Maelstrom Book 2 - A Portal LitRPG Novel


Even gods tremble.

After a lifetime of suffering and service toward his kingdom, Graldin was shattered as the wicked god, Bardos, killed what he most cared for. The princess.

Thrust into a fantastic new world, filled with monsters and new dangers around every corner, he was driven by grief and anger. Graldin denied Bardos the only thing powerful enough to rival his own, divine might out of spite, and became a thorn in the god's side. Bardos, in his fury, destroyed everything and anyone within his reach.

Graldin's life took a turn for the worse after getting conscripted by force, to stop an ancient evil that threatened to destroy the capital city of Nyttherion and what remained of the old civilizations. An all-out war between Bardos, with his armies of self-proclaimed light, and the struggling races is forced upon them.

Will anyone survive the oncoming war that would engulf all of the living and the undead, or would the slate be wiped clean and a new game of suffering put in progress?


My Opinion: 298 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

I thought I’d try out book 2 in the series, despite not enjoying book 1. The author mentioned he’d rewritten that novel after he and his co-writer parted ways. I’d genuinely hoped that book 2 would have addressed the issues I had with book 1 and become an amazing story. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

On a game mechanic level, things are about the same as they were in book 1. Generally familiar MMO concepts like character sheets, stats, levels, and classes, and damage notifications. They’re pretty consistently applied in the story, however there are other game mechanics are wand wavy as all heck. There are several times in the story where someone suddenly has a power or is transformed and there's no setup for it or a game mechanic to allow it. The author says at the beginning of the novel that the game world grows and changes around the characters but it really just feels like an excuse to wave away these frustrating inconsistencies.

Storywise, I unfortunately found it to be rather boring again. It felt like a level grind story with  main character (MC) here getting unique power to absorb fraction of power of those killed, mushed with this recurring emotional torture from the bad guy.

There are thing that have improved from book 1. Fight descriptions are visceral. There’s lots of emotional evocation. There are some good attempts at creating character background. Not just for the main character but secondary characters like then orcs and the countess. But it's ruined by the dialogue. No one has a unique voice. Everyone kinda sounds the same, even using the same modern American slang even though almost no one in this story is from America or even earth.

Overall, I found the story to be boring. It's really just this level grind mixed with a story about the MC being tested and tortured emotionally. But the dialogue and the frustratingly inconsistent game mechanics pushed this into dislike.

Score: 4 out of 10

Maelstrom Book 2 - A Portal LitRPG Novel