Ithalon: The Weapon Spirit
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Red cares little for mortals. To him, they were walking fonts of Essence. Despite his apathy, a blade without a wielder might as well be scrap metal. A spirit weapon, birthed by the gathering of Essence and lifeblood, is only as strong as its wielder. So he must put up with mortals, fighting alongside them to vanquish Monsters, devils, and, at times, humanity itself.
Soon, the day will come when he frees himself from a mere mortal's limitations.
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Mikoto Suoh is the character in the image.
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There's only one chapter yet, so I patiently await the answers to the following questions, but I'll list them here so Origin will know what they are, whether or not he has planned for them.
They're in a spoiler for aesthetic and also because they are minor spoilers to the first chapter.
- The way it's written, I feel like Red being so bloodthirsty is unique to him. Why is this the case for a weapon spirit, a spirit that it is implied only forms through the same process of slaughtering countless enemies and absorbing their essence.
- What really causes weapon spirits to form? From what I understand, Essence is this world's form of magic. Probably some sort of aura manipulation or spirit control or something, but do weapon spirits form through the absorption of this Essence, and is it possible for it to just be given to a weapon, even if that weapon has not experienced battle? What would that spirit's personality be like?
- On the above note, could I make a spirit for any object just by feeding it Essence?
- It's interesting that Red would get such an interesting inner palace. It seems like clashes between minds, spirits, or even other weapon spirits might happen in these palaces. Will we see two weapon spirits clashing, and will they be waging a battle of their own inside their inner palaces while their wielders fight?
- What are Red's limitations in his manifested form?
Anyway, the fact that I have all these questions proves that the first chapter is an excellent starting point.
There were no real grammar issues, just a weird jump back and forth between the usage of "it" and "he" to refer to Red before he manifested himself. That was a bit disorienting.
I can't really review the story score yet, because there's only one chapter, but it seems like it will be deeply engaging.
I like the characters. Would like to know more about the world, and I'm sure we'll get that.
I will update this review when there is more available. It is subject to change.
If you've ever become tired of stories featuring vanilla human protagonists, then let me introduce you to Ithalon: Weapon Spirit. Main character Red is not human at all, but rather a sword awakened in the heat of battle with the burning desire for glory and bloodshed.
War is a primary focus of this story, as you would expect from having a weapon as the main character. The world of Ithalon is war-torn and post-apocalyptic. What remains of civilisation is trying to hold it together despite this, to the extent it gives me Attack on Titan vibes.
To start with, the grammar here is decent. It does need a proofread, but the errors are unobtrusive enough that they didn't impact my enjoyment.
Likewise, I found Ithalon a mostly smooth and enjoyable read. Style-wise, it could benefit from a little extra context to clarify some parts, but generally only regarding minor details. There's also a slight reliance on familiarity with genre tropes; I suspect it could be a little challenging for newcomers to LitRPGs to grasp the complete picture at first, but old hats with the genre should have no problem.
Speaking of which, the LitRPG aspects are kept simple throughout. Numbers and skills do exist but are kept to an absolute minimum and never interfere with the flow of the story.
For me, the weakest part of Ithalon is the story. I like the novelty of the premise, and it's clear much attention and effort has been spent on developing the world's genuinely interesting mechanics and history. However, there hasn't been much of a driving force behind the plot in the early chapters aside from Red's general desire for bloodshed. His reason for wanting to grow stronger is primarily tied to his innate nature as a weapon spirit. This makes sense and contributes to his convincing characterisation, but it also doesn't provide much in the way of plot drivers or story conflict, resulting in a somewhat slow and generic start.
To caveat, the latest chapter as of now seems to mark a key turning point in the story, so this may soon change.
Ithalon focuses very heavily on action and progression, which makes perfect sense in the context of a weapon spirit. If this is your jam, this story definitely has you covered. Expect frequent battles and training scenes, as well as healthy dives into the 'system' aspect of magic and combat. Just a touch of society-building makes up the garnish on top.
I believe Ithalon's characters have the potential to develop into its greatest strength. As a newborn and non-human at that, Red is largely and very deliberately portrayed as being emotionally hollow. In fact, his character development is tied into the progression system itself, with strong hints his emotional makeup will continue to be built brick-by-brick even as he accumulates power. I expect we'll be seeing some very strong character growth here.
It's not there yet, though, and taken as a whole along with the supporting cast, I sometimes felt like we were just seeing the surface of potential characterisation. This does make sense because we're viewing them through Red's lens, and author Origin has managed to successfully capture his somewhat detached perspective. I didn't feel like any of the characters came across as being one-dimensional - nuance was definitely present - but they did feel distanced. As such, I found myself reacting with indifference throughout most of the story. And perhaps that's the point. Regardless, it's a slow burn.
Overall, my impression of Ithalon so far is very much of the classic progression fantasy. It's got dungeons, monsters, levels, and dives deep into the nitty-gritty of the action. But what sets it apart from the crowd is its unique protagonist, and his potential for - as the system tellingly points out - limitless growth. If you've ever wanted to experience the world from the perspective of a weapon, this is definitely the story for you.
(I couldn't fit everything into the title, so I had to cut some spaces haha. Also, NOT A SWAP!)
Ithalon: The Weapon Spirit is a sort of unique story in that it has a battle-junkie bloodlusty protagonist that still manages to be... I don't know if human is the right word, considering he's a weapon spirit, but certainly a person. A lot of the time, I feel like these types of stories lean into that trope at the expense of any other character development, but Weapon Spirit manages to strike a nice balance within the MC, allowing him to have great interactions with others while still maintaining his singular goal.
The story is fast-paced and fight-heavy, with lots of exposition-along-the-way as the MC slowly learns about the world. And, as I was pleasantly surprised with, the MC is basically the driving force behind most of the plot. I always love myself a proactive MC, so that's a plus for me.
Also, speaking of, the characters are as lively and (dare I say it?) quirky as the next story. They don't fall into the standard tropes of their character types, and instead kind of naturally branch out into individuals, though of course we've only scratched the surface when it comes to characterization so far. If for nothing else, read this story for the characters, because they're amazing. Also, no spoilers, but my favorite was definitely the Emperor.
Also, did I mention how unique this premise is? I don't think many authors have done this before, and certainly not with this interesting mix of setting and magic system that we get to see in chapters 3-4. I'm especially looking forwards to seeing more of Red as a weapon, and how the sword itself will evolve over time.
Now, there are some slight hiccups in this story, mainly stemming from typos or small breaks in flow (which were instantly corrected when I pointed them out, so no biggie!). The pace might also be (and I hesitate to say this, because fast is the name of the game here) a little too fast, which is something I struggle with a lot too.
Now, this mainly applies to the earlier parts of the story (I think from chapter 5 onwards the pace was near perfect), but things such as Red's transition from battle-hungry weapon-spirit to semi-civilized might have benefitted from a few extra paragraphs to flesh his thoughts out.
Other than that, though, I find it hard to find anything else to mention. Especially when you consider the rate at which the author is pumping these chapters out, it's hard to fault them for the tiny things, and I'm sure most readers would agree that moar chaps > getting rid of one or two typos.
So, if you're looking for a battle-thirsty protagonist that still manages to have great interactions with the supporting cast, amazing fight scenes, or just a unique premise that I don't think has been done much before, give this story a try! I certainly didn't regret it!