Could a Mere Crafter Be the World’s Savior?
All Dean Winters ever aspired to was to be left in peace and make a living of his passion as a jewelsmith.
Fresh out of College, he managed to open his shop to sell his creations and get a toehold in the business. But like most people who start out in life, the beginnings were rough and he had to struggle. Still, he wouldn’t want it any other way.
One evening, while he’s busy in his workshop, three men in balaclavas break in and he’s violently assaulted. That burglary will leave him crippled and traumatized. And after weeks of rehabilitation, he will finally have to accept that he’ll never again be able to use his fingers with enough dexterity to pursue this meticulous occupation.
Dean is devastated. What will he do with himself now?
In the unit where he’s treated, a glimmer of hope will emerge when he’ll be introduced to a virtual world that erases your limitations and where no dream is big or wild enough.
He will join Aldaron as a Mage Artificer and he will soon discover that, by drawing from his real life skills, he can progress through the levels much faster.
Going from one adventure to the other, Mage Winters will meet legendary players and formidable foes. But right when he thinks he’s found a new purpose, he will learn of the ominous danger that threatens everything he’s come to cherish, and that his peculiar skills might be the only hope to save them all.
My Opinion: 469 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
With a title like “Tales of the Gemsmith”, I picked this story up thinking it would be a crafting story. I mean the main character (MC) is a jeweler in real life and an artificer in game. However, I couldn’t have been more disappointed. In the entire 469 pages there are only a couple instances of any type of crafting.
Storywise, the entire thing feels forced. The MC gets his hand broken in a robbery and so he should use a VR game as physical therapy? Then once he’s in game, he gets an apprenticeship with a level 28 dwarf artificer who happens to die the next day and he inherited the dwarf’s entire lab and shop. Then the MC is suddenly swept along on a adventure to find the Rings of Power...sorry, I mean Ouroborax Crystals. I lost interest very quickly in the predictable and forced storyline.
Game mechanics wise, it’s a toss up. Much of the story is written like straight fantasy, with an occasional notification. Then in combat or the rare crafting scene, things get a bit more detailed. You see crafting skill trees, class skill trees, and loads of detail about spells and items. But that’s pretty rare in the novel. This a litRPG story. There’s levels gained, and other RPG mechanics but they often feel forced or unimportant. For example, at one point, when his dwarf mentor dies. The MC and him are facing two orcs. The mentor, level 28 bites the dust, but our hero, level 1, out of magic, beats both the monsters using only his starter quarterstaff. Then the MC jumps from level 1 to 5 after just crafting his first rings without out any training in how crafting works in the game. It just doesn’t make sense, and I quickly lose interest when I feel like the game stuff is just there for show and doesn’t actually matter to the story.
Overall, I was bored reading this. I liked the little crafting and RPG game details I read about but the MC comes off as whiny, cowardly, and unlikable. Yet, for the sake of character advancement he’s forced into a hero role where everything works out for him even though the math says it shouldn’t.
Score: 5 out of 10