by B.A. Tucker
I am in need of usernames for player characters for this story. See this thread for more information!
On the 10 year anniversary update of MMORPG Annwyn Online, millions of players around the world suddenly find themselves pulled into the world of Gaea in the bodies of their characters with access to all their spells, items, and levels.
Whatever magical beings brought them to Gaea are silent and amid the chaos and confusion, Ashley "Sinnamon Roll" Miller, Andrew "W3aver" Weaver and nonplayer Lieutenant Tyressa Pearce of the Cross-Borders Army of Knox, find themselves caught in the middle of a bloody player-driven plot to force the beings that brought all the players to Gaea to send them home.
Elsewhere, Isaac "Saiph" Thomas and Samuel "[N]ix" Nix learn the truth: Annwyn Online was created as a bridge between the two worlds by powerful mages known as Soul Forgers. The Soul Forgers are not silent out of malice, but because they are all dead. Every player has unknowingly been drafted into an army as a last ditch plan to stop a great evil from extinguishing the sparks of life in both their worlds.
But even the best laid plans can go awry.
Soul Forged follows multiple characters, both Player and NPC, from different backgrounds as they navigate this new reality they find themselves in.
- New chapters every 8 days (schedule changed to more follow my work hectic schedule :( )
Link to the full sized book cover, for those curious. Link to the artist at the bottom of the prologue :)
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This review is written in the form of feedback to the author at a point that I think is still an early stage of the story. It can still be useful to prospective readers, but be warned that the "you" I'm talking to is the author. Hopefully this story gets more, and better reviews.
The great: you're working from a fun core concept and you're handling it well. The "game is actually another world" trope isn't explored very well, and I can see you starting to explore it here.
The good: I don't know what your experience as an author is, but you're doing well. There might have been a few places where the grammar could be improved, not enough that I can actually remember any of them. Which is what I expect from professional writing. Your characters feel like characters, which is to say, they don't fall flat. Your setting has a lot to offer, and you've done a good job at hinting at the scale of it without focusing on that. The plot is just beginning, but it's a good beginning.
The challenges: You have a lot of POV's in this story. It looks like you're sticking to three main POV's, but then you have secondary character POV's thrown in, so I have no sense about what I can expect in terms of perspective in the story to come. This isn't neccessarily bad, but it's a challenge, it makes it harder to maintain emersion and relatability with any given character, and we get less character depth.
It also costs a bit in terms of world-building. The ideal way to explore world-building is to explore a few things in depth and hint at the rest. With so many POV's, it's hard to explore any given facet of the world in depth. Especially this early in the story.
The conclusion: Despite the challenges you face, it looks like you're on the path to pulling through and making a great story. You're nearly a hundred thousand words in (wow) and it still feels like the first part of the story with a very good trajectory.
First off, this fiction contains multiple POVs in play, both from main and secondary characters. This can be slightly confusing, but when the author properly indicates the POV change the reader should have no issues keeping up. This allows the reader to discover more of the world, its history, and the events which shape the characters and their motivations.
Secondly, there are multiple story lines in play. This excites the hell out of me as a reader because I love epic stories that are woven from fine threads into a masterwork tapestry.
There are no major spelling or grammatical errors, this reads like a near-proof product and any editor would love to have such a manuscript submitted to them.
The characters are unique, each painting an individual voice in the readers mind. Each has a history, motivations, and goals that drive them forward.
The world itself is what you would call GameLIT, not LITRPG. It is not crunchy at all and clever use of the classes, spells, and abilities actually builds on the mythos instead of dragging one out of immersion to fetch a calculator.
If you enjoy portal/isekai and gamelit fantasy that offers a character driven story instead of a detailed monster fight every two chapters, you will not be disappointed.