“Whoever will reach level 100 first shall become Earth’s new Overgod.” So said the screen as dungeons summoned invaders from alternate realities, woke up ancient gods slumbering beneath the earth, and empowered humans with levels and classes. A battle royale of worldwide proportions begins as the world descends into anarchy.
But Basil Bohen doesn’t give a crap about the apocalypse.
He would rather live in the woods with his monster pets, but people just won't leave him alone...
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Generally enjoyable. Although very good, the story does not seem to have Mr. Durand's usual "grabs you and doesn't let go" quality. Still excellent, but not on the same level as Underland or Perfect Run or even Vainqueur. It's actually a little sad that Underland and Kairos (two other novels by the same author) seemed to have been rushed to an ending to prioritize this novel. A solid read by most standards, but it's only in comparison to these other great novels does it seem to fall short.
The book has the vibe of a cartoon.
For example, the MC is directly threatened with a gruesome death by a mob of armed fantasy creatures. The MC's reaction is less along the lines of "oh no, this is dangerous" and more along the lines of "this is inconvenient."
And there's also the talking animals. The exaggerated personalities of these animals also goes a long way to add to the cartoonish vibe of the story.
I am a massive fan of Void's work. This one feels a little flat in comparison with many of his other ones. Perhaps it's just a slow burn and will get better, but over 20 chapters in and I'm very meh every chapter release. The characters are fine. Basil is annoying and a little to good at everything. Plato is fine but generic. I do enjoy Vasi and Shellgirl so far so perhaps the story will pickup now.
The plot overall doesn't seem like it matters. The stakes are supposedly really high but the laxadasical attitude of Basil and co don't make it feel that way. Every enemy they face is either so much weaker it doesn't matter or is so overwhelming they just avoid them. And if they can't avoid them, they win by something that trivializes the fight taking the tension out of it. I am not saying it doesn't feel earned, it just makes me not care about the next fight because Basil will just win. Once again, it's still early and that may change, but in comparison to other works by Void I don't feel the weight of the stroy.
System is fine. I don't really care about it I guess? It's to unpreditable to say if it makes sense or if Basil is making a good or bad choice. Like it seems their isn't a limit on classes, and all classes seem too be front loaded so taking one level in everything seems as viable as focusing down one path. Also for a story with Tamer in the title, Basil has very few Tamer levels. It's so few, with such a massive payoff, I don't get why anyone wouldn't take Tamer as an option given its potential for such little commitment.
Cosing thoughts: I don't think it's bad. I think I might be a little to early to judge, but as of this point everything is very underwhelming. I have hope that this will change as I legitmately believe Void is on of the best authors on the site, but if he wasn't the one writing it I probably would of dropped this until it was done.
While I have been a fan of Void Herald's works since the mid-days of Vainqueur, I can say with certainty this is his weakest work yet, not counting Magik Online, while the base idea behind the story is very interesting the execution is anything but, our main cast is very, one dimensional and one note as to say, Basil is perhaps the least likable protagonist we've had by Void as I think even Shroud from Magik online is more likable, he lacks the charm the likes of Victor and Kairos had, nevermind Ryan, his motivations are very much non-existent and his reactionary ways are a bore, The Cat is likewise the worst cat meme in Voids work, seriously this guy wants to compare to the likes of Felix and Eugene-Henry? I dislike having to criticize the works of an author I like this way yet this story left me very unsatisfied, that's not to say it lacks good points as Void's worst stuff is still leagues above most stuff on the Royalroad, yet perhaps I'm too biased to mention those good points, hope this story ends soon enough so we can get better stories later.
One of the main pulls of the LitRpg apocalypse/apotheosis is the quick action and stakes.
While an innovative blend of genres Maxine J. Durand has done the equivalent of using nunchucks to paddle a kayak. A calm slice of life pacing with tame conflict fights directly against the other half of the genre. A man attempting Kung fu to float on a calm lake. It isn't working.
I find that the absurdist humour doesn't land, as the apocalyptic setting allows for the more absurd turning the humour into mundane contrivance. The setting this time stretches too wide a net to allow for Maxime J. Durand's brand of humour to land and there been little to nothing else occurring so far in this story.
I wanted to enjoy this story, due to how much I enjoyed Durand's other works but this time it's just not happening.
Overall, it starts out strong and then falls flat. Grammer is very good, only a few errors here and there. The tittle and summary is at least mildly misleading. I've always put down Durands books in the past because of dislike of where the story was heading or the characters, not the writing skill of Durand. This is the first time its just flopped. Every author has a relatively bad book from time to time.
The characters are all two dimensional. Sometimes we will be told other characters have more than that, but we are never shown those diminsions so they might as well not exist.
There are several times where a character does not act along the emotion they have been stated to have, or do other actions that make no sense.
THe lack of drama from some characters was good and amusing at the start about certian subjects, but it turns into a lack of impact from story events instead of "this guy just doens't care about certian things".
It was nice not having a genius at the wheel for leveling up, and I do like that. This was a nice change of pace from other litRPG books.
1st, the tittle and summary could be said to be misleading. At the very least, its sets up wrong expectations in the reader. His main focus is being a berserker, not a monster tamer. Which leads to a great focus on combat, which I would say is a weak point of this story.
The authors is looking for snappy fights, but it comes out rushed. With the exeption of some of the first fights. Not enough time describing the scene everyone is fighting in, impact feels weird, toughness of characteres feels driven more by plot than by stats or realism.
The touching current politics is brave, I will give him that, but it has become more annoying as time goes on. Almost a mirror of how more intense things are getting IRL and the author is unable to keep it out of his book. If you don't like IRL politics in your stories this will be a major turn off.
World seems decently developed, and he has had a bit of fun weaving in memes into the world building.
At this point I have to admit that me and VoidHerald don't jive well together. I loved Vainqueur and Never Die Twice but all his later works just don't click with me.
It's a shame, because this story gets so many things so right, but there's something missing. Let's see what that is.
Worldbuilding is excellent. It's plain old Earth getting a system, but we delve into the french countryside, we learn a lot about Basil and Rene and their backstory. There's even an explanation for why the system apocalypse is happening. Cool stuff really.
Characters. Some people dislike Basil and it's true, he's breezing through this apocalypse, he isn't really challenged - but we'll get to that later. The base ingredients are incredible. A vivid backstory, unique voice and feel to the character, believable interactions. This isn't a self-insert and you can feel it.
The System. A lot of thought went into this. There are so many different classes, evolutions, perks and interactions that it feels much more life-like than any game. There's so many choices and they do matter, though many of them are incredibly broken. Easy access to teleportation for example. The system giveth and it taketh away, but so far the latter part has been absent.
Willing Suspension of Disbelief is hard. Storytelling is a kind of magic. You sink into the moment and forget that you're reading and that everything happens in your imagination. It becomes real. Only here it doesn't. The characters are two-dimensional. Well crafted, no doubt, but you can see the tropes at work. The arcs feel like formulaic, even some characters are - Shellgirl is a walking joke, nothing more.
It doesn't help that this story tries to be realistic with an inherently unrealistic premisse. Systems Apocalypses aren't made to be deconstruced it seems, at least this realistic take doesn't work out.
No challenges. That's something that worked well in Void's earlier works but what drove me away from Kairos and does the same for me here. Basil isn't challenged. He wins all the time. Fight's are a foregone conclusion. There'll be confrontations that will be hyped up as super dangerous and threatening but at this point it's a bluff and it's easy to call it.
This isn't just about fights - Basil is never wrong, he is surrounded by an army of well disguised yes-men that will still agree with everything he says and does. He isn't wrong and if something bad happens it's mostly outside of his control. He isn't human, he's just a well crafted characters trying to be appear like one - and failing.
I should stop structuring my reviews like that. I always feel bad following up the Bad with the Ugly, but this isn't about the deadly sins of this story. It less about what went wrong and more about what didn't go right.
Apocalypse Tamer is a copy of a hundred other stories. A book inspired by other books. The inspiration here was to take a few tropes and play with them. If that was the goal of this whole story, than well done. It's clever and creative and uses this genre a whole lot better than most webnovel authors ever could.
But it has no fire and neither any passion. The main flaw of System Apocalypse stories was always that at their heart they were murderhobo fairytales were getting stronger was its own reward. This story doesn't subert it as much as it simply avoids this issue.
Basil wants a peaceful life and when the apocalypse destroyed his idyllic life he set out to take revenge for it. It reads like it's an annoyance on a larger scale. Is it a terrible war fought for the survival of humanity or the crusade of the homeowners association against these dastardly rascals kicking up a racket early on sunday morning?
I think it's the latter. That's why Apocalypse Tamer is well written, but ultimately boring. Because it has no stakes. It's a harmless story dressed up as an exciting one, but this too is a bluff. If you're buying it, this story is still very enjoyable. If you're calling it, this isn't for you.
Voidherald aka Maxime J. Durand does it again! Why is void so good? What's the secret to his focus? What immense dedication must it take to actually complete books on RR! Only void can be so persistent, blessing us with lovely, finished, long, high-quality novels again and again!
As I helped with making parts of this book's cover a while ago, I have been granted the advanced chapters of this tasty novel, so feel free to ignore the chapter number this advanced review was left at.
Now onto the review meats:
Apocalypse Tamer is about a chill countryside dude named Basil who lives with his cat in France. The comedy parts of this book is that Basil choses the "tamer" profession, which allows him to chat with various apocalyptic monsters and adopt them akin to pokemon. Basil's first "pokemon" is his cat and thus a cat-human relationship is born, allowing for plentiful feline jabs at the human's expense.
Like in Maxime J. Durand's other books, the reader can enjoy an immensely complex, unique and fun litrpg system in which our intrepid heroes evolve their skills from level zero to one hundred.
The descriptions of the monsters, dungeoneering and the French countryside life are simply sublime and no spelling mistakes are seen anywhere.
Keep it up Maxime! You rock!
Overall I think this one is not for me. Particularly the MC and his internal logic.
If you just want silly and don't immediately hate the MC I'm sure you'll enjoy the fiction.
I have neither love nor hate for the style.
The grammar and actual writing is fine. There weren't any big mistakes that grabbed me.
Guy just wants to sit in his house thinking he's in a coma/dreaming/crazy. I only read the first couple chapters so I'm sure there is plenty that happens later but I'll never find out.
This is the low point for me. Basil acts, thinks, and is written annoyingly.
- His cat starts talking to him and he thinks "Well seems I've had a psychotic break, I'll have to speak to a doctor about the at some point"
- Then Magic screens pop up and he says the same thing.
- Fights a giant centipede that wants to kill and eat him. Meanwhile is yelling about "property damage." He spares the bug and just puts him to work.
- Fights some goblins. Tries to get them to just be peaceful. After he kills all of them we cut away to him roasting them in his oven like that's fine. This really got me because he's acting like it's a normal and reasonable thing to cook and eat human-like sentient creatures but the idea that the magic screens are real is insane.
Initially this looks like an apocalypse litrpg well done, the usual tropes of status screeens and the outlining of a class and team development, its in chapter 3 when it all finally comes together and shows us how hillarious it can be
For you see, the MC is not some dude willing to tear a path for power, with blood and steel, nope, he is a grounded man who wants to live a peaceful life in the woods, so, what does he does when the apocalypse comes for him?
HE DRAGS THE APOCALYPSE TO HIS LEVEL, and forces it to behave in a civilized way
Not current civilization, mind you, the MC is a mixture of modern social values and an "old coutry" type of decisive action man
He has no problem in killing his enemies or preparing for violence, not because he is a modern person who realizes the need for violence, but because his values are still rooten in older traditions that declare violence as a necesesity of life
Basically, take a 18th century dude, give him modern knowledge and throw the apocalypse at him, and he will treat it as another instance of having to crush the savagery of the world, in order to pursue civilization
And its kind of epic and funny
The comedy reminds me of Malcom In The Middle, where the MCs were very extreme people trying to live a civilized life, except that is a berserker and his tamed beasts trying to be civilized when murdering their enemies