My feelings about this book can be summed up by a line that appears in chapter 29: "...it was just the accumulation of so many stressors, coming together and manifesting in a sudden burst of general apathy with this proverbial last straw on the camel's back."
The MC is too stressed all the time. Even when he succeeds at something, he's not allowed to celebrate due to one reason or the other. There is no relief for the reader. As of now, I am quite apathetic about him. I could care less if he tripped and fell into the lake and drowned.
This was frustrating. It's like fool's gold. The visuals are great, but it's disappointing inside. The author is great at designing the world and the characters, and describing them. Everything is very beautiful and creative, but the storyline and the character interactions let it down.
MC is a child with a troubled past. Hence, the world bends over backwards to accomodate her. Her luck stats are phenomenal... I mean, the first archmage she meets suffers from a magical OCD that compels him to help her and enrol her in his academy. *smh*
Still, academy arcs are overdone... but tolerable. My main gripe is with the presence of arrogant young masters (Elite student; demon twins) and faceslapping (MC accidentally breaks his fingers; makes their jaws drop during training while half asleep). Really, is this a bad xianxia in disguise?
And all this while she's supposed to be in hiding cause the 'evil' factions are after her for 'reasons'. Oh, and her sponsor puts her in the cliche Loser class while also giving her a gold scholarship. Not conspicuous at all. *Logic? What's that? Is it tasty?*
Oh, and did I mention the dragon-girl sidekick MC picked up on the way? The one who wants to protect and adopt MC cause her maternal insticnts are in flood... even though, according to the text, she's decades away from puberty. *sigh*
All in all, up to where I read, recommended for the worldbuilding and character designs (5 star dragonoid archmage, btw)... and a tepid response for everything else.
I say, what a blast it was reading this. It has the most likeable main character I've seen in ages.
And the world it has been set in is equally interesting. You really can't ask for more.
The game stats feel slightly unnecessary, but bring enough to the table to justify their use.
Out of all of the story published so far, I only found myself skimming over the description of the world map. And I do that for all fics.
Also, I personally didn't like the deus ex machina moment where a god literally saved mc from death. But it was done well enough to not detract from my overall enjoyment.
So... basically, READ IT. I won't be surprised if it works it's way up to top 5 on Best Rated.
Perfect combination of action and humor, set in a creative twist to the system apocalypse genre.
The two mcs are also perfectly crafted to fit both sides of the game. An ex soldier for combat and, of all things, a cat decorated with cat show ribbons for the showboating.
The writing had a flow that pulled me in. Unfortunately, it was a river full of rocks that I got pulled into. I emerged bruised and beaten - wanting to like the fic but failing to.
These rocks that I speak of are the characters. Each one divided sharply enough into black and white to cut yourself on.
Still, considering that such unambiguous moral standpoints vastly reduce the difficulty of storytelling and the fact that this is the author's first fic... it might have been a conscious choice. If so, a prudent one.
Other than this one gripe, I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the story. While I won't be following this one, I am full of anticipation for the author's next tale.
The world and characters are what make this fic the most enjoyable system apocalypse I have read till date. The vivid imagery, specially, is what attracted me and never let me go.
My only complaint is that there is a tad bit more number crunching than I like... but it is well balanced with the other elements like mystery, drama and action. So, 5 stars all across the board from me.
Horror has very few good titles to its name, here at RR. And those that are there are tempered with humor or meta tropes and litrpg elements.
Now this... this is unadulterated stuff. The mystical atmosphere is there as is a pervasive sense of despair. All contrasted against a scientific civilization we can identify with - just in the role of the invaders instead of the invaded as is the case for most apocalyptic fictions.
The only other fiction that comes close on RR is Couplet... and in terms of published works: The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix.
Definitely a must read if you like metal and magic.
I read the entire story on the author's blog in one sitting. After finishing it, I was left with a feeling of deep satisfaction, that I formerly believed, only a long soak in a hot tub on the coldest day of winter could provide.
If nothing else, it taught me how to correctly use a teleporter in a fiction. Strider single-handedly shouldered the story and lugged it from one action setpiece to the next and all across the globe, giving the story a frenetic pace that reminded me of allnighters and caffeine overdoses.
I absolutely loved the pacing. No fillers... non-stop action. I felt like I was reading a movie transcript and I loved the feeling. Easily the best thing about the story was how the deaths of two main characters were so abrupt. It really ratcheted the tension high. No one was safe. Once again, I can't express how much I adored the speed at which we rushed through the narrative WHILE maintaining narrative integrity. Really amazing. It takes serious talent to pull it off.
A few things, though, hold the story back. The inordinate amount of luck [plot convenience] showered on the team at the cost of realism... A character who should have taken a hike [nudge nudge] remains behind in the cast for the sake of keeping the team united. The very first case they crack as a team exposes a clue that leads to the main villain. And so on...
Final verdict: It has it's flaws - sure - but overall, I would call the experience a really enjoyable one.
Despite some wobbly tense shifts and use of inappropriate descriptors like 'thrashing storms' and 'sizzling water' the story on the whole is very well written. But what really caught my attention and kept me reading was the style. The way the words are woven into sentences and the way the sentences weave a beautifully macabre tapestry of a world abandoned by its Maker is what made me read and reread the limited chapters available.
Each character - even minor ones - are memorable by dint of the care with which they are described. The fights are graphic and the magic thematically relevant - which is rarer than you would think. I mean, how many times have you read an interesting magic system that at its essence is just 'crutch x grants ability'. It can be a system, it can be a bloodline or it can be some mystical energy like Qi/Mana.
In Couplet though, the magic comes from the main theme - the abscence of the Maker and the authoritative void that this has left behind. And that, in my opinion, is absolutely brilliant.
In short, a story that deserves the accolades I am sure it will garner in the future.
Each chapter was magical, reminiscent of the fairy tales I read as a child. Now this, is a flavour of fantasy that isn't being explored enough. Very refreshing.