LitRPG Podcast 165 - Illusionist Bk 2, Alpha World 7, Transformation 2, Shyft, Save Point 2, Into The Game: Dungeon Crawl Quest, and The Land of Trademark Online


LitRPG Podcast 165 - Illusionist Bk 2, Alpha World 7, Transformation 2, Shyft, Save Point 2, Into The Game: Dungeon Crawl Quest, and The Land of Trademark Online

I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.  I have 7 new reviews just for you.

New Releases and Reviews:

Viridian Gate Online: Dead Man’s Tide: A litRPG Adventure (The Illusionist Book 2)

Another good VGO expanded universe novel

Score: 7.2 out of 10

Darkhand (Alpha World Book 7)

Resolving some big plot lines, may end soon

Score: 7.4 out of 10

Dark World [Transformation. Book II]

Loses the RPG Apocalypse aspect, but adds monster wave defense

Score: 7.1 out of 10

Shyft - Book 1 - Defender of Gallowind: (A LitRPG Adventure)

Technical writing fine, but game mechanic issue and repeated information got too frustrating to enjoy

Score: 4 out of 10

Save Point: Reload (Book 2 - Sci-Fi litRPG Series)

Light LitRPG, but interesting sci-fi

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Into The Game: Dungeon Crawl Quest: A LitRPG Adventure (Wizard Warrior Quest)

Good start, but in-game story issues galore

Score: 4 out of 10

The Land of Trademark Online

Parody and Satire of genre tropes, drama, and authors. Come see if your favorite/least favorite LitRPG author is lampooned.

Score: 7.3 out of 10

(Play Music 2)

LitRPG News

The Perimeter Defense series by Michael Atamanov is now on Kindle Unlimited program. If you’ve been waiting to try it out, now you can.

The author Warlock: Reign of Blood contacted the podcast to let us know he was doing a promotion for his novel in preparation of book 2 coming out in the future.

Edwin here, author of Warlock: Reign of Blood. I'm giving away free copies via Bookfunnel at the moment and wondered if it's something you'd like to share with your listeners/viewers on this week's vodcast?

The giveaway is limited to 100 copies and I have 50 left as of today.

S.L. Rowland, author of Pangea Online series and Sentenced to Troll,  was interviewed by the JVJ podcast recently.

Jeffrey Falcon Logue, author of the Slime Dungeon Chronicles, has released an update on the side scroller game he’s making based on that property. It has a variety of monsters, new locations, new slime powers, and some pretty great music.

Falcon also showed off some early cover art for the 2nd book in his new Dungeon War series.

If you haven’t heard of, it is a website that lets its users post pirated ebooks for anyone to download. Not only do they list files, but actively promote popular pirated titles for people to download. The piracy site has a ton of authors including including many LitRPG ebooks. Travis Robert McCrea, the site founder and manager, has also regularly been accused of ignoring Take Down and DMCA notices sent by authors.

His response to the accusations?

“If people don’t think that I am upholding my duties as a web developer or the website owner to prevent copyrighted material from entering my website ... take me to court,” he said. “I’m confident that I’m upholding the letter of the law.”

( )

Well, John Van Stry, author of the Portals of Infinity series, Valen’s Legacy series, and Days of Future Past series, has had enough and is suing the founders and managers of that site. He’s already invested over $19K of his own money in the legal battle with piracy site eBook.Bike.

Now, John Van Stry has started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover future legal costs associated with the battle and readers and authors have responded. He’s raised $20K of the $30K goal in just a few days, which reflects the sheer frustration that authors have had with the site.

On a related note,  Travis Robert McCrea tried to also do a GoFundMe to cover his side of the legal expenses but it was shut down, likely because it violated some terms of service or because of user complaints.

You can read a little about many author’s issues with McCrea and his responses at the link below.

Charles Dean has issued a challenge. If his favorite fan group, Spoiled Rotten Readers gets 300 followers by the end of April, he will do some special performances that will be live broadcast for all to enjoy. In his own words:

If we reach 300 members for spoiled rotten readers by the end of April, I shall pull a Chris Johns and narrate / sing and little. I’ll try to rope Jeff Hays and Annnie into the narration, so we can do a mini play with one of the books. Don’t worry about them finding out, they ignore tags.

The group is currently at 251 of the needed 300 followers. So, if you’re like me and want to see the author of War Aeternus and the Bathrobe Knight do some fun skits and songs, please join the group. Full disclosure: Charles is a friend of mine and I really just want to see him do silly things live on the air.

Out Now!

Dungeon Bringer 2

Battle Royale Online: A LitRPG Adventure

The Founders: Start of Time

Aeon Chronicles Online: Book 2: Devil's Waltz

Hero of Naught: Re-Mastered (Everlife)

-The 1st novel Falcon had ever written and published on the Royal Road. The 1st edition of the story he eventually brought to Amazon didn’t do as well as the author had hoped so he worked on it and is relaunching.

New LitRPG Audiobooks

Coast on Fire: An Apocalyptic LitRPG - The System Apocalypse, Book 5

Upcoming LitRPG:

Djinn Tamer: Rivals: A Monster Battling GameLit Adventure (Djinn Tamer - Bronze League Book 2) (April 5th, 2019)

Edge of the Abyss (Respawn Trials Book #1) LitRPG Series (April 10th, 2019)

Viridian Gate Online: Embers of Rebellion: A litRPG Adventure (The Firebrand Series Book 2) (April 11th, 2019)

Dukes and Ladders: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure (The Good Guys Book 5) (April 11th, 2019)

Adapt (A Touch of Power Book 2) (April 12th, 2019)

Class-A Threat (Disgardium Book #1) LitRPG Series (April 22nd, 2019)

In Search of the Uldans (Galactogon: Book #2) LitRPG Series

(April 25th, 2019)

The Azure Dragon: A Heroic Fantasy Saga (The Artar Chronicles Book 3) (May 7th, 2019)

Monster [LitRPG series: The Beetle] (May 14th, 2019)

Guardians Of The Round Table 5: Crystal Mine (May 18th, 2019)

Web of Worlds (Reality Benders Book #4): LitRPG Series (May 20th, 2019)

Realm of Noria [LitRPG series. Book 2. The Life] (June 1st, 2019)

Apostle of the Sleeping Gods (Disgardium Book #2): LitRPG Series (June 10th, 2019)

Home, Siege Home: A LitRPG/GameLit Novel (The Good Guys Book 6) (June 13th, 2019)

Code Hero (Champion is Playing Book #2) LitRPG Series

(June 15th, 2019)

City of Freedom (Adam Online Book #2) LitRPG Series (June 20th, 2019)

Djinn Tamer: Evolution: A Monster Battling GameLit Adventure (Djinn Tamer - Bronze League Book 3) (June 20th, 2019)

Onto New Releases and Reviews

(Play Music 3)

New Releases and Reviews

(Picture 1)

Viridian Gate Online: Dead Man’s Tide: A litRPG Adventure (The Illusionist Book 2)

Viridian Gate Online is more than just a game… and now, it's Alan Campbell’s whole world.

Recently deceased and squishy as hell, Alan, a newly minted Illusionist, is forced to flee for his life. He needs time to deal with his loss, both in-game and IRL, but first he’ll have to escape his crazy ex, the treacherous Firebrand, Thalia Daceran.

On his way to safety and revenge, he’ll team up with Titus, the Imperial spymaster, as well as a crew of pirates, commandos, and even a shapeshifting Mimic with a taste for blood. His path leads to Wyrdtide, a gaslit city hidden in mists and governed by dark demigods.

But even with Alan dead, the world marches on. Will the government seize control of V.G.O.? Did Horace, the blind beggar, really die? And whatever happened to Jeff? Find answers, new purpose, and the machinations of the gods in this action-packed continuation of the Illusionist Series.

My Opinion: 323 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Another good story set in the VGO universe. Of the multiple expanded universe stories set there, this is the one that has the best storytelling potential. It’s set 1 year before the events of book 1 of the main VGO series, so it has so much time to play with, especially if you start adding in time compression. Also because Allen is the first person to get trapped in the game and is thus the only player there, there is almost unlimited room to world build.  The story feels a little forced sometimes, especially with the weird hatred from Thalia, but I understand there has to be some force driving the MC to get stronger and leave his starter aera. It can always be chalked up the game trying to create content for Alan, the only player.

There is still some good action-adventure here with the MC leaving his starting area and exploring the larger world. You get new locations, new characters, new kinds of technology, and of course new creatures to fight. Of the new characters,  my favorite is Nil, especially their background and the way they interacted with the MC. I could actually see this character spin off into some really cool short stories.

Personally, while I enjoyed this novel, I liked it a little less than book 1 for two reasons: 1) Not a big fan of steampunk, flintlock, pirates, or sea battles. 2) The IRL storyline feels super sparse and unimportant and only really there this book so that cameos by Osmark and others can be seen. Book 3 might make the IRL storyline more important, but for now it feels like all the important  IRL stuff happened in book 1.

Overall, still a good entertaining story that has enough room to be its own thing and still give you a connection to the VGO universe.

Score: 7.2 out of 10

Viridian Gate Online: Dead Man’s Tide: A litRPG Adventure (The Illusionist Book 2)

(Picture 2)

Dark Hand (Alpha World Book 7)

The Path to Peace brought them to the gates of the old city. Now Alburet and his friends will need to find their way into the vaults under the city. They will need to bypass the undead and the cultists that roam the city to even find those tunnels, and that’s only the start of the troubles they will face.

Traitors to Stormguard are uncovered, and the King will have to be told. That can only happen after they deal with the two quests that have brought them this far. Vladimir Dracon hopes to put his brother Dimitry to rest, slaying the one known as the Dragon Eater, while Sir Cody Carter has come to make sure the Urn of Souls is destroyed so it doesn’t fall into Stein’s hands.

What happens under Peace will tilt the balance of what is to come: either in favor of the Crown of Stormguard, or for Stein and his cultists.

Welcome back to Alpha World.

(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: 395 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review, I purchased a copy when it became available.

Another good entry in the Alpha World series that kept me reading till the wee hours of the morning. Good action adventure, dungeon diving, but also some nice political intrigue stuff that I wasn’t expecting. In this book, the story resolves many of the big plotlines and and it feels like the series is heading towards its conclusion. I’m sad about that. Still, I’m glad to know that even after this series is done, it’s not the end for the MC and his group’s adventures.

Score: 7.4 out of 10

Darkhand (Alpha World Book 7)

(Picture 3)

Dark World [Transformation. Book II]

The familiar world collapsed overnight. As the Transformation progressed, disasters occurred throughout the Earth. Materials changed their properties, new species of flora and fauna appeared. The Game converted our world into a huge dungeon, completely replacing the previous civilization.

However, the alien plans for Earth began to go awry from the very beginning. The conversion was less successful than expected. An ordinary young man stole the bonus for the first gaming action, depriving the invaders of their perk.

How can he manage the situation? Which of the aliens will become his ally? Which ones are his enemy? Dare they rebel against the all-powerful invaders, regain their land and even create a new world?

My Opinion: 557 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Definitely some translation issues, with odd phrases not making a complete translation. Still, nothing that ruins the story for me, but if that stuff bothers you it might be better to download a sample first.

Yar and his group are sent to the Dark World, a place with different RPG rules than those imposed on earth. The story is still very slice of life, but the shift to this new world abandons the RPG Apocalypse story of book 1.

The big story goal is to build up and defend a magical academy with new enemies showing to stop the group from surviving. Also an expansion on the larger political factions in the universe and their impact on the group as the MC becomes more powerful and gets more influence. Believe it or not, this is even more of an OP MC story than book 1 with the MC fighting, making up spells, saving different races, a little bit of crafting, and slice of life adventuring. Fun in its own way, but you have to be ok with OP characters and slice of life adventures.

Score: 7.1 out of 10

Dark World [Transformation. Book II]

(Picture 4)

Shyft - Book 1 - Defender of Gallowind: (A LitRPG Adventure)

When's the last time a game started with a real-life gunfight?

In the industrial wasteland of future America, Solomon Herrick spends his day wandering the streets and getting into trouble. Staying one step ahead of the local PD, his life is mostly spent immersed in history or aimless exploring -- until Shyft comes along.

Whether that's a good thing or not is still up in the air...

Shyft 2.0, an immersive open-world RPG, just entered beta, and though Solomon Herrick wasn't on the list, his friends knew a guy who could get them in. A chase and a gunfight later and Sol is deposited into the world with nothing but a few rags on his back and a nearby stick to defend himself.

With his friends gone, no knowledge of the game world and zero guidance available, Solomon will have to rely on his ability to learn fast if he wants to not only figure out how to play the game, but figure out how to get out - if he even can.

Shyft is a new Gamelit / LitRPG series created by Mike Kraus and Justin Bell, writing under the M Kraus and J Donald pen names.

My Opinion: 356 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This feels like a write to market novel where the authors just didn’t get it right. Yes, this is a LitRPG story with stats and level progression. Is it good LitRPG? Not particularly.

1st, while the novel has stat and character sheets with inserted pictures, oddly the same information is repeated in text right after. So, you get repeated information every time there’s an item, monster, or character description. Also, the information doesn’t always match between the two sources with numerical inconsistencies.

2nd, all the power the main character (MC) gets is unearned. He literally gets dropped into this game world and with in pages gets befriended by some magical creatures that give him free weapons and armor, and a slew of special techniques that scale with his level. This includes an ability that just gives him free stat points when he activates it. Not a minor amount either, but whole levels worth. At level 3 the ability gives him 12 free stat points, at level 5 it gives him 20 free stat points, etc. The MC gets all these things, including getting XP for his first 3 levels, all just because he exists. I’d be ok with being shown that he learned and trained hard over weeks and months to get this power, but he doesn’t. Instead, the reader is told in a small summary that the MC kinda trained and within a day has all these powers.

3rd, even though the game mechanics are there, they don’t really feel like they matter to the story. Time and again, the MC fights higher level monsters while he’s at super low health but always wins, and often by one-shotting the enemy even though he doesn’t invest many stat points in strength. There are lots of descriptions of items and monsters, and notifications, but those numbers aren’t really reflected in how the fights are described or how the adventures go.

Story-wise, it’s pretty average. The MC gets some cyberpunk like reason he’s trapped in the game. Then even though he’s supposed to quite concerned with finding his friends who are also trapped in the game, instead goes on some slice of life adventures where he seems to magically wins all his fights despite math and the game mechanics saying he probably shouldn’t. The fights are pretty decently described, with nice action, but they don’t reflect the reality of a low-level character fighting groups of enemies sometimes 2-3 times his level.  

Overall, the technical writing is fine. No spelling or grammar mistakes. Good descriptions of character and even a little bit of world building. However, the story itself seems to exist just to get to the next fight and the actual RPG side of things was fumbled big time for me.

Score: 4 out of 10

Shyft - Book 1 - Defender of Gallowind: (A LitRPG Adventure)

(Picture 5)

Save Point: Reload (Book 2 - Sci-Fi litRPG Series)

Now that the litRPG world of the Citadel has chewed Adam up and spat him out, he’s right back at his original Save Point.

Are things better? Maybe. Maybe not. For one thing, he's still got brain cancer. For another, he’s in trouble for breaking the rules last time. As punishment, he’ll have to mentor the Colony - an outnumbered race of misfit mushrooms on the losing side of a battle for their home planet.

Adam’s new allies only stand a chance if he can unite the two sides of his broken Faction, but first they’ll have to show him that some things are worth -not- resetting.

My Opinion: 509 pages, $3.99, Available On Kindle Unlimited

Another really good entry into the series. It is still light LitRPG, but all the mechanics used are woven into the story world and are consistent. For me, the big draw is the sci-fi aspect of the story. I’m a fan of stories that make you pause and think, and this one does. I especially like the time spent in conversations with the alien plant things that show just how much of our lives are contextually based upon our unique physiological and cultural evolution. I also enjoy the time travel/save point aspect. It’s a fun mechanic to play with and I was really happy to see the author avoid the groundhog day effect of having the MC repeat the exact same events over and over again.

Overall, a good story. A little dark sometimes but still well written and interesting.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Save Point: Reload (Book 2 - Sci-Fi litRPG Series)

(Picture 6)

Into The Game: Dungeon Crawl Quest: A LitRPG Adventure (Wizard Warrior Quest)

Live real. Play real. Just try not to die for real.

Riff Jenkins is having a bad day. He's behind on his college tuition and is getting kicked out of his dorm. His girlfriend just broke up with him for playing computer games too much. And if that isn't bad enough, Riff hasn't been able to beat the goblin boss in Dungeon Crawl Quest despite months of trying. His brother Mack says it's a glitch-that DCQ is unbeatable-but Riff knows there's a way.

When a mysterious package arrives from the recently deceased DCQ developer, Riff finally gets his reward for being one of the game's top players: a special Grimoire and an invitation to one of LA's premiere gaming dens.

But the Grimoire is much more than it appears. When Riff syncs it to a computer at the den, he's virtually transported into the game. And his bad day just got worse, because the company that owns DCQ will be shutting down the servers at midnight if Riff and his band of misfit players can't beat the goblin boss and save the game.

Oh yeah, and if the servers go down while they're in the game, they all die for real.

My Opinion: 350 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

The story starts out pretty decently. The real world section (1-12%) establishes the main character’s (MC) personality, the reason why he is sent to the game, and some sense of urgency to beat the game boss. By the 12% mark, the MC is in the game. The story is LitRPG. It has RPG progression and is set in an RPG world. Unfortunately, while the story is LitRP, it has major story issues. From the earliest parts of the in-game (IG) storyline there are these big plot holes that only got worse as the novel went on. It felt like some world/game rules were arbitrarily made and then ignored or broken entirely. Characters had knowledge they shouldn’t. NPCs acted and spoke in ways that just didn’t make sense. At one point the MC even teleports people into the game world from the real world without them even having to be connected to a VR system or having ever played the game. No setup, no explanation why it’s possible. And it just kept getting worse as the story went on, finally culminating in an ending that just magically resolves the big reason why the MC went into the game in the most wand wavy manner ever.

Overall, I really tried to overlook all the little things that didn’t make sense, but the bigger plot holes, and forced story elements I just couldn’t.  They ruined the parts of the story that I actually liked.

Score: 4 out of 10

Into The Game: Dungeon Crawl Quest: A LitRPG Adventure (Wizard Warrior Quest)

(Picture 7)

The Land of Trademark Online

Deuce’s life took an unexpected shift when he found himself connected to a virtual fantasy world filled with ‘Authors’ as players. A genetic defect had some unexpected results on his transition, and now he's facing a world more vibrant and dangerous than anything he’d come across in his previous life.

He did not understand how far in over his head he was until he entered the Kongdom and realized that gnoks watched his every move…

If you have a problem with Parody, Satire, Making Fun of LitRPG Authors, Mutants, Cannibals, Harems, Depravity, Dirty Jokes, Clean Jokes, Puns, Making Fun of Facebook Drama, Fun times, Mouth Dropping moments, ‘Oh crap, no he didn’t’ scenarios, or daddy issues… walk away.

Again, let me emphasize PARODY and SATIRE, and apologize ahead of time if I didn’t make fun of you, you dodged the bullet this time…

“Yeayea, ye dum mudda beepers—oi, yer censorin’ me? I’mma find yer while yer sleepin’ and shove tings into yer ear you’ll quession fer years. Frog you—frog? Really?” ~Earle the Squirrel

My Opinion: 606 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

**Warning: There are a few graphic sex scenes in the story.**

This is a parody and satire LitRPG that makes fun of the just about every well known LitRPG author,  insider Facebook drama, genre tropes, and a lot of other stuff. While the story outside that aspect is still LitRPG with RPG mechanics, the big draw is going to be the parody and satire. Seeing if your favorite or least favorite author is included in being made fun of.

Full disclosure, I also take a hit in the story and that’s perfectly ok with me. I feel like parody and satire are important aspects of criticism and reflect public perception of events, though exaggerated and lambasted. I know some authors will not be pleased with the story. The story personally made me pause for a second and think about how some drama is viewed, which just means the story did its job. Other times, I just laughed at the humor and the depictions.

Overall, I think the story will most appeal to people that have some kind of knowledge of the real Facebook drama or have favorite/least favorite authors depicted.

Score: 7.3 out of 10

The Land of Trademark Online

That’s it everyone!

You can follow us on





Our Webpage:  

Other LitRPG facebook pages

If you enjoy the podcast and want to support us you can also find all the other ways to support the podcast at  

Thanks for hanging out with me today. Until we can hangout again, remember to go read some LitRPG!  

(Music 4)

Music Credits

"Blip Stream" "Mighty Like Us" "Big Shift" "Vivacity"

Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License