REVIEW: Toothless by Theodore Thomas

A Fun & Engaging Dark Adventure for TTRPG/MMO Gamers Who Like to Read!

Let me start by saying that I’m a giant nerd. And not just any nerd, but a roleplaying game nerd. Tabletop, MMO, whatever, get me with a band of my mischevious friends and off adventuring we will go. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of anime. And while isekai is my favorite by far, a close second is the glitched game genre (my favorite anime is Log Horizon, for context)

Toothless tickles both of these facets of my nerddom. Was I surprised? Yes, because the ability to translate a gaming session into prose isn’t often well done. But Theodore Thomas has done a good thing here.

From start to finish, the main characters– Albrecht Eisenberger, Bezaria the Magi, Franklin Meadowlark, and Curly Patches –are worth the investment. They sound and act like I’d expect a group of four friends trapped in an RPG game that won’t let them out to act/react. They are realistic, authentic, down to the clear annoyance of Doctor Meadowlark at the actions of his fellow players in the beginning (totally me sometimes).

The characters play off each other well, even when they’re bickering, and it’s rather evident that the author is well-versed in these interactions. His experience translates well into the believability of these people.

While I like the stat screens, system messages and rolls, they jarred me out of the stroy, especially the stats screens, as I kept reading through them for changes. Maybe that’s just because I am the target audience for this genre, but those things were jarring enough that I felt I should mention it.

The fights are well-written, and for the most part, if I closed my eyes, I could see them play out in my head. And the introduction of the BBEG was great. Palpable fear played out in all the characters through those encounters.

I won’t spoil the rest for you, but I really enjoyed the story overall.

So, if I enjoyed it, why did I only give it three stars? I think this story has some great potential, but the prose needs to be cleaned and tightened up. A good editor could help cut out the clunky dialogue tags and passive verb use to create better flow for this narrative. Honestly, if these issues were addressed, I don’t think I would’ve been kicked out of the continuity so easily by the system messages. Granted, that may just be the editor in me seeing the potential in this author’s storytelling.

Would I recommend this story? As long as you fall into the intended audience, absolutely. It’s fun and complex with relatable characters and a solid story line. I would read more work from this author.

I received an ARC of this book for review on Reedsy Discovery.

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