- Traumatising content
In a world of sky islands orbiting around a core of mist, humanity is besieged with countless threats. When a young girl from the slums unwittingly becomes one of those threats, she finds herself capable of horrific things that she can’t help but learn to love...
Vigor Mortis is a lighthearted story about existential terror. Come for the horror, stay for the hope.
Updates M-W-F. Enjoy the read!
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This fiction is close enough to grammatically flawless that I cannot think of a single mistake or even obviously questionable phrasing. The world building is also presented skillfully, obviously present and trackable, but not overly emphasized or unnaturally represented.
However, one of the qualities I appreciate the most is how the characters’ behavior and motivations are not overly emphasized or seemingly absent. In a shocking percentage of fiction containing themes like forbidden abilities, a lower class protagonist or a church or similar organization that persecutes the protagonist, the conflict is made over the top.
The upper class, in whatever form, will be unnaturally evil, behaving in a way no sane human being should as a way to instigate emotional reactions. Similarly, the protagonist and their allies will be shaped and motivated by this.
In my experience, that is a common and disappointing mistake, and is not present in this fiction. Instead, despite the injustice inherent in their environment, it is not presented unnaturally and is allowed to simply be seen as the nature of the world. The closes point to falling to the trope is her first kill, but it is not taken to a degree that feels out of place.
Overall, this is an excellent story that I would recommend reading, engaging, in depth and capable of pulling off themes that often trip up writers.
Since my first contact with the LitRPG genre in the form of Travis Bagwell's novels, or perhaps even before that as I played HOMM3 with my father at the tender age of 10, I've always had an appreciation for Necromancy and other ''evil'' magics.
Something about the way that a fireball could kill someone with a thought but isn't considered as evil as someone who brings another back to life has always tickled my hypocrisy bone.
More specifically though, I think its that storys about the 'evil' magics being wielded by an otherwise normal person always come with a bit of intrigue. Either way, I think that Thundamoo is doing a very good job with this story. I picked it up last night and was unable to put it down until my eyes actually closed themselves. The first time I've actually fallen asleep while reading in a long time, and only because I was exhausted before hand (I supposed my sleep schedule is thankful for that).
The MC is an orphan, but doesn't spend much time at all feeling the same sort of self-pity one would expect after the first chapter or so. Just enough for you to know that her life kind of just sucks.
Her power is likely illegal, which we know, but she doesn't hide it from her friends or try to become a secret super hero as many do. She is well aware that she is far over her head and seeks help from those close to her, which I appreciate. She doesn't even do the typical cliche of trying to hide her first zombie for some sort of forced sentimental reason, something that I've always found a bit cringy. There is even minimal reflection on the first kill, which is a big plus to me. (I've always hated the, 'my stomach turned and I could sleep and also vomit' or whatever that followed characters from universe to universe, from story to story, regardless of the circumstance of the kill or the underlying trauma that should make them numb to it.)
We are able to see her psyche warp in almost real time, or perhaps we mearly glimpse the trauma from a lifetime of abuse and starvation. Who knows, and who cares? It's fun either way.
I'm not a professional book critic I just liked this story but there are somethings holding it back. This isn't an attack on the author but is to provide constructive criticism on which they can use to improve. This is all my opinion you may disagree.
Firstly, the grammar and style are both fine, not perfect, but I have no complaints. The story is also logical with no obvious flaws.
As for the charactors, well I don't have a problem with most of them. Most of them have logical decisions driven by realistic motivations. But not all.
Lets talk about our main charctor. The author seems to have fallen into the all too common trap of removing all set backs and struggling or just creating a stupid MC. Things just seem to work out for vita not matter what stupid things she does. There are no lessons to be learned it just works out. You would think a girl who grew up on the streets and is prepared to kill just to grow stronger or eat would be perfectly fine with killing mind controlling slugs (possibly bio weapons created to kill humanity) but no. She decides to let it live inside her??? And some random character in the village that we don't care for, dies because of it and she only feels bad for the slime that died. It doesn't make sense.
Next she meets with the leader of a really powerful gang (and it would not be an exaggeration to say holds the lives of her and her family in his hands) the reason she meets with the gang, I presume is to get more money to feed her family. So naturally she acts tough, threatens him, insults him in front of his gang and gets in a magic fight with one of the strongest people there and reveals that she is an animancer, before declining to work for him and storming off having solved nothing. That is the actions of a spoilt brat who wants to show off her new power not a cunning street girl who does anything to survive. Not to mention he just lets her off?? It doesn't make sense, its jarring and makes me roll my eyes. It feels like power fantasy wish fulfillment if that's what I wanted I would go watch sword art online.
I don't know whether the author has a plan for the story but it feels like they are just making it up as they go along. Personally i feel like all the mind controlling slime chapters should be re-written and the meeting with the gang, but that's just my opinion.
Again I'm not a professional critic and I am sorry if this sounds harsh or rude but I am just passionate about this story and want to give my opinion on how it can be impoved.
Summary: I highly recommend this story.
A poor orphan finds out that she has a dark power that is considered taboo by a significant part of society. She struggles with learning how to use her power and survive in a world where she needs to steal to obtain food for herself and the other children who live with her in a shack. In a world where death is commonplace in her neighbourhood, gangs control the slums and where literal monsters roam outside the city walls; she also has to hide the nature of her abilities from public view.
The main character is an interesting blend of seemingly contradictory aspects that somehow Thundamoo is able to make work. She is an adorable child with a sympathetic background willing to go the extra mile for those she cares about. She is also a pragmatist who is no stranger to death or crime and is more than willing to kill to not only defend herself but also grow stronger. The other characters are also well-written. Their actions and reactions add additional depth to their character without being inconsistent with the way they have been previously been portrayed. The story does not suddenly change characters’ personality and actions to suit the plot, but allows for more complex figures to provide more interesting detail to the story.
Style, Grammar and Closing Notes:
The writing style is clear and engaging. The narrative has a good pace and I was never tempted to skim over any paragraphs to get to the ‘good bits’. The spelling and grammar are also generally good (though there are a few minor errors).
The story is still relatively new and the chapter release rate is quite fast, so I will update my review as the story continues. Hope this helps.
Review initially written when Chapter 19 (Sticky-Souled Situation) was the latest chapter. Updated when Chapter 20 (Culture Shock) was the latest chapter, as it came out shortly after I finished this review.
The reason you'll see so many high ratings for this story is for the same reason I'm hesitant to even post my review: there's a lot here to like. Where I personally start hemming and hawing over recommending the story though is in how disjointed so much of it feels.
Each part of what drives the story is technically good. The caveat to that statement is earned through the herculean suspension of disbelief the reader is asked to repeatedly perform, either due to strange tone shifts, out-of-left field drops in intelligence, or simply taboo (in this world) magics being glossed over into a "huh, I guess we have to deal with this".
Think of it like this - the characters are passable, but are strangely related to the world. The world is interesting, but doesn't seem to mesh with the plot. The plot could be intriguing, if it were spread out more or split into different stories.
The biggest example I can think of to show why I feel this way is technically a spoiler...but really would be a dealbreaker for most readers not looking for an active antihero:
We are given a scenario where invisible parasitic slime monsters are attached to two members of the party. A number of fairly obvious clues lead up to the revelation that these monsters take over the host body.
MC decides that after freeing one party member from literal enslavement (one that has your actual self acting as an observer inside your own body as the slime controls everything), that these creatures aren't all that bad, except in the case of the one that has somehow supplanted her team lead's soul in a matter of days.
Keep in mind that up until this point, we've been seeing a kind of 'rage against authority/the ones keeping you down' vibe around everything. Also up until this point, MC is readily killing basically everything she can to fuel her growth, but suddenly the slime trying to control some of the only people willing to give her the time of day are A-okay.
The worldbuilding, magic system and the general plot are all very good. I especially like the worldbuilding, with the minor cosmic horror theme in the background being the main reason i'm still reading.
That said i really dislike how the main character is written and how the other characters react to her. Which is obviously a major downside from my point of view. Fundamentally the reason i don't like her, as a character, is because all her personality quirks are forced down your throat by the author on a frequent basis; as well as some of those quirks feeling somewhat mutually exclusive with each.
To give an example of the throat forcing, would be the whole adorable thing. Repeatedly throughout this story Vita does something cute, then the author emphasises how cute that action is by having Vita deny its cute, then some other character will say "wow that was so cute Vita" - which Vita will then deny. This will go on for another paragraph, just to emphasise how really cute Vita is
The constant over emphasization of how Vita is a starving orphan is another one. Multiple times now the author makes a side character that doesn't really like Vita come along to witness how poor she is, so that they can then change their mind and like her. Another example that constantly comes up, is when Vita doesn't understand some concept - because she's poor - and then another character will say "i can't believe you dont know this (thing)". Vita will then proceed to describe how poor she is in weird amounts of detail. Side character now loves Vita more, the reader feels more sympathy towards Vita and the whole world is now acutely aware of how utterly poor Vita is.
Alright i think i've given you the general gist, next point!
So Vita was raised on the streets by herself with no support - until very late on. Despite this, she is very kind hearted, caring and cutesy - thats all fine, seems unlikely those circumstances would cultivate those traits in anyone, but its possible. She is then also shown to be very steadfast, willing to kill and does well in stressful situations - doesn't really mesh well with the first few traits but okay. Then lastly she is shown to breakdown crying after someone was mean to her, becomes incredibly close and vulnerable to people she's only known for a few weeks. None of these traits are mutually exclusive per se, but they are an incredibly weird mishmash and seem to switch quickly depending on whether the author wants to elicit sympathy points or to show her as a badass. Just keep your character consistent and stop trying to make her both vulnerable and cutesy, as well as an independent badass.
Lastly, unrelated to Vita. The invisible mind control slimes, which most people arent aware of, can instantly take over people regardless of power level and can then make them kill themselves. How the hell have they not already taken over human civilisation or just the whole world by mind controlling everything? Hopefully theres a reason in text, but the fact these obviously insanely dangerous creatures are almost completely unknown is weird as hell.
Edit: May i just say i got a downvote on this about 5 seconds after i posted it. There is no way in hell anyone read it that quickly, so whoever you are, you suck big time.
It is incredibly difficult to juggle things like pacing, worldbuilding, internal consistency and cosmology without being overtly formulaic and still keeping the reader's attention. Not only does this do all of those things insidiously subtly, it does it while also putting you squarely in the mind of an adorable if misbegotten protagonist. Somewhere in the absurd amount of lore being spun out into the ether is a compelling, genuine coming of age story, complete with crippling self doubt and panic attacks. The level of polish on the writing itself is what really grabs me though, it doesn't feel nearly as rough or unplanned as some of even the more popular titles I've read around here. If I had a critique, it's that the author is biting off one hell of a potentially long story with this.
And I'm here for the crunch. If this ends half as well as it's started I'll be happy.
I really am liking the background of this world this author is building. Using the ignorance of the MC to drive a lot of the delivery of data is great and makes it feel natural and it's at a good pace. No OP characters or plot holes to distract. Just a good story to enjoy. Definitely worth giving it a chance.
The paragraph composition given me a headache but if you can get over that it's excellently written. Reminds me of good old rags to riches stories I've seen so many times before, except it's rat souls to moderate wealth. I just wish there would be more combat instead of training/slice of life, but then again I have no taste.
The premise reminds me a lot of "Wizard's Alley" but luckily that is where the similarities end. It is so much better in every aspect!
Vita awakens to her necromancer powers that bring a whole slew of trouble with them that she has to deal with in addition to the daily struggles of being a street rat.
So far not every introduced character had a chance to get some 'page time?' of their own, but the once that have are wonderful and I am confident that Thundamoo is going to them justice in future chapters. The character interactions are just so fun to read and done in a way that they don't cause the pacing of the story to grind to a halt. Always a big plus!
One the topic of pacing and characters. Vita our main lead feels like real in the sense that she is a product of her past. She isn't out to smite an ancient evil (yet?) or to become powerful and form a harem of hunky men. All she aims for is to support those she holds dear. As for pacing? Well a lot has happened in those few chapters we have and I appreciate the small time skips when there would be down time.
I really hope this story is here to stay. Most fun reading I have had in a long time!