After escaping from the clutches of his demanding AI assistant in succubus form, Mark was thrust into the Crystal Heart gameworld after it had been left running for hundreds of years. Tasked with building his team and healing the corruption caused by the two warring artificially intelligent entities, Mark heads out into the unknown to enthrall compatible fighters and figure out his next steps.
With their new, magic compass in hand, Mark and his beautiful Enthralled begin the search for the scattered pieces of the broken Crystal Heart. The journey will send them to the far corners of the gameworld to face challenges that test their strength, their courage, and their bond.
As their adventures unfold, Mark begins to worry about what will happen to his cherished friends, teammates, and lovers if they actually succeed.
Warning: Contains graphic sexual scenes.
This review is written by Ray Johnson of the LitRPG Audiobook Podcast and is for the audiobook version of this story.
Picking Up the Pieces : Enthralled Series, Book 2
By: Prax Venter
Narrated by: Christian Fox
Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
I want to start by apologizing to Prax Venter for me taking so long to get to this. I really wanted to, and then after I did I wanted to save it for this episode of the show. Now, last time he gave me some flak for misspelling the names of all of the ladies in his book. So, first, thanks for actually reading the review, and second I work in audible format, so I took a shot and did it all phonetically. You hafta cut some slack sometimes.
I really liked the first book, it had one of the best time compression uses I’d seen in LITRPG, and I thought it was smartly done. Also, having the MC sort of wake up in the middle of a groundhog day styled replay was neatly done, too. So, after the first book I was expecting some big stuff, and man Prax didn’t let me down. I think book two is an improvement and that it shows some great development. The characters get a chance to grow and come into their own. I also think that Venter streamlined his writing style as nothing feels like it doesn’t belong. Everything is there for a purpose, some significance, or deeper meaning. I’m not saying that you’ll get an existential crisis from reading the book, only that the writing improved and stays on point. Venter doesn’t stray far and afield, he gets into it and remains on course.
So, how naughty is it? Well, we get frequent and descriptive sex breaks that do not detract from the story. It never came across like it does in some books, for example I listened to an audiobook called The Last Colossus which is about some people trying to survive a Megaldon attack, and they get onshore of an island that then has a volcano beginning to erupt and they decided to have sex as the lava flowed around them. Sex scenes are all about timing, and that was poor planning on the writer’s, Michael Hodges, part. Venter doesn’t have that issue as th sex scenes feel natural and fit nicely into the story.
To avoid spoilers I will say that the ladies make some discoveries about themselves that makes them not to happy, although I suspect that there may actually be a real world resolution coming in book three. The story is progressing quite nicely and I can’t wait to see where it goes, although I also want to get my hands on the audio of Irreverant Jack, too.
Fox does a good job on the narration, and I won’t complain about pronunciation of areolas this time around. I will say that he is one of the few men I have heard narrate a naughty scene and didn’t make me a little uncomfortable. I do prefer to have my naughty bits read to me by a lady if possible. Otherwise it is a lot like me reading a Penthouse Letter to myself out loud. It doesn’t turn me on.
The story and characters have rally grown and shown improvement, and I really like where the tale is going. Final score 8.3 stars.
Score: 8.3 out of 10