LitRPG Podcast 140
LitRPG Podcast 140
Nov. 2nd, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 140 of the LitRPG podcast. For the full show notes visit us at: https://litrpgpodcast.com/litrpg-podcast-140
I want to give a quick shout out to Michael Nicholas for his donation to the podcast via Paypal. Thanks Michael.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 9 new LitRPG reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
The story is filled with punny humor, adventure, cultivation, and some pretty awesome battles.
Score: 7.8 out of 10
There are lots of new characters in both the IRL and game storyline, lots of adventures, and even a bit of sadness.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Overall, while there were some marked improvements made to the story from early drafts, it still has pacing and storytelling problems.
Score: 6 out of 10
Monster Core (28:37)
Overall, the story has good action and dungeon creation.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Overall, it is a pretty decent action adventure story with some good storytelling.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
It’s basically more of an XP grind than a proper tense zombie apocalypse story.
Score: 5 out of 10
Dark and brutal story, but it was the rape scenes that made me dislike it.
Score: 4 out of 10
As a cyber thriller, this isn’t bad. As LitRPG, it’s not good since the RPG game stuff doesn’t matter to the story.
Score: 4 out of 10
Murderworld: A LITRPG Novel (50:50)
There is a cyberpunk competitive fighting game in the story but there are absolutely no RPG mechanics anywhere.
Score: 4 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
This week Blaise Corvin shared some cover art for his super secret collaborative project he’s been working on with William D. Arand. No details on what the project is about, but Blaise did write that it will be launched early December.
Kevin McLaughlin, author of the LitRPG series Valhalla Online and over 40 other novels, was interviewed about his book on writing called on “You Must Write”. It’s an interesting interview with some good advice about being a professional writer.
The Land - Predators (Chaos Seeds Book 7) has been nominated in the category for Best Fantasy novel of 2018 on Good Reads. The novel is going up against some pretty big names and if you want to vote we have a link directly there.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
World Tree Online: The Duchess of Hammers: 2nd Dive Begins (Nov. 3rd, 2018)
(Nov. 4th, 2018)
The Parallel: A SciFi LitRPG (Infinite Exodus Book 2) (Nov. 8th, 2018)
***Feedback Loop book 8 (Nov. 15th, 2018)
Steel Soul: Yevelia Book 1 (Nov. 16th, 2018)
Guardians Of The Round Table 3: Singed Feathers (Nov. 18th, 2018)
A Song of Shadow (The Bard from Barliona Book #2) LitRPG series (Nov. 19th, 2018)
Island Kingdoms' War: Evolution Online III (A LitRPG) (Nov. 20th, 2018)
(Nov. 22nd, 2018)
Eden's Gate: The Omen: A LitRPG Adventure (Nov. 30th, 2018)
Hero (Level Up Book #2) LitRPG Series (Dec. 10th, 2018)
Freehaven Online: Winter Dungeonland (Book 3) (Dec. 16th, 2108)
Dungeon Mauling - A LitRPG GameLit Novel (The Good Guys Book 3) (Dec. 19th, 2018)
Level Up: The Knockout (Book #1) LitRPG Series (Jan. 9th, 2019)
*A side story set in the same Level Up universe, different MC*
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Dungeon Desolation (Divine Dungeon book 4)
The necromantic armies are on the warpath and nowhere is safe. Even the presumed sanctuary of the floating dungeon controlled by Cal is threatened! The leadership of nearly all the sentient monarchies has been wiped out, and only the races most suited to repelling the advancing darkness have an intact chain of command.
Cal learns quickly that the most pressing threat is not the far-off war, but is instead those entrusted with the general population’s protection. As it turns out, the idea of having a flying dungeon for your people is very tempting indeed…
Dale has been facing his trials and tribulations better than anyone else could have hoped for, but when the war takes a turn for the worse, his duties are forcibly assumed by another. Since his only chance at survival is painful and rigorous advancement, Dale must learn if his strength of will can develop into strength alone. If not, the world itself may be at risk.
My Opinion: 317 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the novel for review. I purchased it when it became available.
The next exciting entry in the Divine Dungeon series does not disappoint. The story is filled with punny humor, adventure, cultivation, and some pretty awesome battles. There are some genuinely surprising story twist that I won’t spoil, but think most fans will be pleased with.
Score: 7.8 out of 10
Dark Elf Chronicles Book Two: Survivors
Mace and Shari continue their search for survivors among the undead even as they struggle to stay alive themselves.
While working to raise their sync levels with the game, the new couple pursue the quests they’ve picked up, explore a dungeon or two, and work to stabilize the game world they hope to live in.
With the undead world above closing in, will they have the time to figure out how to save themselves and other survivors?
My Opinion: 364 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased a copy when it became available.
A fine addition to the series. There are lots of new characters in both the IRL and game storyline, lots of adventures, and even a bit of sadness. Though the story is getting a little crowded, it’s a fun adventure. I’d tell you more but don’t want to ruin the fun of reading it.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Beginnings (Peaks of Power Book 1)
There’s always somewhere to go, someone to defeat! At least that’s what Ryan believed until he ran out of challenges, adventures, and stories. Bored with his life as a casual player, he slipped easily into the lifestyle of a professional gamer.
After reaching the pinnacle of success, an email arrived from the mysterious Beta Academy. With his best friend and self-proclaimed bodyguard, Dimitri, he decides to take a chance and accept the strange offer contained within. Overconfident in his skills, Ryan thinks he’ll defeat this game as easily as every other, but that confidence is shaken and shattered within the first fifteen minutes. This wasn’t a standard game with haptic chairs or gloves; this was the real thing.
Ryan and Dimitri must learn the heights of the Peaks of Power… and what it will take to achieve their summit.
My Opinion: 360 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the novel for review, I purchased the novel when it became available.
This is a review of the updated version of the novel. So if you pre-ordered you may have to redownload to get the new version of the story. The original review pointed out many inconsistencies in the plot and game mechanics which were fixed.
Storywise this turns out to be setup for character development, a ton of training, and a tournament that loses its purpose for existing. While I’d say much of the story isn’t bad, it is predictable and some parts are heavy handed.
The beginning of the story was originally one of the hardest parts of the story to get through. After the setup where the main characters (MCs), Ryan and Dimitri, are in-game, Ryan is just written so unlikably that he almost becomes a caricature of a super flawed person. He full of bravado, overconfidence, he challenges everyone, is constantly rude, gets angry over everything, and is really a jerk to everyone including his best friend. While I understand that the character is intentionally written this way to give him something to fix and improve on as the story goes on, he’s such a jerk that he’s hard to like at all and he isn’t written with any redeeming qualities.
However, after the original review, the angry caricature version of Ryan got some nice revisions and while he’s still a jerk there are small hints at reasons for him to act that way and there’s enough character development between Ryan and Dimitri to make Ryan’s personality shift at the 28% mark feel more natural. It may be enough to create some level of empathy for Ryan that was almost impossible before. So, if you can stick it out, you may eventually even like the character.
There is also a ton of training in the story. It’s probably the best thing about the story and has lots of detail about special martial arts techniques, skills, and magic. But something like 50% of the story is just training and little else. I mean there is some character development but it’s mostly a big block of training in both combat and magic, smack dab in the middle of the story. I would have loved to have seen some of this training broken up by some small adventures or even some fighting with monsters to show just how that training was paying off gradually. Instead, you get a ton of training, then a tournament where the MCs are so overpowered that it takes the fun out of it all. Especially with the villains suddenly introduced so late in the story and the tournament itself no longer seeming to have any real purpose other than to resolve some minor conflicts introduced with those villains.
Now, the game mechanics in the story were originally much worse and had many inconsistencies. Though the inconsistencies have been corrected, there are still issues and the game mechanics are still one of the weaker elements of the story.
Readers aren’t shown a character sheet, instead there are a handful of times that the characters tell each other what there stats are but not reference points about whether what they have is a lot or a little.
Characters learn skills and magic, but even though you see notifications and skill increases they don’t seem to mean much and some skills you never see increase even though they’re constantly practiced.
Magic, though a big part of the story, feels less game like and more fantasy or possibly cultivation oriented. Additionally, there are a couple of scenes where you can tell the author was watching a lot of Avatar the Last Airbender while he was writing.
The characters level, but it’s a system that seems to change mid story. At the beginning, someone levels and they get 10 free stat points to distribute. Then about midway through they level and just get a blanket +5 to all stats. Which is equal to 20 stat points.
In the latest edition, this shift in leveling is explained much earlier in the story as something that is going to happen so it feels less awkward when it does happen. However, there is never a real explanation as to why the shift happens.
Ultimately, neither levels or stats mean anything though.
There no shown XP in the novel and levels seem to be arbitrary given as the character accomplish something whether fighting or training or just attending a lecture.
When stats increase, there is usually some description of the characters feeling stronger, faster, smarter, etc., but stats lose meaning because there is no quantified increase in damage/stamina/hp because none of those exist in the story.
So even though the MC’s strength may increase from 20 to 25, his punch is still described pretty much the same. Really high stats are eventually just used to kind of justify how OP the characters eventually get.
Overall, while there were some marked improvements made to the story from early drafts, it still has pacing and storytelling problems. The middle of the story lacks variety since it’s almost all training and the end didn’t feel like it meant anything other than a place to show off how OP the characters got. The writing isn’t bad on a technical level and the fights are actually well written. However, most of the story just didn’t work for me. If you can overlook the issues mentioned or just really really love blocks of long training, you may like this story more than me.
Score: 6 out of 10
Dominic Thompson becomes an infernal dungeon core and is given one task: make his dungeon renowned throughout the world by killing adventurers in the most gruesome ways possible.
With this new power, he infuses his soul with a Tainted Elf avatar so he can walk among mortals. To become the greatest, he must make the other dungeon cores submit to him. And that means shattering their jeweled hearts.
Or seducing their avatars.
Lucky for Dom, the dungeon’s avatars are beautiful monster girls. But they’re also the fiercest warriors in the realms, and there’s a fine line between murder and seduction.
This dungeon core story contains light LitRPG and harem elements.
My Opinion: 343 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The actual dungeon building portion of the story doesn’t appear until after the 30% mark, but once it does it’s pretty well done. The story is pretty basic: Dungeon builds and designs traps, someone dungeon dives, and repeat. The dungeon grows in complexity and minion variety and the people that come through are harder to kill. Simple, yet good action.
On the game mechanic side things are pretty basic, if intentionally skewed by the author. Collect resources from the mountain, or from killing creatures to fuel the creation of traps and monsters. The variety of traps and monsters isn’t that great, but they do their job. I did like that the dungeon mixed and matched schematic elements as he absorbed new weapons from fallen enemies. However, the dungeon system has an inherent exploit where the dungeon would create monsters then kill them for more essence than he put into their creation. It’s a lazy and intentional game flaw to create infinite resources so that the dungeon doesn’t have to actually take the time to gather them. There are a couple other places where suddenly introduced mechanics boost someone's power, just so they pose a challenge or become more powerful without real work put into it.
Overall, the story has good action and dungeon creation. It’s not a perfect story and is rigged a bit in the dungeon’s favor. But still fun. The only part that dragged down my enjoyment is the harem aspects and the one graphic sex scene. It seemed out of place and only added for advertising purposes.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Warlock: Reign of Blood: A LitRPG Novel
Swords, Spells, Stats and Slaughter
Mark’s life of forklifts, forms, debts and divorce is gone. Now he’s a Warlock in an RPG called Reign of Blood.
Through dark forests, rugged mountains and ancient ruins, Mark will fight against slavers, savage creatures and the forces of insidious corruption. He will master magical tomes, cast spells of fire and fear, imbue his weapons with arcane might and seep through walls like mist. Quest by quest, level by level, Mark will find purpose, power, people to live and laugh with, and perhaps even a little love.
Mark has been given a second chance at life and he’s going to die as many times as it takes to keep it.
My Opinion: 234 pages, $5.34, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
The novel description doesn’t really do a good job of explaining the plot or the story. The main character (MC), Mark, is a transported to a fantasy RPG world where he alone seems to have the power to respawn after dying. He uses this unique ability along with the magic and sword fighting skills of his Warlock class to help a peace loving town against an invading group of slavers.
Game mechanic-wise there is nothing revolutionary here. It has fairly standard XP and leveling mechanics. Though the MC gets to choose between some interesting spells when he levels. The most unique thing is probably the classes people have, like the mage-fighter build of the Warlock or the flesh bender-healer class of the Figurist.
Storywise, it’s a decent combination of slice of life and chosen one. The combat is good. A few of the characters are two-dimensional but the world building is done well enough that the conflict between the two nations in the story has some depth. I think the best part of the storytelling is that it's done mainly through 3 points of view, 1 actually eventually being one of the bad guys.
Overall, it is a pretty decent action adventure story with some good storytelling. It’s priced a little high for me but was entertaining.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
ZOMBIE SLAYER!!: A LitRPG Apocalypse
The rules of reality have changed.
All types of zombies have appeared with only one goal. Kill the living.
Eric and his schoolmates must survive by adapting and growing stronger, but that's easier said than done.
The undead get stronger with every passing day, and that's not even mentioning the blood moons.
Even worse, the military and police seem to have disappeared.
How will they acquire food? How will they survive?
My Opinion: 263 pages, $??, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
The author might have already pulled the story, but the short version of the review is that this is kinda boring and repetitive. It’s basically more of an XP grind than a proper tense zombie apocalypse story.
Score: 5 out of 10
Necromancer System: A Dark Fantasy LitRPG (Book 1)
On the Continent of Skyhaven, there are only two paths in which a sorcerer could embark on, namely; The path of Light and The path of Darkness.
In a world filled with heroes and villains, the most nefarious practitioner of The path of Darkness was ambushed by more than a thousand sorcerers of the Path of Light.
after a thrilling battle that lasted for more than thirty days, the sorcerers of The path of Light triumphed in the end.
At the moment of his death, a blinding grey object exited his body, before disappearing into the void.
Ten thousand years later, a young boy from a war torn country is reincarnated into the body of a young sorcerer from the continent of Skyhaven.
At that same moment, he suddenly heard a strange sound, followed by the words.
Congratulations on inheriting the Necromancer System.
Do you wish to begin your journey?
The MC is an evil protagonist/Anti hero.
My Opinion: 457 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
-Technical writing issues. I’m not sure if this is actual translation issues or it’s just not written by someone whose first language is english. Most of the reviews mention that the story needs major editing.
-This is also a very dark story with scenes of extreme violence, graphic sex (in four places), and even rape.
This is a reincarnated into an RPG world story where the main character (MC) is put not in a newborn body but in a dead one. One that belonged to a nobleman that had just happened to murder by his siblings because he might have gotten the throne. The MC gets necromancer system powers and uses this familiar RPG system to level up by absorbing death energy from people he’s killed, mounds of the undead, and other methods he invents. The MC is faced with a family full of people that are intent on backstabbing, poisoning, or murdering him to become the family heir. So of course he has to get them, before they get him by being as dark and conniving as possible.
This is really a dark story where everyone is pretty brutal and evil. There’s lots of intrigue, exposition, and brutality. The RPG mechanics are relatively uncomplex and are shown when the MC gets some XP, levels, and gains stats. But the system is shown throughout the novel consistently and there are a couple of neat uses of spells to kind of auto-gather XP using necromancy.
Overall, for me the story didn’t work for a couple of reason: 1) The many technical writing issues. There are errors in almost every paragraph in the story. 2) I’m not a big fan of intrigue and eventually that aspect of the story just became less entertaining. 3) Two of the four graphic sex scenes just seemed so random and unimportant to the story that they were distracting. The last two, while part of the story, are rape. This is the one that put it into dislike for me.
However, if you can get past those issues or you are a big fan of intrigue and dark stories where there is no hero, then you might enjoy this more than I did.
Score: 4 out of 10
BASE Status: Online: An Unlikely Hero's LitRPG Journey
Helheim Fallen Online, the next generation VRMMORPG will be released on 2042-04-02!
Sign up NOW to win a chance to be a beta tester!
Willow's life hasn't been easy. She's autistic, living in a community closed off from the rest of the world 'for her own safety', and the only way she gets to interact with anyone is by logging in to the BASE (Bioelectrical Augmented Synapse Enhancement) platform and play videogames.
Her life revolves around playing VRMMORPGs with her close friends and making a little extra money on the side by trading items in the games so that she can buy pizza or new games when they come out.
The game she’s saving up for right now? Helheim Fallen Online, a Norse mythology inspired game, said to be changing the landscape of gaming forever.
Only, there are rumours going around that some people who get the beta invite for the game are going missing. It’s just a rumour, until her best friend Violet wins one of the beta keys and disappears, all traces of her gone, like she was never even there.
Now Willow is fighting against the clock to not only find out where Violet went, but why more people are going missing every day, and the only way to do that is by illegally getting into Helheim Fallen Online, play the game, and expose whoever is making people disappear.
And, above all, make sure she doesn’t get caught in the meantime and disappears herself.
She has ten days to pull it off.
My Opinion: 442 pages, $2.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is more cyber thriller set in VR than LitRPG. Yes, there is a VRMMORPG in the story and the MC spends a decent amount of time there and kills monsters and even levels up. But in the plot, the game mechanics and RPG stuff don’t matter one bit. Instead, for some reason the main character (MC) has to go into a VR game to solve the mystery of why people’s avatars are being deleted and they are being disconnected from the computer systems that control everyday life. It’s a premise I’ve seen tried a lot and it never works. As is often the case with this premise, the story focuses on the cyber thriller aspects and reduces the RPG aspects to side elements that don’t actually have any bearing on the story and either are used as filler or are inserted just to check a LitRPG box.
As a cyber thriller, this isn’t bad. There’s a good deal of real world tech and social development that is done to justify why being disconnected from an integrated computer system can be deadly. As LitRPG, this is not good. There is little to no world building in-game, and there are some huge level jumps for the character which again shows just how little it really means to the story. I did not like this at all as LitRPG.
Score: 4 out of 10
Murderworld: A LITRPG Novel
Perry Dunne, San Francisco corporate lawyer, is forced by his bullying boss to play the world's most popular game, the vast, ultra-real, blood-drenched simulation MURDERWORLD. His task: enhance his legal firm's prestige by earning five kills during the current tournament—or get fired.
When Perry crosses paths with homicide virtuoso Mari Night, he seizes the chance to hire her as his mentor, not realizing her game persona hides the identity of precocious 12-year-old Korean schoolgirl, Chun Soo-yun.
As both traverse a freakish gamer underbelly seething with kill-crazy players, they're soon ensnared in an epic power struggle against formidable foes within a world where violence is always the solution.
And where murder is no longer merely a game.
My Opinion: 398 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This feels more like the author mislabeling his story more than anything, but it’s not LitRPG. There is a cyberpunk competitive fighting game in the story but there are absolutely no RPG mechanics anywhere. Action isn’t bad, but personally I thought the cyberpunk elements were overdone and boring, and that the ending was just frustrating.
Score: 4 out of 10
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