After his parents died, Alex Roth had a plan: become a wizard. Through hard work, he was accepted into the world’s greatest university of wizardry—but fate had another plan.
On his eighteenth, he is marked as one of his kingdom’s five Heroes, chosen to fight the land’s great enemy. But his brand is 'The Fool', worst of the marks.
Rather than die or serve the other Heroes like Fools in the past, he packs up his little sister, his childhood friend and her cerberus, then flees for the university in hope of refuge, magic and to unravel the truth about his land’s evil.
There’s one small problem: The Mark tries to ruin magic while enhancing skills outside of divinity, combat and spellcraft.…
…that is, unless he can learn to exploit the hell out of it.
This the first time I am writing a web novel type story, and I hope you like it. I like progression stories and I've always wanted to try and write one like a few of the web novels that inspired me.
There are currently 20 advanced chapters on my patreon as a thank you to patrons.
Join us on discord! https://discord.gg/A4M3CzfWBn
Chapters will be roughly 2000-2500 words.
[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
Rating: This story is kind of like a PG-13 movie. There'll be gore and some swearing but not much beyond that. If that changes, I'll warn you.
Tone: Tone will be a mix of some action-adventure with excitement, comedy, slice of life elements and mystery. I won't be going too dark with this story. There will be mentions of war, some death, grief and violence.
MC: MC is analytical/rational with emotions. He is mostly in control of those emotions. MC will progress in power, eventually becoming very strong. When that happens, I'll add the Strong Lead tag.
Fights: Fights will be detailed.
Stuff this story won't have:
- Extreme grimdark content
- Murderhobo plots
- Edgy, anti-hero MC
- Pacifist MC
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- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
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The story so far is really entertaining and honestly my only problems are SMALL stuff like.
1:"Think.Adapt" he randomly tells this to himself when in danger, but it makes no sense. The author says this helped him after his parents died but that doesnt make any sense either. Also, has anyone tried to tell themselves to "Think, think,think" ? Spoiler: IT DOESNT MAKE YOU THINK...
2: The author repeatedly uses phrases like "Something passed through his face or eyes. Again, its minor but he uses it every other chapter.
3: Whenever any charachter mentions something it always immidiately happens. If lets say a character said: "Hopefully we dont see any monsters" a monster will appear that instant.
4: Money sometimes makes no sense.
The bounty for a mana vampire was 100 gold, which was a lot. Then the bounty for the monster was 1500 gold, which suprises Alex a lot... The cost of a Alchemy aparatus that every student has acces to, it costs 40 000 Gold... Yeah sure THAT makes sense
Like i said, minor stuff. I honestly like how the mark works, i like the worldbuilding so far and im excited to keep reading. I also think that the pace so far is great, we are over 100 chapters in and so far the author hasnt rushed anything which is GREAT. I definitely recommend it.
The protagonist works so hard to overcome his weaknesses in magic and combat that he forgets about his strengths. Alex is neither a magician nor a fighter, he is a fool.
This doesn't mean that he shouldn't learn magic or how to handle himself in combat, but that the odds are heavily stacked against him, and he has to put in double the effort for half the gain. Again, he is ignoring what makes him strong.
Alex's mark makes anything unrelated to combat, magic or divinity pathetically easy, by showing him the correct ways of doing what he wants to do.
So then, what could alex do to capitalize on his strengths? He could easily abuse the mark to do things like:
Increase his persuasion skills, skyrim style, and then gather many allies and subordinates; Learn how to read expressions to see if someone is lying; Become a merchant or something and get rich; Learn about strategy and tactics...
There are just so many things that alex could abuse, but I didn't see him even considering these other options, that suit him so well.
This story would be 100x better if Alex stopped obssessing on the weaknesses he can't fix, and learn to compensate them with his true strengths and with other people he can trust.
Alex has to accept this reality or he will never take advantage of his full potential, and the story will never be more than just decent.
Greatness is coming, my friend! Keep up the good work and don't be disencouraged in becoming better!
I really like the premise for this one and I'm looking forward to how the author continues to deal with it. That said, the characters all feel a bit off. I think it's part dialogue and part decision making but I'm not much of a fan of how they interact. I also think I just do not share a sense of humor with the author at all.
(as of chapter 39)
I've watched this story soar to the heights of RoyalRoad within days during the Writathon and now I finally had time to read it. 'Mark of the Fool' is a worthy addition to the top percent of stories here and I enjoy it immensely. It is not only a nice read with interesting subversions of some common tropes but an excellently written piece of literature as well.
Plot teaser: Alex just wanted to go to wizard school and care for his little sister, but then Prophecy/Fate/whatever struck and branded him with the worst variant of "You Are The Chosen One" mark available, the one whose bearer is mostly useless, usually killed and sometimes even a traitor according to the old stories. Instead of Answering The Call, he nopes out of Dodge and tries to be a good wizard student while keeping his mouth shut about that whole "saving the worl– tiny backwater region" stuff. Well, not completely shut, because there is clearly something fishy going on. Do the old stories err? Or worse, do they LIE? Come in and find out!
Style: MotF is told in third-person internal style from Alex' point of view. That way we learn his thoughts, which are usually rather smart. The phrasing is very good with a great use of literary devices and smoothly flowing sentences that make the scenes flourish in the reader's mind. The world-building is done excellently, there are lots of smaller details fleshing out the lore, the mechanics and the (side) characters. At the same time, there is no needless bloat, UnstoppableJuggernaut really manages to walk that thin line of perfection IMO.
Story: Young man gets special power, leaves home, goes to wizard school, meets people both friendly and unfriendly. While this may sound like every third story on this site, MotF is anything but. The rather strict rule of "no fighting" enforced by his special powers is throwing a full spanner set in the works while the "no magic" rule is setting those works on fire. Alex does not only have to navigate the usual obstacles of a "school story/arc", at the same time he has to overcome those additional difficulties. Aaaand it has to stay a secret, no biggie. Concerning the thin line between "not good enough" and "too perfect", it feels like Alex is succeeding a bit too easily in his "this should be impossible but it works" moments, finding successful workarounds very quickly.
The pacing is a mix of normal and slow: Many things are happening, yet it does not feel rushed, but rather sedate because of the many world-building details. According to the comment section, this seems to annoy the "I want nothing but power-levelling"-crowd; I like it the way it is, with good lore.
Oh yeah, there's the coming-of-age stuff as well; it is presented rather marginally as hints and short moments and feels natural, not as extensive as in other stories. It's enough to be noticed as a sub-plot and creates some interesting moments, but it is clearly a minor thing instead of distracting from the main storyline.
Grammar: Excellent. I noticed some missing spaces next to text in italics (a known formatting problem when copy-pasting to this site) but barely any other errors.
Characters: All are complex and feel natural. Alex is a smart young man, he plans ahead and thinks things through instead of rushing blindly ahead. His mantra of "think, adapt" is helping him tremendously in overcoming the stuff the author throws at him. At the same time, he has a full set of personality, from worries to delights, from strengths to (slight) weaknesses. While Alex has only few faults, he is not a Gary Stu, just a resourceful guy a bit ahead of the curve.
The central characters of his inner circle are done excellently as well. We don't know their inner thoughts but their behavior is smart and sensible, with full, natural-feeling personalities. If I had to point out any fault at all, they come across a bit too mature for their age; perhaps I am just too used to stupid kids to realize that some youths are more mature than most... On the other hand, that everybody is so sensible makes them feel a bit too interchangeable, there is no real conflict going on between them. I can't even say that this is bad, because the story is focusing on other conflicts, it's just something I noticed.
There is a large amount of other side characters introduced as well; all of them, from the regulars to those met only once for a short scene, are behaving like a normal person would, with emotions and quirks and different personalities.
tl;dr: Who should stay away from this story: Power-fantasy fans who evaluate progression by "amount of enemies killed" or "(level/stat/...) numbers going up"; people who prefer quick-paced, right-into-the-fray stories without any side-tracking; people who hate everything that is not fighting or looting; people who like one-dimensional OP MCs.
Who should absolutely read this story: People who love characters with real personalities; people who love world-building; people who prefer brains to brawn; people who love to dive into a complex creation of excellent literature and still enjoy a nice read.
The basic technical skills of the author are quite sound, which is why it's so baffling that everything else is so lackluster.
It starts with a complete absence of character building -- we have no idea who Alex or his sister or his love interest are before they're jammed down our throat doing grand adventures.
The exploitation of the Mark of the Fool is about as clever as kindergartener, and about as believable as one of them throwing magic spells around -- we're supposed to believe that no one else thought of aiming near but not at enemies? Give me a break.
I wanted to like it. I hated it.
Definitly worth a read. In honor of the first book being finished, i thought to check if i left a review yet. And suprise i hadn't yet. It's a solid book, which never left me bored.
just to give you a reason to read it: handles personal growth well, strength growth of the characters is steady and paced, it gives me the feeling of normal fanatasy story got mixed perfectly with a web serial best of both worlds (but that's my opinion) & slow paced which makes this story more organic.
Thanks for the story so far!
Competently written, no outstanding errors or obvious word padding. I like the MC's cheat power's potential, the limitations and gaming them tickles my progression fantasy fancies.
Lacks a hook in the opening chapters to draw you in. Story and humor are fairly predictable. I like RPGs but the first dungeon arc was meh. Pacing is rather slow, entertainment vs word count was pretty low and I found it hard to keep reading. Dropped after 35 chapters.
The story and characters are good for the most part. Most other reviews cover the weird plot contrivances. I will be talking about where they come from as most reviews seem to not mention it.
I found story really promising and interesting when first started and full of potential even if made no sense what so ever that Theresa went with him and her perants ok with it moving on.
Yeah I like his little sister she great character and most offers are good to OK too. (But too many of them.) May need character page.
Found frustrating and weird that no matter what they face or come up against always succeed and without losing anyone.
Shame so obsessed most time seems with golems but I'll say no more, except mc terrible at naming things funny thought.
Spelling and grammar are great seen no major problems.
Author interaction none anymore seems so that is a shame.
Found very dissapointing that Alex is relegated to support character in combat or constantly needing offers to get job done, would be alsome if did more on his own. (Except for one alsome moment of greatness wear he was fighting mana vampire alone that was really good.)
Also chapters have gotten too long/big for me and find self falling sleep at times sorry but do.
Don't hate me for my opinions I tried best be nice and fair with them and rating given.
Final thoughts... started great with a lot of potential but soon got too redicula & far fetched at times with mc more like support character, with everything working out for him & friends just fine even when shouldn't and probably made for better read if didn't.
Don't won't be anymore down on this story so will stop hear and apologise for not giving a better review. And thanks author for sharing your story with us all.
I'm seeing a lot of reviews gush over this story, also seeing that most of those reviews were made within the first 30~ish chapters, the pacing kinda starts committing suicide around ch 20 and is mostly dead by chapter 30 which means you'll start really FEELING how dead it is by the time you get to chapter 40....
Which means past chapter 40~ish you'll start seeing the story's true colors after the much more interesting intro arc.
To put into perspective how the pacing dies with some (rather vague) spoilers
it takes him 25 chapters to get to the city with the magic school (which he heads right to but it takes him like 3 chapters to take a taxi...)
Then he's pretty much just dicking around doing a bunch of nothing until around 40 chapters in, finally by 50 chapters in he's starting his first classes and by chapter 70 it finally feels like his first school year is in full swing...
That's 600+ pages of content, two novel's worth, for him to go from his hometown to magic school, and for him to start his first school year properly (still in the early school year! not like halfway through his first year or anything, no not even close! more like 2 weeks in!!!!)
For reference it took harry potter only about 300 pages to go from under a staircase to hogwartz, learn about the existance of magic, learn to do magic, go on a bunch of quests to find invisibility cloaks and fihgt trolls and whatnot and finish his first schoolyear!
The grammar is pretty decent, the style gets a star reduced for the dead pacing (and another star for just not bringing anything special to the table), and the characters again are pretty decent, I mean they're nothing special but at least they don't appear to be bending themselves over backwards to suit the narrative of the story, they all have some personality, even if it's all simple personalities.... It works.
But I have other issue with the story, which is why I rated the story so low, for one thing, there are some serious fallacies in there, the main premise of the story is that he gets a divine mark that grants him the ability to learn anything that is not magic, combat or holy shit; super freaking fast and become super freaking good at it with extreme ease... And it does this at least partially by just handing down the experiences of his predecessors who had the mark before him so he can learn from them (e.g. if another fool mastered a skill before him, he should be able to do it ridiculously easily)
But sometimes when it doesn't suit the author (cuz it'd accelerate the plot?) it's like he just forgets it's there. Like when he finally gets off his ass and starts exercising, his entire exercising routine consists of pushups, and he can only do 9 of them, and according to the author that's a heavy workout...
Which is absurd on so fucking many levels, I mean are you trying to tell me that no 'fool' before the protagonist ever had an exercise routine? Get outta here!
And not just that, but he also has this side character with him who is in good shape and clearly knows plenty about exercising right according to her character yet she doesn't see fit to correct that his ENTIRE exercise routine consist of only one exercise, and that one exercise isn't even something useful like running?!
She doesn't point out that maybe he should do squats too? or pullups?! Nor does his god-given superpower of deus ex machina~ism?
That's all just so absurd... (It highlights the author's lack of understanding of basic fitness, this is just an honest mistake obviously, the guy didn't do his research, didn't look into common fitness routines or anything, just went with whatever his own preconception of what exercise should be is, when clearly he's completely lacking knowledge on the subject, this mistake could be rectified by doing a little research and fixing it in his next draft... But I'm just trying to convey the idea of how infuriating some parts of the story can be... Especially since the author is smart enough to realize you can walk, breathe or run in a more 'right way', but the only thing about working out he appears to know is that you have to use the right form!)
And there's more, sometimes he's learning skills and seems to be able to do it almost instantaneously, other times it take shim weeks or months, there's no real consistency to it, it's just whatever floats the author's boat at the time of writing i guess.
But perhaps the story's biggest crime of all is blatant plagiarism (biggest reason for the low story score) I mean the guy has shoggoths and ancient ones just ripped right out of lovecraft's stories, just picks them up as they are and injects them into the story, also there are brief mentions of fairy tales from earth like snow white and a couple others (don't remember a specific one unfortunately) but it just sorta kills any sort of belief that this is supposed to be an original world; when there are so many things in it that are just ripped directly from other works of fiction and stuffed in there without even bothering to make changes to it at all.
I don't see a fanfic tag on this, this is not a call of cthulhu fanfic with a crossover to an original world, according to the tags, so why then.... does it have a crossover with call of cthulhu in it?
It's not cool, it's fucking lazy worldbuilding, worldbuilding via blatant plagiarism....
So no, this story is definitely not a 5/5, it doesn't deserve such a rating, and it is being quite significantly overhyped...
It is definitely being overhyped and you shouldn't raise your expectations too much...
But it is in the end quite an enjoyable read if you can look past it's major flaws, I'm enjoying it a lot more than I ever enjoyed defiance of the fall (which was a guilty pleasure until the quality dropped beyond the point where there was any sort of pleasure to be had, the quality deterioration rate of this story is significantly slower than in dotf at least so there's that)
It's a decent story to sink your time into when you have nothing better to read. wait a couple months to let the chapters pile up before you binge read them like 30 at a time or something.
I must give credit where credit is due though, the pacing of the story may be shit, like seems to be par for the course when it comes to webnovels, but the release rate of chapters is nothing short of superb. and if the author can keep that up without burning himself out then I will most certainly be returning to this story on a regular basis.
It's not so bad that I would call it guilty pleasure either, no, despite everything it's a mostly guilt free pleasure, that's the best part! I still enjoy reading it...
But unless I get like at least 5 chapters at a time, I will not be satisfied because the pacing is just so slow that if Ijust read one or two chapters at a time it'll feel like nothing really happened and that's something I try to avoid feeling.
Ultimately what keeps me interested here is that the premise coupled with the main plot it creates is quite interesting in my opinion. I recommend giving it a shot if you're interested, but if you're looking for a masterpiece, this ain't gonna be it.