I bet y’all thought I was exaggerating how much I read, didn’t you. Anyway, after being driven away from the litRPG genre for a break by a veritable flood of schlock, I decided to skip the space opera and go back to dabble a bit in litRPG again. Consider me pleasantly surprised by Beginner’s Luck (Character Development #1), Allen Jay’s freshman entry to the genre. It boasts an intriguing take on genre tropes and hits a lot of my personal high points of what I hope the litRPG genre becomes. Usually in litRPG, when you see a character “punching above their weight”, it’s because they got über lucky somehow. Well, in this book that is very much not the case (I can see where an argument could be made, but it’d be a flimsy one at best). It also strikes a decent balance between real world and game world action, which is another thing I’ve rarely seen authors do well (outside of the Continue Online series, that is). The MC isn’t an all powerful monster, he’s strictly bound by game mechanics and at every turn he is actively hampered by the rules, the corrupt leaders of society, and even other players of the game - including his best friend. The methods by which he prevails are solely on his wits and clever strategies/usage of what little he does manage to get. The book even managed to throw me for a loop and shocked me a time or two with some very clever twists and other unexpected events. I’m eagerly anticipating the next release, which from the way the author set up the ending is going to be focusing on one of my favorite things to do in games - settlement building. It’s available on KU, and everyone here should read it!