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Complete Bitter By Mooderino - [Original Fiction]

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Majube, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Majube

    Majube Unspeakable

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
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    High Score:
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    Title: Bitter
    Author: V. Moody
    Rating: T
    Genre: Fantasy, LitRPG
    Status: Technically Complete
    Chapters: 601
    Fandom: Original Fiction
    Summary:
    VRMMORPG has arrived, along with: bugs, exploits, OP classes, over the top nerfs, p2w, ridiculous RNG, lockboxes, raging players, broken mechanics, limited bag space, tedious crafting... and then there's the goblins and ogres.

    Britta isn't cool. She isn't popular, she isn't pretty. School life isn't much fun, but that's the way the world is. Which would be a terrible shame if this was the only world available.

    Fully immersive virtual reality gaming allows Britta to enter a fantasy world where she can be whoever she wants to be. She can be tall, she can be thin, she can be beautiful. So she decides to be a gnome — short, hairy and plump. She's never looked for other people's approval before, she certainly isn't going to start now.

    Bitter. The story of a girl who finds her life isn't what she wanted. So she gets another one.

    Link: http://moodylit.com/bitter-table-of-contents/bitter-1

    I was really disappointed when I found out this ended a few months ago because the author started a new serial and decided to discontinue this one. I thought Bitter was the most enjoyable story out of all the webserials mooderino's written. They ended it on a point that works as an ending sort of, that can also be continued if they start it up again.

    Anyways, Bitter is about a teenage girl delving into the new VR game making waves but she finds out she isn't playing the same game everyone else is. She's snarky all the time but still pretty sensible, I liked the twist on the litRPG genre and how the protagonist was more likeable then the author's usual main characters.

    I liked the humour in it but it's probably not to everyone's taste, and at times I didn't like the slice of life nature to it where it would derail into wildly different areas (but this was also really good for showing off the great worldbuilding).

    Most of the chapters at first are about her adventures in VR then later chapters more about her real life start to come up and they dragged on a bit at first but got a lot better over time as it became relevant.

    If this hadn't ended where it did at such a turning point I would give it a 5/5 but as is, it's still very much something I'd rate highly just for the engrossing plot if nothing else.
    4/5



     
  2. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Messages:
    6,019
    Can someone else give this a read other than the person that posted it. Been here for over a month at this point and no activity, otherwise I'm going to move it where I think it should go.
     
  3. Plothole

    Plothole Fifth Year

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
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    Gender:
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    Location:
    America
    This will be relatively short since I'm on mobile.

    I didn't really like this. I thought that the protagonist was irritating and none of the humor landed for me. That's a pretty major problem, I think, since she isn't exactly lighting the world on fire.

    If the humor doesn't land then you're stuck reading chapter after chapter of her bumbling around and failing at the most basic of activities. Her hit or miss 'jokes' and repeatedly failing at the game make sense, as she's essentially a social reject with no gaming experience but that doesn't make it any less irritating to read.

    The writing is fine, with nothing that I found particularly noteworthy other than the extremely short chapters.

    I can see why some people might like this but it wasn't to my taste at all. Only managed 40 chapters or so before giving up. Arguably that isn't long enough to give the plot a fair shot, especially because based on Saez's review there's more I'm missing, but I couldn't get past the tone of the story.

    2/5
     
  4. andy50

    andy50 Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    388
    Read like 11 chapters of this, and all I can say is that's it's really stale. Character are about as good as a stick figure drawing.
    This is about the quality of writing you can expect.
    I will say 11 chapters isn't all that much so maybe the story gets a miraculous jump in quality later on, but as of now 2/5. Pretty boring but doesn't do anything to make me hate the story.
     
  5. chrnno

    chrnno High Inquisitor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    577
    It has a pretty rough start, as others mentioned the humour is very hit or miss, though as it goes it largely drops the parts I found worst(such as the quoted part above). Can't say I was as impressed as OP but I did read it to the 'end' and was disappointed when I reached it, which is far better than the usual web novel I drop and never look back.

    So since I read to the end that is at least a 3 and since it being continued is something I would actually look forward to one step up.

    4/5
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  6. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
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    1,860
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Philippines
    Review of Chapters 1-40, an iterative review process.

    My problem with this story can be summarized with a quote from Chapter 15:

    The biggest issue is pacing, and breaking it down, it stems from the following issues:

    1) Chapter Length - They're way too short, averaging under 1k each. Listen, I come from a place with really shitty internet, so it takes nearly as long for the next chapter to load as it takes me to read a chapter. This makes it very hard to immerse myself.

    2) Slow Introduction - The worldbuilding of the game in the beginning does not have anything which makes it stand out from your typical litrpg world. The prose is not particularly standout, the descriptions are so-so. Next, the MC isn't particularly interesting so far, and doesn't carry the early story forward. Her humor, like has been said, is hit or miss, and while she does have one or two lines that made me snort, overall it comes across as awkward, teenage self-deprecation that just falls on its face.

    Finally, the story lacks any sort of stakes or tension. It's slice of life following the eyes of a social outcast / loser, trying to explore a game and honestly I read stories for the escapism, not to be reminded of (an even more inferior version) of my own life.

    All of this comes together in a perfect storm of "Who gives a shit". I can see why this story has a high attrition rate on DLP.

    Now, the author seems to have realized this was a problem and tried to introduce some stakes by making the game buggy and punishing the MC disproportionately, but what's the goal? The MC is just wandering in this setting aimlessly, and if she dies in the game okay, but it's not as if she's actually set back significantly? She isn't invested in the game enough for me to buy that it's important to her, and that losing would affect her.

    It's just an absolute chore getting through the early chapters.

    Perhaps the best thing I can say about this experience is not the story itself, but how professional and customizable the author's site is. That's what impressed me the most, not the writing, which means there's a serious problem.

    Technical

    The story also suffers from some minor technical issues, but they are quite noticeable in certain chapters that compound the problems listed above to make it an even more painful early story reading experience.

    1) Multiple times when the back-and-forth dialogue have no identifiers when it doesn't need to. If you're skimming like me, you will get lost.

    2) Telling, then double telling of how the MC feels. (It's clear from the dialogue what she's feeling, but the author states it again in the prose immediately after).

    3) Walls of text

    4) Action is not particularly stand out either. The early action is too calm and too introspective to ever really make me think she's in danger, again tying back into the lack of stakes. Perhaps if the MC wasn't written to be a loser and actually had an enjoyable thought process to read about.

    5) Quite a few spacing... not really errors, so much as inefficiencies. Places where a line should have been its own paragraph, and places where single lines should have just been merged with other paragraphs. Author doesn't seem to understanding paragraphing as an emphasis tool.

    Now for all my complaints, the story isn't total dogshit. It's competently written for the most part on a technical level, but just fails hard at the subtler aspects of writing, a lot of which I lay at the feet of its nature as a monetized and serialized litrpg which incentivize actions that made the story far worse than it should have been. If you enjoy litrpgs, this is an alright read (3/5), but for someone who thinks very lowly of litrpgs to begin with, this can't get more than a 2/5 from me at this stage.

    To be continued.
     
  7. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

    Joined:
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    Review of Chapters 41-100, an iterative review process.

    Thanks to @Dryops for linking me an epub version of this. It's helped mitigate my issue with not being able to read through this as a continuous piece of work. Perhaps it will help with immersion.

    Chapter 41 actually is the first time I sat up and paid attention. The first seed of an honest to god mystery has shown up and made me want to read more.

    It's about how the NPCs perhaps aren't just bots, but perhaps are human-like

    Admittedly, not the most unique of twists for this kind of setting, but it's something. It's a mystery that is set aside, but hey at least now I have something I'm looking forward to finding out about, even if by itself it might not be much, it's a step in the right direction.

    The training arc of the next few chapters ends before any actual training happens and we're back to her real world drama. Joy oh joy. She at least seems to be enjoying playing the game more now, and inserting some stakes into her deaths in game. Also MC continues to be a total asshole, like lying about her sister's life to her parents just so she can get an hour more of gameplay? I mean don't get me wrong at least she's exercising some agency now, but it's a dick move.

    Thankfully, this real life drama is just one short chapter, and we're back.

    The gnome god we meet during the training arc is a meta-self aware sort of chap, opening discussing the game and how gnomes are underrepresented. That's cool, continuing in the vein of the post office mystery above of trying to make things happen.

    Chapter 67-68, finally some interaction with her parents that's not cringe. Where the first forty chapters was a 2/5 at best, the chapters since then have shot up in terms of quality, pacing and just giving people a reason to read. You can also skip the first forty chapters, so I have no goddamn idea what the author was thinking starting with the most boring part of her story. That's some next level big brain plays. Past chapter 40, story becomes a 3/5 in quality.

    Technical issues mentioned before are still there.

    Humor has gotten a bit better, and some of them are actually landing now.

    To anyone reading this and wants to give this story a second chance, I recommend starting at minimum on Chapter 41. Summaries provided below to bring you up to speed.

    MC is a loser, her friend is a religious judgy bitch, parents are borderline neglectful and dad is a total nerd, game is filled with bugs like taking away all her stuff when she dies, also she sucks at it. That's literally all that happens smfh
     
  8. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

    Joined:
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    Male
    Location:
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    Review of Chapters 101-600, an iterative review process

    Finally some stakes have been introduced. Britta seems to actually care about playing now. She's still basically a loser, but gamers will be able to empathize with her some as she stumbles around blindly. It's also a grimly disturbing look at how gamer addictions start and develop, now that I think about it.

    The Dwarf-Kobold quest is pretty decently paced with its player character politics and weird spawns. I do take issue with the fact that a lot of time is spent on it, but the arc ends rather inconclusively. There doesn't feel like there's any payoff, which severely sapped my motivation to keep reading. We jump from one quest chain to another on the drop of a dime at times, it feels.

    We are also introduced to our main supporting case --- Stan. He's also unlikable and a psychopath. Not great with characters, this story.

    Chapters 217-220 is particularly bad and falls into the trap of all LitRPGs: Thinking we as the reader give a shit about the in game mechanics like what skills or subclasss she gets. I think Blorcyn is spot on when he says I find it annoying because it's like reading about how Wingardium levious works for the x'th time. None of this is new for the genre.

    I will admit Britta ranting about bugs to the game dev did make me smile. It reminded me very much of DLP behavior---Excellence over emotion.

    Her real life continues to be an absolute bore, and the prose is like stale bread. I feel like an asshole given I'm all for minimalism so this should normally be right up my alley, but idk something is just off about this story on a technical level. I suppose it might be because Britta still comes across rather aimless with the quickly shifting subplots the story juggles? they're all interconnected, that's clear, but it's just hard to care.

    I think ultimately my problem might be none of the characters---Britta's Mom being the exception---feel human. They're more caricatures. Something about the whole thing strikes me as very inauthentic? And that's added to the problem that they don't really change or grow as people, and when your baseline is bad... well, this is just a great sample of why it's characters that drive a story, not worldbuilding.

    Like the fucking AI feel almost indistinguishable from the humans, but only because the humans feel fake, not because the AI feels real.

    Despite the promise that the story was showing in my last review, it hasn't decided to build on that and remains at a mediocre level of execution.

    More to the point perhaps, we're supposed to believe Britta is a chosen one archetype---but she lacks any "worthiness" to be one. Nothing about her is special, not in who she is or how she acts, which makes it a hard buy.

    As the story moves the game out of the beta test into public launch, more cringe-y things happen like

    Business negotiations, and philosophy debates with the SI. What the actual fuck was the author thinking

    And my god the progress of this story just takes forever. Author loves throwing too many sidequests in, it feels like we're advancing at the rate of a snail.

    Final rating: 2.5/5, rounding down.
     
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