An Unbound Soul

An Unbound Soul

by cathfach

When Peter suffers a too-close encounter with a truck, he finds himself reborn in another world. At first glance it is a perfect fantasy land. There's magic to play with, elves singing in the forest and a hyperactive catgirl neighbour. There's even a System that lets him earn skills and level up. But it isn't long before he notices that the world is far too perfect. Just why is everyone so nice? Can Peter accept the alien morality of this world's self-proclaimed protector, or will he seek to overthrow her?

Set after the events of A Lonely Dungeon, a few hundred years after the rebirth of civilization, this is a story about an earthling falling into Erryn's new world and the subsequent struggles of himself and Erryn to understand each other. It's a slow paced slice of life, and while there are pieces of action, don't expect any immediate grand conflict between Erryn and Peter.

Published here, scribblehub and amazon. Two new chapters a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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cathfach

cathfach

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Table of Contents
193 Chapters
Next Chapter:
Chapter Name Release Date
Primer for those who have not read A Lonely Dungeon ago
Chapter 1: Babies suck ago
Chapter 2: Languages are hard ago
Chapter 3: A mother's concern ago
Chapter 4: In which I added to my dark history ago
Chapter 5: Routine check-up ago
Chapter 6: The rules of an RPG ago
Chapter 7: First skill ago
Chapter 8: A magical dinner ago
Interlude 1: Glitch ago
Chapter 9: Apprentice Mage ago
Chapter 10: Magic Practice ago
Chapter 11: Playtime ago
Chapter 12: Budding mage ago
Chapter 13: Dawnhold ago
Chapter 14: Dystopia ago
Chapter 15: Library ago
Chapter 16: Breakdown ago
Chapter 17: Truth ago
Chapter 18: Response ago
Chapter 19: Decision ago
Chapter 20: Dagger ago
Chapter 21: Title ago
Interlude 2: Law ago
Chapter 22: Slimes ago
Chapter 23: Defence ago
Chapter 24: Mana field ago
Chapter 25: Delvers ago
Chapter 26: Growth ago
Chapter 27: Surprise ago
Chapter 28: Orc ago
Chapter 29: Convalescence ago
Chapter 30: Delvers Guild ago
Chapter 31: Meeting ago
Interlude 3: Wish ago
Chapter 32: Eavesdropper ago
Chapter 33: Winter ago
Chapter 34: Equipment ago
Chapter 35: Trope ago
Chapter 36: Reunion ago
Chapter 37: Dungeon ago
Chapter 38: Second Floor ago
Interlude 4: Interference ago
Chapter 39: Planning ago
Chapter 40: Teamwork ago
Chapter 41: Fourth Floor ago
Chapter 42: Pain ago
Chapter 43: Revenge ago
Chapter 44: High-Speed Delving ago
Chapter 45: Speedrun ago
Chapter 46: Dungeon Core ago
Chapter 47: Homeward Bound ago
Chapter 48: Restaurant ago
Chapter 49: Classroom ago
Chapter 50: Errands ago
Chapter 51: Misunderstanding ago
Interlude 5: Contact ago
Chapter 52: Erryn ago
Interlude 6: Perspective ago
Chapter 53: Normality ago
Chapter 54: Changing Season ago
Chapter 55: School ago
Chapter 56: Science ago
Chapter 57: Birthday ago
Chapter 58: Upgrades ago
Chapter 59: Mythril ago
Chapter 60: Preparation ago
Chapter 61: Tournament (Part 1) ago
Chapter 62: Tournament (Part 2) ago
Chapter 63: Tournament (Part 3) ago
Chapter 64: Mythril Mountain ago
Chapter 65: Forgetfulness ago
Chapter 66: New Skills ago
Chapter 67: Institute ago
Chapter 68: Staff ago
Chapter 69: Reading ago
Chapter 70: Goblin Assassins ago
Chapter 71: Mistake ago
Chapter 72: Overload ago
Chapter 73: Shock Therapy ago
Chapter 74: Complexity ago
Chapter 75: Weapon ago
Chapter 76: Year's End ago
Chapter 77: Brother ago
Chapter 78: Floor Nine ago
Chapter 79: The Final Step ago
Chapter 80: War ago
Chapter 81: Memory ago
Interlude 7: A Second Soul ago
Side Story: Emily's First Day ago
Interlude 8: Cracks ago
Chapter 82: Summons ago
Chapter 83: Consequences ago
Chapter 84: Comfort ago
Chapter 85: Mockery ago
Chapter 86: Anomaly ago
Chapter 87: Influence ago
Chapter 88: Tournament Redux ago
Chapter 89: Unexpected Combatant ago
Chapter 90: Tournament Finals ago
Chapter 91: Soul ago
Chapter 92: Pyromania ago
Chapter 93: Firefighting ago
Chapter 94: Chains ago
Chapter 95: Opportunity ago
Chapter 96: Travel ago
Chapter 97: Synklisi ago
Chapter 98: Interruption ago
Chapter 99: The Slime Formerly Known As Blobby ago
Chapter 100: Janken ago
Chapter 101: Emergency ago
Chapter 102: Nightmare ago
Chapter 103: Sovereign ago
Chapter 104: Corruption ago
Chapter 105: Clean-up ago
Chapter 106: Eldritch ago
Chapter 107: Return ago
Chapter 108: Death ago
Chapter 109: Rebirth ago
Interlude 9: Recoil ago
Side Story: Cluma's Year ago
Interlude 10: Hatching ago
Chapter 110: Adulthood ago
Chapter 111: Discoveries ago
Chapter 112: Preparations ago
Chapter 113: Departure ago
Chapter 114: Sapphire Peaks ago
Chapter 115: Search ago
Chapter 116: Twins ago
Chapter 117: Acrobatics ago
Chapter 118: Precautions ago
Chapter 119: Gift ago
Chapter 120: Time Limit ago
Chapter 121: The Great Dungeon ago
Chapter 122: Making Things Worse ago
Chapter 123: Helpless ago
Chapter 124: Familiar ago
Chapter 125: Hangover ago
Chapter 126: Party ago
Chapter 127: Instructor ago
Chapter 128: Prodigy ago
Chapter 129: Adaptation ago
Chapter 130: Risk ago
Chapter 131: Causing Wounds ago
Chapter 132: Gothic Kitten ago
Chapter 133: Teammates ago
Chapter 134: Completion ago
Chapter 135: New Year ago
Chapter 136: Embarrassment ago
Chapter 137: Discomfort ago
Chapter 138: Experiments ago
Chapter 139: Evolution ago
Chapter 140: Punishment ago
Chapter 141: Phone-call ago
Chapter 142: Visit ago
Chapter 143: Flight ago
Chapter 144: Remains ago
Chapter 145: Will ago
Chapter 146: Ennui ago
Interlude 11: Protectors ago
Interlude 12: Anomalies ago
Chapter 147: Maturity ago
Chapter 148: Snakes on a Plain ago
Chapter 149: Sunset ago
Chapter 150: A New Challenge ago
Chapter 151: Jungle ago
Chapter 152: Diet ago
Chapter 153: Bullet Hell ago
Chapter 154: Boredom ago
Chapter 155: Damp Conversations ago
Chapter 156: Trial and Error ago
Chapter 157: Test Subject ago
Chapter 158: Housing ago
Chapter 159: Daily Delving ago
Chapter 160: Competition ago
Chapter 161: Names ago
Chapter 162: Reunion ago
Chapter 163: Descent ago
Chapter 164: Counter ago
Chapter 165: Holes ago
Chapter 166: Rift ago
Chapter 167: Reconnaissance ago
Chapter 168: Tunnelling ago
Chapter 169: Judgement ago
Chapter 170: Metallurgy ago
Chapter 171: Vacation ago
Chapter 172: Fears ago
Chapter 173: Gate ago
Chapter 174: Earth ago
Chapter 175: Unnamed Humans ago
Chapter 176: Seduction ago
Chapter 177: Beastkin ago
Chapter 178: Communication ago

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Cosy Curse
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Unfortunately, I can't recommend.

Reviewed at: Chapter 52: Erryn

This review will contain major spoilers for the entire story, and for the authors prequel A Lonely Dungeon. You have been warned.

Style

I gave the style three stars because in my rating system, that means adequate. It doesn't get in the way, its not annoying, it isn't excellent and doesn't do anything particularly interesting. It's fine.

Story & Character

This is by far my greatest disappointment with the novel.

The fundamental problem with this novel is that the mysteries aren't interesting, and neither is anything else. The initial concept of the novel is that a person is reincarnated into a world where everything is to perfect, and free will has been superceded. This is an interesting concept. Not only do we get to explore questions around free will, but we already have the fact that Peter has been isekai-d, so the difference in upbringing can fully highlight the fundamental differences in freewill. You get interesting hints early on to the  brainwashing of the world, which is kinda cool as Easter eggs for the audience, but nothing really happens, and instead you just get standard, bland isekai fare exploring the system, leveling up so on so forth. And that's alright, I figured it'd be a bit of a slow burn, but then soon we'd get into the philosophy and mystery and eldritch mind control and all that good stuff. But the author just doesn't. Then we get a perspective of Erryn, who is responsible for the mind control thing. And they just fully explain how it works. Worse, we know the exact intent behind it and have the knowledge that there is no real further mysteries. Furthermore, we basically get confirmation that no one in the entire world will do anything evil, the world is only three hundred years old and that there are no other forces at play. And so I think "What does that leave us with?". There are no mysteries and there is no antagonism. And the story just keeps on with its standard isekai fare, now without the allure of some payoff to make it all worth it. But I give it the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was a case of mistaken identity on my part. Maybe it's more of a slice of life novel, and I was just wanting something that was never meant to be. But in that case, its not a very good slice of life. Because we've been focusing almost entirely on the system, and kinda not at all on the characters and their relationships. There is just nothing of interest. And the world is bland. It is standard isekai with the knowledge that there are no real mysteries and oddities. It is a manufactured, perfect world. Then we get another chapter from Erryn's pov and a chat between Peter and Erryn. In it, it is explained that the one moment of danger and tension all series was actually never a concern, and also that the last mind control plot thread of Erryn slowly breaking down Peter's defenses in order to read his mind has been peacefully resolved oh and also that Peter can solve the mind control thing right here  if he wants to. And Peter says no because he doesn't know what the right thing to do is, and we get a tiny amount of philosophy and that's kinda interesting I guess. And then Erryn tasks Peter with exploring the world and the races in it so he can make up his mind. The world I will remind you just feels empty. Its a shame because the actual writing is good, but the author decided to ignore the one interesting thing about their story and now they are just left with nothing. This story is just so empty, and unless you really want to read another system exploration, I don't believe this will hold the interest of even the most dedicated isekai fan.

Grammar.

Perfect, no flaws, must read.

 

 

baelrath
Overall

Make sure you read prequel

Reviewed at: Chapter 109: Rebirth

This one was a good start. It built of the preceeding one nicely. But the direction the author is taking this one is kinda hit or miss.

The first initial chapters were great. It does struggle a bit with the age of our MC. But the slow reveal of plot and whats happening is both slow and fast.

There are weird moments (again with the age) but also cute.

Totally read the prequel and then give this one a chance, see if its for you. It was until it wasn't for me.

System is pretty neat.

Snakefist
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

No clear goal of the story

Reviewed at: Chapter 75: Weapon

Before I start the review I would like to mention the prequel A Lonely Dungeon. It’s not necessary to read it but it does provide some background and context to the world. It is also nice and short so you won’t lose anything by reading it.

The start of this book is good but nothing that we haven’t seen before. A person from Earth gets reincarnated into a body of a baby, has to grow up, discover the world and people around them and something that we all love, play around with the System. The System, again, is good but nothing special or revolutionary. Stats, Classes, Skills, Spells, Traits and Titles. They have ranks usually attributed with strength and/or difficulty of acquiring them. It’s complex enough to be fun and simple enough to be easy to follow along without difficulty.

The characters in this story are in my opinion quite average, bordering on bad. They have almost no depth. The interactions between the MC and most other characters are short and ultimately meaningless. Even his parents are completely shallow. If the author didn’t specify who said what in a conversation there would be no way to differentiate between characters.

But bad characters are not what holds this story back, because they are not the focus of this story. They are simply there to provide the MC with tools, knowledge and help that is required in that specific situation and are usually later forgotten until they are needed again.

While you are reading, both the reader and the MC will start seeing that people are behaving strange. They are too nice, too trusting and in some ways not behaving like people should behave. The reason for that behavior is explained in the book but I’m going to say what it is in the spoilers below. I honestly don’t think that it is a major spoiler and that it won’t impact too negatively your reading experience but it is such a fundamental part of the world that I need to say it in order to explain some of the problems that later become apparent.

Everyone in this world, except the MC, is subjected to one law. And that is to treat other people how you would like to be treated yourself.

That in and of itself is not anything bad, and I think that it is amazing. It gives this story something special. Something different that separates it from other stories. The bad thing that this creates is not from a psychological perspective, but from a storytelling perspective. Because of that and what it does to people and from the content that has been released so far, we can see that there is never going to be some kind of villain, some background driving force that pushes the story forwards. Because there is no bad guy and there is no pressure some of the MC’s actions do not make sense. Why is he risking his life going into the dungeon? Risking his life for apparently no reward. Getting stronger? But he can level up a lot more safely if he takes his time outside of the dungeon. He can work on his Skills, his Class and his Stats without putting himself in any danger. It’s going to take more time but he is in no rush. There is nothing making him risk his life for almost no reason. The penalty for failure of his quest

got removed.

The MC as far as I can see isn’t characterized as a murder hobo who enjoys killing monsters. From everything I could see, he is someone that likes to experiment with magic. He wants to level up and become stronger but there is no reason to kill himself trying if there are better and safer options. This story really needs something that would explain his behavior. The only reason that I can see for his risk taking and his actions is that this way it would be more entertaining for the readers at the expense of the story. And I don’t think that is necessary. This story just needs something to push the MC forwards.

Another way the spoiler about the world that impacts negatively this story is how it affects people. They have no drive to improve themselves. They are not ambitious. They do not experiment with anything around them. But the MC is under no such constraints. So in the end the whole world will eventually revolve around the MC.

As I was reading this story I got the feeling that it was set up like a character driven book. Because of the spoiler every person is fundamentally different from the MC, and at the same time from us, so it would allow for a completely fresh and new story that I don’t think I have seen on RR before. We could see the effects it would have on society and culture, how the MC would interact with everything in this socially alien environment.

But the only focus of this story is MC getting higher numbers on his Status. Nothing else. And the reason behind why he is focused so much on getting higher numbers? I don’t know. Only reason I could see is because we, RR readers, like seeing them each chapter.

You might not see these things as negative, but I think they are because the only way for this story to progress is if the MC does something. The only way for people to do something different from usual is if the MC interacts with them or the world in some way. And when the only thing that MC cares about is leveling his skills the story stagnates.

The worldbuilding is very barren. If you’ve read the prequel than you might know a little bit more about the history about the world. But aside from that we have seen so far only his village and a nearby city. We know that there is an Elven city and a Dwarven hold nearby. Some minor details about the history of this world and that is it.

The last bad thing and this is just for me personally, the pacing is too slow. It has been a little bit more than 600 pages and he is I think 8 years old, aside from going into the dungeon and leveling his skills he did one other impactful thing that took maybe around 5 chapters in all and that is it. The only content of most chapters is the MC thinking about his Status and repeating actions to level skills up.

In closing I would just like to say that this is not an overly bad story. I had fun reading it from time to time. It has the one thing that I think most readers care about and that is power progression. But the bad behind the good is that there is almost nothing in this world for the MC to use that power on. If you run out of stuff to read give this story a try. It’s not the best but it’s definitely not among the worst out there.

LostDeviljho
Overall

Good potential, never goes anywhere with it

Reviewed at: Chapter 55: School

Having blitzed through A Lonely Dungeon, the prequel to this story, in about 4 days, I was honestly excited to start the sequel.

 

Now, as of chapter 55, I can't muster enough enthusiasm to continue. The slow, plodding, gradual pace of the previous story makes a return here, and sadly it does not work anywhere near as well. For all the progress our main character makes with the system and levelling, there is no feeling of progress in the story itself. We are left spinning our wheels amongst a cast of characters who all have the same voice for over 50 chapters as we slowly, agonizingly slowly, inch our way toward the one source of narrative tension that has been hinted at- and then have it immediately neutered come chapter 53. At this point we are left with... Nothing. We have no conflict, because none of the characters are capable of true conflict. We have no attachment, because the overwhelming majority of the characters are so flat that they manage to give the impression of woodenly reading from a script in a text medium. We have no mystery, because even if you didn't read the prequel, the story tells you the answers in the various interludes from other POVs. Most damningly of all, we have no goal, beyond the MC leveling up effectively for the sake of it.

 

At the end of the day, it seems the answer to the question "so what's the point?" is, and will continue to be, a blank look of incomprehension. I genuinely wanted to enjoy this story, but if I can't even find a reason to continue reading myself beyond sunk costs, I cannot recommend this to anyone else.

FlowerPothead
Overall

I loved the first fiction, and am keen to see how the author will write from our isekai protagonist's POV. It's an interesting litRPG system and I'm curious to see it explored more down the line.

It's still early days, but so far I'm loving it. I feel that it's a shoe-in for trending eventually!

 

BedlessSleeper
Overall

Its great, and it will only get better from here

Reviewed at: Chapter 30: Delvers Guild

tl;dr: Solid start, the future beholds greatness.

I noticed a few people gave talked about the start being boring or because they didn't think it was that unique or very special. The thing is with these kinds of stories, the beginning is usually just a blindfold covering our eyes, and it just takes time for the showman to build up his act so that once he takes the blindfold off, we would be truly shocked. There's already been a revelation in the inner workings of the current world, which changed the entire perception of the story. Won't spoil it, but it's all uphill from here.

Drakilian
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Great pacing, lovable characters

Reviewed at: Chapter 119: Gift

I see a lot of people talking about how the story feels purposeless and I really strongly disagree. I'm of the opinion that in a lot of fiction whatever purpose is usually in play feels very forced - character motivations are too strong and perfect and precisely defined, with a tailored tragic backstory and the author's hand visibly dragging the protagonist in the direction of the plot. Sometimes, in fact the vast majority of the time, people just do things because they think it's fun and they like it or because they have vague, general feelings about the matter.

Peter does not need a war to fight against the Law and the god of this world to motivate him, he's introduced into an incredible and magical world with new ways of doing things and some difficult moral quandaries at play and he spends a lot of time exploring that and learning to look past pre-conceptions and ingrained beliefs while exploring the boundaries of the new world and life that he has been given.

You might think from some other reviews as well as my own that the story has bad pacing (as this is normally the case in stories that people consider purposeless) but the story is actually quite well paced, events do not overstay their welcome and things move forward rather quickly, I've never felt like anything dragged on and new discoveries are constantly being made.

Characters are also much better written than they are given credit for. Peter himself is an exceedingly well written protagonist, who engages in a lot of introspection and learning as the story goes on. Other characters are interesting in their own ways for how their personaility expresses itself through their limited circumstances, or for their unique perspectives.

After having read this story for nearly a year it remains one of a small handful that I am still excited for every single update. I really recommend you give it a shot.

Jordisk
Overall

Decent start, but it is early yet

Reviewed at: Chapter 5: Routine check-up

As RedPine said, this story lacks the overwhelming "Murder, Death, Kill" of many LitRPGs on this site and others. It is a little slow-going, but based on the author's previous story that will pick up.

Because of the few number of chapters, we don't have a lot of the lore built in yet, only hints. These hints are more noticable if you have read Cathfach's other story, and the prequel to thsi one, called "The Lonely Dungeon".

All in all, a decent start, and I look forward to more.

bleakwinter
Overall

Found this after reading the story prior

 

Enjoying the flow of this and interested in where it is going , love the difference in seeing how everyone fits together.

 

Erryn is odd but enjoyable , complaining how he didn't go out of the system and then realising how she was still stuck with a large amount of the same issue 

 

Looking forward to the changes that will be happening and how this causes different issues for the everyone

 

 

JamesArk
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Great progression story

Reviewed at: Chapter 45: Speedrun

This story is very well made. I love how Peter has limits when he is still a baby, too many authors made they mc do push-up when they are toddlers, come on. It's impossible and unhealthy. 

The progression is linear so far, without a huge power-up. It's early and there will be one, but through training and not given by a superior power. It isn't the author's style. 

The relationship between Peter and Cluma is adorable, She is so cute. We all need a dose of hugs by Cluma. They will warm your day.

I prefer a system that doesn't limit the number of skills one can get, but this is very well made. 

I hope Peter will have more mage-like magic. Lightning bolts, Ice fields, etc. I love his use of it, I understand why. he doesn't have the affinities, but hope is the last to die. At least space and time magic offensively.

This novel is a must-read. 

I need 200 words. 

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