enjoyed the depth of the character and world building
Reviewed in the United States on 24 September 2020
A slice of life, multi narrative story, set on a fantasy RPG world. I normally don’t like multi narrative stories, but this one is done well.
The main characters include Kai, the half dragon teen who accidentally heals and bonds with a dungeon core. The core itself, sentient, but without most of its former power or memories who does less dungeon building and more adventuring. Third, a disillusioned former female soldier, Rhona, who has given up the way of the sword for a lost unarmed style and goes on a journey of self discovery.
Two of the narratives, Kai and the Core, are fairly close together, commenting on the same events, with slight divergence as the core or the teen goes off to do something alone. But for the most part their story revolves around building up the dungeon to survive the country that wants them destroyed or controlled and getting the teen, Kai, ascended, the story version of leveling up mixed with a basic cultivation. Eventually they get a larger goal, which I won’t spoil.
The three narratives come together eventually, but for most of the story the former soldier, Rhona, kinda just does her own thing, giving background on the world, building her character, and doing a slice of life action story thing. I really liked this third narrative the best and think Rhona had the best backstory, goals, and power set.
The RPG stuff is a bit custom with three levels to each rank with a small bit of cultivation to get to a new rank. There is essence instead of XP. But you still see ability and spell descriptions with essence costs and character sheets, stats, levels, and classes.
Things I liked:
There's a good bit of depth to both the characters and the world building. The author takes the time to develop meaningful backgrounds for the main characters, a complex history for the world, its races, and its nations. The combat was great with visceral well thought out fights and the characters being challenged. The general adventures were well thought out and entertaining. I really enjoyed Rhona’s class and her fighting style.
Things that left me wanting:
There's not much dungeon core stuff. By that I mean, making monsters, traps, and having people come through and trying to kill them. About 10% of the story is that. There's other things the dungeon core does, but in this book not much murder of adventures coming to dungeon dive. The story instead has a dungeon core as a character who adventures with his friend.
The cultivation aspect was minimal too. It showed up when the main character (MC) hit a new rank. He'd get instruction on messing with his core, he'd follow the instructions and be done. There was no mediation to gather ether, no improvement to body, mind, or spirit. It was all very skippable and it felt a little superficial. It honestly could have been eliminated from the story with no consequence.
Overall, it’s a good story. I genuinely enjoyed the depth of the character and world building, the fights, and the slice of life adventuring. I expected more/something different from the dungeon core and cultivation aspects, but once I understood what the story was going to be I just rolled with it and had a good time.
Score: 7.6 out of 10
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