LitRPG Audiobook Podcast 027 - First Login - Chronicle, Life Reset: EvP, Opening Moves: The Gam3, Bobiverse series
LitRPG Audiobook Podcast 027 - First Login - Chronicle, Life Reset: EvP, Opening Moves: The Gam3, Bobiverse series
“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: ”
First Login - Chronicle, Book 1 (00:24)
Score: 8 out of 10
Score: 8.3 out of 10
Opening Moves: The Gam3, Book 1 (25:53)
Score: 8 out of 10
Is It Lit? (34:30)
We Are Legion (We Are Bob) https://amzn.to/2M8MUOC
For We Are Many https://amzn.to/2STnhUF
All These Worlds https://amzn.to/2M9BBFZ
Chronicle, Book 1
By: Kevin Murphy
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
Well, well, well, it seems first time author Kevin Murphy has crafted a pretty cool series starter. I enjoyed every minute of this book, and I have to say that I think that is because the main character acts a lot like I would in the same situation. This book doesn’t have an overarching goal, and the MC sort of meanders around, but I wouldn’t call this a slice of life book. Too much happens, and there is an undercurrent of mystery that gets slightly revealed at the end of the book. The MC Dakkon loses his job and ends up playing the game for real life credits. You know that I hate that trope.
Anyway, first day in the game kinda sucks for him, and he ends up lying to some guards just so he can get inside a city by claiming that he was mugged. Oddly, the guards show up later with his “stolen” gear, which just so happens to include a really cool looking knife. Now, here is where the wandering part comes in. Dakkon has literally no clue as to what he should be doing, and basically bounces from one thing to another. He meets a guy, then a group and they hunt together, and he learns that his new knife has some super killy powers. Later efforts to discover what the knife is sort of fail, and he is left clueless.
The story is pretty much Dakkon either conning people to score some cash, and I have to say he’s a decent liar, or fighting higher level mobs and leveling up. One thing I have to warn you about is that there is no clear and concise system here. At least not one that is revealed. The writing seems geared to keeping a lot of things about the game obscure too. So, don’t expect to come out of this knowing all about the game system or the game’s storyline (if it has one). Dakkon pretty much deals with everything as it comes at him, he isn’t much of a planner (as in looking ahead) but he is apt at thinking on his feet and detecting an enemy’s weakness. It is his unorthodox play style that makes him able to defeat foes that are higher level than he is, and earn the cash he so desperately needs.
He allies with some interesting people, such as a lettuce salesman, and a mysterious player who is far more than he seems. Dakkon also manages to garner the attention of a player that wants his mysterious dagger, which eventually leads him to joining an organization of relic hunters. So, basically, the book is more about what adventure is going to occur today? So, slice of life dammit! But there is an undercurrent of things that are revealed at the end just enough to whet your appetite. Personally, I liked Dakkon, just because he wasn’t a know it all smart ass who cracked jokes at every turn. He really appealed to me because of his devious nature, the guy makes a better con man than he does a fighter, that’s for certain.
Nick Pohdel really does some fine work here, and I have to say that I am liking his incorporation of sound effects into the reading. Not only did they fit, but they were also pleasant to the ears, I don’t know if he found them or made them up, but I enjoyed the addition. My only complaint with Pohdel is that he is a one trick pony when it comes to women’s voices, that is why I didn’t swoon over his work on Super Sales on Super Heroes book two, that book had ton of women to work around, and his ladies sound very similar to one another. Here the female factor isn’t overly high, so it isn’t all that noticeable or bad. Still he did great otherwise and I anticipate more growth from him in the future.
Over all this is a solid first effort, and I am going to just barely give this one an 8 star review. There were a lot of things unrevealed, the class set up wasn’t really well explained, and it was a wandering aimless book to be honest. Still, the characters and the fun outweighed a lot of that and I say give this a go and eat an imperial salad while you do so.
Life Reset: EvP (Environment vs. Player)
By: Shemer Kuznits
Narrated by: Jeff Hays, Laurie Catherine Winkel, Annie Ellicott
Length: 21 hrs and 53 mins
This is this week’s Soundbooth Spotlight, and man was it fun. Practically 22 hours of goblin goodness to gnaw on. Orin, the MC who is trapped in the game world, is a goblin Dread Totem who is running a goblinish village. The book plays out a lot like the original world of Warcraft orcs vs humans game. He creates new peons who do jobs assigned to them, builds and upgrades vital facilities for the advancement of the tribe, and fights off invaders with his limited militia. I enjoy this aspect more than anything. Granted, I like watching Orin level up and get new powers, but I really love to hear how he adds a new building or upgrades one. Like I say, Tamer by MSE has my attention because the characters are building a fort. The book really deals with a ton of things happening to Orin and his village after the events of the first book. It seems that no matter what Orin does nothing is going to prepare him for the trials to come.
Orin is in deep trouble as his ex-guild members are looking for him, and he has limited time to prepare for their arrival. To top it off new monster players have begun showing up, and it seems that one of them is a traitor. Somebody is going around ganking hapless goblin workers, and stealing vital potion supplies. The urgency of the need to expand, gain experience, and leveling his troops is palpable. To top it off, Orin now struggles to retain his identity as a player. He is sinking more and more into his role as the Dread Totem and losing bits of himself in the process. One of my favorite bits that got added this time around is the mandibled brain eating seneschal that made me envision a hobgobliny Predator. He was a fun character, and Kuznits uses him quite effectively to demonstrate the importance and dangers of reputation in a very slick way.
Another impressive thing is the way that SBT handled this book. Last go around, Jeff Hays did the whole thing himself, now he’s added some of the Sound Booth ladies into the mix, but quite wisely keeps himself on the voices that he did the last time. Annie and Laurie both bring their A game and the sisters of Soundbooth supercharge the story with their sublime storytelling. Jeff is the man, handling more characters than a juggling guillotine operator during the French revolution, I just don’t know how he does it but he has impeccable pacing and knows how to wrap a chapter or add life into a battle scene. He definitely infuses a sense of urgency into everything that Orin does, and lets his smugness play out oh so very well that you cringe when Orin says something so snide that you know whatever it is is going to come back and bite him on the rump. One thing that sort of surprised me was that Jeff didn’t figure out a way to sound fx to the shadow magic. I would have loved to have heard a light wind to a full breeze blowing when Orin used his shadow powers, but that is really just my own personal desires, SBT really nailed the book down and provided some top notch high quality narration.
My final score on this book is 8.3 stars. I like that Kuznits doesn’t spit out shorter books, and that he knows the proper thing to do is to put his MC through the wringer as often as possible. The narration is on a nuclear level, and the overall story is a fun fast paced ride of leveling, struggling to become stronger, and preparing for a point when PC’s will invade the village. This is slick and smooth, and will sucker you in for more hours than you realize. Get this book and enjoy it.
The next book I am going to review has a weird title, but it was a really fun book. I’m going to be examining Opening Moves, which is part of the Gam 3 series. I have no idea why its called the Gam 3 series but (Prop guy comes in and yell’s “It’s the game! Not the gam 3, I’ve told you it’s the GAME, the three is an E old man!) Chagrinned I say OK, and then chastise him for not using a prop. I’ll show you a prop! He then hits me with a monopoly box. That’s better, I mutter.
So, yeah, . . .
Opening Moves: The Gam3, Book 1
By: Cosimo Yap (I don’t think that’s his real name)
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
While I liked Opening moves there were some things that bothered me a little. First, though, the set up. One promising feature is that this is strictly as sci-fi story and we really don’t get enough of those in Litrpg today. I’m not complaining about the fantasy stuff, but a huge portion of Litrpg has heavy fantasy elements to it. Sci-fi is almost the purview of our Russian comrades, of course it is odd to say that a genre that features game entry via computers, A.I. elements, and game mechanics is more fantasy based, but you understand my point.
Anyway, (you’ll get that reference once you listen to the book) the game is how aliens conduct their warfare. Humans have been inducted to play the “game” and are granted some leniency from outright attacks until they kind of get their game legs. The MC sort of buys his way into the game by having some money fronted to him. Alan, the MC becomes a machine lord, and has AI that he basically uses as a cheat throughout the book.
That was my biggest problem. Alan isn’t a very deep character, I would almost say that he belongs in flat land because he is a tad one dimensional. There is no character development or growth, he ends the way he starts, so yay for consistency. Also, he comes in with an AI that pretty much helps him route every thing he encounters. The book, however, is action heavy and very fun, and I can easily forgo character development in favor of some good ole butt kickin.
The story does draw you in, and I was pretty much kept on the edge of my seat as the story progressed. I can’t say that the story slowed down or didn’t keep me engaged, because I rode this story like a broken mechanical bull. I couldn’t ride a working one, I’d break my neck. The point is that this was a fun ride.
Surprise, Nick Pohdel narrates this book and does a wonderful job, I have pretty much accepted that he is a master class narrator, but that he still has issues doing women’s voices. That has been, and will be my biggest complaint when it comes to his work. Otherwise, he manages to make the story fun and really picks up the pace when it comes to the battle scenes.
The story has a ton of things going on, like an attempted capture/assassination attempt and some ancient beings offering to assist in the Gam3 if he can prove himself. Again, awesome book, not much in the way of characterization. Also, I will say that Allen’s growth as a player may have felt a little stunted when compared to other similar books. That’s ok, not every player should be OP, and he does have his AI to make up for his limitations.
Overall score is an 8. I thought it was fast paced, full of action, and had a good premise, but the lack of character growth really took it down a peg or two.
We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
For We Are Many
All These Worlds
By: Dennis E. Taylor
Narrated by: Ray Porter
Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
I’m just going to start off by saying that no matter what the decision is on this being Lit or not this is a series that you really need to read. It is witty, funny, emotional, action packed, jarring, and is a pretty fair lens with which to view humanity. I was captivated by this series the moment I started listening and this is one of the first books that I thought of when I came up with the Is it Litrpg or not segment. No matter what, this is a seriously can’t miss set of books that I am equally glad that was completed with a trilogy, and upset that it is over. Bob, all of him, is a fascinating bunch of guys.
So, let’s get to the story. A guy, Bob, dies and his brain is uploaded into a virtual world (sound a little familiar?). He isn’t alone. There are other test subjects that he has to compete with, and the competition is simple. If you win, you survive. Fail, and you are deleted. He and the others undergo a battery of test, and no surprise Bob wins the grand prize. He has his mind uploaded into a very special space vessel. This allows him to not only explore new solar systems but also replicate himself so that he can survive and do his job. His real problem is that three other countries have also launched probes similar to Bob, and they are not friendly.
Thankfully, Bob gets a hand with an on board assistant (Hmmm, a helper A.I.?) that can fill him in on much needed details and plays a role that the reader/listener needs to feed information. From there, the Bobiverse expands from being a simple humanity must survive book and into numerous other themes. We literally get Bob on an alien planet helping natives, Bob colonizing other worlds, Bob falling in love with a fleshie and all the consequences that come from it, as well as a nightmarish unstoppable foe that Bob has no clue how to stop.
Throughout the course of the series Bob grows and evolves, you might say that he levels up, actually. He goes through numerous iterations, and changes all while struggling just to stay sane and be Bob. I cannot accurately tell you how engaging the book series is, other than to say that I listened to them one after another with only breaks for sleep or because work dictated that I put the book down for a few minutes.
Ray Porter is a master, and I do mean master narrator. You name a genre and he has probably narrated something in it. While I will say that this is probably the best I’ve ever heard him I can tell you that you might want to check out his work in Pathfinder series, based on the game as well as his distinguished narration on WOTC’s Dark Sun Series the Prism Pentad. So he knows games backwards and upside down. He also does a decent Urban Fantasy series called Incryptid, that IN and then the supernatural/fortean word for monsters and undiscovered animals, cryptids. Incryptid is pretty cool too. Here though he provides all of Bob’s angst, desperation, urgency, his love, his reaction to betrayal, etc. Sincerely, this guy is on the level of Hays, Daniels, Pohdel, and Taylor when it comes to men’s narration. You could not ask for better.
So, now we get down to the big question. Izzit lit? Well, part one, he is placed into a virtual world. 2) He has a snarky A.I. to help him get information. 3) He improves on himself after each encounter with an enemy (i.e. he levels up). 4) Like Alex Rogan he fights a desperate battle against incredible odds against an enemy similar to the Kodon armada. Ok, so that last part is true, but it doesn’t make it gamelit just because I quote a LIT movie. Yes, the Last Starfighter is Gamelit, and I’ll fight you to prove it.
So, while I can safely say that it meets a lot of the criteria, and I so desperately want to call this Lit, I can’t. There really isn’t any kind of crunch to it, or even a soft oatmeal bite. This series comes damn close, though, and I still say that if you are a fan of LITRPG you will LOVE this book series. Check it out.
Thanks oh so very much for watching everyone, I do appreciate you taking to the time to watch or listen to the show. If you want to support us, you can like the LitRPG Podcast facebook page or the YouTube Page, or just share and like the video. I’m going to ask for more suggestions for the Is it LIT segment, I’ve got a good one for next time, but will always need ideas. Please leave comments or suggestions in the comments below, and feel free to tell me whatever you like. I enjoy the feedback.
I did ask Ramon if it would be ok, and he said that I could let you all know that I do have a couple of books on Royal Road, and I would ask that you drop over there and check them out. They are:
Apocalypse On Endless Earths: Apocalypse How? https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/22054/apocalypse-on-endless-earths-apocalypse-how-a
The first is straight up horror litrpg, and the other is a sci-fi/humor Litpg book. Please give them a look.
Remember, please leave a review for any book that you’ve listened to or read. Authors really depend on reviews.
For LitRPG Audiobook Podcast, I’m Ray. Keep listening!!!
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