Only Villains Do That
- Traumatising content
While waiting on an Akihabara train platform one day, ordinary high schooler Yoshi Shinonome was suddenly plucked from his normal life in Japan and whisked away by a beautiful goddess to Ephemera, a world of magic and adventure, to serve as her Hero and drive back the evil Dark Lord.
This is not his story.
Standing nearby at the moment Yoshi was isekai'd was a man named Seiji - a rude, cranky, misanthropic musician who was not at all pleased to find himself also snatched up and transported to Ephemera by the goddess's wicked sister, Virya. According to this self-proclaimed Goddess of Evil, the whole fantasy adventure thing was a game she and her sister played to stave off the boredom of immortality, and since the good goddess, Sanora, had picked her Hero...well, Virya needed a Dark Lord.
A grown man with his own career and ambitions, Seiji has no interest in playing. Unfortunately for him, the call to adventure was not a request. Now, he must conquer Ephemera and defeat the Hero...or Virya promises to make him beg for the release of death before granting it. Playing along for his own survival, Seiji nonetheless is under no illusions who his true enemy is, and it's not the naive young would-be Hero from his own world.
Placed in an impossible position, Seiji must make enough progress toward world domination to keep his sadistic patron goddess off his back, but not so much that he can't strike an accord with the forces of Good and convince the Hero Yoshi that it's the goddesses who are their mutual enemy. Forced to embrace Evil without being too evil, Seiji walks the razor's edge, building his forces and biding his time till he can get revenge on the goddesses and be free of them, his only certainty that he will not be getting out of this with his hands clean.
A Dark Lord's gotta do what a Dark Lord's gotta do.
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For those who are familiar with his work elsewhere, D.D. Webb delivers once again on his strongest points - banter and worldbuilding. With a focus on a delightful asshole of a protagonist, the world of Ephemera brims with potential.
Style: My cup of tea. Well read on the style's tropes without being bogged down by them, the text flows delightfully.
Story: Intriguing. It's not by far the first time we see things from Evil's perspective, but what we have is a smidge rarer: uncaring evil here concerns Evil itself.
Grammar: No grammar errors of note. Seiji has a verbose speaking style, but you can somewhat tell that's more due to character than thesauritis on the author's part.
Characters: They're great! Shinonome invokes my pity, Seiji my laughter, and the rest... You'll have to read for yourself.
Yes, I know "Oh look, all 5 stars, this must be a real critical reader, huh?". Listen, I've been around the block when it comes to stories like this, my total Xianxia reading time (if counted on hours) goes into the several months and it's dwarfed by my time with manga/ light novels, to the point I've seen all kinds of seemingly fresh takes fall flat, and this hasn't happened here. Webb knows his stuff, and delivers. Give it a read, won't you?
Webb is an experienced web novelist although this is his first story on RR itself. Having read some of what is to come and spoken with him during the drafting of this story, I am excited for what is to come.
I know from his prior work that he has impeccable grammar and is amazing and writing a wide variety of characters with different views, voices, motivations, and styles to existing.
I am looking forward to reading more as should all of you.
A selfish, musician protagonist who doesn't like doing what he's told is isekaid by an evil goddess to a fantasy world along with a kid hero who is selected by a "good" goddess. He is also forcibly given a familiar.
This book throws off the usual Isekai theme where the protagonists are excited to be transferred to a magical world. The motivations of the protagonist are easely understood and being selfish is a great flaw to play with, especially since the hero's final boss will be the goddess who summoned him - it helps to immediately establish that sorta thing in the beginning for readers to know.
The writing style is simply superb, sentences flow well, grammar is perfect - one can definitely tell right away from chapter one that Webbonomicon is a talented, skilled author.
Overall - a very catchy start, want more!
note for author:
As a professional book illustrator I can tell you that the current cover doesn't do this book any justice - half of the text in it is unreadable on the rr thumbnail and it simply doesn't portray the protagonist or the visual theme well enough [due to dark, indeterminite background] and is very likely throwing off a lot of potential readers who don't click on it, likely assuming this is some young, inexperienced author based on the cover art.
The book is 100% more professionally written than the cover is drawn. If I wasn't told who Webbonomicon is by author friends I would have never opened it from the trending page, simply because the cover is not attention grabbing at all and the fonts on it are typographically bad.
Web, I know you have patrons - please hire a skilled character artist for the cover, don't get your book buried by having ms-paint style art. A good cover can make all the difference.
For anyone who knows The Gods are Bastards - I hope you read the story first. If not, what are you doing reading the reviews, go read the story!
For anyone else: Webb sure knows how to write captivating web novels and is very good at making his work a joy to read. Expect a ton of diverse characters with different personalities and attitudes, as well as delightful banter that will bring life to an expertly built setting.
I'm looking forward to delve into this new world with all the other readers!
If this is going to be anything like The Gods Are Bastards then this will be one of the best reads on this side. The premise is an interesting take on the genre, the characters seem interesting and having someone reluctantly evil will be refreshing.
Looking forward to this one!
Really enjoying the story so far, there haven’t been any noticible grammar or spelling errors and the world building has been top notch, great work addressing how people would build on terrain like that and excellent portrayal of the cultural differences, it’s very well thought out and unique world. Doesn’t fall into the trap of having an intelligent MC constantly lording his smarts over other people (like in He who fights with Monsters). Excited to see where this goes
Webb has always been a fantastic Web Serial Author, with the highly popular The Gods Are Bastards as his previous work. Only Villains Do That features a fascinating setting, entertaining and engaging characters, and what promises to be a unique take on the Isekai genre.
I find his greatest strength lies in his characters, and Webb's own strong vision of the world, and how people treat and trust each other. Combined, these skills lead to Webb's signature style of writing and engaging with the world.
There is nothing I look forward to more than continuing this journey with Webb as he looks to Ephemera and his new cast of misfits and douchebags.
Snark. Everyone else has said it, i have said it, but i will repeat it. Snark. Deserves a read just for that. Other than that the world seems interesting and the magic system is fairly unique while retaining rationality everything is connected and believable. And ,once again for the people in the back (and the word-count) SNARK.
This was a comment I left on the second chapter so this is in no way a review of the entire story (9 chapters as of this review) and also of course spoilers for the second chapter if that matters. However my comment addresses the core tone of the story so imo it was worth leaving as a review in case anyone in my same boat would like a warning:
This is hard to read man. Im going to be honest. You obviously wanted to write a self aware story that pokes at the stereotypical self importance that a lot of amateur writers' MCs have but that only works if you yourself aren't an amateur writer. I've only seen weak MC's talk back to gods in amateur stories. Why? Because it's just not real. That does not and would not happen. Well they do happen, but those are the people you see in stories demanding that they get sent back to their worlds when theyre summoned by higher beings and then promptly killed as a warning to the others summoned. Hell if you talk back to the police (IRL in the US) you're liable to get beat the fuck up. It's just simple power dynamics. It's literally common sense. The fact that you're making those kind of people with no common sense your MC and then having a goddess go through the trouble of schooling the MC as if she's some kind of third-rate villian is absurd. It's edgy and cringe tbh.
The goddess here is criticizing the MC's edginess and self importance while failing to realize how edgy and cringe she's acting. I've seen gods acting like petulant teens before, but guess what? Only in amateur stories/fanfictions. Why? Because it's insufferable and immature writing. Sure it's easier to write gods that have desires and wants that are easily understandable to the average human such as not wanting to be bored and having fun but that just not very deep writing. And of course this all would've been okay if not for the fact that the premise of your tone in this story is poking at hypocrisy and being "self aware". It comes off as incredibly and ironically obtuse/self unaware. Not all stories have to be incredibly deep and realistic to be fun stories. But when you're tone hinges on self awareness and pointing out hypocrisy, having such glaring hypocrisy in your own writing is hard to read man.
And now on to our badass MC who is never phased even in the face of insane torture. You do realize that even trained military personnel break under torture right? Not to mention some prick who's ego is the size of Mt. Tai. People who are generally not exposed to pain cry when they get their femurs broken. It's natural. We as humans aren't built to withstand that amount of pain. But our MC here? Nah he whimpers in pain when his body is literally twisted like confetti but he's completely fine the next moment. In fact he talks back to the goddess. Being a crying blubbering mess? Ew no, our MC is the protagonist of the story. He has to be cool and edgy. So cool and edgy, in fact, that not even torture will phase him from scheming an edgy plan to get "revenge" on a goddess and talking back to her as if she's some high school bully after just being utterly tortured.
And also what is with this whole Japanese shtick? Are you Japanese? Because you're writing about Japan as if youre the otakus you're making fun of here. Of course like the otakus that arent Japanese but pretend to know about the Japanese culture and whatnot as if they have some basis of authority on the matter. I've read just in this chapter alone you talking about "Japanese social grace" and social customs and whatnot while depicting and absolutely cringefest of stereotypes in gyarus and otakus. Jesus christ man. This is almost insulting and I'm not even Japanese.
This is all of course my opinion so take it with a grain of salt but I didn't see anyone else talking about it so I thought I'd leave a comment.
edit: I had assumed this was an amateur author but I was wrong. D D Webb has published stories. This almost makes how amateur the tone feels even worse though. The thing about edgy/snarky protagonists are that it's very easy to make them insufferable but there are good examples of them. My favorite being Harry Dresden in The Dresden files. He's a snarky asshole but he has the power and abilities to back it up. And he pays for it when he's out of line as well. But he learns and matures. It's not his entire being though, it's just a part of him. Here it seems like snarkiness is our MC's entire personality. Like the girls that make it seems like drinking starbucks is somehow a personality trait.
Fairly good read. Beware authors politics being shoved down your throat.
If that's an issue, dodge this one.
Otherwise no glaring grammar issues, MC has attitude and brain cell count problems and side characters so far not fleshed out, but it's too early to tell. Even if these flaws persist, most works on the site suffer from worse.
At this point, it's good read if you are looking to kill time but not something to recommend friend. Yet. Can always improve.