LitRPG Audiobook Podcast 004
LitRPG Audiobook Podcast 004 - War Aeternus 2, Akillia's Reign, Difficulty: Legendary, The Glass Bard
You can read the full reviews and shownotes if you visit us at:
War Aeternus 2: Sacrifices (20:13)
Score: 8.25 out of 10
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Difficulty: Legendary (16:09)
Score: 4.5 out of 10
The Glass Bard (23:31)
Score: 4 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:”
War Aeternus 2: Sacrifices
By: Charles Dean
Narrated by: Jeff Hays, Annie Ellicott
Series: War Aeternus, Book 2
Length: 14 hrs and 13 mins
Its Miller Time!!!
Holy cow. As much as I have enjoyed The Bathrobe Knight by Dean and Haygood, the Bearded Lord of Bacon and Booze has really created a brilliant series in which a regular Joe, Lee, finds out that he is related to a powerful god named Augustus, and that he has to participate in a competition between gods and their heralds known the Faith Game.
I loved book one, but honestly, book two completely amped up the story and made it so much better as it has progressed far more than I would have ever hoped. Dean has seriously upped his game. I’m talking he went from playing old maid to strip poker. The writing is far improved, the story is far tighter, and the characters are so interesting. I really cannot say just how much I enjoy the paladin of Justice, Miller, and Lee, the MC, as people. You really get to know a lot about them in this go around and the rest of the party. More importantly, Lee learns how to magic up some of the most delicious beer anyone has ever tasted.
Lee and Augustus still have some issues in their relationship, although I begin to sense that the old shapeshifter has a lot more to him than he lets on. Lee finds a gal pal back in the real world, and finds out that her family may be just the right fit for him even if they did try to kill him. This book really hits its stride with the arena battles, and Lee learning to adapt and improvise on his feet in order to survive. The big bad for this book is another herald, and Lee has no idea of what he is getting himself and Augustus into when he decides to take him down; still this is all good fun. Or is it?
I’m not going to lie. We do have some tragedy here that cannot be downplayed, nor would I want to. It really lends some gravitas that book one was needing. It did choke me up, and made me feel for Lee in a way that I have not sympathized with a character in a looong time. We also get to know about Miller’s own tragic backstory, and you will see just how deranged Dean can be to his best characters. The man is utterly merciless. I LOVE it. For me, the best scene came with the confrontation of the team with the psycho lady Firbolg. She was, hands down the best fun psycho character I’ve heard in 10 years. She was written and played perfectly, like a master with a Stradivarius. Man, is Dean on fire with this story or what?
The narration here is proof that two people can make an entire world come alive. Jeff Hays, the mystical master of the Vocal Arts, and Annie Ellicott combine their talents, powers, and skills into one amazing audible adventure. Without a doubt, my favorite voice in this book is Hays’ Miller. If I hear him for more than 30 seconds I spend the rest of my day talking to everyone like him. The fools think I am just doing an Ah-nold impression. Annie really pulls at your heartstrings in this book. This is twice now that she has almost made me cry, and I am no gurly man! You cannot ask for better, and it was nice to see the pair of them handling things rather than the whole squad. This really felt like a narration rather than a production, and that is just what I am looking for.
This book has some startling revelations, and simultaneously creates new mysteries. Lee learns how to handle his magic, and yet realizes that he really doesn’t know enough yet. He does a lot more than just creating golems now. So, we get some serious growth, development, and powering up in this book. All signs point to book three being even bigger and better, and the way that Dean has been promoting the new character, Jade, I fully expect some joy joy feelings when book three hits. All I know is that I’ll be around as long as Dean keeps pumping out quality material like this. Don’t miss the train, get on board before we leave the station.
Final Score 8.25 stars! Keep bringing the Bacon, Oh bearded one!!
Akillia's Reign Puatera Online Series, Book 4
By: Dawn Chapman
Narrated by: Anneliese Rennie
Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
Dawn Chapman is one of the first LITRPG authors I ever read. She is among Blaise Corvin, Dakota Krout, and William D. Arand; which, in my eyes is some fantastic company to keep. The first three books of Putera were really different than your standard LITRPG fare, in so far that it focused on an NPC, named Maddie who was just trying to get by and keep some people she held near and dear safe.
Then Dawn did something crazy. First, she slips away from Maddie in her new book. Then, she triples the length of this book compared to the first three Putera stories. Finally, she ditches Andrea Parsneau in favor of a new narrator. Now, if you knew Mr. Ray, that’s me, you’d say Mr. Ray, out of respect, I know that leaving behind characters and narrators who have done beautiful work in the past behind in favor of some new characters and narrative perspectives is just plain craziness. You just don’t do that. That’ll upset your stomach. And, I’m touched that you’d be so concerned for me and aware of my feelings, but I have to say this. I really like the longer book length. The first three Putera novels had a serial feel to them, and it worked. This is one cohesive uninterrupted tale. Secondly, in order to get this perspective, we needed a new character, and if you HAVE to replace Andrea, well, Anneliese Rennie is a good choice. She gives the series a new voice, figuratively and literally, and I like Maddie belonging to Andrea.
The story itself is already centered in a familiar place, and so we flow into the story rather than being swept away. Emma/Akilla the MC is a complete noobie, and she is one of those clichés in that she is special, but considering the populations size of the other players It isn’t so hard to swallow. I have always appreciated that Chapman keeps the crunchy stuff to a minimum in her books, I think that spouting numbers would just break the flow that she achieves, and she plays this riff out with the constant pings that Akilla receives. The really nice thing is that the world building is pretty much done at this point, and all she needs to do is tell an amazing story, which is exactly what she does. Chapman’s attention to detail is pretty legendary, and she never fails to make the detail interesting rather than verbose and boring. The whole story is well written and full of adventure.
Anneliese Rennie is not Andrea P., but she manages to hold her own. She does give each character their own distinctive voice. But there are a couple of audio nibblets or hiccups that I noticed, nothing major though. I really liked her characterization as Akilla, and can see why Chapman opted to give the new spinoff series a distinctive voice. This is my first time listening to her, and I think I would be happy to hear her again in the future.
Final score: 7.5 because I did find the Tutorial a bit draggy, a few audible flubs, a weak love story, and for a bit of jealousy for not keeping up with Maddie’s story full on. I look forward to more in this series, and know that book 5 is also available. I’ll be getting that soon!
Narrated by: Guy Williams
Length: 2 hrs and 57 mins
This was a tough book for me to review. I keep trying to find a really good short Litrpg story, something that in under 5 hours to listen to and be amazed by, and so far I keep coming up short, no pun intended. The issue that I have is that the story is pretty decent, but the narration is of such meh quality that it lowers the potential of the tale. The reading style is solidly mediocre and mostly monotone in melody. The story is set in the future where you get entry into a game called REFUSE one time. You get to play as long as you can until you die, and then that is it, as Hudson would say it’s Game over man, game over. You don’t get to go back. The MC, makes it inside the game for an hour before dying, because he is sent to a level 70+ area even though he is level 0. He protests the death, because he was not placed where he needed to be, but it all falls on deaf ears and he is doomed to enter military service. Then, someone sends him a cheat and he reenters the game, with a chance to earn some much needed credits for his family. He then proceeds to doing every single thing wrong that he possibly can, and never learns from anything. He is a complete and utter noob.
That is the one part that makes this believable to me. His family is really poor, and it takes credits to do everything in the society he is in, and just looking information up on the internet costs more money than he can afford, so he never really had a chance to learn about the world he is entering, or what options he had skill wise, magic wise, and so forth. He goes into it blindly, and his trusting (or stupid nature) is evidenced by how he handles a woman on a bus in need of credit to get home. So, you can forgive him for doing altruistic things even though you know that they will never work out right for him.
As I said, William’s narration is unexciting, weak, and lacking any real impact to the story. It’s kind of like someone in need of sleep trying to read you the business section of the newspaper that’s upside down. It’s not going to get far. It’s not so bad that I wanted to plug up my ears, but this was a short book, and I didn’t have to listen all that long. There is a follow up tale called Tinker, Tailor, Giant, Dwarf, which I have already purchased, so I may review it in the future. We’ll see, because that is a 7 plus hour adventure, and I don’t know if I can handle Williams that long.
Final Score: 4.5 could have been a real gem, but the narration was a major flaw.
The Glass Bard
Darryl DeCelle Riser
Narrated by: Scott Servheen
Length: 1 hr and 11 mins
This is a weird little short story that runs for just over an hour, but feels like it is twice that time. The Story is about an MC who is a PC who wants to help an NPC while stuck in some MMORPG. Got that? Ok, lemme flesh that out for you. The main character falls into a game tutorial, and meets Sai, an NPC. She is not only an NPC, but she is also the tutorial guide, and within minutes of meeting the titular Bard, she tells him just how many times she has been raped by one player, and sold into slavery by others. She is surprised to learn that he, the MC, is self aware when he is also back at his desk clicking away on his keyboard (or at least that is supposed to be where he is at).
There are a few problems with this audiobook, and the run time isn’t one of them. When I first saw this I thought well here’s a great opportunity to get a LITRPG short story, hopefully get a cool premise or world, or even see something great about a Bard. Little known fact, bards (when done right) can be fun as hell. I refer you to read the bard in Quag Keep by Andre Norton. When done wrong they come across as a wannabe singer for a Carpenter cover band. Here, I really never got to see the Bard do bard stuff. Ok, so he sings in order to speed along his journey, and he sings to a few people, but there is no real bard magic at play here. The most clever thing I saw was the use of the autosave. The rest of the story is basically the bard being a complete gentleman to his slave companion and doing everything from sleeping in an uncomfortable chair for her to be willing to throw away his very life for a computer generated character. There is no real reason for this, he literally makes no connection with her to a point he should be willing to die, but hey, plot points! Aside from some overwrought angst or unrealistic sympathy I could see no reason for such instant and automatic willingness to die for her. The only reason I could logically conceive of was that he had been the player that raped her 200 times, and had logged in under someone else’s profile. Otherwise he has no real connection to her.
The narration is rife with background static, and the narration by Servheen serves no one here. This is mediocre work at best. Let me tell you. I can allow some mispronunciations, but there are certain words that I cannot let slide. Given that I work with blood vessels all day long, and with this particular beast especially, I have to say that I could not believe that he pronounced carotid as carroted. Yep, you don’t have a carotid artery, you, like Bugs Bunny, have a carrotted artery. Like I say, nothing horrible, but this is really the sign of a low level narrator. If you don’t know how to pronounce something, look it up! His delivery is most likely responsible for the low score, because he doesn’t bring this story to life, but he sure as hell shoots it in the foot. Given the right voice work this story might not have been so bad.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, he is called a glass bard because he eventually realizes that he is just like a glass tank. A character who packs a good punch, but shatters when hit. The only problem is, we never really see him actually pack a powerful punch to account for his tank accreditation. Lack of real Bard action in a bard story, mediocre narration, and some audio issues leave me no choice but to go with 4 out of 10 stars. Clean it up audibly, change narrators, and this could have been much better.
This podcast is sponsored by Soundbooth Theater, makers of great audiobooks.
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