- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
Typhoeus is a dragon. To the humans hunting him, he is nothing more than a monster. A mindless beast to be killed for levels and glory. To him, adventurers are not that much better.
Exiled from his home due to a trait on his status, and so very tired of killing adventurers on a near daily basis. Armed with a millennium of mystical knowledge and a new skill, Typhoeus decides to seek refuge hidden amongst the cowed remnants of humanity that populate this world.
This is his story.
Book 1 - A Sovereign's Scorn (157.3k words, avg 3.9k per chapter)
Book 2 - A Warrior’s Ire (180.0k words, avg 4.0k per chapter)
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This story contains the following: British English, Profanity, Cliffhangers, LGBT+ Characters & Themes, Explicit Sexual Content, Sexual Threat, Gore, and Overarching Plot.
So no one is surprised, this story features a strong romance storyline between a shapeshifting genderqueer dragon and a human woman. If that's not your thing, feel free to stop reading here.
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One of the hallmarks of a great story is seeing that everything is terrible —mightily terrible. And you as a reader is paralyzed by the fact that you are powerless to change it. In the dragons dilemma, the reader was presented with a world filtered through the eye of Typhoeus, the world that as far as he knew is always against him.
His brethren, his family, save for his mother, are his tormentors. The humans are his hunters. In fact, the story began when the ill-luck dragon is pursued on his own lair, minding his own business, for simply being, simply existing.
Then by the next chapters, we are plunged into the midst of the adventurers’ town, the human society as Typhoeus first know it. And it is all bubbles and bystanders. Reflection of how the delicate dance of just enough chance of social movement and systematic imbalance of military might could stave off the unfairness of having half of its population living in a slum. And of course, while the dragon acknowledged the territory might benefit from his ‘gentle ministration’, his first and focused action was acting out revenge on behalf of his species torment —acid soaking the vivisectionist alchemist who has no concept of conscience.
That how is it with the story so far, while casual readers might find his adventuring to be exciting and full of tension, the undercurrents are that everything and everyone is horrible. The adventurers are slumming themselves in their little bubbles, never lending a credence of thought to anyone besides their immediate species. The alchemists are torturers, cutting organs and limbs of living beings while the said beings are still conscious. And Typhoeus, our MC while quick to wrath to the crime inflicted upon his species, find it’s a perfectly fine affair eating innocent caravan of merchants, just so his belly and his hoard could be filled.
It is a blend of fun and surrender —a what it is.
On the character aspect, the MC Typhoeus himself is what I call, a good perspective of a dragon. He acted and walked as a dragon that tried very hard to imitate what normal humans might behave. Still for all his effort, his tics are showing; his eating habit, his dismissal of the bronze coin. A normal predisposed action that a dragon of his age thought of as normal —an exemplary example of every worldbuilder dream, seeing a culture that alive as their own.
The style is good, well-written, and clear. The narrative is immersive and consistent throughout. Although I’d like more varied sentence length. Something that cut through in between of those lengthy nested phrases. But that just that. Preferences. Not a real critic. The only critic I had for the style is on the first chapter (001 not prologue), half of the starting paragraph is cramped with repetitive, adverb, and repetitive adverb. It eased off on the next, and almost non-existent further by, but it is something worth taking a second look at.
Grammar as always, not my specialty, but it’s readable and I found almost no typo, so it a yes from me.
All in all, the story is a journey to follow. Deserving its place on the trending page.
Disclaimer: This review was created as part of the swap with the reviewer story — Tales of Unlikely Wizard in accordance with the Royalroad Rules regarding Review Swap. Reader discretion is advised.
One thing that initially put me off of this story slightly was gender bender trope. This story could be rewritten to make the MC's true gender female and it would have almost no impact on the plot at all. However, upon reflection I realized this switch in gender actually serves a very useful purpose. The fact that the MC is always referred to using masculine pronouns during scenes from his perspective despite him being in the form of a female human helps reinforce that he isn't the human he's pretending to be.
Initially the summary had me fearing the worst, since so few stories about dragons taking on a human form actually stay with the theme.
But not this author, no he created a dragon and whatever form it takes he makes damn sure to make us remember that the draconic mindset is not lost at any point in time.
Whether that be by more drastic actions taken or subtle hints to the behaviour and thoughts of the MC, never do I feel that the MC slips into being a human.
Sure he has to fit in and may be influenced in some ways, but his core does not change, he is a dragon with a human guise, NOT a human with dragon powers.
Add in that the author is very eloquent and can deliver rich descriptions of actions, feelings and thoughts without it feeling boring or stretched makes this story a very high quality read so far.
I am also glad to see the author going with a mature theme. Including topics like gore, sex and trauma just gives stories a much more real feel to them and is being done very well here.
A great story that I can absolutely recommend to you!
I think the story has a really good foundation. I won't spoil too much bit it gets pretty engaging and brings in a few new things with old metas later on which make sense.
What I think I like the most is the justification part of how it all works unlike more rigid systems of magic.
The story and plot could use some improvements here and there but I think it does a good job potraying the characters, really makes you *feel* like a dragon, 4.6/5 it has a little something for everyone.
I didn't know that LitRPG was a genre until finding this website. Luke's Dragon's Dilemma is one of them. I only read the first few chapters, but from what I've read so far, this story has an intriguing plot about the mighty dragon, Typhoeus, losing his true form and becoming a human. It's a very interesting plot point that I hope is explored to its fullest in the later chapters.
The descriptions in the book are vivid as hell, but they tend to be very verbose and lengthy. If he cuts them down and makes them more concise, it would read much better in my opinion.
As he struggled to breathe between great gulping sobs, he was struck by the peculiarity of the involuntary sensation. It was something that he had only ever watched the most pathetic of adventurers do in their final moments, and he had always ascribed it to simple human weakness, but as a dragon of his stature was forced to do it, he had to consider that perhaps there was more to this crying thing than he had initially thought.
fun story about a outsider perspective to fantasy adventurar culture. hte mc is very much a fish out of water character. the gender bender aspects are there but only as a facet of how typh dosent get human culture. it is also interesting how the author handles the whole class selection mechanic.
Through 30: The story is really starting to hit its stride and a lot of my earlier complaints have almost entirely disappeared. The story has now become one of the stories that I'm excited to click on when I see an update pop up, and I'm borderline getting a Patreon subscription. I've now bumped up the overall rating to 5.0 from 4.5.
The last dozen chapters (through 21) have been much better and now that we're really moving forward, the fiction seems to have much improved. I've bumped up the overall rating to 4.5 from 4.0.
This is a pretty decent fiction. Not quite as glowing as the other reviews make it, but pretty decent all the same.
My primary criticism is within the first ~8 chapters. There are a handful of scenes where the author is overly fixated in describing the surrounding when they have no impact on the plot; focued on a diaroma rather than the actors. Chekov once said something like only describing the setting if it directly impacts the plot. Might be a misquote, but in any event, that's a bit too extreme. There is some pleasure to be taken in describing a setting, but there is such a thing as too much. The worst case is probably
when the adventurers are gathered around a fire and the protagonist is making his first interaction with them. What was perhaps only a dozen exchanges in a dialogue between the parties drags on for almost a whole chapter because we are bogged down in descriptions of either the external environment or the parties' thought processes.
That's the most egregious example, but there are others as well (and to be clear, it's not purple prose). This however clears up once the protagonist gets
the first member of his adventuring party/lover and the plot and character development begin to move forward at a better clip.
As a second observation (not a criticism, or, at least, not yet) is that the protagonist's mindset seems to jump around a lot. It can be quite hard to follow and under normal circumstances, I would make this a criticism. That said, the protagonist is non-human and so I think this is something that can slide. That said, I'm also surprised that this isn't tagged "Psychological." It seems that we're clearly setting up that the trans-gender/sex/species phenomenom caused by this skill is affecting the protagonist's mindset significantly, something which he ponders over and worries about (or at least worries about whether he should worry about it).
On a third point, while I noted above that there doesn't appear to be purple prose, the first several chapters do get weighed down a bit by over-description. .... Actually, this may be redundant of my first point.
Real third point: Some of the humor in the first several chapter falls flat.
There's a lot made out of the protagonist crafting a perfect female form, and then a lot of gag/teenage crude humor focused around female nudity.
It's kind of weird in this very dark setting. Like, maybe it would work once or twice, but it gets played up at least a half dozen times until the protagonist effectively splits away from his "saviors." The tone just doesn't match the rest of the story. Notionally, it's about the dragon not really understanding humans, but it comes across simply as "ooh, tits!"
And in case it wasn't obvious, the setting does appear to be a crapsack world. Caveat lector.
IMHO most of the reviews do not give a clear picture of what this story is about. Currently, 39 chapters in, this is primarily a romance between a dragon shape shifted into a human woman and a human female, with an overplot involving some fantasy interspecies politics/history and a weakening seal blocking some currently undescribed evil. The romance is rife with tension from the "will she accept me when she knows I'm a dragon" element. 39 chapters in, the fantasy overplot is finally starting to heat up in a major way, but for most of these chapters it was just background. As such, the story (currently) stands or falls mostly on the romance. And its not bad! That said, the non-dragon (i.e. human) half of the romance didn't always feel realistic to me. We still have no backstory for the human romantic partner, and as such her transition from starving waif to warrior with strong political beliefs and ingrained anti-monster bias feels a bit artificial. There are a few POV chapters from the human's perspective, but ultimately the shape-shifted dragon MC has always been extremely nice to the human and as honest as realistically feasible, so the whole "will the human accept me when she knows I'm a dragon" plot didn't always fully work for me. The human's inevitable difficulties when the truth comes out (far to obvious to be a spoiler) mostly just feel unfair and narrow-minded given that the human started the story in the gutter and owes everything to the dragon, whose only "crime" was falling in love.
Five chapters in and this is easily one of the best stories I've read on RR comparable with a real novel. While I may change this review if it goes downhill later on, I can honestly say that it is obvious that the author has put in a lot of effort to make a perfect story (so far anyway).
The grammar is great, no criticisms there. That said my grammar isn't the best so maybe I'm wrong but the story flows nicely when you read it. There have been no issues where I had to re-read a sentence because it was confusing.
The story is engaging, internally consistent and keeps hinting at more things to come. The hook is solid, the motivations behind the MC's actions make sense.
I like the style of the novel. There have been no infodumps, the author going to great lengths to show not tell us what is going on. The fic is well paced with decent combat and good dialogue. The chapter sizes are satisfying and move the plot forwards without wasting word count on filler content or obtrusive litrpg elements.
The MC is a dragon and so far seems really cool. The'yre not just a passive character reacting to things as they come. They're driving the fic forwards with their actions. And seems to have a personality beyond being a blank self insert.
But look where I'm at, reading a good story written by a very competent author. Even though dragons are kinda the enemy of the main character in my story, I can't help but wish for the best with the MC in this one.
Gotta admit, the dragon arrogance is charming. Give it a read!