Title: The Divine Dungeon Series Books 1-5
Author: Dakota Krout
Location of book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B01MUI3TG0
Review: 20/15/18/10/5= 68/100
Overview: The Divine Dungeon, a five book series by Dakota Krout, a programmer and I.T. professional trying his hand at writing progressive fantasy. I haven’t read his Completionist Chronicles, but I did read through this five book series over the course of a few days and wanted to share the good and the bad….and the ending.
Brief Summary: The author started the first book off with a dire hook, the protagonist being murdered. The landscape then shifts to the beginnings of the dungeon in a very “That Time I was Reincarnated as a Slime” manner. You learn all about how the power system works within the story (essence/mana/spirit), how differing affinities toward elements work, and the story explodes outward into a multitude of different threads. Each book ends with a big fight, and begins with a minor resolution. The final book in the main series ends in a really really bad way. It made me angry enough to swear off reading any follow up stories to the series. The author did branch the series into other books, primarily different views and short stories, but I’m still so upset at the ending that I have no interest in following up.
The magic system is interesting, with different mages/cultivators working on unique “affinities” that allow for a path of magic. Of course, the dungeon is overpowered and has access to any and all affinities and paths, but that’s the way the cookie crumbled. I believe if Krout had read Sanderon’s three laws, he may have changed up his entire system. Either way it was creative enough that I enjoyed it and it helped me create a new system of magic for my own novel-work.
The plot is meandering, and sometimes falls off a cliff. I feel that the author worked so hard on their magic system and all the different ways the world works, that they let the plot “naturally” develop and never went back to revise where the story was heading. This can have the inevitable “resurrection” moment, where the character should by all rights die and stay dead, but keeps coming back to further the plot. I’d have been more interested in one of the protagonists (there are two) dying and the ramifications of such.
The dialogue is sometimes fun (hope you REALLY like puns), and the bloodthirsty Dungeon with its wisp companion have a quirky banter that brings a lot to the writing, but the secondary protagonist doesn’t stick to a “type” of character. What do you mean type of character you ask? He’ll be brave, then weak, then brave, then a genius, then confused, then brave, then innocent (murders someone in the second chapter). He doesn’t have “rules” that he follows, unlike the dungeon personality who is consistent throughout the series.
Aside from my own writing, I never had a “higher level” reflection moment. I never questioned my life’s philosophy or view of the world I find myself in. That has plus’s and negatives. I don’t see this work as a masterpiece, nor as something that can truly stand the test of time. Maybe it’s an elitist issue, to always look for those great works of art in contemporary authors, I don’t know. But it’s a fun story and I enjoyed my time up until the inevitable end (that’s foreshadowed in the 4th book).
Emotional context, I’m mad. I’ll have pleasant feelings while reading the book, but that anger will still edge anything positive I may feel. Just read this book with a in-and-out feeling and you’ll be fine. Don’t overcommit. Maybe Krout will turn around and give us a follow-up series that this world truly deserves.
Creativity: 20 (5 points for god-tier dungeon)
Plot: 15 (10 points for meandering plot)
Dialogue: 18 (10 points for broken characterization of protagonist, 2 points returned for humor and easter eggs throughout story)
Reflective Value: 10 (-25 points for learning nothing, 10 points back for a roller coaster)
Holistic (emotion): 5 (-25 points for botching the worst part, 5 points back for making me wish there was more to this)