REVIEW: Dungeon Bringer 1

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Dungeon Bringer 1 is a work of fiction written by Nick Harrow. It is available for purchase in digital edition and readable as part of the Kindle Unlimited service. At the time of this writing, it is not available in physical form.

Synopsis: Clay Knight is the computer hacker of a not-so-distant fantasy future that seedy cooperations hire when things are not going well for them. One day he wakes up to a gun to his head and an ultimatum given by an orc thug: a cartel’s business servers are being attacked. Stop the assault and earn a paycheck of a billion dollars. Fail, and die. He’s given 30 minutes. What appears to be a pretty standard (to this world’s) cyber attack is quickly marred when gunfire erupts in the physical world and a voice from the machine speaks to Clay from another world. This leads to Clay booting up an executable… that transports his soul into the body of an Ancient Egyptian Dungeon Lord. Now he must use his skills to grow his dungeon, keep his catgirl followers safe, and understand this new world he finds himself in all while dealing with raiders looking to steal his Dungeon Core for themselves.

What I liked: This book was such a guilty pleasure. At it’s core it’s a very standard Dungeon Core novel with an Ancient Egyptian theme. Clay, as the role of Lord Rathokhetra, does something in-world that is considered atypical of Dungeon Lords – he is aggressive and not passive, choosing to bring his dungeon to threats as opposed to waiting for threats to come to him. This ultimately has some advantages in how he gets stronger and how he learns to use his powers, and it catches his enemies off guard.

This is also a harem novel. By the end of the novel, Clay gains the affections of a catgirl priest, a scorpion queen, and a former enemy. There are a few sex scenes, but most are literally a paragraph of glossing over things. This leaves a bit to the imagination, which works for me.

This is a book that plays with its Egyptian theme and plays them well. It also sets up a series of adventures well. I look forward to reading the second book in the series.

What I disliked: The opening sure is heavy handed, abuses similes like airplanes abused the Twin Towers, and asks some questions that are never again addressed in the book. While I would encourage readers to push through it to get to the meat of the story, the setup was definitively my least enjoyable part of the book.

Trying to have an idea of what the dungeon looks like is difficult as the story goes on because it changes so radically, as the way the main character uses his powers essentially causes the dungeon itself to move and extend its reach. It’s also worth noting that this book is equal parts Dungeon Core novel and Harem, and the way the third member of the harem is added and utilized stretched my suspension of belief further than was probably necessary.

What I hated: Seriously. Honest to God. 2% of the way in: “You do this, you get a billion dollars. You fuck it up, or you lay there in bed like a slug for a few more minutes, and I’ll introduce you to one of Mr. Shooty’s bullet friends.” This opening set up is just… it’s harsh.

Also, there’s a part in the book where the main character is lashing out verbally against one of the antagonist: “You broke into my house and tried to kill my people, then you broke into my house again and tried to steal my core,” I said. “If we want to talk about someone being an asshole…” I’m a drow,” she said. “We are evil. That’s what we’re supposed to do.” Kind of sums up this book at it’s worst.

Overall Score: Those who like Dungeon Core stories and fantasy harems are encouraged to give this one a spin. Maybe take a few shots of a preferred alcoholic beverage to get through that opening setup though. On the contrary, those who are looking for a well built story outside of a dungeon or whom are harem adverse should look elsewhere.

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