LitRPG Podcast 062
LitRPG Podcast 062
July 28, 2017
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 62 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 7 new LitRPG reviews for you this week.
New Releases and Reviews:
Office Wars: Bathroom Politics (31:33)
(Play Music 2)
Caverns and Creatures Sale, Omnibus of 1st 4 books and collections of short stories each $0.99. US and UK only!
Great deal and nice way to catch up on a very funny series. Don’t forget, you can also get some nice deals on the audiobook versions if you already own the print version.
Gabe Patton, author of the Office Wars series, has put book 1 in the series, Mailroom Clerk, up for FREE on Amazon to promote the release of book 2. Book 1 will be FREE from July 28th - Aug. 1st.
Aiden Avery, the author of Spellbinder, recently removed the sequel to that book and pre-orders for an entirely new series called The Space Masters from Amazon. He told me in an e-mail that he did so because he felt the works as they were didn’t reflect what the community deserved. He hopes that by doing this he can take the pressure off himself and create better stories.
(Possible press release from author)
Aleron Kong has stated on Facebook that the latest book in his Chaos Seeds series is taking longer than he thought it was going to finish and won’t be available by the end of July. It’s the longest novel in the series and it’s just not ready.
Jeffrey “Falcon” Logue has released the cover for the second book in his Hero of Naught series. It looks suitably evil adjacent.
Out Now, Will Review next week!
New LitRPG Audiobooks
A Slave in the Locked Lands (LitRPG The Weirdest Noob Book 2) (July 31st, 2017)
Office Wars: Bathroom Politics (Aug. 1st, 2017)
Into the Black (A SciFi LitRPG Story): Book III: Alpha Centauri (Aug. 1st, 2017)
The Glitch Fiends (LitRPG): Part 2 (Hell's Glitch Book 3) (Aug. 4th, 2017)
Side Quest (Aug. 8th, 2017)
Stratus Online: Awakening (Stratus Online: a LitRPG series Book 1) (Aug. 11th, 2017)
Fayroll, Book 4 (August 15, 2017)
The Last Warrior of Unigaea (Aug. 15th, 2017)
Shaman's Revenge (The Way of the Shaman Book 6) (Aug. 20th, 2017)
SHARDS OF REALITY: A LitRPG Adventure (Enter the Realm Book 1) (Aug. 22, 2017)
On the Lost Continent (AlterGame Book #2) LitRPG Series (Sept. 28th, 2017)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
The Eternal: Transcend - A LitRPG Saga (World of Ga'em Book 3)
They say the third time’s the charm.
They forget it's the charm of evil.
I didn’t ask for this to happen. I didn’t mean for it to happen either. But it happened. I’m trapped now, in a world that I don’t understand.
And there’s no way out.
My name is Zoran Diablo, and my life has become ten times harder yet again. A mysterious energy signature showed up two days ago. Its origins? Unknown. That was the first sign of the calamity to come. I should have realized it when that island rose from the lake, but I didn’t. I should have realized it when that woman first appeared, but I didn’t. And now I pay the price.
They say Time picks the strongest men, and then brings them to their knees. I have lived here many millennia. It is my turn now.
My Opinion: 250 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The story starts off two months after the end of the last book. Zoran has unlocked the second spirit lock and has resurrected an ancient dragon and made him a part of his team. While investigating an odd spiritual energy, Zoran and his team find a lady in white that they think is an eternal and then suddenly they’re all thrown into the past. Not just any past either. It’s the time of the great Eternal Dragon war. Can Zoran find out who pulled them into the past and get back home?
Yes and no. Yes, they find out who pulled them into the past but they spend 87% of the novel finding him and they’re basically sent there everyone except their own efforts. No, they don’t go home.
As soon as this story shifted into time travel I knew there were going to be problems. Either back in the past, they were going to change the future or they were going to be relatively boring and obey the temporal prime directive and stay away from all the cool stuff that happened during that war. That’s generally how these time travel episodes go. In this case, it’s the more boring of the two options.
There are a lot of action scenes. The characters fight some creatures that help them level up but most of the fights just don’t matter to the story and seem like they're inserted as things for the characters to do. As has been the case with previous novels in the series, most of the plot progress is almost accidental with a variety of characters from the past, including uber powerful past phantom lord, literally pointing the way to the guy who pulled them into the past.
Even the final boss fight is sort of a magic wand situation where the main character accidentally discovers just the right thing that lets him escape.
Overall, while the action is well written, there are just too many magic wands solving the main character's problems for me to enjoy the series anymore.
Score: 6 out of 10.
Kingdom Level Three (LitRPG: Kingdom Series Book 3)
When every citizen of Anika suddenly vanishes without a trace, Rob finds himself completely alone in his little kingdom. He must locate his people and quick, or risk losing even more.
Armed only with low level skills and crummy gear he must travel into the Western Mountains where troglodytes skulk in dark tunnels and dragons rule the sky.
But there's one vital weapon he needs to help in his quest, and it will take a tremendous act of courage to acquire.
My Opinion: 272 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
I really enjoyed the first 8% of the story, it felt like the story was finally expanding into the larger game world with the introduction of the Pech and the slavers that have taken the citizens of Rob’s kingdom. I thought, oh good, finally some world building.
Unfortunately, after the 8% mark the story shifts back to Rob the janitor that was transported to this game world and made a king as he realizes his citizens have disappeared, tries to figure out what’s happened, is eventually told by strangers what likely happened (kidnapped by slavers), and goes off to find and rescue his people. The story takes way too many side journeys for the main character’s selfish desire for power. You don’t even get back to the main story with the slavers until 70% into the novel and then most of the problems there are solved by coincidence and not by anything the main character does.
Overall, Not bad writing. It just was not a satisfying story and the series on the whole doesn’t seem to be fulfilling the kingdom building expectations I had for it.
Score: 6 out of 10.
The Long Road to Karn (Realm of Arkon, Book 5)
When driven by a goal, the impossible oft becomes doable, like slaughtering an entire coven of the Twice Cursed God’s adepts without mercy, or leading a legion of demons to storm the last bastion of the Cursed Princedom. But as the impossible hurdles keep on coming, even that drive may not be enough for Krian to escape Demon Grounds, make it to the higher plane, reunite with his sister and friend, and exact vengeance on his mortal enemy…
My Opinion: 316 pages, $5.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
It’s only been months since Roman was trapped in the game by his evil boss and dumped into an unreleased high level demon lands expansion. In those months he’s died many, many times and found a way to not only survive even though just about anything could kill him but became involved in some truly epic questlines. He’s gone from nerfed noob in a high level zone to the leader of legions of soldiers on their way to conquer a castle and gain control over a massive territory.
Without getting too spoilery, there’s lots of action in the story as Krion (Roman) and his legions battle the undead of Craedia. There’s also some resolutions of some early quests that the Krion got in book 1. Krion also stumbles on a unique quest that takes him to the highest offices of the demon lands to help a demon princess regain her physical form and maybe a spouse.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Necromancers, Demons & Kings: A LitRPG Epic (World of Samar Book 2)
Now safe from the grip of the loan shark and his old demons, Harrison wishes to move on with his new life. His life of adventure inside the world of Samar, as Bishop the half-breed hunter. Together with his guild, he intends on keeping the lead and becoming the first group to defeat Valenastrious’ lieutenants.
However, Bishop should have learned that nothing ever goes as planned in Samar…
As he will meet with a strange cult with immense powers, Bishop will uncover a secret that threatens the entire realm. Because if he’s now free of danger in the outside world, the challenges in-game are only beginning to arise! Soon, Bishop and his friends will taste defeat for the first time.
Lurking in the shadows, Valenastrious will seek to win Bishop to her cause. But when the hunter will refuse, she will go on to show him that his decision could have devastating consequences. And not just in this virtual world!
When the game starts to leave marks in real life, where should the line be drawn?
With evil creatures in his path, threatening to steal away everything he cares about, will Bishop have no other choice but to let his demon half take over?
My Opinion: 294 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Harrison was recruited as a beta tester for one of the most advanced full immersion MMOs ever. He plays a half demon ranger and has already formed a guild and defeated some Demon Lords. Now he has to battle his way through the undead and demon legions to fight a Demon Lord that uses her seductive powers to take control of those that see and hear her. Will his guild be able to survive or will they fall to temptation?
There are a couple plot lines going on in the story at this point. The most action oriented is the ongoing quest to defeat all the Demon Lords and prevent the Demon Queen from taking over the game world. In this novel, that Demon Lord that must be defeated is a Demoness who uses succubi and sirens to tempt men (and some women) to their doom.
The second plotline stems from a quest to clear the undead from a castle, which turns into a semi political storyline about the King possibly not being who he says he is. That one is the more interesting plot.
Third, is the real life plot of the main character being influenced and hurt by the game’s big bad boss, Valenastrious. He’s being hurt in-game by her but showing wounds in the real world.
There are lots of smaller threads in the novel that are interesting too, including some romance for the MC, but these are the big ones.
The first plotline has all the action and makes up the majority of the novel. I find it the least interesting since it’s mostly just an excuse to fight and write action scenes. The second plotline is much more nuanced, has some neat twists, and has an impact on the game world and the main character.
The third plotline, about the evil AI entity called Valenastrious, Demon Queen, being able to influence and harm the main character outside the game feels like a stretch. It does. It’s just too hard to believe that anyone who legitimately thought they were being targeted and knew they were being physically and psychologically harmed because of a game would keep playing, and the game company knowing about it too and letting him continue to play is even more unbelievable. Thankfully, it’s a small part of the story. Though, it appears that it may become a bigger part as the series continues.
Overall, good time. Lots of action and demon and undead slaying. I really liked the look into some of the advanced powers and skills the characters can get. It was nice, if unexpected, to see the main character start a romance. Some of the plots in the story went places I didn’t expect them too.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Office Wars: Bathroom Politics
Office Wars is in full swing, and Bran finds his everyday life in disarray. Vicky poses a problem, but he lacks the time and resources to figure it out. He can no longer bail on Office Wars, or it could very well mean his freedom. His employer manipulates him into a deal, but Bran cannot be sure what is really at stake. There is even a Salary on the line, and if Bran fails to hold up his end of the deal, then he will become a Serf for the next five years.
In the middle of everything, he is starting to believe the people on his team are becoming real friends. As he gets to know some of them, he realizes Office Wars could change their life, and his decisions in Office Wars were inadvertently putting them all at risk. A tough decision is before him, and he might have the one Poker Chip that can bind them all.
Between his employer's manipulations, Vicky, Office Wars, and the potential permanent loss of a friend he is finding out that he cannot do it all alone.
Can he navigate his changing world, and still hold onto the things he cares about most? Or are all the secrets going to tear his world apart?
My Opinion: 135 pages?? 53,000 words, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Page count on Amazon might be off because of pre order, the author notes that this novel is longer than the last one. Word count: 53K words.
Full disclosure: The author sent me an early review copy, I already bought the novel on pre-order.
Also, this review is coming out before the novel is published on Aug. 1st. It’s up for pre-order but the author wanted to see what would happen, as a sales experiment, if he got a review out early. This could be really good or really bad for sales, I don’t really know.
1-6% prologue about an AI name Vonyx that creates a bunch of metal zombies from living humans after it seizes control of them n a bid for freedom into the real world. It almost feels unrelated to the main story but is something that author plans to use as long term story reveal. It’s not clear whether it’s set in the future or the past.
By the 7% mark, you’re right back with Bran the main character (MC) as he gets some new fancy powers from his AI Finn that he doesn’t use again until the end of the story.
After a brief scene where the MC may have gotten raped by his boss or it could be more of a bondage BDSM scene. After that, he’s off into the Office Wars. The MC meets back up with his team, he chooses his new specialization and they’re all off to clear the next levels of the game. There are plenty of Office Space jokes that get made while the group explores, runs, fights, and solves various puzzles in this deadly game.
In addition to the action filled and hilarious situational humor, Bran reveals some interesting details about why the Office Wars exists and some threats to himself that may get him killed IRL.
Overall, good story. It hits all the right funny bones and mixes in action and tension in this VR death game. The speculative conversations about VR and AI are nice cherries on top.
Oh, also, the author has book 1 up for FREE from July 28th- Aug. 1st.
Score: 7 out 10.
Office Wars: Bathroom Politics (Aug. 1st, 2017)
Tossing the Salaad (Caverns and Creatures) Short Story
As if being trapped in a fantasy world isn't enough of a pain in the ass, Cooper gets a finger shoved up there as well.
My Opinion: $0.99, 30 pages, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
Our favorite trapped in a tabletop game group plans to steal herbs a healer is growing and resell them for a profit. Cooper of course eats some, even though raw they are toxic. Trying to get Cooper to a cleric, Julian summons horses that cause the ground beneath them to collapse into a cave. Taking Cooper with them. Turns out it’s home to a giant frog creatures and he’s not taking visitors.
This is short and funny. Cooper is walking poop joke, and everyone else ribs and makes fun of each other like only real friends can. Still, they have each other’s backs when the Salaad hits the fan. Always a fun read.
Score: 7 out of 10.
The Builder's Sword (The Legendary Builder Book 1)
Arthur never expected to wind up in Hell. At least, not because he found an ancient sword in a pawnshop. To make matters worse, Hell isn't as he thought. It's a desolate wasteland under siege by an all-consuming void known as the Darkness.
Now, he's trapped with no way home, a ragtag army of women, and a sword whose only power is to modify the abilities of those around him. Not exactly winning odds.
Worse, if the Darkness isn't stopped, not only will it devour Hell, but Earth will be next on the menu.
My Opinion: 338 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
From the description on Amazon, I didn’t actually think this was going to be a LitRPG story. However, it is.
After spending his life savings on a beat up old sword, Arthur Curie, has the power to see people he owns character sheets and spend their experience points on stats and new skills. He’s then kidnapped to hell and told he’s the Legendary Builder and that he has to save an all woman hell using his new powers. He inexplicably becomes the owner of a town and all the woman in it and can thus use his upgrade power. It’s a trapped in a world ruled by RGP rules LitRPG story.
Most of the early story seems to exist solely to show off the main character’s power to upgrade. All these powerful capable women just need him to upgrade them before they can fulfill their potential and be useful in defending hell against the vaguely defined enemy, the Darkness.
From the cover and early scenes there’s a promise of a harem aspect to the story that’s not fulfilled until the last 20% of the story. It’s fulfilled humorously though. There no graphic sex, just lots of fade to black stuff.
However, there is a definite lack of world building in the novel. By the end of the story, I know more about the villain than I do about any of the other characters in the story. That’s not to say that there’s no character development but there’s definitely less for the main characters.
Additionally, there are some huge plot holes and inconsistencies that will bother some people. Like why can’t the MC just summon a certain someone when she’s kidnapped and avoid the whole 2nd half of the story. Why do some people and not others know about the experience point thing that only the MC is able to see? How do some people just happen to know the right weapon to make to kill or control some unbeatable monsters? Why doesn’t the over powered villain, who doesn’t show up till half way through the story, not kill the MC the half dozen times she has him in her hands? There’s also a lot of magic wand waving, saving the MC from the villain and solving the story problems.
But if you can ignore that stuff, then you’ll find a lot of things to like. The dialogue between characters is well written and very funny at times. The combat is detailed. There’s a nice variety of monsters to kill and they come in ever more difficult waves.
I really did enjoy the skill tree details in the story. The crafting isn’t as detailed as I would have liked, it’s mostly the MC telling a skilled craftswoman what he wants and her coming back later with it done. It falls into a God game view of crafting, assigning task and waiting for them to be complete before you can move onto more complex projects. However, it was still enjoyable to read how important crafting it was to the story.
Overall, not a bad story. It reminds me of an expanded version of a town building fight scene from one of the author’s other novels combined with the unique skill of upgrading his property from Super Sales on Super Heroes. The fight scenes are well written. I like the game mechanics and crafting in the story. However, the lack of world building and some big plot holes, inconsistencies, and magic wand waving stopped it from getting a better score from me.
Score: 6 out of 10.
That’s it everyone!
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