Elorion has just finished a VR gaming session to find a monster waiting for him. With nineteen other students who have also been kidnapped, he is now subject to the whims of a thousand year old succubus and must survive deep under the earth in the lost realm of the Underworld. Gifted with the ability to use magic and advance in power, he is given an ultimatum.
Level Up or Die!
My Opinion: 373 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full Disclosure: The author sent me an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it was released.
A daily adventure/slice of life story set in an underground fantasy kingdom. Elorion, the main character (MC), and some other humans are kidnapped and given the chance to live out their gamer dreams by getting magic and leveling up in a RPG world. Only their new boss doesn’t really care if they live or die as long as she can feed off their excess magical energy. The MC goes through a series of events that constantly push him and the other humans to become more powerful or die.
The highlight of the story is definitely traveling with the MC as he gains levels, new blue magic abilities, and spells. He’s a min/maxer after my own heart and I thoroughly enjoyed his internal discussions about how to best build his character. He’s smart and gathers plenty of data to figure out the system before committing stat points or energy to leveling skills. The character build theorizing was detailed and fun.
There’s also plenty of action and adventure to be had as the MC fights monster after monster grind skill and magic levels. Towards the end there’s even a little town building and crafting.
One thing you won’t find here, is a real plot. It’s just not that kind of story. Yes, there are small story arcs and character development but there’s no overall big coherent plot for the novel other than the vague goals ‘we have to escape’ and ‘we have to get stronger’. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just is. That’s what a slice of life/daily adventure story is. It’s a lot like a TV or animated series like Dragonball Z. A series of smaller stories and events that gradually increase in difficulty that challenge the characters to get stronger. Don’t expect more and you won’t be disappointed. I know I wasn’t.
Additionally, there are some technical writing issues at the beginning of the novel that might bother some people. Present and past tense in the same sentence and some stilted dialogue. This disappears as the novel goes on. Also, the novel probably goes on a little too long. There’s a huge great climax event near the end of the story and then the story continues on for another 15%. The extra 15% makes the end feel like it drags a little after such a huge amazing fight.
Overall, I had a blast reading the story. The points I brought up didn’t really bother me but I know they will bother some people and it’s better to know about these issue before you read the story than to be surprised by them.
*note: I totally agree with the story that bacon and ranch are the highlights of a good life.
Score: 7 out of 10