– goodreads –
Tried it cause it was free, I wanted something light and fun, I still need a self-pubished book for the r/Fantasy Bingo square, and I know a lot of people who love it. I went into it with an open mind – from the positive reception, there was a chance of it winning me over – but it just confirmed that nope, that stuff’s not for me. And that I should trust my gut, no matter how enthusiastic friends are.
Like Sufficiently Advanced Magic, Unsouled is another book that’s built around the magic system. People are divided into categories inside which they can advance to higher levels. Our protagonist is an Unsouled, meaning he doesn’t belong into any of the categories and therefore only has very basic powers. His society detests weakness (“Resources went to strengthen those who were already strong, not to bring up the weak.”), so he’s shamed and belittled constantly.
Obviously, he slowly gets more powerful through wits and cheating and sheer determination.
It’s definitely a quick read and I haven’t read much Asian-inspired fantasy before, but I found myself bored. I don’t care about magic systems. I don’t care about videogame mechanics in books. The worldbuilding and the characters felt flat, the plot was incredibly predictable, infodumping after some chapters felt clumsy, and it felt like power-ups acted as a substitute for actual character development and personality, which…ehh. No thanks.
There really isn’t anything to it except power-ups and a magic system. There’s a certain subset of people who will find this sort of thing satisfying. I, alas, did not.
Recommended to: those looking for a light quick read, fans of stories about underdogs becoming powerful and proving everyone wrong, LitRPG fans
Not recommended to: if you value character development or think power-ups are boring: don’t bother, it’s not worth it