LitRPG Podcast 157


LitRPG Podcast 157

Feb. 15th, 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:

Equalize (Ether Collapse Book 1) (Feb. 15th, 2019)


RPG apocalypse, little harder to get into but it eventually hooked me

Score: 7.7 out of 10

Underworld - Sanctuary: A LitRPG Series (18:45)

Now with town building

Score: 7.6 out of 10

VampQuest (21:49)

Hoped for something better, got a something bland

Score: 5 out of 10

Legend of the Sword Bearer: Tempest Chronicles Book 1 (26:46)

Feels like the author gave up on the RPG stuff at a certain point

Score: 5 out of 10

Djinn Tamer: Starter: A Monster Battling GameLit Adventure (Djinn Tamer - Bronze League Book 1)  (33:12)

Good try at writing a pokemon-ish LitRPG, but struggled to stay interested

Score: 5 out of 10

Sacrificial Pieces (The Gam3)  (45:12)

Twists and turns and so much RPG greatness

Score: 9 out of 10

(Play Music 2)

LitRPG News

Underworld - Level Up or Die will be on a countdown deal for $1.99 from the 11th to the 18th.

Out Now!

Demon Lords (World-Tree Trilogy Book 2)

Beta Life: Digital Sorcery Book 1 (A LitRPG Series)

Viridian Gate Online: Nomad Soul: A litRPG Adventure (The Illusionist Book 1)

*One of the authors that submitted a short story to the author for their anthology, Viridian Gate Online: Side Quests: A litRPG Anthology*

Four: The Loot: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure (The Good Guys Book 4)

Gemini's Crossing: A Fantasy LitRPG Gamelit Adventure (Enora Online Book 1)

The Dungeon Traveler

Ghouls'n Guns: A LitRPG Series (Apocalypse Online Book 1)

Scrambled Lives: A LitRPG Novel

RE: Alternative World Online: Volume 2 (RE:Alternative World Online)

New LitRPG Audiobooks

Arcane Kingdom Online: The Chosen: LitRPG Adventure Series, Book 1

Changing Faces: New Game Minus, Book 1

Breaking Ground: Halcyon Rising, Book 1

Upcoming LitRPG:

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

Dissonance (Somnia Online Book 4) (Feb. 15th, 2019)

The Guardian Guild: A Dungeon Core Epic (Station Cores Book 3)  (Feb. 17th, 2019)

Star Exile: Singularity (a Scifi LitRPG Adventure) (Feb. 19th, 2019)

Occultist (Saga Online #1) - A Fantasy LitRPG

(Feb. 21st, 2019)

Hunter’s Choice (Apex Chronicles - Book 2) (Feb. 22nd, 2019)

Histaff (Skeleton in Space - Book 1) (Feb. 22nd, 2019)

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

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

*Translated work*

Firebrand (The Firebrand Series - Book 1) (Feb. 26th, 2019)

Awaken Online: Dominion (Feb. 28th, 2019)

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

Dark Sun Survival (March 5th, 2019)

Vindication (The Alchemic Weaponeer - Book 1) (March 12th, 2019)

Quest For Roshan: A Fantasy LitRPG Gamelit Adventure (Enora Online Book 2) (March 14th, 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)

Djinn Tamer: Rivals: A Monster Battling GameLit Adventure (Djinn Tamer - Bronze League Book 2) (April 5th, 2019)

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

Dukes and Ladders: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure (The Good Guys Book 5) (April 11th, 2019)

Soulcatcher. LitRPG series "Universe ICS": Book I

(April 16th, 2019)

Dragon Heart: Stone Will. LitRPG wuxia series: Book 1

(April 18th, 2019)

Class-A Threat (Disgardium Book #1) LitRPG Series (April 22nd, 2019)

In Search of the Uldans (Galactogon: Book #2) LitRPG Series

(April 25th, 2019)

Onto New Releases and Reviews

(Play Music 3)

New Releases and Reviews

(Picture 1)

Equalize (Ether Collapse Book 1)

Gaia has awakened, and the world will never be the same again.

Rockland Barkclay has had a rough year. On top of everything else, his father has just passed, and Rocky has to go it alone on their annual trip. But his plans for drinking alone in Algonquin Park are rudely interrupted by a sea of cosmic energy that governs the universe. Ether, the driving force of creation, has returned. Now a confused Rocky must navigate odd hovering messages to survive.

With the awakening of the very planet they reside on, humans are in a desperate fight to survive in an evolving world. If only Gaia hadn’t woken up so very… very… unhinged.

My Opinion: 570 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

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

The beginning of the story is a little hard to get into. The setup feels a little loose, the main character (MC) is a little annoying, and if I’m honest some of the game mechanics feel made up along the way with a few number issues. But the story gets better as it progresses and it really starts to shine once the MC starts to interact with other humans again. By the halfway mark in the story, I was completely hooked. There’s a bit more of a fantasy vibe to this RPG apocalypse story, but if you like Tao Wong’s System Apocalypse story, you’ll probably like this too. This story has several commonalities. Earth is transformed by a sudden flood of mana/ether, causing monsters to spawn, dungeons to grow, land masses to shift, and people to gain access to a System store, blue screens, and RPG progression. Also, like many apocalypse stories, it’s not always the monsters but the surviving humans that pose the biggest threat. There’s a lot of good action, interesting RPG class abilities for the MC, and a  bit of town building.

Score: 7.7 out of 10

Equalize (Ether Collapse Book 1) (Feb. 15th, 2019)

(Picture 2)

Underworld - Sanctuary: A LitRPG Series

After coming face to face with death, Elorion and company have found a dungeon to call their own. They’ve fought hard to earn a stint of peace, but Mistress Nava is still out there and her captain is now on the hunt. The impending arrival of the army of minotaurs will be the greatest threat they have faced thus far.

With their new-found freedom comes a myriad of additional dangers. They’re running low on food, the dungeon is in disrepair, and they must find new hunting grounds to continue growing in power. As their chosen leader, Elorion is faced with an impossible task. Will he weaponize their dungeon, develop his party’s strengths, or seek ancient power from the long-forgotten depths of the Underworld?

My Opinion: 400 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

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

The third book in the Underworld series keeps the action and RPG leveling readers have come to enjoy from the series and adds base building, loads of training, crafting, shapeshifting, and even crop growing. The majority of the base building, training, etc. doesn’t show up till the 2nd half of the story, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t see much of it till then. The 1st half is mostly good action-adventure stuff with a bit of resource gathering.

The only minor note I’d have is that all that base building/crafting/training/etc stuff is kind of squished together in one huge section broken up occasionally with small action scenes or interpersonal conversations between group members. If a reader isn’t into town building, this section might feel like it drags a bit.

Still, it was good for me.

Score: 7.6 out of 10

Underworld - Sanctuary: A LitRPG Series

(Picture 3)


Trapped. Aker is playing a fully immersive virtual reality video game, called VampQuest, but he can’t quit and doesn’t remember his real life.

He starts to raise level and enjoy the perks of being a vampire in a game-world mostly full of humans when a rival guild attacks. The battle leaves Aker bitter and bent on revenge. He completes many missions that take him far from his guild’s base but vows to return and bring peace when he is strong enough.

Can Aker defeat his enemies? Will he ever escape from VampQuest?

My Opinion: 144 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This is a trapped in the game story where the main character (MC) also has amnesia and is turned into a vampire with in the first few minutes of him arriving in the RPG game world.

Now, I was honestly kind of intrigued by the idea of a LitRPG vampire story. I’ve played some really great vampire RPG games like: Vampire the Masquerade or Vampyr. Those games tell some great stories because they combine great world building with interesting settings, and the inherent moral conflict of taking human life to to live. That plus some of those RPG vampire powers are just cool and you can get lost in the various builds.

Disappointingly, this novel is nothing like those games. Instead, this is a more bland and predictable MMO story where the MC follows a  series of chain quests. The MC himself is unremarkable, and doesn’t remember anything about his life, yet insists that he wants to be a goodie two-shoes vampire and protect all the humans from bad vampires.

This is not a bad story but it also doesn't feel special. It doesn't take advantage of the modern setting, or the vampire aspect. It is not bad. I mean dialogue is stilted in the beginning but by the 30% that gets better. It’s just sort of meh.

Overall, even with the cyberpunk ending, I was never really engaged with the story. It reminded me of a bland MMO that I wouldn’t re-subscribe to after the first month.

Score: 5 out of 10


(Picture 4)

Legend of the Sword Bearer: Tempest Chronicles Book 1

Steve’s days are numbered.

The illness has consumed him.

Would this stranger’s offer give him a second chance?

It looks like a game. Looks can be deceiving. Paul Nelson, the CEO of Tempest Inc, has developed another world and he’s ready to send in another consciousness. This time, though, things are different. Those that came before have caused some troubles and his world is in peril.

For Steve, it’s a last chance. He’s got nothing to lose. And who knows, it might be fun?

As a warrior named Abalonious, his body gone, Steve must adapt, learn, and grow to survive. But this world isn’t exactly as advertised. There’s a darkness coming. It looks like fun will have to wait.

And there’s a secret nobody wants to talk about.

Will Steve piece together enough to live?

If you like unforgettable fantasy heroes, pop culture references, epic battles, and immersive gaming worlds, then you’ll love this LitRPG adventure.

My Opinion: 324 pages, $5.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

The story starts out pretty good. Nice familiar RPG system, levels, stats, character creation, item and ability descriptions. The story itself is slice of life with the main character (MC) being sent to this fantasy RPG game world where he goes on adventures, gets some simple quests, and gets enough XP to hit level 3.

However, the story shifts about the 35% mark. The entire RPG progression system disappears and you never see the MC gain another level again. No more monster levels, no more player levels, nothing. There are still some notifications that show up but the RPG progression system is completely abandoned. Instead, the story shifts to a fantasy story where the MC is the chosen one, the sword bearer, destined to help beat back the necromancers who want to destroy the world. The story also becomes very wand wavy, with the MC gaining a lot of power that he doesn’t earn, being saved by outside forces instead of saving himself, and for some reason he gets knocked out a lot by bad guys but never killed by them.

Overall, I honestly got bored after the 35% mark. It feels like after that point the author just got tired of tracking RPG progression and gave up on that aspect of the story and instead went back to writing fantasy with some occasional quest or item notifications thrown in.

Score: 5 out of 10

Legend of the Sword Bearer: Tempest Chronicles Book 1

(Picture 5)

Djinn Tamer: Starter: A Monster Battling GameLit Adventure (Djinn Tamer - Bronze League Book 1)

Fans of Pokémon, Digimon, and Monster Rancher will love this monster-battling take on the GameLit genre!

Jackson Hunt wants nothing more than to be a professional monster tamer — skilled trainers who raise and battle magical creatures called Djinn. He longs for the day when he comes of age and can leave home to pursue his dreams of taming Djinn.

Unfortunately for Jackson, dreams and reality don’t always coincide.

To help his grandmother make ends meet, Jackson spends his days doing manual labor on a breeder’s ranch — just about as far removed from the bright lights and roaring crowds of the DBL (Djinn Battle League) as it gets. But no matter how hard Jackson and his grandma try, it’s never enough.

Facing bank foreclosure, Jackson is desperate to save his home but has no idea how… until he discovers a young, untrained Djinn left behind for him by his dead mother.

As time runs out, Jackson works tirelessly to raise and develop a bond with his Djinn. But monster taming isn’t as easy as the pros make it look. Along the way, Jackson and his friends will delve into the shady world of underground fighting, experience the agony of defeat and learn what it takes to be a true monster tamer.

Will Jackson and his Djinn level up fast enough or is his dream destined to die before it even truly begins?

My Opinion: 323 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

As of this review, the novel has mostly positive reviews that say it is good YA reading and that fans of pokemon will appreciate it. I think those are true statements. But the novel didn’t really work for me as an adult.  I think the story is geared a bit more towards kids in that it is a coming of age story where the main character is a child/young adult, like Ash from pokemon. He has a goal to save his family house by becoming a good Djinn trainer and also reconciling the issues he’s had since his mom’s death.

I’d say the story is light LitRPG. The monsters that are captured and fight each other, the Djinn, do have character screens with stat and they level and can spend points to increase their powers. However, that’s a relatively minor aspect of the story and it focuses more on the YA coming of age journey.

Personally, I think the authors did a good job in trying to translate that monster battle concept to a novel, but it didn’t work for me on several levels. As an adult, I couldn’t connect with the story. The main character (MC) just felt too young and immature and a little whiny. Also, it’s really hard to translate the visual anime stylization of capturing creatures and making them fight for the amusement of others without it feeling weird conceptually. Personally, anytime I heard the word Djinn, I kept thinking of genies. It was also challenging to visualize each Djinn based on their sometimes not very descriptive names. Though the powers they used were neat.

Overall, I give the author all due credit for trying to bring something new to the LitRPG genre but the story was fairly predictable and I struggled to stay interested. I plan to check out book 2 still, but this one didn’t work for me.

Score: 5 out of 10

Djinn Tamer: Starter: A Monster Battling GameLit Adventure (Djinn Tamer - Bronze League Book 1)

(Picture 6)

Sacrificial Pieces (The Gam3)

After failing to take down the United World Government, Alan is a wanted fugitive on Earth. With nowhere else to go he leads the Black Rose guild into the Abyss Labyrinth. But hidden agendas thrive within the mercenary guild, and Alan soon discovers larger forces at play.

The Game is a war for survival, and a solo victory is virtually impossible—Alan needs to pick a side. But what does winning even mean in the Game? Will Alan be just another sacrificial pawn, or can he find a path to success?

My Opinion: 338 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited

Golly Gee, how to describe the last book in this first trilogy? What the author considers the end of the prequel series. It was an amazing journey full of good fights, twists in the story, sci-fi adventuring, and RPG leveling galore. This is among the best and most entertaining LitRPG series I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Each book was a page turner I spent reading till the wee hours of the morning. This one was no different. Boy did the story take some turns I didn’t see coming right up to the very last pages. It’s the kind of story that I kept thinking about for another hour after finishing the book. Just so amazing.

Score: 9 out of 10

Sacrificial Pieces (The Gam3)

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 (

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