The [Bookworm] Who Couldn't Read

The [Bookworm] Who Couldn't Read

by TurtleKing

Vesper's excitement is palpable on his 15th birthday, the day he chooses his path. When he roles some unsavory options Vesper is pigeonholed into a class that spirals him down into a conflict that is way over his head. How will Vesper navigate and make sense of the world with his new class and recover the part of him that goes missing? 

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TurtleKing

TurtleKing

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Asviloka
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I went into this story blind for a review swap initiated by the author. (Yes, this is a swap review. No, I have not changed my opinion in the slightest as a result of that fact.)

This is one of those stories that's very hard to place a star rating to. The style is unexceptional, the grammar decent much of the time and confusing at others, (lots of misplaced punctuation). If I were rating only on those, it would get an utterly average score.

But then there's the characters and the story, and they're done really excellently well. The story is a fun twist on a generic system-world coming-of-age story, with a refreshing amount of the unexpected. The titular [Bookworm] does not immediately become literate and thus invalidate the entire premise; the rare and unusual class he obtains does not immediately make his life better, in fact it could be argued that it makes things worse.

It's so refreshing to have a story that's not following the same predictable paths.

Then there are the characters, which I alluded to before, but which bears repeating. They're fun, interesting, diverse in their outlooks and attitudes, and developed absolutely beautifully.

I really hope the author is able to find a proofreader or get a grasp on how to use quotation marks to properly denote dialogue, because with a bit of polish I could see this becoming a top quality story.

ANCT
Overall
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Traditional Fantasy Play on LitRPG

Reviewed at: Chapter 7 - A price too high

The [BookWorm] Who Couldn't Read is an interesting tale of an orphan boy trying to make his way in a mediveval world that lacking soical mercy. It makes an interesting play on a tradional fantasy story with LitRPG elements. This isn't an Iskai nor even a Reincarnation tale. It's a fun read

Style: Written in a mix of first person and third. Which can be wonky, but not terribly distracting most of the time. Has a feel of a young author finding his stride. Dialog could use another once over to bring a little more life. Currently very staged, and there are enough fun characters that deserve that spark of life.

Grammar: Some issues here and there, but overall a smooth read

Story: Classic Orphan story. Has some tricks up the sleves, but mostly classic flow. It will be interesting to see where things go as the author is putting down a lot of potential sub plots and reveals

Character: I enjoy most of the characters that we come across. The goblin innkeeper. What hurts the story is that the main character is rather unlikable so far. There seems to be a reason for the rough and gruff attiude, but comes off more rude than anything else so far.

Anthony and Leisel Volski
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

At an early glance, The [Bookworm] Who Couldn't Read appears to be a slightly silly, slightly grisly tale of the boy wonder who Just Wants A Little More Out Of Life. Only, the poor lad is completely out of his depth. Hopefully MC gets a clue before the end of the line.

There appear to be a few plot holes which will hopefully be addressed sooner rather than later, but worth keeping an eye on. Looks to be a slow burner and I'll be excited to follow along.

STYLE: Heavily conversation driven, but consistent and satisfactory. Based on abilities MC is given, I'd expect to see the occasional stat block, if minimal. I feel as though I've missed the point a few times because an ability has been glossed over. At least a small block to explain his abilities as he gains them.

STORY: Even 15 chapters in, it feels a bit soon to judge. I can feel the plot being laid out but it's taking its time getting there. If things keep up in this fashion, I imagine it will be tremendously satisfying. Really wanting to understand more about MC's class.

GRAMMAR: I think this bit is starting to suffer with the author's present posting schedule. I'd pass on the bonus chapter to see a little more polishing here. Very little in the way of spelling mistakes, but enough misplaced punctuation to require more careful reading so as to not miss anything. Mostly talking about misplaced quotation marks, but it's enough to cause a bit of brain stutter.

CHARACTER: MC is a bit immature, but at 15 it's to be expected. Characters have a clear and distinct voice, and I had a soft spot for the goblin innkeeper. He was an absolute gem, hysterical and full of personality. I'd love to see a side story featuring the innkeeper and the tales of why he never had a repeat customer.

world_wanderer
Overall
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Character

A good story that needs polishing!

Reviewed at: Chapter 4 - Reading

Style - Clear third person narrating. Done well and I have nothing to complain about. Concentrates highly on areas with conversations. There were some repetitions of names, but it wasn't a big problem for me. Pacing is done well, and there were almost no boring moments for me.

Grammar - it's good. I didn't find any big mistakes in the story. The author clearly knows how to write correctly.

Story - Story is interesting. I got hooked right from the prologue and started wondering what happened in that world where mages are forced to erase their memories and hide grimoires to save the hope for the future true mages. It's was a good Czech gun that hooked me the most.

Characters - They are good. I liked them and didn't feel that they were fake or unnatural. For now, they are good, and time will tell how they would end up in this story.

Overall, I would recommend this book, it's interesting and fun to read. However, another round of editing and polishing will help a lot. I will follow this work and take a look at it again when there would be much more content and update my review at that time.

Seersucker
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Style: The story flows well with a concise and focused writing style. The pacing is slow, but steady with enough happening each chapter to keep me engaged. There are a few abrupt scenes that have, in my opinion, too little buildup.

 

Grammar: There are a few issues here and there, particularly at the start, but with a couple editing passes all of it could be resolved.

 

Story: The story follows an MC with a peculiar class, a kingdom wide conspiracy, and the occasional bit of library politics. It's a good mix that holds interest throughout all its moving parts.  There are light litrpg elements throughout, but they're not distracting and overall add a nice additional touch to the story that emphasises the main character's progression.

 

Character: Now, I'm not the biggest fan of the protaganist, but that's because he's a well written 15 year old and I didn't like 15 year olds even when I was 15.  He's entitled in some ways, but feels woefully inadequate in others which is definitely something anyone whose been that age can empathize with. That being said, he also is always doing his best to make the best of a bad situation and that's a wonderful trait in a protag and makes him all the more fun to read. The other characters all have a good amount of depth and even one off characters are fleshed out in a way I feel benefits the story.

 

Overall: This is a solid and engaging read with a world that grows with the reader and a well written MC. The litrpg elements are enjoyable without feeling overwhelming and I'm excited to see how the story and its world grow as the story continues.

Genuine55
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

So I started reading this because of a review swap, but instead of reading the bare 10k words I've caught up in the series and am now following it. 

If you stumble on it, try to give it at least three chapters to decide to continue. Maybe four. 

Style: Let me start with my big complaint. The author likes those chapter openers where you get a page or three from some other PoV. In the case of chapter 1 a PoV from someone dead thousands of years, who's actions impact the plot. It then transitions to the main story without any real indication of time passing, or who those people are. There's another similar bit a few chapters later, that you then assume is also happening thousands of years ago. It's distracting, and it's way too tempting to just skip those bits. I also disliked when Robert Jordan did it with Wheel of Time. 

Story though is my biggest compliment. LitRPG as a genre usually struggles with exposition. It's hard to balance plot development with setting development with any story, and the need to dump tons of mechanics to understand what's going on only makes things harder. Here the decision was made to focus on plot, which is excellent. The mechanics only loosely inform the story, and instead the character's motivations and the history of the world drive the action. 


Grammar is solid. No real comments here. I'm sure there's an error here and there, but I wasn't looking for them and didn't really ever find one that dropped me back out of the story. 

 

Characters are solid too. Maybe the familiar is a bit irritating on the page, but each character has gotten a unique voice, personality, and motivation. 

All in all, I really like this read and I'm excited to see where it goes. 

The Walrus King
Overall
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Character

Very interesting start, looking forward to more.

Reviewed at: Chapter 13 - Grog

The title is an example of truth in advertising. The poor boy is saddled with the 'bookworm' class, but because of a poor, (very poor, the poorest) upbringing, doesn't even know how to read yet. And yes, it actually makes sense why he has that class. 

Characters are good. Even those of an antagonist you barely meet, or a guard at the gate. Motivations, morals, hopes, goals, and lots of little things give you hints about the small cast of people we've met so far.

The story gets going quickly, but isn't racing through things. The MC is quite under-powered and not getting better at any pace. I like this period in stories. We get more characterization, more story. Not just a training montage and race to a dungeon. It also isn't static and has had quite a bit of change. 

Grammar was mostly good. I think I hit a couple of places with odd wording or a mis-spelled word, but not enought to break my concentration on the story, or even remember what they were. 

Style was fine. When a point of veiw shifted, it was spelled out. Flashbacks were where it was appropriate. But we mainly see things from the MC point of veiw, and a bit from an antagonist. It follows along the lines of a coming of age adventure story. 

I read all that was available at the time, and will be following along for what I hope is a long story.

MalevolenceMau
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The [Story] That Couldn't Disappoint

Reviewed at: Chapter 11 - Freak

A neat story surrounding the normal trope of a character getting access to a hidden class, that they also need to keep hidden or lose all its benefits. Following mostly the story of the MC Vesper with some side glances at other characters.

 

Style: With a third-person approach, the story has a lot of focus on areas and conversation, a vast majority is Vesper talking to his fellows or investigating scenes and literature. There isn't a heavy emphasis on stats or tables, only around 3 meaningful tables so far in the story with a few smaller ones to note Vesper gaining levels. Those who love statistics may be left wanting. There are some spacing inconsistencies at times, with whole lines for a few words or new paragraphs when it should have been a longer paragraph.

Story: A medium pace with plenty of slower-paced segments where Vesper learns about his skills or reads books. His learning of the alphabet is surmised in a single paragraph which felt a bit quick, though I felt that personally, this was the right choice. With 11 chapters so far, the story has plenty of room to grow but currently doesn't have any major hook to grab me.

Grammar: A few spaces or misuse of punctuation, not enough to break immersion for non-hawk eyes.

Character: Too early to tell my opinion on the MC, he is a bit young for my tastes as well as feeling a bit too unworldly to a place he should be more accustomed to, at least from what is inferred from the writing.

 

Overall, this is a good read but the pacing could be normalised a bit more to fully polish it. A re-read and edit run could do a good amount of improvement, plus some additional descriptive text to describe the character's aesthetics and individuality. 

Dicies
Overall
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Story
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Character

Alright LITRPG concept, very awkward execution.

Reviewed at: Chapter 14 - The Elf's Error

I’m writing this review because I’m not sure I’ll return to this fic, at least not how it is now, and wanted to leave some feedback for the author.

There are some minor spoilers below, but nothing very plot specific.

So, one of the things about the story that really stuck out to me was the worldbuilding. In general, I didn't like it very much, and I think that’s because there’s a hard clash between the setting and the plot. The first three-ish chapters are heavy on worldbuilding, and I picked up on a very strong “life’s not fair” vibe them. In this world, the people’s LITRPG classes are placed in a pretty steep hierarchy and who gets what class is based heavily on luck and upbringing; there’s also some pretty harsh rules and divisions in this setting’s society. It seems like a lot of people living in this world are unhappy and/or hugely disadvantaged because of the rules of this world, including the protagonist when he’s introduced, who comes off as (understandably) a bit of a cynic early on. The tone the narration takes towards these people… honestly felt kind of nasty sometimes, and I’m not sure if that’s intentional. Either way, the setting has this pervasively dreary, almost defeatist vibe, to the point where I thought those kinds of themes were going to be central to the story. That’s not to say stuff like that couldn't be explored in a LITRPG setting—but I think it does demand some explanation.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel well explored or addressed in this story, because after the first few chapters the tone suddenly starts to lighten up; some fun and off-color characters are introduced and there’s a good bit of humor. I genuinely found myself enjoying these parts, but it almost felt like reading a completely different story, and this tonal flip-flopping keeps happening throughout the story. Also, the protag just ends up doing pretty typical LITRPG protag things. He gains a rare class by chance (supposedly), he progresses exceptionally, he stumbles into some powers through a series of comical mishaps, and he’s quite literally the “chosen one” and becomes the center of attention. All of this just sorta… happens to him in almost no time at all. Not that this sort of fish-out-of-water arc is bad in itself, it's just that it clashes really hard with the tone of the first few chapters; he just kinda gets lucky and it doesn't feel adequately addressed or reflected on.

Speaking of the characters, I feel that the protag is pretty compelling; the fish-out-of-water bit is what I clung to the most. However, aside from that his character seems a bit fragmented, and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten a good bead on him. Too often, I think I learn things about the character’s personality, motives, or principles right at the moment of some conflict/drama, rather than it being set up before, which makes these developments kind of jarring. He’ll occasionally give these impassioned lines or speeches where he elaborates on his views; which, cool, but too often I’d just be like “where is this coming from?” I mentioned that he first comes off as a cynic, and while he never came off as completely jaded, a lot of these later developments felt straight out of left field. I think that could be curbed if there was more time spent on the character reflecting on himself and what’s happened.

A lot of those problems also extend to the supporting characters; many of them just sorta do things without much hint or lead up. For example, there was an instance where one side character betrayed another. It had the structure of a twist, but it was one that didn’t have much weight, since these characters weren’t particularly well established yet, and the explanation of their working relationship (which was important to why one betrayed the other) amounted to basically a few throwaway lines of dialogue. 

In terms of the general style, it’s fine, though I felt the 3rd person narration in general felt kinda… unfocused? All over the place? The focus jumps around a lot; it’ll talk about one thing, then go to a different, tangentially related topic unprompted. Occasionally, important-seeming subjects or events only get a passing line or two; new and/or important characters sometimes just appear in a scene without much warning. It just feels strange and cramped, and I wish some scenes were lingerd on a bit more, particularly more emotional/dramatic ones. In contrast to that, the narration often does linger on tangents and things that just… don’t seem all that important, not in comparison to what it sometimes skates over. Overall, I think the pace is a bit too fast, but it’s the unevenness that I noticed most.

The dialogue is fine, though it seems kinda stiff at times. I’d say it has a “prose leaking over into dialogue” quality to it; it feels like a lot of characters talk in the “voice” and structure of the regular prose and not as characters (the exception to this are the more colorful characters, which have a lot of personality to them). A lot of dialogue also just seems like exposition for the reader’s sake; characters will often explain things completely unprompted that other characters would likely already know about, given the story/context. This is really noticeable in some side characters, particularly the throwaway ones like clerks or guards that represent certain institutions or professions. Often, these characters will react a certain way and then immediately proceed to VERY directly explain exactly why they did the thing they just did unprompted, which just didn’t feel natural. These side characters are also—almost invariably—complete jerks towards the protag, which doesn’t really help make their interactions feel natural either. 

Grammar-wise, it’s fine. There are some typos here and there, but it’s only a bit distracting at worst.

So, IDK. Maybe this story isn’t really for me, but from my point of view, I’m not entirely sure what the story is supposed to be. Throughout my experience reading the story, questions like “how seriously am I supposed to take _____?” or “where did that come from?” were things that I couldn’t shake. There’s a lot of stuff going on, some of it’s genuinely compelling or entertaining to me, but there was never a point where it all came together, not up to where I’ve read, anyways. I will say that the later chapters, while still having the issues I laid out, are generally more cohesive than the earlier ones.

Regardless of my opinions, I really do hope my feedback was at least somewhat useful, and that the author continues to develop their story.