I had this awesome idea, and I wanted to write this epic, fantasy-like story. But I needed information on world-building. So, I turned to Amazon and started browsing through some books. I didn’t buy anything, though, and soon got bored of browsing.
Well, a few days later, I’m back on Amazon. In my recommended reading list, I see a novel that’s listed as LitRPG. Now, this is odd in itself because I only ever read non-fiction and romance novels. But the title was so weird that I clicked it. To my surprise, this book had nearly a five star rating. The author had mostly favorable reviews, and the negative ones were based more on personal prejudices rather than judging the merit of the book.
I usually take Amazon reviews with a grain of salt, but since this book was available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited, I decided to see what the hype was about. Now, I wasn’t exactly impressed by the first paragraphs. The main character was so damned negative and sarcastic.
But for some odd reason, I kept reading and reading. Before I realized it, I'd made it to the second half of the book and realized I was thoroughly hooked.
What was the book and what is it about?
The title of the book that started me down the path of the LitRPG road is titled Sufficiently Advance Magic (Arcane Ascension Book 1). The book is about a young boy (16 or 17 I think) named Corin and his quest to find his brother, who disappeared inside a tower. The tower was built by a goddess, and by clearing different floors of the tower, you can acquire magical abilities that will make you a powerful fighter.
Corin doesn’t really care about the power he can possibly acquire from the tower. As mentioned earlier, he only wants to find his brother who went into the tower and never came out. Many believe that Corin's brother is dead – even Corin entertains the idea that he might be dead. That’s why Corin wants to make it to the top of the tower, where it is said that those who reach the top may have any wish granted by the goddess. Corin’s wish is to bring his brother back.
However, the interesting part of the book to me, was the author's logical rules that explained the way magic worked. Corin starts out a rather pathetic fighter, and the reader learns with Corin how magic can be obtained and how it can be used. The author explains how magical items in Corin's world are created, and how they can be upgraded to more powerful items.
In Sufficiently Advance Magic, there are no suddenly overpowered main characters. Each one, though at different levels, must follow the rules to level up and grow more powerful. It's almost like playing an RPG and then reaching a certain point in the storyline where you need to grind hard in order to level your character's stats up.
Sounds interesting, doesn't it? On first glance, it might seem like a typical fantasy novel. But no - it's not classified as fantasy. This book is part of the LitRPG genre.
What is LitRPG?
Well, LitRPG is considered a sub-genre of sci-fi and fantasy. For a story to be considered LitRPG, it must contain the elements of a video game: leveling up, stats, upgradable items, etc.. What does this mean?
Well, imagine if you took your favorite video game and turned it into the novel, complete with power upgrades and raising your levels. To be honest, I had no idea LitRPG was an actual genre until just about a few months ago.
This genre has recently started gaining popularity – and from my understanding, it started with translated titles from Russian writers. There are plenty of good books out there in this genre of fiction, and I recommend you give them a try.
There's an official Facebook group for the LitRPG genre, and you can find many of the authors of these LitRPG books hang out in the group. Though do be warned, updates to some titles can come a little slow as many of the LitRPG authors are self-published and write on the side.
You'll find some rising talent within the genre. However, don't blame me if you get hooked.