He Who Fights With Monsters

Good story, maybe needs to smother its darlings.

Update at chapter 512 - Facepalm 

Original review at 323 below:

My review on Goodreads for this story is five stars. Now that I am much farther along in the story, I want to provide a more specific review here.

This is a 'good' story, it's a story that has these bright points that shine and you want the whole thing to be like those points. Then, this is a story with "other parts" where you are reading a chapter and wondering if there was a mix-up, and if the author got the chapter out of order, or maybe it was some experimental chapter where the author was trying something out. Because of the contrast with those "bright" points, these chapters and scenes stick out rather glaringly. The more you read, the more you notice them.

I've read the reviews here about character creep, where "everyone is Jason" and even at only chapter 223, I can see this already happening. It probably means the author needs to kill some (or like GRRM, "most") of the supporting cast (you know: "kill your darlings" is the quintessential advice) and bring in fresh blood.

There is a lot of inexplicable deference for the MC. It borders on kowtowing in places. It introduces us to a system with some extremely specific power-level delineations and then we watch as the MC routinely bulldozes, ignores and even mocks these with ease and some snarky words. While we should expect this at some level, there is very little push-back, and even some of those in vastly, vastly different levels of power over the MC seemingly enjoy his antics, and/or even root for it. This is counter to any known power dynamic that either exists, or has ever existed. It's the equivalent of being in the military and expecting to piss all over the rank structure and the generals are all fine with it. That will not happen and there is only so much suspension that can happen before you break out of the story and just go "what the f__?" 

As for the world-building, the system is fully realized; I have no issues with that. It's more that I want to see the entire world the MC is on and understand what the countries are like. I want to not just know that there are people with runes on them, but where they come from and why there is no actual sense of "race" in the story outside some are pretty. I can understand the Greenstone arc and we get bits of information about the broader world but it's only in bits and pieces. The greater story of what is going on in the world is definitely extremely slow to unfold. Saying I am about halfway through the current total chapters—or about five normal books in—at this stage, we still know almost nothing about the greater world. This is definitely a reason to continue to read, but dragging a story out eventually feels repetitive. 

I know you cannot compare a serial to a book series, but I keep thinking that in a typical book arc this would have been a portal trilogy about trying to get home. They would naturally split the trilogy into something like book 1 - Iron, book 2 - Bronze, book 3 -Silver where we have a complete character arc over three gripping world-tilting challenges and Jason learns to forgive his ex and becomes a better person who either returns to the world he is from or remains in his new world. Either way, we see the character learn something and grow.

All this said, you may need to adjust your expectations. The story is worth reading; it is enjoyable, but know that you are getting into a serial and not a tightly paced series. Treat this like LitRPG soap opera, where a minor progression could take ten chapters and then several things get wrapped up quickly. And then you have another ten chapters of discussion and minor progression. etc. Also note that I have not encountered a chapter here on RR without at least a few typos and errors.

Verdict is: I can definitely recommend this as a voracious LitRPG/GameLit reader.


I'm Not a Competitive Necromancer

I think the comments at the beginning of the first chapter explaining some of the known issues in the first few chapters are definitely needed. This is a slow simmer of a story so far, but all the pieces are in place to make it a great story. I will definitely continue to read it. 

I think I can echo some issues other reviewers and commenters have mentioned. I am giving this a higher score because they address these issues, warned about and/or mentioned in the comments by others and then responded to by the translator. The only ones that really are issues would be multiple points of view in a same scene. This is very confusing to read, and I had to go back in several places to understand who was doing what. I still am unsure if Max is the being in the first chapter, though. He self-identifies as a Londoner, but there is some confusion.

Style - I can tell this is a translated work and I feel it affects the style. Things can be a bit muddled and there are issues where scene-breaks need to be added to enhance the clarity. There is also exposition that hurts the story. For instance, we are told that Max is crazy, but we really don't experience it until well into the story. We get told a lot of things in the first few chapters, and then we don't really see what is going on until later.

Story score - I can see where this is going and what is going on and I think it is a brilliant idea.

Grammar - Lots of little issues that have been brought up and covered in the comments.

Character - So, this is the weakest score. I think the MC is Max, and he is out of the gate a little overboard. I realize this is important to the character, but it does not give us any reason to like this character or to connect with the character before he calls people cunts and starts making racist jokes. One issue that definitely pops up is the texas redneck who is saying horrid stuff. We clearly aren't meant to like this guy, but the issue is that Max is basically doing the same thing to the other characters, but from a British perspective.

I'm giving this story a star bump for the enjoyment I am getting realizing where this story seems to be going and I want to see it. I also feel this story has some issues within translation and most specifically moving the characters' origins from Italy to London and other places. I can deal with translation issues and some of the other issues without being distracted from the core of the story. So, +1 star for potential and I don't feel it would be fair to judge what looks to be a fun story until they work the translation kinks out. I'll continue the story and may update this later.