After a drunken college ritual goes very wrong (or very right), Robin wakes up, naked, in a world of dark priests, angry kobolds, and Lost Gods. The priest wants to crush his will. The kobolds want to catch and eat him. The Lost God, well, it's not yet clear exactly what he wants. None of them care what Robin wants.
Robin would like to explore this new world without all the messy complications, thanks. He finally has a bit of real magic at his fingertips, but the monsters on every side won't let him relax long enough to enjoy it! The only tools he has to survive are his wits, the strange messages that keep flashing before his eyes, and a newly-discovered talent for illusions. It’s nothing game-breaking…or is it?
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First three arcs now available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and Audible!
This fiction features a bi male protagonist (think Kinsey 5 level).
Robin will progress through various levels of power at a steady pace. Progression will be at a moderate pace. The rise to power is far from meteoric.
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Liked the first arc. MC is cunning, using trickery and illusions to best foes stronger than him. Meeting a women's party, they rely on each other to survive without being too mushy or having out of place sexual tension, which plagues the usual isekais.
I already disliked the sytem by then, but I can easily put up with a bad litrpg system in favor of a good story, so I did.
Then came the second arc and everything fell apart. The MC turns dumb because the plot demands it while having unsufferable thick sexual tension with a male character that just appeared.
While walking through a forest, pixies were casting illusion unto his party and he felt the illusion in his gut but couldn't place the feeling and ended up being ambushed.
Later he meets a priest and feels the same feeling up his gut while the priest tries to seduce/manipulate him by being a kind handsome hunk. Yet the 18 int MC still couldn't match the feeling again even though it's the second time it happend in one day.
While he's passed out the guy literally strips him bare and leaves him naked on the bed with the excuse of 'washing his clothes' and he's fine with it. Both are bisexual btw so this, which wouldn't be fine even if they were both heterosexual, gets completed overlooked by the memerized and now stupid MC while they both walk around naked and gawking at each other's naked bodies.
This priest is even from the Goddess of Beauty! Wouldn't a geek/rpg player immediately know that such a priest would have forms of magical seduction and be weary of being seducted?!
Btw, there was also a pretty elf in the previous party and he didn't even batted an eye at her. Zero sexual tension. In fact, there was little to no attention to any of their looks. But now he merely looks at the elven priest, gets a hard on, and thinks everything is normal and fine while we get long descriptions of how perfectly handsome he is.
It's like the MC just decided to shut his brain off at the beggining of chapter 2 because he must be deceived by the obvious two faced seductive priest for the plot to happen.
As for the system part. It's confusing. He acquires skills which comes equipped with knowlegde from the system/god. Why he suddenly gets that skill? Midly doing anything related to it. But there's a limit to the number of skills, so after he fills all the slots up, what then? no more skills? It fills the slot even without him accepting so it feels random and 'plot armorish'.
At that point why not start with all the skills in the first place and have him buying upgrades as needed? If the goal was the illusion of choice and agency on his part, why not let the MC buy the skills he want from a list with his XP?
The system seems indecisive in regards to the user having agency on his upgrade path or not. His race was changed without consent, same for gaining the bard class.
There's also classes but what use are they? He's about to have 3 classes already and we don't know what they do. It's not gaining skills since we established how they're gained above. If his skills changed based on the current class he has it would be fine, but it's not the case. The answer will probably come later but the information was already needed now, because he gained the bard class but nothing came from it. His magic came from blessings, the skills come up as he does stuff, the tier level is related to the character and not the class, so bard is useless, I guess? Maybe it'll give magic for other classes? Can't know unless you suck it up and keep reading, which I didn't, but the information was already essential to understand it. It would be better for him to not have gained the bard class at all if nothing came from it.
The XP is also random and we can't know how he gains it or how much of it. With so many system prompts the author could've added 'Killed shadow monster. +5% XP' or 'Read through magical archives. Arcane lore +20%', '5% XP to increase Insight to rank 2. Do you wish to proceed?' so on and so forth.
But he chose not to, and now we only get how close he is to the next Tier level in percentage but not how much it represents in XP to upgrade skills and stats. It feels sloppy and arbitrary. 'He had 84% to Tier 1, upgraded skill X and Y to rank 4 and now it's 34%'.
One of the joys of LITRPG is for the reader to understand the system and ponder about the player decisions, while even discussing it at the comments, but here you cannnot. He doesn't have control on the skills he gains nor knows how much XP he gains per action and how much he could evolve from it.
And I'm aware that I've might missed a detail where at least one of these complaints is explainable, but I won't go back to re-read and study the system to get the answer since it's not that interesting or novel in the first place. So take them with a grain of lazy salt.
It's unfortunate because repeating: I really liked the first arc. So if this review keeps you on the fence about reading, search for another one that has also gone through the second and later arcs or at least part of it like I did.
Like most of the others, I'd totally recommend this novel based on the first arc alone, even with the system problems, but not on the second.
I'd advice the Author to rewrite it and maintain the MC's level of intelligence and cunning seen in the first part.
As I read more and more fictions in my review journey, I've learned one thing: the opening paragraph is really important. This one in particular is really dang good and I can tell right from the start that this'll be an interesting read.
After reading: okay that is some very colorful language my friend. I'm at a bit of a loss for words, WTF was that. I demand to know why there isn't a comedy tag, this had me bursting out laughing wayy to often. Dang
Okay now that I have complimented your insane and beautiful jokes, I need to be that person.
Needs. Blue. Tables.
Normally doesn't bother me much but this one got to me since the status messages were barely differenciated from the rest of the text.
Writing quality is fine so no surprise that there are plenty of high ratings.
I don't think my own stance though is unjustified and rare either, this MC gets told what to do every tiny step from the start, by his blue boxes. He has no agency. It really is like a game where you constantly get quests.
That's fine for a game, you can turn off your brain and relax from real life and just doi as you are told. However, in real life - and stories are about that - I very much prefer independent and thinking MCs who are not servants of some god and/or system and act on their own. This guy even gets told whoom to befriend. This may as well be a "slavery is fun!" story (because it is - he either does as he is told or he dies because straying from the path laid out by the quests is not feasible).
A light adventure / comedy / action story, Trickster's Song has some very solid elements which are unfortunately combined with its fair share of questionable ones. There's a lot to enjoy here yet I have a hard time appreciating it.
The story and worldbuilding are quite good. Although the overarching plot seems somewhat generic so far and could use some more urgency and/or direction, throughout the story there have been hints towards more interesting things happening behind the scenes. I expect the author has plans to shift into these elements as the story progresses which is something to look forward to.
At the time of writing this review public chapters are partway through the third arc. The first arc was a bit meandering and occasionally overly expository, but shaped up to be a solid introduction into the world, characters and plot. It brought up many interesting elements without going too in-depth into any - leaving plenty of questions for later.
The second arc is an interesting one. It's difficult to describe without going into heavy spoiler territory, but it has some fun mysteries woven in with satisfying conclusions. While certain plot points might have been better expressed with a bit more subtlety, this is a serial after all, where too many too-subtle hints can lead to an uncomfortable reading experience for various reasons - so this novel plays to the format's strengths well enough in that regard. But yeah, overall, the second arc's story is very well done.
The third arc is still somewhat near its start right now, but as with the previous two arcs it has a neat setup and has some intriguing tie-ins with the overarching storyline.
The writing style is kind of a mix of aspects that work well and aspects that don't. It has a similar tone to quite a few stories on this site, being fairly light, fast-paced and comedic (with extra emphasis on comedic here).
The prose itself is strong - there's the occasional awkward phrase, but the sentences flow together in a pretty smooth rhythm. The word choice is good too, nothing overly flowery or thesaurus-based yet using a wide enough range of words to keep things fresh and engaging. The prose isn't overly noticeable, but that's fine. It all works together pretty well.
The more 'noticeable' parts of the writing (mainly the insults in combat and jokes/wordplay in conversation), though, are rather hit-or-miss.
There are some conceptual difficulties with having our hero's main offense be insults. First, the tone - it makes it difficult to take a conflict seriously when jokes are inserted in a battle. The second issue is kind of connected with the next topic - pop culture references and other Earth-only or English-only jokes and such.
The Cutting Words cantrip doesn't make much sense. How is the creativity or effectiveness of an insult decided? The being being insulted doesn't need to understand the language as stated in the description. If they don't understand the language, does it not get bonus or reduced damage? What if they don't understand the insult but it's especially creative? What about references to things they don't understand? Can the user just say anything and have it deal damage if 'infused' with Cutting Words?
So, our hero has a Babel fish type skill (understand and speak all languages). Robin regularly makes jokes that would only work in English - which isn't the end of the world. The protagonist just got transported to another world, our suspension of disbelief can handle a few plot conveniences. But when proper nouns are used it can push things a bit too far.
Pop culture references (particularly in isekai and/or fantasy stories) ride the line between comedic and cringy at the best of times. Here, the added qualities of tonal confusion and narrative conflict leave them feeling pretty awkward at times.
Aside from that issue, the overall dialogue, insults and wordplay aren't bad. Although they're rarely as quick-witted and clever as it would like to have you believe, they're more often than not pretty amusing and creative. There aren't many jokes in this story I couldn't see at least a few people finding very funny.
The characters. Unfortunately, one of the weaker parts of the story so far. They do have interesting qualities and unique dispositions - there's a fairly solid base - but it feels like you know all there is to know about their personalities within a few minutes of meeting them (not to say there haven't or won't be twists and reveals about various characters, which is appreciated, but it still all feels rather surface level). Nothing terrible here, just a bit bland.
One last topic before getting to the conclusion - the flirting and sexuality. It's rather out of place with just how often something of that nature is brought up. While I respect the author for having a bisexual protagonist and not being afraid to add sexual elements to the story, from the second arc onward it ends up feeling uncomfortable more than anything. Having our hero aggressively flirt with a bunch of coincidentally attractive side characters, or hearing about the stirring in his loins from someone saying hello to him, wears out its welcome quickly.
All things considered, this isn't a bad novel - definitely above average. There's a lot to enjoy here with the humor and story. Although various issues of varying degrees make it difficult to enjoy the action/adventure elements of the story, if the comedy appeals to you it can be a pretty fun read.
Didn't know where to put this, so I'll just say it here - the performance scene in 3.3 was fantastic. Portraying music in writing well is extremely difficult and this is probably the best example I've ever seen. Just the right balance of lyrics, descriptions of the sound, and plot elements. I also loved how the audience energy was worked in, and the 'rebel' thing was a nice touch.
This is a well written tounge-in-cheek take on the LitRPG isekai kind of story. Pacing is restrained but the set-piece situations are explosive. The inspiration for the setting is clearly Dungeons & Dragons but it's not an exact copy. The MC is plagued by a snarky quest system and the blessings of a (almost) dead trickster god. He does have to start from scratch though, naked, hungover and with just one very basic spell but no weapons.
Grammar - 5
No real issues that will disrupt reading experience
Style - 5
Does a good job of staying in the moment and showing the reader what is going on instead of telling. The usually natural feeling flow of casual humor is fairly spot on and keeps things fresh. Sometimes the burns for his ability can be a bit long but generally ok.
Story - 4
Overall the story has good plot progression with enough world building to be invested in the setting. The story is expressed through 'showing' the reader the world (kudos!). The only real negative story wise is that the MC has essentially no agency of self. He is perpetually 'on the rails' so to speak. Be it the blue box quests or other characters forcing him to do what they want. This can make it feel very much like you're having an adventure through Tamriel on a theme park ride. "please keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times"
Character Score - 3
Supporting characters have very little to no depth. They feel like random NPCs that you meet along the way who temporarily join your party. Insert random mage 1, Insert random warrior 2, etc who have 1-2 paragraph back stories at best, nothing at worst.
MC I honestly almost dropped the story during his prison/escape arc with the elf. It's just bad. No it's not due to dislike of LGBT writing. The amount of sexualization and the timing of it being inserted was just completely dissonant with what the MC has been through up to that moment and what they were continuing to go through (aka trying not to die). Action, suspense, build up, lets just keep inserting awkward sexualization for absolutely 0 reason other than 'not bard....yet' rational. Also as mentioned in the story comment section, the MC has absolutely 0 agency of self. Follow them rails boy. Good doggy. He doesn't need to completely buck the system but currently he's the perfect lemming.
Overall I think it's a pretty good story, worth a read and would 100% recommend this to anyone who enjoys this genre. Given the quality of writing and the story I'm very surprised that this novel doesn't have significantly more views. To the Author, I hope that none of my remarks are taken in a negative light or an attack on you in anyway and are instead taken as constructive criticism.
(5+5+4+3)/4 = 4.25
Rounding up to 4.5
We're only 10 chapters into the story, so I cannot give a real review. But I am enjoying this very much. The story is interally consistent, the character interactions are interesting and realistic so far, and I've already been a bit surprised.
I will update this review once the story progresses.
Update: the story has gone off a cliff in this latest arc at the Keep. Too much plot armor and mechanics that went from fun to tedious. MC is well on his way to OP now. Side characters are more annoying than anything else. Too bad really.
Well... I certainly can't say I've read much that's like the opening chapter on this fiction. It might be because this fiction is wholly original on this front or I just don't read enough of the genre. Could be either I guess.
Story works out quickly, the reader getting a whole lot of information quickly, plot developments likewise being quick about coming to ears. Good enough on that front, though it wouldn't do the story too bad to have a few more chapters soon. 5/5 for now
Style: Very good prose, much better than the average you find on this site. It's descriptive enough that I'm able to see what's going on in my head, but not so descriptive that it feels slow paced. The only thing that I might say is I don't get a good sense of the character's appearances, especially the adventuring party he saves. But I think my preference on the matter is different from the average webnovel reader so take that with a grain of salt.
Grammar: Once again, nothing much to say. I didn't see any grammar issues. Much better than what you usually see in webnovels as a whole.
Story: I really like the mysterious quest system and how that relates to the world's Gods. The dynamic between the Orc, the kobolds and the priest was intriguing. Overall, the worldbuilding is brilliant. Also, the way the protagonist uses his trickster abilities to achieve his goals without even fighting was entertaining to see and quite unique in the genre.
Character: The protagonist feels quite inactive. The character's voice, the way they describe things and their own commentary was well done and makes them quite likeable, but he also feels somewhat empty of personality and I feel like that's the result of him being inactive. It feels like the quest system is the one making decisions for him and is the sole source of all of his motivation. Even after the protagonist saves the adventuring party, he kinda just follows their lead continuing to not make any decisions of his own .
An easy solution to that issue would be for the protagonist to make his decisions, either through narration or external action, before he's notified with the quest. You could have the protagonist decide to save the adventuring party before the quest pops up. You could have the protagonist make it a goal of his own to make the adventuring party like him before the quest pops up. etc.
Other than the protagonist, the adventuring party he encounters have shown quite colourful personalities that play off eachother quite well.
Overall this is a great story with a lot of potential. The only real issue I was able to come up with was the protagonist's inactivity, but even that's probably only a minor issue that'll probably be rectified later on. It is only the earlier stages after all. Great job!
There are many stories on this sitewith heroes who pregress with strength of arm or with the power of their magic. Even more stories have been written that go the opposite direction, detailing the tales of innkeepers or farmers or craftsmen. It is the raretale that has a main character who advances through social interaction, whose abilities are not those of sword or spell but of saucy wit. Trickster's Song revolves around a wonderful rogue who does his best to think his way around problems, and it makes for a refreshing read.
The world of Trickster's Song is easy to fall into. Pulling heavily from Dungeons and Dragons lore and abilities allows the author to present a system that is familiar and easy to understand, for anyone who has ever played a tabletop campaign. While some details might be different, the combination of ability scores, skills, and spells or feats quickly sets an expectation of what the characters and their opposition are capable of. The races and monsters are seemingly pulled straight from a D&D beastiary,and what points the author loses in originality he more than makes up for in accessibility. It's far easier to visualize a fight between goblins and dwarves than it is to figure out how svarthalians would manage to repel a pack of flooznaks.
While there is still much more of this story to be written, twhat we have already seen of the characters is promising. The protagonists all have strong and weak points and solidly fleshed out identities. At times it feels like the characterization might be pushed a little too hard, leading to some abrupt tonal shifts, but it isn't a common occurrence.
The sotry moves quickly and easily,with a constant stream of encounters that allow for Robin to grow and power while progressing the plot. It's a story that I could easily see playing outoveran evening roleplaying session, with the game master carefully providing a variety of problems to the party that allow everyone a chance to use their unique abilitiesto shine. It's not simply combat either, as the system rewardssolving problems in ways that aren't simply killing the enemies dead.All in all, an excellent start toa wonderful story. I look forwardto seeing what happens next!