LitRPG Podcast 111
LitRPG Podcast 111
May 4th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 111 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 10 new reviews just for you.
Before we begin, I want to give a shoutout to Camilla Richards, our latest Patreon subscriber. Thank you nice lady.
New Releases and Reviews:
Lots of emotional moments will make you reach for the tissues. Score: 7 out of 10
Mostly travel, action, and adventure. Good for me. Score: 7 out of 10
Gave book 2 a chance. Disappointed. Score: 5 out of 10
Urban Fanstasy Mystery Real Life RPG. Good. Score: 7 out of 10
I liked more of the short stories than I disliked. Score: 7 out of 10
Mediocre action filler bookended by weak cyber thriller. Score: 5 out of 10.
Early part boring. Middle changes to town building. Score: 6 out of 10.
Combat feels a bit wand wavy, overall there is a consistent implementation of the game mechanics. Score: 7 out of 10.
God of Life: Mythic Online (01:04:16)
I was bored most of the story. Score: 5 out of 10.
Authors first novel. Great MC. Lots of crafting. Score: 7 out of 10.
(Play Music 2)
Travis Bagwell, author of the Awaken Online series, says book 3 is coming soon. He revealed the cover art for the upcoming novel and says that he’ll be releasing chapters on his Patreon page.
Vasiliy Mahanenko released the colored version of the art we showed off last week. It looks nice, but I liked the black and white version a bit more.
Brian Eribe has started his own book recommendation site. In addition to traditional categories, he’s added content on LitRPG, GameLit, and specifically Russian LitRPG. The site is still new and his recommendation lists are sparse so far, about 7-9 titles in any LitRPG category. But he says he plans to expand quickly.
Michael Ryan, who previously published under the name Jayden Hunter, recently let me know that his novel the Nagant Wars was picked up by a small publisher, Reprobatio Ltd, who decided the series ‘had legs’ as he put it. So they did some editing, changed the title, and cover art and are republishing it. It is now called World War VR (A GameLit Novel) https://amzn.to/2r6OpCK
He not only wrote posts clarifying that he’d done this in several LitRPG facebook groups, he said that he wanted to be 100% transparent about the republishing and that it’s mentioned in the novel description too. When asked about what changes were made since the publisher got it, he wrote me, “Same story line. The publisher removed all the religious stuff and a ton of editorializing. It's way stream lined.”
He also mentioned that if this one gets a decent reception, he’ll likely get the publisher to do rewrite work on book 2 and even possibly write a new 3rd book.
This is going to be the 3rd time the story has been published. It was originally published in Oct 2016 and it got criticism for what some saw as overt religious commentary. The author pulled it from Amazon and a lot of that was edited out as well as getting technical errors corrected. It was re-published in Jan 2017 but the author then got flak for republishing and not being 100% clear that it was a republish. The 2nd book in the series, The Pawn’s Sacrifice, didn’t do well in sales.
Personally, I liked both books. Even the original version. I gave both good review scores. Michael Ryan has been doing pretty well as a sci-fi writer recently and it’s interesting to see him return to LitRPG potentially.
Jeff Hays, audiobook narrator extraordinar, is not only producing the audiobook for Harmon Cooper’s upcoming novel Monster Hunter NYC. But also producing some original music for it. He’s released a sample on soundcloud and is even contemplating creating a full fledged album of songs.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Blind Gambit: A GameLit LitRPG novel (May 5, 2018)
Questmaster: A LitRPG Novella (May 8th, 2018)
Monster Hunter (May 10th, 2018)
Warrior Academy - Tournament of Hiroes Episode 3 (May 11th, 2018)
World of Karik 2: (The First Crusade) The LitRPG series (May 17th, 2018)
Gestation (Project Chrysalis Book 1) (May 22nd, 2018)
God Mode (AlterGame Book #3) LitRPG Series (May 24th, 2018)
Kingdom Level Five: LitRPG (May 27th, 2018)
The Dead Rogue (An NPC's Path Book #1) LitRPG Series (May 30th, 2018)
Pangea Online Book Two: Magic and Mayhem (May 31st, 2018)
Restart (Level Up Book #1) LitRPG Series (July 10th, 2018)
External Threat (Reality Benders Book #2) LitRPG Series (July 23rd, 2018)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Fractured Spirit (Alpha World Book 5)
Fresh from the success of capturing Gwain’s Keep, Alpha Company is in high spirits. Flush with coin, everyone is eager to get better gear and see what new zones they can go fight in.
Not everything is roses though, as the first testing phase is about to come to an end. A number of those who ventured forth with the guild are about to return to their regular lives, and the next wave of testers brings even more players to embrace Alpha World as their new reality, if only for a limited time.
Alburet has new complications to deal with, but he doesn’t have to face them alone. Two other loving women whom he has accepted the love of, Fluffball and Karen, will be at his side as the revelation of his past comes out.
Will Alburet be able to handle what he has hidden from himself, with the love of the trio of women beside him? Or will he break and fail, leaving his Spirit Fractured?
(This book contains adult themes. You’d think I could stop with these disclaimers but even this far into the series people are shocked by the content. This book contains a Polyamorous relationship, with one of the four people in it being a Succubus. You’ve been warned.)
My Opinion: 350 pages??, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure, I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased a copy when it became available.
Warning: There are sexy scenes in this story and also moments that may bring you to tears for other reasons.
The first part of the story is a lot of clean up from book 4. Consequences from past quests, training, getting new gear, and setup for future storylines. In addition to that, there are some very emotional moments to the story that land with varying degrees of success.
This entry in the series, revolves around dealing with the psychological issues the MC has. Throughout the last few novels there’s been an emotional and memory exploration of each of the women the MC loves. We’ve seen their tragic pasts and the source of their issues. This time, that same mechanic is used to probe the issues of the MC. I’ll be honest, the first emotional moment landed a bit flat for me. There just wasn’t enough build up in this novel to make it moving, for me. But by the last revelation, I was shaking my fist at the author for being so cruel to his MC.
This is also one of the less action oriented entries in the series. There are two fight sections, one early on that’s pretty small and one late in the story that’s a good 15% of the novel. But it’s all part of the setup for the next book and feels a lot like XP grinding. Which isn’t bad, it just is.
Overall, I liked reading the story. If you’ve read any of the other novels in the series, you’re already aware that it’s a good series. The highlights of this novel are the story updates and the big emotional moments.
Score: 7 out of 10
Fjorgyn: Shifting Sands (Fjorgyn -Book 3)
Winter is coming to the Shroud and brings with it conditions Michael's allies cannot withstand. Greenleaf's clan is at risk and must flee south or else suffer death.
Michael's mission for Slanaitheoir's regalia also pulls his friends and him south and away from Brackenvale's safety. With Clifford, Wrane, Ash, and Radha in tow, he ventures into the Abandoned Lands, a vast desert where he must face enemies more dangerous than any he has battled before.
All the while, Ankou Levent’s forces out of Elatha expand across Vros like a blight. If Michael fails to stop him, no one, not even his friends in the valley, will be safe.
Michael needs to become stronger. If he does not, all will be lost
My Opinion: 229 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
**Tag stories as Healer, Druid, Herbalism, and crafting**
**Author note to me, his last name is pronounced Cast-a-line, not Cast-lig-e-own-e**
The novel starts right off with a bit of herbalism and potion making. I feel like the section was written just for me because the author knows how much I love that stuff in this series. Well, it worked. I did love it.
Beyond that, much of the beginning of the novel is clean up, working out issues created from book 2. Then it shifts right into a travel story with lots of action, adventure, and a few tear jerker moments. My favorite is where the main character gets a chance to see his family on earth again. It’s a real, what if, kind of scene. The rest of the novel is pretty good too, but I won’t spoil it, cause the journey is the kind of the story here.
One of few notes I’d give is that in the beginning it was very difficult to remember who everyone was, especially since some factions from book 1 are brought back into the story. A summary of book 1 and 2 and maybe a character sheet for the MC would have gone a long way to jogging my memory about where the story currently was.
Overall, good stuff. But if you’re still hanging out for book three, you probably like the series already.
Score: 7 out of 10
Visaria Online: Void: A litRPG Fantasy Adventure Book 2
As war spreads throughout Visaria Online, the shadow of the void looms menacingly on the horizon.
Banished from his homeland, Ajax must go on the run, gathering allies, new items and facing high-level players hell-bent on his destruction.
Hunted by the Imperium, the minions of the void and an angry nosey old dragon, Ajax and Lillus flee into outdated expansion content. In the desolate expansion zones, they discover something that could turn the tides of the coming war.
But with the void and the Imperium hot on his heels, Ajax might not live long enough to use it.
My Opinion: 150 pages??, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Ok story. The novel is mostly a journey story about getting Ajax to the Oracle. The game mechanics are the same, nothing bad, good detail. Unfortunately, it still has the same issues where I feel like the main character is being forced down a particular story path which just makes things less entertaining. The chosen one thing in the story just doesn’t work for me for some reason.
Score: 6 out of 10
BRANDED: (Book 1 of the Advocate Saga)
Kat Stone just wants to leave her magical past behind and live the simple life of a professional smuggler. But when a monster from the world she abandoned begins killing her friends, she realizes the past she buried is beginning to dig itself up. Kat is the only one who knows the monster is just the beginning with an unknown enemy controlling it from the shadows.
Caught between her new life and the one she worked so hard to forget, Kat will be forced to decide facing the killer and its monster or handing the problem off to a higher authority breathing down her neck. With the monster on the hunt in her city, she is running out of time and choices.
Will Kat be able to find the key from her past to take down the monster? Or will the mysterious enemy kill the last of her friends?
My Opinion: 161 pages, $2.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
From the author of Slime, this is an interesting mix of Urban fantasy mystery and real life RPG powers.
You get a tiny glimpse at the RPG powers with a quest notification in the first few pages of the story, but honestly the RPG stuff comes out mostly during the stories few combat scenes. Heck, after those first quest notifications, you don’t even see the RPG powers till the 17% mark. After that they pop in and out and you see a lot more of them in the last act of the story.
The story itself is an urban fantasy mystery. The main character (MC), Kat Stone, has RPG powers and is trying to figure out who or what is killing off her former crew. She has the FBI hounding her, but what’s out there just isn’t in their jurisdiction. Instead, it’s part of a secret magical/portal community. Hence, the urban fantasy aspect. It’s honestly a good attempt to mesh the genre’s together.
Overall, I liked the story. I had to push my way through the overly mysterious normal beginning but once I started seeing more of the RPG powers stuff, I was on board to finish the story. I think this is a good mesh of urban fantasy and LitRPG. The ending of the story holds promise for more interesting stories.
Score: 7 out of 10
You're in Game! Book #2 (Моre LitRPG stories set in your favorite worlds)
Would you like to know what happened to some of the heroes of your favorite LitRPGs?
What about Gnat, the wayward hero of Reality Benders? Would he manage to return to Earth from his adventurous travels?
Would you like to go back to Barliona and take a peek at the game through the eyes of its new protagonists? Plenty of laughs and intrigue guaranteed!
Can you refuse the offer of completing a complex quest in Alterra? How do you feel about doing that?
Or going back to the Crystal Sphere, to face the chilling breath of a powerful Neuro and survive?
Also, don’t forget that Olgerd and his friends await you in Mirror World! They’re counting on your help.
All this and much more - tales from bestselling authors as well as LitRPG newcomers whose first books have already become Russia’ new sensations - in our latest anthology combining the best of our stories to date!
My Opinion: 365 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full Disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased a copy when it became available.
This is a collection of 8 short stories from russian authors translated into english by Magic Dome Books. Most the stories pull from an already established LitRPG series and either tell small stories about side characters or things that happen in between books. Whether you enjoy the story almost entirely depends on of you’re fan of the series it’s pulling from. There are two unassociated LitRPG short stories.
Archibald by Vasily Mahanenko (Dark Paladin series)
-An ok side story that gives you more detail about the third book in the series. Score: 6 out of 10.
The Dark Knight by Andrei Livadny (The Neuro series)
-White leveling and trying to find his daughter. In between story of books 2 and 3. Score: 6 out of 10
The Terror Slayer by Alexey Osadchuk (Mirror World)
-Anton, game designer. Adjusting int of mob Dwand. Meant to change from 9 to 6 but startled and accidentally changes to 66. Dwand gains sentience and starts to be able to see game notifications, gets skills, and xp. New player experience, except it’s an NPC monster. A good story that doesn’t depend on the bigger series to be enjoyable. Score: 7 out of 10.
Reality’s Edge by Pavel Kornev (Unassociated litrpg short story)
-This is either a super short story or tease for an upcoming book. Either way kind of meh. Score: 5 out of 10
Who fed the Troll by Andrew Novak (AlterGame series)
-Jack the Tramp side story where he has to deal with a well fed troll blocking the entrance to a quest. I liked it. Score: 7 out of 10.
Level Up - Fight Setup by Dan Sugralinov (upcoming Level Up series)
-Not so much a short short story as the first chapter of an upcoming LitRPG story. It mixes real life RPG with boxing. Enjoyable. Score: 7 out of 10.
The Khaki-Colored Noob by Vasily Mahanenko and Eugenia Dmitrieva (LitRPG short story set in Barliona)
-Soldier on leave. Convinced by his friends to play VRMMO Barliona. Starts out a bit slow, but good. You don’t have to have read the main series to enjoy it. Score: 7 out of 10.
Save the Dynasty by Michael Atamanov (Reality Benders series)
-Short story from the POV of the dark faction. Takes place after end of book 1. Dark faction is looking for retribution after their last loss. But there are also plans within plans afoot. Really good stuff and my favorite of the collection. However, you’ll be completely lost if you’ve not read book 1 in the series.
Score: 7 out of 10
Overall, I liked more of the stories than I didn’t. But if you’ve never read any of the main series the stories are pulling from, you’ll likely only enjoy a couple in this collection.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Prison Quest: A Sci-Fi LitRPG Adventure
Cody works the personal security detail at the mighty Vortax Corporation, but when the man she’s paid to protect is found dead, her life is ripped apart. Framed for murder, she’s incarcerated in a virtual world where she must fight to survive. But perhaps she might stand a chance of escape, if only she can complete the Prison Quest.
My Opinion: 480 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Something about this one felt a little shady. When the novel came out as an ebook on 4/30 it already had three 5 star reviews, all of which are dated before the 30th. One of which gushed about how she had to check out the story because it was on Kindle Unlimited. However, the review was posted 4/27 and was for the print edition of the novel.
-Another review said it’s the best she’s ever reading the genre, but it’s the only LitRPG story she’s ever reviewed.
-None of the really means anything, it could all be coincidence. But it certainly starts the story off on an odd foot for me.
The novel has a heavy cyber thriller beginning. Security guard Cody stumbles onto the corpse of her murdered friend. She’s immediately arrested by internal security, but instead of being turned over to the policeman that arrives, she’s falsely convicted by internal security and sentenced to a 40 years sentence in a game. Once there she finds out if she dies outside town, she dies permanently in real life. She learns of a rumored secret quest that will let her escape the game, if she can find it and beat it.
Game mechanic wise this is a pretty shallow system where the stats and levels don’t really feel like the matter. There are quests, character sheets, XP given, and levels gained. So, this is technically LitRPG. But all the game stuff is completely ignored if a particular plot point needs to be reached. Whether it’s the main character (MC), Cody, being able to beat much higher level opponents or just miraculously surviving a situation were she should have died. Heck, most of the game notifications feel like they were inserted after the story was already written.
Overall, the story felt like it was a bunch of mediocre action filler bookended by weak cyber thriller. The ending also just felt forced. Like the MC was practically pushed to that particular unsatisfying resolution where the bad guys don’t get their just desserts, just so the story could end. It honestly felt like the author got bored writing the story and just wanted it to end.
Score: 5 out of 10
Welcome To Eden: LitRPG / Gamelit
The board of directors of Swarm Entertainment had been working on a singular goal for nearly ten years when the breakthrough had come. Since the first consumer release of VR systems, many had realised that the future of VR gaming would always be total immersion, but very few had thought along the same lines as Swarm Entertainment. The singular goal of Swarm was to eventually create a world where the physical restrictions of the human body would no longer apply. If a person was in a wheelchair, they would be able to walk. If a person was blind or deaf, they would be able to see or hear. If a person chose to do so, they could escape their nursing home into a new life where they could enjoy anything and everything they could have ever wanted – this was the main goal behind creating Eden and the possibilities were absolutely endless.
This story follows William, a clever man who had led the development team for six years and been handed the pleasure of entering the virtual world of Eden and its virgin lands before any other human being. He would be the first visitor to unknown computer-generated lands but he won't be welcomed with adoration.
My Opinion: 253 pages, $4.19, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This beginning of the story is to blunt, kind of boring. It gets a bit better about the 22% mark when the reader finally sees a character sheet and the main character (MC), William, gets some kind of explanation about the RPG game mechanics of the world.
The novel starts out with a long winded and improbable premise of a game company letting a AI create her own world and evolve it by speeding up time in the simulation so that hundreds of thousands of years would have passed. Only, none of the developers know what the results are and the lead designer, our main character, is the first human to jump into the full immersion VR game. Only once inside the game, it’s not some original creation, but a standard fantasy world, which makes that whole hundred thousand year natural evolution thing seem like a total waste.
A few things early in the story that bothered me.
-It really stretches disbelief that the lead game designer wouldn’t have some way to see inside the game world while it was being made and that he has absolutely no idea how RPG mechanics work.
-It’s kind of long winded. This lessens as the story goes on, but as an example: early on the author spends a page describing how the MC walks in a circle around camp. Not what he sees, but that he walks in a circle, what the radius of the circle is, and what the area he covered amounts to.
-Much of the story reads like straight fantasy with interspersed sections of RPG notifications and character sheet updates.
-The RPG game mechanics described don’t really effect the story. Eventually, the MC gets in some fights and even levels. But he consistently beats higher level monsters with single shots and does 1000 points of damage at level 1. It also doesn’t seem to matter that he adds to his stats, he still just one shots for 1000 damage regardless.
-It doesn’t make sense that the MC would suddenly own land in the game world and be able to build a town.
Some things that I liked
-At about the 40% mark, the story switches to kingdom/town building and there’s less wand wavy combat. The story shifts to creating relationships with characters and building up the small town. It’s much better writing and it gives the author a chance to show off character’s personalities and do some character development.
-The town building game mechanics aren’t horrible. But again, it’s a bit wand wavy sometimes.
Overall, the early parts of the story just drag the rest of it down. This is a LitRPG story but that the RPG game mechanics presented aren’t consistent or even really impactful of the story made it less enjoyable for me. The last half of the novel saves it from getting a worse score because the story did improve.
Score: 6 out of 10
Temple of Sorrow: A LitRPG and GameLit Adventure (Stonehaven League Book 1)
Devon Walker has one chance to turn her life around.
A half-wit ogre, a legion of overgrown jungle beasts, and a power-tripping AI are trying to stop her.
Relic Online is the hottest new game out there, and it's Devon Walker's best hope for escaping her hard-knock life. Thanks to her rocking achievements in other games, she's been hired as a salaried player. Even better, her new position comes with cutting-edge implants that turn RO's virtual reality into a full sensory explosion. Her only task? Drive the game's creator AI to the outermost limits of its creativity.
Sounds easy, right?
But when Devon logs in, her expectations shatter like an ice golem hit with a sonic blast. Wearing nothing but a cloth tunic and ragged pants, she spawns inside a ruined city overgrown by steamy jungle. With zero skills and nothing in her inventory but pocket lint, she immediately runs afoul of the city's guardian, a stone giant the size of an apartment building. The encounter does not go well.
And Relic Online is just getting started with her.
My Opinion: 382 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The story start out with one last raid for the main character (MC), Devon, and her gaming group in their favorite VRMMO that’s shutting down that day. It’s a scene that you can sort of skip since the game is going away and won’t be featured again. It's more used to insert immediate action into the story, establish the MC’s gamer cred, and point out her teammates, who may or may not be used in future storylines.
Storywise, there’s a bit of chosen one them going on where the MC is hand picked by a lead developer to play this full immersion game, not to beta test, but to show off how fun the game is. This premise sort of falls flat since no one is able to watch her play and she’s not a game streamer. Instead, the MC is dropped into a out of the way zone in the game and left to figure everything out on her own. She comes across a village of NPCs led by a stupid Ogre and falls into a mystery of why an old major city was suddenly abandoned and what she can do about it. There’s lots of action, town building, questing, and well described relationship building. There’s even a little bit of intrigue and treachery. The author, who has a good following with her 9 fantasy books, straddles the line between full blown RPG mechanic dumping and fantasy descriptions. She has a following she doesn’t want to alienate by suddenly switching styles and I think she does a good job of gradually introducing those game mechanics into what starts out very fantasy like story (Once she’s in the Realm Online Game).
The game mechanics in Realm Online game story, while very slowly revealed, work well mostly. There’s nothing really new here. But character advancement is detailed, and the town building mechanics have enough depth to be interesting and purposeful. The only place where the game mechanics fall apart is during combat. There, the MC gets a pass on logic and not only wins just about every fight she has but comes away unscathed. This happens even when she’s outnumbered or fighting opponents many times her level. Everywhere else, the RPG game stuff works well and feels like it matters.
Overall, I had a good time reading the novel. Even though combat feels a bit wand wavy, overall there is a consistent implementation of the game mechanics. The story is interesting enough to get me to read a second book in the series.
Score: 7 out of 10
God of Life: Mythic Online
A terminal disease. A fantasy universe. A chance at immortality.
Derby Baldwin is dying.
Rather than spend his last few months in agony, he joins Mythic Online, a virtual world that hijacks his brain and prevents him from feeling pain. The best thing he can hope for? A peaceful death.
When he learns he can cheat death by defeating an in-game god, Derby's life suddenly has purpose. He recruits two friends, and together they pursue their enemy. Can he defeat the god to save his own life? Or will the disease take him before he succeeds?
My Opinion: 228 page, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
**Tag as standalone, trapped in game,**
Derby, a terminal patient who decided to upload to game, wakes to find himself hung from a tree. He cuts himself down and goes to look to see who did it, so that he won’t have to worry about someone coming after him. Instead he finds two NPCs that become allies on a journey to challenge the God of Life to a duel. If they win, they can restore their destroyed world. But Derby secretly wants to use the wish to get immortality.
That’s the story. It’s setup by the the 20% mark, with the bit about challenging the God of Life to a duel and winning a wish learnt at the 46% mark. Though it’s also in the novel description. After that you can honestly skip to the end (92%) to see the duel and get the story resolution. Everything else in between isn’t really important. I’m not saying it’s not entertaining sometimes. There are some ok fights with a range of monsters. A few interesting little sub-stories. But there’s not real character growth for Derby. There are no event that makes him into a better man. He has moral issues with choosing between a selfish wish of immortality and saving a world of people from the onset of the story.
Game mechanics - There aren’t a lot here. This is LitRPG. The author has a light leveling system he tries to incorporate. When you kill something, you get physical chits that can be traded to innkeepers and others that will raise your level and let you increase your stats. They literally have to give you a piece of paper to make the changes official. Characters can learn special skills from mentors, but only one per mentor and only if they want to teach you. But other than the moments when someone is updating their level or learning a new ability, the rest of the novel reads like a fantasy story. It’s fantasy story--level---fantasy story---level, new ability---fantasy story---level. The level up moments are consistent and the characters do grow in power, so again this is technically LitRPG. But for me, all the other parts read like a fantasy story which isn’t entertaining for me.
Overall, i was bored most of the story. It was neat to see an author try to meld super light RPG mechanics realistically. Giving each component a physical requirement. But ultimately I read LitRPG because it makes me feel like I’m in my favorite RPG games, and this didn’t do that for me.
Score: 5 out of 10
Ruins of Majesta: Vol. 1 - Blood and Cupcakes
There’s no problem a cupcake can’t solve.
M.I.T. calls her a genius, her mother calls her Cupcake, her buddies call her Princess Cuddle Fluff and she’s here to kick butt and blow stuff up. At least until she realizes she’s stuck. Eleven-year-old Mayah’s just collateral damage in an investigation by a government that’s intent on keeping control of its finances. Now she’s trapped in the Virtual Reality of Ruins of Majesta waging the war for her life the only way she can, by questing, leveling up and sewing.
She’s attempting to unravel the mystery of who did this to her and why. She’s angry as shaz and out for blood. The same blood the parental filters won’t let her see. So instead she’d be happy smashing them into a hole with her hammer and tossing in a few grenades for good measure. Involving her in their plans was the worst idea the government cronies ever had. If you’re going to be stupid enough to fight a genius, …DON’T!!!
Follow Mayah through the Ruins of Majesta, as she unlocks its mysteries, and tries to escape its deadly clutches.
This novel is a combination of big hammers, cats, books, enchanting, snark, necromancy, leveling, government conspiracies, financial revolutions, grandmothers, Evil sentient computer viruses, crafting, duels, getting gear, friendship, Happiness and sweet, sweet XP.
Safe for the kids Great for the adults.
This book Is GameLit / LitRPG and contains very visible RPG, video game mechanics, and fights that are integral to the story. No blood or cursing, though.
My Opinion: 550 pages??, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full Disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased a copy when it became available.
This is a trapped in the game, slice of life story, with cyber punk sub threads. There’s lot of good action but a good portion of the story is about crafting. Which I love, but not everyone will. But there’s lots of other things for people to enjoy.
Things I like:
-Great character build up, especially in the beginning. The author does a great job of establishing personality for the main character (MC) and her family. You kind of fall in love with Mayah, an eleven year old black girl, and a child genius among gifted high school students. She a fierce kid that will stand up to people talking down to her or trying to take advantage just cause she’s eleven. She’s smart enough to see through the B.S. that most adults put out and is a little jaded because of it. But at the same time, she’s still a kid and doesn’t even recognize when she develops her first crush until her, wiser more and emotionally mature, mom points it out to her.
-There are a few places where that character breaks a little and you feel like you’re seeing more of the author, like an eleven year old making ‘that’s what she said’ jokes. But for the most part the MC is consistent.
-Crafting. Boy is there crafting in this story. And it’s just so good too. There are really great ideas and combinations of trade skills and magic systems. There’s so much great crafting!
-Did I already mention crafting? Training scenes are nice too.
-Good secondary characters. I don’t love anyone as much as I do the MC but they’re still well developed. They have good personalities but also their own flaws and character development paths.
Game mechanics are very thoroughly described and they feel like they matter to the story. Fundamentally, there’s not much new here. When characters level they get points to improve themselves, or they can train to improve. Skills can be learned or purchased and improve through use. Magic is one of the few things restricted by level. What the story does do is combine familiar game mechanic elements into a deeper, entertaining story. The MC is intelligent enough to recognize the rules and exploits every loophole she can find to her advantage.
The only place I think more explanation would have helped was with understanding the difference between stats and attributes. For some reason they’re separated. Characters get separate points for each but there’s not really a good explanation of why they’re separated or what applying a point specifically does to each. It doesn’t help that the MC hoards her stat and attribute points till the end of the story so there’s not a natural place early on to address it.
Things I thought could have been done better:
-The cyber punk stuff. Not a big fan of it in general. It’s always a weird thing when coding problems can only be solved from inside the game.
-While the cyber punk stuff, whether real world or game part, is interesting, there’s not much resolution on that end. It’s mostly setup for future stories.
-I really thought the avatar virus things was a bit of a wasted opportunity for character growth.
-Better antagonists. There are a couple introduced but they end up being little more than one shot characters. There’s no one that really ends up being the foil for the MC.
Overall, I had a good time reading this. There are places things could have been trimmed down a bit, it’s kind of massive novel, but it’s a good action, crafting story. I will note that there is a bit of a cliffhanger ending, which bothers some people. But for me, it just makes me want to read the next volume sooner.
Score: 7 out of 10
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Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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