Histaff: A Sci-Fi LitRPG (Skeleton in Space Book 1)


Lots of broken bones, a dim-witted RPG system, and a dash of magic; Skeleton in Space.

Douglas is a simple summoned skeleton, formed from an old battlefield when some ancient fossil of a necromancer raised him for a nefarious purpose.

His memories are a bit foggy, but who cares about remembering when there is walking to be done! Or stabbing cows! Douglas loves life, the simple joy of doing repetitive tasks - like battering down a large tower door - is all that's needed to keep his clacking bones satisfied.

But just after he completed his most recent task, the wizard he was fighting took out a weird crystal… and now there are stars everywhere. Will the floating, freezing skeleton find out what happened? Or will that wrecked spaceship on a collision path be the last thing going through his empty skull?

Come join Douglas the magical skeleton as he tries to live a fulfilling life in a sci-fi universe!

My Opinion: 314 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review but purchased a copy when it became available.

Honestly, I was a little torn about this one. It has a certain charm and sense of humor, but it’s not going to work for everyone.

This is a slice of life story where the main character (MC) is an undead skeleton is summoned on a sword and sorcery RPG fantasy world and by some weird conflux of events (this part is a little confusing) ends up in this sci-fi universe. He becomes self aware and uses the RPG system to evolve into different skeleton forms, gain skills, a class, and magic. The story focuses mostly on the skeleton MC exploring, and training his magic. He explores a derelict ship, then a space station full of Dead Space inspired monsters. He eventually gets a companion but there's little communication between then and the story is only a little less lonely than when the MC was by himself. There's a little combat but it is not exciting. Either the MC blast away the monsters in an instant or the he gets smacked around, his skeleton body is crushed, and he spends the next few pages putting himself back together. This honestly happens way too much and is likely a running gag, but the reading the details of each reforming process gets a little repetitive.

The RPG game mechanics are pretty standard but are seen regularly. Character sheets, XP, levels, mana, stats, skills. The MC is a monster so he gets evolutions once he hits his current max level. It is unfortunately none of the evolutions the MC chooses are particularly striking or different and it's kind of a wasted mechanic. Also, the RPG stuff feels a bit unimportant through much of the story. It is consistently used, and is seen regularly but I got the feeling that if it was removed, the story wouldn't be that different. Sure, there would be a couple scenes that would have to be rewritten, but a majority the story focuses more on the rune magic system not RPG progression, which seems pretty wand wavy most of the time. With XP being given fairly randomly and used to force some evolution. The seemingly random way XP is given is eventually explained really late in the story but it feels arbitrary most of the story.

Overall, the the story just makes good for me, but just barely. I like the interesting mix of fantasy and sci-fi. I'm ok with the slice of life story where you just follow the MC around. But early in the story things are a bit tedious with the MC floating around in space for like 16% of the novel reading and reforming his skeletal body. The magical theorizing is good and I thought the magic system is neat. However, other readers may not enjoy the slower pacing and lack of good combat.

Score: 7.1 out of 10

Histaff: A Sci-Fi LitRPG (Skeleton in Space Book 1)