LitRPG Podcast 049
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 49 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.
New Releases and Reviews:
Thousand Tales: Learning To Fly (08:14)
Super Sales on Super Heroes (26:10)
(Play Music 2)
Aleron Kong, author of the Chaos Seeds series, has created a LitRPG gaming group on Steam. So, if you wanted to group with fellow lovers of LitRPG you can do so now.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Out Now, Will Review next week!
War in the Greenwood: A LitRPG Novel (May 12th, 2017)
The Crystal Crusade (May 12th) - I got an advanced copy for review and I’m about ⅓ way through the story and I have to say I’m enjoying myself. I’ll have a full review next week though.
Lion’s Quest - Trinity (Book 3) (May 15th)
The Eternal: Dragonborn - A LitRPG Saga (World of Ga'em Book 2) (May 31st, 2017)
Eden's Gate: The Sparrow: A LitRPG Adventure (May 31st, 2017)
Hero of Thera (June 1st, 2017)
Conquest: A LitRPG Story (The SciFan™ Universe Book 1) (June 1st, 2017)
Fantasy Online: Hyperborea (June 2nd, 2017)
Stay on the Wing (The Dark Herbalist Book #2) (June 2nd, 2017).
Stone Raider's Return (Emerilia Book 6) (June 6th, 2017)
Hero of Naught (July 1st, 2017)
The Curse of Rion Castle (The Neuro Book #2) LitRPG Series (July 6th, 2017)
The First Planet: The Space Masters 1 (July 14th, 2017)
The Glitch Fiends (LitRPG): Part 2 (Hell's Glitch Book 3) (Aug. 4th, 2017)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Gank: A LitRPG Adventure (The Crucible Shard Book 4)
The Elves are invading Galea. With evil growing in the southern lands they have come to put an end to it by any means necessary.
The forces of evil won't go down easily. Liam Ottani has learned many lessons since first logging into the crucible shard. Attacks must not go unanswered and one must strike where their enemy is weak.
With allies growing more unhinged and dangerous by the day and the mysteries of the universe deepening there are battles on all fronts and victory always comes at a cost.
My Opinion: 215 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
At the end of the last book, Liam and his group planned to counter attack the elves that were invading his kingdom. However, the plan to attack the elves doesn't go as planned and the airship they’re on is forced to shift realities. Everyone ends up in a dating sim! (25-40% section of the novel). Which is a combination of time management system and social building game systems. Think non-combat stuff from Persona 5. It’s actually a rather nice change of pace.
Then the elves somehow find them and they flee somewhere else.
At about the 40% mark, things seem to fall off the rails for me:
In addition to the characters being able to shift realities now, the story adds time travel. Some stuff happens that changes the timeline and undoes some of the harsher events of the last novel. Not sure if I like the results but it’s an interesting way to hit the undo button.
After that even more random seeming events occur. There’s more shifting to other realities including Cobalts home reality, the main characters original reality, a creation of a new pantheon, main characters losing all their memories and going through total shifts in personalities.
So many things happen in the last half of the story that it’s confusing to keep track of it all and it feels really fractured.
Overall, I really enjoyed the first half of this story. The addition of a new temporary game world was cool and added some variety to an action oriented story. However, the last half was just messy and contradictory and I didn’t care for it.
Score: 6 out of 10.
Thousand Tales: Learning To Fly
When disaster strikes a cargo flight over the arctic, pilot Andre decides it's time to upload. He pays to have his brain sliced and scanned so his mind can live in the computerized, virtual world of Talespace... maybe forever.
Since Talespace runs on the logic of a game, Andre takes full advantage. He becomes a high-flying pegasus called Diver, learning the magic of the sky and battling monsters for the Night Queen. He's just in time for a fun little war and the chance to build a new kingdom from scratch.
Though his everyday life is full of spells and quests, the real world is still out there. To protect his new home, Diver will need to change more than his body, and seek adventure that blurs the line between the virtual and real worlds.
A novel in the emerging LitRPG genre, combining hard science with games and fantasy. "Learning To Fly" is part of the "Thousand Tales" series, but no knowledge of it is needed. Dive in here!
My Opinion: 405 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The thousand tales series has often been hit or miss when it comes to being LitRPG. I don’t believe it was originally written as LitRPG as much as it was written as VR SciFi. This is especially true in the first few books.
However, in more recent standalone novels in the series the author has added enough ‘obviously stated game elements’ to qualify the novels as LitRPG. Still, you can tell that the emphasis in all the series is still the story of self discovery by the characters through the Thousand Tales VR game world. There, in what amounts to a type of digital afterlife since you have to get your brain sliced up and scanned before you can become a permanent resident, people get the chance to become who they’ve always wanted to be.
In the latest standalone novel, Learning to Fly, you basically get that story. A pilot opts to enter Thousand Tales as a permanent resident and goes on a journey of self discovery and adventure, first as horse, but then after he earns his wings, as a pegasus.
The story is light on the game mechanics but that’s a choice of the author. I’ve read enough of the series that I understand how the game world works.
The novel is also lighter on the action than I prefer but that’s more a matter of personal preference.
Overall, the novel is fine. It’s not badly written. You can tell it’s gone through editing and I only noticed a few tiny spelling errors. However, it’s also not an great grab you by the seat of your pants story, for me. If you’re a fan of the Thousand Tales novels, you’ll like this one. But this novel doesn’t really add anything new to the series.
Score: 6 out of 10.
The First Player (AlterGame Book #1)
THIS IS ALTERRA, where you can be the master of your own castle... or a field hand on a farm.
And this is Jack, who wants to make his way to a different continent, hidden in the virtual mist.
And this is an ancient quest line, buried under new versions of the game.
Jack's goal: create his own guild. Buy a ship. And set off on the Great Journey. The journey of his life. The dangerous Gravediggers are not the only ones opposing him. Necromancers from sinister Nightmare, elite alpha-citizens, and relic hunters are only a small fraction of the enemies that the First Player will have to face.
In the perilous Wasteland, the drifter Jack finds an abandoned truck, where an old-world game console is hidden. This moment marks the beginning of Jack's path to the lost continent, hidden in the virtual depths of the colossal Alterra. He still isn't aware of the enemies standing in his way. Not only are the guild of Gravediggers and the sinister necromancers of Nightmare against him, but also the secret masters of the game world themselves. The discoveries of ancient quest lines, long buried under new versions of the game, give Jack access to the Dark Service. This is a special branch of character development, which is no longer available in the modern version of the game. Now Jack, the messenger of a great Goddess, possesses a Night Weapon, and is venerated by an entire race of NPCs...
Just how will this road end? And it does indeed have an end...
My Opinion: 314 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an early copy to review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
In the far future, the world has suffered a major catastrophe, plunging it into ruin. In this post-apocalyptic future, a small part of the population, the Alphas, lives behind an impenetrable barrier in a healthy, wealthy, advanced city. Everyone else, the Omegas, have to try and survive in the ravaged, mutated, resource scarce wasteland that is the rest of the world. However, everyone plays the same virtual reality game, Alterra.
When ultimate wanderer and survivor, Jack, finds the remains of an old console he logs into the game under the user's old account and is thrust into a set of quests that could bring him fame and fortune. If he survives being hunted by greedy guilds, relic hunters, and cruel necromancers.
This is one of those novels where the story takes place as much in the real world as it does in the VR game world. For, me that doesn’t pose a problem in itself. However, the descriptive differences between the two worlds does. Before I get into that here are the things I like about the story.
The real world, post-apocalyptic, setting is wonderfully described and I could picture myself in the desolate wastelands of the world. Everything. From the characters to the mutants that roam the wild parts of the world are interesting and this is one of the few instances where I enjoy the time the story spends in the real world.
The main character, Jack, is hard as nails when he needs to be and is the ultimate survivor in the cruel post-apocalyptic world. Yet, he still has a soft spot for the weak and needy. Great character.
I liked the real world consequences of the main character stumbling upon an abandoned game quest line. It made the things the character did in game have more weight since he’s not only being hunted in game but in real life too.
The meta-theme of the underdog struggle of the lowborn against the well funded powerful upper class.
One of the fundamental problems with the story is that it asks me to suspend my sense of reason just a little too much. Perhaps it’s because I’ve watched too many post-apocalyptic movies or read to many of those types of novels but I regularly found myself asking ‘why does everyone seem to have so much time to play this game?’ In a post-apocalyptic future where most people are struggling to find enough food to survive, you’d think they’d have something better to do. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t something that ruins the story or anything. It’s just something that bothered me through my reading.
Found the real world, more fleshed out than the virtual one. There’s a lot of lore in this novel but not a lot of descriptive text that makes the virtual world feel fully fleshed out. I never really felt like the VR world was real, it always felt hollow.
Early on, the story feels a little awkward. This is likely due to some minor translation issues but it’s mainly because of the lack of detail about the game world. The main MC travels to several locations in the game world following an old quest chain for the dark goddess. Yet, each place never feels fleshed out. Even though the MC is being chased in game by a guild. There’s no sense of urgency until there are also real world consequences which don’t happen till about half way through the story.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the story. However, that was mostly because of the real world aspects. The game world never felt engaging and the lack of details about game mechanics was a real turn off. There’s enough there that I’m comfortable calling it LitRPG but not enough to give a strong recommend based on that part of the story alone.
Score: 6 out of 10.
Stuck in an RPG (Sucked into an RPG, Book 2)
Jamie and Evie are still stuck in an RPG called Duriell. After being unsuccessful in getting out of the human world of Pardem, they’re off on their next adventure—Andrina, home of the elves.
There are lots of new places to explore, monsters to kill, and items to loot. With each quest they complete, they hope they’re one step closer to finding their way home. Things start to look up when they meet an NPC who might have the answers they’re searching for. But is this the information they need or are they being sent on a wild goose chase? And when one of their lives is in danger, they wonder if there is any hope of ever getting back to Earth.
My Opinion: 281 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
One of the biggest criticisms I had for book 1 was that it never committed to being LitRPG. Instead it was portal fantasy with vague game references and a bit of romance between the two main characters. I gave it a 3 out of 10.
Even though this is the 2nd book in the series, in many ways it feels like reboot. From the very 1st pages, it feels like a LitRPG story. Both the main characters are starting over in a new land called Velaena. Where all the NPC awkwardness from book 1 is gone and the game rules have changed on the new continent to conveniently be more LitRPG.
Even though the story still has the larger quest for the main characters to find some way home, it really is just a couple of teens going on adventures and questing on a new continent. They’re pirates briefly and they mostly solve some problems for the elves. Nothing outstanding or epic but definitely an improvement over book 1.
Be aware that the story ends in a bit of a cliff hanger with the fate of one of the characters in an unknown status. I only mention it because I know that it’s going to bother some people.
Score: 6 out of 10.
The Skull Throne: A LitRPG novel (Kingdom of Heaven Book 1)
The skull throne sits empty and the Kingdom of Heaven is in turmoil.
Enter "iron" Jack Russo. able to drop newbs with a single headshot and the king of online games. At least he used to be before his sister got pregnant, and he had to get a job to help take care of them.
But when a particle accelerator explodes, causing Jack to get stuck in his favorite game “Kingdom of Heaven” he'll have to conqueror Heaven and seat himself on the skull throne. If not, he'll be trapped in the game forever.
My Opinion: About 200 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Be aware the last 12% of the story is a glossary of terms and a sample chapter from J.A. Cipriano’s Ring of Promise novel. The glossary includes a more detailed explanation of the game mechanics of the story. Stuff that I would have liked to see in the actual story.
The beginning of the story starts in the game right before the group enters a secret high level area. Then it suddenly shifts to a bunch of real life stuff for Jack the MC, who gets kicked out of his sister’s house after financially supporting her and her newborn for years. This is ‘the woe is me’ part of the story that justifies why the MC would be willing to follow a stranger from a bar to some place where he’s kidnapped and transported to the game world.
Turns out the game was really an intersection of multiple afterlives and the things the ‘game’ Jack had been playing was really a magical scheme to test out what humans were worthy of being transported to their world.
Now Jack has the chance to become the ruler of this place if he can secure the skull throne before the evil Shadow does.
Iron Jack is a likable character. He’s a reluctant hero who doesn’t always do the right thing.
The combat scenes are good.
There are a lot of engaging scenes that draw you into turning the next page.
There’s not a lot of explanation about the game mechanics in the story. Heck, most of the game questing stuff doesn’t really start until the 33% mark. Before that it’s all about getting Jack to the game world and pushing him to agree to take the Skull Throne.
It feels like half the story is spent bullying and berating the main character into doing everything and even when he agrees to cooperate he’s handed most of the power he gains to challenge the The Shadow, the bad guy in the story.
Overall, I had a good time reading the story. There are some flaws and things I thought could have been done better but it was still an enjoyable read.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Super Sales on Super Heroes
In a world full of super powers, Felix has a pretty crappy one.
He has the ability to modify any item he owns. To upgrade anything.
Sounds great on paper. Almost like a video game.
Except that the amount of power it takes to actually change, modify, or upgrade anything worthwhile is beyond his abilities.
With that in mind, Felix settled into a normal life. A normal job.
His entire world changes when the city he lives in is taken over by a Super Villain. Becoming a country of one city. A city state.
Surprisingly, not a whole lot changed. Politicians were still corrupt. Banks still held onto your money. And criminals still committed crime.
Though the black market has become more readily available.
And in that not so black market, Felix discovers he has a way to make his power useful after all, and grasps a hold of his chance with both hands.
My Opinion: About 350 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Written by William D. Arand, author of the Otherlife LitRPG series. This novel is already super popular. As of this writing, it has over 90 reviews, most of which are five starts.
Felix lives in world of superheros and villians. His town was recently taken over by the villains and all the heroes now have bounties on them. The city now allows all the vices you can imagine, including slavery.
Felix however, is only concerned with making a few extra bucks using his minor super power, the power to modify anything he owns using an RPG like interface. One day he accidentally buys an enslaved superhero and decides to test his upgrade power on her. Then another and another.
A fair warning, the story is a bit haremy. There’s no graphic sex in the story or anything but the main character does happen to collect alot of good looking women with super powers.
The first half of the story is really about resource management and social connections. The main character has a limited amount of resources that renew each day and he has to decide how to best spend them to improve his situation. Is he going to improve the physical conditions of his supers? Or give them back their powers? Or give them new powers? Each new Super he buys also gains him more points he can use to upgrade things/people he owns. So he also has to weigh the cost of investing in new slaves versus making more money. This section of the story is great if you’re into resource management games.
Combat is minimal for most of the story. There are only a few times in the story when some other organization tries to kill the MC and his people.
However, the last 30% becomes a superhero brawl as the league of super heroes targets the MC and his growing organization. There are some really great fights here. The only complaint I have about this section is regarding the number of times it takes for the main character to get attacked before he goes on the offensive.
Overall, I had a great time reading the story and read it in one sitting. It is a little longer than it needs to be but that’s a minor issue. Personally, I love the early part of the story the most. The section that focuses on resource management, but I know it won’t appeal to everyone. However, more people will love all the super power action battles in the story.
Score: 8 out of 10.
That’s it everyone!
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