LitRPG Podcast 095
LitRPG Podcast 095
Feb. 9th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 95 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 9 new LitRPG reviews for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
Fairwind's Fortune (24:43)
The Omega Dream (34:45)
Level Up (45:30)
(Play Music 2)
Audio Book Review is a site that does free honest reviews a lot of audiobooks and also has a paid upgrade option for promotional work too. The site has started an awards program this year for audiobooks. There are 18 categories, one of which is LitRPG this year.
Awaken Online: Precipice, written by Travis Bagwell and read b David Stifel
Delvers LLC: Welcome to Ludus, written by Blaise Corvin and read by Jeff Hays
Dominion of Blades, written by Matt Dinniman and read by Andrea Parsneau
Hero of Thera written by Eric Nylund and read by Jeff Hays; Reboot, written by Domino Finn and read by Justin Thomas James
Super Sales on Super Heroes, written by William D. Arand and read by Jeff Hays.
It’s a nice that a special category for LitRPG audiobooks are up for an award from the site.
Aleron sent a public message via his Patreon, that the Land book 7 should be out by 2/18 or before. But, I won't be adding the title to upcoming LitRPG list. Too many broken release dates. Still, here's hoping!
Recently, Jeff Hays, friend of the podcast and audiobook narrator, had a livestream on Youtube where he and 5 LitRPG authors hung out, drank, gamed a little, and then drank some more. I was lucky enough to be invited to join them when I showed up to watch. It was a good time. Go watch it on Jeff’s Youtube page and don’t forget to subscribe so you can see him do narrations for audiobook.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Our review of the ebook version: http://www.geekbytespodcast.com/litrpg-database/2017/11/22/viridian-gate-online-imperial-legion-the-viridian-gate-archives-book-4
Our review of the ebook version: http://www.geekbytespodcast.com/litrpg-database/2017/11/2/the-builders-wrath-the-legendary-builder-book-4
Our review of the ebook version: http://www.geekbytespodcast.com/litrpg-database/2017/12/7/the-twilight-obelisk-mirror-world-book-4
Our review of the ebook version: http://www.geekbytespodcast.com/litrpg-database/2017/11/22/the-airship-a-futuristic-dungeon-core-the-laboratory-book-2
Clans War (The Way of the Shaman: Book #7) LitRPG Series (Feb. 12th, 2018)
Fantasy Online: The Runestones of Tritinakh: A LitRPG Saga (Feb. 16th, 2018)
Kingdom Level Four: LitRPG (Feb. 28th, 2018)
Avatars Rising: SILOS I (Feb. 28th, 2018)
Perma-Death Online: A LitRPG adventure: Book 2 (March 15, 2018)
Akillia's Reign (Puatera Online Book 4) (March 16th, 2018)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Dungeon Lord: Otherworldly Powers (The Wraith's Haunt - A litRPG series Book 2)
Dark forces are threatening everything that Dungeon Lord Edward Wright cares about… and they don’t expect what they’re about to get.
Only a few weeks have passed since the Battle of Burrova, and Edward and his friends are busier than ever improving the Haunt and protecting the surviving villagers.
Sadly, time is a scarce commodity in the world of Ivalis. Soon enough, Ed finds himself thrown in conflict against the man behind the mindbrood’s attack, a man who is seemingly capable of shrugging off mortal wounds and who is willing to unleash a devastating plague of undead against the Haunt and everyone inside.
Only the otherworldly powers of a Dungeon Lord may be capable of protecting the Haunt against the rapidly approaching danger… but can Edward remain the same man if he exposes himself to the corrupting influence of that very same power?
My Opinion: 462 pages, $5.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The description tells you almost nothing about what happens in the novel. It’s a combination adventure outside the dungeon, some dungeon building, and dungeon defense. It all hinges around the beginning when the Ed, the dungeon lord, is sent to help a thief named Katalyn escape from a group trying to sacrifice her to her evil dad who has been summoned from the dead as a monster. From there bad people start to realize Ed, the dungeon lord, should be killed and they become a threat to him and the dungeon. There’s also this sort of odd middle section that reminds me of a 1920’s rum running story. Then more fighting!
Along the way there’s finally some dungeon building. Well, more like dungeon housing projects but at least there’s some building and crafting going on. I really do like crafting. Though I feel like the dungeon building side of things will always feel more like town building because the main character has no intention of being evil and killing creatures or people for resources.
Overall, aside from a few translation snage (Like calling Chicken Coops, Chicken Dens??), a good read.
Score: 7 out of 10
Legends of Tarthirious : Book Five of Kylia's Story (Legends of Tarthirious (A LitRPG) 5)
Kylia is struggling to deal with the recent death of her fiance, Gerald, and decides to do the only sane and sensible thing.
Throw herself into the virtual world of Tarthirious.
In Tarthirious, Kylia's avatar, Armelia, is having struggles with morality and whether or not the pesky thing is actually important when it comes to having a good time and completing quests.
In this, the fast-paced, action-packed conclusion to the Legends of Tarthirious saga, the story twists, turns, and surprises at every corner as it reaches its stunning climax, whether Kylia's ready for it or not.
My Opinion: 197 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Kylia, the main character (MC), has hit a bit of a depression and is playing the game non-stop. In game, she chooses the path of the evil, just for something new to do and finds it fun.
Most of the story is her just doing things in game. You can tell the author is rushing a bit to end the series and tie up all the loose game quests. It’s done in an entertaining way, but it all honestly feels like filler since nothing done in the game world matters.
Outside the 1st book, when playing the game was a way for the MC to earn a living, all that content has not mattered to the story. It’s been a way for the MC to kill time, hang out with her boyfriend, or just tell an interesting short story.
The last 15% of the novel finishes up the real life story line and then ends. If you just want to know what happens with Kylia, skip to the 85% mark.
Score: 6 out of 10
But Death is Not Forbidden (The Twenty-Sided Eye Series Book 2)
Spooky and Joe are in a gaming reality that is quickly becoming clear, is quite real. They are forced to fight monsters, dungeons, and betrayal but their greatest enemy might be denial. Both Joe and Spooky are now nearly immortal, but how will Joe react when the facts of the situation can no longer be denied? He may never see his late wife in the afterlife. How will Spooky deal with the changes within herself? Neither she nor her co-Champion have the option to become mere mortals again. Watch as Joe and Spooky continue to grow their capital in people, skills, equipment, and magic.
My Opinion: 349 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The first novel in the series was a lot of setup and it hinted at the addition of other game mechanics besides fighting in the series including: dungeon diving, town building, crafting, and community building. All that starts to get fleshed out in book 2. It just mostly doesn’t happen from the main character (MC), Joe. Instead, much of the novel focuses on Spooky, the AI fairy companion. She dungeon dives, crafts, and town builds. She also goes a little multiple personality, but I won’t spoil that.
The MC on the other hand mostly just fights, levels, gets new powers, and does some community relations. But he really does fall asleep on the job here, leaving the opportunity for other characters to get some character development time. You get to learn more about minor characters from book 1 and some other influences in this world, but it's mostly about Spooky. The MC basically bookends her story (20% beginning, 20% end).
It’s an interesting story but some people are going to be disappointed because the MC isn’t in more of it.
Score: 7 out of 10
Ghost Platoon: a mech LitRPG novel (Armored Souls Book 2)
A dying game. A tournament for the ages. One last chance for glory.
After a glorious run as the world’s first full-immersion VR mega-game, Armored Souls is on its last legs. Competitors are on the rise, and the company’s own projects are surpassing it. In a last-ditch effort to inject new life into the game, Valhalla West announces a tournament with such an awesome prize that no player can resist.
Reggie has led Wounded Legion to the top ranks of the factions on the Armored Souls servers, but the game has gotten easy for him. Too easy. When Valhalla West announces their tournament plans, Reggie springs into action to prepare for it. His motives are twofold. First, it’s the most excitement he’s felt in years.
But more importantly, Armored Souls is Reggie’s entire world. He’s willing to fight to keep it going as long as he can.
My Opinion: 330 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Note: Currently listed as book 2 in the series but is actually book 3.
This is the end and it feels like it. Not only does the story tell the tale of a MMO that’s become stagnant, but a last gasp at getting new players by running a tournament with an OP Mech rig as a prize. For Reggie, it’s a signal that the game is on its last legs but he plans to win the tournament anyways.
There are some very meta themes about a game series ending, when it’s also evident that the novel series we’re reading is ending.
The novel is heavy on the mech combat and if you liked the fights in books 1 and 2, you’ll like it in this one too. However, because the reader knows both the game and the novel are ending there’s this odd feeling of entropy as you read. There’s a feeling that it all doesn’t matter because you know the end is near. That ruined a bit of the fun for me.
Still, it’s a good ending that wraps things up nicely, even if it did go in the direction I thought it would.
Score: 6 out of 10
In 2038, Gail plays "Thousand Tales", a game run by a watchful AI. In there, she's exploring an endless sea to gain aquatic powers and master the rare skill of combat origami. In the real world she helps run an ice cream company and is starting to see robots sneaking around the place, because the AI's plans go beyond keeping players entertained.
Her real and fantasy lives collide one night when she has a bout of extremely good luck, and the chance to have her brain permanently relocated to the game's world. Is digital heaven too good an offer to pass up?
"Fairwind's Fortune" is part of the larger "Thousand Tales" setting, though no knowledge of it is required. A friendly artificial intelligence is seeking allies to cross between worlds, offering magic and transformation and immortality in return. What can Gail do to help befriend the young race of AIs raised inside a game, and make sure they understand what humans really want?
My Opinion: 111 pages, $0.99, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
This is mostly a slice of life story where the main character (MC), Gail, is an explorer, crafter, and mentor. Then she wins the lottery and decides to upload her mind to the game she’s playing, a kind of virtual heaven where just about anything is possible.
The story is fine, but the RPG mechanics are pretty minimal. Like the larger Thousand Tales series, the story focuses on the adventures possible in this digital heaven, where any kind of world is possible and people can be anything they want.
Score: 6 out of 10
Demon's Quest (Grimdark Adventures Online Book 1)
A gamer girl plays for her life.
There are seven stages of grief. Tatiana finds herself stuck in anger. Diagnosed with an inoperable, terminal brain cancer, she rails against fate as her choices get taken away one by one. Only two things prevent her from falling into the sixth stage – depression. The first is Grimdark Adventures Online, where she has two characters/avatars, one a brutal male Battle-Knight, the other a gorgeous Rogue. The second liberating thing: insurance.
When her real-life body dies, the insurance will allow her to escape extinction by paying for her upload into the game as a perma-player, ensuring that she will never reach the seventh stage – acceptance. She need only choose which character her consciousness will inhabit.
Perma-players can’t level up as quickly or easily as Players, so Tatiana spends her last days in the hospital playing the game, leveling up where she can and venting her rage in battle and mayhem.
When a demon in the game threatens to steal from her her final choices by permanently killing both of her characters, forcing her to upload as an unknown at Level 1, Tatiana knows desperation. She must either accede to the demon’s wishes by going on a quest, or meekly accept the unacceptable.
Backed by a flying dragon, she sends her Rogue character into the unknown to battle orcs, mages, and cannibalistic goblins. Determined to win through despite the odds, she refuses to accept any possibility other than victory. But, even should she win through, she can only hope that the demon will keep his word, freeing her to make her final choice before it gets made for her.
My Opinion: 248 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Easy review. This is a boring story. The core premise of the entire novel hinges on a player believing that some random voice in her character’s head is a demon that is aware he’s a character in a game and has the power to delete her main and alt characters. None of which is established in the story as being possible before.
So, instead of logging out and reporting a bug or even commenting on the fact that this NPC demon is self aware, the woman believes him and lets the demon possess her body.
This sets the tone for the novel. The woman just does everything this demon tells her and goes on this adventure to collect three talismans and beat a high level guild, all by herself. Any time things get tough, there’s some magic wand waving and things just somehow work out. This level of unrealistic response just makes the whole story boring because no matter what happens, you know the main character is going to win. Even if she, as a low level character, is facing a guild full of high level characters. Or as happens early in the story, she magically beats a room full of armed men, even though she is naked and unarmed.
On the game mechanics side, things are light too. There’s plenty of gamer references but the actual mechanics are limited to an occasional character description, short character sheet, and a health bar that appears during combat. Everything else is written as fantasy.
Score: 5 out of 10
The Omega Dream
With the innovation of fully immersive virtual technology that links directly to the user's mind, the world of console gaming has evolved in five years beyond what all but the most ambitious of gamers could imagine. Unfortunately, that technology comes with a few... quirks.
When a young boy named Aaron Marcus got his hands on his first Neural Console it was a dream come true. He could finally join his other friends who had long since delved into the virtual MMO known as Omega Dream. It all turns to a nightmare when a tragedy strikes and he becomes unable to return back to the real world.
Discovering he is but another in a long line of players trapped inside the artificial realm, he resolves himself to do whatever it takes to make it out. He begins his journey through Purgatory, the server built to house the damned players cursed to spend the rest of their days inside “Omega Dream”. It isn’t long before he finds out just how difficult his quest may be. Only one player has ever escaped the virtual prison. Only time will tell if Aaron has what it takes to be the second.
My Opinion: 290 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is the debut novel from author Tyson Pernitzky as such, it’s understandable that not everything is going to be perfect and this isn’t. The game mechanics in the story aren’t the big draw and while consistently used through the story, they have issues. I’ll say that this story has all the pieces to be good, they’re just in the wrong order.
The game mechanics in the story are rushed and much of the information is presented in such a way that they feel like they’re being made up as the story goes. I’m not saying that the author didn’t put forethought or planning but rather that how they’re revealed to the reader feels rushed. The main character starts out in the story already in the level 30s, so there’s no opportunity to gradually reveal the mechanics the same way you would if the character had been freshly created and the player were discovering things with the reader. Instead, the main character call out his various powers as he uses them and sometimes also throws out an explanation. This becomes better as the story goes on but even game mechanics like factions and resource node capture, though cool, are presented as info dumps.
Fundamentally, this is an action story. Fight scenes dominate the first 75% of the novel and they’re pretty decent. The fights are the novels strength but also its biggest weakness.
As a strength, the fights are well written. There’s a nice variety of opponents. The types of fights the main character is involved with are also varied and go from tournament style, to infiltration, to flag defense, to full raids, and guild vs guild battles.
It’s the story’s weakness in the sense that that’s all much of this story is. A series of fights. The connective story tissue between fights doesn't provide a more interesting story or give you any reason to care about the outcome of those fights.
The story outside the fights is also a bit fractured. It goes from obsessed gamer to trapped in game, to virtually uploaded, then to die in game die forever. That lack of focus and planning in the story makes it hard to care about the characters. There’s an attempt at character development about 75% into the story when faction stuff is introduced but by that time it’s kind of late.
Additionally about this time the main character tries to be the hero suddenly by proposing a fundamentally different way of life for those perma players and it becomes a story about him convincing them by word or strength of arm. It’s a shift in the story that’s a welcome change from just action but again, it comes so late many people won’t have stuck around for it.
This could have been a good story had there been character development earlier in the story and more plot, for the majority of the story, than kill things for XP.
Score: 5 out 10
The New Party: VirTim LitRPG Episode 1
The sirens are blaring. The nuclear missiles are on their way. You have only minutes left to live. What do you do? Play an online fantasy RPG, of course.
Virtual time dilation (VirTim) means that even a few minutes of real time can become weeks, months or years of subjective game time. Ryan is one of those who flee the holocaust to a VirTim world.
But something in the Realms of Ralonus is very wrong...
My Opinion: 29 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
For the number of pages this is a good KU read but not as a straight purchase. It sets up the premise of Ryan choosing to use time compression in a MMO to extend the last minutes of his life as long as possible. Only when he gets into the game, he finds the place has changed. He feels extreme pain when hit, and safe zones aren’t so safe. Thankfully he meets a sexy rogue that he can team up with.
A story has a good setup. The RPG mechanics are consistent and death has real meaning since respawning means losing precious time compression minutes. The combat isn’t great but the idea that this guy’s last refuge has turned into something bad is intriguing enough to get me to read the next episode.
Score: 7 out of 10
Virtual is Reality.
What would the world be like if video game rules suddenly applied?
Marcus is about to find out. After a freak accident he finds himself stuck between a game and the real world. He’ll need to fight his way through football hooligans, carnies and the dreaded RNG to get to the final boss and save the world. Anything less means it’s game over for good.
Along the way he’ll learn new skills, chase epic loot and most importantly of all, Level Up!
My Opinion: 306 pages, $2.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
A parody novel that crosses Office Space with the Gamer.
The RPG mechanics in the story aren’t anything to write home about. They consist of the main character (MC) getting undefined amounts of XP and gaining levels to get new abilities. There’s no real depth there.
That’s fine though, this is a parody/humor novel. It makes fun of just about every genre of video game and silly mechanics used in them: Beat Em Ups, Stealth, Base Building, Card Games, mini games, quick time events, escort missions, and so much more. It combines that with an Office Space type subplot where the MC uses his new game powers to stand up to his jerk co-workers and boss. My favorite fight is the one he has with HR. Anyone that’s ever worked in an office will feel a cathartic connection.
There are a few flaws. The combat gets a bit over the top and becomes repetitive and predictable sometimes. Some of the parody jokes also get a little repetitive. Some people also may not like the rush from genre to genre because of the inconsistency world building.
Overall, I had a fun time reading the novel. Don’t take it too seriously and you’ll have fine time too.
Score: 7 out of 10
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