Warning This fiction contains:
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  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

Soldier First will be shifting to a monthly update schedule while I work out some kinks in the plot.

BRS Limited is looking for answers after the genius programmer behind a radical new biotechnology goes on the run with their intellectual property.

After an awkward period of amnesia during a mission in Africa, Butcher is looking for answers of his own. So he reluctantly agrees to let the enigmatic company use him as a test subject while he tracks down the mind behind the technology.  Butcher doesn't really understand this talk of "stats", "skills" and "classes", though, and the deeper her digs, the stranger things become.

Because even as Butcher changes, he realizes that the world around him is also changing in ways that only he can see, but which could have terrifying consequences for the whole planet.

This story is a work in progress and subject to frequent revisions.

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  • Style Score
  • Story Score
  • Grammar Score
  • Character Score
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A tightly-written science-fiction mystery

Reviewed at: 6 - Lying For Fun and Profit

Some pre-review notes: I really do not understand why this fiction currently has 14 ratings, but an average of 2 stars. To me this is very well-crafted fiction; I can only assume some people have review-bombed it?

I'll also try to make this as spoiler-free as possible, but beware I might drop some information here and there.

Style score:

Extremely well-written and well-paced. My only reservations come from my own lack of knowledge; the author goes into a lot of detail about subjects ranging from british military operations to boxing, things I have little experience with myself - so I can't tell if he's doing a good job with them. But at least to the untrained eye, he writes confidently enough that it sure seems he has first-hand experience with the subject matter, or he's done a lot of research. 

Story score:

A science-fiction mystery that reminds me at times of Crichton's work, though with more of a focus on the mystery and investigation than on the science-fiction ramifications of the new technology, at least for now. In my own personal preferences, the way the investigation procedes is paced out very well, with a little bit of new information learned each chapter - though again that's personal preference, maybe RR readers might think it's going too slow? It's still early in the story as far as I can tell, but there's a lot of mystery - about what exactly happened to the MC that led him here, to what exactly his target is up to, to who exactly he's working for, to what the ramifications of the new technology will be, that really helps to hook a reader in and keep him wondering what the long-term answers will be - even if new hints about some of these questions come very rarely.

Grammar score:

Perfect, as far as I can tell, though be warned my own eyes tend to gloss over some grammar mistakes. 

Character score: 

We really get most of our characterization about the MC; thus far all the other characters have taken part in maybe one or two conversations, and while they're handled well and we can make some inferences about their personality based on the description of them and what we've seen, I hope that sometime soon we start to see more characters playing a larger recurring role in the story so we can see a bit more of what drives them. The MC himself for the most part is stoic, smart, and professional, and with some hints early on of internal conflict and dissatisfaction with his life - but right now IMO his characterization kind of fades into the background of the more intriguing story. I think we'll probably get around to seeing more of his deeper emotional motivations at some point. But he doesn't jump out to me as more than a well-written, competent, hard-boiled investigator with a bit of a good guy streak so far. Perfectly good for the story, but I sort of hope at some point he gets someone to interact with on a more long-term basis that can reveal a bit more of his personality.


In terms of RR fiction I've read this is very very good. I understand new updates come out every friday, which might seem a "slow" update schedule here (though that seems insane to me personally). Admittedly I'm not very familiar with the LitRPG genre (and to be perfectly honest, I don't think I'd normally like it very much) but it seems well-integrated into the actual story here - what particularly helps is that the MC openly wonders just how nonsense all these 'stats' are and whether the system is lying to him. Even if you prefer faster updates - it's worth bookmarking this fiction so you can remind yourself in a month or so when a bigger chunk of updates are out.


Some notes for the author about things that popped out at me a bit, especially during the early chapters:

Chapter 1:

-It was a little confusing when you switched from referring to the monitors as G11 and V41, to the MEN in the monitors as G11 and V41. 

-I think the first introduction when Shakespeare handed Butcher off to Ball could have used some more detail. 

Chapter 2:

-Maybe this is just a writing difference between the UK and the US, I don't know - but underlining a word to emphasize it, as opposed to italicizing it, seems less professional, and the writing here is clear and well-paced enough that it actually stood out when I saw it - I wouldn't have noted it if I didn't think "professional" was something you were aiming for. 

Chapter 3:

-I know this is a small thing, but it just popped out at me - describing someone as looking anywhere from "55 to 85" just gave me a "really?" moment. At least in my experience, in their 80s, people really start to deteriorate, even if they're healthy. 55 to 75, I could buy. Again just a small thing, but this is just stuff that popped out to me as I was reading.