LitRPG Podcast 154


LitRPG Podcast 154

Jan. 25th, 2019

I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.  I have 6 new reviews just for you.

New Releases and Reviews:

The Steel Hounds (The Artar Chronicles Book 1) (09:48)

Slice of life with an even mix of monk class development, quirky adventures, and guild versus guild conflict.

Score: 7.4 out of 10

Steel Heart: Hub World Book 2 (16:31)

Cyber-thriller bookends with some casual RPG adventuring in the middle

Score: 6 out of 10

Apocalypse 2020: Into the Black  (20:10)

Loses that RPG goodness

Score: 6 out of 10

Core of Fear: A Paranormal LitRPG Dungeon Core (Spirit Core Book 1) (27:02)

Dungeon Core + Paranormal Activity = Not my thing

Score 6 out of 10

Battle Spire: A Crafting LitRPG Book (Hundred Kingdoms 1) (31:15)

Pretty good use of a crafting class

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Freedom Online: The Copper Rose: A LitRPG Fantasy (35:14)

Good town building but not much else here

Score: 7.3 out of 10

(Play Music 2)

LitRPG News

Dakota Krout did an author interview with Steven Rowland, author of Sentenced to Troll and Pangea Online. It’s fun.

I was on a LitRPG hangout with Charles Dean, Jeff Hays, and Xander Boyce. We talked about Xander’s hit novel Advent: Red Mage and got pretty silly as we hung out. Its over on the Soundbooth Theater YouTube page.

Update from MSE on Amazon thing.

Update time.

Lawyers have communicated with Amazon. They've asked me to show them all my advertising stuff and places where I've promoted my books. My lawyers have asked them to give us details about the specific reasons they banned me (AKA evidence I was doing anything wrong), since they didn't bring any to the meeting.

Our next meeting is Feb 14th. Fingers crossed it goes well. Thanks for hanging in there.

Out Now!

Volper (Alfarome. Book 1) LitRPG Series

Undead: A World of Ga'em LitRPG (The Chaos Emperor Book 2)

Reborn: Apprentice: A LitRPG Adventure (Reclamation Book 1)

The Monolith: A LitRPG Novel (Blood Seekers Book 1)

Life Reset: Hobnobbing (New Era Online Book 3)

A Thousand Drunken Monkeys: Book 2 in the Hero of Thera series

The Way of the Shaman. Step 1: The Beginning: Volume One (The Way of the Shaman Comic Book)

New LitRPG Audiobooks

Eden's Gate: The Omen: A LitRPG Adventure, Book 5

Dungeon Desolation: Divine Dungeon Series, Book 4

Desire: A LitRPG Adventure, Volume 3

Zombie Slayer!!: A LitRPG Apocalypse

Upcoming LitRPG:

Neverfall: Catacombs (Book 2): A Gamelit Lit RPG Series (Jan. 29th, 2019)

HOPE Engine (Jan. 30th, 2019)  

Viridian Gate Online: Doom Forge: A litRPG Adventure (The Viridian Gate Archives Book 6) (Jan. 30th, 2019)

Adventurers Bond (Book 5 of the Adventures on Brad)

(Feb. 1st, 2019)

Into the Light (Axe Druid Book 1) (Feb. 1st, 2019)

Viridian Gate Online: Nomad Soul: A litRPG Adventure (The Illusionist Book 1) (Feb. 12th, 2019)

*One of the authors that submitted a short story to the author for their anthology*

Four: The Loot: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure (The Good Guys Book 4) (Feb. 14th, 2019)

Scourge of Souls - The Realms Book Four: (An Epic LitRPG Gamelit Adventure ) (Feb. 15th, 2019)

Collide (EvoBorne - A LitRPG Saga Book 2) (Feb. 24th, 2019)

Cat's Game Book 1 (Feb. 26th, 2019)

*Translated work*

The Black Turtle (The Artar Chronicles Book 2) (March 5th, 2019)

Absolute Zero (Adam Online Book #1) LitRPG Series (March 18th, 2019)

Max Lagno is the co-author for Level Up: Knockout

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

Dark World [Transformation. Book II] (March 27th, 2019)

Edge of the Abyss (Respawn Trials Book #1) LitRPG Series (April 10th, 2019)

Onto New Releases and Reviews

(Play Music 3)

New Releases and Reviews

(Picture 1)

The Steel Hounds (The Artar Chronicles Book 1)

Stan, also known as Mongoose, is an extreme traceur and a freerunner, whose real-life talents attracted the attention of The Steel Hounds, the most notorious and private clan of the virtual world of Artar, famous for serving the grey cardinal. While the political landscape for this new world is yet to form, intrigues, conspiracy, daring raids, and sabotage are the main weapons of the Hounds, and his evaluation has just begun.

To complete it successfully and become a full-fledged member of the clan, Stan will have to adapt to working side-by-side with the most unique people with shady backgrounds — even if he is not a team player by nature and has already failed at the very beginning by choosing the least suitable class for teamwork: Battle Monk.

Stan is rebellious, free-spirited, and daring. He risks his life every day just to avoid getting bored of the daily grind. Normally, an expelled student has no hope of entering the virtual world of Artar, an expensive online VR project, but when a suspicious organization offers to pay all expenses to let Stan in for a special purpose, Mongoose gets his chance to become one of the select few. However, to successfully complete his trial, Stan will have to face his main enemy — himself, while finding peace and mastering all five styles of the Battle Monks of Artar.

My Opinion: 374 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited


This is a slice of life translated novel from Russia with a Monk as the class for the main character (MC).

Game mechanic wise the story is unique in some respects but intentionally light in others. It’s intentionally light in that there is no HP, Mana bars, damage notifications or numbers to keep track of except the occasional mention of stats increasing which is just about the only RPG progress you’ll see since there aren’t levels either. You can tell the author likely just didn’t want to deal with tracking all that. But there’s lots of gamer and MMO culture in the story. Lots of guild conflict and behaviors from players that sees straight out of someone's experience playing an MMO. There are item descriptions, quest descriptions, MMO vendors, Mobs rubber banding, etc. that give the game world an MMO vibe. Uniquely, the most time is spent developing the MCs Monk elemental view of the game with his class being uniquely able to see and harvest elemental Qi to improve stats, power special abilities, or unlock/improve abilities.

Story-wise, this is pretty slice of life with an even mix of monk class development, quirky adventures, and guild versus guild conflict. There’s a little bit of intrigue in there too, but that ties to the guild stuff. The monk class, while not seen often, isn’t amazing here. Don’t expect the MC to be a kick butt Kung Fu fighter in book 1. Instead I think the guild stuff is likely to be the biggest draw for readers. There are some interesting guild related plays for power, real estate, and alliances that seem to be a focus of the series. Those themes are interweaved fairly well into the action and adventure parts of the MC’s story.

While a little light on RPG progression, it’s an entertaining story that is interesting enough to get me to want to read book 2.

Score: 7.4 out of 10

The Steel Hounds (The Artar Chronicles Book 1)

(Picture 2)

Steel Heart: Hub World Book 2

There are great dangers in the forest...

Jupiter and Cas have slain the wererat, and freed the inhabitants of Vigil from the deadly plague. Now it's time to get a little more serious about exploring the new world, and leveling up.

There are bandits to slay, and creatures to hunt. And what is lurking out in the ocean?

Follow Jupiter and Cas on a new adventure across the sprawling world of Yevelia.

Book two in the Hub World litRPG series.

My Opinion: 103 pages, $2.99, Available On Kindle Unlimited

The review for this one is kind of the same as it was for book 1. This short story is actually a lot like book 1, at least structurally. Cyber-thriller bookends with some casual RPG adventuring in the middle. A decent short story but not super compelling. Character development is done well in the story with good banter between the two main characters (MC). The adventuring feels a little more focused than it was in book 1 but there’s just not enough space in the short story to really develop much of a really engaging plot. Not boring, and there are some good elements, but overall just didn’t do it for me.

Score: 6 out of 10

Steel Heart: Hub World Book 2

(Picture 3)

Apocalypse 2020: Into the Black

The leech have begun terraforming the Earth, and the only way for Scarlett and her group to stop them is to leave the planet and venture out into the vastness of space in the the alien ship they found within Area 51. With the leech hunting them, and little direction on where to go, they must find the leech mothership and disable the terraformers before Earth is turned into a place unfit for human life. Also, there is the girl in the box labeled “Goddess,” and whatever mysteries she holds.

Outside of the game, Scarlett and Bran prepare for the first Apocalypse-Con, a convention where all the players from around the world will come to play together.

This finale of the Apocalypse 2020 Trilogy will either see our heroes triumphant over the alien army or dead, with the Earth soon to follow.

My Opinion: 241 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

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

It is a nice conclusion to the series and wraps up the big storylines it started. I personally really liked where the IRL storyline went and how that mixes with the game story. Good stuff.

The story drops you right in the middle of a space battle and quickly differentiates itself from the previous 2 books with lots of space opera tech game stuff. You could actually start the series here. The author gives enough info to tell who everyone is and the setting shifts so much from previous books that all that scifi space stuff has to be setup anyways.

IRL, just remember it's the late 90s so when you see references to LAN parties and other pop culture stuff, that’s why.

The only thing I didn’t like is how the game storyline lost most of the game elements. I completely understand that going from apocalypse to space opera settings would change some game elements, but in-game it often just felt like a sci-fi story. The most common game elements that continue are the use of notifications for: skill use/failures, health loss, and other minor details. Completely gone are the RPG elements. No one gains levels, XP,  or new abilities. Characters get new space weapons, ships, and stuff, but nothing RPG anymore.

Overall, the storyline is good. It’s a lot of action and adventure. But I’ll be honest. Part of my brain checked out when I realized there wasn’t any more RPG stuff. Again and again, I’d expect some leveling or something after a big battle and just feel a little disappointed when it didn’t happen. Still, not a boring story, it just lost that LitRPG goodness that was developed so well in books 1 and 2.

Score: 6 out of 10

Apocalypse 2020: Into the Black

(Picture 4)

Core of Fear: A Paranormal LitRPG Dungeon Core (Spirit Core Book 1)

Do you ever wonder why spirits take the actions they do? What if there was a system of rules they had to follow?

Clive Logan is a serial killer; or, to be more accurate, Clive Logan was a serial killer. Caught after a record-breaking streak of murders, he was executed by lethal injection by the state, while thousands of his victims' grieving family members watched.

That should’ve been the end of his emotionless and unfeeling existence – but it wasn’t.

Sent to Hell – where he enjoyed himself entirely too much – he was singled out to become a Spirit Core, an invisible spiritual entity that eventually ended up back on Earth. At first unfamiliar to him, his new incarnation slowly revealed itself to have its own set of rules, following something not unlike the video games he used to program back when he was alive. At its root, he was tasked with invoking fear upon his new victims – but there was just one problem.

Having never felt any emotions before, he had no idea what that meant.

Contains LitRPG elements such as level progression and statistics.

My Opinion: 296 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

*Readers are polarized. Some really hate it, others really like it*

Not really my thing. This is a dungeon core story mixed with the movie Paranormal Activity. The premise is that a psychopath is executed and because he's bored being tortured in hell he comes back as a ghost whose job it is to send innocent souls to hell. He has an RPG interface he uses to upgrade his abilities but basically he has to scare people to death then he can move on to more physical means. Solid game mechanics but it’s just not really my thing. Not into horror movies.

Score 6 out of 10

Core of Fear: A Paranormal LitRPG Dungeon Core (Spirit Core Book 1)

(Picture 5)

Battle Spire: A Crafting LitRPG Book (Hundred Kingdoms 1)

Jack Kross only wanted to play the game. Now he's fighting for his life.

When a mysterious hacker takes control of Hundred Kingdoms, Jack is trapped inside the fantasy VR world along with millions of other players. But Jack is in a worse predicament. He's cornered in the very tower the terrorists have taken as their base; the only free player left within its walls. Even worse, in the real world, his body lies in a sweltering room with no hope of relief.

Playing the profession-based Scavenger class, and at a low level, Jack's prospects of fighting his way out are next to impossible. Crafting gear, traps and weapons, allying with a deadly dungeon master and an AI he can't fully trust, Jack is in a race against time to save not just himself but the millions of players held hostage.

Battle Spire is a meeting of World of Warcraft and Die Hard, using crunchy LitRPG mechanics with a heavy focus on crafting. Readers can expect to find in depth item and spell descriptions, along with stat tables and profession recipes.

My Opinion: 408 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

The beginning while not badly written comes across as just another LitRPG story with a wimpy MC with a Sword Art Online premise. I'll be honest, I almost put the novel down when it revealed it was a trapped in the game and die in the game die in real life premise. Still, I’m glad I didn't. It turns into something more original and definitely entertaining.

The game mechanics are solid and consistent and will please lovers of crunchy RPG details.

Overall, it's a fun story with some homages to Die Hard but the story combines a crafting class with a coming of age hero story in a good way.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Battle Spire: A Crafting LitRPG Book (Hundred Kingdoms 1)

(Picture 7)

Freedom Online: The Copper Rose: A LitRPG Fantasy

Freedom Online: The Copper Rose is the story of a virtual world that is populated by all kinds of mythical beings along with a playership that is somewhat less than savoury. Imagine that you have been placed in a world that rewards actions of all kinds but seldom punishes anything. Without rules and boundaries the human race is left craving a sense of limits, something to rebel or fight against and as that bar is constantly moved or in this case, removed, the results are somewhat alien.My story is that of being placed in an unknown world. where anyone could be friend or foe and I use the mechanics of Role-Playing, Massively Multiplayer, and Strategy games to build a home for my newfound friends and I. Jealousy and revenge are powerful motives for violence though, and ones that I could find difficult to evade.Includes character stats, settlement building, skills & levels and combat statistics.

My Opinion: 332 pages, $3.81, Available On Kindle Unlimited

The beginning of the story is a bit brutal but sets up the bad guys. However, most of the novel is really this slice of life town building story. There's not much plot and only vague threats from the bad guys. Still, the town building elements are well thought out and thorough, if fairly reminiscent of the ones seen in Life Reset.

Overall a good story if you’re in the mood for a town building story, just don't expect much else.

Score: 7.3 out of 10

Freedom Online: The Copper Rose: A LitRPG Fantasy

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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