Millennial Mage (A Slice of Life, Progression Fantasy)

Millennial Mage (A Slice of Life, Progression Fantasy)

by JLMullins

The world is wild, untamed. Humanity thrives, but only in isolated, well defended cities, ever shrinking as the wilds slowly reclaim all that was taken. The most capable magic users are raised up as Mages to serve mankind, further their cause, and defend them over the course of millennia.

Tala is freshly graduated from the magic academy and determined to make her own way in the world. She hopes to pay off her massive debts, quickly, but still plans on living each and every day to the fullest. Too bad the Academy left some glaring holes in her practical education. Loath to let that slow her down, and with no patience for a standard, low-paid apprenticeship (intended to fill many of those knowledge gaps), Tala strives to learn and improve as rapidly as she can on her own. Her unorthodox methods for preserving her own life allow her to take greater risks in search of profit and advancement, much to the surprise of those around her.


I do hope you enjoy this tale, but let me know what you think either way! Critique, both positive and negative, is welcome.

Release schedule is weekly: M-W-F

Thank you for your time and for giving this story a try.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: If this is found on a site other than Royal Road, or the linked Patreon, it was not posted by the author. Please find this tale, here:

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/47826/millennial-mage

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JLMullins

JLMullins

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Table of Contents
142 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Image Gallery ago
Chapter: 1 - New Beginnings ago
Chapter: 2 - The Caravanner’s Guild ago
Chapter: 3 - Dinner ago
Chapter: 4 - A Simple Home ago
Chapter: 5 - A Day of Preparation ago
Chapter: 6 - In Holly’s Workshop ago
Chapter: 7 - The Old Made New ago
Chapter: 8 - Delivery and New Sight ago
Chapter: 9 - It’s Just Glue ago
Chapter: 10 - Don’t Let Them Poach You ago
Chapter: 11 - Mysteries and Chowder ago
Chapter: 12 - One Has to Dream ago
Chapter: 13 - Late Night Meetings ago
Chapter: 14 - An Auspicious Start ago
Chapter: 15 - The Journey Begins ago
Chapter: 16 - Arcanous Beasts ago
Chapter: 17 - The Evening Encampment ago
Chapter: 18 - The Wilds Are My Workout ago
Chapter: 19 - Not Soon Enough ago
Chapter: 20 - Around the ‘Death’ Tree ago
Chapter: 21 - Berries and Jerky ago
Chapter: 22 - A Frustratingly Fitting Name ago
Chapter: 23 - Around the Dinner Table ago
Chapter: 24 - There Would Be a Next Time ago
Chapter: 25 - A Blood Star ago
Chapter: 26 - Please Don’t Kill Us ago
Chapter: 27 - That’s…a Big Bull ago
Chapter: 28 - Messy Work ago
Chapter: 29 - You’re a Mage, Figure It Out ago
Chapter: 30 - A Morning to Decide ago
Chapter: 31 - The Foundation of Any Fighting Art ago
Chapter: 32 - Terribly Wrong ago
Chapter: 33 - Creature of Magic ago
Chapter: 34 - Aftermath ago
Chapter: 35 - Power Aplenty ago
Chapter: 36 - Through the Gatehouse ago
Chapter: 37 - A Spinner of Tales ago
Chapter: 38 - Little Shop of Wonders ago
Chapter: 39 - The Wandering Magician ago
Chapter: 40 - The Beginning of True Magehood ago
Chapter: 41 - To the Ending Grove ago
Chapter: 42 - Well… That’s New ago
Chapter: 43 - Unexpected Results ago
Chapter: 44 - Food and Inquiry ago
Chapter: 45 - So Much More to Learn ago
Chapter: 46 - Bad Birdy? ago
Chapter: 47 - A Day of Departure ago
Chapter: 48 - Potential Conflict ago
Chapter: 49 - Cyclops and Conversation ago
Chapter: 50 - Back on the Road ago
Chapter: 51 - Settling in ago
Chapter: 52 - Through the Pass, Again ago
Chapter: 53 - Worst Proposal Ever ago
Chapter: 54 - Back to Basics ago
Chapter: 55 - Interruptions and Progress ago
Chapter: 56 - A Talented Teacher ago
Chapter: 57 - Right! The Hammer ago
Chapter: 58 - Undiminished Intensity ago
Chapter: 59 - A Cow a Day? ago
Chapter: 60 - Set on Unconventionality ago
Chapter: 61 - It Should Be Fun ago
Chapter: 62 - A Silly Accusation ago
Chapter: 63 - Crush ago
Chapter: 64 - One Thousand Ounces, Gold ago
Chapter: 65 - Smell Like Blood and Death ago
Chapter: 66 - A Foolish Form of Immortality ago
Chapter: 67 - I Might Need to Be Attacked More Often ago
Chapter: 68 - More Dangerous Than We Realize ago
Chapter: 69 - Not Nice ago
Chapter: 70 - Understatement ago
Chapter: 71 - I’m Going to Become an Archon ago
Chapter: 72 - Are You Heavier? ago
Chapter: 73 - Flow ago
Chapter: 74 - Worth Every Copper ago
Chapter: 75 - This Won’t Kill You, Directly ago
Chapter: 76 - Yay, Me… ago
Chapter: 77 - Already Lost to the World ago
Chapter: 78 - Group Breakfast Deal ago
Chapter: 79 - Mana ago
Chapter: 80 - That Has Merit ago
Chapter: 81 - A Hodgepodge Foundation ago
Chapter: 82 - Fleeing the Madness of Reality ago
Chapter: 83 - She’s a Scary Lady ago
Chapter: 84 - Watching for a Trap ago
Chapter: 85 - About Time You Finished ago
Chapter: 86 - A Taste of Human Blood ago
Chapter: 87 - Wish Me Luck? ago
Chapter: 88 - The Real Work ago
Chapter: 89 - What the Rust? ago
Chapter: 90 - False Choices ago
Chapter: 91 - Plentiful and Free ago
Chapter: 92 - The Crux of The Matter at Hand ago
Chapter: 93 - In Ancient Times ago
Chapter: 94 - That’s A Bit Embarrassing ago
Chapter: 95 - To End a Very Long Day ago
Chapter: 96 - Progress is Progress ago
Chapter: 97 - More Questions ago
Chapter: 98 - Mistress Odera ago
Chapter: 99 - Only a Mage Protector ago
Chapter: 100 - Crystal ago
Chapter: ?? - Fool’s Folly ago
Chapter: 101 - A Calm, Uneventful Evening ago
Chapter: 102 - I’m Hardly Standard ago
Chapter: 103 - A Start ago
Chapter: 104 - That Seems Bad ago
Chapter: 105 - Practice ago
Chapter: 106 - Potent Creature ago
Chapter: 107 - The Dark, Cold Forest ago
Chapter: 108 - Nightshift ago
Chapter: 109 - Leshkin ago
Chapter: 110 - One Way to Protect the Caravan ago
Chapter: 111 - Outside the Defenses ago
Chapter: 112 - On Overwatch ago
Chapter: 113 - Welcome to Makinaven ago
Chapter: 114 - Less Than Ideal ago
Chapter: 115 - Needed Support ago
Chapter: 116 - Higher in Makinaven ago
Chapter: 117 - Espresso? ago
Chapter: 118 - Into the Constructionist Guild ago
Chapter: 119 - Jevin ago
Chapter: 120 - Venturing Food ago
Chapter: 121 - Crocheting ago
Chapter: 122 - As Expected ago
Chapter: 123 - Shift ago
Chapter: 124 - A Lot of New Things to Test Out ago
Chapter: 125 - That Seems Wise ago
Chapter: 126 - Kit Was Full ago
Chapter: 127 - Reactions ago
Chapter: 128 - Happy to Assist ago
Chapter: 129 - A Mild Combat Application ago
Chapter: 130 - Murder Dell ago
Chapter: 131 - Choose Wisdom ago
Chapter: 132 - Together ago
Chapter: 133 - Great… ago
Chapter: 134 - What Is Happening to You? ago
Chapter: 135 - Foundational Understandings ago
Chapter: 136 - Underpinning Aura ago
Chapter: 137 - Humanity ago
Chapter: 138 - Questions and Requests ago
Chapter: 139 - A Lot to Take in ago
Chapter: 140 - Bloodstars ago

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TheAbyssStaresBack
Overall

Mostly well written but unbelievable plot armor

Reviewed at: Chapter: 34 - Aftermath

There are a few things that don't make sense, like no mages realizing they're eating arcanous beast meat over decades. Overall though the story is interesting and well written. One thing that annoys me however is the plot armor MC has. She keeps on doing stupid, ill-advised things and getting rewarded for it. When are there going to be lasting consequences because of her poor choices that causes her to grow as a character?

Etly
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The story follows a fledgling mage, Tala, fresh out of the mage tower. Not that anyone is gonna know that's the case if it's up to her. Full fledged mages are the ones that get the big bucks after all. 

Tala is a bit easily distracted but definitely quick witted. More importantly she is inventive and thinks outside the box. Which is a character trait that is always nice to see, but in a story that is about magic it is the hands down the best freaking character trait possible. 

The story takes its time ot introduce the character and world at a reasonable pace, there is definitely action to be found aplenty here make no mistake, but exploration of both magic and this strange world she lives in has been the focus so far. 

 The magic is just my cup of tea. Not so scientific it turns into a physics lesson with the word magic slapped onto it half haphazardly every once in a while, but neither is it unexplainable miracles called forth simply by the "appropriate" posturing and gravitas. Probably my favourite iteration of magic I've read on RLL yet. 

Didn't notice anything amiss grammatically so 5 stars from me.

If you like magic or fantasy, I'd recommend you read it. 

uiytt
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

(Please don't kill me for my english)

So, I feel this is going to be pretty controversial.

First thing, I agree that this story is exceptional on a lot of points. I was very impressed when I started this story, by how much was done right.

So let's start with the good.

The first thing that strike is the impressive world building. There seems to have a  lot of thoughts put into creating this world. The idea of short-life cities is very interesting and there is some very good idea to explain the why and how of everything.

So another very good point is the magic system, again it's complexe and well thought, it's the first time I see a system like this and even better it comes with it's own progression and repercussions on the world.

And the last good point is that the character has an interesting background. The idea of an indebted new mage is new enough that we're interested about how she is goin to solve that.

Big đź‘Ť for starting the story directly when she quit the school instead of going through a long useless school part.

The bad

Now to say that everyhting is perfect in this story is false, and I have mainly two things I want to discuss :

 

The character is too perfect : Literally, the character is better than everyone else on pretty much everything or at least she is very good at it. She learn quicker, is stronger, has better ideas, has a bigger mana pool, better defense, she is also very nice and understanding and everything.

The only slight issue she has is that she is reckless, but it doesn't matter since she will manage to do everything without too much problem even thought some things are supposed to be extremely difficult.

And this is really the core of the problem, you can't really be interested when a character is better than almost everyone else and has little to no struggle for basically anything.

 

The second point that I didn't like much in this story, is that he plot doesn't seems to go anywhere. There is definitely some progression but mainly, we basically feels like some random things are happening to the character and she is just getting more money / more power. (Or this is to show how great she is)

 

TL:DR : Very good world building and magic system, Character feels like a Mary Sue, the plot seems to go nowhere.

 

Flameburst
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Great worldbuilding and a fun magic system. The style is neat and i really dig how well put-together the society and the magic system are.

Unfortunately the MC is one of the biggest Mary Sues I've ever seen. Instantly beloved by everyone? Check. Smarter than everyone else? Check. (Not really, other supposedly smart characters just get hit with the idiot stick when she is around) Her literal plot armor makes her nigh invulnerable before she gets in her first fight, and so many things magically work out for her that even the MC herself comments on it. It is also frankly weird that every other character gets hit with the idiot stick whenever she wants to keep something secret. You'd think that mages who have commented on both seeing and smelling iron could figure out she smears iron salve on her skin...

Of course she also gets weirdly ignorant about things she has no excuse for being ignorant about. You'd think someone who went to magic university would not be surprised that magic is easier when you know what you are doing. Yet somehow apparently none of her teachers ever bothered mentioning that magic that literally burns gold to use gets more efficient if you have a clear picture of what you are trying to do.

luda305
Overall

Transplant Millennial Problems to Very Unique Magi

Reviewed at: Chapter: 110 - One Way to Protect the Caravan

As the other review mentioned, the story has a wildly original and interesting magic system involving magical metal tattoos.  This is combined with equally crazy worldbuilding.  But, it's all presented naturally to us, and not amateurishly dumped on us like too many stories on this site.  So, many, many kudos. (That said, the whole thing about the mages wearing skimpy clothing is ... odd).

Overall, the story has a slight bit of a satirical take to it.  Imagine trying to translate the trials and tribulations of ordinary millenials in America into a fantasy equivalent (e.g., too much debt, higher ed that didn't teach you anything, introductory jobs that don't pay you anything, the world being far more complex than you could have imagined as a student), and that's a bit what you have here.  That said, it's a very light touch and frankly you'd easily overlook it because the story is so well told.

No idea really what the plot is.  We are taking it slow right now and we're a bit slice of life.  Like 39 chapters and it's maybe a few weeks in-story, where she's been in one city, then a caravan, then just arrived in another city.  And while it's slow, there's so much going on that it doesn't feel slow. Which is funny given that she has a bit of a time perception magic going on.

EDIT: So, we're 110 chapters in and it's clearly a slice-of-life story. The millenial transplant problems continue aplenty, and frankly I find a disturbing (if accurate) comparison between the higher mages (archons) and their highly specialized knowledge and modern capitalism. 

That said, one of the other themes was was prevalent earlier (though I didn't mention it) is that the protagonist is exceptionally powerful and advanced.  That said, the theme dials itself a fair bit back once the protagonist returns from her first caravan round trip.  First, the author reveals the world has an exponential power scale, rather than linear, somewhat like a xianxia.  The result is that while the protagonist ahead of the curve based on her age and experience, she's still small fry and bigger, badder meanies squish her occasionally.  Second, given that the protagonist is physically robust, the author starts to throw mental issues at the protagonist.  Distraction, ADHD, memory alteration, possible light brainwashing, etc. So take that for what it is. 

JcW Swe
Overall

I just binged this, and it's really really good!

 

The grammar, worldbuilding and character development is great. The story is about a young girl, freshly out of a magical academy and starting her career in the magical community. Sure, her power up is realatively quick. I usually like it to take a bit longer in stories to make it more believable, even though the MC in these kind of stories need to be better than average to make it enjoyable. Even so, the power up might still not be as OP too quickly by how dangerous her world she lives in seem to be. 

 

I'm mostly saddened I caught up in the story and need to wait for every chapter to come out. I don't have much critique to give, neither constructive or otherwise. I just hope the author keep on posting, make some tweaks here and there (if they feel it's needed), and thereafter publish it. Because this story is publishworthy for sure. 

 

Sorry I don't have much feedback to give at this moment but thanks to the author for posting this story on RR! 

FaultedBeing
Overall

Its a really well written story with new chapters arriving regualrly. The world is well written and the characters and character interacitons are pretty great. I guess i'm not that picky of a reader but I have read enough to know quality when I see it and this is a ggood read. (i don't typically write reviews frankly so im not entierly sure what else to say :) )

kingcaloob
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A Captivating Setting and Magic System

Reviewed at: Chapter: 51 - Settling in

I am in love with this story. A unique setting where humanity is fighting against the environmental magic with capsule-like cities that house populations with caravans trading between them. Humans are forced to plan the abandonments of their cities as the magic in the world swells like an immune response to reject them over the course of centuries.

In addition, while magic is common in the world at large and the cities themselves, only mages who have metal-based circuitry inscribed in their skin can fully use it. Each mage shapes their magic through their perception of magic and the inscribed circuitry they use. Some have mental enhancements, some are able to summon matter into existence, some can heal wounds, or teleport, or a combination of abilities. The magic system feels defined without being super crunchy. The author clearly has thought about limits, I would put it just under the magic system in the Mistborn series in rating the "hardness" of the world.

There are a few grammar or spelling errors in this story, probably averaging 1-2 per chapter. You might read "reign" when the author meant "rein" but they are mostly minor distractions.

The main character is interesting and likeable, but her voice doesn't always feel consistent. Sometimes she is socially awkward and other times she comes off as a witty and snarky. Sometimes she is aware of how little she knows having skipped the traditional apprenticeship but then she will disregard the advice of a centuries old master mage. I feel that her recklessness should have consequences that the main character is dodging, and I'm curious how long that will last. Ultimately though, the MC is an interesting window from which to view the world and this story.

I highly recommend reading this story.

DSH808
Overall

Good start needs MC to develope and has plot holes

Reviewed at: Chapter: 68 - More Dangerous Than We Realize

I enjoy reading this series thank you to the author

There is a lot going for this series that I like the world building, story pacing and the magic feels inventive and original. 

TLDR: World building, magic system, story pacing excellent 3 stars!  Too lucky MC and as of yet unexplained plot holes minus 1.5 stars. Some developement and plot holes filled by chapter 50 and further developement and education by chapter 66.  Solid 4 stars.

I feel there is a problem with the development of the main character Tala.  Its my opinion that Tala is willfully jumping into holes where the author fixes all her  problems.  The author has emphasized the dangers of magic.  Tala aggressively experiments with the unknown and miraculously discovers something new or rare by luck.  Its not rigorous testing or theory or meticulous data gathering or even godly insight (which I also think can be a cop out if used too much) its by fortune that her "experiments" turn out with minor consequences and major benefits.  This is happening almost every chapter so far.  That IMHO is not good for character development or plot development.  That is not in the flavor of a realistic story but it could also be what the author intends for Tala to be extra-ordinarily lucky.

Let me give two examples:

1) Defiance of the Fall the good luck MC becomes super powerful through lucky encounters which feel contrived by the author.  A huge story with 700+ chapters but each arc has the same formula.  MC is weaker than enemy and through luck overcomes to the next level.  Rinse and repeat.

2) Tori transmigrated where Tori the MC has bad luck, fate consistantly gives Tori bad situations.  This bad luck is unbelieveable and a direct result of a game system.  Tori's game system fate bad luck is explained and detailed throughout the plot and makes the unbelievable acceptable.  Tori uses many methods which include planning, research, resource mangement and development to overcome the bad luck.    

Again this is my opinion that not having a supremly lucky MC will improve the story.  By Chapter 66 Tala has had much more developement away from the lucky MC plot armor so I am very hopeful.

There are plot holes which leave me with a disconnect.  There could be a valid reason later in the story but so far I dont see any hints or foreshadowing.  Why do mages have holes in their knowledge of magic?  Why dont mages know or actively seek out everything about magic?  If something has magic or an affect on magic would not a mage know something about it? 

Holes in common mage knowledge leads to innovation by the MC with exaggerated benefits.  Its my opinion that some of the discoveries are not that mind blowing yet the effects are out of proportion.  If the benefits are that good for little risk then why hasnt some mage already discovered it?  By chapter 68 the author alludes to further explanation for these plot holes.

I will continue reading to see how everything develops.  Please take this feed back as well meant commentary.

Snakefist
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Top contender for the worst MC ever

Reviewed at: Chapter: 120 - Venturing Food

This is, in my opinion, not that bad of a book that I had fun reading. There are three main issues that I have seen with this book that someone might find as a dealbreaker.

 

The first one isn’t that major but it plays a large role in this book. Almost everything about how the world and magic works in this book is a secret. Now, this creates a nice opportunity for the author to drip feed information without getting bogged down with massive exposition dumps. But as a consequence of all the secrecy many things might look like plot holes. And honestly to me a lot of them look like that. But you never know for sure because you are always working with limited information. Are some secrets justified? Yes. Are all of them? Definitely not. I don’t want to go in depth about some of those secrets and why they might be plot holes because that discovery was the most entertaining part about this book even though on many occasions the reasoning behind those secrets was lacking. I will only say that many of them seem to exist only in order to justify main character’s behavior.

The second issue is a lot more impactful because it’s the main character. We all know that there is a fine line between genius and madness and if the author’s goal was to portray the MC as a genius, then in my eyes they failed. She is a reckless idiot that not only endangers her own life, but the lives and livelihoods of everyone around her. To make an analogy, if the MC wanted to learn juggling, she would do it on a bus full of people while juggling grenades. And why is everyone looking at her in horror when she drops them? Obviously, they are being unreasonable. The main problem when it comes to the MC is that she can’t fail while doing idiotic things and learning from it is because the consequence of failure is death. Almost everything in this book is potentially lethal if you make a mistake. So, when the MC blunders her way through everything without proper information and preparation she must succeed and it reeks of plot armor. On top of everything, in rare cases when she wants to be reasonable and gather information, she can’t, because everything is a goddamn secret.

The third issue is the pacing. It’s glacial. I know that this book is tagged as a slice of life, but we don’t need to see every waking moment of her life. Oh, she had breakfast and the same conversation for the twentieth time, I’m sure that spending quarter of the chapter on that is justified. Seriously, I know her day-to-day life better than my own.

 

 

While this book is focused on worldbuilding, character building, action, adventure and magical shenanigans it is a joy to read. 5/5 no doubt about it. But I think that the author made a mistake when choosing who the main character is because they had to make her so reckless and idiotic to justify her behavior. And even then, I don’t fully understand her motivations or overall goal of this story. I just don’t. Is it to repay her debt? Well, she repaid 4 gold ounces after 1.5k pages, only 483 gold ounces and more than 100k pages left to go! Two people already offered to pay her debt and she rightfully refused them because those offers where bad, but I’m sure that there are other people who would pay it with much better terms. Is it to learn magic? Then why didn’t she get tutelage of a full Mage as she was supposed to do? Oh right, she is smarter than everyone else in the world. I almost forgot. It’s not like some of those people are hundreds of years old. What do they know that she can’t find out on her own? It's not like experimenting with magic killed anyone. Fight monsters and earn money that way? Then why did she get arguably one of the safest jobs a Mage can get? Whatever she tries to do, there is a better, smarter and more logical way to do it, but for some reason she has to do contrary of that.

In order for this book to be interesting Tala needs to behave opposite of how a person in her shoes should behave. If she didn’t then this book would be Tala waking up, refilling magic for a spatially expanded cargo container, going it her carriage, waiting for the next day to come, and repeat. After a few years of that she would have earned enough money to repay her debt and the book is over. I agree, that would be boring. So instead of waiting for the next day, she does some of the most dangerous things that a Mage or any person could do for apparently no reason and of course she always benefits from it with no downsides.

 

 

As far as other characters are concerned, they are great considering that this book is mostly about Tala and what she does. The only bad thing I have to say about them is that in any sort of reality majority of them would never tolerate her, especially not her employers. If you translated her behavior in our world, Tala would wear a dynamite vest to work and complain why they called the police. She only wears it as a fashion statement, she is not actually that stupid as to detonate it. I mean come on, it’s not like the matches that she keeps lighting would ignite the dynamite. How stupid could they be? She just wants to warm her fingers.

 

 

Grammar is impeccable as far as I could see and the style is sublime. Once you get into the flow of things it just gets going.

 

 

While the pacing might be glacial, there are enough interesting things so you can tolerate it. And while there are many secrets in this book, some that don’t make sense the moment you find out about them, they create an opportunity to slowly discover this world with the main character. But Tala, there is nothing positive about her. She diminishes every facet of this book.