The reason this blog exists is simple, to give readers a detailed review of books in the LitRPG genre and explain why they work or don’t work.
The problem is that the reviews tend to be highly inflated for many of the LitRPG books that I’ve looked at. There are several 4 and 5 star books on Amazon that really should be closer to 2 or 3 stars. The problem with this? I’ve had many people tell me that they don’t want to pick up a book because of how many of them are absolute crap.
If LitRPG wants to move outside of a niche market, then it’ll have to write good books, not books that are just inflated so that reviewers can circle-jerk each other.
Many of the reviews of books fall into a few categories:
5 star reviews with overflowing praise that doesn’t give any specific reasons for the praise
Venom and Bile 1 star reviews
“This book sucks, author is a hack.”
3 star reviews that don’t say anything
“3 stars, not my thing.”
Thus I review books in the LitRPG genre with a critical eye, explaining what works and what doesn’t work.
Because I like the indie market, but the way many of the books are reviewed is deeply unsatisfying.
The rise of independent marketing and the decoupling of creator vs. publisher in video games, movies, and books has been a great boon for certain segments of the industry. Games like Pillars of Eternity and Bastion would not get published through traditional means.
The downside is that on the Steam store front is now a massive garbage dumping ground for games that are memes, asset flips, or outright trash. The result is new users don’t know which games to get.
The way Steam has tried to deal with this is to have a curator’s list, but according to Jim Sterling, the curator’s page is hard to maintain. The result is most people don’t use it and opt for different mediums, (Twitch, YouTube, etc.) to showcase reviews.
The point of this blog is to start that curating novels, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses, and hopefully allow people who have a more critical interest in novels the ability to sift through to the good ones.
The criterion for me reviewing a novel is simple:
- Must be published. Even if it’s self-published. I don’t review Royal Roads or other posting boards because there are too many novels on there. If a story on there is considered exceptional by the community or an author actually wants me to review it, I may schedule it on the queue.
- Must be from an author who is recognized within the community or is recognized by another community. I.e. it doesn’t really seem fair for me to critically grill someone who has never written a book before. An author who is well-received in the community or is considered an expert in the fantasy-genre is more fair game since a bad review by me is probably not going to shatter their self-image or really destroy sales.
- Must be generally well-received. I may make an exception if someone feels that a novel has been short-changed or not given a fair shake, but most of what I’ve seen has more novels that are overflowing in praise rather than being unfairly maligned.