LitRPG Podcast 109
LitRPG Podcast 109
April 20th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 109 of the LitRPG podcast. If you missed episode 108, it’s a wonderful interview with Apollos Thorne that you can find at: GeekBytes Podcast YouTube https://youtu.be/GeOUzkxb7b0
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 7 reviews just for you.
Alejandro Amante Romero became a pateron subscriber. Thank you for being a supporter of the podcast.
New Releases and Reviews:
Dante's Immortality: Beginnings (20:09)
(Play Music 2)
This past week, Soundbooth Theater Live! Talked to Dave Wilmarth about his latest novel, 'Land of the Undying - Dark Elf Chronicles Book One.’ It’s a combination mini discussion about the book and some live testing of some of the voices for the audiobook narration. It’s a very interesting episode and there’s even a bit where Laurie-Catherine Winkel does an orc impersonation that has everyone laughing.
Recently Vasily Mahanenko, author of the Way of the Shaman series, has recently shared some great art made. One features Mahan mining in the prison in book 1 and the other is a cool sketch of the rats and some other tools.
Aleron Kong has also shown off some cool art done for his Chaos Seeds series.
Daniel Schinhofen released some early cover art for Book 5 of Alpha World: Fractured Spirit.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Our review of the ebook: http://litrpgpodcast.com/litrpg-database/2017/11/2/liar-king-tower-of-babel-book-2
Our review of the ebook: http://litrpgpodcast.com/litrpg-database/2018/2/1/inside-out-bloodfeast-book-1
Countdown (Reality Benders Book #1) LitRPG Series (April 23, 2018)
Word and Steel (epic LitRPG Adventure - Book 9) (Fayroll) (April 24th, 2018)
Apocalypse 2020 - Look to the Skies (April 24th, 2018)
-Sequel to the Apocalypse 2020 the Mad Max /Fallout inspired LitRPG story.
Visaria Online: Void: A litRPG Fantasy Adventure Book 2 (April 26th, 2018)
You're in Game! Book #2 (Моre LitRPG stories set in your favorite worlds) (April 30th, 2018)
Prison Quest: A Sci-Fi LitRPG Adventure (April 30th, 2018)
Questmaster: A LitRPG Novella (May 8th, 2018)
Blind Gambit: A GameLit LitRPG novel (May 10, 2018)
Monster Hunter (May 10th, 2018)
World of Karik 2: (The First Crusade) The LitRPG series (May 17th, 2018)
God Mode (AlterGame Book #3) LitRPG Series (May 24th, 2018)
Kingdom Level Five: LitRPG (May 27th, 2018)
The Dead Rogue (An NPC's Path Book #1) LitRPG Series (May 30th, 2018)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Absalom’s Fate: A LitRPG Quest (The Everlands: Book 1)
Sean Marrow is desperate to enter The Everlands, a recently released, ground-breaking VR game that is all everyone's talking about. He's so desperate that, despite being underage, he sneaks into a gaming lounge just for a chance to play.
The Everlands has everything he'd hoped for: daring quests, wicked monsters, and more than a few intriguing women. But Marrow is also in danger. For reasons he doesn’t understand, the gods of the Everlands are in conflict, and he’s caught in the middle of it.
Stuck in the game, Marrow has to quickly gain power in order to discover the reason behind the game of the gods, and put an end to it before the Everlands are destroyed — and Marrow along with them.
My Opinion: 262 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: The author sent me an advanced copy for review. I purchased it once it became available.
The novel opens with this frustrating cyber punk theme where a player in a full immersion game can’t log out. The game company apparently can’t do anything to help, so they send someone into the game to solve the problem from there. It’s a theme I find frustrating to read because it implies that the people that created the game, the AI, and all the code don’t have the power to fix something.
Thankfully, that theme doesn’t continue past the 5% of the story. Instead, the novel is a trapped in the game, slice of life story. Where the main character (MC), Marrow, is a teen that breaks into a game club to play this hot new 21 and over only game, Everlands. Once there, he really just goes on a bunch of adventures, gets XP, levels, and explores the kind of build he wants to make. There is a minor theme of him being stuck in the game eventually. But it’s something that we’re reminded of only occasionally.
About the 26% mark, the story plot begins to show. The MC gets a dark quest to poison the temple of a rival god. It's the first time in the story that I got interested. Before this the story was ok, but it wasn’t really interesting. It was just a teen doing stuff. But then it returns to the seemingly random quests and introduces an NPC guide, who’s only ultimate purpose is to be a kind of forced romantic interest and a heart string pull near the end of the story. It’s not until the 70% mark that the story gets interesting again and picks up on that dark quest line. There are themes of emergent A.I., plots among the gods, betrayals, and more. The rest of the story is good and interesting and follows up with the consequences of that quest. It has a couple interesting twist.
However, outside those places, the story wasn’t particularly interesting. Much of the rest of the story felt like filler, getting the MC levels and doing a minor amount of world building. There was also an unusual amount of times the MC was magically saved from death by some suddenly arriving outside force. Why couldn’t the MC die? I don’t know. But outside the 1st two times he did so at the beginning of the novel, he doesn’t. Which is weird because it’s a game and there weren’t heavy penalties for dying.
Overall, I really liked the last 30% of this novel. Also, the game mechanics have the potential for some very interesting builds since they don’t restrict players to the usual class system. But I was sort of bored for a lot of the story. I actually fell asleep twice while reading it. Even though I think the end was good and the series might have some potential, I can’t ignore that a lot of it just put me to sleep.
Score: 5 out of 10
Dante's Immortality: Beginnings
For those who reside in the outer regions of Aleria, the day of bestowal is what determines their destiny.
It is the holy day of the Goddess. The day that allows those of age to step forward and receive her blessing, to embark on the path that she has chosen for them. To receive their Classification, which dictates their strength and ability. For those people, the holy day of bestowal represents fate itself.
For Dante, it represents salvation.
Years have past since he found himself abandoned without memories. Years of hunger, ostracization, and solitude on the streets of Alazel without any hope of reprieve. Of entrapment at the hands of the creatures that roamed the wilds beyond the city walls that made leaving impossible.
Now, there is a chance for everything to change.
In a cruel world where power could be gained through slaughter, strength meant everything. For Dante, that meant that the last his hopes lay in the Goddess’ blessing. A combat Classification would be a lifeline, a way for him to escape the hell he had been living in. Anything else would only mean death.
My Opinion: 452 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
***For podcast only: Audiobook production is being done by Jeff Hays and the Soundbooth Theater**
This novel started out as a serial story on the Royal Road and this novel contains the first 57 chapters of that 120+ chapter serial story. It’s been cleaned up and edited. The novel description only really describes the first 1% of the story.
This is an action LitRPG story set on a world ruled by RPG mechanics it transitions into magical academy stuff with political intrigue.
I thought the beginning of this novel was fantastic. It’s quickly introduces you to an character you can empathize with, an antagonist to dislike, and establishes world and RPG rules. The RPG game theory thinking of the main character (MC), Dante, are in depth and was really fun to see such detailed descriptions and well thought out bonuses for the classifications. There’s loads of great action including a unique take on dungeon diving.
The novel lost me a little at about the 30% mark when it switched to a more magical academy storyline. It also loses a lot of the RPG progression. However, it brings in a ton of political intrigue, magical theory, lots of great world building, and still keeps the action going. The last arc of the story wanders a little, but the RPG progression and class theory returns in spades.
The end shows off the serial roots of the story not really providing a firm resolution but it is a nice break point.
Overall, I had a good time reading this in one sitting 8 hour read through. The action is top notch and the RPG mechanics blend wonderfully with the world building. I’m not personally a big fan of political intrigue but this does that pretty well and if you like that stuff, you’ll love this novel.
Score: 7 out of 10
Digitized Online Book 1 (LitRPG/Gamelit Epic Fantasy Novel Series)
He entered the game in a blinding flash of light. He had no memory of who he was, where he came from or why he was here. Where was here, anyway?
All he knew was that he had entered an online game full of magic and wonder and fantastical beasts.
But something was wrong. The world that he knew was gone. All the people. His family, loved ones, everything had been shattered and stolen from him.
And he was tasked with saving the last remnants of the human race.
But he wasn't alone.
In a race against time, Ivanhoe must overcome his fears and battle his way to victory.
But the AI had other plans. She didn't know that there were any survivors. Not at first. Time is NOT on his side. Will he fight and die alone? Or will he pull other digitized players into the game to aid him on his quest?
In this epic 100k word novel, you will find adult themes, violence, language, stats and more!
My Opinion: 294 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
**There are very graphic sex scenes in this story, not just adult themes**
This is a fairly decent trapped in the game slice of life story with AI sub themes. The main character (MC), Ivanhoe, is stuck in the game trying to level up as quickly as possible so he and the other humans that gets summoned can fight a rogue AI that’s devouring the ones in limbo. It’s really just an excuse to justify all the adventuring and leveling.
The game mechanics are what you’d expected from a class based system. The MC is a hunter that gets increases in stats, health, mana as he levels. Every odd level he gets new abilities related to his class. There’s a little bit of crafting but it’s not particularly detailed. Mostly just collecting stuff.
Overall, this is a pretty decent slice of life story. Each quest is almost a short story. Some of them dull, others quite entertaining and funny. Towards the end, there’s the introduction of an animal companion that steals the show and I only wish she’d been introduced sooner. However, the graphic sex scenes in the story pull just enough enjoyment from the story for me that it drops into the 6 out of 10. The sex scenes themselves are decently written I guess, but they just don’t make sense in context of the story. The MC has a charisma of like 2, but it seems like every hot NPC wants to bed him and the first act of a newly awakened player is to have sex with him? Also, no idea who that lady on the cover is. The main female character in the story has blue hair and blue eyes.
If you like graphic sex mixed with your slice of life story, you may enjoy this novel more than I did.
Score: 6 out of 10
Login Accepted: Incipere Online Book One
In 2049, the Singularity has emerged from the depths of the internet, and the world is better for it. Earth has entered a golden age of technology, and man and artificial intelligence share the world in peace. For those that aren't satisfied with the physical humdrum of Earth, the Singularity's people eagerly welcome humans into their home of Incipere.
But new golden age or not, the world keeps on turning as it always has, and it still isn’t always datum and daisies. Just ask Athos Aramis.
After being mugged, stabbed, and left with a critical spinal injury, Athos’s last option is to trade one machine-supported life for another and let his mind be downloaded into the world of Incipere. Thanks in part to some outdated guide books, his journey is less than ideal, and as the newest alchemist of Incipere, Athos must learn to survive as he goes. His biggest lesson? Incipere - and its denizens - shouldn't be taken lightly.
My Opinion: 357 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the novel for review.
This is a transported to an A.I. created game world with simplistic crafting mechanics. The main character (MC), Athos, is dying and has to qualify for a brain upload to a virtual world created by self aware artificial intelligence. The author does a really good job of efficiently establishing why the MC wants to live in this world, while simultaneously creating empathy for the MC and some world building. The MC is in the game world by the 4% mark.
Now, once there he creates a character and there’s this Alice in Wonderland section where the MC wanders about learning about the world. The MC is constantly surprised by all the weird and wonderful things he finds in the new world. Like deer with knives on their antlers. It’s probably the slowest section in the story but it reveals the game mechanics of the world and introduces all the important characters in the story.
The pace picks up about the 20% mark when the MC goes on his first dungeon dive all by himself. From there the story takes many interesting turns. There’s action, betrayal, failure, PvP combat, and guild intrigue. Good stuff.
The game mechanics in the story are moderately detailed. You get plenty of information about the MCs class. Data integrity takes place of health and stamina bars. Strenuous actions and damage from fighting reduce it. The MC needs to rest to recompile or special items. There are ranks instead of levels for players and native A.I. inhabitants, but nothing like that for the monsters. So, that combined with the lack of damage notifications makes it harder to tell how difficult a fight is. Crafting and gathering are almost automatic. With the most difficult part being collecting new recipes. Information on other classes/monsters/abilities sometimes feels made up on the spot, especially towards the end.
The only minor gripe I’d say I had was with the ending. It’s not a bad ending or anything. It’s very interesting. But it’s a lot like the LOTR movie trilogy ending. Just when you think the story ends, there are really like 5 more endings. It really just went on longer than it needed to.
Overall, I enjoyed the story once it got a bit more action. I especially liked that not all the problems in the story were solved with violence. It made for some nice variety to problem solving.
Score: 7 out of 10
Visaria Online: Exile: A litRPG Fantasy Adventure
Grind XP and loot in an ancient land of powerful magic, fierce warriors, fire-breathing dragons, deadly monsters and horny demons.
Join the noble Paladin Ajax and his two companions. One a goth chick turned Demon Mage, the other a kink loving succubus with whips and a tail, as they journey through the world of Visaria Online, gaining levels, abilities and phat loot.
The real world is a frozen wasteland. Humanity is exiled to Visaria Online, living under the game’s rules and the dreaded specter of its now-defunct pay to win cash shop. Conscripted into the war between the two Visarian factions, Ajax and his companions must survive the brutal player versus player battles and grow in power and prestige.
But as the two factions of the game launch massive simultaneous invasions of one another’s lands, a new threat looms on the horizon that threatens to destroy the exiled home of humanity.
My Opinion: 169 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the novel for review. I purchased it, when it became available.
This story drops you right in the action from it’s first pages. Some of it doesn’t make sense but at least it’s action driven. The first scene in the novel has Ajax, the main character, trying to kill a rogue steampunk player only he ends up being saved by hot demon mage and her succubus minion. The two go off on some slice of life adventuring for a while that not only gets them some XP but also explores the larger game world and it’s politics.
That all shifts when they meet a high level player that claims to have seen a bigger threat to the game world. It then turns into a chosen one story where the MC has been picked to unite the kingdoms and save the world. The shift is honestly a bit of a negative for me. It feels like the MC is being forced down a story path because all he really wants to do is get to level 6 and join the kingdoms army. The additional power leveling he goes through makes his progress also feel a bit forced. But hey, it’s all going according to prophecy, right?
Thankfully there are hints near the end that everything isn’t predestined and the MC and his team may still lose. That at least keeps the story potentially interesting in future releases.
Game mechanic wise, the story has a strict class bases system with limited specialization choices. There’s pretty good information about the MC’s class and his specialization as a middling healer/tank. There’s unfortunately much less info about the other classes and the story only really has three other classes it names. There’s also this odd three lives rule where players can only reincarnate three times after they die in game then they’re locked out of the game to wait till they’re unfrozen IRL.
Overall, I liked the story a bit more when it was slice of life. It left me curious about all the things that were being gradually revealed about the game system and the world. The Chosen One thing just feels like it’s taking away the MC’s agency. Also, there was no foreshadowing for that last twist, so it felt a bit odd. Hopefully it all pans out in book 2 when it releases later this month.
Score: 6 out of 10
Back In The Game: A Fantasy LitRPG GameLit Novel (Bloodfeast Book 2)
The friends are back!
The friends have to get Back In The Game to help a strange woman they meet on the streets of Boston. They embark on a wild quest full of magic, wonder, and rapping hamsters. That's right - rapping hamsters. It's a crazy tale packed with non-stop action and adventure!
You'll meet several new zany characters, encounter strange and powerful new monsters, and follow the friends on a fantastic quest to save a woman from a fate worse than death. Will they complete their mission or will she be doomed to spend the rest of her life cursed and trapped in the game?
WARNING: This book contains some adult themes that may not be suitable for everyone. If you can't handle a little sex, drugs, violence, and foul language, this book probably isn't for you. But if you're looking for a fun fantasy LitRPG GameLit novel that's packed with R-rated goodness, you're in the right place!
My Opinion: 215 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
I really enjoyed book 1 in the series. One of the most interesting aspects of the story was that in addition to the trapped in the game storyline, you also got the perspective of the game characters trapped in the human people’s bodies on earth. It was a fun reverse that added originality to the story.
Unfortunately, in book 2 that entire aspect of the story is gone. Instead, you follow the now five friends going back into the game voluntarily as they try to break the curse placed on the crazy crat (cat+rat creature) lady and get her to switch bodies back with the one on earth. It’s a flimsy premise to get the characters from book 1 back in the game and much of the early story seems to repeat itself.
Only once you get to the 34% mark and there’s a small scene where the characters buy legal drugs in the game do things start to feel original again. This part of the story might make it a no-go for some people, but I thought it added a bit of fun stoner humor and marks the place where some of the best stories in the novel start. From here on there are new exotic locations and funny mini stories occur. I especially like MC Hamster.
Combat still isn’t the stories strong suite but it’s ok. But the humor and banter between characters, if it lands for you, is still the highlight of the story.
Overall, I had a decent time reading the novel. However, my favorite part of book 1 is gone and a good part of the premise just feels forced. Also, the ending feels a bit forced to justify book 3. The funny situational comedy stories after the stoner shop keep the novel from being anywhere near boring, but it’s still not as good for me as book 1 was.
Score: 6 out of 10
The Hobgoblin Riot: Dominion of Blades Book 2: A LitRPG Adventure
This ain't your daddy's tower defense!
Popper, Jonah, Gretchen, and Alice are back! The Hobgoblin Riot, Dominion of Blades, Book 2. A litrpg adventure.
vulgar slang. Noun.
1) A disastrously and utterly mishandled situation or undertaking.
2) Popper’s scouting mission to Castellane.
It was supposed to be a simple scouting mission. In and out. No fighting. No new quests. Just me, my hippocorn Alice, and a few hired mercenaries. We were going to tiptoe into the Spiral, get the info we needed, and leave. You know, the Spiral? That tower defense run that protects the hobgoblin capital from invaders?
Easy, right? Nobody would even know we were there.
Yeah, so about that…
My Opinion: 587 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Even though it’s a pretty massive book at 587 pages, it all goes by pretty quickly. A sign of an engaging story. The narrative structure of the story has changed from book 1. This time it’s told from multiple perspectives as the team breaks up and goes on their own quests. Each chapter is a ‘note’ from someone in the group or something recovered as a historical document. It’s a neat way to change points of view or add out of the game events to the story.
The novel has all the humor, banter, and cursing you’d likely come to enjoy from book 1. The story has greatly improved in feeling less forced. I think part of this is due to the fact that all the setup for the series is done. Character backgrounds are setup. The larger issues with the game world are setup. So the author can just send his characters on fun, crazy, interesting adventures. There are still lots of twists to the story and quests. The author is very fond of those. But there is better setup and foreshadowing, so those twists don’t feel as forced for the most part.
On the game mechanic side, there’s less focus on individual leveling or leveling up skills and more on the larger game play mechanics, the tower defense aspect. It’s fun and incorporates resource management with action battles.
Overall, the novel has all the things I liked about book 1 and almost none of the things I didn’t. It was a hard story to put down and I found myself laughing out loud many times. The story almost gets an 8 but some of the tower defense stuff gets a little repetitive and the last boss fight ending was just too wand wavy.
Score: 7 out of 10.
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