HexDSL

Book Club Emerilia Series By Michael Chatfield

by HexDSL on 11 Feb '21

When skill fails, hope the story is good enough.

As I said in a previous post regarding Michael Chatfields Emerilia series, I love this world. I love this Series of stories and I love that there is a metric shit-tonne of it! BUT I am now 8 books in and I have to say a few things about Mr Chatfields skills as a writer.

For those who are un-aware the Emerilia series is the story of a man named Dave who plays a fantasy video-game and oops, looks like its reality and Earth was the video game! - Your usual Lit-RPG nonsense. But this one is actually pretty great because as the series goes on is starts to develop its own fantasy-science-fiction-vibe that just makes it better and better as you read. There are a few characters who take it from Lit-RPG shovel-ware to wonderfully good natured romp. The science-fiction aspects of the story are drip fed to you, being a sliver of plot for the bulk of the series but also being a promised pay off at the end (I’ll check back in when I finish book 11.)

One of the great things about these books is that each one starts pretty much the moment the last one finishes. Its like one massive book. I half think the writer just finishes a chapter and goes “yeah, that can be a book” and then carries on. I honestly think its written as a single work. I love it.

The problems however are in the writing not the ideas. When I was only one of two books deep it had not dawned on me that there were some habits that the writer had. But 8 books in, I can’t ignore them.

One of the other issues I have with the writing is the way that on occasion I suddenly have no idea what’s happening. This happens mostly when the characters are in combat but the word soup suddenly reaches a point where I just have to accept that it can not be followed by a human. He should have just written “ACTION HAPPENS! BOOM! OOOOOO! BANG! WHAM!” and gone back to the character stuff that he’s not half bad at (mostly)

The final major critique I point at the series is the flat female characters. Mr Chatfield does a great job at writing female characters who have agency and equality. The problem is that every woman in the book seems like the same person. They are all very confident, a little sassy (terrible use of the word sassy there, I would have changed it but its still a better choice than some of the “Snorts” in Emerilia and they sell, so fuck it) and “cute”, for lack of a better word. They are passionate and strong and I respect the shit out of them all but they are all basically the same personality and it takes the edge off them all.

STOP READING THEN!

I can’t because despite all of this, the characters are wonderful, the world is great and the plot is engaging. I love this series but I just wish it was done with a little more care. A good editor would have fixed all of my gripes with ease and a really good editor would have pointed out to the writer than he was developing literary habits that were hurting his over all story telling.

No-one reads Lit-RPG novels for the amazing writing. They are easy to read sci-fi/Fantasy trash by design. Its the genre but usually they are badly written in less obvious ways.

I love Dave and his friends and want to know if they kick the arse’s of the gods or not. I want to see how extreme the insane power-creep gets and I want Mr Chatfield to keep on spinning these yarns, I just want him to be better at it!

I even started buying them in print. I like them THAT much. I want more. Actually I think I want them to keep going forever (No, there is only 11, I checked)

With the exception of Scott Mayer’s Magic 2.0 series I have not enjoyed a pile of books all set in the same universe as much. Usually I enjoy one-shot, stand along science fiction works. For Emerilia to suck me in, while being mostly fantasy (with a twist) is actually a testament to how good it is. Its just a shame the writer can’t level up and push it over the line into greatness.

For those who have read it I would like to say - I do love Bob! also, Fire is hottttttttt.

I try to proof read. I'm Dyslexic. Mistakes happen but I do my best!