Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity

When humanity first encountered alien life, we were judged and found wanting.  

The Galactic Consensus interviewed our leaders and subjected us to a battery of psychological tests to determine our progress as a society.  They found us to be selfish, wasteful, impulsive, and boorish neighbors.  Earth was blockaded and our collective encounter with our extrasolar neighbors rapidly faded from memory.

All they left behind was a hypercomm relay and a handful of subscriptions to a massively multiplayer game that participants played in their sleep.  The Consensus said that it would let us interact with our neighbors in a controlled setting.  That it would teach us to be better members of the galactic community.

The megacorporations that controlled Earth ignored the game until they learned that the powers earned from clearing dungeons were just as real when day broke.  Magic, supernatural abilities and rumors exploded from nothing and a subscription to The Tower of Somnus became a status symbol.

Katherine ‘Kat’ Debs doesn’t have much, but it could be worse.  Born in an arcology, she was assigned a job in the megacorporation that raised her almost as soon as she could work.  Despite the stability of her corporate life, she wanted something more.  A chance to claw her way up the rigid social and financial ladder to make something of herself.

A chance that wouldn’t come naturally to someone as familiar with dark alleyways and the glint of steel as she was with office work and corporate niceties.

Book One is up on Kindle Unlimited as of 7/6/22 - https://www.royalroad.com/amazon/B0B2X3L8H5

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Cocop (Cale Plamann)

Cocop (Cale Plamann)

Founding Member of the Zard Skwad

60 Reviews
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600 Review Upvotes
Word Count (16)
Royal Writathon October 2020 winner
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Memorable Acts
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Table of Contents
61 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Prologue ago
Chapter 1 ago
Chapter 8 ago
Epilogue - Book One ago
Interlude ago
Book Two - Chapter One ago
Chapter 2 ago
Chapter 38 ago
Chapter 39 - End of Book Two ago
Book Three - Chapter One ago
Chapter 2 ago
Chapter 3 ago
Chapter 4 ago
Chapter 5 ago
Chapter 6 ago
Chapter 7 ago
Chapter 8 ago
Chapter 9 ago
Chapter 10 ago
Chapter 11 ago
Chapter 12 ago
Chapter 13 ago
Chapter 14 ago
Chapter 15 ago
Chapter 16 ago
Chapter 17 ago
Chapter 18 ago
Chapter 19 ago
Chapter 20 ago
Chapter 21 ago
Chapter 22 ago
Chapter 23 ago
Chapter 24 ago
Chapter 25 ago
Chapter 26 ago
Chapter 27 ago
Chapter 28 ago
Chapter 29 ago
Chapter 30 ago
Chapter 31 ago
Chapter 32 ago
Chapter 33 ago
Chapter 34 ago
Chapter 35 ago
Chapter 36 ago
Chapter 37 ago
Chapter 38 ago
Chapter 39 ago
Chapter 40 ago
Chapter - 41 ago
Book III - Epilogue ago
BOOK IV - Shareholder - Chapter 1 ago
Book 4 - Chapter 2 ago
Chapter 3 ago
Chapter 4 and BOOK RELEASE ago
Chapter 5 ago
Chapter 6 ago
Chapter 7 ago
Chapter 8 ago

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{ Edit at end of Book 1.
I'm bumping my story score to 5. Everything leading up to the end of book 1 was very satisfying. Well worth the read.}

Almost half a novel's worth of writing done in this story and it's fantastic. I'm not usually a fan of mixing VR-like and real life in a LitRPG story, but the author went ouf of his way to make the real world interesting and relevant.

While I enjoy the VR-like/LitRPG aspect, I actually enjoy the cyberpunk street samurai corporate dystopia world even more, where their powers from the VR carry over. The world building is great and it feels like the characters are walking around in a real world.

Style: I was already a fan of the author's general writing style, so this was a bit of a no brainer for me. 

Grammar: The grammar is excellent. There are a few areas where the prose is a little rough, but there are very few, if any, grammatical mistakes. Even with that, he's writing it incredibly fast so if there were things that stood out, I wouldn't be too mad.

Story: I'm a big picture type of reader. I tend to look for the overarching plot, so without that I can't yet give it 5 stars. We haven't reached a critical point where the story turning point happens. When we get there, I'll update my review accordingly.

Character: The characters are very good. The MC is a great character. I wouldn't continue reading if she weren't. That being said, my favorite charcter is actually the one I love to hate in the story. If I can love a character that was written to be hated, you've got my vote.

Definitely give this story a shot.


A great start crippled by the protagonist & stakes

Reviewed at: Chapter 30

Tower of Somnus is a great story that manages to create a compelling narrative and world in a very short amount of time. Except Kat, all other characters are fun, unique, and feel realistic. Kat, however, is a hypocritical Mary Sue that always manages to make feel little more than irritation towards her, as she kills kills and kills again without any remorse only to be rewarded with praise by the very aliens that condemned human for their internal conflicts.

This alone would not be enough to bring the story below a 4.5/5 rating, but the sheer jump in stakes between the end of book 2 and the start of book 3 left me so extremely unsatisfied. Even if you have not read the story, I suggest reading the spoiler below.

Book 2 ends with the shocking revelation that the only "bad aliens" we've been introduced to are trying to take control of Earth by kidnapping and duplicating the important members of the megacorporations that control the planet. The day is saved when Kat manages to spread this information to the whole world.

Literally a couple of chapters into Book 3 and we're told "Oh, nobody cared really", and I was like FUCK NO. The ending of Book 1 made it REALLY clear that the powerful people in the world are powerful because of their paranoia, they don't leave any stone unturned and no threat, no matter how small, is left to fester. And you're telling me that after a CONFIRMED CONSPIRATION involving aliens is uncovered, everyone except three people (Which are Kat + 2 other important characters), just goes about their day as fucking normal? No, I'm sorry, this is illogical and baffling. It doesn't help that throughout Book 3 Kat and her "gang" composed of 3 people goes around shutting the aliens down.

The story has reached a point of no return, and I don't see any way to fix this, except to literally scrap the last book and rewrite it from the beginning.


Starts strong but fades

Reviewed at: Chapter 30

I enjoyed the story at the beginning, but the story has failed to continue to capture my interest. There is a dichotomy between the real world and the virtual world. I have always been more interested in the virtual world portion of the story with the real word portion adding flavor to the happenings in that world. The plot for both early was engaging, but now both storylines have degraded to the point that nothing interesting is being advanced in the virtual world, and the real world plot isn't really advancing at all either. There is no character growth happening, no suspense or intrigue. I have become completely uninvested in anything happening in the story anymore. I give it 3 stars due to the strong early performance but the story has faded hard enough that I no longer wish to continue reading. 


This may seem like a harsh review, but for a story that is on the front page of top ongoing fictions, this one has some serious problems that I was surprised to see.

Grammar: The grammer in this is fine, I didn't notice any particular problems with it.

Style: I'm ok with this, not particularly elegant prose, but nothing wrong with it.

Story: Not particularly original, building on a lot of other tower climbing/alien apocolypse stories on this website. I do like the mix of the inside tower outside tower scenes. It is done in a somewhat believable way that makes sense within the universe of the world. That said, it isn't really explained why technologically advanced aliens have chosen to use magic as the mechanism for their advancement, nor how this makes any sense, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt given that this isn't something the characters in the book would know.

Characters: The elephant in the room. The story is predicated on the idea that humans have been put on probation for joining the galactic community because they are so bad at cooperation that they fight each other and try to bribe/like to all the aliens of the galactic community. All well and good, we have a setting of a corporate cyber-punk future so that makes sense. Along comes our protaganist: A street rat who is nevertheless good at everything she has ever tried. Others have pointed out that she is a Mary-Sue. This is probably true, but not my biggest problem with her character. The problem is that the aliens take her on as an exemplar of her species who doesn't display any of the problem characteristics of humans. She can cooperate, she can work with a team, she can be trusted. But her actions when she is in the human world are totally against this idea. She has no problems killing people, and experiences no emotional trauma from frequently mowing down enemies. Not only that, she often makes no effort to preserve the lives of other humans. She frequently takes dangerous missions against other gangs for no other reason but money. As one commentor said, she kills people who are exactly like her, they work for a gang, they work for money, they aren't bad guys any more than she is.

Having a morally questionable main character is a perfectly fine choice, the problem is the inconsistancy. The aliens like her because she is different from the other humans, but on earth she acts exactly the same as all the other evil humans. That would be an interesting plot point but it isn't played for tension at all. The aliens don't know what she is doing back home, so they just carry on as if they are dealing with the only saintly human.

There are plenty of other problems I have with the story, but this was the one that made me drop it after reading through the entire first book. Go ahead and have a morally neutral character, go ahead and have a sociopathic character, but don't pretend like that isn't who they are. Have the world react to the actions of your character, don't make it so that everyone likes them regardless. That is the central problem with a Mary-Sue. It isn't that they are super powerful, it is that the world bends around them in ways that isn't believable, just because they are the main character. I think there is a salvageable story here, but it would require a major re-write because the character flaws have a huge impact on the story.


Humanity lives in a dystopian future shaped by first contact with aliens decades before. As stated in the synopsis, aliens judged humans and found them wanting. However, they gave humanity access to a game called Tower of Somnus that all the other discovered peoples across the galaxy subscribe to.

Tower of Somnus isn't just a game but something more: When you sleep, you enter the game, and the power you gain in ToS carries over into the real world. Becoming a player is something that people on the lower rungs of society can only dream about.

Due to a certain circumstance, the main character, Kat, gets the opportunity to become a player.

Kat was already living a double life as a runner of goods/information while being a student. The story explores how Kat balances entering the workforce, her illegal running operations, and venturing forth with newfound alien friends inside of ToS while gaining levels/advancing through the tower's floors.

Kat is an excellent progression fantasy MC because she starts off scrappy out of the gate. She works hard, is top of her class, and is a potent fighter with a knife. When she enters ToS, it very much feels like it's a kind of setting that she was born to do well in thanks to her fighting instincts and general good sense of logic/reason.

The action scenes both IRL (people die; knife fights are legit) and in ToS are described well. Coco has a good grasp of martial arts and I think that definitely helps to add some realism to some of the action sequences.

I must also commend Coco for making a detestable yet highly realistic manipulative "friend" in Arnold. He's an antagonist done well: you can see why he's maybe doing the things he's doing, but at the same time he's pathetic, desperate, and creepy. He's the kind of person you hope you never get tangled up with.

Update: as of latest chapter is still going strong!


Throwing daggers are a WMD.

Reviewed at: Chapter 4


Reading this story makes me wonder why guns were ever invented considering throwing daggers are so much better at killing people. 

The MC is a hyper competent Mary Sue. 

The setting and backdrop are pretty interesting, however, the characters all feel a bit flat, and there don't really seem to be any real stakes, since you know the MC is going to succeed at whatever she attempts. Also, if someone is going to do a complete 180 on everything that they believe, you should at least show that in a way that makes logical sense.

I do like the aliens, for the most part. It does make sense that some species would be at least curious about humanity. I think humanity would be a lot more curious about the aliens, and probably be a lot less antagonistic toward them. 

I didn't really notice any problems with the grammar, so no problems there. 

I think the fight scenes could be much improved by adding some depth to the enemies and attempt to treat them like professionals instead of effectively exp for the MC as well as take a hard look at the strengths and weaknesses of the various weapons that you put into your story.


Crippled by bad characters

Reviewed at: Chapter 36

This novel has an interesting core idea, combining it's VRMMO feeling game world with the real one *because aliens*.  And the genre fiction writing is quite decent.  But there are a few things that end up detracting from it.

  There are plenty of glowing reviews  here so this review will cover why you might not enjoy it.

1.  The main character is a hyper competent Mary Sue, only slightly-justified. She's a gymnast/martial artist/streetwise runner/highschool valedictorian who also holds down a part time job and tutors both her bf and her sister...

2. Despite being hyper competent, she gets stupid beyond any reasonable belief when the plot needs her to.  

She's so blinded to her love interests weirdly huge face-turn as to make excuses for it, she goes into one heist to ask 'lets go over the plan' even when she already knows there is no plan

3. Other characters are all flat &black and white - any that feature for any length of time are either loyal and friendly, or just despicablely vile.  

Previous love interest goes from helpful and nice to misgynistic overconfident asshole in 0 seconds flat.  And then he helps arrange her sisters kidnapping by thugs.

4. If you don't think reading many chapters worth of enemies getting various tendons, arteries, or muscles cut is a great thing, might not be for you.  Overall the combat is competently described but it feels like it's written by the guy who has to overexplicate EVERY hit's anatomical damage at the gaming table.

Points #2& #3 cripple the novel most for me.  Almost like the author cut the novels hamstring with his poor characters.


Enjoyable, but needs to pick a moral lane

Reviewed at: Chapter 4

I think this fic has a lot going for it.

I enjoyed the setting.  The mashup of cyberpunk with alien first contact with an immersive MMO that you can take powers from into RL is interesting.

I found the main character likeable... though there is the caveat that this is a YA fic.  

By that, I mean that the protagonist is a teenager who is nonetheless more intelligent, skilled and capable than people decades her senior with a lot more resources because of, um, reasons, and is a key participant in basically everything important going on because of, er, other reasons, probably.  If examining whether any of that makes sense is important to your enjoyment of a fic, YA is probably not the sub-genre for you.

I think my primary issue with this fic is the lack of any consistent moral tone to the fic.

We're told that the human race is a uniquely immoral race that needs to be shunned by the galactic community (who find it difficult to even comprehend how corrupt and selfish humans are), and that the MC is this uniquely special person who is somehow better than other humans.

What we're shown is that the galactic community is kind of just like humanity, with human-comprehensible conflicts and schemes.  More problematically, we're shown an MC that's far from a moral paragon by any rational measure, to the extent that we're shown her personally murdering innocent people on occasion as part of her mercenary job, with zero emotional impact.

I think it's perfectly fine to have the MC be a pure-hearted hero.  It's also perfectly fine to have the MC be someone who's just trying to make a buck, and if they have to shank someone who's in their way, well, that's how life goes sometimes.  You have to pick one, though.


Tower Climbing with an Alien Touch

Reviewed at: Chapter 23

The novel begins with an excellent introduction of MC in a dystopic cyberpunk society run by out-of-control megacorporations.  She gets a tower invite, like a virtual civilization-spanning tower MMORPG that happens in your dreams.  Humans are hated there, and Kat still finds an alien team.  It makes use of the whole 'sufficiently advanced tech is magic' trope.

Lower on character scoring.  The author does a great job of showing why humans are hated and try to convince us Kat is supposed to be different.  Whelp, she isn't.  In real life, she's a shadow-runner-Esque girl with tower-powers who gets involved with less than legal activities.  Instead of embracing this, the story presents Kat as a moral paragon for humanity.  Hypocrisy doesn't work for me.   I did enjoy Kat's interactions with her family, but not the author's fascination with in-world made-up TV sentai shows.

Style-wise I enjoyed the back and forth setting, switching between the tower and the dystopia.  I thought book one was well-plotted, thrilling, and ended well.  Book two is meandering and has introduced/spotlighted new characters that didn't grab my interest. 

Grammar-wise, what I didn't enjoy was the author's insistence on using they/them for one of their aliens.  I wish the style/grammar had been ze/zhem or something else as the grammar level here leads to confusing sentence structures like 'They went with them.'  An alternate format of 'Ze went with them.' would be more readable.

A story I once followed, and I am leaving a review as thanks.  


Great start so far.  Good grammar.  All we've seen so far is coorporate dystopia.  The litrpg is  just being introduced and I'm looking forward to it.  Characters seem believable enough and 3 dimensional.   

Can Kat escpape corporate slavery?  This story has a ton of potential.  

Adding to the review at chapter 25.  Still only a little bit of RPG, but I don't care.  This is a very character centric novel and Kat is a really good character.  The real world action is all really well written.