LitRPG Podcast 123
LitRPG Podcast 123
July 6th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 123 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 5 new LitRPG reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
Monster killing, leveling, settlement building. Good stuff but definitely for adults.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Has some issues but good action, and an interesting game setup.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Interesting setup with gnomes, but MC never felt like she earned anything. Score: 6 out of 10
A grind to read about a level grind.
Score: 5 out of 10
If you like Emerilia, you’ll like this.
Score: 7.6 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
Luke Chmilenko put up some new art work for his Ascend Online LitRPG series. I’m guessing it’s the main character, Marcus.
Aleron Kong, author of the Chaos Seeds series, recently did an interview with Gaming Mommies on Facebook Live. They talked a bit about what LitRPG is and the Chaos Seed series.
Blaise Corvin, author of the Nora Hazard series, Secret of the Old Ones, and Delvers LLC series, recently did an interview with a new interview podcast called Game Reads. They talk about Blaise’s books, GameLit, and of course weapons and armor.
Game Reads is hosted and produced by Sean Callahan, a nice guy and fan of the LitRPG and GameLit. I even helped him with the intro explanation video to the podcast.
I was recently on Druken Dice, a video podcast where ‘the dice aren’t the only things loaded.’ Charles Dean’s latest podcast where he and some friends play a tabletop RPG. This week it was a custom FATE game, Blaise Corvin was the GM, Jeff Hayes, Dakota Krout, Charles, and myself were all players. It was really fun and I encourage you to go watch us drink, get silly, and try to survive our murderous GM.
-Republish of the 2nd book in the Nagant Wars series. New title, new cover art, new publisher that paid for some rewrites and editing.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Our review of the ebook: Score 7 out of 10
Our review of the e-book: Score: 7.6 outof 10 http://litrpgpodcast.com/litrpg-database/2018/5/10/war-aeternus-2-sacrifices
Our review of the ebook: Score: 7 out of 10
Our review of the ebook: Score 6 out of 10
Restart (Level Up Book #1) LitRPG Series (July 10th, 2018)
Regicide (The Completionist Chronicles Book 2) (July 16th, 2018)
External Threat (Reality Benders Book #2) LitRPG Series (July 23rd, 2018)
Sleeping Player (Project Chrysalis Book 3) (July 31st, 2018)
The Curse of Hurlig Ridge: World Tree Online: 1st Dive (Aug. 1st, 2018)
Death March (Euphoria Online - Book 1) (Aug. 7th, 2018)
(Aug. 30th, 2018)
(Sept. 26, 2018)
Freehaven Online: Winter Dungeonland (Book 3) (Nov. 21st, 2108)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Valley of Death (Apocalypse Gates Author's Cut Book 2)
Alvin had a rough week.
Thrown into a digital death-game, Apocalypse Gates, with only his wits and a less than helpful AI handler, Alvin’s prospects for survival looked bleak.
Managing not only to survive, but to thrive, he helped build a Settlement of survivors in Green River, Utah. Along the way he met the very sexy and broken Gothy.
He’s taken on the undead, mutated bugs and animals, and the worst possible enemy—other people—and triumphed. Nothing looked like it would be a major problem… except for the flight of dragons.
Now the Gates are opening, and Alvin and Gothy are heading out along the roads of America. They’ll need to earn XP, upgrade their stats and gear, found new Settlements, find allies, and hope they survive long enough to explore the world and each other.
The end of the world had come, and a new one awaits. Welcome back to Apocalypse Gates.
(This book contains adult situations, in all their horror and glory. Ranging from abuse, to drug use, to murder. It also contains graphic sex scenes, which contain elements of BDSM. You’ve been warned.)
My Opinion: 350 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I got an advanced copy for review. I purchased it when it became available.
This is a fun action filled story. It’s mostly a travel story with Alvin and Gothy on the road, killing monsters, schooling survivors about the new systems, and sometimes killing some folks that need killing. They have some really neat adventurers, but things are just going to get more difficult now that the Apocalypse Gates have opened and all manner of crazy fantastical creatures are coming into the world.
Be warned, there are some graphics sex scenes, lots of cursing, and lots of graphic violence. This is not a nice cuddly world and is written with adults in mind. I skipped the sex scenes, but they are fairly regular at about one every 15% or so of the story. Overall, the sex is only about 10% of the story. It’s definitely more about the action, monster killing, leveling up, and settlement founding.
Overall, though the sex in the story isn’t my thing, it also didn’t distract from the story and made total contextual sense. The action and adventure stuff is nice and thrilling. I particularly liked the last couple of adventures in the story that pull in more supernatural elements. I also just liked the many flirty, cute moments between Alvin and Gothy.
The author was nice enough to let me know what that song was that the MC and Gothy sing. It’s “Curvy Girls” by the The Jolly Rogers.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Alpha: Book One in the Jaro Trilogy
A group of friends are hired to test a new game linked to a powerful corporation. They soon find out that they are not just testing the game, but helping to create it.
Outside the game, the past of one catches up to him, which has consequences for all of them.
Which will affect them the most, real life or the game?
*Warning: Cussing, guns, explosions and sarcasm found within
My Opinion: 366 pages, $2.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is the author’s first novel and the novel blurb doesn’t begin to hint at some of the cool aspects of the story.
The novel has a slow start, and there are issues with character descriptions in the beginning. However, once you get to the game (about the 12% mark), it gets better and from that point on there is regular action in-game and out.
Storywise, this is as advertised. It’s about Jim, a kind of paranoid former military man, and his tabletop gaming friends getting a chance to test out the most advanced VR game ever made. It’s so advanced, that not only do they feel like they are there, but that with some time skips, they actually influence the history and culture of the people they’re tasked with leading. Additionally, IRL, Jim’s made some enemies that come after him and have their own interesting story arcs.
The game mechanics in the story are a mixed bag. Because the game is in Alpha development, some of the mechanics change with every task and are gradually revealed. Sometimes the characters roll their stats, other times their assigned based on their real life capabilities. Sometimes there are health and stamina bars, other times not. It’s an evolving system that changes based on player feedback in the story. But there is always RPG progression with a consistent skills system.
Things I liked:
Real life story was as interesting, if not more interesting sometimes, as the game stuff.
The action scenes in the story are well written and exciting. Though the real life ones had more intensity.
It’s not set in another fantasy world. Instead, there’s a series of tasks given to the players to influence how the game’s history plays out. If they fail their tasks, the people they’re assigned may die out in the tribal phase. If they use brutal methods, that country may become war like as they progress to city building. It’s an interesting mechanic with an almost alternate history story vibe.
The main character (MC) has a great personality and I almost immediately cared about him and I rooted for him to succeed the entire story.
There is a really great action scene in the middle of the novel. Like surprisingly good, high-octane, action.
A few issues in the story:
No character descriptions early in the story. Neither the main character (MC) or his group of friends gets a physical description. I know some authors go for a minimalists approach to physical descriptions, preferring to let readers fill in an image. But not having any for these characters, for me at least, meant that it was hard for me to create any kind of mental image of the MC or his friends. Additionally, though there’s lots of personality traits revealed about the friends in the story, because I didn’t have an image of anyone in my mind none of those characteristics had anything to anchor to. Thus, all the friends became kind of interchangeable. Only the MC’s personality stuck as and that’s just because we spend so much time with him.
Cutaways. There are fairly regular scenes in the story where it’s following the main character and his friends in the game and then there’s a break and the scene cuts away to the game AI talking to another employee or some bad guy talking, then another break and then the story returns to the MC and his friends. I don’t mind the information, but the cut away almost always broke the flow of that scene.
There’s a huge amazing fight scene in the middle of the story that is so good, it makes the rest of the fights in the story feel less exciting by comparison. I know, it’s weird thing to think is off, but it almost felt like that big action scene should have been the end of the novel and not the middle. It was so good, it felt like the climax of the story. It’s kind of a pacing issue.
The end of the story feels a little out of place. It’s a well written and has lots of action, which is good. But, without getting spoilery, things happen that just feel out of place with the rest of the story. It sort of feels like the novel dips into another genre at the end.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. Though it has issues, the original game design concepts and action were engaging enough to keep me reading.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
March of the gnomes (ArcOn Book 1)LitRPG
Sometimes it takes a noob.
Alexis joins a struggling Gnome race in a Virtual online game called ArcOn. As a complete newbie in gaming she has some rather unorthodox approaches to encounters that normal gamers likely would not even have thought of doing. As her online character Yllo Tinkerpuff, she makes some weird choices that work for her. She goes from encounter to encounter using her ‘logic’ to solve them. This is fortunate because with her stats she is more dangerous to herself in a fight than to her opposition.
The Gnomes have to be careful to ensure they do not get stopped again. Their previous problems all seem to point to an individual or group targeting the race to make it fail. Luckily the Gnomes now have an unorthodox noob, a colorful spider, a bored AI and new friends to help them move forward.
This is literature role-playing- game novel with light use of in-game mechanics, statistics and items.
My Opinion: 198 pages, $2.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
The story has an interesting concept. Take the worst player race in this VR game, a gnome, and work to make it among the best and most powerful. However, the actual execution in the story leaves something to be desired, mainly that the main character feels like she earns something.
I’ll be honest, the first 29% of this story is a little boring and there are semi-regular technical writing mistakes that make the dialogue feel stilted. The main character (MC), Alexis, decides to play a VR game and is forced to be a gnome. She chooses a rare class and gets into a fight she should never have one and gets a bunch of rewards it feels like she shouldn’t have gotten. The story gets better after the 30% mark, but I almost put the book down because I wasn’t really feeling it.
After the 30% mark, things really do get more interesting. Crafting is introduced, town building, dungeon diving, and pet raising. Lots of good storytelling opportunities. There certainly are some nice stories that are told. I especially like some of the small background tales and personalities for secondary characters like Scarlett and Igor.
However, recurring issues in the story kept me from really enjoying things. Issues like contradictions in the story and the feeling that everything is either forced or handed to the MC on a silver platter. In the case of contradictions there are things established early in the story, like that the MC isn’t a gamer, that are later contradicted when she starts using a bunch of gamer terms and referencing game mechanics she shouldn’t know about yet. In the case of things being handed to the MC. Well, just about every fight feels that way, but especially the 1st fight. She defeats a level 35 boss monster when she’s just level 1. Without copious amounts of preparation, there’s just no way she should have won that fight. Lots of the good things that happen to the MC feel that way. One of the most common phrases among the other gnome players use when talking to the MC is ‘now why didn’t we ever think of that?’ Because the MC magically is the one to solve all their problems with revolutionary ideas like fighting in groups, talking to all the NPCs, organizing players, or choosing a particular skill.
Overall, while there were some very good ideas and story moments, on the whole it just misses being good for me because it felt like the MC lacked agency sometimes and that she never earned or suffered for the great outcomes that she got.
Score: 6 out of 10
Clerical Error: A Challenge of Vircon Adventure Book 1
Daria Jackson hasn’t entered NeuroNet to play Challenge of Vircon since her tanking husband passed away. A newly single mom, she quit VR esports to develop biofarming hardware for deep space exploration.
For ten years Daria’s cheered her kids on as they fought their way up CoV leaderboards. While cleaning their VR cabinets, a forgotten login protocol drops her at level one in the game world she almost ruled. Strange glitches and odd throwbacks from her past hint at a ghost in the machine related to her family.
Daria’s weekend project is supposed to be writing a speech to present her Perpetual Biofarming Unit at Earthsplorer Command. But now she’s caught up in CoV, leveling up to unearth a mystery. Can Daria choose between the game and her real-world responsibilities?
My Opinion: 169 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
First, the unbelievable premise of a mom who was a former esports star, now ready to retire biologist with a Phd at age 37, who just happens to get trapped in a VR game while cleaning her kid’s gaming pods.
In addition to that, the story is kind of boring and devolves to a grind to read while reading about a level grind. The story is basically about this trapped mom who is forced to play a set of challenges with two randomly chosen players. It ends up being: Kill mobs and boss, get loot, repeat. There are some minor sub plots with her trying to flirt with another player and a minor thread about who forced her to stay logged in. However, mostly a level grind story. Unfortunately, even as they level, the player’s powers don’t change and at most they get new powers from their gear so the levels don’t even mean much.
The action scenes are decently described and there’s a punny sense of humor. But it’s a series of fights and not much else. It gets pretty boring, pretty quickly.
Score: 5 out of 10
The Two Week Curse (Ten Realms Book 1)
Thrust into a situation they don't want to be in, to many it would leave them panicked, for man they would feel fear. Erik and Rugrat aren't different in that regard, but instead of being immobilized it gives them something to look forward to. Two weeks ago, Erik lost his legs and his arm.
Today he got a new message.
You have been randomly selected to join the Ten Realms. One may choose to ascend the Ten Realms, thereupon making a request to the Gods of the Realms.
Only those who are Level 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90 may ascend to the next realm.
Fortune favors the strong!
For a retired combat medic and Marine Recon sniper, the Ten Realms provides a clear challenge and sense of purpose that they haven't found anywhere but the battlefield.
How much trouble can you get into in a new realm?
My Opinion: 583 pages, $5.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
This is an entertaining story that fans of the Emerillia series will enjoy. If you didn’t like that series though, you might not care for this one either. Going through the middle of the story I got a very Emerilia vibe. Great if you like that series, which I do. It has similar aspects with town building and town defense but also introduces new game and story elements. It’s a very action oriented story but also has lots of RPG leveling, magical theorizing combined with cultivation concepts.
Score: 7.6 out of 10
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