Defiance of the Fall (Defiance of the Fall, #1) (2024)

Stanislas Sodonon

471 reviews81 followers

November 28, 2023

OK, let me start with all that is wrong with this audiobook.
Because there's a lot.

1. Maybe it's due to the original format, but the chapters are uncharacteristically small. Sometimes, a single scene will be broken into many such "chapters", (or should it be episodes?). Very annoying. The book version should have been adjusted accordingly.

2. Lack of an editor. Or a thesaurus. Do you have any idea how many times the word "luckily", "fortunately", "unfortunately", were used in this book? Almost once every paragraph! I'm barely exaggerating.

3. probably linked to point 1. the book feels incomplete. It feels like the author decided to stop the book there for no intrinsic reason. Nothing has been resolved, nothing has been concluded. the final cliffhanger is something you'd expect from a weekly series; not something that concludes a "book".

4. The MC gets paradoxically self-important for no reason. For someone who has no contact with the outside world, and no idea what others are doing, he often starts musing about how far behind him others must be, how they must obviously be struggling to do things he found easy. With zero material justification for his hubris. That left a sour taste.

5. the opposition was seriously underpowered and incredibly accommodating. The MC only has brawn and little technique, and he's facing veteran fighters. It makes no sense for him to dominate them so utterly.

OK, by now, you're wondering:
"If you've found so many things wrong with this book, why the hell are you giving it such good marks?"

Well, my dear friend, I'll tell you why.
It's because... the story made sense! For once!

For once, I felt like an author got over themselves, and really tried to "think" about what would matter if the world went RPG. I liked that the MC didn't get a tutorial. I liked that the system refused to help him. I liked that he didn't keep getting snarky alerts; on the contrary, whatever he got was terse and to the point.

I like the way the MC went about his "build", even if I still think he got a LOT of freebies. No "saving points" bullsh*t. No "min-max" nonsense. Only "survival" and "playing to your strengths". This isn't a game. I think the author succeeded in making me believe that; sooo much more than most LitRPG stuff I see around. BTW, is this LitRPG? Or is it actually GameLit? I'll have to look up the difference again (if it matters).

I feel like I spend most of this book grunting "Yes! THAT's how it would have happened!", as if this book was some form of revenge, or an antidote to all the bad LitRPG I've had to endure so far.

So yeah. I stand by my mark.
In the murk of meh-ness I've trodden in so far, this is one of the very few that float up.
4 stars.


Tawfek No time to read :(

2,914 reviews2,228 followers

April 29, 2023

Great great job, world building of the highest order, The Three chapters that told the origin tale of the System truly won me over, and made me pump this up from 3 to 4 stars, they were truly impressive and its not even over yet there is more origin stories, and explanations to this vast multiverse TheFirstDefier created.
Its so hard i get it, you can never please everyone in LITRPG, you want to make a leading character who is the best in the human race like the case we have here, people will complain about him being OP, even though the element of danger is huge and is present, and people are dying!
you want to make ranks, and make your protagonist top 3 in his low rank like he who fights with monsters, people will still complain.
you make a weak ass hero, people will complain.
WTF guys chill, i should chill too though...
I am really blown away by LITRPG writers innovation and ingenuity, its really tough to predict them, so here we have, 3 monster hordes, first horde was all wolves attacking the settlement, it was going to be really boring if the next was the same, so instead he makes a hive of insects, that have no interest in attacking, but they went for the islands Riches instead deep underground, you gotta attack them yourself, or say goodbye to your Nexus Vein!
And its not even over there is 1 more monster horde to go, but let's remember the fact, that 20 days or even 15 days is a long time, Zac could brave many perils and come out even stronger for the next wave, while he tries to locate his sister!
What about the special events the Lords will be invited to?! Or the Tutorial Tokens event, that Zac has secured a spot in already! Or the fact that the third race to be integrated with earth, is actually Territorial insect humanoids, who will probably not make friends with anybody, and might end up bringing Hell to everyone, If Apocalypse is this cool bring it over! actually just bring it over already i don't care.
Also This Novel is pretty much cultivation too, Asian style, even though it doesn't go deep on the established Sub-genre that is cultivation novels, i believe its borrowing many many aspects from it.
Who the f*ck was watching Zac leave near the end? pair of eyes mean one person or two persons (also two persons should be Two Sets of eyes right?!)
I am actually going to stick with this to the end, it has a part that i really like in games (even though its real world here) the economical part, the trading part in the old online games, as new games tend to stifle any community moved economy because it tends to over inflate and screw everything up eventually.
The town building system is unique, its not new, but the writer made it his own thing, he made up his own buildings with their rank system, and their utility is unique, like i was thinking he should buy a building that heals him, but no he didn't even do that at all.
so money here is actually really useful and very present and accounted for, unlike He who fights with monsters, there was no track records of his earnings or his spending, so dude could very well be endlessly rich, we wouldn't know it.
I spam written Dozens of progress updates for this novel, i can go on and on, i can search them for more things that i found interesting or even some critiquing points that i didn't like, but the review will get inflated, i ll try to read the next part of this somewhere in the next two months, See you at the top!

    fantasy litrpg

Timothy Nugent

Author3 books46 followers

January 13, 2020

I have read over 300 litrpg books and many "system" style books. This is now my favorite. I will continue to follow and read this series until he gives up writing.

The author does a very good job with engaging the reader. Some of the other books on here have atrocious grammar, and while I did notice the occasional mistake, for the most part this is solid. The biggest reason why I like this series though is that the writing is not mechanical. There is almost always a sense of adventure and discovery and emotion involved, and even fear for the character. Other books, like "The new world" for instance, are more mechanical. It reads more like a journal log for how the MC got from point A to point B. Very little emotion, very little excitement.

    cultivation litrpg post-appocalypse


212 reviews16 followers

May 28, 2021

I read up to chapter 342/530 in 2 days.
I give the start 3 stars since I liked it, but everything after 100-200 chapters is just ok.

It is a good story with good character development.

There are two major flaws that become apparent after chapter ~150:
(1) Lack of character development. It becomes a chronicle of the main character doing cool stuff with zero character growth. Hypothetically at this point the character is fighting some sort of 'inner demon power' thing, but that is hardly mentioned and the way the main character deals with it is by getting better at magic. The story, around chapter 100, devolves into "Main character goes here, defeats these enemies, does this thing with the people, and goes home for 2 days before setting out again." There is little to no growth, thus the story becomes meaningless. If I were allowed some speculation, I think that this is caused by the trap of patreon, where the author feels the need to keep putting out content to keep the money coming. The author even said that the story was only planned for a hundred chapters, which kind of explains the drop in quality and significance, since pre-planned stories have a higher chance of having a cohesive story and plan for growth of characters.
(2) Slow, meaningless fight scenes. I believe that all scenes need to be developing the character, world, or story for the reader in some way. It doesn't have to be drastic, but there needs to be purpose to scenes. I'm fine with a lengthy tea party scene, as long as we are finding out new things, or growing closer to characters. However, the fight scenes in this book are frequent and useless. The author will spend thousands of words and up to 5 chapters just detailing how the main character defeats random enemies that will be dead at the end anyway. Of course, the enemies are sometimes important, but the good information and development only happens at the introduction and there is no need for the protracted battles. This is a matter of personal preference, and doesn't mean the book is bad. It just means that people who share my opinion on this kind of 'filler' should watch out. This boringness is probably caused by the inability to end the story due to Patreon and the difficulty of creating actual story content, compounded by the author's ambitious 5 chapters a week, which is almost unheard of in the better webnovels.
(small 3) There are many typos and unclear/impossible to understand sentences in the chapters after 200, once again probably due to the author prioritizing chapter output over quality. That or the editor took a 5 month vacation.

    litrpg progression some-books-finished

Logan Horsford

512 reviews19 followers

June 17, 2021

Still in the process of reading this but I've no idea why it has gotten such rave reviews.

Literally nothing new in this - everything that happens is a trope that has happened in tons of other litrpg books. Almost like a checklist.

MC is neither very interesting nor likable. System is nothing special.

It's very 'blah' overall. More may be added later. If not, it's just a fairly dull litrpg book...

Update - bland as crap. Gave up after eight hours into a 23 hour book.

Jacob Proffitt

3,165 reviews1,883 followers

January 8, 2023

This was a weird read. The first part felt choppy and like the author didn't know what they were doing. It evened out after about a third, though I might have just gotten used to the not-style? In the second third, there were a couple places where the author got lost in the narrative and the hero, Zac, just sat there, not acting. That's a huge pet peeve of mine so I was ready to ditch. Only I wasn't aware of it happening again after that. The last third started to feel a bit samey and I almost started skimming descriptions during action so I could get to the part where Zac had the turn around and started towards victory. That's a lot of stylistic migrations in a book and makes me suspect that the author started this as a serial but with writing that improved substantially over that time. Like, this could be the main work during a course on writing that smoothed the style out as it went. If I were a betting man, I'd put a decent wager on that being exactly what happened.

The story is interesting right from the start. The apocalypse happens while Zac is camping with friends and all three of the others are "chosen" leaving him to fend for himself in a substantially altered world. Due to circ*mstances that make him the protagonist of a story, he has a couple lucky breaks (I mean, if he had rolled low or the opponent had rolled high in that first roll-off there'd be no story). This gives Zac something of a boost, which is handy considering his stretch of forest now resides on an island that is overrun by demons. And the power fantasy starts from there with Zac pulling together new information about his world, overcoming great obstacles, and making experiments that sometimes pay off in pain and other times in power, and not infrequently in both.

I liked Zac and the system of this story was equally fascinating. There are levels and stats and classes, but there's almost as much emphasis on cultivating Dao—insights into the nature of the universe. Zac falls into an experience that helps develop the Dao of Heaviness, for example, and that becomes as (or more) important for his surviving as do his stats or class levels.

Anyway, for pure LitRPG originality, this was a fun ride. I'm going to give it only three stars because the writing was so bad in that first bit and the monotony on the last was just shy of being a slog. Still, I'm looking forward to the next and that's a good sign.

A note about Chaste: Zac is largely alone for most of this story and once he has companions, they aren't so much interested in love or cuddles. That makes this very chaste.

    chaste cultivation fantasy


7 reviews

June 29, 2021

Got tricked by the high score here and on audible. First i thought maybe it is just a really long buildup for something but nope there is no payoff at any point. The worst point for me is that there is nearly no interaction between characters. Which then results in a lack of emotion and motivation behind his actions. The whole story is just him getting stronger, the end.

Arundeepak J

117 reviews61 followers

December 16, 2021

4.25 / 5

Lack of secondary characters for about the first 400 pages was a only complaint from me. Flew through the last 200 pages in a single read.

Jon Svenson

Author9 books102 followers

June 14, 2021

I'm liking a lot of the LitRPG books coming out of Aethon Books, and Defiance of the Fall only adds to that list.

The book starts out fairly straightforward: multiverse apocalypse, land reshuffling (similar to They Called Me Mad), and various humanoids from other planets showing up.

The key difference here is that Zac finds himself standing in the right place at the right time, where a cast of the die is enough to defeat a herald.

From there we go into a detailed account of Zac single handedly attempting to stop a demon invasion, where he has to kill four heralds (he got one right at the start) along with the general of the invasion.

Around the 50% point of the book the battle comes to an end. At this point I would have been fine with the book ending, as it has been an intense book full of battles up to this point. It reminded me a lot of Savage Dominion by Luke Chmilenko to be honest.

Except the book doesn't. After that we have twenty percent where the aftermath of the battle is dealt with and the remaining demons help him understand what is going on with the new system.

After that an early quest comes back where Zac has to protect the flag (his small town) against oncoming hordes of monsters.

While all this is happening the former leader (Olgas) of the demon invasion is side by side with Zac, neither trusting the other but working together to stop the invasion.

I thought it was immediately obvious that trusting Olgas was a mistake, and the last line of the book made that more apparent. Hopefully, Zac has a plan in mind to deal with whatever Olgas comes up with.

Overall, this is a strong LitRPG novel with tons of notifications, and none of them have that snarky element. The system here is serious, and it doesn't mess around. I did enjoy Zac's brief foray out into the rest of the world, and I hope we get to see a lot more of that in book 2.

Although the author calls himself the First Defier, and there are references made to other defiers throughout history, I haven't seen anything in Zac that points to him becoming a defier.

The battles are really well done here without becoming overly gratuitous and gory, and I can see Zac's island turning into a haven for people from Earth wanting to progress along their paths.

All in all, a fun book. Highly recommended. 5/5*

    action-adventure apocalypse-post-apocalyse fantasy


435 reviews45 followers

November 5, 2021

Review of books 1-3:

Fabulous. One of the best (if not THE BEST) in this "real world" apocalypses genre.

+ The worldbuilding is just brilliant and unique making it interesting from get go.
+ The magic system is refreshing and well structured.
+ very interesting plot that keep me guessing all through the 3 books I've read.
+ Writing/prose is very engaging and never slows down. Exciting ride all through.
+ Characters are good (but could do with more development).

After reading brilliant series like System Apocalypse, Shadow Sun and Phase Shift... I really thought I had hit the cream of the genre, but this one just resonated with me just that lil bit more.

Eagerly waiting for the next book.


Steve Naylor

1,996 reviews116 followers

September 23, 2021

Rating 4.0 stars

Out of all the litprg styles out there this is one of my favorite. I am getting a little tired of the player stuck in an online game stories. I like the ones where the world is changed to now use gamelike mechanics and magic. This book is that kind of story. The MC is Zac Atwood, he is on a camping trip with his new girlfriend and her friends when the world changes. The earth was added to the multiverse and gamelike mechanics are added to the world. The system does this to try and make cultivators stronger. It does this by taking the people with the potential to cultivate and sending them to a tutorial in order to gain in power. The only problem for Zac is that he is not one of those people and gets left on an island all alone and has to stay alive and stop an invasion from other beings in the multiverse who think the earth is new meat for the grinder and just wants their resources. The first part of the book was pretty good but got a little bit boring. Zac spent the first half of the book all alone and had to figure everything out on his own. It was a miracle he survived as he was wounded constantly. The story really got better when he was able to interact with other characters. The gamelike mechanics were pretty good but the magic system wasn't explained in that much detail. I was still a little confused with some of the plot Overall a very enjoyable read and I can't wait for the next one.

Ascher Goodrich

18 reviews1 follower

December 24, 2021

Its trash

The author has a poor grasp of the English language and, clearly, did not hire an editor. Other reviewers have theorized that the author is Russian and the poor writing is the result of a language barrier. I do not believe that to be the case. The author writes like an American who doesn't read a lot, let alone have a professional education. For example, near the end of the book there's a line that reads,"they vacated their bowels". Normally, I would assume this was a typo, but having made it to this point in the book I can assure you it was deliberate. The author probably heard the turn of phrase "evacuated their bowels" and both confused the two words and was too lazy to spend two seconds googling. There's many, many more examples like this. Don't even get me started on his use of "fractal". Author, if you somehow end up reading this, that word does not mean what you think it means. Also, you should be embarrassed to have published this.


179 reviews

January 24, 2021

It's better than a lot in the genre but the writing is a lot of tell not show. The writing style is practically musings, expositions and more musings. Chapters can go on and on without anything happening. There's a lot of good here but that kind of writing is really just a turn off and feels like your time is being wasted.

It's free to read over at Royal Road tho, I still follow it but I just skim most of it since again, the writing style just tells you a bunch of useless information. For example, the latest chapter as of writing is called S-Grade. . . nothing in the chapter is about S-Grade. It went on and on and nothing really happened, it's a chapter that did not move the story forward for even an inch.

    litrpg western-xianxia

Stephen Morley

178 reviews6 followers

April 15, 2022

This series falls into the same traps a lot of LitRPG books do. No pace, out of control progression, and the lack of supporting character development. There are a lot of cool ideas but the execution is poor. However, if you want to read about one boss fight after another or an over the top power set, then this is your book.

BOOK 1 – The protagonist is essentially alone for the entire book. There is no dialogue and he engages in never-ending battle from start to finish. The action is really good, and feels measured and paced at first. The protagonist learns the basics and moves forward. The world building is interesting and though earth is the basis for the story the author still has to flesh out a whole new world for the reader.

What’s not great is there is no dialogue. At times the narration gets muddled between the protagonist introspection and the simple description of the setting. The Author has a real issue with scope. Example he used the word millennia to describe how old something is but then ruined it by saying a hundred thousand years. Both are big expansive descriptions but there is a difference between multiple millennia (3 to 2 thousand years) and 100 thousands of those. This issue doesn’t get much better throughout the book. The author likes to hit the, let’s describe everything in the biggest numbers possible, so that it shows how crazy huge it is. The problem for me is that as a reader I have no yard sticks to measure things. So, this boss is now a multiple of 10 while the last boss was a multiple of 5 but the protagonist was able to kill both while not even cracking through on the power scale? Granted he almost died both times, but almost dying is as common as breathing in this story. I stopped counting the number of times the author describes a new pain by saying it was less than the last pain. Or that the protagonist didn’t black out even though it was the worst pain he ever felt. And heaven forbid when he does black out from the pain its always for a minute or two at the end of a crazy fight when he can’t get murdered by something. Coincidence?🤔

What I am getting at is the book series is just an ever-increasing fight. Which is cool if there was some evenness to it. I liked Dragon ball Z when I was a kid because the fights were over the top. However, I soon realized it was the same fight again and again. Goku would always get the power ups he would need when he needed them.

The defeat of the boss was inevitable. At least in that anime there were other characters to watch fight to mix it up. Not here. It’s the protagonist (Goku) fight after fight.

BOOK 2 – Is book one on adrenaline. Just throw in town building. Which to be honest was a weakness of this book. The author introduces the elements but really doesn’t spend much time on the process. It’s a distraction more than anything and it gives the protagonist the means by which to interact with newly introduced character conflicts. All the while providing a convenient solution to some very predictable stumbling blocks the protagonist will have in the future.

BOOK 3 – Is book two on cocaine. Just throw in imperial conquests. The fights get absurd. The protagonist goes from killing 10’s of enemies in book one. To killing 100’s of enemies at the start of book 2. Then 1,000’s of enemies by the end of 2. To killing 10,000 of enemies in book 3. This would work if the progression wasn’t so crazy fast. By book 3 its only been 6-9 months for the character max.

The series has no pace. It’s a rush from point A to point B with as much blood as possible. The author is like Tim the tool-man Taylor saying, “More Power”. The protagonist solves every issue with more stat points in strength but conveniently it’s never hampered his other stats. There is no conflict in his allocation of points.

So you’ll read about the allocation but you know in the back of your head it doesn’t matter because the author will write in a cheat to get him out of any stat bind he might create.

I read the series but I can’t recommend it to anyone. It can help you pass the time if you need to, but it’s like candy. It will pass the time but there are no nutrients in any of it. You’ll just get fat or have to go to the dentist.


2 reviews

May 27, 2022

I really wanted to like this book, but, man, I can't see why it's so well reviewed (bots, maybe?).

A short list of my issues with the book:

1) The author seriously struggles with vocabulary range, with many sentences coming across as jarringly redundant. While no means a deal breaker, it definitely prevents the world and narrative from feeling rich or textured.

2) The main character displays extremely little personality for the majority of the book (it being a survival situation with little interpersonal interaction), but when you later get to see his personality, he's extremely unlikable. Seriously, I wonder if the author has an empathy disorder or he was trying (badly) to convey that the MC has one, because when encountering traumatized refugees who had very recently seen their friends horribly murdered, the MC's response is a psychopathic, "Man, these people aren't working hard to be stronger and they suck."

This trends continues, and the whole book starts feeling like some privileged, White middle schooler moralizing about how poor people are lazy or something. It is extremely off-putting and made me deeply dislike the MC. (And don't even get me started about the atrociously written 15-year-old sexual assault victim)

3) The overall writing quality is just... very not good. I didn't approach this book expecting Peter Watts or Dan Simmons, but virtually every aspect of the book struggles, and there's no where near enough good or engaging elements to make up for it.

4) There are a lot of elements of the book/setting that really feel like they were stolen, whole cloth, from other pieces of media. The early book legitimately reads like it was copied from He Who Fights With Monsters--with, no joke, the MC getting caught by a giant constrictor snake, only to fall from a great height while bound up and the snake dying to the fall.

Later on, you encounter a giant tree that is pretty much a 1-to-1 for the titular Tree of Might from Dragon Ball Z.

So, yeah, this is really not a good book. Maybe the series gets better later, but I'm certainly not going to know.

If you want some similar--but far superior--books, check out Sufficiently Advance Magic by Andrew Rowe and He Who Fights With Monsters by (the oddly named) Shirtaloon.

David Uko

125 reviews4 followers

January 27, 2022

This is an audiobook review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’ve almost caught up with the web series release on royalroad, so I just had to get the audio version. I’m a sucker for good LitRPG/apocalyptic books and this one definitely didn’t disappoint. It had amazing world building and attention to detail, the MC’s growth was also refreshing. Can’t wait for the next instalment.

cardulelia carduelis

574 reviews30 followers

January 2, 2024

When I was in elementary school, all our classes blended together through certain themes. In Year 3, the theme was the Ancient Greeks. We'd pattern paper plates with tiny pegasi to mimic ancient crockery. We'd learn about city building and sanitation. We learned about Theseus and the Minotaur. In some creative writing task that year we were given a map of the Minotaur's labyrinth. It was a photocopy from some textbook, an intricate maze. We were also given a rough timetable of how thesus's journey progressed, and a challenge: rewrite the myth from Thesus's perspective. Having a sequence of events and a set journey meant that plot, setting, and characters were all ready taken care of. What we had to do then was develop a voice. Put ourselves in Theseus's shoes: what he saw and smelt and felt on his way. The plot was there, the story we knew; our role was to craft the experience.
And that's what I came into Defiance hoping for: the embodiment of the role-player. I've played games like this before, and understand the satisfaction in exploring a world and gaining skills, but how is to actually live the experience? To wake up one morning and find the life you've been building is gone? Your friends and family gone? Unfortunately, you won't find out through reading this book.

Note to fellow book-club members, I'll be bringing up a lot of these points at book club, so have spoilered them - lest they affect your reading experience.

The start was promising. A bewildered young man with some 21st century suburban skills is thrust into a real-life video game. He goes from camping with his friends to suddenly being (to all intents and purposes) the last surviving human in a diseased Earth full of monsters. Humanity is gone, his country, his life, his dreams are gone. And he is thrust into a battle royale, where the more violent and bold survive. Now what?
I actually love that premise. It's so absurd and it could have been explored at length with a book this size. Here's how I would have explored it: The initial fun of playing along - look mom! All those video games were good for something! -, the creep of loneliness and despair as he realises there is no end in sight in his lifetime, eventually finding a way out of depression and getting into the grind and mourning the loss of his future. And as he powers up: seeing the extent to which his physicality changes, does he feel like himself anymore now that he is so far removed from how we was? Does he experience dysmorphia? He only sleeps for 3 hours a night now: how does that affect him mentally? Does he still dream? How is his memory? How is this new experience shaping his brain? I would have loved to see this explored.
And yet there is zero introspection in Defiance. Zero pondering Zac's loss of humanity and newfound isolation. The guy is plunged into an all-out killing game with his culture, planet, and humanity obliterated and acts like an NPC.

Clearly the problem here is somewhat with me: this isn't the book I was expecting it to be. So if we put that aside then, ignore that lack of characterization, is there still something good left? Action, plot, setting?

Let's get back to the plot. After spending a few pages trying to figure out where everyone is and why he had to click a random number generator that has been projected into his worldview (such a fascinating idea, also left unexplored) your boy just gets on with it. And getting on with it in this case means killing things and skinning them - something he is totally fine with.
In this initial phase he is still looking for the tutorial of the game but is told that because of his power-up (due to that improbable RNG) he doesn't have access to the tutorial.
This is another place where my expectations led me down the wrong path. I figured that removing the tutorial also removed the possibility of infodumps, allowing the reader to discover and play with the world at the same time as Zac while lending him more agency. It could be like the Martian by Weir, where Zac is problem solving from his 21st century skillset - how fun!
That's not what happens.
Instead, there is a time jump of a month in which time Zac has become a master at butchery and brute force. We don't get to go on this journey of discovery with him, it just happens in the background. And by page 90 he gets exposition anyway - from a cosmic black eyeball.
So begins a pattern for the book: demon farming with decent (albeit repetitive) action scenes, followed by a power-up of some sort, followed by an exposition dump either from the power-up or a new character.
It was this, over and over again, that led me to putting the book aside for a few days at page 250. But I was told in the latter half more characters are introduced and things get more exciting. So I picked it back up and did go on to finish all 760 pages of the thing.

Spoiler: they do not.

What does happen is that he fights stronger and stronger enemies (although it never feels too perilous because he's so ridiculously overpowered) until he completes his quest. And then gets a shipyard to maintain and some very one-dimensional characters to govern. Other reviews have mentioned this but up until this point you can be forgiven in casting Zac as an everyman with a penchant for brutality because he's entirely alone. After he gets the town, and people to talk to, he is revealed to be an ass with no empathy. Everyone he meets who is at a lower level than him and/or hasn't embraced the gladiator lifestyle as he has he decides is pathetic. He uses his magical fastwalk ability to run out on conversations that require him to mentor/lead others.
The human interactions do not.. read well. I'm trying to not go too hard here because I know a lot of young folk love this book, but this really isn't it. Also, what 16 year old upon being rescued immediately starts stripping off as a barter for her parents' corpses? What?

So, plot not there for me, characterization not there, setting/worldbuilding - barely exists and is derivative.

Do I just not get litRPG?
Let's go with the premise that this genre is a gateway into reading for those who might not otherwise have picked up a book and would instead be gaming. That would explain the complete lack of explanation for concepts like loot systems, heralds, power-ups, grinds, stats, system. Given all the exposition you'd think these concepts might have been explained, even in a footnote, but I digress.
So if this is a gateway to reading: is this style of book actually of interest to those who would rather be gaming? Does the material, familiar as it is, not just remind the reader that they could be having more fun doing this on their PC? Having now read this as someone who enjoys both mediums -- I don't think so. As someone who has read widely, it offers nary a hint of the benefits of a good book. And as a gamer, it just reminds me of better games with better action/worlds that I would rather be playing.

So is this just a power fantasy then for the teen that feels like they have very little control over their life? Do people read this for thew thrill of the leveling? To capture the gitGud feels with no effort? Given the 9k ratings at 4 stars and above people do love this. I wonder what I'm missing.
[And no, fellow reader, the explanation of "it's just not for you" is not what I'm looking for here. That is true for everything. This book can be analysed just like anything else: so why do you like this? Tell me what I'm missing. What do you get reading this that you don't get from Raymond E. Feist, or Robert Jordan, or Steven Erikson? Why this?]

Defiance of the Fall (Defiance of the Fall, #1) (13)

Not sure if I'll read much more in this genre to be honest. I've heard equally excellent things about Dungeon Crawler Carl so might pick that up at some point. However, the First Defier and I will, sadly, be parting ways after this.

An aside that didn't fit anywhere else: I would have appreciated a change in stats list alongside the absolute values. E.g. vitality = 25 (+3 since last checkpoint). I had to keep flipping back and forth to see what progress was made - how do people keep track of this in the audiobook?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


Wilhelm Eyrich

338 reviews20 followers

June 15, 2021

One of my favorite stories from RoyalRoad. Expect the series to continue getting better and better.


2,783 reviews334 followers

January 27, 2022

ETA: Skimmed #2 and not interested.


Low End of 3 Stars
Narration was fine, the story needs an editor.

Due to the author's habit of using certain words and phrases, the whole book had an odd echo effect. The words or phrases would be repeated right after the first placement. It ruins the story every time it happened.

Concepts for character, setting and conflicts are great, but the plot execution and writing flaws need to be improved.

I'm not willing to spend more money on the audiobooks. This will probably backfire on me, because the audiobook narration made it possible for me to listen to all of #1. I plan to skim #1 on KU. I have more patience for translated stories, but that patience only goes so far. This is not a translated story.

I blame my curiousity! I read a lot of the reviews for the series, and I'm curious to check out the writing for myself.


Alex Kozlowski

Author14 books96 followers

June 28, 2021

I can see what the hype was about. I really enjoyed, great progression, power, the sort of book that fires up the imagination in your head and have you playing out your own versions.

Very much looking forward to the next one.

Anoop Alla

58 reviews2 followers

September 21, 2022

Spent 6-7 hours reading this book every day. It’s way too addictive. High-key furious at Praneeth for recommending me this book right when I’m starting my surgery rotation. If I fail surgery, I’m 100% blaming this series.


1,343 reviews14 followers

September 21, 2021

A very good book.

I really enjoyed this book although the MC is a murder hobo he is pretty interesting and I like the plot development and the world building.

Lukas Lovas

1,311 reviews65 followers

December 24, 2021

Quite enjoyable - I wasn't quite sure at the beginning, if I want to continue, but the writing was solid and after a short while, I was happy I stayed with it. Worth a read :)


Ernie Jr.

Author4 books20 followers

February 4, 2022

I've just started into LitRPGs two years ago. I've read them in between writing, reading other indie authors, and popular fantasy and sci-fi like Sanderson. Back in October, I happened upon Defiance of the Fall through Facebook. When I say I could not put the book down, what I mean is that I spent the next weekend reading managing food and other necessities as I continued to read. I may or may not have eschewed sleep one night in order to keep reading.

One of the things, I think, that truly resonates with me is Zac. He's put in an absolutely unbelievable position, alone against a multiverse of things trying to kill him. Giving up doesn't enter his mind. Instead, his thoughts are for family, his friends, and ultimately protecting his planet. He's not a paladin in the technical sense, but he has the paladin's heart. A Superman in personality, Zac becomes the man who stands between Earth and destruction.

As an avid gamer, especially of rpgs and MMORPGs, we all know about the grind. It's purposefully time-consuming, repetitive, and ultimately boring. This book turned that on its head and made even the "grind" enjoyable to read about. The First Defier (Brink) makes each battle meaningful, each skill, each point something to thirst after and leaves us wanting more.

For gamers, readers of fantasy and science fiction, and superhero fans - I cannot recommend this book enough. The potential for series here is long and I am excited about that as much as anything. One of the best fantasy novels out there and no doubt the absolute top of the Lit RPG ladder (if you know, you know).

    fantasy lit-rpg


72 reviews6 followers

March 18, 2023

Crunchy, fast-paced LitRPG!

I’ll be very honest. The first book took me three tries to get through. However, I’m glad I finished it. I’m now on book five and still very much enjoying the series. The trick is turning off your brain - there’s some bumps in the road, especially at the beginning, but it’s a fun ride if you let it drag you along!

This is a LitRPG story. It is also a web serial on RoyalRoad. Don’t go in expecting great literature. That being said, the author makes up for the lack of polish with creative storytelling and the sheer volume of his work. And as the story progresses, the characters, world, and System mechanics grow to become much more fleshed out.

This is also a power fantasy. The main character, Zac, becomes a killing machine early on and it snowballs from there. He excels at two things: surviving and getting more powerful. He’s far from perfect though, showing only average intelligence and weak skills for anything not related to stubbornly striving against adversity.

While Zac is fairly two-dimensional, what I like about him is he isn’t a murder hobo or typical sigma male. He’s actually goodhearted with a well-developed conscience. This constantly drives him to risk his life to protect others. And while he’s a mediocre leader at best, he rarely hesitate to share his power with allies.

It’s a fun series so far and I’m really glad I stuck with it. I recommend it if you’re looking for that next big LitRPG binge reading experience!


329 reviews8 followers

May 25, 2022

A new hero or conquerer is born through Earth trials when the Ruthless Heavens take control

The Ruthless Heavens is the demons name for the System that runs all things on the multiverse. Which earth just joined, some humans were sent to the tutorial while others were left to die where they were without any guidance. Zac is one of those but he will not just lie down and die. This is his island and even alone he won’t let an army of demon dogs and their demon masters take it or his life without a fight.
As a new order enters the universe humanity has to contend with great changes, first their technology no longer functions and second magic is real. Zac doesn’t have time for all that as he finds himself alone on an island with none of the people he was with there anymore. It’s him versus an Incursion of demons. Thousands of demons. He’s probably dead already but he has a hand ax and a deep desire to survive. He decides to follow the quests and grow stronger, one chop at a time, because who doesn’t love a good axe story?
He was wants to find his family and friends but being on an island with no idea where to go doesn’t help. See the Ruthless Heavens believes in growth through adversity and will throw heaps of it at everyone to ‘help’ them grow to their potential or kill them and churn their energy into someone more useful.
A great new entry into the genre that I really enjoyed over the last days, I’m off to read the next and see what troubles Zac can find!


That Guy

158 reviews8 followers

November 16, 2022

Q better than most of this type.. But still not great

This is better than most of it's peers... But the bar is low. It suffers from the same over explaining and endless narrative monologuing. The MC isn't a complete beta loser.. but pretty close. He is not very bright and acts like a teenage boy with a learning disability. Pretty bland character to be honest. The worst part though, is the over explaining.... Seriously. You could remove half the book and it would be a major improvement. Way too much filler, and way too much telling rather than showing. The fights are ok, but they get repetitive and drawn out later in the story. It's good enough I will read the next one, but it needs a legit editor to trim off the excess and smooth out the rough edges

Edit: I have read all the published books and most of what is available on Royal Road beyond them. The series overall is better than most in the genre. I still agree with my previous review of the book, but have bumped it up to five stars since this is Litrpg and it did manage to retain my attention. The story does suffer as it grows beyond itself though, I lost interest eventually despite trying to come back to it a few times.


725 reviews17 followers

May 24, 2023

I had to struggle to get through the first 2 hours and after that I gave up. The entire book seems to be one big trope that borrows from other much better written books. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Attempting to take concept from other books throw them in a mixer and sprinkle it on pages together.
It ends up pretty boring and the MC is pretty lame as well.

So I made a third attempt on this series a few days ago and this time I went in with an open mind and
without any high expectations that the reviews had lead me to have earlier I actually enjoyed the book. However while I did enjoy it way more I still feel that the start of the book could have been done way better. So I am now hooked on the series and I'm already on the third book in the series.
My main complaint was how empty the start of this book felt and it gave me the wrong impression of how the series would progress. So if you're like me and only stuck it out for a few hours until you dropped the book and you enjoy Cultivation series/ Litrpg I would recommend giving this another chance and stick with it for some time.

    audio-books fast-paced-action-packed interesting


600 reviews11 followers

December 27, 2021

Fascinating start to a series

Enjoyed this version of a LitRPG novel. It ends kind of suddenly, but knowing there is another book in the series, that isn't too bad. I found myself intrigued by the main character and enjoy how he has been developing. Looking forward to the next book.


1,894 reviews65 followers

January 14, 2022

Book one

Mistakes: Pretty well written and edited. I still skipped chunks of this book. Mostly when it talks about the cultivation, which I found boring. I listed the two mistakes I did find on Goodreads.

Plot: While on a camping trip a soft, doughy, office worker is caught in the system apocalypse.
From his wounds in his first fight he should have died. It's my personal opinion that he levels at a really stupid rate. Also releasing your aura is just stupid. Your aura is weightless and you can't crush people with it. Inspire fear or bravery, but not cause physical harm. Shooting it from a weapon is just silly.

Characters: The MC should have died early on. He is also not very smart. This wouldn't have been hurt at all by slowing his growth down, as it is it feels rushed.

6/10 I read this on Royalroad but dropped it because I found the fight at Rogers place to corny.
Seems like it was edited and things cleaned up. I think it could use a slower pace.

Defiance of the Fall (Defiance of the Fall, #1) (2024)


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