LitRPG Podcast 141
LitRPG Podcast 141
Nov. 10th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 141 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 6 new LitRPG reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
It captures all the adventure from book 1 and kicks it up a notch with better pacing.
Score: 7.6 out of 10
There are hints at a good novel here but as LitRPG it was supremely disappointing and frustrating.
Score: 4 out of 10
It lost me when the MC rapes his companion
Score: 4 out of 10
Good aspects, but lost me at the end when it becomes more fantasy than LitRPG.
Score: 6 out of 10
Has flaws but entertaining slice of life cultivation LitRPG.
I fell asleep reading this, twice.
Score: 5 out of 10
Super Sales on Super Heroes 3 (50:43)
No review, just a note about it.
(Play Music 2)
Dave Wilmarth had a video promotion for The Dark Elf Chronicles book 2 made. Give it a watch.
Dungeon Desolation (The Divine Dungeon Book 4) came out recently and did amazingly well. On launch day it hit the #15 spot on all of amazon and make #1 in like seven genre categories. The novel even temporarily displaced big names like Brandon Sanderson or JK Rowling in some categories. So congrats to Dakota Krout for writing such a good book and having such a great launch.
Lastly, I went to a writers conference in Las Vegas this week, which is why the podcast is out a little later than normal. I learned a few things there about marketing and analytics. But I met up with some wonderful LitRPG authors while I was there including: Matt Dinniman, Thom Hansen, Chris Carney, Dakota Krout, Rory Stathos, Daniel Schinhofen, Kevin McLaughlin, James Baldwin, and more. It turned into a kind of impromptu LitRPG meetup and I just wanted to thank everyone I met for being so cool. We have amazing people in our genre.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
The Long Road to Karn (Realm of Arkon, Book 5)
The Third Realm (Ten Realms Book 3) (Nov. 13th, 2018)
Apotheosis Boom (The Feedback Loop Book 8) (Nov. 14th, 2018)
(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)
Limitless Lands Book 2: Conquest (A LitRPG Adventure) (Nov. 23rd, 2018)
Civil War: A litRPG Adventure (The Rogue Dungeon Book 2) (Nov. 27th, 2018)
Eden's Gate: The Omen: A LitRPG Adventure (Nov. 30th, 2018)
Hero (Level Up Book #2) LitRPG Series (Dec. 10th, 2018)
Redemption (The Rise Of Resurgence #3) (Dec. 15th, 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
World Tree Online: The Duchess of Hammers: 2nd Dive Begins
Bye-bye is back! Just a week since the 1st Dive came to an end, Bye-bye and his friends find themselves in Root City, a city built-up around the World Tree itself. This sprawling metropolis is filled with potential and danger in equal measure.
Barely logged in and just starting to put plans in place for the month-long dive into the World Tree Online, they are quickly entangled in a quest with far-reaching consequences should they fail. Charged with ensuring Duchess of Hammerton survives the next week to make it home. Standing in their way, a love cult bound and determined to kidnap her. If that wasn’t enough, there are those who plot in the dark places hidden just under the surface of Root City.
Can Bye-bye and his friends survive the aptly nicknamed Duchess of Hammers and the trouble that follows her?
My Opinion: 483 pages, $3.49, Available on Kindle Unlimited
A fine sequel. It captures all the adventure from book 1 and kicks it up a notch with better pacing. The storytelling in book 2 is much tighter and though the plot arc sometimes gets a little twisty as you follow the characters on their many side quests, the path always leads you back to the main storyline. There’s good level and skill training, good group banter, and of course good LitRPG action-adventure.
Score: 7.6 out of 10
Neverfall: Mark of the Hero (Book 1): (A Gamelit Lit RPG Series)
Four friends go on a quest to save players trapped in Neverfall Online, a virtual reality MMORPG, in this multi-book adventure saga.
Luke Stephens’ three best friends are leaving their hometown for college, but he must stay home to care for his mother, who is dying of cancer.
He has accepted his fate, but just as in the video games they love, Luke and his friends are given a real-life quest that changes their lives forever. Dr. Armitage, a secretive man linked with an immersive fantasy roleplaying technology, has tracked Luke down to give him a dangerous mission: to rescue the several-hundred beta testers who cannot log out of the cyber world, and believe that their in-game lives are real.
Luke’s companions won’t let him go alone. All four students are assured that they will be transported into the game at the highest level so they can easily defeat the Dark Lord and reset the world of Neverfall.
But when they enter the game, Luke and his friends all begin at Level 1: defenseless, poor, and powerless. The party must level up as though their lives depend on it, for it’s not just a game.
Luke, Cassie, Mack, and Christopher must stay alive because though the world is virtual, the deaths are very real…
My Opinion: 369 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
There are hints at a good novel here but as LitRPG it was supremely disappointing and frustrating. The best parts of the story are the character developments moments. Especially the relationship between the main character (MC) and his mom at the beginning. Unfortunately, most of the other characters in the story come off as flat and two-dimensional.
Most of the novel however is just frustrating, mostly because you can almost see that it could have been good. The premise of the story is one that I’ve read at least a dozen times this year, and like most of those times, it’s not done well. People are trapped in a full immersion game and if they die in the game they die in real life. The only person able to save them is the MC. Why? Cause it’s suddenly discovered his dad is the CEO of the company and coded his only recently discovered son’s DNA into the game to give him access. Oh, the MCs dad is also trapped in the game and thinks he’s his character, a bad guy fantasy version of Darth Vader. Oh, also the only way to save everyone is to defeat his father, which for no explained reason ever, is supposed to reset the game. Yeah, that old premise. Also, the fact that the MC is named Luke and the dad thinks he’s a fantasy version of Darth Vader make their interaction pretty predictable. The added twist with Darth Vader dad aside, the premise doesn’t work and only serves to setup the fact that no one in the main cast is ever going to die because if they did, they’d die in real life.
The game mechanics in the story are shown throughout with character sheets, stats, HP, mana, and even damage notifications. However, they don’t really matter to the story. Time and again, the rules established are broken to stop someone from dying, or just cause it makes a fight more exciting. The MC is given gear that power levels him for fights he should never win, or in one particularly bad example, the MC just seems to fire off an stream of fireball spells when the reader was just shown he should only be able to fire off 3 at most according to spell cost and mana supply. Other squishy characters should die in several places but are saved because of conveniently missing damage notifications and a magically infinite healing mana supply from the healer.
Ultimately, as the story goes on, the part that made me actively dislike the story is that all the game stuff that was written just doesn’t matter and is basically filler. The MC discovers ‘Matrix’ like powers that let him create spells, portals, and other effects that have no basis in the game mechanics and that’s how he solves all the conflicts by the end. Also, the only real progress on the main arc of the story, confronting Darth Vader Dad, is accomplished with these sci-fi powers and have nothing to do with the RPG game. You could literally skip from the 35% mark (which is when the game stuff starts) to that point and the story would be the same. The adventuring game stuff before and after that point just seem to be there to fill space.
Overall, while I liked the character development of several characters the rest of the story was actively frustrating since the game stuff didn’t matter.
Score: 4 out of 10
Vortena: Everybody Loves Large Chests (Vol.3)
What happens when one takes a murderous psychopath and forces them to team up with a cowardly tinkerer? Though not a question that Jeremiah ever expected to ponder, he is nevertheless looking forward to seeing what the aforementioned duo will cook up. Success or failure does not matter to Richard, only that the journey be entertaining.
Things are far less jovial for the one under Tom's 'care,' however. Stuck in the monster-infested wilderness, lacking the usual backup, hunted by the Empire's top brass and tasked with an incredibly vague and obtuse Quest, Boxxy will face a world of uncertainty and adversity. However, this is nothing new. Pain, suffering and loss are things that have been commonplace since day one, and Boxxy is not only entirely undaunted, but also eager to share those valuable lessons with its new 'companion.' With things both shiny and tasty on the line, the crafty killer has every intention of showing that lich who's boss.
Assuming Boxxy manages to find it, of course.
CONTENT WARNING: Profanity, gore, violence, explicit adult content
My Opinion: 444 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
Note: Lots of violence, but also graphic sex and rape.
I’m afraid I’m going to have to drop this series. I really enjoyed the beginning of this novel when it was just Boxxy and the gnome tinker-paladin, Fizzy. But once Boxxy got his warlock class back and summoned his demons the sex started back up, I just lost interest. Add into that the rape that is added to the story and it really lost me. The slice of life adventuring and is still going to be enjoyable for most people, but the novel lost me with the graphic sex and rape by the MC.
The author in the back of the novel says that he had Fizzy get raped by the MC so that she could become a better character. “I grew a bit attached and wanted to keep her around, but to do that she had to undergo some...unpleasantness.” “I did my best to make her transition from wimpy tinkerer to heavy metal badass as believable as possible.” This true for the story. The rape is an inciting incident for that character’s development. But there were a lot of ways that could have been done and for me it was such a turn off that I’m dropping the entire series.
Score: 4 out of 10
Sorcerer's Quest: A LitRPG Adventure
With the real world in ruins, Arantor is the place of refuge: A virtual game world set in fantasy that anyone can play, but not everyone is equal. Jane has played for years but by no fault of her own is hamstrung compared to other players. All she wanted was to not be a burden on her friends. One day a glitch changes everything, but her new found power comes with a price, and soon Jane finds that there are plenty of guilds and players that will try to use her for their own gain.
Follow Jane as she navigates - and tries to avoid - the world of guild politics, and as she quests to the far ends of Arantor, to places where the rules of the game can change.
My Opinion: 265 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This story has a rough start but I ended up enjoying the first part more than I thought I would. Unfortunately, it lost me near the end when it becomes more fantasy than LitRPG.
This is a LitRPG story with a strong female lead. The main character (MC) and most of the world plays a FIVR game because the world in ruins. She has played for years and never been able to do well though because of an issue with her low alignment, a game mechanic that is frustratingly ill defined but serves the purpose of creating a flaw beyond her control. When an update seems to reset her character with a good looking avatar and a new rare class, she becomes in demand. Most of the first part of the story is about her dealing with this change in dynamics. It has a definite “She’s all that” kind of vibe where the MC was ugly and underpowered and a sudden reversal in that changes her life. She has to deal with the emotional developments that brings her as well as the new attention from competitive guilds including a Mean Girl type guild.
The game mechanics in the story are mostly solid. The MMO world that the story takes place in is detailed and the MCs character is well balanced with detriments that balance out her classes potential power. There is also lots of details about player behaviors, guild tricks, and gamer culture that shows the author has real experience with MMOs and guild politics. The few issues I noticed are that the XP calculations are off for companion leveling, and the alignment mechanic is so frustratingly vague and contradictory I almost put the novel down at one point.
I will note that while the story does a good job detailing RPG stuff, that’s not the focus of development. The story is mostly about the MCs emotional, personal growth, and some minor romance threads. There are lots of fights and XP grinds but the action is never well described, the majority of the fights are summarized, and there are several big level jumps without any details.
Additionally, the story takes a hard turn into a fantasy chosen one plot after the 60% mark. It’s all very much in line with the story and is foreshadowed, but it loses me because all the powers, including ones used to advance to plot, are suddenly wand wavy fantasy and have more to do with feeling the magic and imagination than anything game related. Additionally multiple story threads, prominent characters, and romantic interests from the first half the novel are just abandoned after the 50% mark.
Overall, this was almost a good story. Though RPG stuff isn’t as important as I’d like it to be, the character development and plot lines with the guilds almost made up for it. However, a definite lack of any well described action and the fantasy turn at the end stopped me from enjoying as much as I could have. However, if you don’t care as much about those issues or you just want a story focused primarily on character development, you might enjoy this more than I did.
Score: 6 out of 10
Death Awoken: A GameLit Series (Death God System - Book #1)
On a small planet, an unknown presence was stirring.
With no physical body, all of its previous memories messed up and without a clear name, our MC starts his journey. Fused on its soul a strange System that will help him be stronger on this strange unknown new world.
To claim back all that has been stripped away, he must first generate a body. For this, the system reveals that it needs to collect sufficient XP points by absorbing forces, death auras, regaining fundamental skills like talking and weapon wielding to go on dangerous missions. One kill equals one death point.
Name: Unknown XP: 0 Death points: 0
The more quests he goes on, and the strong beasts and humans slew – the more the Death Core whispers in his ear and torments his soul.
The child, still without a name, falls into the company of Demon Ye (Ye Qing). He was a raging executioner, who tragically lost control when the family he loved were killed. Ye Qing names him Ye Bai, much the Death God’s annoyance, but no matter the trial or task at hand, the child’s thoughts don’t stray far from the next kill. Once down Hell’s Path, it drives his soul to the brink of insanity, and he’s not sure he can restrain himself from earning another XP point.
“I know one thing, Death brings me peace.”
This tale is a GameLit adventure that will have you rolling over the pages to see what consequences lie ahead! It is not for the fainthearted, it requires a steady hand, a strategic mind – and a strong stomach.
My Opinion: 388 pages, $2.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
Note: There are noticeable technical writing issues that are mostly seen in the beginning and end of the novel. Issues: tense mixing, missing or misspelled words being the most common. It’s not a huge issue but it will bug some people.
This is an OP reincarnation slice of life story with a cultivation power progression system. You still see lots of notifications though. The story starts off a bit differently than most reincarnation with the main character (MC) being an amorphous ball of energy for the first 12% and figuring out the RPG progression system and you can tell that the author was trying to figure out the kind of story he wanted to tell. But once it hits the 12% mark the MC gets a human body and it becomes a more familiar cultivation story with a wider look at the world and some human characters to interact with. The MC has some OP skills and most of the story from there on is about him traveling, adventuring, training, and doing slice of life stuff. No real plot or save the world stuff here.
On the game mechanics side, though it’s cultivation based there are lots of familiar notifications that give it a regular game vibe. There’s an XP system the MC can use to advance his various death themed powers and to cultivate Qi and Body aspects. There’s a whole well described cultivation ranking system and it’s a well thought out progression system. It’s neat.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. The story isn’t perfect. It loses some enjoyment because of the technical writing issues, that it gets a bit repetitive in the middle a bit, and that ends on a rather odd note. But if you’re in the mood for a slice of life cultivation story with an OP main character, this is something I think you’ll enjoy.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Cursemancer: BlackFlame Online Book 1 (LitRpg Adventure)
What would you do if you woke from a magical coma and found out you’d lost forty years of your memories?
Noah woke from a magical coma, losing 40 years of his memories. Even his body is not up to coping with this, so his only choice is to live in a VR-MMORPG game that would heal his brain and mind and help him recover his memories.
He accepts reality and decides to enter the game, but instead of a lush, beautiful human town, Noah is thrown into a cursed demon town.
Now every demon wants to kill him. There is no going back or hope of re-spawn in a human town. His starting location is fixed, and he has to somehow make his way through the nasty demon towns that sprawl between the cursed demon town and the nearest human city.
Join Noah in his epic adventure in BlackFlame Online.
My Opinion: 203 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Note: Technical writing issues. Nothing too bad but stilted, awkward phrasing, missing words, spelling errors. Stuff that may throw you off because it does appear semi-regularly.
This is a slice of life, trapped in the game story. Huge emphasis on the slice of life element. It starts out with an odd premise and then kind of devolves into a slice of life story without any real purpose or direction.
The main character wakes, chained up and imprisoned. He’s told he’s been in a coma for 40 years after he went crazy in this magical world and started flinging magic killing his fellow researchers. He’s then thrown in a fantasy VR game and told to play it until his memories come back. Only something goes wrong and he ends up on the demon side of the world. He has to take a new class of cursemancer and side with the demons or he’ll feel the pain of death for eternity. The rest of the story is him adventuring, talking to demon residents, and XP grinding.
On the game mechanic side, things aren’t bad. There are lots of regular notifications that show the MCs RPG progress. His cursemancer class has some interesting features like turning opponent’s attacks into curses to be used later.
However, the really big issue with the story is that it’s frankly boring. The writing style is really dry and it put me to sleep, twice. The premise, while unique, doesn’t make sense. In a world of magic and technology why would dropping someone in a VR game restore their memory? Also, why would you make a game with fantasy magic when the real world has real magic? There’s not really a plot since it’s a slice of life story. Which is not necessarily bad, but if there’s no plot to keep readers interested then there is usually great world building, action, or character development to give the reader a reason to stick with the story. None of that happens here. All the characters are rather flat and lack personality and I was never given a reason to care about any of them. Both the game and real world feel empty. Action is ok but not good enough to carry the story on its own.
Overall, though there are a couple of good aspects to the story, I was mostly just bored reading it.
Score: 5 out of 10
Super Sales on Super Heroes 3
I could not finish this story, I was just so confused all the time about who everyone was, why there was such huge time jumps. Several other reviews mentioned that you’ll only really understand what is going on in you’ve read the all the author’s other novels, including the ones that he writes under a different pen name.
This is apparently a huge cross-over that requires that you've read about 6-7 other novels to understand what's happening and who everyone is. I hadn’t so I was just lost. Especially since it didn’t really feel like a Super Sales on Super Heroes novel either.
No real review since I didn’t finish the novel but just a heads up.
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