Retribution Engine

Retribution Engine

by Akaso

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content

I've been made aware that the discord link in my post-chapter plug is dead. Use this one until I fix it. Discord


"The War of Fog is over. Every major city is under occupation. Now we prepare to take back our home."

- Unknown Soldier

The world's great heroes have slaughtered one another for the ideals of their countries, but the world keeps moving.

The industrious nation of Ikesia lays still smoldering from the nigh-apocalyptic War of Fog, yet it stubbornly forges onward, shielded from further invasion by the impenetrable Blackwall. Its leader - the Sage of Fog - has disappeared, yet his influence is still felt everywhere, his plans and contingencies still in motion - even the Blackwall is said to be his last, desperate creation.

New heroes have begun rising from the war of fog, and there is more need for them than ever. A towering foreigner has emerged from the desolate Exclusion Zone.

She strides into the war-torn country without the intent to pick sides, but is soon forced to do so when the machinations of malevolent others collide with her own ego.


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Akaso

Akaso

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
0.01 - The New Man, Born of Glass ago
0.02 - Dogs of War ago
0.03 - Beast Slays Beast ago
0.04 - New Identities, Old Prejudices ago
0.05 - Codex ago
0.06 - Necrobeast Interdiction ago
0.07 - Escape From the Zone ago
0.08 - The Tavern, The Truth, The Arrogant Young Master ago
0.09 - Beast-slayer Wanted, Beast-slayer Desired ago
0.10 - The Womaneater, The Maneater ago
0.11 - To Put Down a Vengeance Demon ago
0.12 - To Dress Both One's Wounds and Oneself ago
0.13 - The Governor, The Gunsmith, The Pentacle ago
0.14 - The Brass-Eyed Singer, The Tests, The Locust Highwaymen ago
0.15 - Code-speak, Breathing Method Training, The Memory of the Victory Demon ago
0.16 - Promenade Date, Rebound Pulse, Unforeseen Consequences ago
0.17 - The Extermination Job and The Old Battlefield ago
0.18 - The Man of Stone, The Living Storm, and Stormtrance ago
0.19 - The Power of the Storm, The Wrath of the Red Mantis ago
0.20 - The Hundred-Locust Slayer ago
0.21 - She Who Stands In Defiance of Death Itself ago
0.22 - The Extermination Begins ago
0.23 - Mind for Alchemy, Soul for the Sword ago
0.24 - More Than a Soldier ago
0.25 - Slayer's Instinct ago
0.26 - The Uncompressed Thunderous Fury of a Raging Lightning-Splitter ago
0.27 - Spiteful Revelator, Sonic Exterminator ago
0.28 - To Be More Than a Soldier ago
0.29 - The Subcore, The Swordsman ago
0.30 - An Existence Worse Than Death, Rendezvous Between Floors ago
0.31 - The Philter And The Serum ago
0.32 - A Soldier's Demand, An Alchemist's Labors, A Sleazebag's Gambit ago
0.33 - Engine of Retribution ago
0.34 - Subcore Delta, The Philosopher's Eye, And The Storm Engine ago
0.35 - The Third King's Oracle And The Meaning of Cultivation ago
0.36 - Into the Mouth of Hell ago
0.37 - Antepenultimate Extermination: First Strike at the Heart of Infestation ago
0.38 - Penultimate Extermination: The Hellborne Fury of an Unleashed Victory Demon ago
0.39 - Ultimate Extermination: Dance of the Fireflies, the Burial Rite by Ball Lightning ago
0.40 - Post-Extermination: Those Who Stand in Defiance of a Living God ago
ARC 1 FINALE - It Has to Be This Way ago
ARC 2 PROLOGUE - An Ikesian Folk Myth ago
1 - Victory Lap ago
2 - Out of Desolation ago
3 - Violence of the Skies ago
4 - Cogs in Motion ago
5 - Arnys Krishorn ago
6 - Dossier ago
7 - Panzermensch ago
8 - Re:Willowdale ago
9 - Re:Poppies ago
10 - Pierogi ago
11 - Kanbu ago
12 - Introspect ago
13 - A Loyal Customer ago
14 - True Return ago
15 - Caution ago
16 - Voltage ago
17 - Electroinduction ago
18 - Short Circuit ago
19 - Sensory Overload ago
20 - Drawn Conclusion ago
21 - March to Opus ago
22 - Traits ago
23 - Understatement ago
24 - Citronade ago
25 - Strolvath's Caution ago
26 - Old Quarter ago
27 - Speakeasy ago
28 - Mine's Bigger ago
29 - Drunken Folklore ago
30 - Homunculus ago
31 - Karga ago
32 - The One-week War ago
33 - Resentment for Complacency ago
34 - Serpent's Head ago
35 - Make it So ago
36 - Re:Cogs in Motion ago
37 - Bherad ago
38 - Soapboxing ago
39 - Emperor's Mercy ago
40 - Just an Errand ago
41 - Accustomed to Violence ago
42 - Proof of a Craftsman ago
43 - Breathe of Change/Prisoner ago
44 - Call me Strake ago
45 - Dawn of Another Fateful Day ago
46 - Re: Opus ago
47 - Necrobeast Elixir ago
48 - Impurities ago
49 - Re: Book of Secrets ago
50 - Old World Philosophy ago
51 - Breakfast and Pulps ago
52 - Restlessness ago
53 - Relics of History ago
54 - Air Like Gunpowder ago
55 - Re: Draw Against the Reaper ago
56 - Anima/Animus ago
57 - In the Hall of the God-King ago
58 - Tapestry Unraveling ago
59 - Awake ago
60 - Judged in the Name of the Omniudex ago
61 - Metamorphosis ago
62 - Grievous Miracle ago
63 - The Fiery Eye of Judgment ago
64 - Emberthorn ago
65 - The Red-shingle Path ago
66 - Fruit Right Hook ago
67 - How to Get a Homunculus Drunk ago
68 - Descendant of the Tundra-Striders ago
69 - Warrior-to-Warrior Discourse ago
70 - Revelry in Combat ago
71 - An Offer Too Good to Refuse ago
72 - Lightning Strikes the Glacier ago
73 - Underplanned to Face the Beast of the Storm ago
74 - Too Smug to Die ago
75 - Not Quite Reeling ago
76 - Ancient Truths ago
77 - Judgment Justice ago
78 - The Charred Judge ago
79 - Eternal Beast ago
80 - A Casual Breakfast Before Limb Reattachment ago
81 - Left Arm of the Engine Beast ago
82 - A Promise Upheld ago
83 - To Set Loose the Violent Will ago
84 - Speak of the Blue Moon ago
85 - Lighting the Inner Crucible ago
86 - Impending Unknown ago
87 - The Payment for a City Saved ago
88 - Oblique Maneuvering ago
89 - The Pot Boiling Over ago
90 - Mangy Dogs and Stone Soldiers ago
91 - Stars of Calamity ago
92 - A Hallway of Dead Men ago
93 - Innocence and Wretchedness ago
94 - Slayer's Mercy ago
95 - Paint it Red ago
96 - Hunted ago
97 - The Wannabe Sleazebag's Gambit ago
98 - Sheng and Zhuo ago
99 - New Ammunition, Blue Meat, and a Swordsman's Struggle ago
100 - Foster the Flame ago
101 - Morning News ago
102 - Pieces Falling Into Place ago
103 - To Plan For The Future ago
104 - The Sect Compound ago
105 - Deal With The Merchant Matriarch ago
106 - Training Grounds ago
107 - Rising Heat ago
108 - Shameless Infatuation ago
109 - Sparks and Ball Lightning ago
110 - Caught You ago
111 - Entanglement ago
112 - Entanglement Continued/Metamophosis ago
113 - Metamorphosis Continued/Morning of the Serpent's Day ago
114 - Honest Ping's ago
115 - Decision/Distortion ago
116 - The Caravan Arrives ago
117 - Exotic Influx ago
118 - Strake Departing ago
119 - Merchant of Menace ago
120 - Dog of War ago
121 - Smoking in the Rain ago
122 - Cry For Retribution ago
123 - Teeth of the War-Dog; First Arm of the Fierce Deity ago
124 - Lottery/Nobles as Stage Musicians ago
125 - Face the Music ago
126 - We Fight the Night ago
127 - Formless Butchery ago
128 - Flying Thundersaw ago
129 - Dutybound ago
130 - Enigmatic Gale ago
131 - The Bickering Immortals ago
132 - Monumentality ago
133 - Uni ago
134 - The Markets ago
135 - Ironclad Truth ago
136 - Speak of Iron ago
137 - The Moneychanger ago
138 - Immortal Beast ago
139 - Tremor ago
140 - Snake-oil ago
141 - On the Health Risks of Business Negotiations ago
142 - Of Three Manly Smiths ago
143 - Steel Steed ago
144 - Gunshot to the Head of Subservience ago
145 - Guerilla Warfare ago
146 - The Recluse ago
147 - Brass-eyed Drunkard ago
148 - Steel Commander ago
149 - Burgess ago
150 - Bloody Zero ago
151 - Plan of Attack ago
152 - Before the Execution ago
153 - Big Shot ago
154 - Back in Red ago
155 - Memory of Change ago
156 - Remake Thyself ago
157 - Scrying ago
158 - Re: Bloody Zero ago
159 - Man and Machine ago
160 - Steel Winged Warrior ago
161 - Take Up the Sword, Common Man ago
162 - Visage of the Fierce Deity ago
163 - Second Arm of the Fierce Deity ago
164 - The Lighthouse ago
165 - Tian Meng ago
166 - Cao Hu ago
167 - Flying Sword ago
168 - Heartless Madness ago
169 - Give Me Your Head ago
170 - Armor of Curses ago
171 - A Long Fall ago
172 - Horizonward ago
173 - To Walk Ever Onward ago
174 - Chipping Away ago
175 - Reaching Into Ages Past ago
176 - Break the Seal ago
177 - Ozmir ago
178 - Unearthed ago
179 - Flagrant Lack of Caution ago
180 - Breaching the Eternal Vault ago
181 - Leather ago
182 - Cheesecake ago
183 - Translation ago
184 - The Walking Way of the Despot of Self ago
185 - On the Operation of a Sect ago
186 - Training/Sparring ago
187 - Polishing/Breaking-in ago
188 - Breaking-in Pt. 2 ago
189 - Breaking-in Pt. 3 ago
190 - KGF/Dealmaker ago
191 - Rule Thyself, Despot of Self ago
192 - Power Struggle ago
193 - A Common Foe ago
194 - Empire of Mind ago
195 - Subtle Metamorphosis ago
196 - Stonecrackers ago

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Reviews
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s44
Overall

Five-star world, characters, and scenes but...

Reviewed at: 68 - Descendant of the Tundra-Striders

This is a fascinating story with some things that could be improved.

The setting - a mashup of magitech/mad science post-WWI intrigue, cultivation, and fantasy litRPG - is the glory of this work, interesting both for its own details and mystery and for the new light in which we see the tropes of its constituent genres.

Characters are distinct and well done, and Zelsys, with her self-possessed directness and slowly-filling-in ignorance of the world, is a central figure who perfectly sets off all the complicated stuff around her.

Finally, the first part (the numbering is confusing but 0._ is part one and ARC 2 is part two, directly picking up) shows the author's ability to write great fight scenes and confrontations.

What's the issue, then? Well, first, updating both the revised first part and the current second part makes it a pain to read the whole thing through, as you currently have to go back to the deprecated initial version of the first part to read the part where it leads into the second part. This will fix itself soon enough, though.

The major issue is that the author can't ever skip to the next important thing. If there are five floors to a dungeon with multiple paths, we're going to see every single one. Perhaps the author saw that the first part got really unbalanced by the sheer length of the dungeon crawl - some of which had key powerups and world revelations, but not nearly all - and is revising to cut some of that, but even in the current part he is unable/unwilling to skip anything (or any amount of time). If a character talks about doing something, we will not only (eventually) see that but also the leadup, some incident in between, often the literal walk to the thing, and sometimes an alternate character's perspective on the same as well. This worked at the world and characters were coming into focus, but is becoming more of a liability as more characters and plot threads come into play.

 

DrBuller
Overall

I think the system is original

Reviewed at: 16 - Voltage

Honestly, just who comes up with this stuff? This might just be a genre I haven't delved into ever before, but just where did the idea of Fog come from? Seriously. It's some cool stuff, even if I didn't understand half of it(purely my fault. No shame to the author for my own incompetence).

To sum up that point, I like the system laid out for the magic, or whatever you can call it. It's cool. Love it. And there are other aspects that I should mention as well. The characters, as an example, are great additions to the story. Especially the descriptions, though that might be due to my love for tattoos. Love the art for it(except the one with the homunculus eye or however you spell it. That one creeped me out).

Nothing else to say. Style? Great. Grammar? Couldnt find any mistakes. Pace? Pretty fast, compared to the other stuff that I read. Overall some nice stuff. 5/5

Tehd11
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Certainly one of my favorite stories here. Very enjoyable blend of action, romance and THE SMUG. Only complaint would be the downtime and setup, which can get kinda long, but honestly I don't mind that either. So I'm not complaining. It's like an old unboosted diesel, slow but it'll get you to the action guaranteed. And when it gets there, it really gets there. The action is superb, really well detailed and immersive. 

The story itself is great, it had me hooked from the beginning. Progresses along nicely, again, sometimes slows down, but you never get the feeling that it's spinning in place. 

I'm really bad at reviews so bear with me...

The grammar is good. A typo here and there, but sentence structure and tenses are usually on point. My brain kinda glosses over the typos anyway. 

The characters? Well, they're probably my favorite part of the story. All of them have their own roles and never feel redundant. Zelsys, the main character, is amazing, headstrong and SMUG, very confident and capable. None of that "your average Japanese highschool boy/girl" bs, there's nothing average about her, and she's not letting the uncertainty of her origin mess with her confidence. I won't go too in-depth with the rest of the cast. I'll just say they're all well thought out and incorporated into the story. They all have agency and never feel like dead weight. 

That's about it, I highly recommend giving it a try. Note that as of writing this the prequel is being added to this entry, but isn't all there yet, so I recommend reading "Rising from the war of Fog" first. All the chapters of that will find their way here eventually, of course. 

Biggus Dickus
Overall

Quite like it's name the novel story goes like an engine. The world, it's events and characters are there for a reason and they work. The litrpg is there but it's not that blue screen that keeps popping up and eventually gets to big/full with things most won't remember or care. Love the combat aways exciting. Can't say I've seen anything bad with the grammar. There's no pointless filler drama. The characters are more than interesting enough for me to want to see their journey to the end.

Strif3
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Incredibly slow-burn but rich and detailed

Reviewed at: 40 - Just an Errand

This is apparently a sequel to previous works I have not read, so take that into consideration.

Style: Akaso is a very effective writer, I read about 20 chapters in before I felt the need to look at the glossary. The world itself is incredibly detailed, I don't think i've seen this much worldbuilding effort on RR before. If you want a rich, lore-heavy story, this is definitely for you.

Story: My main criticism with this story is the pace. 40 chapters in and the plot has only inched forward, its just a whole lot of setup for what I assume to be the action packed back half of the story. I can't give less than three stars for this because its a sequel and I'm guessing the idea is that readers will already be invested in the story, world and characters. That's perfectly reasonable imo so I can't really penalise it too hard but new readers should know what they're getting into and ideally read the first installment before this one.

Grammar: The grammar is polished to a degree that implies professional work, I wouldn't be surprised if Akaso hired an editor or is one themselves. Easy 5 stars

Character: The characters are another strong point. You don't often see fics on RR that really delve into political and ideological tensions and I love the fact that each character has a distinct set of beliefs and ideas about the world, and they make congruent sense when you take into account their backgrounds. An example of stellar characterisation imo

Tl;dr - This is worth a read. If you can handle the slow burn pace of the story, read it now, if not, read the first, then read this one

Thanatos010
Overall

I haven't been reading this for long, but so far the development is very organic, the characters are very fleshed out, and the worldbuilding is quite detailed. The magic system has a lot of thought behind it and is internally consistent, which is always a plus. I haven't gotten far in but due to the length I figured I would go ahead and give a review now and just edit it later once I finish the book.

HyperAlphaKing
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This review has been updated to highlight some changes.

Retribution engine is a technically well-written story with good dialogue and characters. The most unique aspect of this novel is its detailed and lore rich word, but if you have not read the first story in this series, like me, you'll most likely be lost. Luckily, the author released a glossary recently, which gives a nice explication for the big names in the story.

 

Style:

The story is paced well, there isn't much I can say about it since pacing is different for everyone. But I found the story to be going at the right speed for me.

Descriptions are also well written and detailed, with lots of lore and mechanics in them. Generally, one can infer what all these things mean. I had previously mentioned a glossary, which the author provided. This certainly helps clears things up a bit, and makes reading easier. I would prefer an explanation within the story, but a glossary is better than an info dump from a side character.

One thing I found a bit annoying were the character names, Zelsys and Zefari. I find them too similar and can be confusing, especially abbreviated to Zel and Zef. I don't think the author can go back and change this, but it's something to note, especially for me who has a hard time remembering names.

 

Grammar:
Perfect, extremely well written. I found no grammatical mistakes, typos etc. Technical ability is definitely one of the author's strong suits, it feels like I'm reading something professionally edited.

 

Story:

This story is a direct continuation of the previous novel in this series, but Retribution Engine doesn't really clarify or mention in the text what really are the goals of the main characters are, except for Crovacus, who intends to recruit the main heroine. So I don't really know what's going on with the story.

I love the setting of the story, the world it takes places in is so unique and creative it really draws you in despite the current lack of plot. Everything feels well established and rich with history. It leaves you feeling like a person lost in a foreign country, which depending on the type of reader you are, will either intrigue or annoy you.

Lack of plot or even general direction, alongside a lot of unexplained mechanics, will leave a majority of newcomers alienated or disinterested. I would recommend the author to determine everything necessary for a newcomer to know, and then implement that information in the early chapters.

 

Character:

I like the characters of Zelarys and Zefari, their relationship and attitude towards each other feel natural. And Zelarys is a veritable badass with a few secrets of her own.

I am also partial to the character of Corvacus since I am biased toward sneaky politician types.

In general, I enjoy the dialogue between characters. It is well written and you can surmise a lot about the characters' personalities from the way they speak.

 

To conclude, Retribution Engine is an extremely imaginative and special novel, but the glossary / prior investment is mandatory.  Purely on a technical level, its obvious that the author is talented, and I would recommend them to prioritise writing only the most interesting and essential elements of the story,

MalevolenceMau
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A story mainly following the travels of two women in love, one being a hulking mass akin to Guts with lightning powers and the other a more dainty, though not much, shooter. Not entirely my preferred genre, being that it holds written-out sexual scenes, but the rest does well at holding my interest.

Style: Rather than reading like a chapter-by-chapter release, each part feels more like a page in a book. This has its pros and cons, the most notable downside for me is that 3 segments make up an entire scene at times, creating a weird disjointed feel as it progresses. I end one page with dialogue, for the next to continue it. Since I can binge tons of pages at a time it isn't as bad, though I can see faint memories creating some issues here going between releases.

Story: Since each release is shorter than most, around 1000 or so words, the story goes along slower than usual. Even more so when just like in Style, a scene can take over 3 releases to complete. This isn't a bad thing though, some like slower-burn stories and it just appeals to them more.

However, the constant jumping between the views of several characters is a bit jarring, from the main party, a scientist in his lab, talks between military folk, to a shopkeeper Zel and Zef just met. Without reading the previous story it can be hard to feel anything for these "random" people we are learning about. For the most part, you don't need to read the prequel story, however, it feels like I have missed out on a lot of lore and backstory. My personal preference for this would be that it is clearly stated when a change of view is made, since one of these happened and I didn't know who it was until 3 paragraphs in.

The author has written up a key as it were for major names, but without living a story with those in it, the key does only so much to help. The repeated references to Elixirs or Vitamax and the like have me at a loss too, as I was unsure at the beginning if they were just snake oil or true magical potions that helped bodily functions. There is also little to tell me of what has happened or the current goals, until several chapters into the story, I was just following some adventurers in a Metro 2033 style traversal back to town.

My cons of this are more on me not reading the prequel, though the note in the blurb does state this is intended to be read without a need of the previous story. Some refresher text spread about would be needed to make that a solid point of the design, but right now it takes quite a few chapters to learn about the referenced items/terms.

Grammar: I found very few issues with the grammar, I pointed out at least one, though other readers found more before I got to the story. Some of the sentence structures also made it hard to read at times, though wasn't a major hurdle.

Character: There's a whole lot of characters to go through, we learn about 4 in the beginning parts with Zel and Zef the duo-leads taking a major part of that time. Without a full of description of their looks, simple notes about hair and such, it is hard to get a clear visual of the characters aside from their art. Again, I feel like the prequel story may have filled me in on more of these details. Thankfully, their aesthetics are referred to later on, both the duo leads and side characters, but it often feels a bit late.