On the first day, he almost died.
On the second day, he almost died.
On the third, he began to notice a worrying trend. And almost died.
Crushing loneliness? Danger around every corner? All of that has become part of his daily routine.
That's fine. He'll carve out a place in this world with his bare hands if necessary. He'll survive, and then he'll thrive.
Whether anyone wants him to or not.
Chapters 1-123 have been taken down in preparation for the Kindle Unlimited release, which you can find by clicking here.
I am currently trying to add Book 3, consisting of Chapter 74-123, as a paperback on Amazon. I am Brett Finnicum.
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Will you like this story?
Around chapter 9ish you'll know whether you hate the story or love it, that's around where the story finds its groove.
A tip for enjoying this story
This section is an update to my review. I had given up organizing and communicating these thoughts, but I think I figured out how to say it.
Why does the MC's suicidal integration attempt not lead to immediate execution like the worldbuilding demands? It's uncomfirmed but you'll enjoy the story more if you ascribe to the following answer: Because the central conceit, his isekai portal, placed him in the nice part of the world where the locals are slightly less evil than average. For a part of the central conceit, it's revealed way too late (at ~20k words) and possibly never explicitly stated or explained (117k words and still not there yet). Still, I think it's best to believe: The MC avoids execution as his isekai cheat power.
NOTE: My new section (re: a tip) doesn't invalidate these criticisms, but it does make reading through some these problems a bit easier.
The way the story handles genocide is abysmal, especially the MC's reaction to it. But the rest of the story, the plucky young heroes fighting monsters, that third isn't bad. It's not amazing, the dialogue has a tiny bit of the same voice problem, and the wins are low on catharsis, but the tense moments are very compelling so the battles are overall good.
Unfortunately the worldbuilding poorly contrasts with the story being told. I want to like it but we keep being reminded that these people are evil. Not all of them, but some of them intentionally murdered pregnant women. This is a society that purged another less than a decade ago.
Genocide to extinction simply isn't as light as this story treats it. It's treated like a bad war rather than the horror of systematically murdering children that genocide really is.
But the actual story is about making a bunch of friends, fighting some monsters, and overcoming relatively mild prejudice (the prejudice isn't mild in an absolute sense, but relative to the hate required to (even tacitly) approve of murdering babies (just 8 years ago) it is very mild prejudice). There's so much dissonance between the history we are told and the events we are shown.
This dissonance could be fixed (though at 425 pages (117,412 words) it'd be pretty late (though chapter 28 indicates it might be coming)), but the solution would have its own problems. At the bare minimum any solution will only highlight how the MC is incredibly foolish to entrust himself to their care.
As things stand, the light treatment of genocide (the systematic extinction of a sapient society including children) undermines a good two thirds of the story. That last third can be very compelling but it's just not enough.
P.S. I said "murdering children" a lot, but I simply don't know how else to succinctly state the horrors that the story ignores. It doesn't even use the word genocide, replacing it with something else that I'll leave in the story. I can only note that an oath to "see every last [one] killed before the war was ended" means the death of every pregnant woman and every child not as collateral damage but intentionally and systematically purging them with the explicit acceptance of everyone involved (grunt soldiers included) along with (at minimum) the tacit acceptance of everyone. This is a population that hates a group so much that they're down with murdering babies as policy. The story shies away from this, and while I'm not sure it'd be better if it didn't, why then have genocide be so fundamental to the setting?
The take on the standard isekai rpg in the woods was pretty good at the start even though the transport was completely convoluted.
But after the elf introduction, everything falls apart. Instead of rightfully fearing for his life against a compound of high level hostile enemies who have genocided humans in recent memory. He decides to go straight to them(keep in mind these people were killing children). Well fine, what's his argument that they shouldn't kill him? Because he won't do what all the other humans did... These people don't strike me as the compassionate sort, and his argument for why he should live is weaker than a reason a baby should be spared. This could've been circumvented easily by begging the question what if the god sends another human if he dies? Then this human could level and pose a threat to the community, best to stick with evil you do know yadayada. But, nah instead he just says i wont do nuffin, and no one else picks up on this implication.
And, idk if this is a personal reaction but the MC seems overly fixated on jason. Which is kind of weird because the only thing we know is that MC has a friend named jason who is super good looking and nice... Like does he not have anyone else in his life that's important or anything more defining than his rock hard friendship with jason?
Begins like a normal enough isekai. Saves friend, lost in woods, skills and level ups. Upbeat and cheerful attitude overcoming the desperation of the situation.
You start to realize the world is beyond salvagable. All the animals are infected and worst yet it's not just a bad case of rabies. When killed, the animal turns into a pile of goo on death. Then you meet the locals and realize the entire ecosystem is fucked.
Those nice locals you met? They accomplished a full on genocide. Killed your entire species down to the last man, woman, and child.
The real deal breaker? Upon learning this our charming protagonist decides that he wants to meet the individuals who will be deciding his torture for the rest of his life.
Currently one of my favorite things to read here on royal road, and it always brightens my day a lil bit to see a new chapter email.
Why do I like it? Grammer is real good with only rare minor problems that the author is quick to fix when pointed out. Rob, the MC, feels like a real person who suffers from real trauma and lashes out in what feels like real ways, or put in another way, his actions while not always rational MAKE SENSE. And with my two major pet peeves covered, that's really all I need to be ride or die on this to see where the story goes.
This is clearly the work of a newer author, and the ideas behind the story provide a really powerful platform to discuss addiction and how societies interact with that.
Unfortunately, this isn't what the story is about. Its a generic chosen hero plotline where the 'band of characters' doesn't really reflect the world they live in or the context of the story.
The excellent worldbuilding almost doesn't matter as the characters like the same actors in different wigs. Descriptions of prejudice feel second hand. Descriptions of addiction likewise. A graveyard for an elven town is on screen, and rates one line of description with no identifying features. Emotion is an informed characteristic. The framwork is great but it lacks the texture to really come to life.
Despite all of that, its still worth a look just because of the ideas' strength - you can train to write better characterisation, but it is very hard to train to write 'core concepts' as powerful as this.
I really look forward to seeing this author grow into someone who can do justice the ideas they are putting on page, because they clearly have talent. Once it reaches second draft I could see it on the shelf of a bookstore, and if the author gets a good grip on character, then it will be something really special.
I honestly thought I wouldn't care much for LITRPG type of stories. I gave this one a chance, and I'm glad I did.
The quality writing held my interest, with Rob the main character turning out to be funny and relatable based on his actions and thoughts. Reading on how other characters interact and view him, someone would think he's Don Quixote a few times. I felt the author managed to make a refreshing take on a gamer protaganist.
So far as a reader, I'm hooked. The author's abiltity at making the game mechanic work with story is the key point in why this is enjoyable to read.
The story cornered itself. Each idea good on its own, but combined they are detrimental to each other as it points towards high dependancy on plot armour.
Idea 1: Everyone wants to kill MC cuz he is human. Humans are bad and were killed to extinction by other races 8 years ago.
Idea 2: When humans level quickly, they become crazy for power and do anything for it, including slaughtering children. Our mc is afraid of this so he can't lvl up quickly.
1+2= the story is just MC befriending people in hopes they don't kill him, which we know they won't cuz PLOT ARMOUR.
The plot went downhill when MC joined elf village.
I'm not a grammar expert, but I've never had trouble understanding the story due to grammatical errors, and that's the bar that I hold for any fantasy story.
The characters feel like they all follow the same mold, just different filings, albeit this has improved in recent chapters. It's not a problem of shallow characters as much as it feels like the author is unable to bring out the depth behind each character.
Style: Sudden shifts in POV will always be annoying as it's not always clear which character is the current POV.
Overall: The story has potential and it's fun to read, I'll stick around to find out what direction the author will take with the story, but I don't have any high hopes.
TLDR: I like it. If you are interested, read it. At least until c11part2. Then decide for your self. It does handel some quite heavy topics.
I felt that this story has a way better take on getting transported to a new world than most isekai/LitRPG stories here on RR. It still uses the main tropes of the genre, but manages to handle them quite well, mostly with good pacing.
Its greatest problem is that the worldbuilding and build up of the story requires the reader to get this far for things to make sense, both in terms of the society and individual characters we encounter.
The MC arrives in the world after a racial based conflict that dwarfs WW2 in scale of sensless destruction, has left the world broken.
He has to first survive the wilds, then as he find civilisation has to face the deep seated hatered left behind by the humans, who supposedly started this world shattering war.
As far as I am concerned every (or almost every) behaviour in this story is well established, while also incorporating the effect of the system present in this world. Logical? No. But can you show me a group of people that act logical after or during a major crisis?
And that is without the balancing or inhibiting effects of the system.
Considering the examples of racial hatered displayed during and after WW2 by every major force, (Germans, Russians, the Japanese, or even the US and the other allied forces) it is fair to say, that the reactions to our MC is even expected.
I am interested to see how this story continue.
When I first started reading this, I thought it could be The One – finally a portal fantasy LITRPG with flawless grammar, strong and consistent characterization and, best of all, well-realized and desperately intense action sequences. It wasn’t just numbers go brrrr, it had both a heart and a head.
Up until half way through the second book I would have said this story only had two real flaws, and that they were relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. The first flaw was that some random Artificer had created an item with earth-shattering abilities and it seemed like everyone just shrugged their shoulders and carried on with their day. Imagine if after Newton released his Principa or after Einstein came up with general relativity society at large gave them a “kinda cool I guess”. Thankfully this plot-point ended up having a half-way satisfying resolution.
My second major problem with the book was how “emotionally supportive” everyone was being. Now this might sound strange to say but the problem is that in the real world, at least in my experience of it, nobody actually speaks like they are acting out sociology textbooks. This is a problem because, the whole point of LITRPG is that it is video game mechanics merged with actual living breathing human beings. All these “emotionally supportive” and “wholesome” scenes felt weirdly stilted and artificial, like Mass Effect relationship building dialogue.
Sadly, this issue was not resolved but exacerbated into a major issue when relationship dynamics started to become the primary focus of the novel. It felt like the author was insisting on playing to his weaknesses. Every character started to have some form of deep-seated angst they needed to work through. Everyone became determined to provide non-judgemental, non-too-pushy emotional support to everyone else. While this level of angst and melodrama is fine when somebody has been plucked from our cushy modern world and dropped into a literal hell planet, it starts to get eye-rollingly bad when every character thinks they are Hamlet.
As you can imagine this is a very far cry from the relentlessly optimistic, adrenaline fuelled, survival-against-all-odds nature of the first book. Its not what I signed up for and its certainly not a welcome surprise. I’m afraid I have to agree with others who have said it all went to shit when Robb joined the village and I am no longer interested in seeing how the story goes now that it’s become a Soap Opera.
All the charaters from the 16 y/o main protagonist to some mid 30's elf all think and talk in the way a person who is 16 thinks and talks so it feels like a puppet show I can't get into. Story plot is intresting and good use of making the LITRPG part of the story instead of tacted on.