Return to Dungeon: A Monster MC LitRPG (Kobold's Quest Book 1)

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This downtrodden kobold finds himself with one hell of a quest ...

Kek has spent his life being treated like a dog, but he's only dog-like in appearance. You see, he's a kobold who originally came from a dungeon. And he's spent most of his life enslaved to a gang of exiled mercenaries hiding out in a deadly jungle. When Kek gains the power to see the hidden mechanics of reality and learns to "game" them to expand his skills and find hidden meanings, he is soon entrusted with a noble quest. He must return to the dungeon where he came from and rescue his people from servitude to the dungeon lord!

Faced with untold dangers, Kek is going to need allies—such as a sweet muck fairy with a killer streak, a deadly-beautiful siren who fights best au natural, and a sensual cat woman with lightning quick moves. They are sure going to keep this lone kobold on his toes.

Throughout this quest, Kek will learn the hard way that one of the greatest opponents a hero confronts is his own self-doubt.

 

My Opinion: 173 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

From the cover art and from the novel description, you’d think that this novel is going to be interesting story that is told from the point of view of a kobold. You might think you’re going to see the world through the eyes of what most stories consider a monster and how the world is different for those monsters.

Unfortunately, the novel is huge disappointment on many levels.

First, I’ll concede that this story is technically LitRPG. There’s a sublayer of game mechanics that the main character (MC), Kek, eventually gets access to. He’s a rare individual that does see things like stats, character sheets, HP bars, and more. He gets skills and gains levels according to those rules. So, totally LitRPG.

However, the game mechanics in the story are pretty minimal. Yes, they are there, even though there’s no explanation of why they exists in this fantasy world if no one else can usually see them. But with the exception of one character sheet, you don’t ever see any numbers or get any real detail about how the mechanics work. There are just occasional vague references to someones Str being low or a monster’s Dex being high. But no actual points of reference for what that means. It feels like the author just didn’t want to get into the nitty gritty of the game stuff but knew it needed to be there for the story to be LitRPG.

There’s also a serious lack of world building in the story. Over the course of the entire novel, the author tells the reader surprising little about the world. The reader never really knows if this is some VR world and everyone is an NPC, or if it’s a fantasy world with hidden RPG mechanics. That lack of understanding makes much of the novel confusing because characters seem to know about or speak about many modern conventions and it feels out of place. For example, there’s a druid early in the story that discovers a potion that lets him see the ‘Game Mechanics’ of the world and gain ‘Gamer Powers’. He starts spouting off about all the game mechanics he can now see. Except it doesn’t make sense that he’d know what all that information means automatically. How would he know what a gamer is or what the Cha stat does if it’s the first time he’d ever seen that? This kind of foreknowledge extends to several characters that refer to modern conventions like ‘redemption through philanthropy’ or jokes that depend on pop culture references. Things these fantasy characters wouldn’t know about.

However, the biggest disappointment of the novel is likely the key promise that this is going to be a story told from a monster’s perspective. The main character is technically a kobold. But the only reason you’d know it is because other characters go out of their way to call him that. There’s nothing inherent in the writing or the MC’s thinking, culture, or dialogue that makes the reader feel like they’re seeing the world through a monster’s perspective. Instead, it feels like the MC is another regular human.

There are a lot of other stories out there that do the Monster Class story better: Life Reset, A Goblin's Tale, Everybody Loves Large Chests, Re: Monster or anything online with the Re: tag which usually indicates reincarnation as a monster.

This one was a disappointment. The great cover art drew me in and raised my expectations but just didn’t fulfill them.

Score: 4 out of 10

Return to Dungeon: A Monster MC LitRPG (Kobold's Quest Book 1)

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