wildbow's stories? God no. It is a mediocre story, though written in such a way that it'll win in popularity with 'newcomers'.
Anyways, I mentioned a critical review and I must agree on the point it makes on the style: too many details. I've read this story up to chapter 66 by now and I have skimmed at least half, if not more of those chapters. Because they're filled with tedious details. Stretched out fight scenes, huge detailed sections with the MC's thoughts and reactions and large descriptions of items, classes and skills. This doesn't necessarily have to be boring and tedious, but do you really care about 'basic warrior class X' or 'upgraded archer class Y' that the MC will in no way shape or form ever choose? Do you really want to hear his every detailed thought about why he doesn't take said class? Maybe at the start it's interesting, but later on it just gets tedious. The fight scenes are also relatively well-done I guess? They're detailed? But when literally every chapter has one or more fights, it gets really, really, really, really damned boring. You can only read archer going pew pew and woosh woosh with every muscle fiber being detailed before you get bored and start skimming. That's what I did. I started skimming until something new and interesting happened. Like meeting new characters or something...
That brings us to the characters. They're subpar. The sad thing is, I can barely even talk of three-dimensional characters to give some kind of proof. The only people we've really given any attention to up until chapter 66 are: Jake (MC), Jacob (MC's manager), Richard (Security company boss guy), William (Failed psycho-character) and The snake god bro. TL;DR: They're not entirely flat, but they're still boring.
Jake is the most fleshed out obviously, as he's the main character. Even he's kind of flat though. What we know of him: loner, curious, likes archery, emotionally muted, fearless (?), 'ambitious' (in the way somebody who's never seen an ambitious person might describe it). The problem is: he doesn't feel real. Even after all the monologuing, he still feels like the author's self-insert with a bit of background story. One important critique to start with: where are his flaws? I swear, this man is pretty much perfect, no? I mean, he's a loner, which some might see as a flaw, but it isn't necessarily. And he isn't a 'flawed' loner. He can be social and he can interact with people, so he's not broken. No, this man has no flaws. He isn't human. We've been in his head for 66 chapters and he still doesn't seem the slightest bit human. Everything in the story has pretty much been propping him up to be the good guy and nothing else. We find out some new things about the character, but he doesn't really change or grow in any way besides the RPG numbers.
Jacob is even worse. He doesn't really change at all, he just stays the same static character he always was: 'the one good guy who's popular and isn't a meanie to the loner MC'. Once again, he doesn't feel real. No real big flaws, nothing that elevates him out of being a stereotype. He's boring.
Richard... Ah yes, the first antagonist? Kind of? He's badass because he's the leader of a security company. I mean, sure, he could be interesting even if it's cliché, but he isn't. He's kind of the opposite of the MC and Jacob: no redeeming features. He's just a conniving, cunning asshole with leadership capabilities. Literally his whole character is that. His motivations? Getting the good shit from the tutorial obviously... because power... and strong = good. Monke like motivation. Dear god, tell us more about this character if you want us to care...
William... Oh dear god, William. He's a stereotypical psychopath in the worst way. He's the boring regurgitated trope brought to life and then some time into the story he turns out to still have a tiny bit of a heart left. How original and organic it went too. Some guy gives him stuff, tells him about his sob story and he feels tinges of human emotion. What about the people he's killed so far? Why would he care now? Plot reasons obviously. If you want even an inkling of a decent psychopath character, read a story on RR called 'Rend'. That's how you write a psycho character that is actually interesting.
The last 'character' is the god. I called him snake god 'dude' because he's just a 'dude'. He's an all-powerful divine 'dude'. He talks like a 'dude', acts like a 'dude' and doesn't go further in character than a 'dude'. Want a decent immortal/long-lived character? Read more stories where they're done properly. On the one hand, it seems to have been on purpose. The Hall master Lady also seems to find his 'dude'-ness strange. That doesn't make it better though. He doesn't act at all like you'd expect from an immortal godly being and he doesn't 'break the mold' in an entertaining way either. He's just a surfer bro stereotype.
How do you want people to care about your story, its world and inhabitants when they're boring stereotypes you can read in any of the other 1000 garbage cliché stories on this website? Well, sometimes a good story can save that. Here it doesn't. The story up to this point seems as average and cliché as it gets. A battle-royale type tutorial with people being transported after being incorporated within a new system? Woooh, never seen that before... Our MC being one of the ones who can 'adapt' and thrive, while most others are useless? Woooh, truly riveting originiality. To be fair, most people would likely fail to adapt properly in such a scenario, but still. Every single time in every single one of these stories, the MC turns into a soulless and characterless puppet that just morphs into the perfect LitRPG-survivor. It's overdone, it's unoriginal and worst of all: it's boring. I'm not sure where the story is going, but judging by the beginning of this fiction it isn't trailblazing anything.
So yeah, all in all I only recommend this story if you've never read a LitRPG before. This can be your first and most cherished LitRPG, but if you've been around for a bit, you'll likely find it clichéd and boring.
The best thing I can say about it is would be that it's exactly what you'd expect for a high rated RR litrpg novel. Is it something that any one would call good if they picked it out of a traditional published fantasy section at their local library or bookstore? Never, but you need to have lower standards when dealing with amateur writing on a place like royal road.
The style is pretty bluh. There's nothing awe inspiring but at the same time nothing outright offensive either. There's something shiny underneath the heavy amateur coat, but I don't think it's ever really going to shine through, especially because royal road doesn't incentivise writing improvement (I.e. look at the million perfect scores lol. If someone thinks this is a 5 star book I have no idea what they'd think if they picked up any average published, and edited, fantasy book at a library).
Grammar is fairly rough, but the author is on top of it and clearly tries to improve. Obviously that doesn't mean it deserves a 5 star score on grammar, but I can't be too harsh because the author does take comments to heart and fixes things.
It's an apocalypse story, nothing groundbreaking. Starting in a group mixes it up a little but not enough for it to stand out in any manner from the 50 others you can find on the internet. In a more focused critique the story also drags like hell up to the point I'm at. These first 100ish chapters would probably be less than 50 if you removed the fluff/filler. Readers don't need a paragraph for why this basic inferior skill is bad compared to the rare option. We're not morons, well at least not all of us. The crafting section is also pretty poor. Not in the sense that it's written terribly, but it just doesn't fit in the story where it was placed. The entire premise coming into the story is reading about this quiet "ranger" type battling it out in a system apocalypse setting, but here we are like 20 chapters about to dive in to reading 25 chapters of alchemy. Many of which are just rehashes of previous chapters except it's a mana potion, which is a tiny bit different to create than a health potion. It also handcuffs the author going forward. They'll need to be splitting like 1/4th of their page count going forward soley focused on alchemy because otherwise readers will pick up on how dumb it is for the MC to not be using it because of how powerful it is.
Now we've arrived at the characters, which is in the running for worst part of the novel at this point. The MC is an obvious self insert whose "deficiencies" and "weaknesses" really aren't. They don't hurt him in any meaningful way and many just aren't bad to begin with. William is a villain that I think I've seen written 100 times between this website and my AP literatue class that a teach. A pure sociopath who only follows logic, except all the times he doesn't which is rationalized as him just being crazy. Oh we'll also throw in a moment where he "feels emotion" that is totally contrived and eye roll worthy. "I'm gonna murder these 10 people and walk back into town. Oh the Smith showed me an ounce of kindness and now I'm starting to feel a little bit!". Cool class/powers though. Robert is a little better and shows that author can at least write a character that is somewhat adequate and mutlidemensional, but he's practically the only one up to this point. Everyone else is basically a 1D cutout defined by one thing.
Overall, it's perfectly passable for litRPG, the genre famous for having lower standards than my nine year when she reads fantasy books. Hopefully the author improves as they get more experience, although based on some of the comments they write in the notes of the chapters I'm not sure they really care about improving.
Also, good for the author for raking the dough off this though. They do pump out material fast (The Wandering Inn style) and that's not easy thing to do. You sacrifice a lot of quality with this style (like TWI), but it does seem to be rewarded/preferred in this genre.
Edit: added spoilers for story stuff. Sorry for that.
First thing to take out the way. Grammar. It's good. Nothing really jumps to mind in regards to mistakes. That being said, English is my second language, so there may be things I did miss.
Secondly, Style. Solid. But also not fantastic or awe-inspiring.
Character and Story. That's where things dip a little and need a longer explanation. I also think they both should be talked about at the same time, as their quality heavily relies upon each other.
The first thing to say, the characters are good. Personalities, goals, motivations, and all that stuff are good and consistent. POVs of all the other characters are enjoyable. It was really cool to see one of the antagonists' backstory. What is bad is how characters and MC interact. Or, better said, not interact. It is really strange how the author balances the story like that, because when they do interact? It is good. Very, very good, but instead of capitalizing on that, the author instead is keen on isolating the MC from all other people time and time again. You can see examples in the spoiler below.
First, it was a dungeon where Jake spends almost 20 chapters by his lonesome doing alchemy. Not gonna lie, to this day it is the worst part of this story. Seeing Jake doing nothing interesting while we are fed POVs of faction war and drama by secondary characters was very frustrating and made me gloss over most of his scenes just to get to interludes faster. They were the only thing keeping me from ditching the story.
Now, instead of a dungeon, Jake isolates himself from his own settlement by the mysterious and scary persona he created. Not only that, but Miranda, the one person willing to speak to him like a normal human being, is now afraid to offend him because of reasons. Granted, she is getting better now and her reasons are understandable (if a bit extreme IMO), but still. Is all that in character? Yes. Is it good to have MC not interact with others and put focus on fights? Not if you want to get a good story.
Honestly, it feels like a deliberate move by the author, but I just can't understand why if that's the case. They can do characters, they can do interactions and dialogue, why don't they do it more often?
The fights themselves are not bad, but they are not a substitute for the story, especially if they don't carry any weight behind them besides a desire for leveling. It is cool to see how Jake can take that monster or the other, but I would rather read more of Jake actually interacting with people instead of another mindless monster fight or profession grinding. There needs to be a balance between them all, but all I can see is alchemy technobabble and fight scenes outweighing all other parts of the story.
Thankfully, it seems that a major event will soon begin and I can only hope that meeting all other powerful people there will result in interactions between them. The presence of the samurai elder who is personally interested in Jake as well as his coworkers and family is bound to make it interesting. Hopefully, it will be more than just Jake telling Miranda to deal with it and going away to fight monsters alone. Again.
Despite all my criticism, it is still a good story. Not great or without flaws, but enjoyable nonetheless. And I'm very eager to see how it'll continue. I just wish the author played more to their strength and put more emphasis on characters and dialogue rather than getting MC more powerful and making numbers go up.