As of the time of writing this review, I’ve read the published book and about a dozen Royal Road chapters.
All those who stand before him will be swept away.
Spot was summoned from his comfortable charging pad and familiar floors to a world of magic and intrigue.
But after the flight of his new patrons, he is left alone to care for a filthy castle.
During his quest to keep this new home clean, Spot will face demons, foreign armies, and his arch nemesis, the dreaded stairs.
Some seek power. Some seek justice. He seeks to root out the filth lurking in the darkest of corners. And those who follow his spotless trail will find enlightenment, purity, and a world on its knees.
Follow this wholesome vacuum on his quest to power in All the Dust that Falls, a hilarious new Isekai LitRPG that will make you question what it means to be a hero. Or if heroes even need limbs, or mouths, or… you get it.
I do like a good parody story, and so was a bit surprised by the more serious tone of this one. The concept is a parody, of course, but the story and execution are legitimate and not just there to make fun of tropes.
So, you follow Spot as he is bought into a fantasy world, and the people that summon him (they were trying to summon an arch-demon) are distraught when Spot just vacuums up their anti-demon countermeasures. He is joined early on by Bee, a young apprentice that’s left behind after she breaks her leg. The two eventually team up, hurray, and with their powers combined things can get even cleaner.
Their dynamic is very fun to read, especially as you shift from Spot’s PoV to Bee’s—the misunderstandings and vastly different takes are a great source of comedy in the book.
Now, cleaning earns Spot a huge amount of experience, and despite him having very little in the way of dedicated offence, the mechanical pet does pretty good for himself when facing off against the various demons that begin to roam the castle. The plot for book one (about ’the Lieutenant’, which I shall say no more on) is both interesting, but also could perhaps have been given a more serious treatment.
There are some head-scratchers about power levels and consistency, but if you’re reading a story about an isekai’d robovac, this probably isn’t something you’re too strict on.
Characters are alright, and Spot’s intelligence grows as he levels up. That said, the gags about Spot always choosing the cleaning option when presented with different OP abilities grows thinner as the vacuum’s objectives broaden and his intelligence grows, and skipping over communication issues (he just beeps) when so much of the plot hinges on a lack of communication and characters talking to each other passed from being humour to being annoying. Then again, I have never liked communication-based plot points. Bee, just talk to Spot about your concerns. Spot, ask Bee to read the damned book you’re trying to puzzle out. Boom, book is now 80% shorter.
Progression is slower than normal. To be clear, Spot levels up quickly, but because he always picks cleaning related abilities, his levels sort of don’t matter? For a concrete example with a minor spoiler, Spot at some point picks the “Air Purifier” upgrade, instead of Myriad Tongues or Grant Sapience. In most LitRPG stories I’d be excited for new skills and to see them used in creative ways or in fights, but that often doesn’t happen here. Spot can now purify air, this hasn’t yet helped in any part of the story, and his method of attacking things pretty much hasn’t changed and thus runs the risk of growing a bit stale.
Pacing is good at the start and the end of the book, with a slight slump in the middle until Bee remembers the concept of ramps. Throughout all of it though, there are plenty of slice-of-life, humorous moments. Tons of jokes. Action scenes are initially quite fun. And book one ends on a very good cliffhanger for future development, so I did jump into Royal Road to continue reading.
If you liked stories like Rock falls, Everyone Dies but want a bit more heft and story content, give this a shot for sure.