How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps, is a short, fun litRPG written by Andrew Rowe that uses one of my favourite plot devices at the moment – that is unconventional methods of level and skills progression. Forget fighters, wizards, bards, or barbarians. Instead, we get a “Bag Mage”, basically a class for merchants and couriers to carry stuff.
Our hero, Yui Shaw, doesn’t want to wait around for the hero to come and save the world. The Demon King is already far more advanced than he should be. How does she know this? Because it’s the same thing, every 100 years. A Demon King arises, and a hero comes along to defeat him and put things right again. A cycle as regular as clockwork.
At least it used to be. The current Demon King is also taking an unconventional approach to the business, and has accelerated the subjugation of the planet much faster than usual. No hero is expected for some time, and by then it may be too late.
Yui has an enthusiasm for life that’s quite contagious. She’s perpetually optimistic that things will work out for the best. If only she could pull the magical hero sword from the stone… but she doesn’t have the required class.
Not one to let that stop her, she grinds the skills she does have like a boss. She unlocks the Bag Mage class which gives her access to “Inventory”, almost unlimited extra-dimensional storage, and thus begins the adventure where the hero must use the skills they have rather than relying on the standard ones.
The story is much like an open-world RPG game. While the hero has a typical and well-worn path to victory, following that path is just a suggestion. There are always alternative ways to complete a quest.
Narration by Suzy Jackson was a treat. The pronunciation of a few words ground on me from time to time, but that’s mostly a regional thing and certainly, nothing to worry too much about. Being Australian, we use the British pronunciation of “Inventory” (in-vuhn-tree) vs the American (in-vuhn-taw-ree), and in this book… it’s used extensively. I got used to it quickly though so it stopped bothering me after a while. Other than that, Suzy’s voice was easy to listen to, and the production was polished as you’d expect coming out of Audible Studios.
Secondary narration by Steve West who voices the “system”, announcing level-ups and the like, seemed redundant. A stylistic choice for sure, but it seems like something that Suzy could have easily managed.
All up, a fun adventure that everyone can enjoy. Nothing offensive, just good clean adventuring fun.