LitRPG Podcast 155
LitRPG Podcast 155
Jan. 31st, 2019
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 5 new reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
Into the Light (Axe Druid Book 1) (Feb. 1st, 2019) (11:07)
Good action, but lost me at about the 65% mark
Score: 6 out of 10
Feels like it was written by a write to market author that doesn’t understand LitRPG.
Score: 4 out of 10
Lots of good action and adventure. A little less town building.
Score: 7.8 out of 10
HOPE Engine (36:10)
Slice of life story that bounces around between, adventuring, RTS town building, chosen one stuff, and cyberpunk digital plague stuff
Score: 7.3 out of 10
Russian translation. Sci-fi, slice of life MMO. Good action, lots of guns.
Score: 7.7 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
A big congrats to Xander Boyce, author of Advent: Red Mage, his audiobook was listed on Audible as one of the Listener Favorites for Jan 2019. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a great story with Luke Daniels narrating.
Shermer Kuznits recently announced on his Facebook page that he’s putting the Life Reset series aside for now and working on a new project Earth Force.
I'm currently working on a new gameLit sci-fi series (not Life Reset).
The first three chapters are available on my website:
Early access for the rest of the chapters will be available on my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/shemerk
the cover is just a temporary amateur art I threw together for fun :)
Last week Jeffrey ‘Falcon’ Logue, author of the Slime Dungeon Chronicles and Dungeon Wars, played a D&D game based on his LitRPG universe with friends and other LitRPG authors. This week, guests in the dungeon include Gabriel Rathweg, Charles Dean, and myself R. A. Mejia.
Episode 1 https://youtu.be/Kd8h_v967LI
Episode 2 (this weeks) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBp4hj6sQFyoKXQ2jiGkUcw
*Redone Cover art for the series, but this is a new book*
*Out on KU*
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Adventurers Bond (Book 5 of the Adventures on Brad)
(Feb. 1st, 2019)
Arcane Kingdom Online: Dark Magic (A LitRPG Adventure, Book 2) (Feb. 5th, 2019)
Sacrificial Pieces (The Game3 book 3) (Feb. 8th, 2019)
*No pre-order, release date might shift a little*
*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)
Collide (EvoBorne - A LitRPG Saga Book 2) (Feb. 24th, 2019)
Cat's Game Book 1 (Feb. 26th, 2019)
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)
Class-A Threat (Disgardium Book #1) LitRPG Series (April 22nd, 2019)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Into the Light (Axe Druid Book 1)
Chris and his friends had been hearing voices begging for help, but aren’t dreams supposed to stay dreams? When they finally answer the call, they’re pulled into a fantastic world with themes similar to modern role-playing games. The world of Brindolla. This is what every gamer has always wanted… right?
There's one major problem: War. The big baddie of the universe has come to collect another planet for his relentless march. The Brindollan Gods only have the power to hold him back for a short while, which they can only hope will be long enough to give Chris and his buddies a fighting chance. Either this team gets rid of War’s vanguard of minions and generals, giving the Gods a chance to keep him out for good... or War comes for Earth.
The group is ready to dive into combat, magic, and any other obstacles that come their way. No matter what needs to be done, Chris and his buddies will always do it together
My Opinion: 524 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review, I purchased the novel when it became available.
The novel on the whole is very slice of life. Even though it’s setup as this save the world with your military buddies by your side, the novel really just follows the main character (MC) as he goes on adventure, gets quests, levels, advances his class, trains, and even crafts eventually. There’s no real plot as much as there are a series of adventures/scenes connected with the vague goal of ‘beating the darkness and saving the world from War’.
The game mechanics aren’t unique but they will feel familiar to RPG gamers and D&D players. They’re fleshed out enough that a reader can speculate about what kind of build he’d make in this world. There are unique races, classes, skills, but most of those aren’t detailed well. The game mechanics that are fleshed out the most relate to the MC and his class. But for most of the story there are loads of notifications, item descriptions, stat sheets, and RPG progression.
Storywise, there’s a bit of a rough start. The MC and the group members are introduced quickly but I’m not given any reason to really care about them. Combine that with the weak premise of just randomly accepting an offer to save some world you think is a dream and the motivation to save a fantasy world and thus your normal world as a vague motivation. Eventually, this is fleshed out a bit more as you get small stories about the MC and his family and it’s at least sort of believable that he’d sacrifice himself to save his son in an abstract way. Still, looser start than I’d like.
The early RPG - world portion of the story is actually decent. Not super grab you by the shirt engaging but the action-adventure is good. Just about all the fights in the story are well thought out and written with good tactics and good description. For some readers, this alone will make the story worth a read. Early after the group in on the fantasy game world though, the moments between fights are frankly lackluster. Still, it’s good enough and by the 35% mark the story seems to find it’s rhythm with a training, action-adventure, and world building cycle. Even the moments between fights start to get interesting as crafting is introduced and developed, and training gets some depth.
Unfortunately, the story loses me after the 65% mark. I won’t spoil things, but it really felt like the RPG progression mostly disappears after this point. There are still quests and some notifications but the story takes on a more fantasy vibe and almost all the new power increases aren’t earned but gifted or forced on the group. Even the couple levels given are literally gifted by powerful beings. The story here isn’t bad or anything and the world building in this section is actually more in depth than earlier section. However the story advancement repeatedly feels really forced by outside forces and not advanced by the group. After the 65% mark, it really reminded me of situation where a group of high level tabletop players start to get bored and the DM whisks them away to new dimensions just to shake things up and forces them down a story path.
Overall, even though the story has good action and adventure, it’s not enough to carry the story for me. I never really understood why most of the group members even exist in the story other than to provide good banter and fill out a balanced group. I was never given much background or reason to care about anyone except the MC. The other group members felt like pulls from someone’s tabletop game with unique races, classes, and ability paths. That’s cool, but I honestly wouldn’t have cared if they all got killed. I had zero connection to them. Add to that the loss of RPG progression near the last act and the feel of a forced storyline, and I just stopped enjoying things.
Not a bad story, but it did lose me at a certain point.
Score: 6 out of 10
Into the Light (Axe Druid Book 1) (Feb. 1st, 2019)
Reborn: Apprentice: A LitRPG Adventure (Reclamation Book 1)
From debut author, Luka Petrov
Reborn: Apprentice Book 1 of the Reclamation Series
Ed White was a college freshman and had moved into the dorm room of his new college with the help of his parents when he was mowed down by a car on his way back from lunch. Being an avid RPG player, Ed excelled at logic and reason, and when he enters the afterworld, he is met with a figure who offers him an appealing proposition, to reincarnate as Edward MacAra, a black magic user.
The only stipulation, Edward must save the universe from being taken over by the Demon Lord, Abraxas. Abraxas is thought to be dormant, but he is slowly taking over the surrounding villages, and Gilmore is next. Ed risks losing his own soul in the process if he is not able to prevent Abraxas from claiming the universe.
After deliberation, Ed reincarnates to the village of Gilmore as Edward MacAra, an 8-year old boy. During the attribute assessment at school, Edward and his family find that he does not have a high enough level in strength to become a blacksmith and to follow in his father's footsteps, but rather possess a uniquely high level of intelligence.
Edward talks his parents into letting him learn magic and to become an apprentice. His parents seek out an archmage named Hamon, who accepts him as his apprentice. Hamon brings Edward to his school, the Draererth, Academy of Spells and Wizardry. There, Edward learns magic and finds his innate attribute threatens the other students.
Meanwhile, Abraxas attacks Gilmore. Edward is the first to find Abraxas as he storms the Draererth, Academy of Spells and Wizards, but no one believes that Abraxas had arrived. Find out if Edward can save the students and the village of Gilmore in Reborn: Apprentice.
My Opinion: 258 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*Note: Reviews note a lot of spelling errors but the version I read only had a few and they were mostly missing words or slightly off ones. Likely the author addressed the issue.*
The story written by Kore Rigel, a romance writer, using the pen name Luka Petrov. I don’t feel like I’m outing anyone, the author was promoting it with her normal facebook account and telling people she was using the pen name. This honestly feels like an attempt at write to market, only the author doesn’t understand the market.
This is a reincarnated to a RPG game world story that is mostly a magical academy story with a tiny bit of RPG thrown in. 90% fantasy magical academy.
Between the 36-40% mark is where you see most of the RPG related aspects of the story. That’s where the readers sees the stat cards for the MC, his mentor, and several students. You see character names, stats, and any skills they have. However, that’s really the extend of any RPG aspects in the story. There are a couple of mentions of the MC looking at a spell list and his stat card, but it’s not shown to the reader and there are no details just that the MC did it. Honestly, I dislike the story based on this alone. The most common note I made while reading the novel was, ‘Where is all the RPG stuff?’
Storywise, the novel is written decently and the story is easy to follow. The story is mostly set on a supposed RPG world, with the MC getting the choice to reincarnate on a world that is supposed to be based on his tabletop RPG game. But the reality is that you don’t even see a hint of RPG until the 36% mark and even then it only lasts a little while. The MC is supposed to have some genius intellect score but it doesn’t really show in the story and again and again the story describes him to be mostly average to slightly advanced. His biggest benefit is that he’d memorized the spell list from the D&D manual so he can sometimes cast spells not discovered on this world, though that doesn’t really makes sense. Beyond that, most of the story is a generic Magical Academy story that feels like it’s trying to be a bit too much like Harry Potter on a word budget.
Overall, the story feels like it was written by a write to market author that doesn’t understand LitRPG.
Score: 4 out of 10
Life Reset: Hobnobbing (New Era Online Book 3)
Having survived the first wave of invading players, Oren now seeks to strengthen his clan. With the Breeder’s Den destroyed and most of Goblin's Gorge's resources devoted to rebuilding, his best hope lies in creating an army of golems. But for that, he needs Viridium, a rare metal that can only be obtained from hobgoblin towns, where Oren and his clan of goblins are viewed as nothing more than potential slaves. To make his way in the game, and to defeat his former guild, Oren’s ingenuity alone will not be enough. He will need to conquer his deepest fears and tap into his inner monster.
My Opinion: 533 pages, $4.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
A really good book 3. Lots of action and adventure. A little less town building as the MC completes quests and gathers the trade he needs to protect his village. Good stuff all around but that end is definitely interesting.
Score: 7.8 out of 10
A world on the brink of war, absent parents, and no friends sounds like a disaster unless all you ever wanted was to live inside your virtual reality pod.
Meet Severo, a fresh-eyed graduate, as he joins the ranks of new players in the HOPE engine, but quickly finds out that everything isn’t as advertised. An unnatural enemy is rising, more glitch than feature, that not even the highest level players can stop. A noob like Severo doesn’t stand a chance! Right? But with his starter village in the enemy’s warpath, he better figure something out! Before that, he needs to learn that NPCs are sentient, friends are needed, and food in fantasy games sucks! Oh yeah, and pick a class!
As if all that wasn’t enough to worry about, outside of the VR pod, real life is starting to have its own technical difficulties...
My Opinion: 492 pages, $3.49, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review, I purchased a copy when it became available.
Originally a serial story on Royal Road, it's been collected and updated as an Amazon novel. As a serial story, it is going to feel kind of slice of life in that you follow the main character (MC) as he discovers the fantasy game world, the various game mechanics, and how see how he chooses to play and interact with the game, craft, plays scenarios, and levels. The story feels like the MC is in a game where players can choose different scenarios to play, or they can kingdom build. There’s lots of game theory with the MC considering his class options. Loads of detail on game mechanics too.
Overall, the story was entertaining for me. One of the underrated aspects of the story is the snarky sense of humor, which I liked. However, I like slice of life and am ok with how the story bounces around between, adventuring, RTS town building, chosen one stuff, and cyberpunk digital plague stuff.
Score: 7.3 out of 10
Volper (Alfarome. Book 1) LitRPG Series
What can you do when you only have two years left under the sun? You can, for instance, keep to yourself and lose all contact with reality. You can spend all this remaining time feeling sorry for yourself and crying… But I decided to act in a completely different way: if you have just a few years left to live, then why not enjoy yourself to the fullest? But how would I do that? It’s a piece of cake, since there is a virtual reality I can run to. And, as I’ve found out, there is a new project being launched pretty soon, about which only scarce info has been given by different sources.
"Are you fed up with elves, gnomes and other typical races from fantasy novels for teenagers? Sick and tired of reading about medieval battles and life in those dark times? Then, welcome to Alfarome! What’s in store for you here? It’s a brand new game, in the genre of post-apocalyptic cyberpunk, that tests your endurance! And what else can you hope for? That's top secret, because any information can bring you money and you could make loads of it in the game! "©
The only information available is on the official website of the game Alfarome.
Well, I’d love to go back to the old good days, when I was young and hale. Taking into account my past, this kind of virtual world will be just perfect for me!
My Opinion: 361 pages, $4.77, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*This is a translation of a Russian LitRPG series. There are some translation errors and some unique formating. The most notable being that dialogue does not use quotes, but << >> instead.*
This is a good slice of life LitRPG story where the setting is a sci-fi MMO in the far future. The main character (MC) uses his real life experience as a retired soldier to get a leg up in this full immersion world where there are cyborgs, mutants, psionic abilities, and lots and lots of guns. Storywise, you’re really just following the MC around as he figures out the world, kills monsters, delves dungeons, and makes allies among the NPCs and other players.
Game mechanic wise, things are pretty good. The story has regular gamer jokes, lots of detail about the various game mechanics, and theory crafting about how best to advance. There are also lots of item and skill descriptions.
Overall, this is a good story. Combat is well described and actiony. The story has good pacing and I found myself reading it all in just a couple of sittings. The MC is interesting and the story makes you want to see how he’ll outsmart his opponents next. Good stuff.
Score: 7.7 out of 10
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!
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