LitRPG Audiobook Podcast 032 - Super Sales on Super Heroes, Book 3, The Artificer, Dungeon Desolation, Dragonlance series
LitRPG Audiobook Podcast 032 - Super Sales on Super Heroes, Book 3, The Artificer, Dungeon Desolation, Dragonlance 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: ”
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Score: 7.8 out of 10
Dungeon Desolation (26:41)
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Game On - New segment (42:56)
Super Sales on Super Heroes, Book 3
By: William D. Arand
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Length: 12 hrs
This my friends is a very bittersweet time for me, as I finally get a conclusion to a beloved series. The book is filled with action, blood, battle, schemes, and sacrifice. One thing that it really lacked was pancakes. Andrea really took a back seat in this book, and most other characters were barely visible as they popped up periodically for brief appearances. Now, I don’t want to add any spoilers here, but I will tell you that fans of Wild Wastes should pick up this book as things from that series tie very directly into Super Sales and that you will not want to miss it. By that I mean that this is not, I repeat NOT, a brief cameo but might actually be a sign that Arand is beginning to finally pull his books together in a far more definitive way. So, if you are a fan of any of his books that he has tied together this is the starting point. Think of this book like the time Nick Fury first popped up at the end of a Marvel Movie and said he was building a team. There is no Nick Fury figure here, but it is very clear now in no uncertain terms that the universes are all tied together and that they will be connecting over time for the big finale. So, like totally super excited for that event.
On that note I was a little disappointed in this book in one way. Felix really didn’t get to use his powers much at all, and three quarters of my fun always came from the creative way he used his abilities, and I loved watching him give people powers. Honestly, aside from one police detective I don’t think he modified anyone, or did much enhancing. The biggest use of his power was bringing back dead members of his team once. Now, I really love Felix, and his girls, but there wasn’t a lot of “super action” here. Lilly and Kit did very little, Andrea was almost invisible, and the book seemed to be dominated by a new girl from Vince’s world. Truth be told, it felt a lot like one long date. Felix was taking someone out to dinner most of the time, and if he wasn’t doing that then he was struggling to stay ahead of his opposition.
Another disappointment was that I had really been hoping that book three was going to see Felix go at Skipper finally, but it looks like that has been put off for another series as well. Super Sales was probably my favorite series of Arand’s, but this book, while good, just didn’t quite live up to the other two novels. Felix is neutered and all the girls are suddenly shoved aside for a newbie in his life. The book just felt like it was on a treadmill, running really fast but not getting anywhere at all. The way it ended, while tying things together, didn’t hit my buttons. It was not a proactive end, and it was more of a well I can’t say without spoilers, but I don’t want to blow the surprises in the book. All I can say is that it didn’t have the same tonal quality as the first two books, and if you want me to be honest here is my complete break down. The book picks up five years after the end of book 2. Nothing really changes at all during that time, but we do learn that for some reason the gods of his earth have decided that Felix is a D-bag and they do everything in their power to stop him. One of the things I loved about book two was the way it changed directions so deftly, and made you think that it was heading here and then it shifted gears and took off over there. That didn’t happen in book three at all. In this book Legion is under assault and that never lets up, Felix and the others never have time to breath, and again we lose all the other girls, except for Miu, in favor of Felicity, his new assistant. The super heroes were practically non-existent, as was a definitive villain that was opposing him. It saddens me to say that this is the weakest of his books that I have read, as I love his stuff and this series, but he took away too much. Either leave Felix his powers and take way the girls, or leave the girls and take away his powers. Don’t do both. Skipper, who was built up in one, and made a menacing appearance in two, should have had a lot more to do in three, but that didn’t happen. The Lit stuff from one is almost non-existent here. So this sort of traipses into a sci-fi novel rather than LITRPG, like I said tonally id did not fit with the other books.
The book does have some good action scenes, and Zombie Miu is perhaps the most touching part of the book, but in the end this was more of a political intrigue novel interspersed with Felix on a date or fighting for his life in some way. If you love Felicity then this is a great book for you, since she pervades it more than any other character. She does so in such a creepy way, every girl there is like you should sleep with Felicity!, that I was certain that she was some villain come to infiltrate his HQ and get close to him. If you don’t like Felicity then tough cookies because she pops up everywhere.
I guess for Nick Pohdel this was a great book, because he didn’t have to voice any of the girls from the first two novels for very long, there were a lot of new ladies that he could characterize on his own, and not have to replicate, Andrea’s energy, for example. He plays a fine Felix, and is an amazing narrator, and he does his utmost to keep the book as exciting as possible. I had no issues with any of his work on this book.
I know that it sounds like I hated Super Sales 3, I didn’t, it was a good book. However, it did not hold up in comparison to the first two novels, and that breaks my heart because this was one of my favorite series. So, I am giving the book a 7.5 star score. It is still good, but cannot come close to matching the energy of the first two novels, and the lack of powers being used by Felix made this go from the Lit Genre to simple Sci-fi.
The Artificer: A LitRPG Adventure
The Imperial Initiative, Book 1
By: S. R. Witt, James Hunter
Narrated by: Matthew Broadhead
Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
You know how you can tell that Hunter is an amazing author? 1) Because he can make you appreciate and sympathize (a little) for one of the nastiest villains this side of Darth Vader. Yeah, Ozmark is a huge jerk, an A-hole, and scumbag extrodinaire but this is one anti-hero who has reasons for every move he makes. By no means does this book negate his asshat status that he earned in the VGO books, but you do get a better handle on his motives to a small extent, and see what pushed him to be the way he is when we meet him in Viridian Gate, book one. 2) He is a writing chameleon. He easily adapts his writing style to match whomever he partners with so that the transition is fairly seemless. His coauthored books all feel like they are written in one singular voice.
What’s the sitrep? Ozmark knows the world is going to end long before the general public, and takes steps to ensure his survival, and as many other people he can get to enter his virtual world. Problem is he meets resistance from political types, and he soon has to start doing things that would make his mother cry to make things happen. This is done to make him more sympathetic, and make you see that things are not always black and white, but man do I hate that guy. This just made me hate him like he was Anthony Perkins in Psycho! You know, Norman Bates is a swell dude. He’s quiet, takes care of his mother, and likes birds. You get to see how he gradually goes from minor evils to being the full blown bad guy. His story sort of reminds me of Norman Osborn from Spider-Man, average business guy who goes insane after getting his powers and becomes a major evil. Ozmark doesn’t realize he’s chopping his soul into pieces, but by the end of the book I don’t think he has much left to spare. So, if you ask what it is that passes for action all I can tell you is that he does have to contend with some hired killers who are after him, he has to recruit financiers from the scum of the earth, and one of his recruits actively plans to take control of VGO away from Ozmark once they are inside. So, don’t go thinking this is all business dealings and board room meetings.
Don't get me wrong. The book is amazing, and ties right into VGO leading right up to a point where he first hears of a certain fellow named Grim Jack. I can totally see the next book picking up somewhere after their initial encounter and showing us everything that he has to deal with while our man Jack (and Cutter!) tries to stave off his military advances. I highly anticipate the interweaving of the stories, and even seeing Ozmark's side of things as we progress. I do want to comment that Hunter did not write this moving fast paced story alone, he partnered with S.R. Witt, and their collaboration churned out one heck of a story. Seriously, if it had been another character I would have been rooting for him all the way. I still loved this book and hold it to the same standards as VGO. In spite of the time since the release it looks like this is a one off book, but I think that I would like to see yet another book written from Ozmark’s POV as he struggles against Grimjack and all the other doom and death bringers the two enemies have to face together.
Broadhead, who is not Armen Taylor (narrator of the VGO series) narrates this book and I think it was a smart move to have a different voice, so to speak, to tell Ozmark's tale. This way you don't think of Ozmark as being Grim Jack, only as another character. It really sets both series and main characters apart. I would say that Broadhead is totally on par with Taylor in this book, and such close skill levels also keeps thing balanced. Broadhead does a fine job here. With me he is usually hit or miss. I know him from the Bathrobe Knight series, and so I guess I am a little biased on how good he is, as I love that series.
Overall, for quality, story and narration this is like holding a mirror up to VGO. You can see they are the same, but so different as to stand apart. If you love VGO you will not want to miss this novel. Get it today!!!!
Final score 7.8 stars.
Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. In fact, getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.
If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!
By: Dakota Krout
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
Dakota Krout finally returns to the Divine Dungeon after a far too long period of time. I have really missed Dale, Cal, and Danni the Wisp. Naturally, nothing remains static and a lot of changes take place in a short span of time. Without getting too spoilery Dale loses a lot, Danni pretty much mommies it up, and Cal tries to deal with his plan to gather the world’s energy via a network of ley lines that he has constructed.
I have to say that as the penultimate book in the series I was a little let down in some spots. Cal sends Dale and his team to retrieve a dungeon core, and there really wasn’t much to the entire encounter, a cult that worships Cal springs up and he does very little with them, and he commandeers another dungeon core to run some of his levels so he can focus on his big plans. In the meantime a necromantic army is killing everything in its path and the Adventurers Guild is tasked with stopping it. A lot is happening in the book, but we get to focus on very little until the big army encounter.
The entire book is basically Dale and Cal getting pushed around and scrambling to stop a horde of undead and a Triple S level madman. I honestly felt like the series would have been better served with a book centered on the undead horde and then the madman, and then to finish with the fallout of their encounter with the triple S’er. So much happened that I think the reader was short changed with the follow up to the events that happened. For example, there are deaths that are glossed over, events between party members, and revelations about the big bad necromancer. Xenocide, on the other hand went from just being a nut case to being the biggest danger in the world. I would have expected a little more build up before he exploded into being the biggest bad of all. This made the last half of the book feel very rushed. In fact, the entire necromantic war which was built up pretty heavily ends with a whimper at Xenocide’s appearance.
Cal really doesn’t do much in the way of dungeon building or creating new monsters for most of the book, and that is one of my favorite aspects of the story. My second favorite part is Danni interacting with Cal, and most of that was limited to them discussing the wee wisp. My third favorite aspect is Dale navigating the act of building a town while trying to level up. We get the leveling aspect, and that is really fun, but we completely lose the Town aspect for reasons. This seemed to be the weakest of the dungeon books, simply for the fact that the dungeon shifts from being the most important character to a second tier personage. Cal, being the dungeon should always come first. Also because it feels pieced together, like it was Dale’s story, with a dash of Cal, and an Uber threat that appears out of nowhere. Yes, Xenocide was foreshadowed last book, but we really didn’t get to know much about him. Again, that makes this feel rushed, and it almost feels like Dakota was happily plugging along on his completionist stuff and felt like he had to get another dungeon book out ASAP to keep us from rioting. I would have rather he’d of held off a little and really crafted this tale a bit tighter.
All that said, I did enjoy the novel, and you can’t get the same old thing every time, and I was very happy with what I got. The battle was pretty cool and I loved the way Dale rebuilt himself. The good moments were great, but they seemed to be very few and far between one another. An d, hey, I get that there wasn’t a lot of room for the dungeon to grow and kill adventurers, but Krout is pretty creative and he could have done something like having Cal invade the other dungeons one level at a time rather than having his minions doing things for him. Most of which was truncated, al la the deep sea dungeon, or having Minya do the volcanic dungeon.
Vikas Adam is fantastic as always, and I love his rendition of Danni is my favorite voice that he does. I will give credit where credit is due, and say that he plays every character like they were as important as the main characters. He nails the humor and can jump from silly to full blown action in less than three letters.
Final Score 7.4 Stars. It really pains me to do that, but I felt a little cheated on the dungeon building and even just Cal’s screen time was short. We had a bloody battle that ultimately became meaningless, and a big bad that just popped up and took over. You might like it more than me, give it a shot it is still a good book, but is in my opinion the weakest of the dungeon books.
Dragons of Autumn Twilight: Dragonlance: Chronicles
Dragons of Winter Night, Book 2
Dragons of Spring Dawning, Book 3
Time of the Twins, Book 1
War of the Twins, Book 2
Test of the Twins, Book 3
By: Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
2nd series Narrated by: Ax Norman
Length: 20 hrs on average
This is a new segment in which I am going to talk about different books that are based ON video and RPG games. The requirement is that it has to be either a video game or role playing game before it became a book. So, if Chaosium put out an audiobook of HP Lovecraftian stories it would not qualify. I also discount any games that were made from a movie or tv show. So, no Manimal Role Playing game audiobooks for you. Sorry. This has to have been a purely video or table top game before hitting print. Sorry, that’s the rules. I will generally cover one book from a series, but may, as today, cover multiple books. As before, my intent is to draw you in and broaden your awareness, so I won’t score here, but It will be on Audible. So look there if you want a score.
So, for my first segment ever I had to pick something that I seem to talk about all the time. Dragonlance. I’m actually going to talk about the first six books in the series. I’m doing this because this is actually one really long saga, and as far as I’m concerned each of these books are amazing and only get better as the series goes on. Additionally, everything after them was, in my opinion, subpar and mediocre at best. That includes the Dragons of Summer Flame, that Weiss and Hickman both wrote as well. This is fantasy at its best.
The story centers on what is a standard adventuring party including a Half-elf Ranger, A wizard, a thief, a Knight, a dwarf, a fighter, a swordstress, and a bar maid. Other characters tag along from time to time, but they are the core group. The premise is simple. The band of heroes decides to go looking for signs of the old gods, gods who abandoned the land off Krynn long ago after an event called the Cataclysm. They have heard tales of true healing occurring, and that can only be done by the old god’s followers. They agree to meet up some time later in their old home tavern on a specific date. Everyone arrives except the swordstress and so the reunion begins under a bad omen. Minutes later they are beset by a Hobgoblin and a band of warriors demanding that they surrender to him. From their the group goes on the run and find themselves enmeshed on a journey that will bring back the old gods, dragons, and see them fight an evil so fierce and dark that there is no hope of defeating it.
The strength of the story lies in the characters, although the story itself is just as powerful as anything Tolkien, Howard, Burroughs, or even Lovecraft could pen. The story is broad and sweeping in scope, and yet tethered by the personalities of the characters. The first three books see so many changes in them that it is shattering that by the end of the first series not all of the characters are still alive, and not all of them tread the path of light.
The second series picks up after the first and we find that the wizard, Raistlan has claimed a dark wizards tower for his own, making him the master of the past, present, and future. This story involves all of the survivors, and actually spans the time before the cataclysm, all the way to the end of the world. It is basically about how the wizard schemes to become a god by killing the queen of darkness and taking her mantle for himself. At least it on the surface, it is really about redemption, love, and sacrifice. The final three books are about the best novels I have ever read in any genre. It still manages to choke me up with a simple line like, “Look Raist, bunnies.” Every. Damn. Time. I wish I could read this to my kids today, and right now I have them interested in Harry Potter, so I’m hoping after that fargin series that I can get them into DL. This is such a powerful and moving series that you will not look at RPG’s and think that they only produce mediocre stories.
The series also produces two of the greatest characters of all time, Tasslehoff Burrfoot, and Raistlin Majere. Trust me. Once you read them you won’t ever forget them.
The narration on these books are better than average, but it drives me crazy that both narrators get the pronunciation of certain names wrong. I have met both of the authors, actually when these books were coming out. I’ve watched Tracy Hickman play Fizban, and I know that I am not mistaken, and all I ever ask is that a narrator take five minutes to get a name right. If they can get Lauralana’s full elvish name correct there is no reason they cannot nail the proper way to say Tas.
Narration is almost irrelevant to the story. Trust me, the book does have a bit of a slow start, but once the action hits it never lets up. The only thing you’ll ever question is the hold that Kitiara has over Tanis, because their personalities do not mesh, and it has to be utterly and completely sexual, which I would think he would be able to overcome. I don’t do much thinking with that down there, Gilbert, and that guy has a freaking PHD. I just don’t let him make decisions. I think I could have walked away from Kit and never looked back, and I am drawn to crazy. Just ask my wife. Love Ya Baby!
This is one of those series that once you finish you are going to want to get all the other millions of books they spun off, and I’m just going to say don’t. After all this the series heart and soul dries up and it becomes just another world. These six books though are true soul gems. I read or listen to them about once a year. I even got the filler books that Weis and Hickman did to flesh out the “missing parts” of the story and even those were well watered down. The original six are simply lightning in a bottle that must be read in order and from 1 to 6. To me these books, if I were giving a score would be 9.8 with narration deductions only. As books, 10’s all around, but I am not scoring them here. I am just trying to get you to see a different game world that you might enjoy sans outside PC’s entering the world.
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.
For LitRPG Audiobook Podcast, I’m Ray. Keep listening!!!
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