It's 9AM and I forgot to sleep. I also regret nothing. Except that I didn't start reading this a month ago.
Despite being a comedy for a genre that I haven't read before, it's written well enough that the jokes didn't fly right over my head.
The happiest hellscape ever created.
Friendly nightmare fuel.
It's been a while since I added something to my favorites list so quickly. I wish there were more chapters out already, but that's alright. I can tell that it'll be a fun ride.
My only complaint is that the formatting is kinda inconsistant. Some of the paragraphs look like they were meant to be two or three, but got squished together when they were pasted to RRs chapter upload page. But meh. It's stil legible.
A 40k story where someone's inside a tyrranid? Awesome. I've read weirder concepts. My body is ready.
But then... really?
There is so little of the original game mechanics or lore in this story, that I'd hesitate to even call it 40k.
The tabletop game mechanics have been thrown out the window, and replaced by an ad-hoc LitRPG system. All of the lore that made 40k great has received, at best, a passing nod before getting brushed aside so that the author can make room for his own content that doesn't fit the setting.
It quickly ended up becoming what I expect whenever I hear the word "fanfiction," and its attempt at seeming like a serious story only highlight the inconsistancies.
I'd say that the series would be better off if it didn't try to pretend that it had anything to do with Warhammer in the first place, but...
It's been 30+ chapters and the entire thing so far can be summed up as, "Kill something so I can eat it. Eat it so I can level up. Level up so I can kill something else. Repeat ad nauseam."
That's basically it, for thirty straight chapters. Over, and over, and over.
The plot hasn't progressed. The character hasn't developed. Nothing has happened. If you skipped eveerything from chapter three to chapter thirty three, nothing of value would be lost.
At no point would you have to go back and find out what you missed, because there was nothing to miss in the first place.
There are, at most, two or three chapters that look like they're progressing the plot. But none of them involve the MC. Everything important happens "somewhere else" while the protagonist sits around eating.
It's silly stupid fun that manages to avoid falling into the "lol so random" category.
Some of it drags on a bit longer than it needs to, but the Author's release rate is fast enough to balance out the pace.
The grammar is fairly good, with the only problem being unnecessay word repetition in a couplle sentences here and there.
I'll probably be coming back for more of this one.
An enjoyable beginning.
I like that it's taking the time to develop the setting before diving into the plot.
I'll probably come back to this in a few chapters.
Unfortunately, the author has more than 20 fictions on hiatus, and it doesn't give me much hope that this one will last long enough to reach its potential.
I usually try to read about 30 chapters before I give anything a rating or review, but I've enjoyed this story enough to jump in early.
Things I like:
It focuses on the story and the aspects of running the dungeon more than just giving a room by room list of how it's constructed. A lot of dungeon isekai get bogged down with meticulous descriptions of how every room is layed out, only for those descriptions to become irelivent the moment anything changes. This one focuses more on the mindset of the one in charge, and ignores superfluous detail in favor of what's actually important for making a story.
The worldbuilding has also been well managed so far. We haven't been forced to sit through chapter after chapter of unnecessary exposition, but we're still aware that the things happening on the outside will still have an effect on what happens inside.
We've also not been bogged down with a rush of unneccesary characters. Aside from the skeleton squad, the pacing for character introduction has been handled very well, and I don't feel like I'm going to get one character confused for another. Instead of rushing in forgetable characters, the author is taking their time in building up the characters that we already have.
I'm not typically a fan of LitRPGs, so I'm also glad the system is kept at a good level of vagueness, and we're not being forced to memorize every single skill/ability that the MC has just to follow along with what they can and cannot do.
Pacing is also good. Everything feels like it's happening at the correct time to how it gets presented, and nothing feels too rushed so far. The plot hasn't really taken off yet, but it's clearly developing naturally.
Things that need work:
The last couple chapters (17-19) were a little confusing at times, and the prose was a bit difficult to follow. I had trouble figuring out who was saying what, and which chatacter was being talked about. The plot was fine, but with the way it was presented, it took longer than it should have to figure out what that plot actually was.
Also, the MC seems to have adjusted to her new life quicker than she should have. I know that there's an in setting reason for this, but she's shown a bit too much of a lack of interest in trying to remember her past life. She should either keep "remembering who I was" as a side project, or feel a bit more emotion about the fact that she can't. Too many isekai ignore this. The past life forms the core of the character at the beginning of the story, and even though the readers never see it, it should still have relevance.
Aside from the fact that it's an isekai, there's nothing about this story that feels unoriginal. At the same time, it never feels like it's tryharding to be different.
The plot builds up gradually at a steady pace and never feels rushed.
The characters are self aware, and none of them are one dimensional. They're not coplete idiots either, and I can understand the logic that went into their decisions.
Even tough we know that Marcus will end up being OP, his/her progression feels natural. I also love how his past personality hold so much sway over how she percieves her new life.
The pacing is also good. Things build to a natural climax before finally deescalating, and gives time for the tenstion to build back up again.
The upload rate isn't the steadiest, but it's a series I'm willing to wait for because I know the quality is worth it.
I binge read the first volume, and while I'll definitely be coming back for more, I think there are a few things that could use some work. We're not even 30 chapters in, so the author still has plenty of time to focus on what's needed.
The first problem encountered in isekai
I really like this part.
Too often in isekai stories, "how they got there" is either some big background mystery that has little or nothing to nothing to do with the main plot, or the protagonist simply forgets about it in the first few chapters and picks up with their new life like nothing happened.
Heather doesn't exactly know why she's in this world, but she knows exactly what it is and how she got there.
It was aliens. And I love that that's not even spoilers because it's right there in the synopsis and prologue.
This is rarely handled well, but I think the author aced it.
Is it weird? Yes. Is it better than dying and God giving the MC a full chapter of exposition? Also yes. Is it better than, "Hurr durr computer error. Yer trapped in a game now" bullshit? Oh God, yes.
I love it, not because it's unique, but because it makes sense for the setting.
This is something else I think the author has handled very well so far.
The worldbuilding has been kind of sparse, but for logical reasons. The first volume only covers a week or two of time, so having the entire world explained to us that fast would just bog us down in boring walls of expositional text.
The setting however, has been getting lots of love. We've seen how the world works, and how it's also a bit buggy. We certainly don't have all the details yet, but we have more than enough for Heather's graveyard adventure to make sense.
Characters and development
This is where I think it needs the most work.
She's fun and doesn't seem like a Mary Sue, but she's a bit one dimensional and is clearly an audience stand-in character. We know that she doesn't play video games or read anything fantasy. Aside from some very surface level details, that's basically it. It gets hammered home so often, I'd be surprised if she even new who the main character of Harry Potter was. Even my 60 year old mother knows more about video games than Heather does.
It wasn't until near the end of volume one when someone said, "She's good for the world because she doesn't play video games," that I realized who Heather really is.
She's a rubber duck.
She is the rubber duck in "rubber duck debugging." Her job is to sit there and get talked to, and then make it obvious what the problem is when she doesn't understand their logic.
Her OP power isn't necromancy, it's her obliviousness!
Frank is awesome. I like Frank because he's a mostly normal guy who doesn't think "I'm normal" is a decent self introduction.
Frank has passion. Frank has goals. Frank knows that they may put him on the low end of the social spectrum, but caring about other people's opinions of him is low on his list of priorities. He's a nice guy who wants to play the role of a villain, and he's not about to let the genuine assholes ruin his fun.
I think we all need a Frank in our lives, just to remind us of what's actually important.
Graveyards. Spooky graveyards. Also zombies.
And maybe something or other about working hard to make your dreams a reality or whatever.
"Social contract? Ha ha! What's that? Git good, scrub!"
It's like Log Horizon got combined with The Purge.
My theory is that most of them didn't "volunteer" to come to this world. They simply had nowhere else to go when their families kicked them out for being such insufferable asshats.
These people are just awful, and it really makes me wonder what video games the author has been playing, because someone has certainly done a good job at killing his faith in humanity.
The scenes are detailed, and the conversations sound natural and realistic. Sometimes heather will pay attention to insignificant things when there's something much more important going on, but no major complaints here.
It's solid enough so far. There's enough foreshadowing to hint at bigger stuff coming up, but it still leaves room for plenty of fun while we get there.
My only complaint is the plot hole near the end of volume one.
It doesn't annoy me because it's big (it's not), it annoys me because of how easy it would have been to prevent.
Why didn't they just kill Heather?
It's not like she'd actually die.
She could have respawned and gotten her tablet back without any risk of leveling up.
The entire climax ends up feeling contrived because nobody even considers this possibility.
All it would have taken to fix was for Frank to even suggest the idea.
Obviously Heather would have refused, and the rest of the plot would progress in the same way, but still.
He doesn't even mention the possibility.
It is the fastest and most effective way to both stop Moon's plan, and also ensure that Heather doesn't immediately get added to the king's shit list.
But no. Heather doesn't think of it, Frank doesn't suggest it, and Moon doesn't even take the possibility into consideration.
I don't mind that the plot went the way it did. As I said, it probably would have gone the same way regardless. It's the reason it went that way that annoys me.
After binge reading the first 30ish chapters, I can only come to the conclusion that the MC is rather bland and a total Mary Sue.
Her OPness isn't a problem. There are plenty of other OP characters in the story, and OP heroes is one of the tropes a lot of us love about isekai in the first place.
The problem is that despite being thousands of miles from civilization and having practically no human contact, the entire world seems to revolve around her.
In the side stories, we see other people from earth, and learn how their lives there lead to the choices they have made in this new world. Everyone embraces their newfound OPness in different ways based on who they were. All of their Stories revolve around who they were, and how that has affected who they become. For every one of them, their pasts are just as important as their futures.
Morgan, on the other hand, simply has her story handed to her. Nothing about who she was has helped to shape who she is becoming. Her life before doesn't really matter. We know so little about who she was on Earth that her life doesn't even seem to start until she arrives. For all the author has done to show that the Stories in this world are about free will and making choices, Morgan hasn't made a single one. If you were to make a list of all the important things that happened to Morgan so far, you would quickly notice that they all happened to her. Where she landed, what she found their, what direction she chose to travel, her class selection, who she met afterwards, and everything that comes after, none of it involved her making a real decision.
Most of the side characters have only had a single chapter focusing on themselves, and yet in the one chapter they are given, they receive more depth and character development than Morgan has had in all the other chapters put together. We know who they are, what drives them, and what they hope to accomplish. We know why they chose to be who they are.
Meanwhile, Morgan has no drive or goals. Everything she does is based on spur of the moment decisions without any thought as to why she wants to do it. She has two defining traits. She's naked, and she's so OP that she makes other OP characters look weak. That's it. Neither of which manages to teach us anything about who she is as a person. And yet, the entire frikken world is aware of her, solely because she's so strong. Even the arrival of a dozen other OP characters to the world is an event named after her and her alone.
It's probably easiest to describe Skyclad as a great set of short stories that are buried under a very boring main story.
I've seen a few reviews actually complaing about the side stories. They don't like the interruption and want to find out what happens to Morgan next. I can understand that, but must disagree. In a story with OP characters, it shouldn't be "throw events at the MC and see what happens." It should be "throw the MC at the world and see what events they make."
I ended up dropping this one, but more out of personal taste rather than from any lack of quality on the story's part.
Why you may like it:
It's a very in depth LitRPG, and the author has clearly put a lot of work into the system.
Unlike most LitRPGs, the action scenes are nicely detailed. Aside from the main character's internal monologue, people don't just go around shouting the names of their attacks. The author actually takes the time to tell us what's happening with descriptions.
I dislike the LitRPG subgenre because many writers either care about their system more than their story, or use the system to help cover up lazy or sloppy writing. In Delve, it's clear that the author hasn't skimped on the prose, and is genuinely working on giving us an actual story... even if that story is about the system.
Why I dropped it:
Too much G, not enough RP. The main character is basically obsessed with figuring out how the system works and making it his bitch through the power of mathematics. Very large parts of a lot of the chapters so far focus on the MC sitting around with his notebook as he looks for the best way to optimize his skill points and daily experience gains... And every bit of it is written down for you in glorious/horrific detail.
Do you want to know what his mana regeneration will be if he puts a skill point into Ability A as opposed to Ability B? Do you even care? Will it affect the plot at any point in the future?
No. Probably not. I highly doubt that a character's life and/or the fate of the world will ever be determined by a single misspent skill point.
But what if it was two points?! Think of the possibilities!
No. The answer is still no.
If you're a fan of a series because it's a LitRPG, you'll love Delve. If you enjoy a series despite it being a LitRPG, you probably won't love Delve.
If you don't feel to strongly either way, then, at the very least, it's worth giving a try.