• Castle Core

  • By: Milo Storm
  • Narrated by: Sierra Kline
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Level up. Expand my village. Conquer my neighbors.

And collect a few wives along the way.

Life as a peasant farmer was boring, to say the least. Was I really wrong to distract myself with the mayor’s daughter? She certainly didn’t mind.

Of course, the mayor did, and now I’ve been exiled to some dark, distant forest on the other side of the continent.

What do you do when your entire village, and even your own family, betrays you?

Start plotting your revenge, of course.

After saving a beautiful woman’s life and nearly getting beaten to death for it, I became the proud owner of a castle core, the central power of every village. The core’s spirit levels up like any human, gives their owner access to more powerful classes, and provide buffs to the townsfolk.

The best part? Every woman I marry gains a similar boost in power.

One day, my wives and I will return to my former home as conquerors.

As long as the local king doesn’t kill us first.

Castle Core is a fantasy LitRPG twist on the typical dungeon core story, featuring harem, slice-of-life, and town-building elements.

©2021 Milo Storm (P)2022 Milo Storm
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Erotica

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Cringe Beginning

Fair warning, some spoilers are used as examples...

As the title indicates, this story has a very cringe beginning that doesn't put the Mc in a positive light. If you read some of the Amazon reviews, you'll get some idea, but for the most part, MC is a troublemaker in his town. Troublemaker as in a self-indulgent womanizer and when he's reaping the consequences of his actions, admits, whether being deceptive or not for faux-bravado, to being a homewrecker. All because he's bored. Let me point that out and reemphasize, ALL. BECAUSE. HE. IS. BORED. (caps for emphasis). There's a bit more to it, but still.

He gets exiled because of these actions. You learn over the course of the story that towns are set up with a system in which members of the town help the town grow by being hard workers and raising their levels and thus the town's core system benefits from it and thus, by extension the town. Because MC is rebellious against the system and feels restricted by it, he, of course, admitted to doing the bare minimum and spending more of his time getting into "trouble." As I said, he admitted to being a homewrecker, since there was nothing in the narrative to indicate he hadn't had an affair with the Mayor's wife as well as slept with the Mayor's daughter, I had no other reason to disbelieve MC's own words on the matter. Thus, making him a scumbag in my eyes.

The bigger problem is he has moments of acknowledging his aforementioned wrongdoing but spends the better part of the earlier chapters NOT TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY (caps for emphasis) and acknowledging his wrongdoing and connecting the dots and seeing it as the reason he was kicked out of his town. Even during the exile scene, MC is dialing up the faux bravado, something I loath from characters who can't back it up or haven't placed me in their corner and cheer for their faux bravado, their bluffs, or even their insults as that one last final "In your face, villain" but this was at the beginning of the story. Two things I loath in this genre, faux bravadoism and faux alpha maleism. Both permeate the Western HaremLit and LitRPG genres like a plague. I often can't help but think that the authors and to a large degree, the audience have never been in true conflicts with other men. I know that sounds like an insult, but if you grew up in the places I've grown up, those two things, someone running their mouth constantly, aren't looked upon as indicators of someone who can actually handle themselves, or someone who knows the rules of actual conflict with other people.

I won't harp on that too much because I've been spending too much time in reviews lately ranting over the genre at large and the community around it rather than the review, so back to the point. It does get a little better after the initial chapters, which arguably MC's antics in regard to his aforementioned exile lasts up into the double-digits. However, since his ambition is to eventually conquer his former town and "show them that they were wrong for kicking him out" essentially get "revenge" (roll's eyes, such a juvenile ambition), it's never really a character development issue. As in the MC takes some personal accountability and acknowledges he was wrong and starts to work on changing his ways. While yes, as I said, he acknowledges it, he even goes out of his way to hide the true reason for his exile from his harem and his township, but as I said, his underlining ambition for getting stronger and growing his conquered zone is to eventually conquer his hometown and "show them they were wrong!" So, essentially, not changing and not acknowledging they were in the right for kicking him out. Yes, he has one time where he wonders if he was really that bad, but never answers the question for himself with a resounding "Yes, yes I was that bad and they had every right to kick me out." The author misses the chance to make MC grow beyond that beginning scene and subsequent crybaby moments about how HE WAS WRONGED while IGNORING HIS WRONG (caps for emphasis).

As I said, the story gets tolerable after that if not formulaic, or in other words, "Move along, there's nothing new to see here if you're looking for something new" in particular for the Western HaremLit, Situational-Slice-of-Life, and LitRPG storytelling tropes. You have the obligatory, every girl who will join the harem is bisexual despite in reality that not being a thing and shouldn't be a thing in fiction. It would likely only be one of them down for bisexual orgies, or a handful only down for doing it once or twice. You have the obligatory harem trope girls: the dominate one, the shy and submissive one, the chase. Because it's advertised as situational-slice-of-life, I can't take too many shots at it for that but you have the usual meandering about, unfocused plot until the end, shopping scenes, etc. No, it's not any serious base building going on despite the story being called "Castle Core." You get some talk about building up the town and what benefits the town and MC makes a decision here or there, but it mostly turns into a Dungeon Dive story for a little while among other things.

My other complaint is the introduction of Third Girl. Her introduction brought back a moderate amount of interest but the author didn't handle it well in my opinion after the initial moments. I don't want to spoil the reveal too much for people, but I'll leave it there. Suffice to say, based on what are her origins, she would not be down for bisexualism and likely should have been a harem member down to share, but not trying to be part of the constant group orgies. Which brings me to another thing.

Why do so many haremlit authors have to make the harem all about constant orgies and never one-on-one moments with the harem members? Also, why do so many of these authors think that having constant sex constitutes relationship growth and development? It does not. None of these characters have any development or relationship growth with the MC. In fact, the mechanism for the harem, means most of the women MC meets will be in it for the power. Not in it for him, nor in it for the harem. In fact, MC and his harem members propositioned Third Girl exactly that way, "You'll get stronger if you join with us." Yes, "US" not "HIM."

Again, every woman shouldn't be interested in having orgies or being obligatorily bisexual just because. There should be far more of the women NOT INTERESTED IN THAT DESPITE SHARING. I'm not against girl-on-girl action, but this is like the fifth book I've dealt with over the last few months that forces that on nearly the entire group of women while maybe having only one woman who is not into girls and then spending time having the rest of the harem decry her for it and call her names. But the point I was making is that the harems aren't set up to be about relationships. They're set up to be about power and sex.

There are some other issues such as the entire theme is about classism and takes an adolescent view of it. For example, one of the harem members was a Scholar, she becomes a Mage. In other words, she's an intellectual (White Collar Worker) while the MC was a Farmer (Blue Collar Worker) and they're trekking through the woods, carrying loads of loot and Mage Girl gets upset that the loot is heavy and says some things such as and I paraphrase "This is what horses and wagons are for" and decries physical labor. MC, monologues in his head about how Nobles and Rulers think doing paperwork and receiving taxes are just as important as Farming (physical labor) but it's not. Seriously?

Let me also give some more context here. Just before this, MC lamented about how difficult it was running a town. Let me repeat, MC lamented just before this (and a few times after this) about how difficult it is being A RULER OF A TOWN. And that he had no idea about the intricacies that went into running a town.

So, he proceeds to decide that what leaders do is not as important as what the people do. It's such an asinine, often uninformed view to take. Neither group is composed of perfect people and both groups can incur corruption if that's going to be your argument. Without someone "doing the paperwork" in other words making laws, and yes even for your Anarch-Captialists out there, you'd have someone making laws in your version of Utopia (which means no place), I digress. Still, the point is that you'd have someone in leadership, organizing, categorizing, putting people where their talents are best used, whether they be volunteers or not. Essentially, you'd have someone in charge. Pooling resources (taxes) and putting it back into the community, etc.

I'm not naive. Yes, I realize people in power are corrupt and tend to be self-indulgent, etc. I get that, but a view that Positions of Leadership aren't as important as Infrastructure Positions in society is ridiculous. No different that the idea that Infrastructure positions aren't important, and yes most people unaware that the food doesn't magically appear in the grocery stores have this position, I get it, but the idea that "Dirty Jobs" aren't as important and don't keep society running is equally ridiculous.

Overall, I rated it 3 stars to be nice. I think Sierra Kline did a good job although I prefer a male narrator to narrate the male characters and a female narrator to narrate the female characters, but I understand that's not always financially feasible. There were times I did wonder if she made the MC sound more whiny than necessary, but the Amazon readers picked up on that without a narrator, so I didn't ding her for it.

It's not a BAD (caps for emphasis) story. It's just okay.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Solid first book in a new series

HaremLit books tend to have a problem with their main characters. Mainly that they’re OP from the first page, are obnoxious, know everything that the plot requires them to know, have little personality beyond killing bad guys and bedding women, and are just generally not very likable. This book doesn’t fall victim to that oft used character model, though. He’s a decent enough sort and his motivations are relatable. He has to work to level up most of the time and while it’s not the greatest hero’s journey it allows for a satisfying amount of character development which is something that is sorely lacking in this genre.

The harem is not crazy large and each member is given enough time in the spotlight that you able to get a sense of who they are. It’s a mix of LitRPG game mechanics, town building, and adventure. My biggest worry with LitRPG is the constant rattling off of stats but that only happens occasionally here and doesn’t get frustrating.

Narration was well done. There’s not a broad range of accents at play but Sierra Kline is able to make the major voices distinct enough that you shouldn’t get confused and forget who’s talking.

My only real complaint is that we get almost no background info in the MC. There are little bits about his family and where he came from but you never really come to understand how or why he ended up in the situation. Little is given about the harem members, either. The story is good enough that I would like to know more about each person but many of those details are glossed over.

I’m looking forward to the next installment.



2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Just ok

The story has potential but as of right now the characters are a bit flat. The MC is not forward thinking but has dreams of overthrowing a king. His wives are not any better just worried about shopping and play time. One of them blew the whole town's shopping budget on herself and the MC didn't even care that she didn't even get him a horse because she looked hot. Also no matter how many times he is told about the evil king he runs around telling everyone that he is rebelling like he isn't putting hiself and town in danger. There needs to be a lot of personal growth of the MC for this series to be great.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Mc is just bad

First of all the idea of revenge this author is trying to throw at us makes no sense. Mc was a worthless fuckboy and gets salty for being exiled cause of it. Then it’s just so hard to even like this guy cause it feels the only reason why he wants to grow a harem is so he could bang a bunch of chicks, it’s just flat. Relationships are flat story is flat. Idk if there is anything g redeeming about this story. We will see.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

I really loved this book. It had some really awesome twists, excellent characters, and a interesting story. Sierra kline is an amazing narrator, and as usual excelled in her job. Buy this book!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Really good

It's a really good concept, but i don't buy the revenge part of the story the MC did deserved to be exiled he wasn't doing what he was supposed to do instead he was iust pulling pranks and trying to get into women's beds and i found the red head kinda of annoying but overall it was a really enjoyable story and can't wait for book 2 to come out

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Shallow and reactive

This writing just makes the MC look shallow and self centered. I was looking for a good settlement building book. It falls short when dude is Uber reactive to problems and doesn’t have a strategic forward thinking mind. But of course the harem power sharing is all the strategy that is needed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

this was really good

so I give it 10 out of 10 blowies for the harem that RPG part as for just like a regular adventure novel I'd give it a seven or an eight it pretty good our lead male could be a little bit annoying but if you wait and keep going a little bit you can connect with him and understand him better so give it a try

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

not for me

mc is narcissistic and unpleasant to the extreme, makes it hard to finish the book

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

very fun

it was a fun book to listen to. good story, always love the performance.

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Profile Image for Dhruv
  • Dhruv
  • 03-07-22

really great book

loved the book. Milo Storm has really done it again. I great slice of life with a steady progression, a good and interesting storyline and great narration. sierra really brought the characters to life. congratulations on such a good job

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Profile Image for Rodney Gaskell
  • Rodney Gaskell
  • 07-20-22

Easy Read

Good story overall and I’ll get the next book. The erotic scenes were well written and playful. The author could have taken a bit more time expanding the characters before they jump into bed but the story flowed nicely throughout the book.