Shyft - Book 1 - Defender of Gallowind: (A LitRPG Adventure)


When's the last time a game started with a real-life gunfight?

In the industrial wasteland of future America, Solomon Herrick spends his day wandering the streets and getting into trouble. Staying one step ahead of the local PD, his life is mostly spent immersed in history or aimless exploring -- until Shyft comes along.

Whether that's a good thing or not is still up in the air...

Shyft 2.0, an immersive open-world RPG, just entered beta, and though Solomon Herrick wasn't on the list, his friends knew a guy who could get them in. A chase and a gunfight later and Sol is deposited into the world with nothing but a few rags on his back and a nearby stick to defend himself.

With his friends gone, no knowledge of the game world and zero guidance available, Solomon will have to rely on his ability to learn fast if he wants to not only figure out how to play the game, but figure out how to get out - if he even can.

Shyft is a new Gamelit / LitRPG series created by Mike Kraus and Justin Bell, writing under the M Kraus and J Donald pen names.

My Opinion: 356 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This feels like a write to market novel where the authors just didn’t get it right. Yes, this is a LitRPG story with stats and level progression. Is it good LitRPG? Not particularly.

1st, while the novel has stat and character sheets with inserted pictures, oddly the same information is repeated in text right after. So, you get repeated information every time there’s an item, monster, or character description. Also, the information doesn’t always match between the two sources with numerical inconsistencies.

2nd, all the power the main character (MC) gets is unearned. He literally gets dropped into this game world and with in pages gets befriended by some magical creatures that give him free weapons and armor, and a slew of special techniques that scale with his level. This includes an ability that just gives him free stat points when he activates it. Not a minor amount either, but whole levels worth. At level 3 the ability gives him 12 free stat points, at level 5 it gives him 20 free stat points, etc. The MC gets all these things, including getting XP for his first 3 levels, all just because he exists. I’d be ok with being shown that he learned and trained hard over weeks and months to get this power, but he doesn’t. Instead, the reader is told in a small summary that the MC kinda trained and within a day has all these powers.

3rd, even though the game mechanics are there, they don’t really feel like they matter to the story. Time and again, the MC fights higher level monsters while he’s at super low health but always wins, and often by one-shotting the enemy even though he doesn’t invest many stat points in strength. There are lots of descriptions of items and monsters, and notifications, but those numbers aren’t really reflected in how the fights are described or how the adventures go

Story-wise, it’s pretty average. The MC gets some cyberpunk like reason he’s trapped in the game. Then even though he’s supposed to quite concerned with finding his friends who are also trapped in the game, instead goes on some slice of life adventures where he seems to magically wins all his fights despite math and the game mechanics saying he probably shouldn’t. The fights are pretty decently described, with nice action, but they don’t reflect the reality of a low-level character fighting groups of enemies sometimes 2-3 times his level.  

Overall, the technical writing is fine. No spelling or grammar mistakes. Good descriptions of character and even a little bit of world building. However, the story itself seems to exist just to get to the next fight and the actual RPG side of things was fumbled big time for me.

Score: 4 out of 10

Shyft - Book 1 - Defender of Gallowind: (A LitRPG Adventure)