“Wait! What if I run into another of those monsters coming down the tunnel towards me?! That would be game over man, game over! Think Anthony, think like an ant!” (Chrysalis, Chapter One)
“I have hunted, battled and achieved victory. This is a somewhat complicated feeling. The pain and suffering I endured to achieve this goal, is something I can’t recall from my previous life, neither do I remember this satisfaction, this triumph. Mostly I remember feeling numb.” (Chrysalis, Chapter Five)
Anthony awakes, not in his home surrounded by family, but in a mysterious world called Pangera. Though once a human, the young man has been transformed into an ant and given starting level skills in this world, including toughness, cunning, and might. Avoiding the monsters that roam the tunnels, Anthony focuses on gaining power, hoping that these special abilities will keep him from the jaws of the disfigured insects that appear to feast on ants like him.
As Anthony continues to level up and explore his new home, he discovers evidence of human culture and civilization. Encountering human guards, he realizes that the men and women see him not as a former human, but as a monster. Human commander Titus wonders what kind of monster would be smart enough to flee from imminent danger, though the man’s mind is preoccupied with other worries to wonder long. As Anthony continues to adapt to the dungeon in which he finds himself, his journey will intertwine with the humans that fight the monsters outside their city’s borders.
Rebirth and transmigration are common genres in the world of web novels, but Chrysalis is unique. While a human may transmigrate into another body that possesses incredibly powers or abilities, their form is still humanoid. Anthony’s rebirth into an ant is a distinct choice that sets this novel apart. The protagonist is reborn into a world different from his own, and that of his audience, making each chapter an exciting and anticipated addition to the story. With over five hundred chapters in total, this novel creates a distinctive story that separates itself from the usual patterns within this genre.
Though it is unclear if Anthony has been reborn into a game or an entirely different world, the realm he now inhabits has game-like qualities. Anthony is given starting level skills, strength, and health similar to those found in video games. However, when a character is transmigrated into a game, it is one they are familiar with. As Anthony does not recognize the world of Pangera, the reader must assume that the world he now inhabits is real. This heightens the mystery and wonder of Pangera, as well as the danger that the novel’s protagonist now faces.
The writing of this novel is detailed. I could vividly imagine Anthony’s new body, as well as the dirt tunnels through which he wanders. As the protagonist burrows and digs, you can picture each speck of dust he moves in his mission, as well as the tight conditions of his home. Though I would not go so far as to say that this book makes its readers fell claustrophobic, its descriptive language does transport its audience into a world very different from our own. Have you ever wondered what the world looks like from the perspective of an ant? Chrysalis makes unique point of view a reality.
I appreciate the humor of author RinoZ. In an ant based story, naming the protagonist Anthony was an obvious, but not unfunny choice. Anthony quickly adapts to the world around him, though he does not lose his very human outlook. This novel needs a protagonist with a good attitude, lest the story become dragged down by him mourning his former life. Chrysalis, though packed with danger and adventure, does not fail to make its readers laugh.
If you don’t like bugs, this is not the novel for you. Anthony uses his legs and antennae to spray acid and crush his food sources, often in great detail. His ant form devours other insects; though it is for his nourishment, the experience is not appealing to Anthony or the work’s audience. This novel can be disgustingly descriptive, a triumph of detailed and nuanced writing, but not for those who are squeamish around bugs.
Some chapters are given excerpts from “‘Legion College Record’”, a mysterious document that offers wisdom within the story. Anthony does not seem to have access to these excerpts, though they may offer hints about the world he lives in and the reason he was reborn into the body of an ant. Alongside the mystery of the “‘Legion College Record’”, this novel breaks up Anthony’s story with a shift in point-of view. After the first few chapters, readers are introduced to Titus, a commander of human forces that live outside the “Dungeon” that Anthony now inhabits in his ant form. This keeps the story from focusing too strongly on Anthony’s early journey as an ant while also introducing new characters that quickly capture the readers’ interest.
I like this novel because it was an interesting take on the rebirth/transmigration genres. Though you don’t need to love insects to like this book, it is very bug heavy and not for those who find insects/bugs disgusting or uninteresting. Anthony’s good sense of humor and the mystery surrounding his transformation keeps readers interested and invested in the story. This is a novel perfect for those who enjoy following a character gain levels and skills throughout the course of the novel.