Half Life

Half Life

13
Follows
2
Favorites
11
Reviews
1
Fictions
Reviews
Reboot Reality

Reboot Reality is a tale of struggle, heartbreak, and occasional triumph told in the first person. The main character is a human survivor of the end of the game we call reality, who is "awarded" the ability to reincarnate into a new world with memories (mostly) intact.

The writing style is very immediate and intimate, as you would expect from a well written first person. I saw a few minor grammatical errors and typos here and there, but not so many that it takes away from the story.

Once you get past the intro chapter, the story itself is quite fun but does have moments of tragedy interspersed. However, the writing really shines when it comes to the characters. The fact that so few characters can speak well (or at all) does not hurt this story at all. This story gives it's characters a real human heart, which considering none of them are human (or even humanoid) is some skillfull anthropomorphization.

I have no idea what the next reincarnation will look like for the MC. However, due to the skill shown thus far, I can only expect this story to shine no matter the species or the gender of the next time around. 


The Atropos Schema

The Atropos Schema is an extremely easy-to-read, character-driven story told from the first-person POV. Unfortunately, Jarek, the main character, is a dud of a character. Luckily, Samantha is the 100% awesome AI goddess in his head, who somehow manages to keep Jarek from becoming a corpse.

When the story focuses on action, it is at its best and is hard to beat. When the story allows Jarek's personality to drive the plot, it tends to bog down quite a bit. Simply put: Jarek is dead weight to the story (so far). Samantha is not only carrying him but the entire story as well. Those are some sturdy virtual shoulders indeed.

The world-building is coming along, with (as usual) Samantha providing nearly all the information to the reader. Likewise, the use of the system is mostly driven by Samantha's advanced understanding and advice. Truly, it is almost inconcievable how this story could have been told without her. Jarek shows very little initiative, curiousity, and agressiveness without her prodding. 

Grammar is polished, and the style is consistent. Under normal circumstances, I would highly recommend this story because of how readable it is. However, Jarek is such a tool that it is hard, at this time, to give a full-throated recommendation.


Source Proxy - Act 1: The Holy Lands of the old and future Kings

Source Proxy is largely told in the first person, mostly from the point of view of Richard. Richard is a fairly normal, if slightly bookish, middle school-aged boy. His titular friend Proxy is the other frequent point of view character who, while being close friends with Richard, is far from average. Even though he is only in his early teens, Proxy has all the makings of an OP protagonist, along with the brash and cocky shonen protagonist attitude to match. Together, these boys form an odd couple, and through their contrasting points of view, we see both the terror and joy of an isekai experience.

I'm writing this after reading up to Chapter 13, and I think some of the additional characters added by this point really help balance the characters out. At this point, the story isn't just Proxy being a badass while Richard is unwillingly dragged along for the ride. Richard has now found some things other than Proxy to invest himself into, and that greatly improves the story quality.

The weakest link here is the technical merits of the writing. The grammar has many errors throughout. Tenses are frequently changed within paragraphs. And there are several extremely noticeable typos per part. The writing here has a very enthusiastic and exuberant style. Hopefully, it can be tempered with the application of a meticulously cold editing pass to clean up the worst of the errors in these early chapters.

I felt both the story and characters improved as the chapters passed, so I fully expect future releases to improve even more.


Death by Ex-Girlfriend Vol. 1: Aika Crisis

Aika Crisis mostly reminded me of the works of the visual novel studio Key, particularly the works of writer Jun Maeda. I have a love/hate relationship with his works because I know that, despite the wacky hijinks the stories often start with, the end results will always hit me in the feels. Likewise, I felt that same sense of impending doom throughout the entire Aika Crisis book, even when I was laughing.

That said, the story largely succeeded in hitting any targets it set for itself. When it wanted to be funny, it was funny. When it wanted to be emotional, it was emotional. So in that sense, the writing was very successful. However,  I had a hard time relating to most of the characters for most of the story, but no part more so than the traumatic events at the heart of the story. The best way I could describe it was like watching the most cliche of cliche character types slowly and gradually molting their tropey shells to grow into real people. I found the central crisis hard to relate to because I have always found that particular solution to problems to be an alien concept to me.

Despite how it may sound, I did enjoy the story in retrospect, even if I found it emotionally hard to get through at the time... much like the aforementioned Key productions.

Grammar was good, with only a few problems that pulled me out of reading. And the writing style was clear and easy to read. It is well worth a read, especially if you are a fan of mashups of absurd harem hijinks and bittersweet relationships... Yes, that is a genre unto itself.


System Change

System Change is one LitRPG converting to another LitRPG, while also appearing to go from one genre to another genre. So far, most of the story is concerned about systems and stats. However, the MC starts the story already built up into an OP soloist possessing late game stats, and things progress from there.

In some ways, this reminds me of a weird cross between One Punch Man and Mad Max circa Thunderdome. That is to say, the MC is much more capable than almost anything he has come across so far, usually resolving threats with almost no effort. However, the Portal Fantasy element seems to have placed him in either a post-apocalyptic far-future Earth or an unrelated run-down fantasy world. There are some allusions that the portal fantasy element is conscious, which could lead to some interesting developments.

The writing is a clear and polished novel style. I've only noticed a few minor errors (homophones mostly), and the grammar is fairly strong.

There are 14 chapters available right now, so the supporting characters and world-building are still in development. For now, the main attraction is the interplay between systems. I mean, it is right there in the title. So, if you love your LitRPG hardcore, with lots of thinking and talking about systems and stats, featuring OP characters, then this is a good start.


My Pick Up Artist System

Hilarity ensues.

...

No seriously... that's it. Nothing else needs to be said here.

...

What? Why are you still here? Get to reading the story already.

...

Hurry up!

...

*Sigh*... fine.

OK, you win. So there's this teen virgin, and he's gonna die in 30 days if he doesn't "graduate", so to speak. Sounds like the setup of many a raunchy teen movie, you might say, and you'd be 100% right. If you love movies like Superbad or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, then this story is for you.

So get going.

...

Shoo! ...geez.

...

Alright. I get it... you want more. Well, you can't get blood from a stone, so don't expect too much.

Anyway, the writing here is perfect for comedy. I noticed no grammar problems whatsoever. The style is clean and very accessible. The humor is lethal, in that I thought I might die laughing.

The characters are hilarious and yet oddly true to life. Worldbuilding is perfect for the type of story it is trying to tell.

So is there anything wrong? I guess if you are the sensitive type that gets crabby about jokes, then you might want to skip it... mostly to save the author the grief of having you unfairly badmouth his story. But if you made it through this review you aren't one of those people anyway.


Monster Girl Collection [Web Version]

I'll be honest, my first impressions were not particularly good (3.5 stars). That said, around chapter 4 all of my concerns were resolved, and by Chapter 6 I was having a blast (4.5 stars).

So first, let's address my issues with those early chapters:

In the beginning, this story suffered from somewhat clumsy phrasing and overuse of flowery, slightly purple prose. Due to the large word count dedicated to describing visuals, it's clear the author wants you to "see" his world, as much as "think" about it. In some ways, it reminded me of a racy romance novel. Character dialog was given to flights of grandiosity.

However, all of that changed by Chapter 4. By that point, the writing seems to sparkle with life and flow that I couldn't have imagined from the vaguely painful reading of the early chapters. The dialog is much crisper and more natural. Descriptions are balanced and functional while remaining slightly purple(ish) in flavor. All in all, it is almost like a completely different book.

Several grammar errors are noticeable throughout, however, I assume the final "for sale" version will clean those bits up, resulting in a cleaner read.

I really enjoyed the characters by the end. To me, the comedy and chemistry kept improving the longer I read. The world-building is good, though slightly generic thus far. Based on events in chapter 6 in particular, I expect a lot more creativity to be shown as the story progresses.

If you enjoyed the recent anime series Interspecies Reviewers (Ishuzoku Reviewers) then I think this series will be just your kind of jam. I know I'll keep reading.


Summoned by a Demon Lord

Following the traditional form of an "Isekai" story, the main character and sensibilities of this story are Japanese. However, the summoned hero(?) of this isekai is summoned by the traditional "bad guys". In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't seem to have made a huge difference in how he goes about leveling. The "bad guy" companions also seem to be fairly normal personalities, just with a more Darwinian set of social values.

The writing style is about halfway between a normal Japanese light novel and a typical western novel. The grammar has some notable issues, but it doesn't impair readability too much. I would suggest another editing pass to clean things up, so the story can more easily find its audience.

I'm not a big fan of the wimpy and lonely boy main character trope. Evangelion soured me on that long ago. However, it does allow room for the MC to grow, from basically nothing, into the hero(?) I expect he will become.

The world-building is better than average by this point. The LitRPG system is present but hasn't been explored in-depth yet, so there is no telling which way that will ultimately go. The star of the story is the way the MC is growing as a person and interacting with his companions.

I look forward to reading more.


New Game (Reborn as a Reluctant Demon Lord, Book 1)

Full of tropey LitRPG goodness, some subverted, others played straight. For the titular Reluctant Demon Lord, even the fight to escape the tutorial is an epic struggle. Parts can be repetitive, yet it never becomes depressing or boring. It is interesting how well the author manages to make the MC both OP and undeniably the weakest at the same time. That is a fine line to toe, but the story succeeds in keeping that balance.

The style is fairly straightforward, with very little fluff except the occasional 4th wall breaking intros to chapters. Most readers should find it easily accessible and enjoyable. IMO the story does most things very well, very few things poorly, but doesn't have any specific area in which it truly excels. That may sound like faint praise, but I appreciate an enjoyable and clear story, well told.

Perhaps the part of the story I personally find most interesting is the potential romantic pairings. Almost everybody here is damaged in some way, and that could make for very "real" feeling relationship dynamics going forward. I look forward to reading more.


MERTICORE

Download and Install Immediately!

Merticore is a fun character driven story. Ian, our main character, is primarily what makes this story so enjoyable. He is just as snarky as Kazuma (from Konosuba) or Quill (from Guardians of the Galaxy). All events filtered through his narration are a joy to read and elicited several laugh out loud moments.

The systems that control this world are well conceived and play off each other in interesting waysEven if this was only a serious story, the details of the world(s) setting would be enough to keep me interested, but the humor is so good that that this story pushed itself into my favorites immediately.

The writing is mostly straightforward traditional novel style, with a touch of Japanese light novel sensibilities mixed in, for a breezy and easily accessible read. Highly recommended!