I want to love this story. I really do. Rakeesh's A Long Journey Home is one of my all time favorites, and I absolutly love the premise. So the author gets points for good taste on that already.
Sadly, the rest doesn't live up to it. As someone who's dredged the depths of FFnet, and carries those scars, the start was downright unbearable. Not because it's that bad by itself at that point (I'd call it mostly mediocre, for fanfic), but because it hits so many red flags that I get fanfic flashbacks, and every line I dread what is to come.
You've got the ol' 'wrong boy who lived' trope (for those of you blessedly ignorant: That's a whole genre, and I can't think of a good one), which seems designed soley for contrived drama and making the MCs live worse. The almost mandatory evil Dumbledore (this one I have seen done well, but it takes some skill). At the same time, it's also a fixfic, because the whole betrayal doesn't actually kill anyone and Sirius is never suspected. But then that wouldn't be angsty and contrived enough, so the MC gets send to the Durselys anyway. That's about where I stopped caring, because the characterisation here makes no sense, and I despise hitting the stations of canon just because.
On that note, fair warning, I might not be totally objective, because everything is standing in the shadow of dozens, hundreds of pretty bad stories. I also don't have any interest in Marvel, so I don't care about that aspect all that much.
Now, trying to be fair, I skipped ahead. The author claimed in the description it gets better, and hey, it might. But skimming through some bits didn't really sell me on that. It's still got all the hallmarks of bad fanfic. Weirdly nonsensical actions by inconsistent characters driving towards a repeat of canon. Spoilered example here:
Dumbledore does something bad (becoming immortal, which is just about the opposite of canon Dumbledore), and gets marked for death. He gets informed about this by Flamel, who loredumps while wanking the MCs awesome power. The part that that really drove me nuts is this:
Part of the whole wanking was telling him about the time romans created a magic using vampire, who later created a plague to kill tons of people for some empowering ritual. That's actually kind of cool. Shame we couldn't see it.
Now, trying to give as much credit as I can:
First, the english isn't all that flawed. It doesn't have any particular flair that makes reading individual sentences a joy, but it's a solid basis to work from.
Second, the other does go away from the basic fanfic station of canons rehash. For a new author, that's something to respect.
Third, the idea of the super-powerful mega-mage going to magic highschool is kind of funny, and it's got lots of potential. It keeps tempting me back, so credit there.
In conclusion: Heavy disrec if you have mental scars from bad HP fanfic. If you're scar-free, have a hankering for a stompy fic with some B-movie feel, maybe this if for you.
As a sidenote: This is actually the second HP/Marvel fanfic where a Potter child gets thrown back in time to the beginning of history to become a super powerful wizard. That's pretty fucking specfic to happen twice. To be clear, that fanfic was quite different (predates the marvel movies, for one), so it's just an interesting coincidence.
This story has gotten a lot of great reviews, and I just don't see why. It does nothing particularly well, and handles characters rather poorly.
Let's talk about minor issues. The narration is somewhat inconsistent, for example with minor flash backs. This isn't a huge issue, but it can be somewhat disorienting and hurts the flow, but it's not decisive either for good or bad. The plot is... super generic. Most stories try to have some kind of twist or gimmick to help them stand out, but there's nothing like that. Which would be fine if it was carried by something else, but it really isn't. There's also some minor world building issues, like that high nobility wouldn't be resting in a common inn, but I'm willing to assign that to the writer's of the "game" in-story not doing any research.
So, my big issue: Handling of characters. There's several aspects to it. First, the general student population is apperantly stupid. Even assuming they had good reasons to fully believe the rumors (and they don't), does repeatedly and blatantly antagonising the daughter of a powerful and well-respected family who is fully willing to burn down the world for said daughter (as confirmed in story by their actions in the sequels of the game setting) sound like a good idea? Especially if your from a southern family and therefore likely a vassal? No? Well, they all do it anyway, from the first day. Like, it wouldn't bother me if it was a few groups centered around powerful figures who do it as part of power games. But no, it's all the students in the academy all the time. I'm more used to that sort of dumb from bad Naruto or HP fanfic. What I don't understand is how the 'original' Tori (or Victoria) managed to be a villainess if she was apperantly this disdained by everyone in the academy. She would've been totally toothless. It's just inconcistent
Alright, so when I said everyone hates Tori, that's not quite right. Her room mate is instant besties (apperantly she's her attack dog in-game). When I first got there, I thought it was a lesbian crush, that's she's part of the MCs harem, and that is was actually rather neatly done. Now, I'm less certain I should give that much credit. The other important characters just aren't handled well. Let's talk about the most obvious first: The game protagonist and her love interests. All we've seen are some combination of asshole and incompetent. The prince Gideon is by far the most egregious where asshole is concerned, because he's just acting like a total dick from minute one. Again, antagonising powerful vassals is a bad move, doing it on shaky grounds is worse, doing it when your elder brother clearly isn't with you is worse still (that game Victoria apperantly was madly in love with him when he's an asshole from minute one is just weird, but whatever). But ok, fine. The asshole prince fits the tropes of the genre. What's worse is that protagonist is also an asshole. She tries to steal the MCs walking stick in front of a bunch of people (more precisely, she refuses to give it back despite prompting, and the MC is relucant to force things). Now, "evil protagonist" is a common enough trope for the genre, though I'm not sure the story is going for that, because that doesn't seem the goal in earlier interaction. In general, she just seems inconsistent.
Worse, the whole lot are just incompetent. They're clearly supposed to be a major source of conflict, but they can't even handle planning a camping trip (and also blatantly exploit members of their own group, which is another thing that gives me bad fanfic flashbacks). Honestly, how am I supposed to take these people seriously? The whole thing established A) that the protagonist and her harem are asshole, but worse they're B) assholes in an interesting way, it's a caricature that again, reminds me of bad fanfics. Further, C) they're too dumb to pack clothing and tents on a multi day camping trip in the mountains, so how can they be a realistic source of conflict for the MC? Finally D) being both dickish and not overly bright, they don't really fit the genre all that well.
But enough bitching about that, let's bitch about something that actually bothers me more: Evan. We first meet Evan when Tori is denied entry into the swording club for dumb reasons and in defiance of the fact that her family has a long an strong presence. Evan fights her in a duel for her entrance. Evan loses, despite having a hit against him disregarded on a technicality. (His brother then immediatly also loses after changing the deal, such is the behaviour of the dumb background characters). Ok, fine. Evan then later comes back and asks to join her group on the camping trip. Ok, that's actually kind of cool. I like it, change of heart, that's a neat direction. His earlier shitty behavior is never brought up or discussed again. That's bad. It really damages the characters of everyone involved. You would expect at least some resentment, and Tori's friend is pretty protective of her, so I don't think she'd let it go that easily. It could have been a cool character arc for everyone involved, and been a neat source of initial tension in the group, lots of possibility there. Except it evaporates like a nasty fart, leaving only a faint taint in the atmospere. Like the review title says.
When we're talking characters, I should also say some words about the MC. She's probably the best in the story. I like the diverse past interests. A good source of relevant knowledge for a variety of situations. I wish it was used more. She uses past training to win a sword fight, but it was kind of unnecssary because the reason she had to fight were kind of dumb and could have been solved by her family's influence (and her family could train her too). She uses her past as project manager to organise the camping trip, except in the end she needs to use her connections to get it done too, and using her conncetions alone would've done a decent enough job in the preparation too. So she really doesn't accomplish that much on her own abilities, which leaves the "broadly experienced" aspect of her character rather shallow. (I don't actually mind this as much as you might think. Her family, and their connections, are explicitly called out in story as her isekai cheat, which I think is neat and rather like, and she could show her competence later on. It's the other stuff that means I won't read that far).
It's really a bit sad, there's several cool bits (one I didn't have a chance to mention elsewhere: The first time Tori meets the first prince, she's just blown away by his hottness. I thought that was funny and also offered a glimpse into why the original Victoria ruined herself and her family for the regard of someone who depised her from the start), but the potential is squandered, and I don't have the confidence it'll get better.
The most interesting difference to the standard: Unlike most isekai stories, the MC here was a professional adventuere on a LitRPG world beforehand (not a legendary super badass, just someone who does it for a living), and so she's nor just flailing. She's also not all knowing, and the balance of believable competence is one of the stories strong points at the start.
Tone wise, it's a fairly lighthearted story so far. The world takes a lot of cues from xianxia tropes, but the people the MC has met have been good and helpful, so it doesn't have the odious grimdark that often puts me off that kind of story.
The plot is a bit strange. Mild spoilers ahead, but frankly the story hasn't been going on long enough to have much spoiling. If you care, read past 8 or so.
Initally, it seems to go for a "Free the enslaved transmigrators" thing, but that gets derailed when a bunch of gods show up and she hangs out with them instead.
That sounds like a wild swerve, and it sorta is, but the events do follow from each other, so it's not just a deus ex, and that earlier plot point does come up later.
It doesn't actually feel like there's a plot (in the sense of an overarching narrrative), and more like the world does its thing, the MC does their thing, and the two impact each other when it makes sense. Kind of like Azarinth Healer does it. Or violent slice of life. Which I do rather like, and it's rather well handled.
There's hints of an overaching thing between big G Gods, but it's not been much, and frankly I don't care all that much. Might become relevant a few dozent chapters from now.
One neat thing is the way the story handles its "cheat". Again, some spoilers.
That's one of the standard tropes of isekai. Here it's basically two levels. First, a storage space. Which is useful, but not new in either of her worlds, and a small storage ring is actually a quest reward for the initial transmigrator quest. Hers is a lot bigger and better organized, and starts to develop towards its own world, but it's nothing new. The second part is a bunch of divine revelations, which are a big deal, but she can't easily access them (trying it gave notice of a juicy thing to everyone, with the obvious consequence of them all flocking to that world, which also causes her later meeting with a bunch of gods). So that part is as much a complication as a solution.
This story reminds me of a Journey Of Red And Black: A mythological undead creature unwillingly created, left clueless and with an entertaining sense of propriety and murderousness. And a love of siege weaponry.
It seems like more darkly comedic than Journey, but the last two chapters (14 and 15) were more serious, and I expect it's going to have serious moments in the future.
The main and support cast are pretty great. There's a sense of personality and the dialogue is genuinely entertaining and witty. Spewbeast gave me a good laugh.
The MC is a bit of a dumbass in how he's handling the loop, but it's not gotten to the point where it's ooc or annoyingly stupid. And he's gotten the idea that maybe he should just step back and figure out the big picture first in the recent most update (not that it worked out for him).
Emma has a pretty great snyergy, though she's also pretty damn willing to just go along. Which honestly seems to fit, give that she doesn't seem too great at life decisions, what with the shitty boyfriend, getting scammed by the landlord and being a villain.
The heroes in general seem to either be assholes or quite arrogant, but there's hits that this isn't exactly normal, so I'm interested to see where this goes and how it ties into the plot.
EDIT: At chapter 28, and I've taken a star off, because the main character is infuriating. It's in character, but it's still painfull that he doesn't have the self control to sit back and see how things turn out. It's not really bad writing (he gets called out on this, and the morality is discussed in story), and a matter of personal opinion, but it's also bad enough that I've seriously considered just dropping the story. I can't really give it 5 with that.
It's also kind of sus that everyone he really talks to is female, and kind of flirty.
EDIT2: Despite in-story call-out and everything, the MC continues to be incredibly dumb, to the point I dropped the story. I can't really recommend it anymore at this point.
On a lot of standard metrics, the story isn't impressive. The language is readable, though description is barely there. The MC isn't all that complex/interesting, and the rest are barely gestured at (with one exception from about a third of the story in). The story is extremely fast paced, and the plot is barely a thing. The litRPG system while potentially interesting, barely matters.
And yet, I enjoyed it immensely. It takes a hard and rare genre and does it very well. The flaws either don't matter to the core enjoyment, or even come together to enhance things. For example, the bare descriptions, fast pacing and low stakes come together to create a floaty, calm mood to watch the world pass by. A warm summer evening floating down a river.
Of course, that is very much a subjective thing (more so than any judgement about fiction), and if you're not in the right mood, or want something with more tension going in, then you probably won't enjoy it as much.
One thing I loved was the historical length. In early lifes, people have only just discovered the [Mage] class, as opposed to [Shaman]. And then later Mage gets rerated as more common, because it's spread enough. The system as a whole actually changes, which I thought was super neat.
I would have liked to see more of the historical impact of the MC. Traces of pervious lifes show up occaisonnally, but one of the big ones (the goblin thing), hasn't. It did get some foreshadowing, so maybe that'll turn up if this story gets some followup.
Finally, I thought the climax was pretty damn well done. It caught me by surprise how much it upped the stakes, had some really nice emotional moments, and even set up some potential overaching plot (though I don't know if I'm keen on that last one).
Very good so far. Language is solid (though without any outstanding flourishes). The writing is nice and tight, without unncessary bloat, without being rushed. Main Character is pretty good so far, determined and clever. She's lucky, but it doesn't feel like bullshit, and there's still decent challenge. The system is complex enough to be interesting, but doesn't have a ton of meaningless skills or stuff.
Overall, definitly worth checking out.
It's decent if you can get past the central flaw: There's not a whole lot of F Yeah in Humanity, the aliens are just stupid.
There's the big stuff, like how an interstellar civilization hasn't considered guns or grenades. You could justify that in ways, though the story doesn't. But there's also the smaller, like how the alien sent to talk to them didn't even briefed by his people. And so aliens seem incompetent even in the unrelated details, and I have no hope they get a sensible treatment.
The writing otherwise is decent enough, but I just have no interest in a story about admiring humans for not being stupid.
This story starts pretty nice, but the more I read, the less I like.
Others have listed some problems, like the fact that she gets forcefed power because of her brother, or that there's no real personality (apperantly she really likes Origami, which we learn ten chapters in while she gets paper powers two chapters. Can't be that important to her, then, eh?).
But for me, the worst was the attitude. It's got all the worst parts of Xianxia. The protagonist gets repeatedly, incessantly, told to act like a complete psycho. Murder everyone who knows about you, including the nonsentient ferrets (but not the wolves, those are apperantly cool?)! Kill people and everyone connected to the 13th generation (that's a thing that happens). Torture anyone you need.
It's childish edgeyness, Hard Men Making Hard Decisions While Hard.
I bounced right off this story, because the english is just too bad. The spelling is ok (except for some homophones, but you get that at much higher levels too), but punctuation is an issue, and the sentences just don't flow. It's just subtly grating, keeps pulling me out of the reading.
If you don't mind that sort of thing, go right ahead. Otherwise, spare yourself the frustration.
I suspect the writer isn't a native speaker, and either way I'm hopeful it'll improve, but I'm not willing to slog through in on hope alone.