Tower of Somnus
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.
Cover art by Faewild
Coloring/shading by KrazeKode
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Book One was a National Novel Writing Month/Writeathon entry. Book one has zero editing or proofreading.
As a warning, this WILL eventually go to Kindle Unlimited (meaning each book will come down shortly before I publish it).
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It's the future and the proles suffer under the corporate boot...
The author has clearly carefully thought this out. The setting is pitch-perfect. Everything is explained and internally consistent. Nobody holds an idiot ball without a good explanation. When a character does grab onto an idiot ball, the reason for doing so are believably explained.
Does Kat hold the idiot ball? It's because she is in love or overawed by Arnold's social status.
Does Arnold hold the idiot ball? It's because he is impulsive and a poor planner
Does Anna hold the idiot ball? It's because she is an idiot.
Thus characters remain believable and consistent.
The narrative of the story, in the game and outside of it, mesh perfectly. The two narrative threads impact and enhance each other. I don't think I've seen this handled this well before on RR.
The only minor quibble I could have with this is that Belle could have used more foreshadowing. Without this, her interaction in the final chapter of Book 1 is a bit like a deus ex machina. However, this can be overlooked as, by the final chapter you should be fully aware you are reading CyberPunk and her reveal jibes perfectly with the genre.
This is basically ready for publication.
I have to give 5/5 for style, 5/5 for the story and, 5/5 for the characterization.
The grammar is perfect too so 5/5 for that as well.
All in all, this not a story to miss if you are into CyberPunk and LitRPG.
The story is facinating and the MC is the right amount of moraly grey for her upbringing in this dystopia. The world is done so well with the coperate overlords and for some reason the entire alien vr just flows really well. I have enjoyed binging to catchup and will eagerly await more chapters
This is a great start to the story that I'm glad I found. The mixture between VR (not necessarily a game but with real world consequences) and a dystopian real world is just incredibly well done. Conversation flows easily and the action scenes are easy to follow but well detailed. Give this story a chance and you won't be disappointed.
TL;DR of this review:
Overall - 5/5
Grammar - 5/5
Style - 5/5
Story - 5/5
Characters - 5/5 (If I could give a higher rating, I would, but unfortunately the 5-star rating system limits me. God, how I detest Arnold.)
As I read through the first text of the first chapter, I can say this without a single doubt in my mind, the grammar in this story is impeccable—and dare I say almost perfect. I wasn't able to spot any visible mistakes, and if even I could even, I'd shrug them off as minor as I put myself in the shoes of a general reader.
The style of writing is fantastic; it fills very well with the theme of the story. The descriptions that the author wrote are well-done, and you can find this aspect shine most especially within the fight scenes in the later chapters. Out of topic, but because of the descriptions used in the first chapter, I painted an image of the bird people as being pudgy little doves that wore sci-fi cloaks or the sort.
The author has set and readied an array of words in his vocabulary, thus maintaining the freshness of each sentence.
For the story itself, I was immediately hooked right as I finished up the last words in the prologue. A certain aspect that piqued my interest in the story most was the conversation that the avian fellow had. It made me want to delve deep more into learning more about the "Tower of Somnus" game, what powers people would receive in the game, what were these megacorporations, and so forth. I will not mention further any segment that occurs right after the prologue, the reason being that I wish to avoid giving out spoilers.
If you enjoy stories that have Virtual Reality-esque aspects and with an enormous amount of dystopian elements sprinkled on it, I can say that the story is right up your alley. This story has definitely piqued my interest in the entire genre, and I will store this story in a special corner of my memory for hooking me into this genre.
As for the characters, they all have a distinct personality that makes them stand out from each other, and as far as I’ve read, they are three-dimensional. The one that caught my attention out of the bunch was surprisingly not the main character, but 'twas our "sadboi" Arnold, the reason being is...
(Do not press the spoiler button if you haven't gone past over 5 chapters for obvious reasons.)
The reason for my hatred for him is his rash attitude and his distrust for Dorrik. Both his arrogance and sheer stupidity at some moments get on my nerves. If the author foreboded this man as being manipulative, I can say that he succeeded. However, despite my somewhat harsh reasons for hating him, it gives him that certain charm as a character that I sort of adore.
After I finished reading the tenth chapter, I threw a minute celebration inside my head, repeating three simple words as I imagined myself conversing with him. "gg no re."
Good riddance of him, and I hope it remains that way for the time being. Soon after I post this review, I'll continue reading further, and hopefully, I see Arnold become humbled.
Overall, the characters have a certain quirk that makes them stand out from each other. Another thing that I really enjoyed in this story is the dynamic between our "manipulative sadboi" and our main character, Kat.
Once I am free from my school's schedule, I'll try to add further to this review.
One of the few stories I've seen that handle's multiple worlds well. Shockingly, both the cyberpunk dystopia real world and the eponymous Tower of Somnus world are consistent and engaging. Even more impressively, both stories feed into each other. Events in the real world feed into and create challenges in the Tower of Somnus. Events in the Tower of Somnus drive character growth and relationship changes that have an impact on how things play out in the real world. Both worlds provide skills and powers that are useful in the other. This is almost never done decently but here is pulled off magnificently.
The author does a good job of conveying just how awful of a dystopia the real world is, without turning the story into a downer. Instead, the story is action-packed and impressively upbeat. Terrible things happend and monstrous people are met, but the MC never gives up and keeps working the angles. The MC is allowed to drive the action despite often being pushed and pulled by forces greater than herself.
I don't want to spoil anything, but I really love the stories central conceit. It hits all the right notes and merges with the cyberpunk genre incredibly well.
Just binged the story and while I enjoy your dystopian setting the character has become rather stale with her lack of character growth. It is almost like she never changed from the hardworking anxiety stricken harsh vapid girl she was in the beginning to her motivated self at the end there was simply no conflict that wasn't handled without consequences to her friends or family or sidelining and murdering characters. There is no emotional tugging for your setting beyond ignored Community without any friends the girl doesn't even have a social life where's the Angst in a character making overpowered imaginative actions.
Hope you can take something from my rant in your future plot and thank you for writing.
I had honestly expected a traditional tower type storyline, however this premise is original and well thought out. The story moves along, and there is not a lot of clutter from side themes, and side characters. Well thought out and well written. Not to mention that the story is top notch. I have read other works by CoCop - and this is a good one. Thanks for your time writing it!
Quite a nice read! It sucked me in and never let go. I had no trouble binging this down. The only real complaint is that it reached the end of Book 1.
Grammar - There is a minor issue with some of the early chapters, about the first eight or ten. A few instances of sentences being reworded with both the old and the new wording remaining. Otherwise, mostly clean.
Character - The MC is fully fleshed out. Her party mates are fairly well detailed. The other characters, you don't feel the lack of detail. The characters' interactions are detailed and the dialog naturally flows. The villains are maybe a bit stereotypically evil, but the interactions with them are mostly fun.
The Story - A fairly familiar cyberpunk zaibatsu dystopia. But, handled well enough to not feel stale. The game world feels a little bland in comparison. The detail feels a little lacking of the game and its world, however, the real world and the game's effect on it is the point more so than the game itself. A bit more description would serve the story well.
I am eagerly awaiting Book 2 and at least a dozen beyond that
Tower of Somnus brings a lot to the table. Kat is a great character, with relatable drives, competent enough to enjoy watching her be a badass, but with enough room to grow that you can feel her getting a little stronger with each chapter. The story is fascinating, both in the Tower and out in the real world, each one bringing something fun and interesting to the table. The corporate hellscape that is Earth is portrayed wonderfully and is especially chilling for how real certain parts are. We're not there yet, far from it, but the resemblance is uncanny, a funhouse mirror of our future that we're only a few slippery slopes from becoming. And the Tower, where she is constantly fighting monsters to survive, is ironically enough her only respite from the politics and deadly intrigue of her real life. I love a lot of the characters here - Kat herself and her team are fun to watch.
The author does a get job of teasing out the wider world when it's needed, so you're never caught up in longwinded worldbuilding. Rather, the societies of corporate hellscape Earth and the internal conflicts and culture of the wider galaxy are both developed through fascinating tidbits, hinting at wilder secrets we don't yet have the answers to.
I will give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar: Tower of Somnus is good, and here's why.
Tower of Somnus is a rare blend of cyberpunk, virtual litRPG, and intergalactic scifi, following the adventures of corporate thrall Kat as she tries to navigate both her arcology city's intrigues and climb the eponymous tower (an intergalactic game whose powers manifest in real life). The work manages to blend the various genres into a coherent and rather engrossing universe, and most importantly, develop both the real and virtual worlds in equal measure.
My main problem about virtual reality stories is that the real world is eventually all but left out, but Tower of Somnus makes the cyberpunk Earth just as important as the intergalactic game. As the story advances, threats from one world eventually bleed into the other and coalesce into a strong narrative.
The story is very slow-paced, which may not be for everyone, but personally, I believe it enhances the novel. The author took the time to establish the worldbuilding and characters in the 'real' world before diving into the game, and most importantly managed to strike a balance between both universes.
Tower of Somnus is a nanowrimo novel (so written with quantity in mind) so grammar errors often creep in. However, the author is quick to correct them and the grammar is stellar for the quantity produced in such a short time, hence why I will rate it five stars.
However, ultimately, the novel's main strength are its characters. Kat is a loveable and down-to-earth protagonist, and as the novel goes on, accumulates a strong cast around her, from her alien party to a semi-paternal crime overlord. While some villains are a bit one-dimensional, they ultimately serve a greater purpose in Kat's personal development. Somnus also takes the opportunity to deal with some interesting themes, such as whether mankind can eventually learn to cooperate enough to join a greater intergalactic community, or if its institutions are truly unshakeable.
All in all, Tower of Somnus is very much one of my new favorite novels on Royal Road, and I encourage you to give it a try. You won't be disappointed.