Mercenary Mage - Book One

Mercenary Mage - Book One

by SR Fauth

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

A Reverse Sci-Fi Isekai.

Thank you to all my readers and supporters! Please see the important update for Mercenary Mage below.

Book 1 Mercenary Mage - Book has been Stubbed to adhere to Amazons Rules and Terms of Service. Mercenary Mage is available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited (for free) and on the Amazon store. It is also now available in paperback and will be available in Audio Book within the short term future. Please see the link below.

Book 1 Mercenary Mage Amazon Link: https://www.royalroad.com/amazon/B0B1TC898T

Book 2 Mercenary Marauder

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/52924/mercenary-marauder

Book 3 Mercenary Monarch - TBA

Reeve SilverStar: War Mage, Convict, Slave. A survivor of some of the most heinous and brutal fighting ever conducted on his world. He finally escaped the cycle of war and death only to find himself kidnapped, taken to a new universe where nothing makes sense. A world where nothing is familiar and insane robots, killer AI, and otherworldly beings he can hardly comprehend are the norm.

He must learn to survive these constant threats to his very survival, all the while learning that these new experiences are changing him. Molding him into something new... something extraordinary.

Follow Reeve through desolate space stations, massive fleet battles, and covert operations as he gathers those who find themselves lost and abandoned and forges a new company to fight back against their would-be oppressors. Whether they be mortal or divine.

Watch the Mercenary Mage as he fights to control a universe and discovers the penultimate truth of reality itself.

The Gods are but the heralds of the Darkness to come.

STATUS: Complete. Not fully edited yet, but complete.

EDITING STATUS: There will be a fully edited re-release.

CURRENT SITES POSTED ON:

Royal Road

Author Name: SR Fauth

DISCLAIMER:

This is an Original Work.

All parties in scenes where intimacy is implied are over the age of 18.

All scenes of intimacy are, by design, consensual.

The Art cover was commissioned by, paid for, and all rights owned by user SR Fauth.

ADULT THEMED CONTENT:

- Profanity -

- Sexual Content and Graphic Suggestions -

- Fade to black scenes of intimacy -

- Consensual Harem Situations -

- Gore and Graphic Descriptions -

- Potentially Traumatizing or Triggering Content -

- Stereotypical Fantasy Creatures and Races -

_______________

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SR Fauth

SR Fauth

Bumbler of Magic

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Raz Scrivens
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Isekai Meets Sci-Fi. So it's an... I-Sci-Fi-Kai?

Reviewed at: CHAPTER 02 - A MELTINGLY GOOD TIME

Isekai as a genre is a bit done to death (so I've been told) but Mercenary Mage has a premise that breathes some new life into the idea. While not unheard of, the fantasy-to-sci-fi isekai route is much less traveled than the inverse, making for a fun and promising story. I really enjoy the premise! The story is enjoyable too, but I had problems with some parts.

STYLE (4): The style of this story gives a very sci-fi impression rather than fantasy-meets-sci-fi. The protagonist seems like a rough-and-tumble sci-fi action hero more than a mage, which I think is interesting considering he’s the one that’s supposed to be out of place in this world. His verbiage comes off as very slang-heavy modern US dialogue, casual, off-the-cuff, and maybe that was the kind of mage he was in his world, but it just doesn’t seem to fit thematically with his backstory, you know? I don’t think he needs to speak like a wizened old wizard full of riddles and stuff, but I think there’s a middle ground there. He sounds like he fits into this sci-fi world a little too well, too quickly. That said, the style is enjoyable and not too dry.

STORY (3.5): I had some issues with the way the story was presented. I felt the prologue was superfluous to the main story. Unless Existence and Entropy will be personified characters, there are no characters present in the story so far, only a group of unnamed characters vaguely hinted at. Prologues are very hard to justify and I don’t think the prologue really adds anything to the story that comes after it. Furthermore, I don’t think it really needs to exist when all the worldbuilding it accomplishes could be done piecemeal later on.

Then we jump into the main story with protagonist Reeve, an AI, and later a better AI of sorts. Here’s where the story really begins. While the premise is very fun, I felt that the way it’s told can drag in some parts. At times it’s banter-heavy, while at other times there’s a lot of describing actions without much of an internal monologue or other details. It felt very setup-heavy at times without a lot of actual events happening, if that makes sense. I wish the protagonist had more tangible short-term goals to work toward, or situations to handle, instead of exploring an open world sort of environment without a lot of concrete narrative progression. It felt like the first real goal he had set in stone, one that would move the plot along, came at the end of Chapter 2. At about 10k words in, it felt a bit late for me.

Furthermore, there were some issues with Reeve’s integration into a world of science and technology. He does this a little too quickly and makes logical leaps that don’t feel believable. Early on, you do a good job of showing how he’s confused by all these new terms and concepts, at this strange world built around the “mundane” rather than the magical. Here are some believable lines from later on, too: “He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, so he just started clicking on random things.” Also: “[…] something call[ed] reality TV. He wasn’t sure [what] TV was or what made it more real than anything else, so he skipped it for now.” That’s believable. But between all that, Reeve also somehow intuits that the universe is heliocentric, based on the fact that he’s in a spaceship in orbit around a planet, and he somehow also knows what deoxyribonucleic acid is and shrugs off the fact that the ship needs a sample of his. Moments like this pulled me out of the story. (Assuming a geocentric model of the universe could still allow for him to orbit a planet, and for stars to orbit the planet as well; he didn’t have the information needed to deduce heliocentrism was a thing.) Along with the style, it just made me feel in moments that Reeve wasn’t really from a magic-based fantasy universe at all. He just felt like a regular guy with amnesia who also had magic. That’s fine! But it seems incongruous with what the story is actually trying to do.

GRAMMAR (4.5): There were minor spelling, grammar, and word choice errors here and there. I tried to point them out in comments as I remembered. Other than that, there was nothing too major.

CHARACTER (4): Reeve works well as an action hero/antihero. Lines like “I’ve seen plenty of dead bodies, made plenty of them,” stuff like that, he really fits the role of the title of the story. I would have liked more backstory of his in flashbacks or maybe expositional dialogue. As it stands right now, I don’t really know much about Reeve or what he wants. He functions as a plot device more than anything (at least in the first two chapters.) He’s a stranger here, he’s dangerous to the world he inhabits, and he needs to figure out how to protect himself from the world and protect the world from himself. But what is he like? What are his goals? Not a lot of this shines through. With his AI companion being the only other character so far, I can’t really speak much more on characters or their development. They do look like they could have a fun bantering relationship, the classic hero-with-the-snarky-AI-companion setup. It works!

OVERALL (4): I’d say this story has a really fun premise that sometimes has issues with execution. I definitely recommend it to isekai fans and anyone who likes genre-bending or genre-melding.

WorryWrite
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Interesting premise, but the delivery needs work

Reviewed at: CHAPTER 02 - A MELTINGLY GOOD TIME

The story is interesting. I like the concept of a reverse isekai. It's something I've thought about writing myself, but have never gotten around to. Your method of introduction to the character of Reeve, while it still has something to be desired, does utilize science fiction tropes very well. It is a very sci-fi action game format, similar to Borderlands, Halo, Doom, Deadspace, or Warframe. It's a strong foundation to build on. And that may be why I enjoyed it to the degree I did.

As far as grammar and character, I think you might want to work with someone on those.

There are quite a few grammatical and spelling mistakes, even in just the portion that I read (up to the end of 02). You shift around with tense (though its much worse in 00 than the rest), you have numerous typos, and some fragmented sentences left me lost and I had to move on and intuit what was being told to me. There are a lot of technical problems with the text that I think are more than likely the result of a lack of experience writing. While you can go back and try to fix them all, you might be better off continuing and learning more about grammar and sentence structure to improve your baseline draft quality.

My other gripe is character quality. Particularly with voice, your characters lack a lot of distinction. If it weren't for the italics and occasional dialogue tags, I would be entirely lost as to who was talking between Red and Reeve. Both of their voices sound the same; they use the same speech patterns, the same diction, and the same tone of voice when talking to eachother. I think the best way to work on character voice is to speak the words yourself. Read out loud the dialogue and you will get a better feel of how you can make what they're saying feel like different people are saying it.

As for style and story, I think you could still improve there as well. You have an obvious understanding of storytelling, I'm not saying you can't write. But the way in which you write still needs some developing. Reading more and experimenting with how you describe the world around you will do a lot to help that. Just like characters have personal motivations, so to does the world around them.

I could gripe much more about certain specific things, but I don't want to overwhelm or discourage you. Keep writing. There are just as many passages where you get things very right as you don't.

Mystique
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

If I could give more stars I would!

Reviewed at: CHAPTER 06 - TOTAL REEVECALL

This story is amazing. Every part of it. It deserves 6/5 stars it's that good! I don't even normally like sci-fi or murderous leads but this story is written so well I'm already addicted!

Style: I love the style. Clear, consise. Easy to read and you don't have to re-read sentences or scenes to understand what's happening. The author understands show dont tell. And well. It shows. I also found the way the writer approaches dialogue between characters very realistic, organic and rib breakingly hilarious!

Story: Goodness the story. Just top marks all around. There's world building done just enough to give you what you need but not so much it's an info dump. This story almost feels like a reverse isekai? But not? Guy gets ripped from a magical world/dimension into a technologically advanced sci-fi world. So we get the best of magic and sci-fi! The story is engaging, and interesting. I seriously can't wait for more!

Grammar- The grammar is to RR standards. A few issues here and there, nothing too egregious.

Character- The characters are incredible. From the main cast to the robots to the enemies! All are very clearly their own people. And they're all hilarious. You honestly want to learn about all the characters you meet because the writer does such a good job creating characters that feel like real people! 

So really. An amazing story, full of amazing characters written by an amazing author. 

Vnator
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Mercenary Mage is a story just about that; a mercenary mage. But one who's been transported to a sci-fi universe and must use his wits and allies to survive in this strange, yet somewhat familiar world.

 

Style:

The style is great! Sentence and word flow, and the overall format are near perfect. I'm able to sit down and read through the text with ease, nothing with how the story is written getting in the way of my enjoyment or distracting me from the juicy content within. The only complaint I have is that the main character, who's described as a sociopathic a-hole, is only described as that. It may be due to the lack of neutrals and allies who are at his mercy, but we've only been told rather than shown such a characteristic. Though I'm certain the author will address that as soon as more characters are introduced!

 

Grammar:

The grammar is impeccable, I have zero complains about it. If there are any errors, then they're easily missed as I didn't catch any.

 

Story:

The story so far is definitely interesting, and I'm excited to see what the main character does in this new scenario. For now, it's just survival, getting his bearings, and planning out the road ahead. But from what I've seen, I'm optimistic about where it will go.

 

Character:

Great! The main character comes off as someone who's experienced in the harshness of the world, and it comes off as he tries to survive the new one he's placed in. The other two characters we've met with personalities have also been exceedingly interesting, despite the in-universe "limitations" of the first of them. Really goes to show how good of an author we have if they can bring life to something so literally lifeless :D

 

Overall, I'm giving this story 5 stars. It's a great read, and I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Capital Station
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

So, if I could give a 6 or a 7 for characters, I would! Reeve (the main character) and Red (the IA) and Novu (the magical nanites? Brought to life? You have to read to see) are an amusing group of characters. From the very beginning of the story, I enjoyed Reeve, I enjoyed his time in the tech world, and I SUPER enjoyed his banter with the others.

The plot follows Reeve, a mage, as he's thrust into a sci-fi (litRPG-like) world. The status sheet and computer booting program screens are amusing (especially his mental status labeled as "confused" and "disbelieving") and the entire story has a mildly sarcastic vibe to it all.

The only flaws I would give to the story are the random grammatical errors (we all have them, some chapters in this more than others - nothing a good proofreader wouldn't catch) and the almost vague mystery of Reeve and what he's doing. Fortunately, the great character interactions carry this entire story along. Even if there isn't a clear destination, I'm totally in the car next to them, waiting for the next funny thing they'll say.

I had a ton of fun reading this, and I wish there had been more chapters for me to consume.

This story is definitely worth your time.

Arthur-67
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Review of everything upto most recently released chapter (5)

Notes I made during reading
Grammer-  I found this aspect to be done extremely well and have no real points to make.
 Style.: The story style is another great aspect and it maintains a consistent and well-written style throughout. 
Im loving the lighter Lit Rpg aspect, I always found too much overwhelming but you have a really good balance between litrpg and story. Top job there.
It's good that you reference it later on e.g. sees bodies, worried that they might rise as undead, orcs etc. It adds some nice extra immersion with the fantasy world
There were a few unneeded lines like in my chapter comment,s you just mentioned where the lid was and say it again in the next line.
It's hardly a major deal but getting rid of unneeded lines helps with flow. It in no way detracts anything from the story

There were a few tiny expositions dumps early on like with Mana, but they're done well enough and small that I'm happy with it. However, i will say in chapter 2 it gets a bit much. Whilst the lore, exposition is interesting, try and break it up occasionally, the second chapter feels like your using the ai just to dump exposition on us. Honestly whilst it is a little expostiony, the information is still interesting and provided useful world building. 

Story-Im liking the plot, I've never read a story with a fantasy character (Mana) being sent into a sci-fi world before. Im enjoying reading the story and how you go about mixing the two.

The descriptions are very solid throughout, especially when you've added lines like.
' Their savage disorganization and complete disregard for their wounded and fallen.'

His reactions to certain events do feel quite natural, like with certain words confusing him, e.g. star hold scene. Great job there. However, I will say he has adapted and embraced his situation quite quickly and comfortably.

Some long dialogue speeches could be edited a little I feel. e.g. start of chapter two. It is a large block of dialogue. Imagine if it was a film and we watched someone read it all.
Sometimes it's worth breaking it up e.g.halfway through add a character action, end the paragraph and continue the rest on another.
That little pause in between is not enough.

When you explain the station's facilities in the bluebox you use numbers in the thousands. It's kind of meaningless when you go that big. Let's say he was repairing and got another 100 defences.
Its like so what. The scale is too big for me to care what he adds or feel a sense of achievement if he adds anything to it. Although you do sort of fix this when he creates his own designs.

Apart from that, i didn't really find anything else to add as I finished reading. Reeve is consistent and fair likeable, the plot seems to be progressing at a good pace.
I really don't have much more to add I enjoyed the last chapters equally as much as the first, you introduced the new characters well and if im honest I don't have any other suggestions.
So yeah overall great job, keep up the good work. And i would happily recommend this to anyone who's interested in the genre.

Ploopie
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Isekai Sci-fi. Oh hey, that rhymed!

Reviewed at: CHAPTER 05 - RUMBLE IN THE HANGER

As the title said, this book is sci fi, and isekai. I honestly don't know why the author hasn't put this in his description or tags, but... oh well. With that said, I'll begin with the review.

Story - 5/5

I've rated the story a five out of five simply because of the ingenuity. Honestly, isekai is a very common genre, which has many, many stereotypes and tropes that will lead to that point where everything starts going downhill. Now, ShadowRat has mixed this up to create an intriguing, yet comical story of a reverse-isekaied man from another world.

The story begins with Reeve, a man who'd been isekaied into a space station in the far future of another world. I only have one slight problem with this. Some readers may find it difficuly to adjust to the traditional terms of the isekai genre, since there is little explanation. Going past that, Reeve awakens in a strange new world- thankfully, with a system. I won't spoil much of it for you, but for some reason, I'm really attracted to the whopping millions of mana units and the whole futuristic element of a normal system. It looks really good! Also, he has an AI assistant, which is a mega bonus. I feel like this story is heading in a direction where it is more character development and coversation then action scenes, which may not suit everyone. However, it is still quite early into the story, so we'll just have to see. 

Style - 5/5

Now, I'll be brief. The writing style of the author is clear and easy to follow. I don't experience any breaks from immersion but the one or two things I want to pick on- please note that I'm nitpicking here, is how the paragraphs seem to drone on a little bit more than I'd like. Also, the tables are sometimes a little big, but, what can you do. Tables will be tables.

Grammar - 5/5

Flawless. Nothing stood out to me.

Story - 5/5

This is really the highlight of this book. The character interactions are interesting, comical and highly realistic. You really feel like they are real people. ShadowRat has done an excellent job in crafting the two main character's personalities and I am loving it.

Overall, a 5/5

A must read for sci fi and isekai lovers.

Turtles are different from Tortoises
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Super cyborg wizard man.

 That’s the best description I can give of the protagonist, who is a powerful caster of magical spells infused with magically altered nano-bots, and gives off enough energy to kill whole races without noticing.

Story: The story is well put together, giving a plot that has a natural path of progression and can build up towards future events.

Grammar: I haven’t found anything at all really wrong with the grammar here, all is good on this front.

Character: The protagonist is a well-rounded character, and he has multiple noticeable elements of personality. I feel as though his path for future development might be a bit vague, but it is there. I do think that his flaws are a bit heavy handed in how they are displayed though.

The side characters all have effort put into them, and have their own distinct tones of voice that make them stand out.

Style: Perhaps the author’s weak spot, the overall sentence structure and style is fine, but the info tends to be on the dumpier side, with lots of details given all at once, and sometime beaten in multiple times even when not that important. I also think the transitions between comedy and action could perhaps be better, the tension might be undercut, though that could be intentional with the overpowered nature of the protagonist and how he isn’t in that much danger in any of them so far.

This is only the first six chapters though, so this may just be a quirk of how the story establishes itself at the start.

Arch Sage
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The Story: This is a rpg/gamelit novel that follows Reeve, a mercenary and a killer with no hesitation in killing those who are against him. Taken from his homeworld and placed into a new existence without warning, Reeve finds himself sizing up enemy droids, alien beings who want to taste him like a fine wine, and cheating merchants.Interesting story that was layered with beautiful stat-tables. The readers would find it impossible to drop,

The Syle: The author is using the third person narration style. We are made to experience the feelings, thoughts and actions of the characters involved in a good way. This really fits the way the author expresses the details of the book.

The Grammar: No noticeable errors that could affect the flow of the story. Grammar is a major factor for many readers in determining he readability of a novel. The author is doing a great job on this.

The Characters: They are well thought out and designed. The main character, Reeve, is just a fun to read. Even at thisvearly stages, the author is showing his ability to develop characters which can only make me applaud him.

Overall: This is a fun book to read. If you're looking for good entertainment, this book is for you.

Xanalourum
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Grammar: Initially, I was going to give a low score to Style but then realized it was more of an issue with grammar. While there isn't anything that's glaringly bad, punctuations and overall the way the story is written simply sound... off. I might be correctly assuming that Rat isn't a native speaker or maybe he is but speaks a peculiar accent. That's why some dialogues and phrases are chunky and too formal in some places. You can also catch the occasional weird phrase that just sounds wrong even if you can't place a finger on what is.

Style: The Style itself is decent enough. As stated before, I initially planned to give a low score to Style but the LitRPG Aspect was just that good. It single-handedly made me decide that the Style was awesome. You don't see systems this elaborate (or at least this cool) all that often and that's perfect.

Could do with a little bit of less info-dumping, though, as some scenarios simply sound like the character doing things just so that Rat can fit in some exposition without making it look extra, but it ends up seeming so. A suggestion is to only state things that are required for the story to progress but that might just be the part of me that got traumatized from being yelled at for info-dumping too much talking.

Story: You can tell Rat plans his stories before writing and that's great. The world seems to be hiding a lot but in a good way. The take on the Sci-Fi Isekai concept is somewhat fresh if anything. Haven't read anything exactly like this but it didn't exactly redefine the genre.

The only reason that it's at a 4.5 is because of how chapters are somewhat inconsistent in terms of what they cover. You can have one chapter cover a lot while two chapters cover a part of one somewhat short sequence, but that's permittable since we're all writing web novels here, not actual novels. Would have put a 4.75 here if I could, but alas, we don't have that option

Character: As some of the previous reviews stated, the MC is a tad bit too calm about being Isekai'ed. We haven't gotten context on why yet but it might be raised soon if it does. So far, we only have a few characters and they're showing off their quirks pretty well so far.

It'd help a lot if some of the dialogues simply flowed smoother. An example would be:

“Oh man, we are low on food,” Reeve muttered.

I simply can't imagine anyone saying "we are low on food," without sounding awkward, and that's one of many such cases. It just feels wrong, even if there's nothing actually wrong with it.

Overall Suggestions: In order of glaring weaknesses to mildly annoying.

1. Focus on punctuation and try to improve it. That's honestly the one thing that'll make the story far more readable. If I may say so, no offense intended, it feels like some of those not-so-great translations of JP and CN novels but just for punctuations, though.

2. Make the dialogues flow better. Say it out loud and think about whether it sounds good or not. Anyone that's writing would have read enough books or watched enough movies so we can pretty much feel when something doesn't flow. You can do it too, Rat. You'll find that the dialogues are much, much smoother if you do that. Trust me, I've tried that and it's helped me a lot.

3. Dialogues that don't end the paragraph should never have periods. Commas serve that purpose and I'm sure Grammarly says so as well. So instead of:

"I'm alive." he said.

You'd write:

"I'm alive," he said.

4. Never skip "he said", "she said" etc etc. It helps give readers a grasp on who's talking. Anyone can figure it out from the context and how the conversation's going so far, but we have to also account for the people with ADHD who looked away, turned back to the book, and suddenly can't make sense of anything without reading the previous paragraphs over and over.

While this problem isn't prominent for now, as there are only a few characters, it'll bite you in the future. Better to weed the habit out before it becomes a headache.

5. Some of the paragraphs don't have any business being one paragraph when it could be separated into two, or even three. It just makes the writing look chunkier and like they're merged together just to make them seem large, which I'm sure isn't the intent.