Note: Sadly, this story is currently on hiatus :(
Elizabeth Sayler had lost everything in the bombing of Reaver Stadium. Her career, her fame, her power — all of it vanished the moment she lost use of her legs. Now, she's beginning to lose hope of ever healing herself… until her world integrates into the Void.
When the apocalypse comes in a flurry of System messages, everyone on earth is given a choice: give up what they value most in themselves, and acquire a path to their heart’s greatest desire. Most would hesitate, but for Liz? She has nothing to lose, and absolutely everything to gain. Armed with newfound powers in a world teeming with monsters, she’s determined to not only survive, but to somehow break the Void’s endless assault.
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This is a small note about the portrayal of disability in this story. As much research as I do and as many people as I ask, I will in the end only be able to understand a small portion of paraplegia and similar disabilities. Therefore, if there is anything particularly disrespectful, please do not hesitate to contact me. I always intended to portray disability in a respectful way in this story, but please know that Liz as a character does not start out with a healthy view of disability. This is intentional, and a large part of her character development comes from this view changing as she learns. Disability is not something she simply "discards" at the beginning of the story, but an ongoing theme and a part of her journey.
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It's a system apocalypse. Most of us have read them. Most of us have enjoyed them. As far as LitRPG's go, I like system apocalypse's more than otherworldly LitRPG's (though I do like those as well).
We follow Liz, who had her dreams crushed in her old world, only to find salvation in the new world. The story is a bit fast-paced, but not terribly so IMO. This is mainly because I find LitRPG's spend a lot of time on the grind that I usually gloss over (but that's me). I like learning about the characters, and so far, the author has brought in several and is building them up.
This story is only in its first act as of chapter 15, exposition and character introduction, but the author is doing a good job building towards future events. I think the story has a lot of potential with a world the author is trying to build up. Hopefully, they continue writing at the pace they are comfortable with.
So to answer the question, do I like it? In short, I do.
The story is well written from a technical standpoint, but it has lots of little things that annoy me and they built up enough to make continuing the story undesirable.So first off, this is fairly standard LitRPG fare so if you are not a fan of the genre, then this isn't the story for you. If you are a LitRPH fan, then this is worth checking out. What bothered me might not bother you and it is subjective enough that it is worthwhile to see for yourself.
My main annoyances are with how contrived things seem. I don't want to spoil any plot points, but this story very much reads as if the author writes the conclusion of a scene or event, then goes back and tries to make that conclusion happen. So the pace is off and events don't progress organically, but by fiat. For me this took me out of the story enough that I didn't want to continue.
Going to start with an immediate admittance to having an "average" expectation toward this story, as LitRPG as a genre, in general, doesn't do it for me. Just not my thing. So when I gave this story a try, I expected decent content, but that was about it.
I was wrong. If more LitRPG were written like this as a whole, I would be on the hype train for them every time a new one popped up. Before I get into it, I'll also say that I haven't found a single grammar error, missed punctuation, or anything of the sort. So for that, it gets a 5 without a doubt. Now that the easiest category is out of the way...
Style - Void is a very accessible and easy to follow along LitRPG for anyone that is either new to the genre or, like myself, not too knowledgable on why people like stat screens and whatnot so much on this website for. The exposition's delivery for the stat screens is very well executed, the stat screens themselves are easy to follow along with (even if you typically spazz out from the sight of them as I do), and the general flow of it all meshes together well. Null clearly is an experienced writer that has shown that they know how to write coherent fiction.
Story - The story revolves around Liz after a sudden bombing took her ability to walk from her and devastated her spirits. In an intense first chapter, we find out that Liz prided herself on her ability to sprint and that her entire world revolved around such a talent. This critical loss of her legs transitions into the world being pulled into what's called "The Void" a while later, which is where the stat screens and stuff come into play.
The Void comes off as an organic type of system integration. It is both a blessing and a curse for Liz in the sense that she recovers her ability to walk (after a serious sacrifice) but is then quickly thrown to the wolves (The Void and its world) to fight for survival. The prose is technically nothing new, but Null's delivery and flavor have added to such a simple theme are what makes this story pretty lit. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Character - A strong suit of the story, just like the descriptions and stat screens, Liz, as an MC, is pretty interesting and believable for a character. Her initial reactions during her sprint before the bombing, to the bombing itself and the aftermath, to the Void coming, and so on were grounded in relativistic realism to me. It was easy for me to get invested in her excitement when she saw a chance for her to walk again, as well as her fears when she encountered her first fight thereon.
This trend follows pretty much everyone that gets introduced. I've yet to find a character that I particularly felt alienated by.
All in all, if you like LitRPG or want to like it but don't know how to ease into the genre as a whole, Void Breaker is a gateway story to get you going. I highly recommend it!
Writing quality, grammar, sentence structure, all of that is great. Nothing glaring to mention there. Nice stuff.
The set up for the world and the way the Void handles payments and risk vs reward is quite fun to read and a nice change of pace from the usual.
My main two concerns are with A) Characterization and B) Pacing and they tie in together.
Things feel like they're moving too fast for actions to truly have impact. We go from Liz being crippled at the end of chapter 1 to her being in a wheel chair for several years at the start of 2 a moment before the Void starts.
It doesn't really feel impactful that she's suddenly able to walk again because we didn't experience her dealing with any of the struggles that being disabled like that brings.
Even half a chapter dedicated to her trying to complete daily tasks and struggling and the issues she has trying to reconcile how she used to be vs how she is now would go a long way to helping out.
As for the pacing concern, in the span of a few chapters its gone from the Void taking over and giving out abilities, to flashing forward to Liz casually splattering what is apparently considered a decently threatening creature with zero issue.
The power level doesn't feel earned. The fight against the beetle (which was great fun to read!) is a good example of how to do it better. The big victories need to feel earned to make the story engaging.
Despite my minor complaints, I really did enjoy reading Void Breaker, and the chapters are short enough to sit down and go through them to see if you'd like it as well. So I say give it a shot.
There is very little I can say that'd add anything to the novel. The story is that good. I will not be minutely surprised when I see this story is the top ten of the trending list.
Coming onto the scoring:
Style: Exceptionally done. The author is well adept at conveying the character's emotions and making the readers feel them as well. The descriptions are well placed and not too much. The pacing is fast; the author doesn't care to show to each and every single fight that the MC goes through; an excellent thing in my opinion.
Story: While system apocalypse is an overdone genre, the author has managed to keep the story fresh. I like the way system is implemented and the little details that have been scattered across the story. I especially liked the bit with the MC raising all dehydrated and why it was so, which gets explained later on.
Grammar: Not much to say. At no point did I feel hindered by grammar.
Character: Now this is the star of the story. The MC is very well defined. All her goals are clear, her desires are laid bare and so is her drive. Not only this but she is also consistent with her actions. A huge plus in my book.
Overall, this has an incredible beginning. While writing this I tried to think for reasons to not give this story a full-on 5-star rating but I couldn't think of any, so good job.
Style- Highly accessible in a very light style that still manages to convey plenty of emotion for the story. Some people have said it is jarring to go from Liz's life pre-system and/or switching perspectives. Personally I didn't feel that way at all. The initial segment is a pivotal moment for Liz and isn't really any longer than if she had been reminisciing and the other segments were clear to me. I do think there were a few points that could have been better in word choice and the like, but nothing that's worth a deduction in score
Story- This is a pretty character driven system apocalypse, we're only just getting to Liz finding her way to a group, but the plot is engaging enough so far for the characters to play in and there's plenty of indication it will get meatier very soon.
Characters- Liz is easily the strongest of the characters, but the supporting cast is all well done if maybe not quite as much as she is. It is still pretty early though so that could easily change very soon. Out time-traveler definitely has a large role to play. Also, regarding a character introduced in the latest chapter that Null seems a bit worried about I don't think it will be an issue as said character's motivations make internal sense.
Grammar- I saw no issues, which is pretty rare for webfiction. Every error pointed out in the comments was swiftly corrected, so full marks.
Overall- Well done lit-RPG, so unless that's not up your go ahead and check it out. Nulls has done great job here.
As the title to the review implies, it's really good at what it does. If these stories are your kind of thing, absolutely check it out.
Phenominal. And, I'm not just saying that. There are so many little details that give you a sense of the chracters and there is real execution in the way things are set up and then paid off. I feel like a lot of the time, these stories are so focused on other elements that the characters are ignored. Not here. You have a strong voiced MC with their own weakness, which makes for a compelling lead. Bit too early to comment on any other characters.
I feel like this is the weakest part of this work. Not because it is in anyway bad or lacking, but reletive to everything else, it doesn't feel like there is the same level of imagination or originalism put in. You have this strong start with the "Void", "Acoyltes", and parts of what I would call magic, and then. . . it's just like wolves and foxes that the MC is fighting? Like, I get it. But given that everything else is so shiny and well made, it feels neglected by comparison. It's one of those things that can obviously grow and develop as it goes forward, but as the early story goes (where I write this review), I have yet to get the sense that the worldbuilding is fully actualized.
Grammar and Style
Flawless and without error. Also, there is prose here and there that rises above "mistake free" in some parts to be genuinley well written with snappy pacing and impressive construction.
Clearly I think its pretty good. And what I perceive as faults may naturally clear up as the story goes. I guess my bottom line is that this is the sort of story that is perfect for this site, and I'm sure it will do well.
Alright, I see some reviews talking about Liz and her perceived character shortcomings. About how her powers are gimped for no reason and that the author secretly wants her to suffer. I'm here to say that these criticisms feel hollow to me. My impression of this well-written story is very different.
To start, the hook in the first chapter is almighty. Few stories on RR can get my adrenaline pumping and my emotions all worked up in the first chapter alone, but Void Breaker did just that. Liz's epic moment turned into tragedy. Echoes of sabotaged figure-skating champions come to mind, and it's an incredibly effective hook. Grammar is great, and the style makes for an easy read, which bolsters the strength of this story.
From there, we fast forward to the aftermath of those events, where Liz is forced to deal with the repercussions of that tragedy. And I think that's a recurring theme we see in this story, even after system apocalypse manifests and Liz obtains a chance at obtaining what she desires most.
I say this because her newfound powers are not an 'I win' button. Every decision in this universe has consequences. To gain power, one must sacrifice something of equal value. It forces every decision to be made with great care and adds real weight to the leveling system that I don't see in most other sysapocalypse/litrpgs.
I can't say much more without going deep into spoiler territory, but Liz's powers are unique. The narrative is less about gimping her powers, and more about discovering how a normal girl would realistically go about learning how to use these powers. What may initially come across as weakness is simply someone learning how to walk, and then run - an aspect most stories gloss over entirely. As a result, when Liz grows, we grow with her, and that is an extremely satisfying feeling that's core to all progression fantasies.
So, while Liz does trip up and makes decisions that are not in her best interest, it's always realistic given what a normal girl might do in her situation, even if it can feel a bit frustrating at times. But she learns, and I have a feeling we'll see her continue to develop as she confronts future challenges. We're already seeing her learn the use of her powers, and I'm excited to see that character arc progress.
Now, as for weaknesses - I personally feel that it's not the characterization, but rather the story thus far. And that's simply because sysapocalypses(apocalypsii?) tend to be massive epics, and we've just barely scratched the surface. How the broader universe develops, how Liz finds her place within it, and how deep the worldbuilding gets make a massive impact for sysapocalypse enjoyment. Right now, it's a fun read about Liz attempting to figure out her situation, but we've yet to get into the really meaty content. I'm sure it's there, it just feels like it's yet to come.
In summary - this story has a ton of potential, and I like where it's going. I encourage the author to continue it despite what the detractors say, because it'd be a damn shame to see such a promising story dropped.
The first few chapters were a little forced but now its going uphill pretty fast.
At the start it felt like a conclusion was writen and then thenauthor went and filled in the blanks so the plot flowed really forced
But after those like 3 chapter it started to flow realy well nothing really forced, nothing made you go like why woukd that wven happen or why the hell did she do that.
After you get throught the first chapter be ready for a good story
It's still a bit early as there's only 14 chapters out now, but it looks like it's shaping up to be a good one. Also, Nulls takes feedback and applies it so I have no doubt this story will end up great.
Style: The story is a unique combination of fast-paced and slow. Since the first chapters, we've had lots of motion and lots of combat, but nothing much in the way of plot advancement so far (though I'll address this in the next section). I'm not too worried because, as I said, it's early days. I'll follow this story and will change the rating if warranted. But the fast-paced scenes are written quite well and Nulls' style is easy to read so four stars.
Story: Like I said above, the plot is currently non-existent beyond the MC finding her friends. This happens a lot with LitRPGs, where the system is the entire story (the system is pretty nice though, so I can't give this less than three stars), but Nulls has said repeatedly in the author's notes to wait a few chapters and things will become better on that front, so I'm willing to change this rating as well if warranted. Also, like a few other reviewers have noted, the action is so fast-paced that her (the MC's) strength feels unearned. She goes from struggling to kill a fox in one chapter, to taking down a beetle described as colossal a few chapters later. Well written, but Nulls should def work on pacing.
Grammar: Flawless use of language, no typos or misused words. Five stars easy.
Character: I like Liz as an MC. She's a real person, rather than Litrpg protagonist #965. The background on her life before the system helps a lot, but I can't give this five stars because we don't really feel her struggling while crippled, while her time spent disabled is meant to be a big part of her character. There's a chapter where she's a famous runner, a chapter where she's been apparently crippled for a few years, then she's essentially healed the next. From the reader's perspective, it's just a short blip in her narrative, but Nulls does tie it back every few chapters by mentioning her fear of disability or camaraderie with another disabled person. Maybe spend a bit more time cementing how much she struggled, or even have her not get healed instantly as soon as the system integrates earth.
Hope this helps