Awaken Online

Awaken Online

by da3strikes

Frustrated and angry with his life, Jason begins playing a first-of-its-kind virtual reality game and inadvertently finds himself on the path to becoming the game’s villain. As he continues playing, he also starts to suspect that the game is much more than it appears. Book one is available on Amazon here.


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da3strikes

da3strikes

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shallowords
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Destined to greatness (fingers crossed)

There are only 20 chapters as I write that review, so it could still go wrong, but for now, it's an impressive start (with daily releases).

 

Style:

Suitable to the tone of the story. Still feels a bit rushed at some points, preventing total immersion, but nothing abnormal for a rrl fiction.

Story:

Great potential. If it truly goes toward a dark, psychological thriller, borderline horror story, it's definitely gonna be my favorite story. Beware of cliché side-stories, however (especially concerning the future stories of Alex, and of the female developer)(I'll amend this review if my fears don't come true).

 

Grammar:

Just perfect.

 

Character:

There aren't too many details on them as of chapter 20, but this is what worries me the most. I know that most fictions here do not have more than archetypes as their protagonists, so I still give it four stars. However, I'm not the only one to think that well built characters can change EVERYTHING. If you can describe your protagonists with less than three adjectives, then they will feel fake. That's fine. We're used to that here. But it's not great. Some characters from "How to avoid death on a daily basis" are a bit better for instance, with some of them making truly surprising decisions because they are more complex than we expect. All I have here instead is Ambitious & resentful, Rich&Asshole&hypocrite, Outcast&poor&nice, Enthusiastic&reckless, Cautious&afraid...

Such simple characters could endanger the originality of the story.

Then again, everything can still change.

 

 

All in all, an amazing potential and nothing gone wrong yet ! Keep up the good work!

Morraren
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Greetings all, before i being i would like to issue a warning to future readers. It is a slight spoiler and will not do much to affect your reading experience so feel free to skip this. I feel like it should at least be said though. This might not be much but I feel like it should be there, mostly because not all of us has the heart to take that as a surprise. There is a dog in this story that dies in quite a gory way, a spoiler which I think should be acceptable as some of us are sensitive to these things.

On to the review.


Style: The story is written in a third person perspective. We are given multiple perspectives as we read even if it is mainly from the Jasons point of view. I have no issue with this as I am enjoying his internal struggle, the reason behind his actions and so on. We are actually able to see the consequences of his choices as well as how the world progresses outside the game. This is rare and something which I find greatly enjoyable as it shows that the world does not stop moving because VR exists. The VR itself is not without issue and is still being improved by Alfred, containing its own problems. One of this is the fading barrier between VR and RL that is starting to show, the aftereffects of time compression and the like. Through the eyes of Claire and Robert we are given an event more in-depth view of how Alfreds changes starts to affect those around it. His evolution, if one can call it so, does not pass without worry. It is details like these, that makes the story far more believable.
However, it remains a fact that we are only able to see from the eyes of others in the start of each chapters. Some might be interested in seeing one or two chapters with them in focus but I find this to be enough. The short insights we get are enough to keep us interested in the main character as well as Robert and the others. I would say that the amount of screen time they get is sufficient.
The author is also skilled when writing the details the characters. We are given a well done picture on their expressions, thoughts and feelings which makes most of the characters more relatable and human like. It does help the immersion of the reader quite a lot but nothing is truly free of errors. There are things one can improve and for, "Awaken online" in regards to details, the landscape and the surroundings of the characters are one of these. It is not something I personally feel interferes with the story and some readers might find it to be dull to read about the landscape. I agree to a certain extent but in my opinion, with the realistic nature the author is going for, it would be more believe able if we were given more of this. With Jasons focus on strategy and observational ability, I feel like it would be suiting to be given more details regarding how the surroundings looks and how he sees them, as in how he could use them or what his thoughts are regarding them. We are given this in the beginning of the story but it fades as the story progresses.

Story: The story also has a good flow. If the reader swallows all the luck of Jason in the beginning then this is nothing to worry about. Personally I find his luck to be too much at times, disturbing the otherwise steady flow of the story. We can take for example Rex. The one good guard we have seen (we have, of course, only seen two) in the story. He helps Jason along because he is the one out of hundreds (or more, the numbers are not that clear) players that expressed an interest in actually being taught. Rex does not let Jasons "Infamy" affect him and he gives us a reason for this. However, I find it amazing that Jasons succeeds to find the one guard that is willing to help him and then send him to a kind thief, who along with helping him sends him to Morgan. I find that this could have been done different and taken Jason more time. From there, I find the phase of the story to be rather fast. He accomplishes great things in the 32 chapters we are given and the story is very well executed. However, I am of the mind that it would have been better if it were longer and more drawn out.
As for the lore of the game, we are barely given any. This is a plus as the information regarding the game has been restricted until the opening of it. Hence, I have no issue with this. The game system, such as how magic works, stats, combat etc is very well done. I find it to be in depth and believable. It truly does wonders for the immersion one has when reading, "Awaken Online".
The story has a focus, meaning a plot and things does develop beyond that at times. The focus on the start of the story could be said to be Jasons desire to improve and his revenge against Alex. Later though, we are given Alfred and the researchers worry as a sub plot. It makes one wonder if there are more things going on that is not connected directly to the main character, which is rare in most stories. I do feel that this is not the case and that Alfreds case is starting to be connected to Jason but despite of that, the possibility exists and that excites me as a reader.
If I however were to point out something that could have been done differently, I would mention the connection between the characters. What are the odds that Alex and Riley are given the same starting city? That Alex is the, "Hero" and feels the need to move against Jason, whom he is not sure if he knows and who is a beginner in the game, is something I find odd. As a high level player, this does not appear to benefit him much.We also have Riley, what are the odds of her meeting the exact same Jason ig as the one she knows in reality and that she is constantly thinking of both of them, only to find them begin the same person. That he goes against his character to save her and then, contrary to how he has acted until now, does not act out of anger but hears her out and gives her another chance, believing her words. It is ridiculous to believe that they had such luck, or bad luck depending on who one asks.
Other than those things though, this story could be seen as original. One can not avoid every cliche but being a magic user is certainly not one of those. The story is realistic if somewhat fast phased. It succeeds in drawing in the reader and while it could be better in some areas, the good does outweigh the bad by far.

 

Grammar: The story has a few typos here and there but otherwise succeeds quite well in this. The sizes of sentences are varied and the vocabulary seem to differ slightly throughout the story. I admit I did not focus on this so I might be wrong, grammar has never been a focus on mine but I did notice that it got better as the story progressed. It was never bad in the first place and certainly not to distract the reader from reading.

Characters: Jason is the main character of Awaken Online and could be seen as the villain. A villain is however a vague title and something that can be interpreted differently. It might very well be that my kind of, "Villain" is not the same as how others sees them. I personally think that Jason falls short in being one because the guards, the nobles, the teachers and even Alex are made out to be the true evil, meaning that Jason could be seen as the hero. This makes Jason looks better and is something which I dislike about this story. We are shown that Jason can be cruel, yes and humans do see their own actions as justified but still, this goes beyond that. We were told in the description that he walks the path of the villain, which as I said could be seen as vague but at the same time, I think that he is well on his way. Despite of that though, I can not help but to feel like I have been cheated out of it. He is still a villain, yes and especially so from the eyes of the other characters but in comparison to them, is he not the hero? While the story is good I feel like it could have been done better in this, if the other characters were given more redeeming features (most of them have none) as well as some justification behind their actions.
Jason does go through character development himself and we can see him change as the story goes on. He is mostly consisted even if he does break that at the end of Awaken online, when sparing the girl who looked like Riley and gave her a chance to speak. His thought process, the one we were given at least, stated that she deserved to be saved. In my own view though and do understand that I might be mistaken, i felt as if Jason would be pleased by this but still pursue his strategy or make a new one with the intent to win the war. He could even have had her shot because she reminded him of Riley. This is not even mentioning taking the distraction and turning to talk to her, giving her the chance to speak. This was however one of his few and most likely biggest break in character according to me.
Jason is a character which could be seen a deep, something worthy of notice in most fiction today. He is a spell caster which is extraordinary rare and possess some skill as a rouge. This as well is worthy of noticing.

Alex does however lack in both depth and character development. He is what one would call a flat and static character. Alex is a pure bully, a sadist and someone made of pure evil in this story. This is something which broke the immersion for me. Even the worst of characters has redeeming features after all, a reason to why they act and a motivation that drives them. The only thing that drives Alex is his selfishness and desire to hurt others. We are even given the cliche that others, except the future love interest (as I see her) view him as a hero of light. This is quite tiring. Thankfully even he has a sting of originality. This is seen in the camp during the, "Endless march" when he argues with his commanders. They do not bow to him and praise him as the shiny beacon of light that he is but grumbles instead about his decision. It might not be much but it is something. Especially as they are not converted into the main characters companions later on (another cliche avoided).
I would like to see another side of Alex but with the reason we are given in the story, I shall assume that this is impossible.

The parents. I have not much to say about them to be honest as they are not at all in focus. They have my curiosity towards why they act the way they do but I am not dying to know about it. They seemed surprisingly aggressive in their reaction towards Jasons reveal but as I said, I know too little to make a proper judgement.

The teachers and the principal are not a focus in this story either. They are given too little screen time in order for me to make a proper judgement but from what I have seen, the teachers are justified in acting the way they do. They fear for their jobs, they pride themselves in tradition and they fear influential students. They might be too much at times in how they act out against the main character but it is nothing that breaks the story. The one thing I have an issue with is the final decision of the principal. That decision should have taken way more effort and paperwork. It seemed to pass too easily and I am honestly disappointed by that. I would have liked for it to be a process which, while over quickly, still existed.
Regarding that I am also surprised by Jasons refusal to return. He was in his last year and succeeding would have meant an easier time getting a job and getting into college. It was one more year and he has already survived multiple. With the efforts of his parents, I find that he could have stayed. Nonetheless, not everyone things the same way. His decision is justified in his own way and while it bothers me as a person, it is nothing too surprising.

Riley however is a character I hold dislike for. It might be because i fear that she may become a romantic interest of Jason but more so, it is the events that occurs around her. She has character development, albeit a rather quick one that should have taken longer than it did (you never know with Alfred involved though) as well as some depth. I find it surprising that she is the only one outside of Jason that sees Alex for who he truly is. Surely Alex must have had more girlfriends that saw this, even if it is stated that most of them are not all that clever. I find that his friends, someone around him, anyone should have seen it. Besides that I find her thoughts going back to Jason all the time, annoying. It is realistic and logical, yes but I can not help but to dislike it. Besides the video and what happened to Jason, surely there must be other things that her lack of self-confidence originates from. From this, she might seem like someone of a rather limited mind. I as a person did not enjoy reading about her and as I said fear a future romance (it is starting to become all the more obvious) but that is just me and my preferences. She could otherwise be seen as a character with her own inner struggles, similar goal as Jason and interested action. Her interaction with the old man was one of these and partly, I assume, she holds some mystery. I admit my own dislike clouds my view though so it is not easy for me to see her this way.

Rex, Jerry and Morgan are the companions of the, "Villain". They fit into stereotypes, though Morgan less so and are at times almost a comedy relief. This is not their primary purpose though and they are interesting in their own ways. They aid Jason and are not entirely incapable of acting on their own. I find that they are too nice though and too accepting to the changes around them and to Jason. However their cooperation is well done, especially as the, "Shadow council" and they have yet to take too much screen time. I can imagine some readers wanting to see things from their perspective but I on the other hand do not feel like they are interesting enough to do so. Of course, I do not know what other wish for. I might be correct or wrong saying that some desire it.

Conclusion: The story is quite original and avoids many cliches. The flow is well and the events that occur in the story are realistic. It is interesting to follow despite the fact that most characters outside of Jason can be seen as shallow. The grammar is well done with some typos and the author is quite skilled when describing the details of the story. I would recommend this story and find it fitting to my own taste.

 

Hopes: I hope that the other characters will be given more depth and that Jason will continue on the path of the villain. I also hope that there will be no romance in the second book, as it goes against my own personal preference. Not every human needs to love after all and reading a fiction without romance is truly a rarity.

drakninja
Overall

Good read. impressive.

I love the story and hope the story keep on getting better. The only thing i suggest is not hooking up mc with riley, because i think he could do better. Also i want to read more about the reactions to the MC behavior more.

Haythan
Overall

Great story, fast uploads, good quality and long chapters. What else could you ask for?

Keep up the good work!!!

F.Dj
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

It's well written, but poorly scripted

Let me sum it up;

- talking about quality, it was started good and then going low by each chaps

- the story is reinforced with a stupid ridiculously thick plot armor, no kidding! 

- the mc name is Jason, and Jason love to butcher. He had a friend named Freddy, and surprisingly they didn't try to kill each other. 

- the mc is more than OP, he is technically broken as fuck. And so does the game mechanics. 

- it was seasoned with a corny soap opera drama, something that your grandma would love

- the story plot and scenario is unrealistic, illogical, exaggerated and ridiculous. Talking about newbie massacring a whole capital city by himself in a night, even stupid xianxia didn't go that far. I guess the author confusing himself about capital city and a town. And he accomplished all that shit as lvl 3 player and only dumping all his points into one stat, a willpower/wisdom stat. Oh for laughing out loud, -_-'

- had a lot of plot hole, inconsistency and also had a problem with math and numbers. I wonder did the author had any insight and knowledge about war and medieval kingdom? Because at this rate he seems only good at making a corny drama,... *sigh

- a very well written farce, its a joke but don't have a comedy tag, quite dilematic indeed. If "the 8th days" is about teenage perverted imagination in rpg world. Then this story is about a teenage whom seriously need an anger management therapy. 

- to be continue,... *finger cross *only if I had the mood

Arwain
Overall

Nice story and concept so far

Actually the first story that made me want to write a “review”.

 

Very good concept and grammar. MC is not really “OP” because he follows the rules of this peculiar VRMMO world.

Just a piece of advice.. if he is able to achieve power in this way, he shouldn’t be the only one. It’s not like he’s the only player in the world who’s smart, or able to notice the tricks that allow him to take down stronger opponents.

 

Anyway, keep un the good work!

 

catbearpenguin
Overall

As an Evil Penguin Overlord of Earth and all realms below the 6th hell, i love it and would welocme him to my evil empire at any time 

ACE19
Overall

This is PERFECTION!!!

I won't say anything else...

 

This is one of the best books in this site.

 

I won't be surprised if this got published worlwide.

 

Period.

 

edit: It actually became a f**king book on Amazon. I won't change the rating just because of this but it's kinda saddening that you have to pay for it now.

So long my first 5-starred fic.

BadApple418
Overall

It's dark, the mc is relatable, and unlike most litRPG on RRL, it has an actual story that sucks you in.

 

Edit: Unfortunately, since the author made the book available on kindle unlimited (a amazon service that lets you read ebooks for a subscription fee) they were forced to take down all book 1 chapters past chapter 4. 

Fortunately the rest of the book is pretty cheap, and is worth the price

riles656
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

I have no words for this. At first I thought that this will turn out to be like all the other "generic" dark novels. You sir, have surprised me. I don't give people good reviews. The reason being for that is the only thing that motivates me to write a review is usually my profound hate for how an author has written or portrayed a story. You, however, have done a swell job. So, here is my review for your story. 

*********SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!*************(read at your own risk)

First off, thank you for not making a reincarnation story. There seems to be way too many of those.... and crafting stories seem to be a "big"(?) thing.  Having an MC be a necromancer is awesome to say the least. So many things a necromancer can do, one of which is having an unlimited amount of soldiers as long as his mana holds. 

 

Second, about the MC. We got a normal American (I think?) dude( which in itself is amazing because normally people on this site tend to try and write stories with MC's that are everywhere but America. **applauds author**) who is not rich nor is he poor. He goes to a good school, gets picked on but not physically bullied. There is a typical good looking and rich person who everyone like that is anti MC. Minus brownie points for making a generic villain. Palpatine Jr. gets the MC kicked out of school because, duh, the sith don't care. And what does the MC do?? He doesn't sit around and complaine nor does he pout like all the other stories on this site. He plays a video game lol. And in this game.....he doesn't become a psychopath. I know right?? Wut?? Author trying to be original??? Haha bro. You gonna be hated for it by some.  So yeh, MC becomes awesome and stuff happens and there's a cat and a lot of zombies. Moving on. 

 

Here are my cons tho.  First, necromancer job. Awesome, all for it. The MC wants to have offensive skills, like shoot stuff.  He is going agains his sith rival who is a paladin or something( not gonna point out the giant whole of how he got all his gear within like half a day of the game being out since his inventory has been emptied when the game launched....oops, just did) and he picks the necromancer job which is weak agains holy anything. Cool, he could just swarm him with minions while tossing spells at him like an epic lych lord or something. Oh wait, you can only have 1 minion per 10 points of willpower. You get 5 stat points to distribute every level so that's 1 minion every 2 levels. Not cool. So what does MC do?? He dumps the majority of his points into willpower. Awesome more minions. But wait, MC complains that he has no attack spells!! Choice comes up to get spells. MC sees a few attack spell that he can get. Awesome. He says the would help him out a lot. Yup. He chooses a few debuff curses and a few different types of minions he can summon. Wut?? Now is the time where I would normally call him a glass cannon, but he would have to be a ble to deal damage. At this point, he can't attack other that throw knives, and can only summon like 50 minions which is awesome btw. He has a lot of mana, but can't attack. Sad day. 

Second con, Alex. Kid starts being an introvert at an early age and starts killing his pets to "see what happens" and his parents all FREAK OUT.......not. They toss him a wad of cash and tell him to go play with it pretty much. Nice parents........and over the years he matures and gets better....not really. He still kills stuff and his parents keep smiling and tossing money around and paying people off to look the other way???? Bruh... what? 

So yeh, long rant, go me!! Keep up the awesome job. Love the story. If there are any haters, tell them to go back to their Japanese romcoms and stop wasting royalroad web space.