Norsege Isles: A Farming LITRPG Survival Experience
The world is gone. Mother nature has been taken advantage of one too many times and now she's fighting back. Rather than trying to heal their broken planet, humanity decides to take a more fantastical route.
Enter Eden, the virtual world that promises lifetimes of adventure along with a land size that claims to be infinite. For the entire human race, it has to live up to its biblical name.
Ambrose, a young man drawn to the promise of Eden, says his farewells to his parents before uploading his consciousness into the virtual world. But Ambrose doesn't want to be the king's knight or spell-slinging mage. No. Ambrose wants to farm. Picking his skillset around living off the land, Ambrose enters the Norsege Isles with dreams of enjoying the world for what it used to be.
Dangerous creatures lurk in the woods of the Isles, fearsome beasts that'll rip any human or Norseman to shreds if given the chance. Ambrose will have to learn how to tame the Isles' animals if he wants to have a hope of living his dream as a farmer of unexplored wilderness. He'll also have to deal with any pesky people that decide that he's easy pickings.
Will Ambrose make it long enough to harvest his first crops, or will the pressure become too much to bear? Join Ambrose as he strives to live his life in the new world.
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Ambrose sipped on his favorite beverage, the red can of sugary liquid fizzling down his throat. His addiction to the carbonated drink had appeared in his early teens and stuck with him until his final days on this earth. If there was one thing he would miss, it was leaving behind all the caffeine and sweets granted by the modern world. Albeit the fact that most of today’s produce was subpar compared to what it had been in the early twenty-first century.
Climate change had hit like a pregnant lady raring to go. There was no in-between from the fierce storms that rocked the world and the natural disasters that struck every town from the east to west. By the time Ambrose had been born the world had turned into a sloshy shitbowl. Unappealing from every angle. That was why he couldn’t help but have abated breath as he waited for his download to finish.
Sorry for the long quote, but the start is seriously unappealing: agrammatical, nonsensical and with imagery that just does not work. The prose gets less awful - why I did not stop at the pregnant lady disaster is a mistery.
The premise is thin: Earth is kaput and people emigrate into a game designed by some elusive sage. Where is the money, who would trust this? Perhaps it is my ADHD but I could have done with some decent reason for the farming choice; it is hard and boring for most. There are lots of outdoor things to be done in a game that are less repetitive and formulaic.
OK, now we have a Nordic Farming God who builds his little cabin away from the other children, but this is not really the stuff drama is made of. He does not hate his choice, he does not interact with anything much other than his little egglaying rabbits... Let's hope the bear rips an arm off or something and we will get some battle against adversity, probably not.
My suggestions, but obviously feel free to ignore them:
This is a simple tale about a simple bloke living a simple life - keep the language simple.
People have motivations, they may be strange but they are usually there - human beings like cause and effect in real life and in prose.
A reader needs some excitement, progression, adversity - or concepts or a language that are just equally interesting. There is nothing wrong with going for the cheap thrills.
Please note that a three star review is average.
This is a strong start. I was engaged from the first paragraph, and it held me throughout the first chapter, which is what this review is based on.
The stregth here is in the author's character building. The MC has a personality; thoughtful, longing, considerate, and peaceable. He longs for a time when the world wasn't ruined by climate change, but was born into a storm sewer of a world. Along comes a Mysterious Benefactor who offers an alternative, virtual world to escape into, and the LitRPG is off to the races. The ending is a little twist, when the character chooses a skill path that I did not expect.
I don't normally like LitRPG; I've read very few, and those have been clunky. This first chapter feels more natural, perhaps because it is a conscious choice the MC makes, rather than a NG+ style rebirth episode. Within that framework the game mechanics make sense, so they don't jar the narrative.
I do think that the LitRPG style clashes with the world building, however. We're told that there are hundreds of kingdoms and dozens of earth surfaces to explore, but he lands on "Norse" as automatic default. Not Aesgsrdian, Aesirian, or some fantasy-variant of 'aryan' (the historical Aryan race, not the fabricsted Nazi ideal). That was a bit of a misstep, I think.
The weakest part of this introductory chapter is the world building. The author doesn't seem to understand the mechanics of climate change, or of solar system layout, and this is reflected in the exposition, which is clumsy, self-contradictory, and rushed. More time to linger on the world, and give context to such a grave choice, would have been better, I think, particularly as the character essentially texts his parents a suicide note before plugging into the matrix.
Overall, I was intrigued. The author has a good handle on orthographic conventions, has a fairly strong voice, and has done a better job integrating the LitRPG mechanics than any of the (few) I've read. I think I'll return for more.
So far this story has been delectably enjoyable. Serving nothing but a slice of life farming goodness with a palpable sense of progress that's not too fast and not to slow. With the asperations of building up his farmstead to legendary proportions, our Norse Flavored Mc goes about his days farming taming animals, and exploring the Northern wilderness he found himself in.
Overall the system is quite well balanced and done right, adding to the story and the world without taking too much away. Power-wise the MC isn't overpowered at all, although that's not to say he's helpless. Overall Im quite satisfied with the way the author has cooked up the progression in the book, to the point were I cant wait to see how he slowly raises his farmstead through the ranks of the world and make something truly special.
The author didn't overcook this dish, that's for sure. The grammar is soft delicate and juicy. Not many mistakes in this dish and thats commendable.
Style-wise, this author has gone a bit light on the seasoning, not overly describing everything, nor do they use too much flowery descriptive language and vocabulary. But that's fine so far I feel like this book hasnt been underseasoned at all. Although it could do with an extra paragraph here or there or a replacement of words the author's prose and smooth writing style make up for any missed overly heavy description.
Overall the story hasn't been too, character-driven but that's okay. Though the author has introduced us to several other characters and the interactions have been smooth and enjoyable, this story strengths lie elsewhere.
Overall I have to send my compliments to the Chef for this fledgling web-novel. I had quite an enjoyable experience reading the first ten chapters available, and I don't doubt that others can too.
I found myself stopping at chapter 10. The core premises of this story are solid but it is simultaneously too fast-paced and poor in detail. I'm not sure if the author really knows how lenghts and measures work, as they continually use acres as measures of distance instead of area (5 acres away could be anywhere from zero to infinitely far). Times don't make sense either - if it takes half an hour to cut down a tree (reasonable) then you cannot have half an acre of forest cleared in a day.
If you're looking for a casual read, with a plot that doesn't really go anywhere, then this is fine. The main character's motivations are a bit shaky, and the beginning is poor "you mean there are other options than solo farming??? Oh wow, I never could have figured that out!!" but with heavy editing this could be publishable.
Overall: The story is has a nice casual LitRPG thing going. The social discrimination from a dystopian hell to the homestead life.
Style: Again a casual day to day slice of life. Minor foreshadowing for 'things' the MC wants to accomplish...
Grammar: Overall it is well written. It does not appear to be a second language google translate. Some minor typo's here and there and after chaptor 3 it clears up on the wierd sentance structure.
Characters: The MC actually has some depth but has a lot of improvement coming. The side characters so far have had some light descriptors but are not integral to the story as of yet. (Chap 11)
Story: The pacing is so far well done. It has held my intrest so far but the chapter length is a little brief. The only issue is the timeline. In one chapter it is referenced that it is day 3 of building the home. On the same day the MC plants his first crop which has a growth time of 7 days. Next chapter the MC has completed the home and it took 10 days. The crop has another 3 days before it is ready for havest... Just a little timeline mapping would really improve this story. At least for me.
Great story and will continue to read.
No cheat ability, at least nothing visible so far. Magic makes tasks easier, but there's no BS "I figured out this trick in the system that thousands or millions of other people missed" or "oh, the gods like me so I get abilities that nobody else has". The MC uses the same system as the rest of the game, which already sets the story a step or two above most other LitRPGs.
Decent grammar and writing style, no glaring mistakes that would ruin the reading experience.
System seems solid enough, though we haven't seen too much of it yet. Which is also a plus - the author keeps mentioning the system, but does not overwhelm the reader with blue boxes every other paragraph.
So far, everything has been easy. Sure, the natives don't like you so they crank up prices. And the author tells us that some tasks were difficult. But as of chapter 10, the MC managed to find land with his commune, build a house, grow his plants, tame some animals... I assume some sort of conflict or other troubles will come in the future, but 10 chapters of peaceful setup are a bit long and kind of boring. Especially because of the next, and to me most important point:
There's no personality. The whole story reads like a game log - "today I've managed to clear an acre of land, level up skills X, Y and Z, and completed another 30% of my current construction project". There's people with a physical description and a name, and we're told (not shown) about a personality trait for one of them. The MC has a bit more of a personality, but even for him it boils down to "dang, I'm glad I don't live in the sewers anymore".
There's just nothing to get invested in, unless progression alone is enough. Which, to be fair, it might well be for some LitRPG readers - if you like seeing the MC gain skill levels, expand his land, and... well, maybe more things like that later? This story might be for you. It's a solid LitRPG progression, but anyone looking for deep colorful characters interacting or a sense of adventure will probably be disappointed.
I'm giving this 4 stars because it feels like it would be a good story if I was in the target audience. Sadly I am not, so barring a boredom-based revisit later I will drop the story here.