Unyielding, he rises, tearing apart the chains that bind him.
Facing vile horrors and terrible evil, he embarks on a treacherous journey to save his companion's very soul. He meets allies in unlikely places, enemies, aiming for his life and when a whole kingdom lies in the turmoil, he finds a reason to fight.
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I’m quite impressed. The author has a strong mastery of the English language and uses this skill with great effect at portraying events and emotions alike. The pacing is great and the characters feels unique with their own set of personalities. That said there are some problems. Let me break it down further.
Style: It’s a pleasant read and perhaps most importantly it’s extremely easy to vividly imagine what’s happening. The author has a way with words that nurtures your imagination and drags you into the story. You want to keep reading. The pacing is very good too and have a good balance between action, character development and general progression. It feels neither too fast or too slow, and my compliments goes to the author for nailing that part.
Story: It’s your average VRMMO story but driven through revenge, stealth and underhanded tactics as forced by selecting the road less traveled. There are some extremely promising concepts and options presented to the main character (henceforth called Frank), hinting at fate harboring epic battles and world-changing events for him. The huge problem I have with the entire thing is the VRMMO element. I’ll talk about it more in the character section of my review, but Frank almost thinks of the game as a second reality. He lives and breathes this universe and it comes across as odd and a bit off-putting when we all know that it’s only a game. It’s such a shame because I think the tale of betrayal and revenge and the world and its lore itself holds tremendous promise and potential, but by knowing it’s a game it’s weird to see not just Frank but others as well take it so seriously. Where’s the challenge when you can always respawn? What purpose does epic conflicts have when there’s really nothing except some bits of data on a server at stake?
The author builds up this incredibly exciting atmosphere that conjures a dark fantasy setting and tells a tale of an epic struggle of higher powers, but what value does that hold when it’s all a game? Not much, and that’s why I can’t give the story more than 3 stars.
Finally, the game world in itself feels extremely alive. It's detailed and rich with content and always being reminded that at the end of the day it's just a game sullies the whole thing and makes it less enjoyable.
Grammar: It’s truly a pleasure to read. A wide vocabulary and mastery of language makes it easy to digest and won’t distract you from what’s going on. Proper grammar is something I’m extremely fond of, as it should serve as a tool for accurately describing events and conjuring emotions in the reader. Indeed, it is crucial for forming an emotional attachment to the tale. This ability is certainly inhibited in stories suffering from poor narration by breaking the pacing and confusing the reader, but thankfully this is not the case here. I’ve seen a few spelling mistakes but that’s easily forgiven and don’t really lower the high quality of text. I’m very impressed.
Character: There are several characters present in the story and here I will levy some rather heavy critique.
The main character, Frank, is very well done. He’s a well-rounded individual who’s seen his fair share of ups and down in life but overall he’s your friendly neighbor-kind-of-guy. Likable and with his heart in the right place, he’s one of the more ‘common man’ MC’s I’ve seen so far. It’s refreshing and I would guess it makes it him more relatable to a lot of us. If I am to give some negative critique it would be that Frank (the MC) seems to have problems treating the game as that, and views it as a second reality. While this is the case for many VRMMO novels it feels a bit odd since Frank is a well-adjusted member of society. He takes it so seriously that it’s difficult to understand his actions and reasoning. I can to a greater degree understand it in other VRMMO novels where the main character is crippled for example, as the game will pretty much be his/her only reality. In Frank’s case though, it comes across as odd and slightly deranged – especially later on when he sees himself as an arbiter of justice.
His adversaries don’t have as many positive qualities I’m afraid. I hope you’ll forgive me for not remember the names as this point, but there’s the following ones:
* Boastful rich bastard-guy. He’s the leader of the party Frank has a grudge against and he’s so easy to hate and that’s a problem. He literally has no positive qualities and is the distilled essence of rich upper-class spoiled kid who thinks the world revolves around him. Any problems is swept away by threats, bribery or expelling his foes from his social circles.
* Frank’s former love interest. A woman so obsessed with her status and how her surrounding perceives her that she’s willing to do pretty much anything. Shallow, empty and thoroughly loathsome. There are some hints that she does have a consciousness but it’s not enough. She’s also too easy to hate, and too single-minded. People are complex creatures with conflicting emotions and goals but she’s pretty much set up to be someone Frank detests. Fine, I guess someone like that could exist IRL (and probably do) but I think it’s the easy way out.
* Twin A. Haven’t seen to much of her yet so no real opinion.
* Twin B. Slightly
* Cowardly girl who can’t stand up to the others and is kept in place through her fear of being an social outcast. She’s the only one so far (chapter 20+) that has some depth to her. The rest of the characters are just cliche-ridden objects of hate at this point.
Then there’s a multitude of side characters. I won’t say too much about them as my critique on the game world and NPCs have already been established, but let me talk briefly about Lily. She’s a super sweet innocent ghost girl in her late teens and is such an interesting character. She lifts the story and seeing her and Frank interacting is heart warming, if strange as she’s an NPC.
I would love to see a proper fantasy take on Don’t Fear the Reaper. There’s enough material to make it interesting in itself and it would solve so many of the problems I see with the story. It would make an amazing epic high-fantasy tale, but instead it’s dragged down by the very VRMMO element that makes up the core. I know the author is extremely talented and I would love to see him change it into such a tale to bring out what I see as the full potential of it.
Here is a very well written story. Within the chapters there are really some good clues for other authors on how they should approach writing a story.
First just because you make an overpowered character does not mean that you have to totally unbalance the whole situation. In the RR story even though weed is this Over Powered character there is always some challenge or someone that he may fear. He also has his own flaws that both add comedy to the story as well as bringing challenge to his development and interactions.
Here in Don't Fear the Reaper the MC does become Over Powered and obtains some way over powered items, but there is usually some significant struggle to obtain that state.
Second a flaw in story telling is not a bad thing at all. Characters have flaws and painful moments. They have setbacks that push them to greater heights. Weed in RR also had is own setbacks and failures which is one of the major reasons why the story can continue on so long and be such a good story.
Advice for Don't Fear the Reaper, and others. My recommendation is to make your story telling like a dance. Two steps forward, one step back should be the minimum negative ratio for a good growth situation. Just because you are trying to make a step back or step forward, does not mean that it needs to be so to make the story progress meaningfully. You can have sideways steps in your story telling dance as well. The Key is to make something that is unique where the readers can identify with the MC(s) and that the MC(s) have significant struggles that allow for interesting story telling.
When I read this story a few things stick out for me, a lot good and some iffy.
First off I like the tethered spirit concept, but the whole situation that led to him being betrayed was a bit weird and unrealistic. First off being privileged doesn’t equate to being a stuck up dung face. I know a few well off people who don’t think themselves better than others one bit just because daddy is a lawyer.
However I understand the difficulty of coming up with a good inciting incident for the beginning of a story and I’m sure theres a few jerks out there like the group in your story… maybe not all in one place though.
Anyway, moving on, the style of this story is a bit odd at times, aside from basing skill names off of songs and giving him a clear God of War feel(I can cope with that). There isn’t really anything about the style that makes it your own. It works, yeah, whack is why I gave it an above average score but it didn’t really wow me.
Aside from my previous concern with the Brady Bunch rich kids I do like where the story is headed, in fact I can even set aside the weirdness of the Popular Kids picking on a guy who can honestly break them in half if he was so inclined. However, I think he really needs a good old fashioned vacation from the crazy stuff. take a job to hunt innocent rabbits for crying out loud(jk). He does need a bit of a reflection chapter though to put events in order.
As for his overall character… well I find he’s a little too intense at times… he knows he’s in a game right? lol however real it might seem and however dark it might get, he should be having fun right?
Grammar is fine, a few misspelled words or sentences that need revising here and there but hey, thats what editors and proof readers are for am I right? eh? Eh? baaah hope to see more of you, and don’t let losing the top spot stop you. you have a fan base to support you and thats enough right?
When I started to read the story, I felt that everything was too quickly paced. That the back-story of the MC felt flat, too quickly done.
This prejudice quickly fell away as I started reading more. The MC quickly grew on me; the actions explained the story, the MC started to make sense, and eventually resonated.
The five stars given is for the great work done in creating an MC that isn't just some knight in shining white armor, but one who stands by the blade of justice despite the consequences and challenges he will inevitably be faced with.
Great fiction, I hope you keep up the good work!
This adventure is original and full-filling!
To the author is want to say: I know you want to be the no.1 best rated fiction on the site. However not every chapter needs to be top-notch. You're doing awesome as it is. Try not to restrict yourself to boundaries which you self-erect; this will allow you to write more freely, and your adventure will gain even more depth.
The MC is awesome and the story is awesome. I love everything about it, my only problem is that I have to wait for the next chapter to come out because I'm addicted.
Don't Fear the Reaper has earned its top spot, I feel as if it could definitely be published. I love Hall's skills, they're uber without being game breaking except for Soul Distortion, which I don't think any other player at a similar level would be able to resist. I'm curious if he can spam it indefinitely, the only limit being mana consumption? At the same time he does also have significant drawbacks in that he is slowly losing his ability to interact with NPCs, which will make his road quite difficult. Also, I would love to see him as a ruler instead of the lone wolf who is so feared NPCs won't even talk to him. Just maybe he might be able to overturn his fate as the Apostle of Death to be alone and have trusted companions to rely on. Because honestly, it's not possible to overcome a distinct lack of human (NPC) support needed at least to acquire items for various purposes.
Super nice read, liked where the story was going but the last update was 2 years ago.....so yeah the story 99% likely to be dead/dropped
This series is slowly develeoping and very succinctly doing so. It has a very strong protagonist who knows how to get what he wants. He is put into a harsh situation and is able to overcome it through sheer will and perseverance.
The story is well done and very clean, its currently top 1 and deserves to be in that spot. If I were to have any gripe it would be the speed of production, but then again you can’t rush quality.