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I've read the first 25k words of this story and let me tell you all, you're in for a ride. If you liked Thieves' Dungeon-- this is by the same author, btw-- you'll love this one.
Style is well done and very refined. It's unique and very noticeably NoDragons' style.
Grammar is excellent, as expected from NoDragons. A couple typos on the first read through but I pointed out as many as I could and he fixed them.
The story is compelling, though it felt a bit rushed on the first draft. NoDragons will probably be fixing this. I know he mentioned he intended to fill in some spots.
Characters are unique and attractive. The way they're depicted is very detailed and I can imagine each one individually and perfectly as they arrive.
Over all, if you're looking for a new dungeon novel to get into, this is the one. This baby is a mound of gold just waiting to be mined, and I intend to collect. Expect massive releases in the beginning because there's a lot written already. And get this story on Best Rated!!!
Hop on for the ride, ladies and gents, because Oasis Core isn't waiting for you, or me, or anyone else! It's going!
(Also, I won the bet.)
The story is rushed, full of grammar mistakes and terrible spelling. Also it's not finished, just stops suddenly. The general story is OK but goes of to weird places and doesn't explain much. There is a vague sense of tention building but it splutters about and fades. Thieves Dungeon was about the same. Half a story and never finished. The Author rushed threw the first 20 + chapters without really knowing where the story was even going. I don't know why but it really needs to be rewritten to make more sence. Also an ending would be great. I actually enjoyed reading it most of the time, it's just disappointing knowing that with some effort and a slower pace it would of been amazing.
This story had an interesting premise: A oasis dungeon core. Now, I have not read Thieves' Dungeon, but I've heard good things, and so was hopeful coming into this. Those hopes stumbled into the main pool and couldn't get out.
Style: Echoing other reviews, it's very well done and refined.
Story: This is a real mixed bag. On the other hand, the premise of an oasis dungeon (specifically an open-air dungeon) is great. And the several chapters we spent on building are lovely. The mystery of the dead world is also a wonderful itch for our protagonist to scratch.
Most of this gets dumped and we head off into a different direction entirely. The dungeon-building is dialed down significantly (though not eliminated), with a greater focus on creating critters. But, for various reasons, the protagonist acts less like a dungeon and more like a genius loci, i.e., a protective spirit of a place. And then, most of the mystery of the history gets stripped away by exposition. Yes there are details to fill in, but all the essentials are already known.
And then we hardly get going before the primary antagonist is introduced: an insane god whose own chest forms a cage for a shard of a universe-ending wolf, the latter of which has some unknown, but alluded to, connection with the protagonist. As a few (very few) other reviews note, it seems to violate the rules of the universe as defined by the author that it takes more than a week for the god to crush the puny dungeon core (a/k/a plot armor). And this really does not get any better as we move into volume 2 with that whole underground battle thing. And so we have the giant vs. the ant. It's not an underdog fight. It's an incredible one. Frankly, a dungeon core has as much business defeating a god as a flesh-and-blood hero does. Hell, Dakota Krout spent five books just to get to a place where the dungeon could just barely contain a god-like entity.
As a closing point, as the author himself noted, he appears to have eight different magic systems in the universe. Moreover, he's not piggybacking off of common magical systems, but instead appears largely to be working bespoke. That doesn't strike me as clever or imaginative; that strikes me as asinine.
Character: The protagonist, antagonist, and the goddesses are all great. Everyone else is meh.
The animals are wholly unsatisfying as characters because, well, they're animals. And this extends to the lemurs as well, even though our original lemur appears to (at the very end of his own mini-arc, which was not great) seems to gain sapience. Maybe?
The goblins, including Shiny, are weird. First, as a worldbuilding matter, I find the goblins as a species very non-distinctive; i.e., if you replaced every "goblin" with "human" or "halfling," I'm not sure I'd be able to pick out enough inconsistencies to start to question it. If anything, they are so human, that making them other than goblin might improve their impression. Second, I don't like Shiny. First impressions are good and all, but then it quickly becomes that she has little talent, is a poor learner and so has little skill, but has insane luck. Not someone I want to root for.
Finally, because of the above, neither of the mini-arcs with Shiny or the lemur grabbed my attention, and I ended up skimming the latter. The author acknowledged receiving a lot of flak in another work about doing this too much. I've not read that other work, but here, it's not about doing it too much; it's that the characters are uninteresting.
The grammar is pretty good. At least for me who tends to unknowingly read over minor typos there is nothing that sticks out. And there aren't any weird sentence structures or other weirdness either.
There is a tendency for pure, unexplained evil that is not well explained. This was not obvous at the time of the initial review (at 3 chapters), but by chapter 25 all but two humanoid character (future minion and a martyr) that the MC interacts with are outright sadistic. Now you might say that "Hey, it's a tought world, of course there's killing and stuff", but that does not explain how everybody seems to derive such pleasure from outright torture. I would expect hard sacrifices and tough choices, extreme frugality and maybe some territorial behavior to safeguard the last scraps. Even some killing would make sense, but not that everybody seems to enjoy it.
There is some nice character development going on with the minions. They are introduced to the reader in a fleshed out and memorable manner and the important ones get some time invested to exploring their back-stories. How they adjust to being/becoming a dungeon minion/monster and their personal growth over time is really satisfying to read.
In terms of creating and changing the minions the MCs actions are hard to understand. I constantly (not always) get the feeling that he just does what comes to mind at any given moment and that whatever biologial adaptations he "graciously" bestoved on the victim just happen to almost universally work out.
It is not explained how he can manipulate the very genetic and structural makeup of random critters that happen to enter his domain, and at the same time has 0 influence ove some other "invaders" that are merely slightly bigger or slightly more sentient. Is dungeon-friendlyness/non-hostility the criterion, some arbitrary threshold of intelligence/sentience/sapience, dungeon level, divine intervention, plot-convenience? As far as i can recall none of the creatures tthe MC has changed have affirmatively consented to the changes and many are not originally dungeon created.
To be clear it is described how the changes take place, but it is unclear why certain creatures can be changed and others cannot or are not. It's clear he can accidentally kill critters this way, and something like disrupting the operation of the heart of an invader seems like the obvious (and OP) thing to try, but this is not even mentioned.
The premise and backstory seem to be in conflict.
There are many gods and one of them went insane due to a certain evil being sealed withing by the other gods. He then proceeded to destroy the rest of the world while the other gods were unable to stop him. The mc is summoned to fight back against this god, but because he is absurdly weak at the moment of creation he is given divine protection that at chapter 3 (see "Gods") completely deflects said insane god.
This begs the question: if he can be stopped so easily for the sake of MC, then how come the world had gotten to this point. One would expect that either the resistance was powerful enought o contain the issue, or powerless to protect an entity from the frontal assult of the big bad while their power is at their very lowest.
The meat of the story is the dungeon creating, gathering and evolving minions and trying to ensure his survival. Since he is good-guy-dungeon he also does some nice things like saving lives and cleansing radiation now and then.
(the main complaint at the initial review)
When ever a god and a non-divine MC are set on a course of mutual annihilation there will always be contrivances and top tier plot armour involved down the line. It takes less than 3 chapters for some inconceivably insane god to attempt to murder the MC and some insane deadlines to be set that are impossible to clear without, I assume, epic plot armour and constant divine intervention.
Aparrently there is some gradual transition going on that will give the MC a fightng chance to grow stronger. This still implicitly defers the fate of the MC to the power plays of some deities that she will not have the capacity to meaningfully influence for a long time.
Oasis Core isn't your typical dungeon core story, and that's a good thing. I didn't go into it with any expectations one way or another, but found myself solidly impressed.
I'll start with the setting, because it's probably the first thing you'll notice. Oasis Core absolutely excels here, with some of the most evocative, visual imagery I've come across in a novel. The world drips with exotic flora, fauna and points of interest, even in the aftermath of an apocalypse. In fact, for what at first appears to be a lifeless desert, it becomes gradually clear the world is absolutely teeming with unexpected surprises, forgotten history and hidden secrets. And it doesn't let up.
The standard genre trappings of, well, traps - as well as survival and gauntlet-running - are less prominent here. Rather, the emphasis leans more towards the core's responsibiliy to heal a dessicated world and the broken individuals within it.
And what individuals! Oasis Core does an absolutely stunning job with its characters - so much so that certain chapters had me in tears. Being created to heal and repair, the core is an inherently gentle (if not especially humble) soul, and chooses to solve problems first with kindness and compassion, struggling with the harsher methods presented at its fingertips and the temptations they present. This makes it an incredibly likeable main character in my book.
The supporting cast is just as good. Shine-Catch the goblin is my absolute favourite, with her foul-mouthed, uncouth mannerisms, heart of gol - well, let's call it pyrite - and sheer unselfconscious charm. Lunar Eye also gets a special mention from me for sheer clever efficiency. I won't spoil the others but they all have their endearing qualities very much in keeping with the story's themes of healing and finding the best in people.
And I need to mention those themes, because they make up the heart of the story. While progression is a, ahem, core mechanic, Oasis Core isn't a story about cold pursuit of power. Everything about it - from its visually vibrant cornucopias, to re-establishing trust among people who have forgotten how, to the sheer reasonableness of its characters, to the main goals of the plot - all speak to a journey of healing. Just like its title, this story is an oasis of optimism among fantasy's sometimes brutal pessimistic desert. Not that this means things are any easier on the characters - this is an apocalypse, after all.
Oasis Core's last stand-out is its inventiveness. I love this in a story. And this was an interesting one, because it doesn't present in the overall plot. If anything, the overarching plot is the one area where this story fell down a bit for me; at times it lost momentum towards its goals, especially after the first arc. It took a bit of getting used to.
However, the inventiveness shines through in the individual scenes and small details. This world is teeming with them. Each monster, each character and each discovery is liable to lead to unique treatments. The ancestral drums of a goblin tribe; the intricate plans of a dead god; the rules that govern various magics, monsters and beings both natural and supernatural. The ability to look at the standard way an archetypal scene would play out and simply... do something different. I appreciate that.
Lastly, grammar - other reviews have mentioned there are many errors and I agree. However, they're the kind of typos you see from writers who know what they're doing. Stylistically, it's pretty clear to me they aren't indicative of a larger problem so much as that the story just needs a proofread. At no point did I find it difficult to read or that the mistakes changed my understanding of a sentence.
There you have it - Oasis Core is well worth your time. It's easily the best dungeon core story I've read to date. Read it when you're feeling lost and need something to restore a little bit of hope, and maybe it will extend a touch of its healing.
This story is good. And I can not stress that enough. The author makes good on their experience when they wrote Thieves Dungeon. They wrote that by the way.
The story follows a Dungeon Core made by who knows what. My theory being a cosmic space duck. On a mission to restore a world some random god leveled into a desert. The grammar is great, I can't find any typo's or anything else. So it beats out hundreds of stories all ready.
If you liked the lonely Dungeon as well than this story is probably for you. As it has a similar world, though not one consumed by an unending hellscape of illegal magic.
All in all. I liked this book and hope you will too.
This story is off to a great start! The execution is clean and works well. The main character makes realistic and well thought out choices. The creatures created are also inventive and the story is very descriptive. Overall, the story might become one of the the best Dungeon Core stories in the future!
Fun dungeon core story from an excellent author.
Unlike most dungeon core stories, this one has a built in tension...a countdown that drives the narrative. Mostly.
Unlike the authors other great dungeon core story (Thieves core) this one is not a murder hobo.
Great world building. Much time has been spent on it. The world more a mood as a lore dump...a world in decline. P
Oasis Core is a beautifully written piece, drawing the reader into fantastic scenes.
The plot is straight forward, making it easy to follow.
And the creatures, lore and inhabitants of the story are dynamic and well thought out.
The side stories of other characters are a nice adition in widening the world.
Due to the direct plot there are rarely any plot twists, surprises, subterfuges, or sub plots.
The core seems to have little in the way of skill, level, or system progression, instead running more on a time limit.
I enjoyed the read, but found it difficult to continue sometimes, due to the seeming lack of progression, or large milestones.
I greatly enjoyed the writing style and descriptions though, meaning it would be worth a read just for those.
Crafted with care It's a good story.
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Our good friend is at it again. for those who missed the thieves dungeon this while not being directly connected in time is definitely in myth.
Good deep characters, plot that is both epic in scope and deep in complexity.
The dungeon here is driven to build for there survival. For the survival of the world and that of others to come.
Mysterys of the world that popped up during the thieves dungeon find them selves in song froming here.
Follow a dungeon core as it seeks to save the known universe. Though it also just wants to keep it's friends alive. Well that and turn the desert green.