LitRPG Podcast 151


LitRPG Podcast 151

Jan. 11th, 2019

I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.  I have 4 new reviews just for you.

New Releases and Reviews:

Level Up: The Knockout (Book #1) LitRPG Series (09:08)

Less social, more action than main series

Score: 7.3 out of 10

A Mage Rising: (The Chronicles of Herst 2: A LitRPG Saga) (16:17)

Good kingdom building, but things feel too easy for MC

Score: 6 out of 10

Ipseity (The Stork Tower Book 5) (22:40)

It’s getting to be a crowded story, but I want more please

Score: 7.4 out of 10

The Greystone Chronicles Book Five: World At War (26:13)

A great end to the series

Score: 8 out of 10

(Play Music 2)

LitRPG News

Planet Bound, that sci-fi light LitRPGish, story that I wrote is out as an audiobook. Here’s a little trailer I made showing off a sample of the audiobook.

Dave Wilmart, author of the Greystone Chronicles and The Dark Elf Chronicles, is running an ad during an ESPN event, the Pizza Bowl. First instance of a LitRPG author running an ad during normal TV thing. Neat. The announcement in his own words :

I’ve commissioned a new book trailer for Greystone 1, and will be running it as a TV commercial on ESPN. As far as I know this will be the first TV commercial for a LitRPG/GameLit book.

No... it’s not during the superbowl! This is where the silly comes in.

Apparently, we have a National Pizza Team. Yup! That’s right! Pizza! And it seems they do acrobatics. 😳

And they are having an event Saturday at noon EST. So don’t make other plans! I’m hoping my trailer runs during the Freestyle Pizza Dough Twirling event!

Watch the pizza event here:

Vasily Mahanenko, author of the Way of the Shaman series, recently posted an update for his 2019 plans:

Hi all!

I'll tell you about my plans for 2019

This year should be the most productive for me. Two books have already been written (Galaktogon-2 and Invasion-1), I immediately write Galaktogon-3 to logically close the series. There will be Invasion-2 and, if everything goes well, the Alchemist-1 (RealRPG). These are the books that I write.

In addition, this year I will present to your attention the works that won in my literary contest "Fantasy" and "LitRPG". It is very likely that Bard-3 will also be in 2019.

Thus, the year 2019 will be for me and my readers the most intense of the books.

Out Now!

Towns and Towers II: Artifacts, Allies, and Adventures  

The Realm Between: Two Brothers: A LitRPG Saga (Book 2)

Shattered City: (A litRPG/LitFPS book) (Call of Reality Book 1)

Undying Sacrifice: A LitRPG/GameLit Adventure Novel (Aelterna Online Book 3)

The Idle System (A LitRPG series Book 2): The Rogues

RE: Alternative World Online: Volume 1 (RE:Alternative World Online)

New LitRPG Audiobooks


Upcoming LitRPG:

Dungeon Wars (Jan. 11th, 2019)

Bitter: Book Five (Jan. 14th, 2019)

The Steel Hounds (The Artar Chronicles Book 1) (Jan. 19th, 2019)

Apocalypse 2020: Into the Black (Jan. 22nd, 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)

*Translated work*

The Final Trial (Level Up Book #3) LitRPG Series (March 25th, 2019)

Onto New Releases and Reviews

(Play Music 3)

New Releases and Reviews

(Picture 1)

Level Up: The Knockout (Book #1) LitRPG Series

Mike Hagen, an American nicknamed "Crybaby," became one of those chosen to be given an augmented reality interface. However, his favorite game was an MMA fighter--possibly, for the reason that he'd never fought in real life, and the interface adapted itself to him.

Will Hagen be able to use it right? And will it help him to crawl out of the dreary pit of his existence?

My Opinion: 403 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased a copy when it became available.

A side story written in the Level Up universe with a different main character (MC), Mike Hagen. The novel is based on the short story written by one of the authors, Dan Sugrallinov, and published in Magic Dome Book’s “You’re In Game: Book 2”. The beginning two chapters of this novel are actually just a slightly modified version of that short story. That’s not actually a bad thing, since that was a pretty good short story and got to all the RPG stuff of the universe much faster than the main series.

This novel differentiates itself from the main series mostly by being much more combat focused. The novel starts off with the normal ‘woe is me’ setup, detailing explicitly just how big a loser the MC is. Then when he gets his RPG interface, he gets the chance to fulfill his fondest dream of learning how to fight. If you’ve read the main series, you’ll recognize that this is an interface that is very different from the one that  MC gets but ties into the universe lore. From there it’s a slice of life story following just how the MC trains in various fighting styles and figure out how to level up by winning fights. Of course, he also gets into a lot of trouble from this practice and some of the twists the story takes are very unexpected.

A small note, neither of the authors had ever been to the USA before writing the novel and they never expected it to get translated or for Americans to read it. So, they readily admit in the end of the novel that some things in the story are going to feel off for American readers. They’re right. The story is written with a lot of stereotypes about Americans, various ethnicities, the American prison system, and culture here. You can tell some of it is just picked up from movies, but it also kind of gives the story a certain charm.

Overall, some people are going to like all the action in this novel. There’s lots of boxing and MMA style fighting with training and leveling up. However, I have to say that I like the main series more. The main series has a mostly non-combat oriented story that forced the author to come up with some very interesting applications for that RPG system. In this story, its fighting and while the story takes some odd turns, its focus on combat feels more familiar and less novel. Still, it’s an entertaining story if you like the Level UP universe.  

Score: 7.3 out of 10

Level Up: The Knockout (Book #1) LitRPG Series

A Mage Rising: (The Chronicles of Herst 2: A LitRPG Saga)

Vol has brought the people of Efftin to a new place they can build upon and protect. A new place they can call home. It’s a place others can join them in their freedom of oppression. With this new place to live, Vol understands the responsibility he has to protect those that reside there. But in Herst, if you wish to keep anything you must be willing to fight to hold onto it. What challenges will he face, and will he be strong enough to resist the unknown threats that he will encounter.

My Opinion: 428 pages, $4.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited

I almost like the novel but there were several things that held me back from getting there.

First, no question that it’s LitRPG. All the same game mechanics are carried over from book 1 and there are additional crafting and kingdom building mechanics which are handled well. I enjoyed the character development path the main character (MC) goes through and the intelligent use of his magic skill. Combat is also pretty good when it happens.

However, there are several things that made it challenging for me to get into. One, it had been almost 6 months since I read book 1 and there was little to no recapp of that novel. So I spent the first part of book 2 trying to remember who everyone is. The author does a decent enough job of giving names, descriptions, and sort of contextually saying who everyone is, but it took a while to recall relationships or plot. Additionally, the first part of the novel is full on kingdom building and there’s no action till the story is almost at the 20% mark. Also, outside of combat, there never seemed to be any real challenges for the MC or his plans. There are some good fights that are challenging but that’s almost the only type of conflict. For example, when the MC wants to free some slaves, he just travels to where he wants to go, is opposed by no one and just happens to find the right groups and funding to help him advance his goals. There are minor quests that he has to advance, but no serious struggles for any of the MCs goals, which left me feeling like his successes meant less. Lastly, the added harem aspect feels a little forced. Again, it may feel that way because it took so long for me to even recall all the female characters that end up in the harem, but I don’t recall that being an aspect of book 1 at all. Also, the harem thing doesn’t add anything to the story and in part feels like a trend that is being chased.

Score: 6 out of 10

A Mage Rising: (The Chronicles of Herst 2: A LitRPG Saga)

Ipseity (The Stork Tower Book 5)

A simple error leaves Leah with a unique Neural Enhancement Chip and a rapidly evolving AI implanted in her brain. In 'Nascent', she evaded kidnapping by virtual slavers and helped shut down some operations of the virtual crime syndicate that uses mind-controlled players as slaves. In 'Odyssey', she not only found a way to escape but she also uncovered deeper plots being carried out in both the virtual multi-universe and reality. In 'Change', Leah began learning how to use the additional connections her chip has made throughout her body. The Pod facility she opened expanded as she helped others from her neighbourhood. She discovered that the crime syndicate has an even greater presence in the virtual multiverse than she’d imagined. As she begins to unravel some of their secrets, they tarnish her reputation and kidnap.

In 'Rescue' Leah hacked the secure Vault where an AI friend of hers had been archived. She not only managed to retrieve her friend but uncovered a deeper conspiracy she has yet to understand. She succeeded in downloading a secure file she'd stolen from the crime syndicate although she hasn't yet managed to understand what it means. Leah also managed to rescue her mother from the crime syndicate but not before her mother had an AI chip inserted in her brain. She not only discovers that her boyfriend's family controls their own crime syndicate, but he is being controlled virtually by his parents.

In 'Ipseity' Leah discovers that the syndicate inserted a dangerously modified AI chip in her mother, the police are actively investigating her activities, her neural architecture is continuing to change, and her enemies are becoming more numerous and determined. Also, she works to rescue her boyfriend, continue her studies at MIT, understand the broader conspiracy, save her mother, complete quests in three virtual worlds, build her growing business empire, and set her AI free.

My Opinion: 575 pages, $4.79, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Another good novel in the series. After the action packed ending of book 4, I wasn’t sure if book 5 would match up but it did. The story is getting more and more  overly complex as the main character (MC) Leah deals with so many issues in real life and in the many games she is playing. There are multiple separate plotlines for each: IRL, Fantasy game, Sci-Fi game, and Steampunk game. My favorite, oddly is the IRL one. Still, they’re all very good plots and I in particular like that the author has not abandoned the sentient AI stuff started in book 1. Like always, the MC’s strength is in her intelligent use of her mind and ability to talk her way past objections and obstacles. Good stuff.

Score: 7.4 out of 10

Ipseity (The Stork Tower Book 5)

The Greystone Chronicles Book Five: World At War

King Alexander and his guildmates have expanded Elysia into a formidable kingdom. Their ongoing battle against the Dark One and the drow wizards is escalating. Alexander works to bring together the Elves, Dwarves, and Human Kingdoms to establish the alliance proposed by the Dragon King. But the dark magic of the drow has infiltrated even the highest offices, blocking his efforts.

War comes once again to the gates of the keep, and Alexander must find a way to defend his citizens before he can go on the offensive and take the fight to the stronghold of his enemies. All of Io, citizens and players alike, are pulled into war as the forces of darkness strive to destroy or enslave every surface city.

Olympus is still under siege, and the threat intensifies as doctors determine it's necessary to wake Jules from her months-long slumber. Jules and Alexander prepare to meet face to face for the first time, with a little help from their friends.

Join the Greystone Guild for this epic conclusion of a LitRPG tale of magic, monsters, wizards and dragons.

My Opinion: 355 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased a copy when it became available.

According to the author, this may the last novel in the series. He plans to develop his other series and even start writing some new stories. So, if you want him to continue with this one, buy many many copies so he is forced to write more Greystone Chronicles.

This is a great ending to the series. It has all the stuff fans have come to love: kingdom building, community building, great epic battles, and development of the relationships between the group.  The novel has one of the cutest covers with Fibble and the baby dragons. Also, the author does a good job of resolving all the series plotlines by the end of the story so no one is left hanging. Though not everyone will be 100% satisfied with all the resolutions. It is always a little sad to see an end to a series you’ve enjoyed but it has been a great journey.

Score: 8 out of 10

The Greystone Chronicles Book Five: World At War

That’s it everyone!

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Thanks for hanging out with me today. Until we can hangout again, remember to go read some LitRPG!  

(Music 4)

Music Credits

"Blip Stream" "Mighty Like Us" "Big Shift" "Vivacity"

Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License