-- A System Apocalypse from the invader's perspective. A monster evo story with cultivation. --
Nic has been Selected. Chosen to adventure out to a new world, and help the System break the natives into submission. To become an Invader of worlds fighting for the Integration of a planet called 'Earth.'
Selected to leave his body behind and become a monster. Selected to live or die on his own wits, his own strengths.
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(With all apologies to AC/DC)
Breaker of Horizons is a wild, energetic ride to a dangerous new world, a deathworld called 'Earth'.
Well, it's new for our protagonist Nic anyway. Nic is 'lucky' enough to win a lottery slot to have his mind transferred into a monster's form during the early stages of the integration of Earth into the wider multiverse. His fate is to be fodder, one of a multitude serving as a stepping stone for the humans of Earth to adapt to the dangers of the multiverse.
Of course, Nic's never been very good at accepting his fate, which is precisely what makes him so interesting to the High Sept and the Low Tomb.
System Apocalypse webnovels are nothing new, but with Breaker of Horizons NoDragons has taken the road less traveled, and given us a narrative from the perspective not of some beleaguered human, but instead, one of the invaders. This decision informs everything that follows, and creates a unique story experience, particularly coupled with their signature prose and imagery.
Our protagonist, Nic, is characterized by a blend of reckless ambition and cautious guile; quick to throw himself into the dangers of his new world for every advantage that has previously been denied him, but also using his head to stay alive when everyone and everything around him would be happy to take it from his shoulders for the Essence in his soul and the change in his non-existent pockets.
The supporting cast that Nic interacts with are vibrant and bring a lot to the table, whether as antagonists or otherwise, despite (or maybe because of) language and societal barriers between them. The world is fantastic and even in the few chapters uploaded to date (and a few more in the beta pipeline) it feels alive; getting to see the wonder and peril through Nic's eyes is a delight.
The writing style is very much in the Muhammad Ali school of floating and stinging, taking us from beautifully realized vistas to mad scrambles for survival in turns. Mechanically it is well above the average for a webnovel, very few punctuation errors, and virtually none of the incorrect homophone, misspelling, or tense-shift issues that might plague a lesser work.
There's really no reason you should still be reading this review, when you could instead be reading the story. Follow Nic on his adventures through the integration of Earth, and you won't be disappointed.
The story started out alright with decent world building allowing us to understand the world where the mc came from. The problem after that is the misallightment of what the mc is. He is reckless with his life and particularly ruthless. After his transformation, he completely changes from the desperate orphan into a friendly lizard.... (I understand the concept of brutality for family and friends, but where does this sense of need for interaction from natives come from). You would think after being taught about being an invaders in the universes version of school that the mc would be logical. Maybe, it's because I was expecting something from the title. I was expecting an actuall invader, instead we have the run of the mill litrpg reincarnation story basically. The plot which was suppose to drive this story apart from others has not manifested in the past 50ish chapters I have read. Currently skimming to see if the plot actually progresses.
The story starts promising in an interesting setting with an equaly good introduction of the MC.
After that it takes an gradual dive. Supposedly the hook of this story is that the MC is the invader of earth after Integration™️.
We see nothing of that.
The place our MC lands is fantasy jungle #17. No trace at all of earth setting, apart from a single way stronger guy. No civilization, no places, no people.
In addition to that the only other speaking character is the emotionless system that, as always, has emotions.
It only acts as presenter of long blue meaningless textboxes and long-winded exposition deliverer.
If you haven't read portal litrpg you will probably like this, as the prose is entertaining, if you already have, it's stale standard fare.
It's possible it gets better later on, but I'm not willing to invest the time slogging through the slow start.
The story started off pretty great. With a protagonist that seems to be smarter than the norm and pretty combat capable. It has the building block of a typical monster mc story which was pretty well executed, but as the story progresses it kind of jumps into trope's a lot. It changes from an interesting MC to an MC that is extremely bad at making a proper risk/profit analysis into situations. Wins every combat, has an aura of intelligence but still ends up making extremely obvious mistakes for reasons unknown. And the main downfall being, him being a monster and yet a paragon of justice, which seems off. The author in my opinion tries too hard to link the mc's altruism as an effect of his own upbringing in an attempt to still make him seem pragmatic which fails, at least for me. The attempts to excuse his good deeds that makes him put himself into unwanted situations seems too forced to me. Overall it feels like the story is confused on what direction the mc should take.
I would still advice readers to still give a try! Its not my mettle but many readers seem to really like it. And the author does weave his words nicely.
As a fan of Author's Thieves dungeon, this feels greatly lacking though.
The fact that the mc gains access to a system AI that tells him the answers to most of the stuff kills the exploratory value in the story. Nothing is dangerous anymore. The AI helps him with the path of progression while not being too obvious yet failing to act like its subject to limitations. MC combat strategies also seem to devolve over time, from the pretty ingenious poisoning of healing potion. To the obvious falling into a trap with no planning things out. Why would he help the gibbon for no reason and idea of risk still perplexes me(the gibbon ask for his help without any reward and still expects people to not suspect him is kinda dumb, That part felt very synthetic and forced) . His choice of progression seems weird as well. It deviates him from his monster class a lot. Seems much more logical to work with the monsters innate capabilities, and the monsters type seems to hold no value as power comes from shards and a salamander can decide to become a craftsman/Runesmith for some reason that involves abilities of other creatures through tools (Like Why?), Does the creature's biological race even matter here? There's no concept of affinity. Everything is game. I dont understand the limitations to the story's power structure at this point.
Mc at the start is shown to be a reckless but calculating Street rat on a dying world literally built on a already rotted corpse.
He becomes an "invader" a sapient monster who's only goal is to purge the weak natives from the newly integrated world...
Instead mc does the complete opposite and helps and supports natives even when it's not worthwhile too... basically these natives have something extremely valuable to mc but he doesn't bother even trying to get it and instead becomes their helper... For no reason either.
Mc is constantly shown in his thoughts and his background to be a desperate person that has a extreme desire to grow and thrive in this hostile world... But instead of actually acting on any of this he becomes a protecter of the people he made a system bound oath to kill... And is purposely going out if his way to strengthen his enemies...
Author fails to live up to the premise of the story, a premise that is likely the whole reason most people picked this up - the mc is not an "invader", he nominally has the role but there is no conflict of any kind with the people being invaded.
Rather, it's functionally identical to being as if he had started off as a human on the planet being invaded in most other apocalypse litrpgs. He even had a roughly humanoid form, and a "hunter gatherer" skill that lets him build and make tools.
This is also not a solitary person against hostile wilderness or nature scenario, nearly every other monster is also a person who invaded and the mc communicates with them regularly, he also gets multiple pets, and a pointless voice in his in the form of an AI for generic banter.
I wouldn't be so harsh on this story if it wasn't for the blatantly false premise - it's honestly no worse or better than most generic apolypse litrpgs, but I judge false advertisement in writing very harshly.
I will keep this very short: The story is not bad for what it actually is ‐ which isn't what the teaser says. It just is an other dude/axolotl fighting to get to the top. There are some arbitrary - system decreed - communication problems with natives/humans. But the story is certainly not what I expected or wanted to read when I saw "system apocalypse from an invaders point of view".
which is a big problem because much of the story ARE the MC's fights. They can take up most of a whole chapter. The MC is also in fights constantly.
Oh sure the details of each fight are certainly different (even creative at times) but broad strokes they all feel the same.
1) Supposedly intelligent + skilled (but reeeeeeal weak) MC takes on obviously difficult opponent for a questionable reason or slim chance at a item
2) Opponent usually turns out to not be difficult... they're flat out OP vs weaklings like the MC
3) MC gets utterly brutalized (limbs chopped off, impaled, etc) and is a stumbling shaking wreck by mid fight
4) MC wins anyways ~somehow~
To be fair to the author the early fights are almost reasonable and the world building + side character interaction along the way is good enough to mostly cover up these flaws. But later on the MC's fights dominate almost all aspects of the story and the flaws end up getting pushed into your face over and over.
The original (quite major) plot arc of being a Invader to Earth during a System Apocalypse entirely vanishes. So do nearly all the side characters.
As the story progresses the author begins to struggle to make each fight to somehow be more epic and amazing than the last. So he/she starts ramping up the difficulty and circumstances to absurd levels.
Eventually the MC (who is a weakling nobody with few resources that are mostly vendor trash and has no OP skills or knowledge) ends up fighting demi-god like beings by around chapter 41-42 or so 1 on 1. When he isn't doing that he is taking on entire mobs of monsters that can gut him in 1 blow easily mind you. Injuries no longer matter. He simply ignores crippling loss of stamina, broken bones, being cut up, pain so severe he can barely think or move, etc.
There is still some good stuff here, things were just coming off as absurd to me and that was ruining it for me. If you don't care much about consistency, plot holes, or sane power scaling much and just want to see epic fights than this story could still be a good read for you.
World building, plot (at least early on, later in story is different, its all side quests and fighting), grammar, etc. are usually pretty good at a minimum.
This review was left about 1 month after author posted the 91st chapter, which is currently the last chapter posted.
Poor kid in a very old, post post-apocalyptic world that seems to be slowly dying gets a chance, generally reserved only for the wealthy, to go to one of the newly inducted system worlds. The downside... he must go as a monster. However, he's an optomist and there are chances for monsters to get stronger, which he isn't able to do as a poor kid, and eventually buy back his humanity from the system. He goes to the new world and becomes a monster.... NEWT (he got better!... but not much). This story is on Hiatus before it ever really got rolling and our intrepid MC ever got a chance to improve his life very much. ... thus, he ends his story a mute axolotyl on a strange world. THE END. ... so sad.
Lots of great world-building here. Told from a first-person perspective exclusively. FantasyRPG style world/universe with hints of system apocalypse, though not for the MC; he actually is one of the priviliged few who gets to spawn as a monster in a system-apocalypse world.
Author does a great job with character development for the MC, who is smart enough that readers don't hate him, and with a handfull of supporing characters including beievable villians (whom we never really got to see used).
Spelling and grammar were fine.
The story itself was building very well. No obvious plot holes. Consistent theme. Excellent foreshadowing and reasonable RPG payouts for efforts and risks taken. Good action sequences with few long cliffhangers. This would be a 4.5 star review, except... hiatus, in which case it is just another unfinished story that I cannot rate highly. BUT, this remains on my list to check periodically for a few months just in case the author does return.
I am registered on the author's shared Discord channel, so I'll check up there and on RR. If the Hiatus is lifted, my score shall also greatly increase. AUTHOR... don't give up! This story is a buried treasure.
This story has really paid off in some truly fantastic ways!
Nic is an utterly great character. His hot-headed "cares too much, thinks too little" style pairs excellently with Sophia's attempts and failure sto be stoic. The powers are interesting and deep without being so mind-bendingly complex that they cease to make sense. His power growth is slow and steady: interesting, without every destroying the context of the world around it or trivilalizing conflicts that are more interesting when he has to really fight and struggle.
The real highlight is the world though. The System presents an interesting and intense adversary: the very means by which you gain power and acclaim in this world is subtly malicious, and seeks to subvert your will to its ends at all time. The information sources, the opportunities, the people you meet have all been selected and controlled by this System to force you to become what it wants you to. Its incredible, and the thoroughness of forethought really delights me.
Not to ignore the writing quality, either. Silky smooth, endlessly easy to read, with a few punctuating moments of pure poetry that put published novels to shame. NoDragons is a genius at the keyboard, and every chapter makes me happy to just read it.
In total, I genuinely think this is the best story on the website, and you'd do well to read it immediately!