Radioactive Evolution by Richard Hummel
Writing - 8/10
Development - 8/10
Overall - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Radioactive Evolution by Richard Hummel
Richard Hummel’s debut novel, Radioactive Evolution is nothing like anything else I’ve read. It’s a LitRPG, something I didn’t even know excised before now. It’s also a true sci-fi novel. The novel is set in a far-flung future, or so we dearly hope. Here we see humans and creatures alike fighting to survive, all thanks to most of the environment getting properly ruined.
A LitRPG is short for Literary Role Playing Game. And it pretty much is exactly what it sounds like. It combines the conventions of science fiction and fantasy novels with the structures of role-playing games. Sometimes the combinations are obvious, while other times it can be a bit more subtle.
In the case of Radioactive Evolution, the combinations are on the side of obvious, this isn’t a bad thing. You can clearly define and understand the gaming system used. For example, while the term reveling up is never actually used…you can still tell when Jared does exactly that. Points and skills are openly talked about, as are their usefulness. That’s the sort of thing that makes Radioactive Evolution a clear case of LitRPG.
Radioactive Evolution was an interesting reading experience. I mentioned above that I had never even heard of LitRPG before now, and that’s true. I certainly never had read anything like it before. That alone made this a fascinating adventure.
I will say that I think the genre is one that many role players can appreciate. I’m not so sure that somebody who hasn’t role played would appreciate it though, so keep that in mind. Sometimes the obvious role-playing nature did break the immersion; with the focus constantly going back to Jared’s abilities and stats. But sometimes it did help, so it’s really neither here nor there. More like it was an element of the storytelling style.
The familiar elements allowed the story in Radioactive Evolution to move along at a faster pace than it otherwise would have. By making it feel like a game it immediately connected games to an instinctive set of rules. This let Richard Hummel skip steps in his storytelling; skipping ahead to the more interesting elements.
The pace in Radioactive Evolution was pretty quick, on the whole. There was a lot of ground to cover, from the backstory to the individual character and his ability set, and then onward into the main epic plot.
Despite this, there were plenty of calmer moments where we got to know Jared and his new found friend, Scarlet. Even in the most intense scenes, there was usually time to be found for monologues and conversations.
The best way to explain the ups and downs in pacing would be to compare it to a video game. There are the quick action sequences, but then there’s also the part where you have to plan out your equipment and upgrades. Each part is necessary to have a chance at succeeding in the boss fight.
That’s really the same concept here; we’re watching Jared prep for his boss fight. I’ll admit that it took me some time to warm up to Scarlet. At first, her appearance was so sudden, that while I found her to be fairly awesome in the literal sense, I just wasn’t emotionally attached to her. That did change with time.
I didn’t know that Radioactive Evolution was a LitRPG from reading the blurb, but in a way, I’m glad I didn’t know that going into it. It gave me the unexpected chance to read something completely new. Ironically I picked up the novel because I was craving something more like Fallout 4. As in, I was craving a book to read like a video game. Hit the nail on the head, huh?
This was a completely new experience for me, and one I recommend others give a shot as well. Jared’s story was an interesting one, combining so many different genres and storytelling styles into one cohesive story.
As far as debut novels go, this was a really strong one. I can’t wait to see what Richard Hummel will come up with next. And I’ll certainly be curious to see what genre the next book will be in.
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