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WIP How to Avoid Death on a Daily Basis by - Unrated - Original Fiction

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Thaumologist, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Minister of Magic

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,384
    Location:
    Chester, England
    Title: How to Avoid Death on a Daily Basis
    Author: Mooderino
    Rating: Unrated
    Genre: Action / Adventure
    Status: Work in Progress
    Fandom: Original Fiction
    Words: 200 chapters and counting. So loads.
    Summary:
    Link: Gravity Tales, or Royal Road (five chapters behind).

    First of all, the author has an insane update speed. This updates five days a week, one of their other stories updates every day, and then they've got a third that updates on Sundays. There's other stuff too, but I don't think it's currently updating.


    So I found this through the original webfiction voting page thingy. It bobbles around the top five stories, so thought I'd give it a go after Worm and PGtE worked out nicely. I'll try to avoid major spoilers, but there's going to be several minor ones.


    The main character, Colin, is a dick. Late teens, surly, and full of angst. Offensive towards everyone, full of anger, and a massive pessimist. He ends up in charge of a group of other teenagers, because nobody thinks things through, uses common sense, or realises that literally everyone is out to get them. There's lots of repeated "I'm not sexist/racist, but...", especially in the earlier chapters, but Colin's a dick. He's not a complete caricature in either direction, and he seems to have mellowed out as he's realised that everyone is equally incompetent, regardless of what colour their skin is, or what they have in their trousers.

    This is illustrated very early on, where he tells the girls in the group to take extra care, and not to go off chasing sparkly things, because they're in a medieval world now, and so the locals will all want to rape them. He then points out that just because they're ugly doesn't mean they'll be safe. Of course, the unforgivable thing is, he's proven right.

    Colin's problem is that the rest of his group are idiots. He tells them this repeatedly, but tells them not to worry, because he is too... He just isn't quite as stupid as them. He's self-centred, and expects the worse from everyone. It does turn out that he's correct, people suck, and will try to fuck you over any way they can. The group once again go "oh wow Colin, how did you see through the lies about free puppies and ice cream?", before falling over themselves to send several thousand pounds off to a Nigerian prince who needs their help. More recent additions to the cast are better about this, sort of, but Colin still tends to come out the best. And as soon as Colin's back is turned, they screw everything up again. It gets repetitive, although it's amusing to see just how bad they can foul things up.

    Plot contrivances can get a bit annoying (oh no, it's that one character we bumped into twenty chapters ago again!), and despite everything going wrong for Colin, it mostly works itself out in the longer run. The fantasy world seems to function at least a little on narratavium, and Colin (and crew) are genre-savvy enough to understand that carrying a shiv in your boot is a good idea, as is shanking someone in the back, rather than offering a gentlemanly duel.

    The story is not great to start with, but I kept going, as I thought it showed promise, and it does get better as the author gets more into their stride. The author isn't technically brilliant, you can see where things have been inspired from, and the sex jokes aren't as funny as the author seems to think they are. Also, Mooderino only seems to describe characters once, and then barely makes mention of their features again - it does make sense, but it does mean the main cast can be a bit forgettable. There is a banner on the GT site with chibimodels, which suffices.

    There are problems, I'll admit it freely. But there's little to no lore involved in background reading, the humour is (for the most part) not overbearing or too dull, and the plotline is pretty interesting.

    I've been swinging between 3 and 4 whilst reading, but I think I'm going to have to go with the higher, because I'm putting it up for reccing, and I did enjoy reading it. If it had all been as bad as the bad bits were, I'd have dropped it, so I'm leaving it on a 4/5




    Final note:
    On Colin - he's more of a Ciaphas Cain or a Blackadder than a Flashman. He's a coward, and a wanker, but he isn't really a completely horrible person. He's just portrayed as mostly unlikable.
     
  2. oakes

    oakes Auror DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    662
    Location:
    Turkey
    Royalroads is a sad sad site. Embarrassingly enough I've read or at least attempted to read anything even remotely readable on there. How to Avoid Dead... is one of the better written ones. But it's not much of a compliment.

    The thing is that the main character is not some anti-heroish protagonist that you grow to like. He is a unlikable dick. So I had to stop myself from reading any further after a while.
     
  3. Ceins

    Ceins First Year

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    49
    I was actually fine with the MC, and found the story pretty funny actually. But the rest of the crew being such a bag of incompetents, at least from the view of the MC, but the group sticking together just got on my nerves. The MC had many opportunities to separate from the rest, and didn't, but still constantly complaining about them dragging him down. Or how'd they'd be nothing without him but in the end doing nothing to change anything about a situation that he apparently wasn't fond of was the last straw.

    Though I did get to only cp 90.
     
  4. Bernd

    Bernd First Year

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    Lauer Höhle
    High Score:
    0
    I read this story a while and dropped it after Arc 5.

    If you want to read web fiction, this is one of the better ones, due to its huge backlog that you can read all at once, and its fast and consistent update rate. However, it is web fiction, so it has the flaws of the format.

    The reason why I got into it is the recognizable, real world characters from the UK dropped into a medieval-ish fantasy game style of universe with RPG elements, lots of random encounters, quests, and dangerous creatures. In this universe, magic is real, and so is death. I enjoyed the characters, Colin the protagonist especially, approaching the world with a rational and pragmatic view.

    I liked Colin as a character. I have no problem with crass humor and abrasive personalities, as long as the character is funny, and doesn't act too stupid. Your tastes may vary.

    Chapter 28. Choose Your Own Adventure
    This is a good example of Colin's sense of humor. It's very dark, sometimes uncomfortable. Colin is not a nice person. But he isn't retarded, and doesn't treat the fantasy world like Edmund from Narnia.

    However, I could tolerate Colin because Colin is smart and genre savvy. I couldn't tolerate his party because they were idiots who didn't know how dumb they were and resented Colin's leadership. They had to be rescued time and time again from trouble they got themselves into, and weren't grateful at all for being saved. They were all little shits that I hated and didn't have any redeeming qualities whatsoever. Especially the love interest girl, Jenny.


    The reason why I dropped it was because I felt that the plot didn't have direction, and that the author was writing on the fly, with no end point in sight. The adventures just keep going and going, the pacing is grueling, where something has to happen every (short) chapter, and many chapters end in unnecessary cliffhangers that are resolved 2-4k words later. This is pretty common on serialized web fiction. There is no resolution, climax, just an endless series of quests and encounters. I got to the point where I realized that I didn't care what happened to the characters, because it seemed obvious they weren't going anywhere except continuing to struggle and be rescued by Colin.

    The prose is sound. Very few mistakes in spelling or grammar. The descriptions and world-building was a bit sparse, as the narrator preferred to focus on fleshing out the characters, who are all incredibly flawed. The beginning is a classic LitRPG opening, for anyone who likes that. But it soon becomes a grind that goes nowhere.


    3/5.
    If you read it, just stop at Book One.