Ziggy

Ziggy

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Beneath the Dragoneye Moons

Unearned sexism from poor world building

The author has made it clear they want to explore sexism in a litrpg setting. Which could be very fun and interesting to read about. There are a lot of fictions that take a unique look at sexism with specific magic and science in play with lots of interesting world building. But in this story, the sexism is tossed in without any reason given for it; making it feel nonsensical and unearned.

Things happen for a reason. Societies aren't sexist "just because." There are things that push a society to be so. Whether it's health related, greed, from the women mostly being kidnapped from raids, whatever. That doesn't justify it, but you can see how they get from point A to B and you think, "Okay, I can see how this happened." It makes sense.

However, in the society we're shown, we're never given a reason for the sexism. The author wants them to be sexist, so they are. We're never shown any kind of cultural, sexual, or darwinist pressure for this to happen. There seems to be absolutely no reason for it, it just is how it is. When women can attain skills to fling lightning bolts without consequences, it doesn't even make sense. It's completely unearned and unsatisfying.

Why is this society like this? How do you marginalize half your population when they're freely allowed to attain superhuman strength and cast magic? What are the ramifications of having x sexist action happen with a litrpg system involved? Cause currently, the ramifications are.. exactly like they are without the system. If you remove the litrpg, it just reads like a random, medieval, sexist society. The litrpg aspect would have huge and interesting impacts on this kind of stuff and society as a whole. The whole point of adding the litrpg is to add to the story and explore how it being present changes the world. But it feels like it's being written in as an afterthought with the world building of it almost completely ignored.

This doesn't read like a society that just so happened to heavily imitate Rome in spite of the world changing litrpg and magic. This instead reads like a normal Roman society developed with no access to magic or a system at all, and then had the litrpg aspect slowly introduced with society barely changing in response.

The story isn't terrible, but it's hard to get past constantly asking "why is it like this?" and there never being a satisfying answer. The answer is because the author wants it that way and didn't put in the proper world building for it. The end.

Edit: Had a comment here for context, but it was rule breaking and rightfully removed. Going to try again below to get my point across without making the same mistake. Not a spoiler, just long context and feel free to stop reading here.

What I was attempting to get across is that the author does not think through their world building. They want certain scenes to happen regardless of if it makes sense, and will not change it even with constructive criticism or when it's obvious there's a problem. They could make these scenes make sense if they accounted for their world building and thought it through, but they do not. They wing it and it leads to mistakes.

Example. Very minor moment in story, not important at all and I'm making sure to be vague as well. At some point, a low level military recruiter attempts to forcefully conscript a much higher level character. Everyone has a skill to easily see people's level range that shows their class name a darker color. High level characters have social status and are also exponentially more powerful in very literal ways. When asked via comment, "Why on earth would the recruiter do this? It makes no sense." The author responded with, "Maybe they're colorblind?"

As you can tell by the response, they didn't think it through and didn't have an answer. If they had their own, in story logic about why it made sense, then that's fine. I can disagree but at least they had their reasoning. But they didn't have their own reasoning. They just wanted the scene to happen and didn't bother to think about how it would happen organically in their world.

And the sexism itself is wildly inconsistent. We're introduced to a powerful female character in some of the very first chapters. No one is ever sexist towards her. Ever. Even once. This supposedly super sexist society acts less sexist than even modern day America half the time, and it's very jarring.

Some things are decently thought out. The magic system diagram specifically is cool looking. But they're generally writing by the seat of their pants, and it shows.

 


Castle Kingside (Rewrite)

This story was good in its first iteration. Even if the author had only copied/pasted the entire story again with no changes, I would still be comfortable saying this is worth checking out. And going off everyone else's reviews, it's even better with the alterations.

The protagonist is cerebral without being a heartless machine. The story is contemplative, but there are still moment of action. It can be a bit of a slow burn. But considering there will be 90+ chapters up very soon here, there's plenty of story for you to figure out if it's up your alley.

Looking forward to binging the story all over again when it catches up to where the old story was. Welcome back!


The Great Devourer

I know the cover should have made it obvious, but eesh. This reads like the author is a teenage boy trying to write smut, then walking it back just enough so it's technically not.

Sexuality in stories can totally work. The problem is that this comes off as one of the most paint-by-numbers fictions I've ever read. The sexuality never feels natural, it comes off as a weapon to forcefully contort the plot and smack you in the face till you're interested. It's like the story is trying to hit the most common denominator and pander to every possible fetish while satisfying none of them. Even the litrpg aspect that I'm guilty of typically enjoying.

"Okay, first page, I want a tentacle rape picture. Now barely cover up the important bits so it's technically not porn that will get censored, but make sure the audience can tell her naked legs are forced open and the monster is all over her. Perfect. Now she needs to be a masochist, because duh. So let's just immediately turn her pain into pleasure. Done. What's the next fetish?"

The entire story reads like this. It's obvious and awkward. And yet in spite of the constant and overbearing sexuality, the story refuses to go full on smut. It reads entirely like they forcefully slapped on a PG-13 filter to reach a wider audience. Which just makes the weaponized sexuality even more awkward by utterly refusing to follow through.

Humor wise, it's accomplished by relying almost solely on misunderstandings and the MC getting smacked around and enjoying it. It's labeled as a comedy, but that's the entirety of the comedy so far. That's it. To say it falls flat is an understatement. I noped out when the protagonist ends up licking and kissing a girl to get at her essence. Not sexual at all of course, don't be silly. Yet another misunderstanding that is totally hilarious and not at all the lowest possible rung of comedy.

Author should really just go pure smut and remove the self-imposed PG-13 filter, or stop with the extremely heavy handed sexuality and misunderstandings. One or the other. As it is now, trying to pander to everyone results in the worst of both worlds with the benefits of neither.


Defiance of the Fall

From Guilty Pleasure to just Guilty

Edit: The story has gone from "guilty pleasure" to "bloated mess I can't even force myself to read." The writing quality has continually decreased, and the story relies more and more on gimmicks to keep people reading instead. Almost every single chapter tries to end in a cliffhanger, even when it makes no sense. There is an extreme amount of unnecessary exposition to stretch chapters, and plotlines get padded to where they're 100 chapters longer than they should be.

These all have you keep reading, chasing that next chapter in the hopes you'll finally get some form of resolution in the story. There is no resolution. Just more unfulfilling chapters and neverending cliffhangers.

Not worth it. Finally dropped.

Old review:

Have you ever read a book or watched a show you know is objectively bad, but you can't stop? A guilty pleasure? My parents watch Wynona Earp while talking about how awful it is, some people hide away their Twilight books they hope no one finds, and I keep reading Defiance of the Fall.

One can definitely enjoy this. The litrpg aspect is interesting and sucks you in. But the writing itself? Not so much. Let's not even touch on the characters or plot and their (many) problems. Instead, let's only talk about the prose and writing style. There are a LOT of literary crutches used. If you make a drinking game out of every time you see the words "truly" or "true" alone you'll be dead in one chapter. Other words and phrases used a ridiculous amount: Sighed/sighing, couldn't help but/could only, arduously, his heart, hesitantly, old monster... The list goes on.

The worst part? This issue has been brought up. Repeatedly. It's known and extremely easy to fix. All it takes is ctrl + f at the end of a chapter and editing it out. Or even having someone else edit each chapter. But these crutches all still show up a half a dozen or more times a chapter (each!) almost 400 chapters in. So it seems like the writing is never going to change regardless of how many people bring it up.

If you need a litrpg fix and have run out of stuff to read? By all means, you'll enjoy at least some of the time spent on this. But it's objectively not great due to some glaring and easy to fix issues.


Between Worlds

I went into this with very low expectations. The description makes it obvious this had a romance or smut leaning which tends to lower the bar. But I'll give a lot of stories a shot.

And what a pleasant surprise. The author is competent, first and foremost. Not to say they're the wordsmith of the century, but the prose flows very organically. I never have to reread a passage from confusion and mistakes are rare. This is a step up from most stories on this site and it is immediately obvious.

What stands out though is that the author isn't afraid to follow through with the setting. I wholly expected the setting to solely be an excuse for wanton debauchery with little actual exploration of the main themes. And while there is smut, there are scenes that genuinely try to explore sexual dynamics and role reversal. There are the expected scenes of the protagonist lusting after the amazonian aliens; but then there are also scenes of the protagonist being told he needs to be careful how he dresses because of how it might be taken.

It was more than I expected, and it makes the story far more enjoyable and interesting. Honestly, the only reason I didn't give the full five stars is because I want even more exploration into that world building and the dynamics that come about because of it.

If you like smut, this is an easy yes. If you don't, it might still surprisingly be a yes. Author thankfully puts warnings for the smut chapters which can be avoided, and the exploration of role reversal is interesting. I just hope there's even more exploring it going forward.


Evil Eye: Hexcaller

Edit: Author changed the description, my comments about the old one are out-dated. Story is still good, though.

From the description, it kinda comes off that the MC is the angry incel type. Which I'm not a fan of, but this hit trending so I thought I'd give it a go. And wow. First off, if you got the same vibe from the description as I did, the MC is not some troll that hates everyone. He comes off as a three dimensional character with understandable motivations, and he's even likable.

As for the quality of the story, it's pretty dang good. I have some nitpicks with the grammar but the author is writing this for the "write a bunch in one month" thing so it's pretty forgivable with how much content they're putting out so quickly.

Give it a few chapters and you probably won't regret it.


Apocalypse Unleashed - A LitRPG Story

You can bet you'll find one of two things in every chapter. A ton of exposition on the litrpg mechanics without it being satisfying, and/or the characters demonstrating they're crappy people somehow.

Characters are generally supposed to be flawed. This story makes it clear early on that these teens (and occasional adults) aren't perfect. But it's clear in the first 5 chapters. Then you get another 5 chapters beating that dead horse. Then another 10 chapters. Are there two characters or more interacting? Good odds they're going to be arguing and/or being unlikable little jerks. Or if the MC is alone, he'll only be thinking about how much people suck instead of actively arguing with them.

I really tried to keep reading thinking there'd be some kind of turning point. But there isn't. The tone never changes. And I just can't handle another chapter with the constant and unnecessary social drama, or the MC's general disdain for people repeated for the 20th time. It's intolerable.


Inexorable Chaos

I don't know how this happened, so congrats.

I can be a harsh critic. I have 2.5 reviews (or less) for some of the most popular stories on this site. And not only did I avoid this story once I found out it was harem, I later gave it a shot and put it down after a dozen chapters. But. Big ol' but. I've somehow come back to it again and again over time to where I've read all the current chapters. Yeah, I don't know how this happened.

This story isn't perfect. The first arc has a good bit of sexual debauchery, it usually goes with pretty over the top and absurdist humor, and I tend to completely skim the chapters around most of the secondary characters. But in spite of the flaws, it's managed to bring me back and keep me reading. It's even given me a few chuckles. Managing that is no small feat, and deserves to finally get a review out of me.

If you're torn, give it a dozen chapters and see how you feel. You might find yourself unexpectedly coming back after a month or two, just as I did. And if the author ever starts a new story, it'll be worth at least giving it a shot.


World Reset

You guys get the weirdest stuff on trending.

The author warns this is in the style of japanese light novels and they are not lying. This reeks of anime style conversations, characters, and other nonsense. If you have ever watched anime and noticed certain phrases that pop up repeatedly, you'll see them in abundance here. Along with characters that aren't believable at all, that say things no normal human would say.

Besides those glaring problems, the universe's rules and how powers/magic/the system functions is odd and incoherent. From what I read, definitely just seems like an excuse to have an MC with god-like power acting like a murder hobo and doing things that are supposed to come off as "clever" when they're just odd.

Gonna be a hard pass from me.


Beware Of Chicken

A xianxia with an actual soul for once

I typically am not a fan of xianxia. Full stop. But this story has made me finally realize exactly why that is, while highlighting what the genre could be.

99% of xianxia is a bunch of "arrogant young master" types being complete jerks while the MC and everyone else is always searching for that next peak of cultivation. Needing more pills, more insights, more opportunities, more fuel to feed that fire, and screw the consequences. Anything to advance. It's so extremely mercantile and opportunistic. It takes a journey that should be spiritual and turns it into a soulless quest for power.

That is not what this story is about. This story pokes fun and parodies some of the worst and most common xianxia tropes, while simultaneously making the main character's journey one of genuine discovery. Discovery of themselves, the joy of simplicity and a day's hard work, and in the connection of the people around you.

The parody aspect can get a bit silly at times. But there are moments when this story seems to so genuinely embody the best aspects of xianxia, that it can manage to ensnare those like me that typically dislike the genre. Even some of the most popular writers of xianxia on this site could learn a lot from this story. And I really hope they do.