I'm confused by the premise of this novel. Is it just a pointless self-insert fantasy? Or is it for channeling some internalized teenage angst? Forgive me if this sounds caustic, but bringing in real-world politics and current affairs does not make fiction. On the other hand, using it as a basic framework is better. I'm also puzzled by the synopsis. Is the novel something like the nation of Nepal rising up in rebellion against India or what? Didn't that already happen like last year?
Leaving it at a neutral score for now
This is a preliminary review, and I'll update it as I read more, but as of Chapter 6, I can say I'm absolutely enthralled with this story. This is a wonderful story, with no wishy-washy VR elements or big blue boxes that break immersion periodically. The story takes a natural flow and stays true to what it claims it is - a story of survival against Lovecraftian alien horrors hell-bent on wiping out humanity. However not all is as it seems and as we read further we also get to explore the darker sides of humanity and the marvels of technology....and the horrors.
The author has done a pretty good job of conveying the sense of dread and hopelessness the protagonist faces on a daily basis, but the protagonist acts too cavalier and uncaring at times. Of course, this could just be a coping mechanism, but not enough of background has been established for the characters currently. However, that said, it is indeed a wonderful way to introduce aspects of the World instead of straight up info-dumps. With a bit of polish, this is worthy of 5 stars
What started off as yet another generic deity bringing yet another generic system to the world quickly meanders off into making the MC an almost Gary Stuesque character, only to fail at that and thus leave a bad taste in readers mouths. The plot is ostenibly about a calamity the Earth is undergoing and some benevolent deity bringing in a shop system in return for army service, but we have cnflicting elements at play here. On one hand, there are undertones of an apocalypse happening if people dont gear up and start fighting, but this vibe is quickly destroyed by introducing VR elements like a second body and revival.
The characters are a steaming pile of mess. Now if something calamitious happens on the Earth you would at least see a modicum of an organized response from the Government, but the novel conveneiently ignores all of that and pretends that life goes on as usual. The MC signs up fr army service with the interdimensional sanity sapping deity for....becoming better at playing videogames. Yep, you didn't read me wrong. He decided to play a videogame to become better at a videogame.
The already struggling plotline is given the coup-de-grace by poorly introduced romance, where the MC decides to save some damsel-in-distress for no reason, despite being a sekf-avowed narcisstic nihilist. Yep, completely consistent.
The grammar is okay at best but often bad and could go through a proofreader or two. The tense jumps rapidly and even active/passive voices intermingle quite often.
Now this is obviously a critical review, but this comes not out of malice but out of sheer goodwill for the author. I like the enthusiasm the author displays here, but reading and factoring in feedback is arguably the most important part of a good novel. Because the novel isn't about the author, it's about the readers. I wish the author can take this feedback and iterate upon better in his/her future endevaours, but I've lost interest in this particular work.
First off, I absolutely loved the premise - apocalypse occurs, and dungeons are born, with characters struggling to survive. Sure, it's been done before, but what matters is not the premise, but the execution. However, what stops me from giving this a full 10/10 is the fact the MC seems to be about the only character that matters and there's a lack of world building. Let's take the world for one. Sure, cataclysm occurs. Dungeons spawn, people get superpowers. And what happens next to the World? Nobody cares. As a matter of fact, the MC casually parties with a coupla folks, gets out and says "Heyy, I'm from yo town too, let's hang out and chill, mmkay?". Just imagine. There are monsters and tentacled horrors going about and our MC suddenly loses his humanity, sense of empathy and literally goes "Must get stronk!".
Alright. moving onto the characters. For most of the story (at least around chapter 35 or so), the MC seems to have the emotive range of a doorknob and whatever determination he possesses in one internal monologue seems to all but vanish in the next. We're given a narrative deus ex machina in an initial chapter on why he found power in his hands, but the fact that he casually meets with walking armageddons who somehow end up looking at him favorably is just jarring. Let's face it, say you're a world-ending horror that literally enslaves and makes other creatures go insane by your very existence, then if an ant were to cross your road you'd be all like "step, step step, squish ant casually". Instead all such entities seem to support the MC for some reason that's not explained very clearly. And despite the utter zeal with which the MC is trying to become strong, all that the readers can see is the MC being subtly manipulated by all the teacher like characters around him. We see a chapter where the MC is pretty angry at this fact, but it seems to vanish the next moment and only to have all the elder like figures make a show of authority to the MC.
The author had earlier mentioned about how a certain other character kept shitting on the MC of another novel, but honestly, I see the MC's character traits regressing slowly here as well. What's unexplained is how the protagonist suddenly rediscovers his humanity and sense of empathy the moment he loses his childhood friends. It felt forced and arbitrary. I feel it might have been better to simply say he was devoid of his human emotions and evolved etc, as it flows better with the plot.
Of course, all this isn't to just shit on this novel. I like this novel and want the author to at least retroactively address some of the plot holes. I liked the leveling system, but characters acting much younger than their ages is off putting and the MC having no real motive of his own and instead of following his Master like an obedient slave is not the most inviting of settings. I mean, it doesn't matter if the MC is powerful or not, but whether he can truly carve a path of his own. The reason he's called the "Main Character" is for a reason. However, the overall ambience of a war against eldritch entities with a perk based leveling system is done very well and I can't praise the author enough for that. There is also an attempt at humanizing the antagonist and painting the World in shades of grey instead of a black and white and this is spectacular for a novel. Thanks for the work, author!
The story has an excellent pace to it. The writing style is stellar and grammar is near perfect. There are a few incongruities at this point, but I'm hoping that with enough time and more chapters they will be addressed. The story has a nice setting to it, with likeable characters. At this point it is still too early for an incredibly detailed review, considering that the author promised 5 chapters/week and that the plot is still in its infancy.
The one complaint that I have so far is absolutely nothing is known about the origins of the protagonist. But I don't think that this is a big issue, as the author seems to be going for a gradual reveal of the protagonist's past instead of an info dump. That is also fine
As for other readers looking to get a sense of the novel from the reviews, without spoiling too much, this is a summoned to new world story with a twist. So far so good, with enough action and a good deal of humor. I'm leaving it at 4.5/5 for now, as it is too early. Will come back in the future and amend my score.
The overall pacing is quite good and the style is perfectly acceptable too. It's just that the story makes a mess of itself. First we have a protagonist who has somehow magically engineered an AI that's so advanced that even Turing himself would be shitting his pants, yet knows next to nothing about actual computing. Then we have the Game. Yes the Game, as the novel proudly announces.
For the first part of the plot, the MC bravely breaks away his corporeal shackles, only to be a puppet to an Ai. An AI he designed. It's actually weird, if you think about it. Then he joins a guild and becomes a puppet to another player. Then he joins a war and becomes a puppet to a different player. Did I mention that there's a second AI doing some puppetry too?
Well, they style and grammar is quite good, the pacing is not bad. The characters are blank 2-D strawmen. Yes, we have it. The shut-in nerd who's a secret genius with a tragic past (which was added in as an afterthought, almost as if it might redeem the character). Then you have manipulative deuteragonists who are so bad it's actually quite pitiable to watch them bumbling about. And then there is some vast cosmic scheme which everyone seems to acknowledge and no one seems to bother about.
The plot fails not because it is a poor one, but because it attempts too many things at once. RPG elements, Sci-Fi, Civil War, Relationship troubles, Cosmic Overlords. When you put everything in one you don't get a coherent plot. It showed promise during the starting stages and can still be something great, if only each character did not have the attention span of a goldfish.
I dunno man, this is Wish fulfillment unlimited. Like seriously, the entire story is this – “Git stronk, kill people, git stronker, kill more”. Admittedly a lot of eastern fantasies go for this basic trope, but at least there is a basic struggle to get strong and usually it’s the journey to get strong that makes the plot.
But no, here the author just randomly decided to make the Mc ridficulously overpowered for no fucking reason and then the MC goes on a rampage for no fucking reason. Ummm.. Wow. And the change of POv, the abysmal grammar and the horrible pacing don’t really add much. Normally I’m not so openly critical of anyone’s effort, but to call this a story is to do stories a grave injustice.
Maybe it is early to make a review, but a review often helps a story get notices
The Good Stuff
- Interesting setting
- Excellent descriptions
- Acceptable style of writing
The Bad Stuff
- Lacking characters
- Cookie cutter motivations for the MC
- No explanation for the World.
- Minimal worldbuilding
Well, it's a story that can be so much more, but lacks a lot at the moment. I'll change my reviews in the future if there is improvement. I think there will be improvement, and frankly I don't blame the author for ignoring worldbuilding at the moment, for a lot of stories focus a lot on worldbuilding and forget the characters. Well, I hope the author can use this to further refine the plot
First off, the author is pretty good at having a comprehensive idea of the plot. Unfortunately, the readers don't. The author has clearly created a carefully thought out story , but with the lack of plot so far it's just a pretty painting to be admired from far away and not something the readers can relate to. Secondly, the struggles of the protagonist .... Underwhelming. Usually web novels either follow the plot of a stupidly over powered protagonist or someone who is weak initially but does show good character development. Here the protagonist is a middling character who 'll supposedly power up in the future but is weak to begin with. That's ask fine, but it marks him as destined for greatness and thus squelched out whatever room for development that existed.
Again , all this criticism is to help the author refine his storytelling, plot pacing and narration. This is in no way a direct attack or anything. The grammar is in fact well above average for RRL. I hope to see an improved story in the future