Bard to the Bone


What would you do if you were trapped in a game as a bard?

Would you take on a demon-worshiping cult? Would you charm beautiful women? Team up with said women to storm a castle and overthrow a tyrant?

Hell yes, you would.

James didn't expect a quick foray into an MMO game to last this long. He's fantasized about being a rock star but has never held a tune. Now he's stuck as a bard. Forever.

Lesser mortals would despair, but there's only one option: Becoming the most kickass bard ever.

Armed with just his wits and a lute, James must survive in a game world where everything wants to kill him. Teaming up with a pair of gorgeous, lethal women is first on the list. Next is conquering the world.

My Opinion: 304 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

The novel starts right off in the game world and stays there the whole story. The main character (MC), trying to distract himself from his personal problems logs into a highly anticipated VR game with his friends (who you never see again). He chooses the bard class, almost on a whim, but makes the most of his squishy character when he finds out he’s trapped in the game.

I think one of the early parts of the story that solidifies the game mechanics, is exactly how different the MC has to play because of his class. The author hits all the right notes about how challenging the class can be early on, with only one song, few spells, and fewer hit points. The MC has to approach his adventures differently than a fighter class and play more intelligently. The other game mechanics are fairly standard: stats, HP, MP, character sheets, item and monster descriptions. Progression happens when the MC levels and is given stat points to spend and is able to choose new songs and eventually spells. Additionally, that there are actually damage notifications helps solidify how non-combat oriented the MC is compared to the warriors in the story.

The story itself is fairly slice of life with the MC and his lady companions adventuring until about the halfway point when a little cyber thriller element is introduced. It’s more of a series story thread, but it serves as a turning point in the story where the MC gets more serious about facing his challenges and the antagonist in the story using his unique skill set as a bard.

One of the few places that the story fails for me is in describing music. I may have been ruined by other Bard LitRPG stories, but this one doesn’t quite capture that love of music. The MC plays pop songs that he remembers but never had IRL music skills or seemed to love music that much. He just plays them cause they’re moment appropriate. Nothing that ruins the story in anyway, just a small thing that I’d expected to come across better.

Overall, this is a good story. There is good action, some unique and sometimes funny quests, nice character development with between the MC and his romantic interests. There is one sex scene at the 82% mark. It’s not graphic and is only really a paragraph long, and is really skippable. Before that there is plenty of flirting between the MC and the romantic interests, and even some passionate kissing, but no sex, much to the frustration of the MC.

Score: 7.4 out of 10

Bard to the Bone