LitRPG Podcast 150
LitRPG Podcast 150
Jan. 4th, 2019
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 7 new reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
A bit less engaging, but a good sequel to Beginner’s Luck
Score: 7.4 out of 10
A little rushed in places, but a good ending to the series
Score: 7.8 out of 10
Alt History LitRPG
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Never cared about the MC, mostly bored
Score: 5 out of 10
To date, The funniest novel written by the author.
Score: 8 out of 10
Bored for most of the story, then the end dropped it to dislike
Score: 4 out of 10
This one has a bit less action and more politics.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
Charles Dean released some artwork that he had made for the character Jade, from his War Aeternus series. It looks really good, though the anatomy looks a little off, I’m definitely a fan of the blood created weapon and those high heels. I just thought her hair would be a more striking shade of blue.
Matt Dinniman has updated the cover art for the 1st book in the Dominion of Blades series. The new art is a bit more action oriented and fits the cover art that the rest of the series ended up using a bit more. Personally, I always liked the ambiguity of the cover art Matt made originally.
*Last book in the series*
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Level Up: The Knockout (Book #1) LitRPG Series (Jan. 9th, 2019)
*A side story set in the same Level Up universe, different MC*
Dungeon Wars (Jan. 11th, 2019)
Bitter: Book Five (Jan. 14th, 2019)
The Steel Hounds (The Artar Chronicles Book 1) (Jan. 19th, 2019)
Volper (Alfarome. Book 1) LitRPG Series (Jan. 23rd, 2019)
Neverfall: Catacombs (Book 2): A Gamelit Lit RPG Series (Jan. 29th, 2019)
HOPE Engine (Jan. 30th, 2019)
Four: The Loot: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure (The Good Guys Book 4) (Feb. 14th, 2019)
Collide (EvoBorne - A LitRPG Saga Book 2) (Feb. 24th, 2019)
Cat's Game Book 1 (Feb. 26th, 2019)
The Final Trial (Level Up Book #3) LitRPG Series (March 25th, 2019)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Gathering Strength (Character Development Book 2)
Miles Boone is running out of time. He had one year to solve every beginner’s quest the Game offers or he faces a lifetime of slavery. Now, time is flying by and he can’t even find a safe place to play the Game. His apartment has burned down while he was in it. His secretive father won’t let him enter the Game from his home. Miles’s only choice is to enter the underbelly of society and try to win his bet from anonymous VR pods controlled by an old associate --or is that enemy?--of his father’s.
Meanwhile, the Party’s hunt for him in-Game continues. Surrounded by enemies from without and within, Miles has to keep upping his Game. His lack of a Luck stat makes it impossible for him to play like anyone else. With no luck, Miles will have to gather the strength to survive.
Gathering Strength is the second volume in the Character Development series.
My Opinion: 332 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The second novel in the character development series is here. A lot of people really seemed to like the 1st book Beginners Luck because it brought these nice real world sci-fi elements to the story that gave consequence to what happened in the RPG game world. That all continues to a degree, though the political rhetoric is toned down and is instead replaced by commentary about how entertainment and especially full immersion VR systems could be the ultimate drug of the far future. Still, it’s one of the things that I really love about the series, that it has a point of view and uses speculative fiction as a way to create conversations and make people think.
Story wise, I’d say this one is a little less engaging that book 1. It starts off with a well done recap of the events in the previous novel and then gets into the action in-game and out fairly quickly. However, things just slow down a bit too much for me mid story, and nothing really advances the big plotline while the MC flounders around trying to figure out how he’s going to solve his problems. The fights in the story range from ok to good. Some of the fights feel flat and little more than XP grinds. There is one fight with some prairie dog creatures that’s a real highlight of the story. I just wish there were more fights like that, where the MC used his intelligence and gamer experience to overcome some steep odds.
Game mechanic wise, things are still good. The author does a really good job of keeping the RPG mechanics consistent, interesting, and detailed. The story could stand to recap a few of the magical elements since they have to be learned the hard way since the MC doesn’t have any luck and plays on hardcore mode, thus eliminating the auto-features. Which readers either like or they don’t. But the training stuff is fun to me and I only wish they’d been started sooner in the story.
Overall, a good second book in the series. There are some minor pacing issues, but the novel has good action, adventure, and sets up some interesting stuff for the next book.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
Finding a Body (The Dark Herbalist Book #4) LitRPG series
What is it like for a small flap-eared goblin herbalist to play the role of the Dark Sovereign, the main antagonist for Boundless Realm’s hundreds of millions of players? What is it like to find one’s self the standard bearer for an army of man-eating giants, cyclopes, skeletons, ghosts and other hellspawn, who don’t give a damn about their modest little ruler?
Our hero didn’t desire such an unenviable fate, but there is no way back now. He’ll just have to tighten the straps and play the ghastly overlord to the innumerable hordes that now threaten all Boundless Realm. But the longer our hero plays, the better he understands that this world is much more complicated than it seems at first glance and he is just a pawn in someone else’s game. And lots of things depend on whether he can figure all of it out in the short time he has left, including his own life.
My Opinion: 499 pages, $6.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is the final novel in the Dark Herbalist series, though the author has stated that he may return to the universe in the future.
As with any final story, the author goes through great lengths to try and tie up all the major and minor storylines from the series. He does a pretty good job with the major plotlines, but the minor ones feel a bit rushed. The major storylines are resolved in rather epic fashion, both in-game and IRL, and there are several interesting twists I was surprised by. There are some kingdom building elements added to the game world story and some pretty epic fights as the main character’s (MC) new in-game kingdom is attacked from all sides. The plans the MC enacts to counter the many factions trying to beat him are really smart and well thought out. Good stuff.
However, some parts of the story feel a little rushed since the author was trying to tie everything up in this last book. Several minor plot arc from the series are resolved in a couple sentences and the end might not be as epicly satisfying as you’d think with all the buildup that comes before it. Mind you, this doesn’t take away from how enjoyable the novel is on the whole. That's kind of the only minor complaint I had. That basically I wanted more story. Sadly, again, this is the end of the series for now.
Score: 7.8 out of 10
I AM GAMER II
Lawrence was having a shitty day after he found out his girlfriend and best friend were cheating on him, together. Then a legendary Native American god, Coyote, to be exact, sent him back in time to 1400's North America. Now he's living in the past, kicking ass, and taking names. Rejoin Moon Flower, Freak, and the rest of the crew, as they save history, by rewriting it.
My Opinion: 355 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*Semi-regular errors. Usually just wrong or missing words like: life instead of lift, word instead of work. It didn’t bother me much but it will bug some readers.*
An interesting combination of LitRPG and alternative history. There’s some great first act story where the main character deals with the newly arrived conquistadors. Good action, good character development, and good community and kingdom building. Afterwards it’s slice of life questing, crafting, backstory telling, and some smaller fights. The story lost me a little at this point since it just felt less focused and several backstory scenes were completely devoid of RPG elements.
Overall, it is an entertaining story with some unique time and history elements. I personally thought all the citations to wikipedia in the novel for the historical references were very funny. Like the author felt like he had to prove to readers, ‘yeah, this stuff ain’t made up. It really happened.’
Score: 7.2 out of 10
YAOS 1 - Limitless Adventures - Yet Another OP Story 1: A LitRPG Saga
Shaping the fabric of reality, magic, that drew our genius athlete protagonist into the latest craze, a hyperrealistic VR game, Final Immersion Origin. Stay below level 10, he earns a shot at learning magic, feel alive again after being broken by past events.
An OP harpy, a godking's daughter, godly doors, a dungeon and slimes out of adamantium, crafted items beyond all reason; your willingness to suspend disbelief will be challenged in this wild fast-paced ride crafted to be re-readable, offering a New Game+ experience with a nameless and raceless MC you can shape within the limits of his backstory. Edited throughout 2 busy years, over 69 fully colored concise statdumps, a world built by rules everybody has to follow.
Yet rules are meant to be broken, YAOS tells the story of a rulebreaker exceeding common sense, an apotheosis of sorts. What if it's not just another game?
There are allusions to smut which aren't graphic in nature. Please feel free to sample the beginning of this book, bit.do/YAOS also links to the author's homepage.
My Opinion: 424 pages, $6.78, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a slice of life LitRPG story set in an MMO with an overpowered (OP) main character (MC).
There are several decisions in regards to the writing style that are going to annoy some readers. The story is in past tense but switches between 1st and 3rd person perspectives. Though this improves after the 30% mark, it really bothered me, especially when it would happen in the same paragraph. Dialogue is not formatted like you’d expect for a novel with dialogue tags (he said, “...”) and is instead formated a bit more like a play (The boy: “...”). In addition to that, there are really few descriptive details for most characters and locations, which left the story feeling a bit empty. The author warns that there are some places where the MC has sex. It’s true but it’s nothing graphic, just that sentences saying that it happens. It really doesn’t even make sense in the context of the story and adds nothing to the narrative.
On the game mechanic side, things are really detailed. You see the MC’s character sheet very regularly and there are lots of notifications, skill and item descriptions, and loads of leveling. However, the tables use four colors or multiple shades of grey, depending on the device you’re using, which makes them hard to read. Since this is an overpowered MC story, some of the mechanics are broken in that the MC is given many advantages without him having to really earn them. Like super high initial skills and abilities when he creates his character, rare items and training that he’s just given, and bonded companions that buff him even more. Still, the author tries to ground even those overpowered aspects in math.
On the story side, this just didn’t work for me. The beginning of the story was just way too long of a whine fest to get into the game. The premise is a bit flawed in that the MC is supposed to be overpowered because he was an IRL genius and super powerful physically and knew martial arts before going into the game, but at the same time he’s actually scanned into the game with a broken body. Still, I could overlook that if the rest of the story was entertaining. But aside from a few small adventures, it’s not. It’s mostly slice of life, no real plot. You just follow the MC as he figures out how to gain enough power to learn magic without getting to level 11, cause then he gets kicked out for some reason. Then it transitions into a magical academy story and loses most of the RPG elements and then regains them as you just continue to follow the MC as he deals with other players, PvP, and some kingdom building. All this is of course done with the MC always winning as an OP MC.
Overall, I was mostly bored with the story. There are a few good mini stories and the writing improves a little the deeper you get into the story. But fundamentally I never cared about the MC and what he did. I was never given a reason to invest in him since he was so OP and had everything handed to him.
Score: 5 out of 10
Rexus: Side Quest (The Completionist Chronicles Book 3)
A side quest in Dakota Krout's best-selling Completionist Chronicles series!
Vengeful assassins. A treacherous companion. T-Rex Head Hands.
After the Wolfman nation is shattered, Jaxon has enough spare time to advance his skills and specialize into a better class. Since Joe and his other teammates are either incapacitated or on a mission Jaxon does not believe in, the misunderstood chiropractor turned gamer strikes out on his own.
The issue with creating your own path is that you have no idea what awaits you, especially when low charisma guarantees legendary misunderstandings. For Jaxon, that’s half the fun.
Rexus is a Completionist Chronicles side quest focused on Jaxon and is meant to be read following Regicide.
My Opinion: 169 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Probably the funniest thing that the author has written to date. This is a great side story that incorporates so many puns, awkward situations, and humorous banter that it’s a must read if you want to laugh. Getting to see Jaxon’s point of view of the game world that’s filtered through his amazingly low charisma score is worth the price alone. Add to that the buddy aspect and the many scenes that were written just to make a joke or for a pun, and this is just a gem of a story.
Score: 8 out of 10
Break: EvoBorne: Book One - A LitRPG Saga (EvoBorne - A LitRPG Saga 1)
The Gods are dying.
Magic is fading from the world and the nine Lords of Night know that only one can exist less they all die. To give each a chance they form a pact and reluctantly agree that a game will give them the best hope. A game that will be played by humans.
Josh Fell is your average extreme gamer. He spends hours immersing himself in every MMORPG he can get his hands on to avoid the life he hates. When Josh receives a mysterious vanilla envelope offering him one of 297 coveted spots to beta test the all-new Fully Immersive Virtual Reality MMORPG EvoBorne, he jumps at the chance.
Joined by his childhood best friend and secret crush, Olivia, he eagerly logs into EvoBorne for the first and last time.
The Gods have used the last of their magic to create this world and their fate is tied to the choices of their nine chosen champions, but the rules state there can be no interference. The humans must not know of the stakes that rest on the outcome.
What starts at as a simple beta test turns into a fight for his future and the only chance to return home he will ever get. Unknowingly chosen by the Lord of Night Tezcatlipoca, Josh must go on a DEATH level quest to find the relics needed to win and gain him and Liv their way home.
Filled with goblins, orcs, reavers, and countless other enemies that want to see him dead; Josh will have to grow much stronger if he wants any chance at victory.
Join Josh and Liv as they traverse the expanse of EvoBorne in search of nine ancient relics that will grant them any single desire.
Monsters. Dungeons. Loot. Everything an avid RPG gamer craves!
Can they overcome the threats that face them? Can they find the relics in time before the other eight champions beat them to it?
Find out in the first installment of the EvoBorne Saga.
Welcome to EvoBorne!
My Opinion: 230 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
From the novel description it’s not 100% clear that this is a LitRPG story, but it is. By the 13% the main character (MC) is in the game creating his character. There are lots of RPG mechanics including: levels, item and monster descriptions, damage notifications, magic spells with costs, and lots of crunch numbers. That’s the good news, it is LitRPG. However, for me, it was a mostly unentertaining story that drops into dislike because of how frustrating the end was.
The ok to even good parts of the story: Of the 5 or 6 fights, most were well written and used the game mechanics well. There are a couple small adventures that the MC and his group go on that are independently good.
The novel has a lot of flaws that individually are just minor annoyances. Dialogue is often rather awkwardly written and it feels artificial sometimes. The MC’s backstory done at the beginning didn't endear the MC to me at all. He comes off as an entitled little rich jerk. I felt more for empathy for the romantic interest, who is a scholarship kid who works multiple jobs to care for her grandma. The most interesting game mechanics, the magical alignment system, doesn’t mean anything to the story since the MC never fails to learn other kinds of magic. There are way too many info dumps, and all the character sheets and some important quest notifications are formatted wrong and only half show.
The biggest issue, the one that made the story start on the path to a negative impression, was related to expectations. Most of the story feels like a waste of time where the MC does some slice of life adventuring, makes friends, learns about the world, and gets items. That's fine. But the story is setup with a major plot from the first pages. This competition between champions so that some gods can come back. That plot line is advanced only a couple of times. The first time it doesn't happen till half way through the story and then not again until the very very end. So, my expectations were set for a real plot driven story, but I got slice of life instead and it felt disappointing.
I was also really frustrated by the end of the novel. There is a betrayal that is not foreshadowed at all and it feels like the author just picked a random group member to turn into the last minute bad guy by shifting their personality 180 degrees. Also, the final resolution is really wand wavy for me. All of which dropped my opinion of the story from bored to dislike.
Score: 4 out of 10
World's Unbound: An Apocalyptic LitRPG (System Apocalypse Book 6)
Four years ago, the Erethran Honor Guard arrived and threw John Lee into a Portal to another world. Since then, Earth has received no word of the intrepid adventurer. Until now.
Finding his way back to Earth through a Portal, John returns to a very changed world. The shackles of Galactic control have bound Earth and humanity ever tighter to the System. Now, John has to find a way to free Earth from Galactic control while battling stronger, more powerful enemies. And worst of all, he will need to indulge in politics.
Good thing he's got a new Class and new allies.
World's Unbound is book six of the System Apocalypse, a LitRPG / GameLit series of post-apocalypse troubles, scifi & fantasy elements, all in a world filled with game mechanics.
This series contains elements of games like level ups, experience, enchanted materials, a sarcastic spirit, mecha, a beguiling dark elf, monsters, minotaurs, a fiery red head and a semi-realistic view on violence and its effects. Does not include harems.
My Opinion: 379 pg, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
One of the more abstract entries in the series. It time jumps the main character (MC) 4 years past the end of the last book and of necessity requires a lot of summaries of what took place in those years.
There is still plenty of action, dungeon crawling, and RPG progression. But it's not the main focus. Instead the story revolves around the goal of getting earth a seat on the Galactic Counsel. The MC and his allies trying to get the needed votes from the highly divided people/aliens of earth to back a candidate. Lots of politics, which personally I’m not a huge fan of. All the talking, compromising, backstabbing, and backroom dealing is just not my thing. Yet, even for me, some of the conversations the MC has were still interesting.
Overall, I had a good time with the novel still, just not as much as the earlier ones. Though you can tell the author is trying to end this arc of the series and set up the next galactic level one.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
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