LitRPG Podcast 083
LitRPG Podcast 083
Dec. 1st, 2017
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 83 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. This week I have 10 new LitRPG reviews for you. With me this week is special guest commentator is LitRPG author Charles Dean.
New Releases and Reviews:
Star Warrior (15:25)
World Keeper: The Dawn of an Era (01:14:00)
Eden's Gate: The Sands: A LitRPG Adventure (01:28:07)
(Play Music 2)
Aleron Kong announced this week that book 7 in the Chaos Seed series will be delayed again. That pesky job as a doctor is keeping him extra busy. He said in a Facebook Live post that the book is 80% done and edited but will just take more time. No firm release date.
Weirdest Newb Book 3 had some Issues when it released early this week, but they’ve been sorted. Apparently the publisher uploaded the wrong copy of the story. The one they originally uploaded was one with notes to the translator and editing notes. But the publisher has since uploaded the correct finished version and anyone that got the 1st one should have gotten an e-mail with a link to the correct download.
Delvers LLC book 1 is on sale until 12/4 for $0.99 http://amzn.to/2hVSMfR
Shepherd Moon: Omegaverse 1 until 12/3 for $0.99
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Slime Dungeon Chronicles Book Book 4 (Dec. 1st, 2017)
Apocalypse Gate: Book 1- Rapture (Dec. 2nd, 2017)
-Both NSFW Author's edition and PG 16 edition.
The Land: Predators (Chaos Seeds: Book 7) (Dec. ??, 2017)
The Twilight Obelisk (Mirror World Book #4) (Dec. 4th, 2017)
The Starry Skies of Darkaan (Realm of Arkon Book 6) (Dec. 4th, 2017)
Emerilia Book 11 (Dec. 5th, 2017)
Desert Storm (Puatera Online Book 3) (Dec. 13th, 2017)
Depths of Camlan: A LitRPG Adventure (Camlan Realm Book 2) (Dec. 21st, 2017)
A Trap for the Potentate (The Dark Herbalist Book #3) LitRPG series (Jan.17th, 2017)
The Reapers (The Neuro Book #3) LitRPG Series (Jan. 24th, 2018)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
In a galaxy where the fabric of reality can be bent and shaped by a privileged few, and almost any skill desired is a mere injection away, one young man is thrust into the fight of his life.
Tane, a hydroponics farmer with some mad cereal crop gene-splicing skills, decides to get chipped. The operation gives him full control over his autonomic nervous and endocrine systems, plus the ability to install custom memories.
All seems well until a couple of days later aliens come knocking at his door. And they aren't the friendly type.
Soon Tane finds himself on a frenzied flight across the galaxy with a woman who can warp the very fabric of spacetime, her bodyguard--who’d just as soon kill Tane than protect him--and a starship that calls him snarky pet names. He's on the run not simply from the aliens but the whole damn human space navy.
He only wished he knew why.
Unfortunately for Tane, the answer might just destroy him.
Not to mention the entire known universe.
My Opinion: 812 pages??, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
In several LitRPG Facebook groups the author advertised this book as his first foray into LitRPG and described the novel as ‘mixing in some Star Wars in your LitRPG’. From the original book cover art, which heavily mimics the early Star Wars posters, you can tell there’s a definite influence from that franchise. A farm boy who’s whisked away by a princess type and smuggler. He discovers he’s more than what he thought he was, eventually wielding a lightsaber-like weapon. In the novel there are plenty of Star Wars references but there are also plenty of original sci fi aspects. Self-aware AI robots, interdimensional aliens, space tech and magic powers that use the essence of the universe. Each is well explained and described in sci fi terms.
The plot, is pretty predictable. The moment the author mentioned that there was a light and dark essence, it was pretty obvious how the main character (MC) was going to be shown to be special. There are good space battles and the end is certainly action filled. But overall, the story was rather predictable.
The sci fi aspects of the novel are well written. There is lots and lots of detail and neat explanations about future tech, future cultures, galactic history, and more. However, what the novel really lacks is good RGP mechanics. That’s not to say they don’t exists in the story, they’re just really rare and not really detailed once you get past the beginning of the story.
Most of the RPG stuff is explained in a sci fi way in the first 3% of the novel when the MC gets an implant in his brain that gives him an augmented reality view of the world and allows for nano upgrade to his mind and body. With this implant the MC now has a character sheet that shows his attributes and assigns numbers to reflect his proficiency in those areas. He can purchase nano injections that will increase those attributes or upload whole new skills to his mind. If he learns a new skill it shows up on his character sheet along with a level to show how good he’s become with it.
However, after the 3% most of the the promised game mechanics disappear. The most common one seen is the AR augmentation to see people’s names and their levels, or get an item description. There’s not much progression RPG wise in the story. There are a handful of instances where the MC purchases a nano upgrade to get a new skill or increase an attribute and a few more when he learns a new skill through practice. It’s really disappointing because the foundation for a good LitRPG novel were laid in the first 3% of the novel. There just wasn’t much follow through.
I don’t know if this was because the author fell back on his great sci fi writing skills or if he was just afraid to alienate his current reader base by including too much ‘game stuff’ but it’s disappointing.
When I was reading the story I kept seeing so many places the established RPG mechanics could have been implemented. The MC learns how to do so many new things going from farmer to space man but he hardly ever gets a new skill for it. There were lots of places to increase stats. With the spaceship there could have been a whole detailed upgrade option. Or when learning how to use the essence/siphon, there could have been a detailed skill tree the MC had to choose powers from like in Knights of the Old Republic.
Overall, the sci fi elements of the story are well written but I wanted to read a good LitRPG story and this just wasn’t it.
Score: 5 out of 10
Dungeon Player: A LitRPG Dungeon Core Adventure (Glendaria Awakens Trilogy Book 1)
Even after pre-ordering the pod that would allow them to play "Glendaria Awakens", Krista and Devin still had to wait months before they were able to experience the newest in VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) technology. The wait was definitely worth it as they entered into a game world that was virtually indistinguishable from real life -- apart from the obvious game elements of course.
After starting in a typical starting town, they learned everything they needed to survive in this new world. Journeying through the wilderness outside of town, the duo progressed at a good pace until they arrived at the starting dungeon. Their lives were drastically changed by this place with the unassuming name of, "Goblin Cave".
My Opinion: 141 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Really overpriced at $3.99 for 141 pages. But a good read if you have Kindle Unlimited. This is a trapped in the game dungeon master LitRPG story. While that’s a mouthful, it simply means the two main characters get trapped in the VR game they’re playing but not as normal characters. Krista becomes a bodiless dungeon administrator (Dungeon Master) and Devin becomes a special dungeon monster that can create a new character with new class/race combinations every time he dies and still keeps the levels he earned.
The game mechanics in the story are super detailed and there are a lots of tables in the story. Like pages and pages and pages of them. Personally, I’d rather have more information than less but some people will get annoyed by the number of table in the story. Honestly, some of the information given is not relevant to the story and other parts could have been shown in the narrative instead of just told to the reader.
Still, you can tell that the author put a lot of work into the game mechanics and there are some rather neat ones. In particular, I like that there’s a character that can change his class and race with each incarnation. It allows for a variety of strategies and play styles. Additionally, even though it’s not used much, the ability for the dungeon to Lure in new monsters also adds to potential variety to monsters that players will get to fight.
Things that I’m not a fan of from the story:
The way the author decides to define gaming terms is by use of a parenthesis definition next to the term.
Ie: "Hurry Devin, hit it and try to take aggro (or attention -- the monster will attack the player it considers to be the highest threat)!"
The way it’s written breaks the immersion of the reader and the information could have been conveyed another way. Including having a newb character that asks questions about terms, a footnote, or a glossary in the back.
They’re stuck in the game trying to contact the outside world and need to increase the level of the dungeon to get the chance to use the game’s mail system. Yet the whole premise of the story falls apart if anyone remember that using the Help function of the game or calling a GM might solve their problems or get them some answers. Heck, why not write on a wall in the dungeon to talk to the constant stream of players coming in?
The biggest issue I had with the story is the lack of stakes for the main characters. No matter what happens to the dungeon, the monsters, or even Devin as a special dungeon monster, there are no negative repercussions. Everyone dies they get to respawn with no penalties. Devin actually gets to keep any XP he earned no matter how many times he dies. The dungeon resource points aren’t lost and there’s only a net gain possible from killing players. There are stakes implemented by the end of the story but it’s literally the last lines in the novel.
Still, despite those small points, overall this is an entertaining read. I enjoyed seeing how the dungeon grew, the possibilities for upgrades, and the way the two main characters worked together.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Alpha Test Subject #3435: A Roguelike LitRPG Adventure (Chronicles of Alamor Book 1)
Frank is a nobody.
He's struggling to be a somebody, and he needs cash.
Frank applied to more than a hundred clinical trials over the past year, getting into none of them. Until now.
CoA Inc. is highly secretive about their latest project. They've been advertising on college campuses and technology centers across the nation for paid volunteers. Hundreds of people have traveled through their clinics, and none have talked about what's going on.
Frank didn't care. He showed up to the trial knowing he'd be in a simulation, but nothing else. He certainly didn't count on getting trapped in that simulation.
Now he just wants to get out.
Alpha Test Subject #3435 is a Roguelike LitRPG adventure without a cliffhanger waiting for you at the end.
Take your first trip to the world of Alamor today!
My Opinion: 201 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The author describes the novel as a Roguelike LitRPG. As a video game that means that the journey the character takes is procedurally generated (aka random) so that each run through the game is different. You explore an area, maybe get some items, kill some monsters, die and then start a new game. That works well for a video game where the challenge is to just do better each time you play or to kill some time.
This does not work well for a novel. It’s so boring! Reading the novel felt less roguelike and more zork like. All the character in the story does is go to an area, describe it in too much detail, and search the area. Sometimes he finds an item, sometimes he kills a monster, sometimes he eats. Occasionally, he’ll do something that he gets a skill for. But that’s it. If the character dies, he just wakes up in a random location and it all starts again. Walk, search, get item/kill monster. Repeat endlessly. That’s it. There’s no one for the main character to talk to.
Yes, the story is LitRPG. There’s a game world with RPG mechanics. The character progresses according to those mechanics. The MC has a character sheet with familiar stats and an inventory. The MC gets experience points for exploring areas, killing monsters, and eating. He even levels up eventually. He learns new skills and can improve them.
Still, it’s a boring story that I did not enjoy.
Score: 4 out of 10
Quest for Camlan: A LitRPG Adventure (Camlan Realm Book 1)
The game is life.
Asher Duncan lives for the hours he spends in Toterra Online, his favorite MMORPG. His job and apartment are barely worth noticing, but he logs into the game and all that fades away. When Toterra Online announces the Camlan Challenge and chance to win one of only twelve spots in their newest game, Asher is determined to beat them all, even if it means quitting his job to play.
Camlan Realm is full of all of the best parts of a fantasy game -- goblins, mysterious loot, magic spells -- and if it weren’t for his constant obsession with the Camlan Challenge leaderboard, Asher could just play.
But once logged in, Asher realizes that playing against both the game and the other eleven gamers might be more than he is ready for.
He’s put everything on the line just to be here. Can Asher compete against both the professional gamers and the game’s own trials to win the Camlan Challenge and not lose it all?
My Opinion: 266 pages, $3.99, Available On Kindle Unlimited
This is a VR game contest story that doesn’t get particularly interesting and focused until about the halfway point in the story. The game mechanics in the story feel undetailed and only half cared about sometimes. Combat is mostly mediocre. The story isn’t bad once you get to the halfway point but the ending twists feel forced, out of character for the main character (MC), and only there to get you to read another book.
This is the most frustrating thing about the story. The game mechanics. Somethings are consistent, others seem to be randomly implemented, and others feel like they were cut out because it was too big of a hassle to keep track of.
Quests are one of the more consistent mechanics. The MC gets a notification with quest details and rewards every time he gets a quest. However, who’s giving the quest feels random. Sometimes it’s an NPC, other times the MC just gets a quest from thin air. For example, early in the story the MC wants to make a canoe and magically a quest is generated for him to try woodcraft. It’s never clear if it’s the system reading his mind and giving him the quest or if there’s some personal AI watching him, or if it’s the game designers.
Crafting in the story feels like a box the author felt they had to check. It amounts to the MC holding sticks in one hand and waving his other hand over them, then magically transforming the sticks into a club, staff, or boat paddle. That’s it.
One of the mechanics that I felt was eliminated from the story because it was annoying to keep track of for the author is the MC’s health and mana pools. I wouldn’t mind this except that the author makes it a point to show that the MC loses health in fights. “A light nip on my ankles tells me it means business. [-12 HP]”
Is losing 12 HP a lot for the MC? The reader never knows because nowhere in the entire story is the reader told how much HP the MC has. Not on the character sheets or in the story text. So all those damage notifications have no context. Oh, also, the reader only gets damage notifications for the MC not the monsters. So you never know how much damage the MC is doing in a fight.
There are a few well detailed combat scenes in the story but most are just poorly described. In most combat scenes the MC swings his weapon and just magically kills everything.
“I halt my paddling for a moment -I have enough momentum to at least continue floating slowly in the correct direction- and arm myself with one of the ten Clubs I have stowed. [+30 XP] [ +28 XP ] [ +37 XP ] A quick knock to the head and the eels fall away.” (21% mark of the story)
The first 17% of the story begins with the main character Asher, SirAsh3r in game, winning a contest to get early access to a new expansion area of his favorite VR game. This section goes on a little to long and while it does establish backstory for the main character (MC) much of it feels like a waste since it never comes up again.
By the 18% mark, the MC is in the game competing against the other winners to get the highest level and win even better prizes.
There are some decent stakes setup in game. All the contestants are told if they die in game then lose everything they’ve gained in the early access period. They lose all loot and levels gained and will have to start back at level 10. Not bad, but the risk is really mitigated by half heartedly implementing PVP. Players can hurt but not actually kill each other.
Unfortunately, even from this early point in the game the game mechanics in the story feel unfinished or undetailed
The story doesn’t become particularly interesting or focused until the 48% mark when the MC reaches what seems like the one village in the game. There he finally has a reason to quest. The MC is given a quest from the Mayor of the town that has some meaning and provides the plot for the rest of the novel. Other quests in town get the MC closer to being the top player. But before the MC reaches the village, most of the quests seem random, irrelevant, and unconnected.
The story from the point where the MC gets to the village is pretty good and it feels focused. Every quest plays into the fulfilling the MCs goals.
However, the ending of the story was just dumb, out of character for the MC, and felt like it was there just to be a twist and then twisted again to justify a 2nd book.
Overall, this is not a bad story. But it just didn’t get entertaining for me till it was half way done. The half hearted implementation of the game mechanics in the story also lessened my enjoyment of the LitRPG story. Other people may be able to ignore the things that bothered me but I couldn’t.
Score: 6 out of 10
The Drachma Killers (The Last Warrior of Unigaea Book 2)
The reason that Oric Rune became a Player Killer continues to loom at the back of his mind as he makes his way north with Sam Raid and Wolf. All is well until an ambush throws a wrench in their plans, forcing Oric to come to grips with his digital existence, and the fragile lives of those closest to him. With the Red Plague spreading, and the denizens of Unigaea becoming increasingly hostile, Oric must decide if he should go after those who have ambushed and betrayed him, continue his personal quest to rid Unigaea of the Drachma Killers, or ride north to the Rune Lands and address the Red Plague head on. Joining Oric and Wolf this time around are the mysterious Deathdale, a scholarly giant named Lothar, and a powerful Hourglass Mage, whose control over the game-time continuum may be the key to saving Unigaea. Betrayal, vengeance, unspeakable calamity. The second installment of the Last Warrior trilogy offers an unforgettable journey through a dark fantasy world filled with LitRPG elements, intense action, humor, and an ending you won’t see coming.
My Opinion: 298 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full Disclosure: The author sent me an early copy for review. I purchased it when it was released.
If you loved book 1 in this series, you might like book 2. It has the same sex jokes and there’s loads of action and adventure. Unfortunately for me, it also felt like you could skip most of the novel. There’s a loss of urgency that came at the end of book 1 and there’s no resolution of any plot points established.
At the end of book 1 the big reveal was that there’s a huge threat to the entire world of Unigaea, the source code bomb. It was very urgent that Oric, Wolf, and his group deal with it as soon as possible. There was great urgency!
Book 2 opens up with Oric, Wolf, and Sam on a leisurely raft trip towards a cabin to meetup with a team member. There’s a magic wand that gets waved and the MC gets gifted with 5 new levels and several new powers he didn’t earn. From there most of the story is a meandering journey towards the Drachma Killers in an effort to destroy them like the main character, Oric, promised in book 1. However, even that plot thread isn’t resolved in this book. Instead, it’s a series of unrelated adventures that barely move along the plot. The adventures are funny and very actiony but they feel like filler compared to book 1.
I had a hard time making an emotional investment in book 1 and had an even more difficult time with book 2. The only character I cared about in book 2 was Wolf and if you got to the end of this book you know how that turned out. :(
Overall, it’s still a fine action-adventure story. There’s plenty of jokes and most of them land. However, the novel seemed to meander and you can likely skip the entire thing and go directly to book 3 without missing much plot development.
Score: 6 out of 10
World Keeper: The Dawn of an Era
Join Dale as he continues to grow as a Keeper. With the experiences slowly piling up around him, how will he deal with the changes to come? Is he ready for all that awaits him?
His world has stepped out of its earliest stages, moving on to bigger and better things while Dale and his pantheon watch from above. See how his decisions impact the course of history, and watch as he shapes the world with the help of those around him.
My Opinion: 286 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is the 2nd book in the World Keeper series. I’d definitely recommend you read book 1 first.
Remember that the story is told from the perspective of the main character the God of the Universe. It’s sort of like a story told from a god game like Black and White. The main character uses his resources to create and influence the races he created on the world below. He peeks in and out of the world noting world events. He’s also created other gods and goddesses to manage some aspects of the world and influence the world too.
It’s a fun story that people who love god games will enjoy. There’s crafting, resource managements, magic, manipulation from the gods, good world building, and the ability to see how those influences shape the world over the course of hundreds of years on the world below.
Score: 7 out of 10
Under the Black Flag (Epic LitRPG Adventure - Book 6) (Fayroll)
Hoist the sails! Full speed, sailors, we’re at the start of the new Adventure!
Book 6 of the Fayroll series is a breakthrough. The author acts resolutely and ruthlessly, swirling what used to be untouchable in the previous five books — the real world. All the mystery that appears as slight hints before, now reveals themselves as a full-scale masterplan of some supernatural creatures. Everything you knew has to be rethought now, as the double bottom of the out-of-the-game world is exposed. It was, and it will be “More than a Game.”
Another quest sends Kif to a brand new location where no player’s foot has trodden before. He’s the first and only one there. As soon as he falls off the portal, he finds himself in the middle of pirates’ problems, faction’s wars, sea battles, boardings and corsairs’ intrigues in the rough waters of the Tigali Archipelago. Being unable to leave the place, or to contact other players or to reveal his location, Hagen, the warrior from the West, joins Captain Daisy Englend’s fleet to finish his quest. Under the black flag of the young but furious Captain Daisy, he has to gain a reputation among corsair’s fractions, discover new islands and items, deal with sailors and bearded captains with sharp rapiers and cunning traders, find vivid allies and deadly enemies, reveal dodgy traitors and meet the Great Kraken itself. Where will the line of Archipelago’s quests lead our hero? Batten down the hatches, a storm is coming!
You thought you knew enough about the game-world of Fayroll? Well, so does Kif, but the developers still have something up their sleeves! Just getting along with his position in the Fayroll world, logging-out, he finds himself at the center of another big game between Raidion and the Consortium, and this one is bigger than anything he has seen before. Both powerful real-life fractions need him to cooperate, and both of them are not what they seem to be at first sight. Most of the daring thoughts and guesses of Harriton are now confirmed. The real world doesn’t seem to be so simple anymore. Things, which might be usual for the Fayroll world but not for the real one, are happening and each time get more and more dangerous. The everlasting scriptural conflict comes to its point around the Fayroll game in real life. Will it come to an end and what will that mean for everyone involved? No more sneaking around and playing games, it’s all serious now. Beware, Harriton, your soul is at stake…
“Fayroll: Under the Black Flag” is the 6th book from the fantasy litRPG series by Andrey Vasilyev. Creating an epic story, he gets recognition for his talent. The first book of the Fayroll series “More Than a Game” was voted as new fantasy book of the year 2014. Later it was adapted and translated for English-speaking readers and found it’s fans all over the world!
My Opinion: 376 pages, $6.95, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
The price is a bit high but if you like the series this is a good story.
The first 9% of the story ties up the witch quest from book 5 and as soon as the main character (MC) finds himself transported to Tigali Archipelago. A part of the game that is still in the testing phase. The game admins are letting the MC in though because he has a quest which may change all of Fayroll.
The rules are different for him here. To keep his progress he’ll have to use save points, he can’t use the game message system, and he can't use the auction house or anything outside this closed game area. He’s truly on his own, no player support. Oh, he’s also stuck there till he finished this part of the quest.
I thought this novel did a great job of sort of resetting the in-game storyline. This is almost a side novel since the story isolates the main character from all the guild drama and quests he’s had before. It was a nice break to be honest. I’d started to get bored with the series and this was a nice encapsulated story. There are no cliffhangers with this one. Just action and adventure on the high seas, pirate style.
The real life storyline is a bit dry until you get to the chapter called ‘The Second Conversation’ then it gets interesting, though you may have to look up some religious references. Thankfully it doesn’t take up much of the story and you can skip most of it.
There are of course the usual small translation issues and cultural snafus. For example, what’s a “pedophile dress?” Still the issues are relatively rare.
Overall, I had a good time with the story and enjoyed the side journey through the pirate filled islands.
Score: 7 out of 10
Eden's Gate: The Sands: A LitRPG Adventure
With Unity formed, Gunnar feels like he's created a family like he's never had before. All that's left is to grow in strength, continue building in Edgewood, and maybe earn a little affection from Princess Adeelee. Nothing can tear him away from his friends and newly founded guild.
Or can it?
Gunnar still has a lot to learn about his massive, new world. There are eyes and ears everywhere. Deception can come when you least expect it, and in Eden's Gate, sometimes you can lose control of your own fate.
And Rachel? Maybe she's still out there... somewhere.
My Opinion: 366 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is an adventure for Gunner, the main character (MC), in a new land. After reminding the reader about the various characters in the story the author whisks the MC to a far away land where he’ll learn about a new threat to the peace of his new home. There he stays for most of the story. He fights new creatures, gains new magic, and infiltrates a new evil evil group to learn of their evil evil plans. All the action adventure you’ve come to enjoy from the series is here.
While I enjoyed the side trip into this new land, the events that force the MC there are completely forced. The author might as well have had him fall down a rabbit hole or get pushed through a mysterious portal. Still, despite the way the MC gets there, the new exotic location opens up some neat storytelling opportunities.
This isn’t my favorite novel in the series and there are quite a few more grammar errors in the novel than usual, but it’s a fun read.
Score: 7 out of 10.
Wounded Legion: a mech LitRPG novel (Armored Souls Book 2)
It’s time for our sergeant to become a general.
Reggie King lives his life in the Armored Souls universe. But there’s more to the game than taking missions as they come. Even turning a secret asteroid base into a kickass man cave only holds appeal for so long. There comes a time when a platoon of mercenaries either needs to join up with a major faction…
Or create one.
With the founding of Wounded Legion, Reggie takes on responsibility for building and recruiting an elite fighting force capable of conquering planets. But while crummy little independent worlds and uninhabited rocks are easy to capture, the real prizes involve fighting other factions to secure. In the process, Reggie makes enemies, including one troll who refuses to win gracefully. Rather than rough up Wounded Legion and move on, Liberty Clan decides they want to wipe Reggie and his friends off the galactic map.
It’s all by the book. The game rules allow it. To avoid extermination, Reggie has to find a way to combat a foe ten times as powerful as his own. A diplomat might broker a deal. An assassin might go straight for the enemy leader. But Reggie’s a soldier, and he’s going to fight this war the way he knows best.
My Opinion: 325 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Book 2 in the series introduces the larger game world of Armored Souls. The team creates their own faction, Wounded Legion, recruits new members, conquers planets for resources, and builds their own bases. If you liked book 1, there’s more mech fighting action here.
Additionally, there’s a bit of crafting, upgrading, and PVP combat. Though there’s also less RPG mechanics. It’s expected since the story is getting bigger but it’s still disappointing.
Score: 6 out of 10
The Greystone Chronicles: Book 2 - The Dire Lands
Jupiter Tech's headquarters, Olympus, has been attacked. Lives have been lost in the real world. Alexander and friends must now thwart the servants of the Dark One both in and out of the game.
With a few new allies, the Greystone Guild moves out of the noob zones to take on the challenges presented by the ruins of Dire Keep and its inhabitants. They must conquer, rebuild, and defend the Dire Lands against attacking forces.
The players (and Fibble) must now overcome tougher dungeons, and more dangerous foes. Even betrayal by one of their own!
My Opinion: 600 pages??, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Book 1 having only come out a month ago, book 2 is already out.
There’s nice summary of book 1 at the beginning of book 2 but I’d still recommend you read book 1 to understand who everyone is.
The first 7% is recaps book 1, reminding you about who everyone is and introducing new interesting characters.
From the 7-14% it’s a nice action adventure story about the main group clearing Dire Keep and the Greystone Guild taking possession of it. The next 50% of the novel is a kingdom/town building story with breaks for crafting, dungeon diving, attacks from players serving the Dark One, character development, betrayals, and love.
Over 50% of the novel (over 300 pages) is devoted to building up Dire Keep. It’s really well written and super detailed. There are text about recruiting new citizens for farming, crafting, and fighting, planning and building structures, figuring out the game system used to interface and upgrade the keep, planning defenses, planning on food and water needs for citizens, and more. If you’re a fan of that kind of stuff, this novel will satisfy you.
If you’re not, well there’s still the action and adventure. It’s good. There’s a good 20% of the novel that is about fighting various players that attack the keep, or the group dungeon diving and fighting a nice variety of monsters.
The few things I thought could be better in book 2 are: that the MC and the Greystone guild seem to be getting pretty overpowered, a love interest that seems off, and a overreaction to player death and PKing.
Part of what I really liked about book 1 was that the characters were underdogs. The core group had to start over at level 1 to use the fancy new immersion tech. They regularly faced off against player and monsters 10X their levels.They had to use their brains to rework their powers into great combos to overcome their disadvantage.
Now in book 2, they have this great new overpowered ability. It’s the same one that Batman has. Money. Money to rebuild a whole keep, get whatever they want for materials, hire whoever they need, buy food and livestock for hundreds of people. Every adventure seems to give them so much money that they never seem to run out. Additionally, the MC’s given several abilities/resources that are so rare that it’s almost like the author gave him the ability to printing money and build overpowered weapons/items.
Additionally, when there is action, it is well written but I never really feel that the group is in any danger of losing. Especially not enough to merit the main character’s over exaggerated responses to Player Killers and seeing players get killed. After all, the players respawn in like 10 minutes. Yet each player death is reacted to by the group like that player was really killed and will never be seen again.
Another small thing that just kept bugging me, was the MC’s love interest. It’s a cute add on, but it really feels like her character was only written into the story for that purpose. Additionally, that budding romance feels forced. It took me a little while to realize why. It’s because it doesn’t feel natural for the MC. He’s been sheltered because of a degenerative disease most of his life. His best friend is a girl he grew up with and is initially one of the only people to know about it. All his other friends are from playing online games. So, when did he have the time to develop skills with the ladies? How do the two of them just seem to magically get together without that awkwardness that is your first love interest? Also, why does he seem to have all these jokes about women really being in charge and men just following them around? Those are the kind of comments I’d expect from a guy who's been married a few times not someone that’s never been on a date before.
Overall, I had a good time reading the story. My favorite characters get expanded parts and every scene with Fibble is wonderful. The action is nice and the combat scenes have varied opponents with plenty of new skills/items tested and shown off. I liked all the detail of the kingdom/town building. There are things I think could have been done better, especially since the major plot point teased in the novel isn’t actually getting resolved in this book. But those things didn’t stop me from having an enjoyable time reading the story.
Score: 7 out of 10.
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Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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