- Traumatising content
The title of [The Ancient One] is bestowed upon an unassuming, forgotten Core. Hidden deep underground, it lies in wait, biding its time as it learns the rules of its surroundings. Roaming beasts and unknown threats surely threaten the little rock as it sticks to the darkness, its one true refuge.
This is a slow-burning Dungeon-Core fiction with a LitRPG-System. You can expect an extreme amount of kingdom-building, an more in-depth Mana-System, and a Evolution-System.
Chapters are between the length of 2-4k words, though the first 50 will likely be closer to 4k. Anything after will have the average be 2.5k.
I personally like explaining how things work a lot, so do have that in mind if you decide to read this fiction.
Cover is credited to [Asviloka] who can be found on this thread:
[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
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This will not be a 'nice' review but it is not in any way meant to be insulting. Knowing that you can't write a story that absolutely everyone will enjoy. This is my review.
I can totally understand making a more realistic dungeon core story and was even a bit excited when it didn't go from 'birth of sapience' straight into creating a bunch of monsters and understanding the world without explanation. However, there is a point where realism becomes too much. That limit has been reached and breached.
The writing quality is good. The story itself is the slowest of slow burns. I went all the way to chapter 56 and the best that happens is -> spoiler-ish ->
fighting an intelligent ant queen who is also a necromancer? And while that might sound interesting, it ends up falling flat for me. I just imagine a human standing nearby watching them fight and then just stepping on them both. Hard to feel any tension in the battle after that.
I was literally bamboozled when a
element was added in. It just felt weird for such a slow story to have that tossed in.
Anyways that's all I got.
"Slow burn" is the truth. The first four or five chapters deal with learning to think. A few typos per chapter don't seriously detract, and the writing is perfectly serviceable. Looking forward to the point when our new (or apparently ancient) dungeon core can get outside of its own head and a better review will be possible.
Metaphorically speaking of course- this core doesn't have the concept of "head" yet, even if it had one.
It's not a Dungeon story, its a Core story with dungeon elements.
If you like World and magic system crafing its for you. i read till chapter 42 but it was just.. a lot of nothing. Good system\ magic\science system... but so slow that it gets to boring for me.
Still i read 42 Chapters, because the system is interresting...
So I'll say it as it is: This story is boring.
A slow-burn is meant to simply mean that the 'premise' of a story emerges slowly as part of the narrative, as opposed to being there from the start. Essentially 'reaching' the promise of the title or setting becomes a major part of the story itself, and while this story certainly does appear to be taking ages to reach the promise of a dungeon core story... its also failing to do anything else in the meanwhile.
The writing style is meandering to the extreme and repetitive to boot. Things are explained once, twice, discussed, explained again, done, reviewed, and only they moved on from. Every single thing which could be considered plot progression or action is looped over again and again with minor variations in such a way which made me want to simply start skimming so I could move onto something new rather than having to slog through another variation of whatever had already been discussed. It bloats the word-count massively, and is what turns this story from a self described 'Slow Burn' into a 'Boring' story. There isn't much joy to be found in the act of reading this, simply because its so repetitive and overly focused. Dialogue is non-existant, its just one long sprawling monologue for thousands of words. There is not attempt made to concentrate the writing or form a flow of words.
I've spent several hours reading so far to get to chapter 16 and there isn't a story yet. I'm not sure how much I can say without getting into spoilers so read the spoilered section at your own (low) risk.
10s of thousands of words and not much has happened, but the story has still failed to stick to its own 'promise'. The Core supposedly is motivated by wanting to learn all about mana forever, and yet after awakening from thousands of years of zen-like meditation in the first few chapters apparently the Cores attention span can barely exist outside of a few minutes, and after making some ants and thinking about farming moss... not much happens. There's supposedly some experimentation with the healing spell, but its done is such a slap-dash and haphazard manner its hard to take it seriously. This being which has spend eons literally building its own mind out of tireless logic and self-reflection can't be bothered to take the time to repeat its own experiments, and after just remarking that each time it makes an ant it becomes easier, only does 3 different heals, finding each successive one easier than the last and concludes that the last method is the best... because its not like repetition ever helped it be better before. It only does each method once to 'save time' measured in literal minutes compared to years before and that's just one example of something which took a whole chapter to do. There are no real objectives for the Core, or motivations, or conflicts, or anything. No characters, no nothing. There isn't a story yet at 16 chapters and 50k words in. Thats half the length of most novels.
Grammar is mostly good, some spelling errors get through and are repeated. In chapter 16 or 15 there is repeated misspeling of 'Giant' as 'Ginat' for one example. Its fluent English, but by no means flawless.
Character : 1
There is 1 character, the main character, and that's not an exaggeration. I'd love to say that the supporting character were flat, to 2-dimensional, but that would require supporting characters to exist, and they don't. The main character has no real characteristics, perhaps because it hasn't actually managed to interact with.... anyone... yet. Not much else to say here. The monologue is flat, and motivations are self-contradictory. Sometimes the core is said to be exploratory and wise and interested in learning, when all we're shown is a short-sighted, core who doesn't really do... much.
The first few chapters are pretty interesting, they focus nearly entirely on the development of consciousness and its easy to tell the author put a lot of thoughts into them. I really enjoyed essentially everything up to the system introducing itself. Before that everything felt very self-consitant, but soon after the author lets their own bias colour the core's supposedly ' first' thoughts on things and introduces assumptions which have no reason for existing. One example is this:
In the first few chapters the Core comes to a few pertinent conclusions for this:
1. There are other entities outside it.
2. It wishes to communicate with them to share information.
3. Information shared is not lost so it makes sense that everyone learns from everyone else.
So when the entity first encounters skill 'rarity' it makes sense that assuming rarity means how many other entities have these skills, then assuming all the core's conclusions are correct... the more common a skill is the more valuable it would be! Afterall, wouldn't that mean the skill is worth more entities pursuing? A Rare skill would only be rare because its not worth acquiring.
Instead the Author lets their own bias creep in and the core's first conclusion is that the rares a skill is, the better. Which makes no sense with what the core already knows, and is in fact the opposite of the logical conclusion.
The 'ultra-rational' narrative breaks down pretty conclusively after that.
So whats the point of all these super slow chapters which examine everything from multiple angles again and again? There isn't a point.
In my opinion, this webnovel is certainly a cut above most of what you would see on Royalroad. Though it has obvious shortcomings due to the nature of the main character, mainly the drawn out sequences where the main character has to learn about the world around them, the novel is overall still enjoyable. I feel that the novel's strengths such as the quite excellent prose and the interesting story more that make up for the "boring" sections where the main character has to learn how to do things. While I am biased due to being a fan of slow burn novels, if anyone makes it even ten chapters in and isn't hooked enough to read keep reading, then they just weren't the type of person that would enjoy this novel, no matter what edits you make. I will commend you for going an interesting route with the System, and I am quite intrigued by the mysteries surrounding the main character. There are a few grammatical errors every so often, though that is to be expected from an unpublished work without a professional editor.
From now on is spoilers.
The mysteries of the main character, whom I assume was reincarnated or somehow transformed into a core are very intriguing, yet may push away some viewers who wanted a story about a natural dungeon core. However, the main character acts like a normal dungeon core in almost every way aside from when his memories leak through. It gives the readers questions that they want answered, while still keeping viewers who like the vibe of a nonhuman protagonist. I never really felt that any of the ways that the main character survived any encounters were asspulls, instead, they seemed to be calculated moves that were only slightly sided by luck. I don't have to suspend my disbelief when the main character is fighting the Queen or any other enemy they've encountered because everything the main character does is something that it was established to be able to do.
I've been rambling and honestly I could keep going, but this isn't a book report so I'll stop here. It's enjoyable if you like slower stories or dungeon core stories. I hope you will continue writing it to completion.
Overall: In so many ways the beginning of this fiction reminds me of one of my favorite books, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. There is an extended meditation on what it means to think and to be aware of our surroundings.
This develops into an interesting world with a well thought out system underlying it.
Style: Every part of this Fic has a clear, cohesive voice behind it. There is almost nothing in the way of wasted words. Each thought, action or visual/auditory clue is designed to communicate something to the reader. A huge part of what it communicates is the sheer alienness of the Core entity.
Story: The nature of this story and the slow, deliberate way it unfolds is somewhat limiting to me as a reader. I found myself wanting to know more about certain elements and I had the sense that this information wouldn’t be shared within a timeframe I would enjoy. I feel like to a certain reader this would be incredible, but I found myself somewhat frustrated.
Grammar: This is damn near flawless and I have nothing but envy for the editing skills on display.
Character: The Core is the character. I found it both compelling and alienating which is a new experience for. There were times when it felt as much like an a priori thought experiment as a character, and watching it discover itself and the world definitely drew me in.
The problem when you start out with the MC ignorant of all existence, is you have to sit through things like it learning what color is. I find it really boring. At least the first 5 chapters could have been condensed.
the writing itself isn't that bad. It just goes into excessive detail
So i read the first seven chapters. It was just full of what if "a dungeon core woke and was sorta a philospher as well."
The nupext seven chapters went into excruciating detail of how the dungeon perceives the world and gaining skills to manipulate it and see better, but in the most boring manner possible.
It's a nice story. Very introspective. Slow, but that's what you sign up for if you read it. I like it. It's very, very meta. I'm interested to see where it goes, but so far it looks promising. I might update this in the future after I've read more. That's not guaranteed though. If you see this, check the story out at least, because even if you don't end up liking the story, it won't hurt you.
People here complaining about it being slow, or bits falling flat.
They can have their opinions, but implying that this is anything less than a story worth trying is just incorrect.
Its a sad fact that most people just don't bother checking out stories on this website when they have less than 4 and half stars, myself included. When I first checked this out, it was sitting at around that score.
People, please don't treat the 'overall' score as 'the part I have a problem with' just because you can't be bothered with an advanced review. Its a disservice to the effort put into this story.
Style wise, I do love the introspective perspective, the prose perfect for a mind in isolation, and it transitions as close to perfectly as possible into a more traditional dungeon perspective.
The story so far is very much still in the beginning stages. I find the slow gradual, earned, process to constructing aspects of a dungeon most other stories just hand wave away, like the idea of a domain, or even just constructing walls, barriers that make sense, in a setting with perfectly permeable mana that goes through everything, using technical yet easily intuited concepts as simple as pressure and density of gas.
Grammar is almost always fine, and when it is wrong its never an eye searing misspelling, simply the occasional misplaced letter, or a few letters out of order. The original meaning is always preserved.
The characters, for now limited to the core and an antagonist, are simple yet believable as terrifically intelligent and capable children that haven't existed for even a year.