LitRPG Podcast 189 -  Codename: Freedom Bk 3, Blood of Fate, Illusion, Clockwork Bk 2, A Game of Villains, Rule of Cool


LitRPG Podcast 189 -  Codename: Freedom Bk 3, Blood of Fate, Illusion, Clockwork Bk 2, A Game of Villains, Rule of Cool

Sept. 13th, 2019

Hello everyone, welcome to episode 189 of the LitRPG podcast.

I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.  I have 6 new reviews just for you.

A quick shout out to Marc Robert for becoming one our Patreon supporters. Thank you Marc for your support.

New Releases and Reviews:

Codename: Freedom: World Quest (07:42)

A really good end to the first arc in the series. 

Score: 7.7 out of 10 

Blood of Fate (World 99 Book #1): LitRPG Wuxia Series (10:08)

Light LitRPG, maybe not Wuxia, but entertaining

Score: 7.3 out of 10 

Illusion (The Blacklight Chronicles Book 1) (16:21)

GTA + Heist story = Fun LitPRG

Score: 7.2 out of 10 

Clockwork: The Return: Book 2 (21:53)

Enjoyed book 1, but book 2 lost me

Score: 5 out of 10 

A Game of Villains (World of Karik Book #1) Dystopian LitRPG Series 

This is actually a republish, but still a good story

Score: 7.4 out of 10 

Rule of Cool - Know Your Roll (26:40)

I wanted to like this so much, but it just didn’t click for me

Score: 6 out of 10 

(Play Music 2)

LitRPG News

Terry W. Ervin, author of the Monsters, Maces and Magic e-mailed us to let us know that he updated his book 4 pre-order cover art and also to share some commissioned artwork he had made for a scene in book 1 in the series. It’s...there above if you can see it. It was created by Mario A. Barraza.  Thanks Terry for sharing.

James Hunter interviews Dan Prince, the author of the Greyblood series. 

Out Now!

Raiya: Early Game - A LitRPG Saga: Archon's Chosen, Book Two 

Cliffs of Eldimar: A GameLit/LitRPG Adventure (Kazaran Online: Cerulean Server Book 2) 

Gloominess +2: Congregation. A LitRPG Adventure: Book 2 

Red Snatch: Digital Sorcery Book 3 (A LitRPG Series) 

The Mimic's Chest (Caverns and Creatures) 

Serpent & Spirit (Blood of The Boundless Book 2) 

Gamer For Love (Alpha World Book 8) 

New LitRPG Audiobooks

The Quizard Mountains: Station Cores - Book 2 

Darkness Fallen - The Greystone Chronicles Book Three 

The Wandering Inn - Volume 1 

Eden's Gate: The Ascent - A LitRPG Adventure Book 6 

Citadel of Smoke: A LitRPG and GameLit Adventure (Stonehaven League Book 4) 

Halcyon Rising: Bastion of Hope - Halcyon Rising Book 2 

Dukes and Ladders: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure

The Good Guys Series, Book 5 

Upcoming LitRPG:

Bibliomancer: A Completionist Chronicles Series (Wolfman Warlock Book 1) (Sept. 17th, 2019) 

*Co-Author from Dakota Krout and James Hunter*

Skulls of Atlantis: A LitRPG and GameLit Pirate Adventure (Sept. 19th, 2019) 

God of Gnomes (God Core #1) - A Dungeon Core LitRPG (Sept. 26th, 2019) 

Shadow Sun Rebellion (Shadow Sun series - Book 3) (Sept. 30th, 2019)

Darkness Found (dARkness: Online Book 2) (Sept. 30th, 2019) 

Dark Legacy [Transformation. Book III] LitRPG series (Sept. 30th, 2019) 

First Song 2 (Sept 2019)

Fairyed: A LitRPG Adventure (Monsters, Maces and Magic Book 4) (Oct. 1st, 2019) 

Quest for Power: A LitRPG Saga (Hero Online Book 2) (Oct. 3rd, 2019) 

Varnoth: The Black Blade: Book Two (A LitRPG Story) (Oct. 10th, 2019) 

Dungeon Dive: A LitRPG short story (Tales from the Gods' Game Book 1) (Oct. 16th, 2019) 

Second Story Man: A GameLit/LitRPG Adventure (The Bad Guys Book 2) (Oct. 17th, 2019) 

Universe ICS: Keymaster. LitRPG Series. Book 2 (Oct. 17th, 2019) 

Deadman's Retinue (An NPC's Path Book #3): LitRPG Series

(Oct. 21st, 2019) 

A Jump into the Unknown (Reality Benders Book #5): LitRPG Series (Oct. 23rd, 2019) 

A Dark Path: Grimdark LitRPG (Forsaken Talents Book 1) (Nov. 1st, 2019) 

The Way of Deception (World of Karik, Book #2, Part 1): LitRPG Series (Nov. 4th, 201) 

Avatar of Light (Interworld Network Book #2): LitRPG Series

(Nov. 7th, 2019) 

The Last Time Loop, Book #1: LitRPG Series (Nov. 11th, 2019) 

Dragon Heart: Blood Will. LitRPG wuxia series: Book 3 (Nov. 22nd, 2019) 

The Wastes (Underdog Book #2): LitRPG Series (Dec. 23rd, 2019) 

Onto New Releases and Reviews

(Play Music 3)

New Releases and Reviews

(Picture 1)

Codename: Freedom: World Quest

After dealing with the Goblin King, Lucius is unsure how to harness his unlocked power. He finds himself in a desperate race to the top as everyone scrambles to master their strange new abilities.

The other players are the least of his worries. War is coming. The trials of Freedom have only just begun.

My Opinion: 690 pages, $5.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This is the last book in this story arc and boy does it not disappoint. There’s a bigger emphasis on psionic training this time around but there is still the physical training you’ve come to love about the series. There’s lots of badass fights and adventuring as the story arc wraps up and multiple storylines are finally resolved, including that one with the real life friend/rival, and the storyline with the romantic interest. I’d say the mid-story villain wasn’t my favorite and felt like a stand in to some degree, but other than that, good stuff. I especially like the hints at the next story arc and look forward to seeing where the series goes. 

Score: 7.7 out of 10

Codename: Freedom: World Quest 

Blood of Fate (World 99 Book #1): LitRPG Wuxia Series

The body of young paralyzed Luca, a boy killed by cruel bullies, becomes home to an interdimensional traveler. This is the ninety ninth world for this traveler who has spent an entire life in each of his previous worlds. And now he is out of lives, his previous misdeeds leaving him with a negative balance of points and preventing him from reincarnating anew. Once he realizes that he must spend his final life in a poverty-stricken family in a backward world, he awakens the consciousness of the deceased Luca and ends his own physical existence, leaving all his abilities to his heir.

One such ability is the use of the Wheel. Every traveler can spend points to spin the Wheel and gain a special talent, a superpower, or... a deadly illness. Luca spins the Wheel and gains the superpower of metamorphosis. Now he can regenerate, recover from deadly wounds and even take on the shape of other beings. The young man takes on the form of the Emperor: to avoid death, help his family and, finally, to bring order to the Empire!

My Opinion: 495 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

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

Note: I noted a few more than usual translation errors in the version I got, but it may be because I got an early copy. 

I enjoyed this novel and while it is light LitRPG, I’m not sure it is Wuxia which is part of the title. Nor do I recall anything like the cover art in the story or any asian influences at all in the novel.

The story starts in two parts. First, with Lucas, a boy with a severe disability who seems to live in a medieval tech civilization. He has a crappy life and can barely wheel himself around and is bullied. The second start is with an interdimensional traveler that reincarnates and lives lives for fun with a game-like interface that tracks his deeds, awards currency when he gains influence or does something that maintains universal balance, and grants skills and powers that can increase in power via a random wheel of fate. The traveler however, it tired of his existence, especially when he’s out of currency he needs for even one more reincarnation. Instead, he transfers this interface to the body he’s hosted in, Lucas, who gets healed of his disability and is thrust into a position where he can grow in power. Most of the novel follows Lucas, the main character (MC), as he is betrayed by those in power, gets his revenge, and grows in strength. Much of the story is about seeing just how messed up this part of the world is and how the MC, through events I won’t spoil, tries to improve things but has to constantly overcome obstacles in his path. Most obstacles are political or social in nature, but towards the end there is a little bit of fighting and action. 

It’s an entertaining story, I’m just not sure it’s Wuxia, but that’s also not a genre I read regularly. As far as being LitRPG, it is. If light LitRPG. There is the interdimensional interface which shows earned karma points, called Tsoui, which are used to spin the wheel of fate and possibly get special powers or detriments. Those powers increase in levels as the MC uses them. Thus there is a progression system. However, there are also long stretches of the story where these powers aren’t mentioned and the MC doesn’t consciously do anything to improve, it's more automatic or situational.

Overall, I liked the story as I do all the author’s writings. The story is a bit darker than his other works, but it’s still fun to see the MC come through to overcome his challenges and all the unforeseen consequences. 

Score: 7.3 out of 10

Blood of Fate (World 99 Book #1): LitRPG Wuxia Series 

Illusion (The Blacklight Chronicles Book 1)

When an overly powerful guild threatens to take over an entire server in the worlds premier crime game, it falls to a new player and his small but powerful crew of friends to stop them.

The Life of Crime is Blacklight Industries second major immersive experience. Everyone played their first, the world famous fantasy game Brescia Online. Now, years later, the company has focused on a different genre entirely. Once plugged into the game world, you feel as though you're back in the early 21st century, and thanks to their powerful immersive AI, have all the freedom to shape the world around you one could hope for. Players build Crews, Crews control Turf, and fight one another tooth and nail for it, rising to great power and status along the way. Each server houses a major metropolitan city, and the west coast US server, Illusion, is being threatened with total takeover by an unscrupulous and power hungry Crew named GoonStorm.

Kurt joins the game three years after its release, at the request of his lifelong friend Jimmy, and in response to getting kicked out of college. The pair falls in with The Getaway Gal, The Life's most famous driver, and joins her campaign to stop Illusions most powerful guild from taking over the server entirely. Kurt sets off on a series of elaborate and harrowing heists and guerilla warfare actions towards this goal, making powerful allies and enemies along the way.

My Opinion: 613 pages, $5.00, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This is a LitRPG story that is part Grand Theft Auto and part heist film. The game mechanics are definitely based on GTA but expanded to include skill levels, weapon rarity, hideouts, and upgrades.  

I liked the beginning of the story the least. It felt so random and it was kind of an info dump sometimes.  But once it got to the plotted heists, the story became more focused and I enjoyed it more. It's sort of the difference between the random open world parts of GTA and the story quests. I always liked the latter more. 

The over the top action and escapes are a big part of the novel and while fun, they didn’t always appeal to me because they weren’t setup in the game mechanics. For example, the main character (MC), with his low level skills seems to be a bad ass shot that doesn’t miss and succeeds on a bunch of high end difficult quests when he’s only played the game for a couple of hours or days. You could tell the scenes were written more for fun than to strictly follow RPG logic, and I’ll admit, many of the scenes are fun.

Overall, I liked the story and that it tries to use a different game as a base system. I was never a big fan of Grand Theft Auto so it didn’t resonate with me as much as it might someone else but was still entertaining. 

Score: 7.2 out of 10

Illusion (The Blacklight Chronicles Book 1) 

Clockwork: The Return: Book 2

After the Beta, the adventures of our misfortunes young hero does not end but is only taking off. With both real life and life in the game, he takes one step at a time as he builds not only his future but his sisters through his actions in the game world.

What followers is Techno returning to a world that has begun it's restoration and his actions and reactions to the new advances of the world.

My Opinion: 267 pages, $3.50, Available on Kindle Unlimited

I recall enjoying the 1st book in this series, but I also read it when it was originally published four years ago. I liked how the main character (MC) chose the unpopular race option when he was forced into the game and how interesting the combination of the clockwork race was with the RPG and crafting system. 

However, things shift in book 2. The beginning is a little hard to follow as there is no recap and it’s been a really long time since book 1 came out. By 10% mark, I’d sort of recalled who everyone was and the story. However, a combination of the POV changing every chapter and the petulant main character (MC) made the story a lot harder to like. By the time it got to the action and dungeon diving, I’d sort of lost interest and nothing in the story ever regained it. I mean, the 1st book brought in the clockwork people and some interesting development of both tech and culture. This one doesn’t do that, and instead jumps right into summarized adventuring. Not a terrible story or anything, but it wasn’t interesting either.

Score: 5 out of 10

Clockwork: The Return: Book 2 

A Game of Villains (World of Karik Book #1) Dystopian LitRPG Series

They lied, they lie, they will lie. This world is built on deception.

Our hero entered the store that fateful evening and became involved in a life-or-death game arranged by a mysterious creature. He survived, but instead of being on Earth, he now appeared to be in a different world, with other people who had passed a similarly deadly test. Some made it through by using force, some by using their cunning... Everyone has their own story, but they all have one thing in common - there are no good people among them.

The world of Karik turned out to be akin to a game. In it, one can level up, grow stronger, even resurrect in case of failure. But if one makes a mistake of believing the wrong person, they will die for good. Will the magic that he needs to conceal, or maybe his patron, who seems incapable of telling the truth, help him? Who can say?

My Opinion: 653 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This is actually a re-release of a previously published (Dec. 2017) novel called “World of Karik: (The First Player) LitRPG series”. You can actually see the hardcover and back cover blurb on the author’s page. I reviewed it then and really enjoyed the story but the only thing that stopped it from getting a good review were the many many translation issues. With this re-release, those seemed to have been fixed and I am bumping up the review score to 7.3 out of 10.

Original Review: (Dec. 2017)

“The novel is best described as a Apocalypse Survival Slice of Life LitRPG. So, similar stories would be The Arcane Survivalist, Life in the North, Gamer of the Dead, or Survival World.

People are being taken from earth by powerful beings and dropped onto another planet. This planet works with RPG game rules. Each person is given one skill or ability to help them survive and tombstone that they resurrect at if they die. If the tombstone is broken, they die permanently.

The main character (MC) convinces the god of chaos to give him mastery of magic and thus he has an OP ability among all the other players on this world. While there’s a way to exit the world, it’s so difficult no one has yet succeeded.

The story is basically a slice of life power up story. There’s no huge plot. It’s more about the MC learning about the rules of the world, leveling up, some betrayals that force him to power up more, and then repeating all that. There’s enough variety of monsters to fight, plot twist betrayals, and way to power up that the story is interesting even with it being over 600 pages long.

The biggest drawbacks to the story are the translation issues and the sheer length of the story makes some parts feel like filler. Those two things don’t ruin the story for me but they will for other people.”

Again. Just to be clear, the translation issue part no longer applies, but it was part of the original review.

New Score: 7.3 out of 10

A Game of Villains (World of Karik Book #1) Dystopian LitRPG Series 

Rule of Cool - Know Your Roll

‘Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to scorch the sky.’

Raze has a problem. He’s just a Gearblin.

That makes him a Non-Participating Citizen - he can’t see his stats and he can’t make opposed rolls against Heroes. His life is worth less than the vendor trash he hands out chained to a desk at the worst (and only) arcade in town.

Some say it didn’t always used to be like this, but once RNGesus left the party 1,000 years ago the questionably-blessed Heroes conquered everything.

But Raze has a crush on Patch, and she’s a dreamer. When she wakes up with knowledge of an ancient fortress and a series of symbols in her brain, everything changes.

▲ ▲ ▼ ▼ ◄ ► ◄ ► B A START

The Konami Code makes him a Hero, which means it’s time for Raze and his mismatched crew to square off against an assembly of 15,000 noob Heroes in epic, crunchy, badass, Mechanized carnage.

My Opinion: 529 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 story is set in a RPG world where the main character (MC) works in an arcade serving heroes as they turn in or take quests. The MC is a Gearblin (Gremlin + Goblin) and dreg, an actual faction in this world and works as a Non-Participating Citizen (NPC) dealing with terribly rude and crude Heroes. There are lots of pop culture references here, but they’re explained away as having fallen through the rift into this world and being picked up by the locals. The references were immersion breaking for me, but funny. There is good dialogue, and I especially thought the unique world building was done well creating a world from the perspective of an NPC with cultural histories for gaming events.

The story has a well explained RPG system and is consistently followed throughout the story. It even goes so far as to show the math formulas for the many rolls that occur, often with humorous flavor text. However, there are also moments where you can tell things are stretched a bit for the sake of story or humor.

I really wanted to like this story. I enjoy the author's other published works because he always writes something unexpected and quirky. While that continues with this story, this time it just didn't click for me because of two things: the story meanders quite a bit, and I didn't connect with the MC. 

The novel starts off very slice of life, just following the MC as he lives his downtrodden life. There's a good bit of world building and setup for the story but no real plot until about 30% into the novel. From there the story takes numerous twists which were surprising to me. It was nice not to see what was coming but often those surprises weren't completely satisfying. Often a goal would be setup and the story would start towards it but then wander off into some very odd directions. It was kind of a crap shoot whether those odd directions went somewhere cool or fizzled out. Either way that original goal was regularly left to the wayside by the MC and fulfilled by outside forces.

I also never really connected with the MC. He's kind of a jerk and mean to his friends. Which aren't deal breaker characteristics but add in the dissonance caused by me expecting him to act like a native fantasy person or NPC and instead he acts like a player, making many pop culture references. The pop culture stuff gets a loose explanation of why it’s in the world and I get that the author was going for humor with this choice but it made it hard to connect with the MC, for me.

Overall, the story just didn't land with me. I'd suggest reading a sample and if you love the humor of the story or the MC, the rest will really please you. But for me it was just a miss this time.

Score: 6 out of 10

Rule of Cool - Know Your Roll 

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(Music 4)

Music Credits

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

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