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 in to Erryn's new world and the subsequent struggles of himself and Erryn to understand each other.

Published here, scribblehub and amazon. Two new chapters a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. Join the discord at https://discord.gg/ZxmZWhTm4e

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cathfach

cathfach

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
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

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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!

 

Junduffer
Overall

A good part 2 to "A Lonely Dungeon"

Reviewed at: Chapter 15: Library

This is a fantastic way to continue the story of "A Lonely Dungeon" and so far the story is holding up well as a standalone. The MC's limitations are relatable, the deadpan humor is solid, the worldbuilding is good, the progression is satisfying.

The characters feel fleshed out without the descriptions being exhausting. The exposition is blended nicely with the actual story, so it's not just an exposition dump. So far this fiction is doing great.

RedPine
Overall

Passes the "not evil" test.

Reviewed at: Chapter 39: Planning

I look for two things in stories. 1) Makes me smile, think, chuckle, and/or cry.  2) Doesnt make me feel sick afterwards due extravagant war crimes (example: Overlord, Azarinth Healer, Everybody Loves Large Chests, Warhammer 40k).

This story passes both tests. The characters are not evil, but they dont exactly agree on what it means to be good either.  This is a promising setup for interesting conflicts that dont rely on cartoonish villainy to be dramatic.

Update: due to being a new fiction with few chapters, my tentative review was 4 stars. With the consistent updates im bumping it up to 5, as the author has a good track record of finishing his stories. Objectively there are a few writing mistakes and awkwardly worded scenes, but subjectively this is easily 10 out of 5 stars.

FakeMask
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Not gonna lie, I have mixed feelings about the story. On the one hand the author has a VERY good grasp of the language. The word choice is sublime, there are no repetitions and it manages to avoid most mistakes amateur writers make. Buuuuuut, on the other hand there are a few things that weren't handled as well as the grammar and in the end I had to stop reading.

The first problem is that this is a sequel and thus there was an attempt to make it similar to "A lonely dungeon" in terms of writing. This is a sensible choice, in theory the stylistic choice would allow readers to finish the first story and directly read the second without feeling like there is too much of a tonal shift between them. However I think that accidentally some of the techniques used to tell the story from Erryn's point of view ended up also being used for Peter, which is... suboptimal to say the least. A huge chunck of each chapter I have read before writing this review is internal monologue, this is a problem because instead of feeling like we're seeing things through Peter's eyes, it almost seems as if we're stuck inside his head.  In the prequel this wasn't a problem because Erryn was litterally omnipresent, since she could shift her entire focus in different parts of the continent in the blink of an eye and she had many projects she was working on simultaneously, we never felt like we weren't seeing enough of the world. But here? This is probably not going to be much of a problem when the main character will grow up and explore the world, but as of now he is in an infant body and we don't get to see anything beyond his house and the people that visit it, which is quite disappointing. I hope it can be fixed soon.  /// On a side note we have a similar situation in regards to the exposition, there is an attempt to deliver information through Peter's discoveries, but there is no need to? I mean, now that the world is no longer dead and there are sapient beings running around- there is no reason to not give most of the information through dialogue, which would feel much more organic than having the MC wonder about it constantly. At least in my opinion. You could still keep using the current method but it needs some fine-tuning, it feels quite artificial.

Second, the story so far has come off as a bit tropey. That is not inherently a bad thing but I am quite annoyed that the author just dangles a lot of interesting elements of the world building in front of my face and then pulls it all away, revealing that yes, there is an original and unique world out there, but I will have to get through all the standard-iseakai-bullshit before I get to see the most interesting bits. One of the things that I bring up the most about The Wandering Inn is how the fiction successfully manages from the very beginning to arouse curiosity in the reader. This is done by starting the story in one of the most esotic places of the world the author built. Now, does the fiction also have more standard-isekai-bullshit? Yes it does, but rather than being shoved down your throat right away so that you can later get to the "good stuff", it is instead intervowen into the narrative in a way that makes sense. This is what I feel needs to be done here, I don't see why the hell I should struggle to get trough the first part of An Unbound Soul, when the beginning could be as fun as the rest of the story. Sure the narrative needs a climax, but that doesn't stop you from making the parts of the story (set-up, confrontation and resolution) all equally as enjoyable.

Third, the characters so far have been a bit difficult to find reletable. The problem is that most of them are living steretypes. The main character is the curious explorer, the mother is the good housewife, the father is a lovable bafoon, then there is the kind-hearted family friend and so on and so forth. None of them seem to have much depth. There wasn't a single time where any of them managed to surprise me even in the most superficial way.

Four, I can't help but think that the timing of the POV shifts is a bit awkard. When you go from one scene to another you have to be careful about how you do it and when you do it, but currently we have had a few occurences when the POV change is either sudden or uneccessary. This leads to the flow of the story being disrupted and the progression slowing to a snail's pace.

Last but not least, I am quite bothered by the fact that the author insists on focusing a lot on the game mechanics rather than the world itself. When I begun reading I was under the impression that most of the story would focus on the Law that Erryn imposed on the sapient spieces and that the story would be more based on character interaction and exploration. It seemed like the most logical conclusion as "A Lonely Dungeon" focused so much on subverting the genre and showing something different from what you would expect from a dungeon story. I believed the sequel would do the same. But with the focus on the system and Peter gaining skills together with some of the author's comments I am starting to realise that this is going to be a more mainstream action isekai and the story has lost a huge part of the appeal it originally had. This is not really something that needs fixing... I just feel like what I'm reading is not what I was promised by the synopsys and I wanted to mention that. You might want to rewrite it if other readers express the same sentiment.

In conclusion

I probably won't return to finish reading this story, even after it is completed. I personally don't think it's that bad, and I would advise any user reading this to check it out and develop their own opinion about it, but it is definitely amateurish in many ways and would need a rewrite before I decide to pick it up again.

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.

FordPerfect
Overall

So far its good.  Set up is good, world building is good.  People have logical and believable reasons for their actions.   Gonna hold off on giving it the last star until I see how good dialog is between characters, so far it has mostly been internal dialog.

Plot so far is just the setup.  Thankfully it looks like the author isn't going for an overpowered protagonist.

Waffle(est)
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A nice, gentle fantasy novel

Reviewed at: Chapter 30: Delvers Guild

.. with only complete mind control to enforce it! Nothing serious, I promise! :)

This is a very curious novel in that depending on if you have read "A Lonely Dungeon" You will likely have a very different gut reaction to what is happening. Regardless there's satisfaction to be had both ways.

Without prior context you get to quake in your boots and figure out a mind control mystery. It's scary how oblivious everybody is and how they are incapable of (by force!) understanding your common sense. 

But knowing all about Erryn it's a totally carefree utopia with a a system admin rooting for you. And You will basically be giggling waiting for what sort of nonsense will happen once she makes direct contact with MC.

I would best describe it as a slice of life novel, but with a slow transition to more traditional adventuring. There is overarching plot though, so it's not just a feel-good read. Significant developments are afoot and the MC is slowly being drawn in.

The characters are distinc and interesting with relatable motivations and feelings. Most of them act kind of oblivious at times, but In the context of explicit mind altering magic at play the types of deviations make perfect sense. Overally everybody behaves in a consistent manner to their character and circumstances which is good to see.

There are no glaring grammar issues or awkward sentence structures that I have spotted so far (though I can kind of read over them at times, so grain of salt and all that).

42offside
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This is the story that, of all that I follow, I most look forward to updates of.

The spelling and grammar are so good that I don't notice it, the characters are believable (and cute) and the dramatic tension never entirely lets up. The plot advances steadily despite the improbably young age of the MC. The action scenes are playground oriented, with his other friends in the village. And if the existential dread intrudes too much, a flying tackle hug is always the right answer.

And if the early childhood development isn't quite persnickety with what I'm familiar with, that's a minor flaw at worse. The exploration of a new interesting world with strange and sometimes seemingly nonsensical rules takes center stage.

This is a litrpg isekai story, with the protagonist bring essential someone from our world of born in another. Unlike other litrpg style stories, this one actually has an in-universe explaination for why the system exists, and I look forward to our unwilling but curious protagonist gradually unraveling the mystery.

Read the prequel for spoilers if you desire. I found this story by following the link at the end of the prequel, so I didn't get that choice. Certainly hasn't ruined the story for me, but your results may vary.

 

WhiteBirdy
Overall

I'm trash for isekai, so heck it, five stars

Reviewed at: Chapter 1: Babies suck

There's only 1 chapter, and it seems like a standard isekai, but since I know this is set in the lonely dungeon world, well, I am very excited to see Peter explore (and ruin) the perfect world Erryn has made. 

I hope you'll go fast over the baby years though. It's always cute to read about the bonding between a baby and its parents, but it's been done a lot.

ZebulonTheCat
Overall

Stories can tell you more that they say and ask questions without them even being written, and often times without the author intending as such (although I don't know if that is the case for this story). This story is one of my favorites because it made me question my own understanding of morality and philosophy, and it is rare that I find a story that manages to do so to my satisfaction. This story managed to make me think on the importance of free will, benevolence and other concepts that I don't know how to describe. 

tldr; This story is good.