Janus is a junior college student who wants nothing more than to prove himself. The world has undergone great changes; humanity has moved below ground in an effort to survive. But, tensions are mounting. Levels and statistics now govern everyday life. Mankind has adapted to their new circumstances, using the System to replace the technology they lost.
A semblance of normalcy has finally settled on the people below ground. But threats continue to loom from the surface.
Janus finally gets his shot for greatness. A strange skill he received as a child has caught the eye of a legendary delver — an explorer who braves the depths of dungeons in search of glory. Follow Janus as he navigates a hostile and unforgiving world. Will he rise from the furnace of his trials tempered and prepared for even greater hardships?
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I really like this. The first arc was a bit slow but it built the necessary elements in the mc for the second arc which I really like as of now. The mc feels like a person, with flaws but the Character development feels natural. You see him adapt at a pace that is satisfactory without it being rushed. Over all there is a lot of potential for a lot of great things
Bear Station honestly gives me the vibes of my favorite dungeon crawler games. I think this is a refreshing story, especially after reading so many dungeon core books, I definitely want a dungeon crawler that reminds me of my old favorites!
The story has just begun at the point that I'm writing this review, but basically, a kid gets to train under an icon because Janus himself has such potential. The setting is really interesting. The author is really good at weaving in some details about the setting, such as informing us that this world is some dystopian future of the United States based on the details he provides about the flag being banned. It makes this story doubly refreshing by having a world that has already been affected by the system apocalypse presumedly, rather than Just Another System Apocalypse Novel TM.
There are some grammar issues, but I'm confident that the author will learn more as he goes so I'm providing him with some detailed grammar feedback and giving this 5-stars.
Stylistically, this story is great! The author has great intuitive sense for what we want to know next in the story. The prose is clean and simple in a very good way. This is an excellent base in which the author to harnass an even better style, and it will be a pleasure to see how they grow as the story grows.
As for the character, Janus is great! He feels like an average person who would really belong in this world--with an added, rare skill of Mana Manipulation. He will have to learn how to use this though, and the first chapter provides a delightful dynamic in which it can save the day.
I do not have the same complaints as other reviews, saying that Janus is "emotionally flat" or "needs more description on character motivation". It's pretty simple to understand him, and any more attention given to that aspect (so far) would do nothing but weigh down the narrative. I like how easy Janus is to follow along, and it feels great to experience this world as an actual, average person.
I'm liking the story so far. I think I'm mainly interested in the world; a world with magic and a massive fallout. The story is easy on the eyes to read and there's been a decent amount of forethought into the story. The intro hook was rather strong. An experienced... delver? explorer? sees something in a student that no one else seems to catch on. Dario is a well built character personality wise. Or I guess there's a sort of awe in there because other people admire him, and we get to know bits of pieces on what he used to do. Dario is probably the most interesting character in the story. All the other characters are rather flat. The premises of the bonus chapters are a short and simple affair. I'm not too big of a fan of them. They feel distracting towards the... main story. Distracting in the sense that their purpose is to enrichen the personalities of characters, or the world. Switching perspectives seem to be a bandaid supplement of the lacking... personality in the main story. I can talk more about the lack of personality as well. I'm not sure if it's a strictly bad thing that the characters seem flat. The story seems to have a stronger focus on describing details in a straight forward manner. It grounds the story rather well, and I think it contributes into making this an easy story to read (as opposed to a story that's difficult to read because a scene isn't properly introduced, etc.). I think one time this aspect (a story that lacks personality) seemed apparent was when Janus accepted Fao's invitation to steal a dungeon. Presumably this is stealing. But it's not apparent to what degree of a crime this is. Is it an etiquette thing? Is it horribly deincentivized because it betrays the system of dungeon-time rights on a fundamental level? Janus seemingly doesn't consider any of these things. Why can Dario have dungeon rights willy nilly? Presumably he has more resources, so he can 'buy' them. It's not explicitly stated (this is not a bad thing). But in my opinion, what is bad about it is that we as readers don't really have much context on what Janus is signing up for. Is Janus naive, and that's why he doesn't mind doing this? Is Janus just some sort of selfish sociopath that doesn't mind stealing if it means he profits? We get scarcely little details in terms of what this choice means for Janus, or what kind of character he is. (also I kind of assume that people can get dungeon time, like the lowest level of permission that is free or nearly free? in which case, it's not clear what the upsides of 'stealing' a dungeon is, opposed to whatever alternative that is publicly available for little/no cost. We don't have much details of what a gang is either. It's heavily implied early on that they do things that if public, would be frowned upon. I thought that would be organized crime. Instead it just seems to be a bunch of hoodlums? Again, I have little idea to what degree stealing a dungeon boss is, and superficially that risk reward is skewed rather badly. I can appreciate that the author can build a society and it's systems rather well, and gives us bits and pieces of the structure of things to not overwhelm readers, but I also think some small acknowledgements from the people commenting on how things work would be nice sometimes.
There doesn't seem to be a strong plot, and I can't really pin down Janus's personality or values. This isn't strictly a bad thing; sometimes I appreciate a story that knows it's strong points. But even given some of the choices so far, Janus kind of skims some important details. It's odd because Dario is a well written character but everyone else, including the main character, I don't get that much of an impression. The world is pretty cool. Again, there's a decent amount of forethought into the world. The apocalypse is kind of explained in a simple manner. The premise of it is interesting, and the simplicity is a good thing in this case. I think by describing it in big strokes we get the gist of things, and any gaps we sort of implicitly fill in. There's dungeon rights and such. "we get first rights", "the boss gives a lot of exp". There's a... college? I have no idea what the college is for. Janus is 'taken' out of his normal curriculum by Dario. I have no idea how that works. I guess Dario is a... teacher? Or maybe like a... government guy? Yep, no idea what Janus was enrolled in. Janus is excited, but even then my impression is that he's excited that he's getting stronger. Does he want expertise? Levels? I don't quite know, or have a strong impression of it. I think at one point he mentioned some role models... having to do with dungeons or explorers?
Overall I'm going to keep reading. It's rather well thought out. I think it's a lilttle too early to judge this story despite me having a lot of complaints in this review. I like the story! Earlier Dario pretends to leave the students alone in a dungeon. One of the students complains (validly) because they nearly died. Later on we get this earthquake thing going on, and in a macro sense I can see some more justification about Dario's choice at the time (the world is a dangerous place). It puts a spotlight on what he, a veteran, thinks.
I think if there were more chapters some of these complaints can be resolved. Like maybe it's a coming of age kind of story, or we get to see Janus mature, etc.. I'd like to read more of the story.
This story is a progression based LitRPG, which is exactly the thing that I search for most here on RR. Furthermore, the prose is better than a lot of what I read here. Why then did I mark the story "Not Interested" when I reached the end of the currently published content?
- There is no emotional connection between the protagonist and any other character in the story. Now, this in and of itself is not really an issue; many stories take this tack, and some do so very successfully. I recall one non-LitRPG series that really had me rooting for the character to develop some kind of feeling for someone. That one was well done! This one ... just feels emotionally flat. I think it's because the two minor characters feel emotionally and/or socially stunted as well. If they (or at least one of them) were portrayed as trying to form some kind of normal human connection with the rest of the group, it probably would have helped a lot.
- The protagonist lacks agency. What's bad is that the story started out well in this regard. The protagonist has a goal and is seeking out an appointment to pursue that goal (though, in retrospect, that appointment is handed to him). A situation occurs, and the protagonist rises to the occasion. Great so far! Then ... the character's agency sort of disappears. He can't be troubled to go to the appointment. There's a story excuse for his behavior, but it comes across as very weak. I'm used to characters who face long odds and almost die in pursuit of their goals. This guy gives up because he feels under the weather. Then the thing he's seeking is just handed to him on a silver platter. It feels like the mentor is a lawnmower parent, giving the protagonist everything without him having to work for it and clearing all obstacles in his way. Further, the protagonist, despite having the goal of becoming a delver, doesn't seem to be all that enthused by his dream becoming reality. He's just kind of like, "That's okay I guess."
- There's no plot (overarching goal). Look, I come to RR looking for progression based stories. I'd much prefer slice of life with progression to a plot driven story with weak progression. If there's no other focus to the story than progression, though, that progression needs to be done well. Which leads us to...
- The progression isn't great. On the surface, there's nothing wrong with the system, but the further I went, the more cracks appeared. Levels don't appear to be valued much. Most people don't go to the tunnels because they don't value levels enough to risk themselves, a trait shared by the protagonist until he had levels handed to him on a platter. Despite not having apparently even gone into the tunnels, the protagonist started at Level 6. I don't understand how he got these levels. All through random encounters? Was there a way for him to have grinded more? And he didn't seem to value his skills either as they all started out kind of low. Couldn't he have worked more on grinding them? The author also choose not to show any indication of a character's percent complete to the next level, information that I really want as a reader when reading a progression based story. It just seems like a lot of things in this story devalue leveling and, by association, the progression.
Look, this story isn't terrible, and I get why others are rating it highly. I gave it 4 stars as I really appreciate that the author is taking the time to produce something that is highly readable. At the end of the day, though, the story leaves me feeling really unsatisfied, and I just don't have the confidence that the author is going to suddenly turn that around.
I'm hooked on this book. The writing style is easily digestible and the author blends action and exposition well. The world-building is quite interesting with the smattering of contemporary elements. The MC is a little unusual—he isn't immensely powerful right away, and he's underconfident. So far, the characters lack development, but the story is in its beginning stages and I'm sure it will evolve.
I'm impressed by the author's dedication. There are very few grammatical mistakes and the author takes time to go back and fix errors. He also maintains a level of mystery about the MC's potential and new skills. Overall, I'm enjoying the heck out of this work, and highly recommend it to litRPG and action readers.
The start of the novel is interesting, especially for a LitRPG. I normally read this genre and expect to have to overlook the Authors power fantasies. I expect a couple unique aspects and maybe some neat worldbuilding, in return for having to overlook how “cool” the protagonist is, and how big of a harem they have. Unlike other LitRPG’s I enjoy, this time I can tell the Author is a native English speaker. The grammar is perfect with no spelling mistakes, and it is clear to read. I don’t find myself having to go back several paragraphs to try and understand what is happening, or who is talking.
The Author has clearly put time into this work, and it shows, from the custom tables that he has created, to the superb world building, and the unique cast of characters. I’m really looking forward to how this story proceeds, and hope It continues to not let me down. I’m extremely sick of having to overlook big parts of novels on Royalroad and making excuses for the Authors because it’s just a “Webnovel”. If the writing continues to stay this high quality, the story doesn’t start to drag, or the Author doesn’t drop the project. This might become my favorite Novel on this site.
The only change I would suggest is to maybe use your custom table for when new skills are gains and for level ups, so I can quickly search for them when reviewing chapters.
The system and works building are interesting, but there is a certain lack of depth to the prose and the story could be made much better by having the MC react a bit more emotionally. Even better would be a description of the symptoms of the emotions he is experiencing.
The story is not bad, but it needs a bit more to be good.
No complaints about the grammar or editing.