"Kobolds are the much-diminished descendants of dragons. They may have inherited a certain cunning from their ancestors, but they are as weak and pitiable as any Goblin. Nonetheless, they still have a trace of draconic blood, and a kobold that gains sufficient power could regain their ancestors' strength..."
Every RoyalRoad reader probably knows this story. If you didn't hear it playing DnD, you picked it up from one of the many dungeon core stories that spawns a Kobold in the hope of one day evolving into a proper dragon, or perhaps just from some adventurer's [Analyze] during a low-level mission.
But how do the Kobolds feel about their lost power and distant potential? And what would a quest for one of them to achieve that potential look like? CoCop (noted author of Tower of Somnus, Blessed Time, and several other fantastic works) is here to explore those questions with an incredible new work.
Having read a few chapters ahead, I can promise that this story is as interesting as it is adorable. CoCop's strong character work once again shines through, creating a cast that is relatable and endearing while still being recognizable as proper Kobolds. And although we've yet to see much of the world outside the Kobolds' cave, the world inside is as well-built and intriguing as all of Cocop's work.
The grammar and style are naturally excellent, and the story is fantastically promising. I firmly believe that this story will rocket up to the top of RR's charts in short order.
A true work of perfection. This story sees past the shallow biases of Tower of Somnus's so-called "protagonist", Katherine Debs, and right into the soul of its true champion— Arnold Jacques.
Though only two chapters are published at the time I write this review, the quality and perceptiveness of the writing is such that I feel entirely confident in saying that this will swiftly rise to the very top of RoyalRoad's charts.
It's been far too long since I read a good story with a genuinely decent protagonist. Obviously Matt (our protagonist) has the same obsession with growing stronger that pervades every LitRPG and Xianxia work, but it comes from a place of genuinely wanting to be a decent person, and I'd honestly forgotten what a huge difference that makes. Not to mention the equally refreshing attitude of the people around him who encourage him to push himself only in moderation— displaying a degree of common sense that I don't often see in mentor characters.
And speaking of characters, I was entirely delighted by how very humanized they were. I actually sighed out loud with pleasure when one character started showing off pictures of his new baby.
In terms of grammar and writing, there are a couple small things, but nothing that tripped me up. The story is clearly benefiting from the loving attention of an editor.
The system and worldbuilding are delightful. A delicious mix of LitRPG and Xianxia, all spread over a good solid sci-fi base. All the elements are familiar, but the combination feels new. I wholeheartedly enjoy it and can't wait to see Matt explore the greater universe.
As a registered Gay™, I am of course required to complain about the one moment where the possibility of the protagonist being bisexual is raised only to be mocked before he is shoved onto the Definitely Straight Forever path, but even that particularly eye-roll-worthy event is just a small distraction from an otherwise excellent work. I stayed up late to finish reading this story and immediately found myself wanting to read it again when I woke up. I recommend it highly.
The pace of this story may seem off-putting at first, with quite a few time skips of years at a time. But the further into the story we get, the more that pace feels correct. This is a story taking place over a very long period of (subjective) time, and those time skips are perfectly placed to let us keep moving forward at a reasonable speed while still giving us just the right amount of time with the various characters and plot developments.
Obviously, only time (and more updates) will reveal just how good the storytelling and character building really are here. This is, after all, a time loop story— each reset provides a new opportunity to dig deeper into plot reveals and character work. But from what I've seen so far, I have faith that we'll end up at a truly satisfying depth.
I'm sure this is an enjoyable story for some people, but the MC’s almost aggressive straightness, love of guns, and general Gary Stu-ness was a big turn off for me. The characters in general did not work for me- I felt that most of them were little more than blank slates to prop the MC up.
The worldbuilding was somewhat more enjoyable, with some interesting ideas and setup, but I somehow felt it lacked the little details that would normally bring a setting to life.
The grammar and spelling are great, though- absolutely no problems there. Although I’m not terribly fond of stories that neglect Royal Road’s status box format in favor of bulky, written-out status boxes, the status was small enough that I didn’t particularly care. Although it got a bit frustrating later when we started getting a lot of written-out notifications.
All in all, I feel that this is probably a good power fantasy story for other people, but it simply is not designed to appeal to me, and as a result I spent a lot of time stuck on the flaws.