LitRPG Podcast 070
LitRPG Podcast 070
September 22nd, 2017
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 70 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. This week I have 11 new LitRPG reviews for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
(Play Music 2)
Michael Chatfield has changed the release date for Pantheon Moves (Emerilia Book 10) to Oct. 24th. This is likely been done in response to criticisms that the last couple books felt rushed and had more small errors than normal.
*Take the extra time. The fans will wait the extra couple weeks.
Aleron updated his fans with live stream recently. LitRPG community has raised over $5,000 so far this year for charity, including hurricane relief. Nick Podehl has a cold so audio for book 5 delayed a little. Book 7 is massive and looks to tie up some storylines. Delayed because the author took a little time off and has a night job where he saves lives. He also joked around and answered a few audience questions.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Apocalypse 2020: A Wasteland LitRPG (Sept. 25th, 2017)
Starter Zone (The Revelation Chronicles Book 1) (Sept. 25th, 2017)
The Laboratory: A Futuristic Dungeon Core (Sept. 27th, 2017)
On the Lost Continent (AlterGame Book #2) LitRPG Series (Sept. 28th, 2017)
CHRONICLES of a PC Gamer Stuck Inside an RPG: Book One: Duelist (Sept. 28th, 2017)
Travail Online: Transcend: LitRPG Series (Book 3) (Sept. 29th, 2017)
Alpha Company (Alpha World Book 3) (Sept. 30th, 2017)
Desert Runner (Puatera Online Book 1) (Oct 4th, 2017)
Shadow of the Rogue: A LitRPG Fantasy Adventure (Hearts Book 1) (Oct. 5th, 2017)
A Game With No Rules (Perimeter Defense Book #4) LitRPG Series (Oct. 11, 2017)
Fantasy Online Polynya: A LitRPG Saga (Oct. 16th, 2017)
The Wizard (Dungeon Core Book 1) (Oct. 16th, 2017)
Nemesis: The Panguardia Online Saga Book 1 (Oct. 23rd, 2017)
The Pantheon Moves (Emerilia Book 10) (Oct. 24th, 2017)
Desert Born (Puatera Online Book 2) (Nov. 8th, 2017)
Shattered Lands 3 Demon Wars: A LitRPG Series (Nov. 16th, 2017)
Emerilia Book 11 (Nov. ??, 2017)
The Twilight Obelisk (Mirror World Book #4) (Dec. 4th, 2017)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Grum: Barbarian Barista: A litRPG Short Story
Grum! The Defiler of Corpses.
Grum! The Butcher of Balor.
Grum! The God Stomper.
Grum! …Minimum-wage Barista?
The vortex. The feeling of being ripped apart. When he’d awoken after the fight with Albatross, he was in this realm. A realm filled with tall buildings and small people, with no way to get home—and nothing to kill to make himself feel better about it.
What he needed… was a quest. Purpose. And then he saw it, taped to the window of Tarbean Café, home of the darkest, strongest, coffee on the planet:
In his realm, he’d looted every dungeon, butchered every end-game boss, ravaged the entire map in a crashing wave of blood and glory.
And he planned to do the same thing here.
But Grum soon learns murder isn't part of a cold brew and he can't battle his way to a bigger tip. If he is to become The Legend of Latte, his new adventuring party, Gabe and Candice, must teach this old barbarian to embrace patience, finesse, and cooperation.
And he must accept that some quests cannot be won through the sheer enjoyment of face-smashing and intimidation.
…Or can they?
My Opinion: 48 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full Disclosure: Got an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
A reverse transported to an RPG world. Grum, a level 99 Barbarian with legendary gear, is transported to our world after a nasty battle with an evil mage. He thinks a help wanted sign outside a coffee shop is a quest marker and ends up applying for a job as a barista. Can Grum use his RPG based view to master the intricacies of the job or will he forever remain a level 1 barista?
This is a funny satirical story that’s going to be hard to describe without spoiling some of the jokes or the plot of the short story.
The humor relies on the stranger in a strange land type of humor (think Mork and Mindy or Perfect Strangers), where everything is filtered through the cultural perspective of the foreigner. In this case, someone from an RPG world who sees everything in terms of levels, skills, dialogue trees, and thinks of his fellow employees as NPCs. There are lots of gamer jokes that assume you’ve played an MMO or RPG tabletop game.
If you’ve ever seen the animated live-action TV series Son of Zorn, you’ll recognize the kind of humor in the novel. This kind of humor can get old fast. But when done with finesse it’s great. The novel is just long enough that it’s interesting without getting repetitive.
I had a great time reading it and laughed throughout.
Score: 8 out of 10
Null Protocol: A LitRPG Space Marine Adventure (Omicron Sector Book 2)
Captain Aaron Taylor and his crew return to Omicron Sector Base after a horribly botched mission to find that the Base is on lock down. Time is running out for their teammate, Colin. His body is being taken over by a horrible alien life form. Aaron and team must forge new alliances and find their way in a universe falling apart at the seams. Will they succumb to the alien threat, be cut down by enemy players, or will they prevail and lead the Omicron Sector into a new era?
Null Protocol is a Science Fiction Space Marine LitRPG story and is the sequel to Extraction Protocol. This book is a novella length short written for fans of the Halo franchise, Warhammer 40K, and Destiny.
My Opinion: 76 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
More space marine action set in an MMORPG. The story picks up right after the last one ends but only loosely follows up the plot line from that story. The crew drop off their infected teammate at a new space station and then take a mission where they have a space battle and kill some more infected creatures. There’s a small hint at future plot but it’s mostly a action oriented story.
There are RPG mechanics in the story both for the individual team members and the ship fight. While the action is well written, the story just seems to exist as a reason to kill stuff. Not bad, just not great either. One of the things I really liked about book 1 was that it threaded in a weird alien threat that prevented infected players from logging out. That still exists in book 2 but is not nearly as important and more of a ‘by the way’ note at the end of the story.
Overall, good action story, especially with the addition of the space fight. However, book 2 just isn’t as interesting as book 1.
Score: 6 out of 10.
The Harem Girl: A LitRPG Fantasy: New Complete Edition
Thousands of years ago a race of ancient beings called the Game Masters came to earth. They built a worldwide crystalline computer network. Its purpose, to test humanity's mettle using VRMMO style games.
Centuries later college girl Amy Prescott accidentally awakens the long slumbering network. Now trapped in a VR simulation based on her fan girl fantasies, there appears to be no way out.
Amy soon finds herself traded to the Half-Orc Bashir as his reluctant concubine. Stuck as a character with high sex appeal, but little defense seems more than unfair. Amy must learn to master the secret skills she needs to survive.
Will she escape the game? Or be forever trapped in virtual reality?
My Opinion: 122 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Change in format. Originally split into three short stories. In the space of a week, the author combined the three into a single story and deleted the serial aspect of the series.
*The novella starts off with a graphic sex scene. But overall there is little sex in the story, only about 7% of the text has sex scenes. Still it is there.*
The first question. Is this LitRPG? The RPG mechanics are a little loose at first but are constant. There are stats, a character sheet, game missions, and the use of class skills eventually. The main character (MC), Amy/Arwyn, is transported to a game world where she eventually even uses her vast gamer knowledge to find a place for herself.
I’d say this is the first successful example of a LitRPG romance. There’s also a little eroitc fiction in there (less than 7% of the novel) so be aware when you’re thinking about reading it. Despite the first scene (1-3%) which you can skip, the emphasis is on romance not sex.
If you like paranormal romance stories and LitRPG, you’ll probably like this one. Personally, I skipped the graphic sex scenes that only made up a tiny portion of the story (7% of the novel). The romance stuff was ok for me. It’s not my genre but I do recognize that it followed the pattern of well received romance novels. Relucent attraction turns into passion. Which blossoms into a love so strong the MC is willing to risk it all to save the man she loves. Even though it’s not really my thing, I couldn’t help but root for the MC as she grappled with her emotions and fought for her life in the two fight scenes in the novella.
It was well on it’s way to a 7 until the last 15%. The story takes this stupid pseudo sci-fi twist to force the MC back into the simulation to save everyone with her feelings.
Don’t worry, like any good romance novel, the MC and her love interest end up together at the end.
Score: 6 out of 10
Fragged 4 (Fragged (A LitRPG Short Story Series))
Following the events at Piggly Diggly's farm, Zoey is in a difficult situation as she brings a new member, a former Metois soldier named Miles, into the fold.
The other members of Zoey's Fighters are less than happy with this decision, and she too has some niggling feeling that at any moment the turncoat could be revealed to be a traitor... again.
Zoey's doing everything she can to get past that concern and the other stress that has been brought down upon her, but after what was supposed to be a simple clean up job turns into something a whole lot more deadly she can't help but feel that she's not going to get back to a place of security and stability any time soon.
In this issue of Fragged, Zoey's dealing with everything from a stegosaurus herd on her front lawn to being attacked by a rogue sniper, all the while doing her best to stay in charge of her clan as it becomes increasingly clear that they have almost no respect for her or her authority.
Things have got to get better for her at some point, right?
My Opinion: 54 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Author admits that while writing Fragged 3 it got too long and he decided to split it into Fragged 3 and 4. I think the readers could tell but it’s nice that the author is honest about it.
Nothing really happens. There are a couple of fights, a few skills go up, and a new player joins Zoey’s group after a fight with some muties. Overall, just kind of meh. The next episode seems like it will have the group being attacked and hopefully that will be more interesting and the story will have more RPGness than a couple combat skills going up.
Score: 5 out of 10.
Zandaria: The Group Split: Book 2 of The LitRPG Zandaria Series (Zandaria LitRPG Series)
The Tournament for $100,000 is just a few days away.
After reaching the level 5 milestone, the friends must find a way to reach level 10 in time to compete for the money. Tension is running high for at least one of the players, especially after they have an unfortunate run in with a professional gaming team looking for some extra gold. On top of all this, a mysterious third party known as SouthernBelle has appeared.
Join Mark and Allen as they run into a witch with a disturbing appetite , help a strangely masked doctor, and search for the final ingredient in an insane wizard's concoction in The Zandaria LitRPG Series: Book 2!
My Opinion: 124 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
A little higher priced than I’d normally pay but it’s on Ku.
This is another humor filled adventure for four new friends. Only they hit a bit of a snag when Mark rages quits the group, splitting the team into two parties. Now it’ll be twice as hard to get the experience they need to get to level 10 by the contest deadline.
Funny clean adventure in a VR game. The two groups have separate adventures that force each to appreciate what the other brings to the table. The adventures are fun and interesting.
Score: 7 out of 10.
The Desperate Quest: A MMORPG and LitRPG Online Adventure (Second Age of Retha Book 2)
Chronicles of Retha was meant to be a full submersion video game filled with adventure and magic…but it has become a prison.
Kit and her party of misfit players have managed to collect two of the four seals that are required to face Malignus—Retha’s ultimate villain whose defeat may be the only way out of the game. Unfortunately for Kit—who is stuck playing as a defective elf dancer—the quest only grows more difficult.
The remaining seals are hidden in areas of Retha that Kit and her low-leveled party can’t fight through. Even worse, they will need to unite other players and guilds to face Malignus--an unlikely event as riots have spread across the game world.
Unwilling to give up, Kit and her party band together with Solus Miles—one of the best players in the game—and throw everything they have against Malignus.
But is their strength enough, or will Retha be their end?
My Opinion: 307 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
With the exception of the last boss battle (80-92%), this novel is a repetition of book 1. Get two seals then a boss fight.
The goal of this novel is to collect the last two seals that allow for the big boss fight that will auto log off the raid group, thus saving them from being trapped in the game. However, it’s not the main character or her group that get the seals but another summoned
It’s not the main character, Kit, that makes that progress but another character, the guy she accidently married in game that she summons to save her.
Additionally, it still bugs me that a game set in a future where full immersion VR is real is still using an dated progression system that forces ability and skills on a player as they level instead of giving the players the choice of how to build their characters.
The last boss fight was legitimately good. Well thought out. It’s actually the main character that sort of defeats the boss, even though it’s another force that does the actual killing damage.
Also, there’s less level skipping. Instead of just going from level 5 to 11 without any real detail as to how, the author at least shows the level grind in summary.
I noticed a lot of reviews mentioning that ‘if you like K.M. Shea, you’ll like this novel too’. Then with a quick blog check it just looks like A.M. Sohma is another pen name for K.M. Shea who writes fantasy romance novels. Which, if true, makes the forced romance aspect of the story and the less detailed game stuff, make more sense. The author is trying to appeal to an existing reader base that may not be gamers or have ever heard of LitRPG.
Unfortunately, some of those decisions make the story a bit less appealing to me. This isn’t a bad story. Good solid writing. But I feel like most of book 2 was just repeating the formula of book 1 and just one great fight at the end doesn’t make it more interesting. I think one of the last lines of the book summarizes how I felt reading a lot of the novel: “time to do the same thing again...only this time it will be even harder.”
Score: 6 out of 10.
The Builder's Greed (The Legendary Builder Book 2)
For the first time in millennia, the all-consuming Darkness has been pushed back. Thanks to Arthur and his ragtag army of women, there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
Or there would have been if Mammon, Princess of Greed hadn't awakened.
Powerful enough to level a town with the blink of an eye and ally to no one, Mammon has one goal and one goal only.
To own everything in Hell, starting with Arthur and his friends.
And if he can't stop her from taking over while fending off attacks from Hell's ruling class, well, let's just say that his chance to stop the Darkness will slip from slim to none.
My Opinion: 270 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
What do you do when the main character in your first book becomes a bit overpowered and fixes everything he needed to? You reset his powers and resources.
That’s what this entire novel is. A huge reset button. It takes away just about everything that the Arthur Curie, the main character (MC), earned in the first book. Mammon, the demon princess of greed is accidentally released by the uber blonde Archangel Gabriella. She wants the MC and everything he has. She’s used as a pretext to take everything from the MC and make him earn it all over again.
The MC has to start all over. Start his own town from scratch, with just the few woman that swore to follow him. There are a few upgrades for the MC. He learns of new armaments that will augment his power if he can find/make them. However, he needs a special part that only a guild leader can make. Which doesn’t make sense but is used as an excuse to fill a huge section of the middle of the novel (30-60% portion) with a fun but unnecessary sculpture contest that’s run like a reality TV show competition.
From the 63% mark on, the story really gets good. I loved the training the MC finally does. It makes the reader feel like the MC is actually earning his power and not just having it handed to him. There’s a lot of revelations and twists that keep happening one after another until the very last moments of the story. It’ll probably be too many for some people and it does end on a bit of a cliff hanger. But for me this section was the most interesting.
Overall, nothing really bad about the story. But you could read the 16% of the story, then skip all the way to the 63% and not miss anything that important. Still, that last 37% of the novel is worth the time to read it on it’s own. Good page turner scenes.
Score: 7 out of 10.
The Artificer: A Viridian Gate Online Novel (The Imperial Initiative DLC 1)
In two weeks, the world will die, murdered by a nine-mile-wide, extinction-level asteroid.
And Robert Osmark—billionaire and savvy tech-genius—couldn’t be readier for the fiery apocalypse.
Unlike the shortsighted masses, he’s been diligently preparing for this day from the moment the asteroid first appeared. Through his relentless efforts, digital salvation now awaits anyone bold enough to take the leap and permanently transition into the brand-new, ultra-immersive, fantasy-based VRMMORPG, Viridian Gate Online. And Robert Osmark will lead this new world he has created.
But even with every advantage skewed in his favor, Osmark faces powerful opposition. A rogue faction of global elites led by US Senator Sizemore isn’t content to merely survive the apocalypse. They have their sights set much higher, and are recruiting dangerous allies, undercutting Robert’s efforts at every turn, and hiring VGO’s most deadly assassins to get what they want. To win, Osmark will need to viciously crush all opposition before his plans turn to ash.
My Opinion: 355 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full Disclosure: Got an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
Have you ever wanted to read about Osmark, the antagonist of the Viridian Gate Online series (VGO) and how he became such a villain? Well, now you can. You don’t have to have read the main VGO series to enjoy this novel but if you have, you’ll get extra insight into some characters.
This novel, in the VGO timeline, starts before the comet hits earth and continues on until right before the main character in VGO gets his faction seal. The main character from that series, Jack, does not appear in this novel and is only vaguely referenced at the very end. So, don’t expect any crossovers yet.
Instead, the novel focuses on the Osmark and his efforts to consolidate power in the virtual world his company has created. Only he has to deal with some of the most ruthless political and criminal figures in the world. One of these members is even plotting to take the reigns of power from Osmark. Osmark has to use his superior intelligence not only deal with that political intrigue but also enact his own plan to get a unique and difficult class, the Artificer, retrieve his faction seal, and figure out some way to deal with the assassins trying to hunt him down.
There’s crafting, plenty of action, and some dungeon diving. The novel ends with Osmark magically getting some over-powered abilities that let him deal with his problems but that’s a minor gripe. Overall, it was an enjoyable story that will appeal to folks that like crafting, min/maxers, and good steampunk themed fights.
Score: 7 out of 10
Persephone Falling (The Persephone Saga Book 1)
Persephone is falling
Falling from a life among the corporate elite
Falling into a life ruled by cruelty and violence
Persephone led the perfect life. A noble scion of the Olympus Corporation living a pampered existence in the center of art and culture for the orbital colonies. Then it all came tumbling down around her.
Life on Earth is a struggle against a dying world that most escape via elaborate games in the Network, the virtual world evolved from the internet. For them, the virtual is better than the real. But power has its privileges even in the virtual space. People are being trapped within the Network, unable to leave, subject to whatever depredations the wealthy make them suffer over and over again.
When there are fates far worse than death, how far can you fall before hitting the bottom?
My Opinion: 289 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Real quick. Not LitRPG. While there is a VR simulation aspect there are no game mechanics. There are exactly 2 instances of a character sheet and another handful of sentences relating to Greek god powers that the MC has while in the VR network.
The story is more SciFi cyberpunk. I actually like the story. But it’s not LitRPG. You could tell from the last few novels in the Crucible Shard series that this is where the authors writing was heading. In the author’s notes at the end Skyler Grant says it’s his “first effort at Cyberpunk.”
Interesting story and good action but just not LitRPG. No bad review score since it’s also not advertising itself as LitRPG. More my assumption that this would be LitRPG since that’s what the author has written in the past.
MOB Grind (Raid Online): A litRPG Fantasy Stand Alone Adventure
Enlil is one of the most fierce and successful warrior-gamers in the full immersion MMORPG known as Raid Online, developed by the government of a post-apocalyptic bunker society to keep the population entertained as they hide away from the polluted surface world. With his warhammer and his wolf he has earned himself fame and fortune in this grim dystopia, all to help his invalid sister fight off a crippling disease.
Enlil must lead his adventure party into a new game expansion that promises glory and rewards enough for the group to buy their way out of the slums and into the higher levels of bunker living. As they fight their way through mysteries and monsters, they must come to terms with deadly demons, treacherous competitors, and the challenges of a game scenario that is more savage than they could have possibly imagined.
My Opinion: 370 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
From the authors of the Wolf Mountain series/Adventure Online series. A trilogy that advertised their novels as LitRPG but weren’t at all.
I’ll admit, I started reading this novel cautiously because I felt like I’ve been burned by the authors before. I was right to be cautious. The author’s note in their description that the novel is ‘soft’ LitRPG. It’s not. It’s not LitRPG at all.
There is a game in the story. The story is setup where the MC and everyone else lives in bunkers underground because the world outside is uninhabitable. They use a VR game system to pass the time and earn extra money for resources. The VR game in this novel is set in ancient Sumeria but there are no actual game mechanics. The only thing that comes close is a vaguely described point system that is supposed to work in the game for collecting treasures and killing monsters. But at the same time it’s also used to upgrade characters and buy real world rations? Except even that isn’t consistent as gold and silver money from the game are used later.
As far as the actual game goes, it’s a simulation. No RPG mechanics at all. It’s honestly the same issue I had with the author’s Wolf Mountain series/Adventure Online. It honestly feels like the author’s while good story tellers, don’t want to take the time to create actual RPG mechanics for their LitRPG stories.
Score: 4 out of 10. Not reviewing any more of these authors books. Three novels in a row burned.
Camelot Overthrown: An Arthurian LitRPG (Camelot LitRPG)
Britain is threatened by the minions of the evil Satanus, and King Arthur calls out for brave knights to come and defend the realm.
Join Gorrow as he rises up from Level 1, hones his knightly skills, upgrades his weapons, makes friends, and builds a village on his way from Squire to Knight.
As he levels, his progress is threatened by the ever encroaching armies of Satanus, who threaten even Camelot itself.
Gorrow must race to improve himself so he has the skills to aid King Arthur’s armies in their fight to defeat evil. And at the same time he needs to build and protect his settlement.
In the last days, King Arthur sends out a call. If Camelot falls, surely the whole kingdom will fall too? Then who will resist Satanus as his black tide threatens to overwhelm the medieval island of Britain?
My Opinion: 254 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Galen Wolf, author of Greenwood series of novels and short stories.
Reviews note some spelling errors in the novel as well as gender inconsistencies for the owl in the story. Sometimes he and other times she. Just an FYI in case that stuff bothers you.
The novel starts at character creation with the MC getting an explanation about the game mechanics of the story from a talking barn owl who is the main character’s (MC), Garrow’s, game guide.
* Like Archimedes from the Sword in the Stone animated movie.*
After spending a good bit of time detailing the mechanics of the game, including how skills, combat, and crafting work. The MC finishes making his character and jumps right into camelot where he quests, crafts, and adventures.
The Camelot theme is neat but it just adds a bit of flavor to the adventuring with quests involving finding and helping Saints and the Church. There are minor Christian references but they’re more historical than religiously oriented.
In addition to the good crunchy combat scenes, there’s crafting and town building too. The novel doesn’t take itself too seriously and is happy to poke fun at gaming, RPGs, and even pop culture.
There is a small theme of beating the evil evil army threatening Camelot but that doesn’t come into play till late in the story. For the most part, the novel is a ‘daily adventures’ type of story just following the MC as he has fun and explores what’s possible in the game.
Overall, a good novel that I had fun reading. It was nice not to read another save the world story. Just a guy having fun for the most part.
Score: 7 out of 10.
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