LitRPG Audiobook Podcast 003
LitRPG Audiobook Podcast 003 - Dodge Tank, Steele Alchemist, Gun Meister Online
You can read the full reviews and shownotes if you visit us at:
Score: 8.5 out of 10
Steele Alchemist A LitRPG Series (10:06)
Score: 4 out of 10
Score: 7.5 out of 10
“Hello everyone. Welcome to the LitRPG Audiobook Podcast. I’m Ray. I’ll be reviewing some recent and classic LitRPG Audiobooks for you. I’ll begin with:”
“Next is …”
Dodge Tank Crystal Shards Online Series, Book 1
Author: Rick Scott
Narrator(s): Eric Michael Summerer
Audiobook Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
This book needs a theme song. Given an existing one, I would pick the Cowboy Bebop theme as it is as frantic and frenetic as this book, and sounds great. Everything about this book is tinged with anime, just look at the cover, take away the title and you might think that was a Toonami program. Ryan could be about to throw down with Inuyasha or Naruto. The internal fighting feels the same way, and I am not saying this in a negative way. Anime either works really well, or it fizzles out spectacularly. This book works.
But it shouldn't. I don't do spoilers, but nothing I am going to say won't be revealed in less than five minutes into the book. This book lays on the old LITRPG tropes like it was making a sandwich. Ryan/Reese, the protagonist, lives in poverty and only his gaming keeps the family in food and shelter, but just barely. Trope #2 is the sick relative. Ryan's mother is dying of cancer. Trope #3, the player suffers from a physical ailment. Ryan has a gimpy leg, and this limits what he can do in both the real world and the virtual one. Trope #4 is the cute and supportive love interest. Ryan just so happens to work in the mines every day with a sexy mama, but he's too focused on bringing home the bread to cook some bacon. Trope #5, he has to win against the big boss to save his family. There are a few more, but you get the point. Yeah, Rick Scott almost made me put the book down, because I've seen all of these things a hundred times by this point.
The book also has a few other things that I hate going for it. The first being game currency doubling as real world currency. I see it all the time, and in every book that I read with that as plot device I think that the writer is out of touch. Yes, Bitcoins are real, and there are several other types of Cryptocurrency, but I will say this, no matter how much gold I ever earned in WOW it never translated into my bank accepting that as honest to God dough. I really wish it had, but no. No. The other flaw, and one I particularly loathe, and will not later forgive, is the super leveling that happens. Ryan literally levels roughly 100 times in a matter of days (if you count all the previous classes he had to take before getting to Ninja); and he does this mostly as a solo player. Now I totally get that this is a plot device to get him where he needs to be, but the game would be pretty boring if it took you no time to Max level. I get where he was going, but he could have done the same thing with lower levels. The part that really peeved me about this is that several characters explicitly say that they cannot and will not help him power level, and then he does it anyway.
So, I have just listed a boatload of issues I had with this book, and yet you look at the Stars above and think I am being inconsistent. Well, let me just say that while the tropes are the tropes you forgive each one a little at a time. Ryan is trying to become a dodge tank, that is a person who accrues aggro, but doesn't get hit. He has a few devastating attacks, but the ninja class is designed to gradually wear an opponent down. The book, for me at least, took off when Ryan fought Bathsheba the giant cat. Up until that point the wheels were spinning but had no traction. After that point the car had hit the ground running and was hauling arse like it was on fire. Each trope got resolved or managed to actually have a purpose that fit well into the story as things moved forward.
Best of all, the book derails the plans it laid out so carefully and takes you into new territory. Into a land that you were not expecting, but want to see more of. Now I will warn you that this book does, in fact, end on a MAJOR cliffhanger, so beware if you can't handle not knowing what comes next, and what is coming is like something out of the Matrix. I liked the concept and thought that even with the power leveling Ryan ends the book too weak for the place he is at, and that he needs to start leveling quickly.
Eric Michael Summerer does a really nice job on the narration. There were one or two word snafus, but nothing that was unforgiveable. I enjoyed listening to him, and anticipate his tackling the next book soon. Sound quality was good, and he played each character with emotion and presence.
While it took me a little while to get into this book it sank its claws into me, and has yet to let me go. I cannot wait to see what happens next. You won't either, so don't delay, become a dodge tank fan.
Final Score: 8.5 with points shaved for the power leveling, and the make you want more ending.
Final Score: Based on a scale of 1-10. With 1 being horrible, 5 being average, and 10 being perfect.
Steele Alchemist A LitRPG Series
Author: Deck Davis
Narrator(s): Kevin Gisi
Audiobook Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
Last week I reviewed Deck Davis's book, the Arcane Survivalist, and now I find myself doing the same for his other book. I wish I had read this book first, because I wouldn't have struggled so much to listen to the next one. Arcane Survivalist really left a bad taste in my mouth, and if I hadn't gotten these two books together I would have stopped after Survivalist.
This book has a few more story issues than Survivalist, but the narration saves it. If I had to place a wager, I'd put money down that this was Davis' first novel. You can see him making the effort, and he does steer his way through the choppy waters, but he has some holes in his boat when he is done. If this is a first effort, it isn't bad. Not great, but not bad. I guess after reading Blademage Beastmaster, I have higher expectations.
The problems I have here, aside from the story fluctuations is that this also becomes one long giant penis joke. Not funny ones at that. Also, the MC, Steele, is rude. I mean if someone in need of my help spoke to me like that they would go away empty handed. No one would ever just walk up to someone and start acting that way. Not unless they wanted socked in the jaw.
I will say this, which is funny, I hated the title Blademage Beastmaster, but enjoyed the book. I loved the titles Arcane Survivlalist and Steele Alchemist, but did not enjoy them so much. Again, Davis can come up with some catchy titles. And my issues with these books may just be that they weren't polished, but were overwhelmed by potty humor and unlikeable characters. I'd like to think he is improving.
With Alchemist I will say that Gisi almost manages to save the story. There is emotion and tension, and this is read as if it came from a person rather than a tree as in Arcane Survivalist. He manages to make this book bearable. At no point did I pray for it to end like I did Survivalist, and I didn't switch out to another book just to keep my head on straight, and I credit that to Kevin, whose narration was like some aloe vera on a sun burn.
I won't say stay away from this book, it does have some redeeming qualities, and the narration takes it a long way. You might enjoy it, I just hope the bathroom humor gets erased or severely curtailed from here on out, because it really isn't funny.
Final Score 4 out of 10, only because the narration really elevated this piece.
Gun Meister Online: Adult and Uncensored
Author: Noah Barnett
Narrator(s): Annie Ellicott, Justin Thomas James, Jeff Hays
Audiobook Length: 14 hrs and 13 mins
I have to admit to have been waiting to listen to this book since it first came out. I'd heard a ton of
positive things about it, and the premise seemed pretty cool. I was doubly excited that we got the Adult
and Uncensored version as well. I don't see a need to tone things down, and in the day and age when
Harem lit is popular and even MSE goes graphic I think it is fine to go grown up. After all, this is a book
about people playing a game in which headshots are a common thing. I still would have liked to have
heard the mature cut! I can't imagine what we are missing!!
Next, how can I not comment on the narration? Barnett was a wise man, and went through Soundbooth
Theater, and in this case got not one, but three narrators! Annie Ellicott, Justin Thomas James, and the
ever amazing Jeff Hays all work their butts off, and bring you some of the best vocal readings I have ever
heard! This book is like a reverse image of their usual work, as Hays generally reads the bulk of the story
and Ellicott backs him up with the female voices. Here, however, Annie gets her gun, and takes the lead.
Jeff does most of the male voices, and James locks and loads in as backup on one other voice. This is the
triple threat of narration right here. Jeff is far and away my favorite narrator. I never fail to mention
that, and Annie is coming up on my list as well. James does a great job, I just haven't heard enough of
him to really dole out the praise he assuredly deserves. Hopefuly he'll solo a book and I can tell you just
how incredible I know him to be. As it stands, the work he does is awesome. Anyhow, this combination
is like alternating mortar shells and napalm on your ears. They won't know what hit them. Annie really
pushes the story forward, and Jeff makes you believe he is the Meister we all want to be. I love hearing
this talanted troupe working together, it really brings more to the table than your standard fare.
Have I even mentioned Barnett's writing yet? Nope? Well, I should have. As a fledgling author this cat
has really got it together. He knows how to pace a plot, and build tension. He adds humor in where it is
needed ("I surrender"), and he doesn't hold back on the big story. There is a lot more going on here than
a guy rotating in and out of death duel gun matches. He is also pretty creative with his gaming system.
The players don't build up, but their weapons do. Their weapons are sentient, and require some love to
keep them happy and tied to their owners. This is a creative world, and a unique game. He really has the
ammo necessary to write a Gunventure like this. I like that it takes time for the protagonist to go from
being a doofus to being a leader of men. The ragtag group that he ends up with are all interesting
characters, and I found it humorous that out of all the people in the game there is at least one powder
loading dude keeping things real with the old timey gun. I could totally see my father carrying a flintlock
into the game, and using the tag of Hawkeye. The action scenes are not Michael Bay stupid, but more of
the Die Hard first and second movie type. The big fights are brutal and fun, all three of them, and I must
say that I was glad to have so much content. Anything over 7 or 8 hours of run time is a blessing.
You want to know the best way I can tell you to get this book and read it? The simple fact that I really
want a sequel ASAP. This book blows you off of your arse, and makes you peek around corners as you
listen. You will feel the bullets zip by, and feel the shrapnel of ricochet's spatter your face. You will fall in
love with Elva (sorry, audio book so not sure about the spelling), and wish you could just "holster" her
one time. This is a frantic and frenetic story that locks and loads you in and never lets you up. You will be
pinned down by cover fire, and have no chance of backup coming to save you. Only thing is, you won't
want rescued. You will want to join in the fun, and deal out your own grievous head wounds.
Final Score 7.5 for missing the target at the end needing about 2 hours trimmed off.
This podcast is sponsored by Soundbooth Theater, makers of great audiobooks.
You can follow us on
Our Webpage: www.litrpgpodcast.com
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 www.litrpgpodcast.com/support