Drew Michalik was working in a top-secret facility in Washington, D.C. when the Advent began. As all electronics in the world simply ceased to work, blue screens filled with information appeared before him.
Drew was given access to a mana interface and a limited number of reality-altering crystals called Xatherite. Following the instructions on his vision-impairing screens, he ‘slotted’ his Xatherite and changed his fate: he gained the ability to cast spells. Now alone in the dark, he must battle through the government bunker-turned-dungeon in a desperate bid for survival.
Escape is only the beginning, the first of his many problems in the changed world. Drew will be tasked to not only survive… but to guide the rest of humanity safely through the anarchy.
My Opinion: 332 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
This is an LitRPG apocalypse story that is heavy on the combat. It does a good job of explaining what game rules apply to the world and there are lots of neat powers. The very beginning is a little rough but once the story got out of the first dungeon things became more enjoyable. That first dungeon just felt off with it’s monster selection. Once he leaves that dungeon, things expand well. You get to see how the larger world is dealing with the RPG apocalypse, you get a much larger cast of people, more zoned monsters, info about the inter dimensional galactic aspects, hints about some intrigue, and good combat.
Game mechanics: This story has RPG game mechanics but establishes early on that the world hasn’t become some video game. There are no HP or MP bars. People do earn levels, but no XP is ever shown. People have set number of power slots and the types they can have are also fixed. There’s a well explained power system based on different colored crystals that can be looted from certain monsters. These powers advance in their own level system the more they’re used, becoming more powerful and combining with other powers for new combination powers. So, lots of good RPG progression.
Story: Mostly an RPG apocalypse story that is heavily focused on action. Fight various monsters with powers, upgrade powers, fight some more. Repeat. There’s some nice character development and world building but action is the emphasis. There is another story thread that includes an inter dimensional galactic organization but it’s mostly setup for future stories. There is a disappointingly minor amount of survivalist stuff that mostly amounts to looting vending machines and other food locations. There’s really no struggle for food, shelter, or water which seems weird considering how many people are in the story and how all the monsters still need to eat.
The few things that bothered me: the MC is a bit overpowered the MC is and his powers progress a bit too quickly in comparison to the other people in the story. Sure, I get that he’s the MC and hero, but some other people’s powers seem intentionally underdeveloped to make him look good. I mean if you have the ability to create permanent walls and modify them at will, that really lends itself to creating amazing defensive structures and traps. But that’s not utilized during most of the fights. Additionally, there were also a few times the MC seemed to have foreknowledge about small things he shouldn’t know.
Overall, it’s a good story that hits all the right action adventure buttons for me.
Score: 7.5 out of 10