- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
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. Also, this novel is only posted on Royalroad, Patreon, and my Amazon releases, so if you are reading it elsewhere, it's pirated and you suck if you keep reading.
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First of all, and one of the main reasons I love this novel: the "classes" the MC has. I read like dozens of novels and none had this particular combo, which paired with quite an interesting and somewhat balanced system makes it worth a read alone.
As regarding to the plot as it is I like it, I fear what awaits when the world will be explained further but I believe in the Author's skills.
The title says it all. The story is decent; the world is cliche enough, a combination of apocalyptic modern world with litrpg system. The system, though, is quite interesting and original (as far as I know.)
The story started very good, with the plot moving along with characters' progression (emotional and stats-wise). But the more popular the story gets, the more padded it becomes. Lately, even the author themselves seems to acknowledge it.
"Want to read the next plot moving part? Join my Patreon!"
Or something like that. It's getting worse lately. He's hunting monkey right now, it's been six chapters, and I don't think we're even close to the middle of it. The monkey-hunting story got so padded that it almost as long as a story arc.
Again, the story is decent enough. I'd recommend this, but don't get your hope too high.
To begin with, I do like the story and the world the author introduces. The class system seems interesting and the MC is a character I like.
That said I will not continue reading this story, even though I enjoyed my time with it for the most part (well, until I decided enough is enough)
If you enjoy very detailed descriptions of actions performed in combat scenes and of reasoning behind choices made, then by all means give this story a try.
Though if those points raise some concerns do continue reading this review, where I'll point out what I disliked about this story.
An often noted issue people have with this story is the heavy focus on characters that are not very likeable and even though I agree, this is NOT the reason for why I have to drop this.
It is the very detailed description of every little thing the MC does, his reasoning for his choices, his actions in combat, just everything is detailed out at every given point in time.
Every now and then, especially for important choices or strong enemies I appreciate a detailed description of what is going on, but reading every combat encounter in detail gets tedious and I do not see the point of giving a long reasoning for all his skill choices every time they occur.
A few important skills, difficult choices between two or similar skills, sure that's welcome, but not ALL and for sure not every time.
Not only is it tedious reading everything happening with the MC in such detail it also reduces the pacing of the story to a snails crawl whenever the chapter has the focus on the MC.
As such, I actually welcomed the chapters focusing on sidecharacters because it usually means that there will be some progression at the point we switch back to the MC.
I would have liked if instead the pacing was faster and thus we would be further in the story, or focus more on the psychological side of what is happening to the people in the tutorial and how they come to the drastic decisions they make just days in the tutorial.
I mean, they kill each other just DAYS in the tutorial GUESSING that the tutorial gives better rewards for fewer survivors (it's only stated that it is based on the amount of survivors).
Instead this is sadly brushed aside and we only get insight into one particularly unlikeable character (we all know who I am referring to).
Now, the focus on the psychological side is only a suggestion for what could have been done with the freed up space form increasing the pacing on MC's chapters and would have required the author to do further research regarding this, so it only stands as a suggestion and not as critique.
This story is currently in the first place for popularity so I thought to give it a try and I honestly don't understand why it's placed so high. It just has so many problems that completely overpower all of the good and enjoyable parts. It keeps making the same mistakes with no signs of improvement or change, so if you don't like the beginning you will probably not enjoy the rest of this story.
On the other hand it is popular and it has relatively high rating so maybe I'm the problem. Take into account that this is just my opinion and that your reading experience might be different.
Let's go over some good things about this story.
Overall combat is good. In many fights MC approaches fights tactically, thinks how best to use his skillset against that specific enemy and doesn't just go into every fight axe swinging and wins through sheer stubbornness and plot armor.
System seems well thought out. Skills are interesting and can add additional depth to subsequent fights. Stats actually affect physical world and are not just numbers on a page. Upgrading skills requires more understanding into those skills and can even be influenced by MC discovering different ways to use resources and merging those effects into existing skills. So over time his skills reflect more and more his fighting style and his class is tailored specific for him and his, lets call it, way of life.
Something that isn't really bad or good and is more expected from this genre of stories.
Multiple times MC does risky, tough and often times things that should end in his death but somehow powers through them and in the end gets better and better rewards.
Now for bad things.
First and foremost POV changes. To say that they are done badly would be an understatement. In the tutorial arc alone (around 110 chapters), there are so many different POVs that eventually lead to absolutely nothing. I'm not kidding. Throughout that whole arc I thought that author is trying to build a villain that will eventually culminate in an epic fight to the death with the MC, but that is not what happend. This whole parallel storyline is entirely pointless and can be skipped completely. Everything that is important to the story MC finds out without all of those side POVs. And that is without even looking at that villain and the content of those chapters. Pure existence of those chapters hurts this story more than it adds anything to it. This is the first time in my life where I have read a story where a villain has a bigger plot armor than the MC. Multiple times, people that want to kill him decide against it with some poor excuses that no human alive would ever make. What is even worse, those people are supposed to be smart and when they act like idiots those chapter become even more of a joke.
If you decide to read this story I promise that you will have a better reading experience if you skip all side POVs from inside the tutorial. You can read Jacobs POV starting from around chapter 70 if you want to understand what exactly happend but even that is not really that necessary because MC will find out most of the important details that happend behind the scenes and you will most likely be able to connect the dots.
The only reason that I can see for those side POVs existing is that without them there wouldn't really be any other characters because MC doesn't really interact with other people throught this story that much.
This trend with side POVs unfortunately continues even after the tutorial is over. You are forced to read about characters that you simply don't care about. Some of those chapters get even worse by not really containing anything relevant to the story. They are just introspections about shallow characters that just add more word count and nothing else.
I'm guessing that the author wanted to add deapth and scale to the story but it simply falls flat. If i am supposed to care about anything other than the MC, than he should get involved with those characters. Why should I care about some random character if the only thing that the MC cares about is fighting stronger beasts and getting stronger.
The second really bad thing about this story is the pacing. In the first arc I don't think that there is enough content for even 50 chapters. Every time the MC gets to choose a skill he usually gets offered around 5 skill options and every single time there is an overly long description of those skills with an in depth explanation of how MC thinks those skills work and why he doesn't want to pick them. This is made worse by those skill usually consisting of 4 weak or useless ones and 1 good, so there isn't really any choice or question of which skill he will pick. Chapters are constantly plagued by inner monologues of choices, decisions, thoughts about every conceivable thing that you can think of, that in the end just stall the story and bring the pace to a snails crawl.
If the author went back and removed all of the uneccessary parts, there might be 40 chapters left out of 110. Just so you understand how empty this story is I'll add in the spoiler below overall content in the first arc, I'm not going to say what happend but it might spoil the story a little bit and I might miss some things.
First you have the introduction like in every other isekai or post system apocalypse story, nothing special. One challenge dungeon, some alchemy, four normal dungeons and a final boss of the tutorial. There are some character interactions, not many, maybe four chapters worth after the introduction. There are as far as I can remember six enemy types with some of them having elite or boss variants without counting the final boss. I might have forgotten some but not many. Outside of the dungeons there are a few fights, mostly in the beginning. And that is it.
The reason why I gave it such a low rating, at least for RR, is that all of the problems continue after the tutorial arc. There has been ample feedback, some more rude which is not OK than other, in the comments but nothing seems to be changing.
Overall this is not a bad story. It can be fun if you skip or skim all of the unimportant content. And that is in my opinion the most grievous mistake an author can make when writing a story. There are whole chapters that you can straight up skip and not feel lost when reading further. There shouldn't be a single paragraph that you should be able to skip in a story without feeling lost.
I don't want to get too much into characters but they are your RR average even though a lot of chapters are devoted to side characters. Considering the effort put into side characters they should be a lot more fleshed out. MC is your typical psychopathic protagonist.
In closing I would recommend reading this story once a month, just so you can skip all of the filler and get some progress out of it anyway, which isn't really possible if you read chapters as they come out.
The Primal Hunter (PH) is, at times, a notch above the deluge of LitRPG/System Apocalypse stories on RR. Not a bad thing since I love the concept no matter how often I’m disappointed by the execution. As a light hearted read, it’s fairly entertaining and contains a bit more depth than the other LitRPG/SysPoc giants on RR.
Nonetheless, I believe PH's quality degraded after the introductory arc (the tutorial) while slowly drowning within the stylistic issues present since the beginning.
===== Story & Character(s) =====
--- Tutorial Arc: ---
The Tutorial arc of Primal Hunter is a controversial section to a number of reviewers. To some, the tutorial is an odd split of priorities between diverging plot lines which isolate the MC from a more engaging series of events. Others might see meta-symbolism that exemplifies the characteristics of our MC which sets the tone for how the strongest individuals rise to power in PH's new-world-system.
As a fan of multiple-POV's and dynamic plot weaving, the narrative structure of the Tutorial arc places me firmly into the latter group. Regardless of the complaints, the plots do come together – and quite spectacularly at that. Misunderstandings, deceit, paranoia, delusional maniacs, and tragedy preemptively set a grand stage before the MC heads off to a challenging and well-fought boss battle. It feels complete – like a well-earned reward. The result is as much a standalone package as a setup for the larger narrative.
The secondary characters feel distinct yet reasonably flexible in this arc as well:
- Insane Guy is insane but has a heart
- Boss/Friend Dude is a socialite and trusts others to an unhealthy degree yet gets burned and learns from it
- The Big Strong Guy is big and strong but has a heart
- Casper is not a ghost but has a ghost friend
- and so on
For real though, each side character displays strong traits that are rarely rigid, often unravelling when tested or broken. The MC is the only downside. While his traits work thematically, I found his persona either blasé or off-putting. His views are milk-toast, typically circumnavigating difficult discussions or mature perspectives. Luckily, the MC is somewhat cognizant of his faults and plans for them when necessary.
Tutorial Arc Scores:
- Story: 5 poisoned arrows out of 5.
- Character(s): 3.5 boss battles out of 5.
--- Post-Tutorial Arcs: ---
The Post Tutorial arc is something else entirely.
Gone is the content of interesting side characters that create tension and rivalry for our stupidly strong MC (who, by the way, lists “stupidly strong” as his only defining trait on Tinder).
Instead, the audience receives little more than a monotonous MMORPG EXP Grind – bundled in an excessive dose of over-simplified task summaries and ruminations. Toss in a half-baked kingdom/base building motif – explored just enough to piss off anyone who actually enjoys the genre – and what's left feels like a hollow cash-grab of redundant proportions.
Luckily, Zogarth is graceful enough to supply the audience with hints of intriguing characters:
- Some chick over here who punches things
- Some old guy over there who has a sword
- Maybe others, I don’t remember
However, they are rare and only serve up timid or subservient reactions to MC's presence before dipping out to SomewhereWithEngagingPlot-Land so the MC can return to the Grind.
The rest of the cast are typical runaways who need a big, strong man to save them in coincidentally desperate situations. They're immediately inducted as citizens of the Primal Paradise, simply farting out the occasional “thanks” and “hello” before shuffling away (probably to die of scurvy in some damp, utilitarian hovel) while the MC lives the reclusive masochist’s dream of running away from forced leadership responsibilities.
Now then, we have the Kingdom Building element. Why? It’s such a poor choice relative to the MC’s modus operandi. He wins the Tutorial through individual strength and grit. He took the lone-wolf path and overcame the challenge. Dank. Why would he ever involve himself in a kingdom at all? Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing reclusive characters break out of a shell to leave The Comfort Zone. It’s a great mechanism to explore. Complex interactions are guaranteed - and it’s a chance for the author to show comprehension of the characters. Is that what happens in PH?
But it could!
So, what are we left with?
The mopey, go-hunty, Mr. “DontTalktoMe” Pants, who spends chapter after chapter doing the same handful of mundane tasks with the same boring monologues and impressions that add little to the story or reader engagement. More on this in Style.
Post-Tutorial Arcs Scores
- Story: 1 primitive cave painting out of 5.
- Character(s): 2 cardboard cutouts out of 5.
===== Style & Grammar =====
Zogarth leans heavily on the MC’s “insights” for the bulk of PH’s content. MC finds something, spends several paragraphs looking at that something, thinks about the things the something can do, etc. The package is a blast of egregiously banal impressions through a Frankenstein combination of narration, character thoughts, and bland summarization.
If someone made a movie of PH in its current form and removed the audio, a disturbing amount of screen time would be dedicated to the MC staring at an assortment of magical things, unmoving like a sloth frozen in super-cooled molasses.
In fact, this is the ultimate issue with the big LitRPG/SysPoc giants on RR. So much of their content is wrapped up in the pink-slime equivalent of narrative flow. We're drowned in a passive, unengaging, and unappetizing buffet aimed at mindless consumption. Based on the success of PH – I'm know that plenty of people absolutely love this, but it’s something I can only stomach for short bursts - and rarely will I finish the meal.
---- Interlude Note ----
When I read a story, I’m like an ethereal, transcendental pixie on a set of tracks in a world I only - “see” - but cannot interact with. It’s like a pixie-roller-coaster-ride. What I “see” is hand-selected and mind-crafted by the author... and is usually one of several things:
- the quality of the character(s)
- the quality of the world
- a character’s interactions with the world or other characters, and/or
- the thoughts of the character
So here I am, a pixie on the tracks, watching a character sit down to stare at arrows, and I get a main-line injection to him thinking... about arrows. The scene, the image in my mind, is a dude sitting down and staring at stuff. SUPER BORING!
The scene isn’t moving. It’s frozen. It’s a scenic pause -- and the scene blows. My ride is parked, and all I see is the operator who’s three puffs shy of hitting the filter on his Camel Blue, staring at the fading light of a late-autumn sunset, thinking about the all the choices that made him the operator of the pixie-roller-coaster-ride at the Family Dollar store.
It’s not fun. He’s not having fun. I’m not having fun. And I have to ask, “What’s the point of this ride?”
Finally, the grammar in PH is not particularly bad. It's rarely flowery, distinct, or bold, but it's easily readable and certainly one of PH's stronger elements.
The only thing that stands out to me is the passive voice – a general problem for RR novels (and my own writing) - but the slog is real. The biggest offense, and my greatest pet-peeve, is the word “had.”
I'll pick a random chapter as an example (63, “Arrows”).
Chapter 63 contains forty-four instances of “had” in 2800 words. That means that for every 200 words - “had” shows up an average of three times. A word which rarely adds anything to the context. Here’s the first paragraph of Chapter 63:
By now, the entire valley was thoroughly cleaned up. Herbs, lockboxes, even beasts were all gone. It had taken hours, and the sun had gone down quite a while ago, but Jake was more than satisfied. While he had managed to get another level, it was the loot that made him most pleased.
53 words. Three “had” instances. That's four times the average for this chapter – in the first paragraph! Seriously though, it’s an obnoxious filler that dilutes meaning with a minor debuff to engagement.
A pretty easy fix too:
By now, the entire valley was thoroughly cleaned up. Herbs, lockboxes, even beasts were all gone. It took hours, and the sun set quite a while ago, but Jake was more than satisfied. While he managed to get another level, it was the loot that made him most pleased.”
Honestly, small potatoes --> and a bit high-horsed of me to call out considering that, I too, fall into passive structures.
- Style: 1.5 insights out of 5.
- Grammar: 3 alchemy potions out of 5.
End Results with Averages:
- Story: 2.5 stars
- Character(s): 3 stars
- Style: 1 star
- Grammar: 3 stars
- Overall: 3 rounded-up stars
===== End Note =====
I certainly unloaded a lot on this story (which I feel is justified), but if this discouraged you from reading PH, then consider this:
PH is incredibly popular – and that's not really a fluke. Like I said, it’s readable and the author knows how to set up a wild ride with complex plots. There’s always that hope that the scattered pieces of the new arc(s) will come together to blow people away again.
I just can’t get past the stylistic fluff when the recent plot complexity fell off a cliff.
I've lurked for years, and its always nice to stumble along a hidden gem. I found this just casually browsing, and really wasn't expecting too much, but so far, the plot and lore have been interesting, the characters have good depth, although a little bit of plot armour, but the story is fantastic and has been a really engaging read. This is the reason why i search through royal road for novels
Author needs to go back to the first 100 chapters and cut out chapters or condense it greatly. Too many chapters conveying information readers already know or doesn't need to know.
As for reading this?
It's another litrpg story that follows the same formula often found within this genre. If you've read litrpg stories you know what to expect by now when it comes to the main character and story beats. Jake is a cardboard cutout of a litrpg main character. The guy's introverted, lacks social skill and likes to keep to himself. Before his new life? It was boring and mundane and he felt like he's was always missing something until now. Now, he revels and excel in the new setting he's found himself in. Sound familiar? Yeah it's been done over and over, again, and again.
You're gonna find Jake training a lot. Looting a lot. Fighting a lot on repeat. God, there is so much chapters focus on pointless details and combat you can just skip most of it and you wouldn't be missing out on much. All it does is stall the story to a glacial and boring pace.
I've read 200+ chapters and followed this story through every update for months, its clearly readable and a decent distraction. However my enjoyment has slowly diminished and my excitement at a new chapter is gone. Now I'll let a few collect and skim instead of read as they release.
Why? The story lacks a plot to drive it forward. Six of every 10 chapters are a senseless fight, 3 are alchemy mixing things yet again for a boost, and the 10th is either a conversation to hint that maybe a plot might come around or it's a level up chapter for massive gains.
If you've read 10 chapters, you've read everything you'll ever encounter in this story.
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 (at the time of this review; 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.
Everything happens for a reason. In this story, that reason is always the same: plot. Characters make decisions according to what suits the plot, not their actual motives - if they have enough depth of personality to have coherent motives. The consequences of a decision always suit the plot, not what makes sense. A character makes a straight up stupid choice, and it works because the author wills it so.
There's other challenges, besides. Biggest is that the author is big on "telling" instead of "showing," and based on some author comments, I suspect that the author doesn't entirely have a grasp on the difference yet.
Still, all that being said, if you turn off your brain completely and just go along for the ride, it's enjoyable enough. Not amazing, but enjoyable.
I'd say that this author actually has a great deal of potential. My guess is that they're quite young (a teenager is my guess) - and if that's true, they're downright brilliant. The technical skill (grammar, etc) is far from perfect, but still solid. Regardless l If this is early writing, without a proper editor - it's good stuff. Early attempts at writing are never good in the scheme of things.
So I don't want the author to be discouraged. And, again, if readers can turn off their brains, it's a fun ride. Still, the author needs a lot more practice, and this is a good way to get it.