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Reviews
The Path of Ascension

I want to like this, I really do, and the promise is there but by god are the character interactions awful. 

character: let's start at the bad and get to the good. Basically, the best Character's are those that don't talk. Actual effort goes into characterizing them based on how they act appear and interact with the wold. Take the drunk dude who I can't spell the name of; he is way more interesting as a character perpetually passed out drunk than Tier-2 party groupy A, cause, damn it all, those kids talk like an interchangeable helper AI ready to vomit exposition, except Siri has more personality.

Matt, at least, is likeable and shows some real problem solving ability at the beginning in addition to his hard work ethic. Matt being a decent human being, and decent people existing in general, is also refreshing.

Grammar: could use improvement but the author is editing existing chapters and takes suggestions

Style: not strong, did I mention the painful dialogue? I'm not even sure why it repulses me so much, and I hate being so negative... but like, the rest is written fairly decently so it just makes it worse by comparison (and disappoints me after raising my expectations). Ignoring the dialogue, it's mostly fine though.

story: from what I've read it's interesting and compels me to keep reading despite the flaws. But the flaw do bare mention. After the first couple chapters where Matt is actively shown facing his problems, events are brushed aside for expediency. Matt has friends now and he trusts them? Okay... I have no reason to buy that. This story has very much become tell don't show almost as if the author doesn't think anything that happened would be interesting enough to write about... which make me wonder why I should gather reading.

 

yet I still want to like this, if only because I find promise in the premise and the world which are both interesting. I might come back later


He Who Fights With Monsters

I'm not going to go into any great detail, but I like this story and it has been of relatively consistent quality. sure I've paused reading it every now and then (if the pacing is a bit slow or I'm not a fan of the current plot thread) but that just makes for a great binge later and there are frequent enough tone shifts/new arks to keep things fresh for me.

Basically, it's a story I have enjoyed since I first spotted it on trending and has made for a nice after-class treat on the bus ride home (when that was still a thing). Sometimes a chapter may be a bit slow but I still remember having a good laugh over the amphora chapter outside a campus Starbucks :)


Wildcards: The Dread Captain

Overall I really like this story it isn't perfect but it's a damn site better than most of the stuff on this site. I'm giving it a 5 because of this, not because it's perfect (if I make an advance review I might bring it down a trade as I go into detail on the criticism). For now I can just say it's a solid read with no major shortcomings, the only flaw (if you can call it that) is that the pacing and structure seem better suited for a fully published book and/or longer chapters as they can feel a tad unsatisfactory one their own with a weekly schedule (which I'm sure is at least partially responsible for the high quality).

So I recommend you read it, but keep in mind the limitations of its format.


Rebirth Of Civilization

TLDR: Like plain popcorn, it's inoffensive, You'll munch on is as a snack but you aren't eating it cause of the complex flavours and it certainly won't fill you up. This story is like that, and just like plain popcorn you get tired of it after awhile. Maybe the author will sprinkle on some metaphorical salt and butter but I can't see that happening any time soon.  So it's fine to read if your bored and want crafting as a focus for a change but that's about it. (All said, I still mostly enjoyed reading it, I just tire of all the missed opportunities)

Story: The story is more nonexistent than bad. Just survival and the litRPG grind. Though to it's marrit there's more crafting than most stories but the crafting is kinda dumb. There's the occasional creative flair but most of the time you'll be frustrated by the MC ignoring the possibility's

the style is bland and sometimes redundant. I kinda wish the MC thoughts weren't written as much cause they're mostly exposition and kinda just highlight how bland he is. On the flip side, this has been great to read before bed as I have been drifting off especially well while reading it.

grammar is fine, nothing much to say about it.

charecters is... well there is one; the MC, and I've already forgotten his name. The most notible thing about him is he dropped out of collage and you can kinda see why.he bumbles about occasionally making somewhat intelligent decisions but if you're expecting an Mac to make deliberate decisions towards the goal of rebuilding civilization that's not here (not yet at least). Forget the scientific method, I'm not sure he even know's that Iron is an element. There's no real process to his expiermentation he mostly gets lucky. His work with rune's is a bit more intelligent than smithing though. You may have noticed that what I'm describing counts at most as a character flaw, not really a review of his characterisation, but that's all we got. 

That, and an overly calm "and rational" reaction to most everything. He doesn't feel emotion beyond mild annoyance as far as I can tell but if that's your thing, all the power to ya (I know a lot of people like there MC like this. Just know he'll make a tone of noise next to a rode where an ambush happened without considering it may be a bad idea...

Note: this may all change (and improve) as the story progresses, I just have limited time and patience.


Rise of the Mechanar

Basically read the first chapter and you will have a good idea of if you'll like this story or not. The first chapter basically does everything a good chapter should do; it introduces us to the protagonist, his wants and personality, showcases some key cheer yer traits and introduces the main obstinate to his desire. It introduces the setting in an organic manner through interesting diolouge and action that is actually interesting raver then a rote play by play... basically it checks all my boxes. The best part is that the quality of the first chapter is indicative of what follows.

Pacing wise, wile the story take a while to get going, it doesn't feel slow at all, and the early chapters before the main action are all very in there own right. The style is inoffensive and delivers world building and exposition in a mostly organic manner. There are a few time I stumbled over framing and tense as well as a few bit of awkward grammar. For that I give both grammar and style 4 stars (above average but not exceptional)

the story I give a 4 since for what we have it's been great, but at this point the main overarching story is hard to tell. Minor spoilers for why it ain't 5:

Once reaching the litRPG elements the story and pacing seem to stutter a bit, part of that is exploring the new ability's but the momentum that was being built is a bit lost. I'll have to wait and see how it pans out when there are more chapters

Character is where the story really shines I think. Lot's of work when into building our main character and giving us reader time to get to know him. It also lay a solid ground work for how Nick goes about solving problems when scatt hit spree fan and when he does impressive stuff the set p make it all believable. The side character's are also well realized and I really like how the the author portrays their belief in the class system and the status quo and just generally how people believe and act on their philosophy's, especially when they are foreign. 5 stars.

Minor complaint in spoiler:

My only problem was with the Viking ripoff Northmen (or whatever they're called). OK taping and pillaging is a thing that has existed, warior cultures are not unheard of. It's just that it was all very one note, maybe because it was from the perspective of the pillaged but these cultures in reality were far from the 2D characters that are common and are most interesting in their irony's... I know I'm asking to much for something that hasn't had a lot of time to be fully fleshed out (hence it's still 5 stars) and this is all very poorly worded, but I see some great potential in this story but also some big potential pitfalls: please don't characterize foreign(and historic) cultures, please don't loose momentum in favour of system "stuff"... that should conclude me worrying 😅

 


The Primal Hunter

I won't say this story is amazing, but it's perfect popcorn food. By which I mean it's a lot of fun to read.

The story is basically your standard fair LitRPG Apocalypse, including the overly long tutorial, and you know what that's fine. It's interesting and has stayed interesting. New things have Happened and our MC has been doing various things as time progresses and situations change and not just the same thing over and over. It may not be special but it's keeping my atentention and I enjoy all of it (including the occasional POV shift); for that it gets a 4.

again the style is nothing special. It doesn't add anything to the story but how beautiful it is that it doesn't take anything away! It's smoke and consistent and fits with the tone the story is going for. 4 stars.

Grammar is good, but not perfect, which is expected with this fast release schedule. There are mistakes here and there, but if you point them out the author will listen and fix them. 4.5 stars

Now character. This is something I might get a bit of flack for... but I really like them! The MC is fun and interesting and actually has emotions (wow my bar is low) and he deals with his emotions... Antognists have motive's, and flaw besides being evil (I like this but seems a vocal minority doesn't so you have been warned) and at present there is a good power balance between characters such that the MC isn't overwhelmingly OP while still maintaining an air of power.

All told the story ain't amazing but I like it a lot; 4.5 🌟


Heart of Cultivation

A xianxia where people have brains and reasonable actions aren’t Unheard of

What I said, Itks a pretty standard xianxia except that the characters arn't frustrating to the 9 hells and the first action taken to deal with a problem isn't borderline sociopathic (that would be the second or third option). The writing is solid and reflects and understanding of the English language which is nice as well. Basically if you l8ke xianxia but are tired of most of them being crap give this a go; there's a good chance you'll like it.


Agenda of the Villainess

Victorian Fantasy Romance with an Otome Twist

This is a good story for what it is, which from what I can tell is a victorian Fantasy romance along the line of "The Paper Magician" or the watchmaker's daughter with an additional twist from the Otome Villiness genre. What I stress s that it leans more heavily into the historical setting while Otome settings are typically a massive joke if you know anything about the supposed era and local that it is set in which may not be that case for the typical Japanise reader but if fairly common among western audiences who had a class in European history.

So if you happen to be of the latter camp and suffer continual frustration at the mess of inaccuracy/lunacy that makes up the setting of most Otome Villinious stories, but still what to read them, you'll probably love this as I do.

This is slower-paced and the chapters are on the shorter side so I would suggest waiting for chapters to build if that's a problem for you. And if the passing is anything like a typical victorian romance, expect it to be slow and frustrating though typically there's some secondary plot with decent pacing so we shall see.

Characters are well written from what I have seen, grammar is great, I love the style (it fits so well) and the story shows promise for what's there though could maybe be further along by now (if this was a published book, web serials tend to stretch on longer on slower by there nature).

TLDR: if you a fan of books like those I have mentioned above or want a more grounded Otome villainous story you'll probably like this one.


Death Cultivator (Cultivator in Another World Vol. I & II)

Not gonna do a long in depth review but I just wanted to say how much I enjoy the characters in this. Sure the world building is interesting and the storie’s got some stakes and shit that’s interesting but I actually care about the characters which is the important part (also the the most frustrating part in most cultivation novels I’ve read).

The MC is a nice guy, and for good reason. He doesn't want to end up like his dad or disappoint his grandpa, oh did I forget to mention? This kid actually has a past and it influences his actions in a strange and scary world. And yes I mean kid, not edgelord supreme faceslap murder hobo.

Tldr: I like it, and if you get you panties in a twist over MC’s having morals and shit maybe you won't but like, tough shit?


Old Man's Adventure

As of right now it has a good base and is a lot of fun to read. For whatever reason it reminds me of the fun I had reading Randidly Goashound all those years ago when I didn't even have an acount yet. Probably because the basic system is similar with "grids" instead of "paths". Anyway I like the System--I especially like it's snark. The almost cliche snarky system is here and the amount of atentention drawn to it makes me think it might become a future plot point (which I would find interesting). 

There isn't much of a story yet--no real goal beyond get stronger/survive which isn't a problem now but could become one. I like the main cast of characters and they all have the potential to become fully fleshed out but their not there yet.

A worry I have is that the the character types are defaulting--my guess is that the author doesn't even realize it--The big guy is a tank, the named women are a magician, healer and food logistician (the stewardess), Thin dude gets a spear, Hispanic dude is in charge of construction and Texan is a hunter. None of these on their own are particularly bad but I have seen not one character fall outside of their expected mould as one would see normally (in reality). Not only is this boring (in the long term) but it could become problematic if gendered/racial/geographic stereotypes become the norm. I mention this only because I like the story and this is an easy pitfall for a writer to fall into regardless of their beliefs.

I like the old man and think he could become a very interesting character. I think his age could be shown more often than stated as I certainly wouldn't have thought him 79 without being told: he feels more middle aged. Old people can be really funny I love how they might buck trends and just not care what people say. There is a bit of that here but it could maybe be leaned into more. I was just reading Artorian's Archives and loved how those books expressed the old man maybe it would make good inspiration? On that train of thought the story also reminds me a bit Old Man's War so if you like those books you might like this one.

Grammar is great aside from the odd typo (damn typos are like cockroaches; I'll never fault anyone for a few of those getting through) and the style is smooth but nothing special or particularly interesting.

TLDR: WHAT'S HERE IS GOOD. TIME WILL TELL IF IT WILL BECOME SOMETHING GREAT OR JUST MEH.