- Traumatising content
Earth. The planet many of us call home. Here we live our lives as normal as possible. For Mathew McGonald, he too, calls this place home. He currently lives life as a divorce attorney, and is content with his life. One day, Mathew was leaving his office, a successful squabble ended, and his client kept most of his possessions from his ex-wife. When he went to step into the hallway, instead he ended up in a gray void with a blue box hovering in front of him. Earth now converted by an entity known as The System must now defend its self from portals that lead to other worldly areas known as Dungeons. Follow his journey as he not only learns how his new reality works, but how to be at the top of it all.
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Cover Art By: EnvakEnkaqti
Profanity: People curse all the time. Rarely at each other or in a deragitory manner.
Tramatizing Content: The MC is not a nice guy. He isn't your classic 'White Knight' who will defeat the 'bad guys' and save the day. Your normal views of the way the world should work are not the same for him. Expect ruthlessness, backstabbing, lies, dishonorable actions, and so much more that makes this story realistic and great.
Urban Fantasy: While modern technology exists, along with space crafts and other soft sci-fi tropes, they are not key elements, nor will they be gone over in high details. This story is primarily magic/fantasy.
Soft Sci-Fi: Read above.
This story is a revised version of the previous story I wrote here on Royal Road. It's been almost a year since I published it and have worked on fixing it to become a better story that I am proud of.
Volume 2 Summary (SPOILERS, NOTHING ELSE BELOW THIS FOR YOU TO READ):
Now that Mathew had aquired ownership of the Hearth Crystal and a new bonded friend. He and Leo agree to go back to their home city and remove the plague of undead from the city. Going there won't be easy, as more than one group of survivors exist, and not everyone is as accepting of The System as they are. Shortly after this, The System announces a World Quest will happen, open for everyone to partake in. Mathew knows entering it will give him power, but is gaining such power worth the risk?
Edited as of 17OCT2022
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This is one of those books that tells you the mc is so smart but really he is an idiot. He is supposed to be some super smart lawyer but agree to terrible contracts and makes the most stupid plans.
I'm disappointed I was really looking forward to this rewrite.
I love the idea of a slightly sleazy lawyer taking advantage of contract magic and summoning in a LITRPG apocalypse. This isn't that.
The MC is initially presented as that but makes the vaguest contract and somehow locks himself in as essentially a slave. Never uses his class abilities or profession abilities. Doesn't have any personality. States he has a plan that, when it is finally implemented, is so bad that I can't even begin to think that was the original intent of the author, but that he just wrote himself into the corner. And yet, the MC is somehow bumbling along by the end of book 1 without ever doing anything right but somehow one of the highest leveled humans...wtf?!.
The grammar is okay.
MC is an idiot who purposefully screwed himself over in a contract despite being a supposedly skilled lawyer. I can't suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy this story.
Grammer and style is fine. System is OK, nothing special or original. Mana integrated to new world, people die, basic cliche story. Cliches are ok, I don't mind, what really bothers me is overly dumb MCs (see spoiler for details).
The review by Pirat6662001 is spot on.
I would add a fourth point. The MC just isn't that smart although he supposed to be. It's more like everyone else is dumber to compensate (i e. the general).
This story needs a re-write to salvage it's good points. It's too bad really cause it had a pretty good start.
I am overall enjoying the book due to good writing. Unfortunately I am going to drop it due to :
1. The story seems to have fallen into the trap of giving the MC way too many special bonuses. The only challenge for MC at this point is the system (General with his chain of command) and The System (with dungeons and so on). He just has too much for anything to be interesting unless he keeps overextending and miraculously surviving.
2. Going together with the above - the System is not well balanced. The titles giving massive amounts of straight stats is a poor game design. Generally it would make sense for them to give situational or intangible bonuses that don't break balance between players. Instead the system basically says that you are fucked to be always behind unless you are lucky in the beginning to get the right titles.
3. The character is just unlikable. It is a testament of writing skill that it comes through so strongly, but in the end he is too selfish, self centered and narrow minded for me to care about him. I don't expect MC to be a savior/saint, but this is very close to the other extreme.
I would say number 3 is a person preference, but numbers 1 and 2 are something that will make the story harder and harder to balance and enjoy.
Notice for the author:
While this review might be a little on the harsh side, I have no intentions of discouraging your further work. Quite the contrary, I'd love to see your progress. You have proved yourself to be a competent writer, if somewhat lacking, or inattentive in certain areas (followed you). Actually, I must say, I admire your willingness to stick to your book. Even revise it. Not only stick to, but also publicate. That takes courage. To expose, and make yourself vulnerable to random people on the internet, that shove their thoughts down your throat. I'm one of those random people, and here's what I think:
Ok, first of all, I must admit my bias. I'm a huge fan of the contract trope. I think it has potential. There's something captivating in the idea of a weak man, instead of barbarically fighting his way to the top, navigates the devious waters of politics. Instead of brawn, he fights with his brains. To be honest, I was expecting this kind of story. The one with a character that would laugh at the words "might makes right", instead going for power, influence among the mighty. One, who would be known for his sayings, such as "I'd like to get that in wrighting", "well, I will help you, but you will do a little something for me in the future", that kind of stuff. Where law would be his shield, where pen, his crossbow, and ink, his bolts. Where every enemy down, would constitute an ally gained. Where his word was law, because he had said so. Alas! we can dream... Oh, hope lost. Oh, the wretched fate of a once promising work! So fallen! So lost! The light...
Ekhem. . . I.. Excuse my excitation.
Let's start the review proper.
We have a classic LitRpg system, that suddenly appears along with the apocalypse. With stats, skills, classes and all. There are some twists, but nothing we haven't seen yet in the trope, ex.
There is something like a second class. It's called a profession. From what I understand, it is technically a non-combatant class choice, while the opposite is true for Class, that is necessarily for combat. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but what's the point? Does everybody need one of each I think It's just a needless limitation. Well, don't worry, I am nitpicking.
And, to be fair, here' s a thing I find interesting. The Hearth Crystals. Instead of people caring only for themselves (and their close ones), because of the sudden influx of power, the crystals hold a delicate, yet crucial balance. Why? Because people need them. To level up, shop, and all that. People won't just be able to go into the wilds and live off of monsters they kill. They need society. And this artificial need is a brilliant way to enforce order. Also, who has the crystal, has the power. You know where this is going, I won't blabber more than I already had. The sad thing is, this never gets even mentioned in the novel. There, crystals make you stronger and that's all that matters. Also, you either reveal it to everybody along with making it essentially free use, or keep it strictly confidential for, like, three people to use. See that? So much unrealised potential!
There's also a little sci-fi, as we see an AI that mc commands in (i think) the first chapter. The problem is, It never plays a larger role than initiating one contingency plan (well, technically two, but who cares). The world looks the same, it works the same, and is the same. To be honest, it would make a lot more sense (If you really, Really need an AI in your story, and you want the world to look the same) to make the Mc some genious scientist that was lucky enough to make such a groundbreaking discovery, and selfish enough, to keep it from the rest of the world. But the way it was presented in the story felt like it didn't exist before, got poofed into existence by magic, and self destructed after Mc left. It's kind of off-putting. And that's the first chapter, mind you.
Though, now that I think about it, It's not really that advanced. Just better than google, or ciri. Still, it is a breakthrough, and I suppose It would change the modern world. We just don't see any such changes
Gosh, I will try to make the next one shorter. Onto the story then!
Aliens wna colonize Earth so mc ascends and kills' em . . . With that out of the way..
Okay, now seriously. The Mc is a lawyer. A divorce lawyer to be exact. He has one friend from work, that he wants to save in the apocalipse. They go with a convoy that, in theory, should take them to a safe place. Apparently He's friends with some army guy bigshot. Fun. Then, we never meet him. He simply vanishes. We don't even know If he's alive or not. And you'd imagine having a high ranking friend while being at the army's mercy would be at least helpful, if not imperative to his survival there.
And then he's bossed around by some random captain, just because he's got a level. (Which usefullness came with a lot of scepticism. But hey, if we can get a lawyer risk his life in the field, for the first time in his life, supported only by placebo and good faith, everything's a good excuse. Right?). He gets forced into a life of danger, away from any kind of familiarity. He tries to bribe the captain, but when she says it's mayor's orders, he just accepts it and goes on his jolly way to work in the field. If I was placed in such a situation, I'd at least demand to see the superior (probably wouldn't work in my favour, but that's a human thing to do, doing what we can to not get killed?). That also begs the question: "Where are his connections?". He prides himself in knowing a lot of people. He has probably many not realised favours, as we know from his attitude to IOUs. We would never know. Perhaps they all "died due to not surviving" (my favourite quote), and the MC just somehow knew that, so he did't bother contacting them. A pity. But, truthfully, I admired his attitude to rejection. He took his loss with dignity and gone to the scout squad. He doesn't hold grudges. He knows when to stop, he's calm, or rather, collected in the most frustrating of situations. Imagine living your whole life at one of those cushy office desks. Then, being dragged from this desk by the collar and thrown out of the window into the battlefield, into the wilds. And then, after having fallen some 2 stories, stand up, look at the agressor and say nothing. Just slowly turn to the street, leaving behind the once safe haven. I really admire his character. I hope he stays that way (foreshadowing?). More on that in the character section
Also, why do gods take so much interest in him? It's possible that, because Kur offered him a class, the rest took interest. And Numa just offered him a rare class, so, possibly, not a huge deal. But what about Kur? He seems kind of desperate. Is it about his possible futures? To be honest, I don't really believe a god would be that desperate, staking his reputation on some kid with a little potential. You'd imagine gods would be quite arrogant. At least towards the newly initiated planet's inhabitants. Is a contract scribe that important? I doubt it. Di didn't seem to value his profession, outside the fact that It was rare.
I must admit though, the story kept me entertained till ch. 31. I dropped it in the 50s, so it took some time for hope to wear off.
R: 3/5 stars
The "average" grade for me. Perhaps it even deserves 3.5 if I'm to be charitable.
That was one long story review. Huff! Onto the characters!
Let's start with some side characters, before we move onto the goldmine.
Leo. Leo's a family man. He loves his sister and provides for her. This side of him is pretty well fleshed out. Good job author! The thing is, what does he, himself want? A peaceful time in the office, or, perhaps he's an adrenaline junkie? The problem is, he's both. At the same time.
Let's start with the office job. When at the military camp, like the mc, he wanted a safe, stable job in logistics or something. Even when he has little to none experience with it. He wants to just do paperwork. He feels secure. Then, after being forced to choose, he opts for a medic, which seems to support this hypothesis. Yes, we can be sure he's not an adrenaline junkie... until he becomes a field medic. And, apparently, he seems to enjoy the thrill of danger. The problem is, there's no buildup. When you're forced into a new, dangerous environment against your will, it's expected to feel resentment towards the person who forced you (unless you are the mc). That resentment turns into frustration with the work you're supposed to do. Slowly you get used to your new job. You start having subconscious thoughts: "How to imrove my skills?", "What am I doing wrong?", "I need to focus.", "Tomorrow I will do something I haven't done before. We'll see how it goes.". Excitement slowly seeps in. And, before you know it, you like what you're doing and wouldn't exchange it for any other job. Make no mistake, It is not an immediate realisation, but a slow and arduous process. Perhaps, the inattentive don't see it in themselves, but other people do. And we are those other people, and we want to see it.
Mayor General. Major General is an arrogant and greedy person. Not much here to say, aside for one little thing: he's kind of stupid, but is presented otherwise.
He's too arrogant. Or, rather he acts too arrogantly. He doesn't seem to be an idiot, and still he antagonizes the mc. He acts unkindly towards him. Provided, they're bound by the contract. But that's the thing. He's decieved by a false sense of security. He knows the contract lasts only 4 years. That's not that long, if you want to base the enforcing of the law on contracts provided by him. There inevitably will be new laws after the 4-year mark. Why would you antagonize your option to realize this vision? Addisionally, for all you know, he's your only option, as there was no other contract scribe at that point in time. And what about others, if there were any. I'm sure not many would work with you, If you keep that attitude. He can also buy himself out for a milllion points. And it's not like it's some huge sum(objectively, perhaps), that he would have to save for years. A week, to a month, after the system went online, he was happily spending 100 thousand in the shop. So, at any tiime, he could defect and join some enemy safe zone. And all that talk, that he can't go anywhere and has to stay in this particular base is b. s . He's worth his weight in gold to any and all leaders on the planet. He has the skill to talk in all languages, so even going to China or Russia is not a problem. I'm certain anybody with a brain would treat him as a king. He's the free pass to utopia, god dammit!
Others. Here, I mean anybody he doesn't know personally, the public. The others don't like him. Worse, they antagonize him. Why?
Because he's got power, and a higher rank than them. That's irrational. Why does everybody hate their superiors, or people of higher stature? I can understand If the poor are under the impression that he got it by underhanded means. They're jealous and don't like him. The problem is, this camp was advertised as a gathering place of the elite. Politicians or their families. Compared to the poor, they should know the rules of the game. They should know that building connections is something normal and desired. They should understand, that power comes not from luck, but rigorous planning, skills and conviction. Additionally, they should smell a chance to go up the ranks in mc. "Mc knows the Major, the Major is the boss. If I know the boss, I'd be better off, than I am now". That much should have been obvious. Not mentioning he, himself has a high rank, that could possibly help them. Literally nobody initiates that kind of discussions. Instead they prefer to insult him in the face. The curious thing is, when the mc initiates the contact, they are kind and accomodating, but when he doesn't, they hurl insults and glare furiously. Ex. There was this kind lady in the tea shop. He needed tea, so of course he'll get it without complications. But he needed to use his flying dust(s?) of destruction to threaten the envious pedestrians. The guards just start to insult him while he's nearby, but he doesn't seem to have any problems having his gear appraised.
Mc. Mc, as we already know, is a lawyer. A planning lawyer, to be exact. He has contingency plans for wars, apocalypse, and the like. He is selfish, calculating, sharp, and bright. Or, at least, the story wants us to think that way.
As I said earlier, I admired his calmness in those frustrating situations. That was, until one chapter in late 40s, or early 50s, when he just starts to furiously, and desperately prove, he won't loose. He literally paces in his room saying "I won't loose, I can't loose". That is left of the man I once admired. From something that I strived to become, to a caricature of everything I aim to avoid. He changes overnight. He just starts to panic one day. While he could break down, there was no trigger, aside for his inprisonment in the camp. That is not reason enough, as he anticipated this outcome. Or, at least, Leo did. He resembles more a mental patient, than a man, who lived on the battlefield of politics for years. ...withdrawn. The glory of his ...
Cough.. Back to the topic. The single thing that I hate about this character, is the inconsistency of his actions. One day, he's a slimy politician, the other, he's a peasant bum, who doesn't know how the world works. Ex. He tries to bribe the captain in the military base. Then, a couple days later, he writes a contract, that effectively enslaves him to the mayor. He wasn't threatened, nor even asked for it. He has done it on his own volition. He said he "sweetened the contract" for the Mayor by adding those clauses. If he knew anything about politics, or negotiation, he'd add them during the discussion to improve his position, not before. Now the Mayor can take it further, as nobody in their right mind accepts a contract without negotiating. Well, the Mayor is not in his right mind. And he's supposed to be greedy, but doesn't push the conditions to his advantage. But enough of the Mayor. The Mc just sits there, nodding his head to anything Mayor decides, hoping they don't make amends to his "trap". Wondering what this mighty trap is, are we? The one he's willing to sell himself into glorified slavery for? Here's the genious idea: He hopes the General breatches the contract by poisoning him. That's it. He has some plot to trick the general into poisoning him, but doesn't act on it. Just rages, and goes on a killing spree crying: "I will not loose!". You'd imagine a man with the plan, that ignored every danger in his contract, signing it with ease, that staked his freedom, his future on this plan, would have more confidence in it. Instead, he breaks down and storms out of the building. He was repeatedly warned by Leo. He ignored it and said, "he'd rule the world". How is he planning on ruling the world while being stuck a slave? I have no words. He's supposed to be the planning lawyer. The one who prepared for the apocalypse, the one, who laughs at "He who plans to fail, will.", and "plans for the worst to happen".
He's inattentive to details. You'd imagine a lawyer, a good one at that, would read anything he could get his hands on. Any little piece of information would be valuable. And it shows in some moments, like taking advice from Zack, while in others, it is forgotten f.e. not reading literally "the introduction to tutorial", before going shopping. And the excuse of "I didn't have the time" doesn't work, because that's the thing you do before making any choices.
R: 2.5/5 stars
Average characters, though I might be charitable on this one. Althogh they're not entirely cardbord, their behaviour can usually be described with very little words: Mayor- greedy prick, Madison- battle-thirsty, agressive kid, Di - shrewd businessman, Leo - friendly sis-con.. you get the drift. That doesn't mean they're bad. They would get you 3.5, if not 4 stars, If some of them weren't inconsistent. That is the poison. That is the problem. The most important thing for a character is consistency, if not continuancy. They need to stay the same, if they don't change. If they change, you need, you have to, show the process. People don't change overnight. Nor do they stay the same forever, but that is not an issue here, is it?
Uff, I love reading lengthy reviews, but wrighting them is a bit tiring. I also probably forgot a lot I wanted to say, but no matter. Grammar!
R: 4.5/5 stars
Nothing to say here. There are a few typos, but nothing terribly bothersome. Wonderful job!
R: 5/5 stars
I have nothing to say. It's enjoyable, doesn't feel forced. Fantastic job!
Now, wrapping up this monstrosity.
This story has a lot of interesting ideas and plots that could be developed. A pity they never really are. Mc goes on his happy-go-lucky killing sprees, levels up, gets ousmarted by somebody (often himself), so he goes on his merry way to kill some more. Rinse and repeat. That could be funny and great, if not for the characters. A story lives and dies by it's characters. Especially the MC. The tragedy is, here, they're not up to par with the rest of the story. Actually, It's not really gllaring until later chapters. It could be an interesting read for those less demanding, less rigorous readers.
R: 3/5 stars
Perhaps my bias shining through. I'll let you decide.
Let's start with the good. The story is well written in terms of grammer and style. There isn't too much to say in this area.
The area where the story is really hurt is the main character. While many other reviews say he is unlikable, to me that isn't a huge flault of writing, that is good writing. To make an annoying character like this with personal flaws takes effort.
The reason I wrote the review was the mismatch between how the character was acting and how he has been built up. I could understand someone like Saul from Breaking Bad being a fly by your pants kind of lawyer relying on twists and drama to make their case rather than prep. The main character however was promoted as someone who likes preparation and information, I recall a specific scene, where he was asked about his clients and complained how he hated surprises and his clients not explaining things to him. There was also the build up at the start where he tried to plan things out with his contracts and taking the time to learn from Zack. This built up in my mind an image of a person willing to take risks, but only after they have information.
Then there comes two scenes. The first was Chapter 69 with Agnox. I re-read it again and it is implied that he wasn't reading the material he had purchased. I forget exactly where, but there was an earlier scene where he was called out for not reading the books he purchased that stuck with me. The fact it was called out again was ran counter to how his lawyer background was presented and his attention to detail and prep for the end of the world. Then what really hit me was Chapter 72, where he is called out by Mr. Melton for ignoring the map function.
Then later in the chapter 72 it is 2.5 days later. This has happened a several times in the story, but I don't really understand what he is spending his time on when he could be learning information already available to him that is critical. I understand the need for time skips, but they don't feel productive. I understand working on skills and figuring things out, but it just feels like a timeskip where nothing happened. This was something I ignored in previous chapters, but combined with his willful choice not to take out System functionality, it threw me for a loop.
Please note, this review is NOT based on one chapter, but rather the issues became too much to ignore in that chapter and the clash between how the main character was built up in the entire story and then his later actions.
Overall this story is a good apocolypse LITRPG, with an anti-hero main character, you love to hate. There are some deep issues that come to light further on, but if you just want a fun romp then this is a decent story to read.
I enjoyed the story so far, but there is one big problem: the MC is supposedly a lawyer - but he doesn't act like one, doesn't trap people like one could if they wished and his methods go against a lawyer's basic modus operandi.
As a divorce lawyer he should have been keen on securing his basic human rights in a world without laws at least in the contract he uses to bind himself. And there are more glaring holes in this story that frankly annoy the heck out of me. His so called plans are shaky at best and even people of average intelligence wouldn't gamble on such plans, they only appear in movies, nobody does stuff like that in real life.
This idiotic movie logic is so prevalent that I'm dropping this story.
I really wanted to like the story I thought it would be a system apocalypse LRPG where the protagonist would start summoning demons and cleverly worded contracts to get the better of them somehow but it went for the more classic route of summoning familiars The protagonist has a bunch of Pantheon deities all Vying for him to be there worshiper/paladin for no real apparent reason other than reading the contract he signed, and being power hungry not that I would mind I expected Faustian bargains and contracts after all. The protagonist is rather arrogant for someone with no
Real achievements during volume one
All in all it wasn't what I was expecting and didn't go in the directions I was hoping
You should read this if you like blue-screen LitRPG
it’s a solid plot of fairly decent quality
the lead is not a typical main character at all
it’s great the way he seems prepared for issues big and small
The style is standard for the genre, it’s concise and clean
I noticed the high quality of each blue status screen
the chapters are quite action packed, but characters come first
we always know how characters feel when worse comes to worst
The story seems quite standard, but with satisfying twists
the lead solves problems with his experience, not just fists
the setting, scenes, and premise are solid enough for me
though some scenes are clunky if you do get nitpicky
The grammar is okay, and for this book it’s good enough
I’d say it’s better than average, it’s details without fluff
in dialogue it’s shaky, but overall I don’t mind
it does its job, and it’s as good as most that you can find
The characters are great, they’re well developed and sincere
they all have unique quirks and talents that often appear
they breathe life into a standard plot and really shine
the lead especially is a new favourite of mine
Overall, this novel does its chosen genre proud
the story is awesome so a few typos are allowed
it seems like it’s going to go on for quite a while
and I’m sure that it will leave most readers with a smile