Aethermarked – A Royal Road LitRPG by Carric Smith

Once upon a time a woman lived a dull and dreary life. So she uploaded herself into a game. Or so she thought she did.

The start of the story is pretty standard LitRPG fare, told masterfully with an eye to detail. But the story, available for free, quickly deviates into a unique and novel fully immersive game system that hosts a slew of new features and techniques alongside the favored fare of old. Crafting is there, of course. But so is whole memory overlay, a system in which the memories from birth to present of your character are overlaid over top of your own, and you can remember your character’s childhood as if it were your own, whether you be a half-orc barbarian in the tribes or a little girl playing in her magister father’s manor house. In fact the tutorial system has you play parts of your childhood through, a function that I have only ever seen in the Fallout series.

There are a slew of systems at play in the background – the standard experience points system for level ups, of course. But also a prestige point system that unlocks races and character classes, as well as bestowing titles and positions upon characters. And where you are from seems to matter, though the text doesn’t go into great detail about it. The simple matter of it seems to be that if you come from a certain place you have access to certain powers, like the time magicians of Locorum as an example. And the guile system is quite complicated – talking your way through situations seems to be a huge part of the game and having the skill to bluff, charm, lie and detect lies are very important.

The battles are wit versus strength, with a clever main character using her spells in ways that were obviously not intended to be done by the developers. I can’t really go into too much detail on this, but all I’m going to say is hamster ball! You’ll understand if you read it.

But there is a surprise packed into those pages. Get ready for three or four chapters of just pure hellish torture. I mean, it works, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some people put it down at that point. You kinda cringe a bit as the MC goes through a very rough time.

But it is all worth it as we get introduced to another unique game mechanic and an adventurous escape sequence, then powerfully interesting world exposition and a transition to another gamer entering the game. That’s where the story is as of this writing and boy as it been a ride.

Thanks for reading my review!

Published by Damien Lee Hanson

I am the founder of Damien Hanson Books. Come check out awesome authors right here at my website!

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