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Christopher

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  • 392
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  • Pangea Online 2: Magic and Mayhem

  • By: S.L. Rowland
  • Narrated by: Laurie Catherine Winkel, Justin Thomas James, Jeff Hays
  • Length: 7 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27

After winning the Developer’s Tournament, Esil has a new life filled with opportunity. He’s the first person to test out their most innovative technology, full-immersion gameplay, in a brand new, unexplored gameworld. Magic and mayhem collide in ways he never thought possible, and soon, he finds himself caught in a quest that may alter the course of the game for years to come.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great book.

  • By Michael on 03-08-19

Barely half of what could be be a good LitRPG audiobook.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-12-19

It’s not just that 7 hours is pretty short for a Sci-Fi/fantasy audiobook... the problem is that the pacing and story arc made the book feel like I was just barely getting to the middle of the book when the author abruptly wrapped everything up in under 20 minutes.

My suggestion, wait for the next book to come out and then listen to them back to back. For whatever reason the author has written 45% of what could be a really enjoyable book depending on how the second half goes.

  • Steel Wolves of Craedia

  • By: G. Akella
  • Narrated by: Zach Villa
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 801
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 748
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 746

The flames of war spread through the Cursed Princedom to devastating effect. Bound by powerful centuries-old magic, the Great Essences yearn to regain their freedom. In the face of an impossible mission, Krian has no choice but to keep going while risking everything that's become dear to him. The only solution is to become stronger and forget the meaning of the word impossible. And so a plangent wolf's howl soars over the battlefield as a plate-clad cavalry rushes the enemy ranks....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Finally the series takes off.

  • By David Riemer on 05-14-17

Great LitRPG.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

I highly recommend this series. As with the previous books the narrator does a good job with the voices and a decent job with delivery and inflection. However he still mispronounces words (many of which are relatively common) so regularly that it makes me want to slap him. After two books you’d think that he’d stop playing “hooked on phonics” and actually bother to look up the words whose pronunciation he’s clearly only guessing at.

All I can say is, “Thank God Nick Podehl takes over as narrator for the rest of the series!”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Occultist: Saga Online #1

  • A LitRPG series
  • By: Oliver Mayes
  • Narrated by: Adam Sims
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 411
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 382
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 383

In a desperate move Damien throws himself into the Streamer Contest of Saga Online, the latest fantasy VR-MMORPG. Winning will provide the funds for his mom’s surgery. Yet early betrayal and a close run in with a vampire almost ruin his attempt he before he even begins. Stuck at the bottom of a dungeon with no gear, no allies and little hope, Damien must embrace the undiscovered Occultist class, master control of his new demon companions and take the contest by storm. His plan is simple enough. Topple the most famous player in Saga Online.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I took a rare blind leap on this one...

  • By Christopher on 02-23-19

I took a rare blind leap on this one...

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-23-19

If you’re like me, you’re a big fan of the GameLit genre, but you’re regularly disappointed by how often extremely subpar audiobooks are given unreasonably high ratings.

For me this means that I am very careful when spending my credits on LitRPG titles. I read through (and mostly ignore) all the 5 star reviews and try to discern from the negative reviews whether the book deserves its inevitable 4.x overall rating.

Even then I have to make sure I don’t end up accidentally getting ear-violated by a 13-year-old’s, inane, pornographic fantasy loosely dressed in GameLit clothing (coughs, Schinhofen)...

Which is why it’s so rare that I’d take a chance on an unknown author whose kindle book hasn’t even been reviewed on amazon yet. But I was in a gambling mood, and the audio clip convinced me to give it a chance.

I will fully admit that my 5 star rating is probably artificially inflated by how surprised I was to hear a well-written and professionally narrated audiobook.

This book is not on the level of The Land or Videogame Plotline Tester, but it is an above average LitRPG audiobook with an MC who both acts his age and also avoids describing every female character as “soooo hot!” It also has a very good “real world” motivation and storyline for the MC to have a stake in the game-world.

In the end, the author could surely find a way to turn this into a series, but it is written as a standalone novel without loose ends and forward looking plot lines. The book is completely self contained. Oddly enough, this may make it less satisfying for those who are used to the minimum 3 volume storylines that are almost ubiquitous in the genre.

That said it’s definitely worth a credit, and if this is the author’s first published book, I’m very much looking forward to seeing how his writing develops in the future.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Awaken Online: Catharsis

  • By: Travis Bagwell
  • Narrated by: David Stifel
  • Length: 16 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,553
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,193
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,178

Jason logs into Awaken Online fed-up with reality. He's in desperate need of an escape, and this game is his ticket to finally feeling the type of power and freedom that are so sorely lacking in his real life. Awaken Online is a brand new virtual reality game that just hit the market, promising an unprecedented level of immersion. Yet Jason quickly finds himself pushed down a path he didn't expect. In this game, he isn't the hero. There are no damsels to save. There are no bad guys to vanquish.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Gravely entertaining!

  • By Bryce Bilbo on 04-21-17

You have to wait for it...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-16-19

This ended up being an extremely interesting and enjoyable entry into the LitRPG genre, but it took 2/3s of the book to convince me. In the first half of the book the promise of the story was somewhat overshadowed by some clunky character motivation and the narrator’s odd delivery.

To start with, the exposition on the MC’s obsession with his negative feelings toward “the rich” was ham-fisted and forced. His whiny, woe-is-me affect and the author’s overdone portrayal of parental neglect made it hard to stay immersed in the story.

Then there was the narrator... on this count my opinion may be more subjective than objective, but I found the narrator’s elocution extremely annoying. His stodgy Minnesota/Wisconsin dialect really didn’t fit the material for me. Every time he said the word “popcorn” I had an irrational desire to slap him. So my critique of the narrator’s delivery may or may not be relevant to other readers.

By the end of the audiobook however, I found myself totally pulled in by the story and character development. The author managed to overcome most of my complaints and almost made me feel guilty for not giving this book 5 stars.

Definitely worth the credit and I’m excited to start book 2.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Arcane Transmogrification

  • Pentacle, Book 2
  • By: Robert Harper
  • Narrated by: Michael Goldstrom
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 165
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 165

Danny died a less than heroic death on Earth, was reincarnated in a new world, gained access to a mental sanctuary that ranks his skills, learned he can do magic, discovered that he can't fly, tricked rich old ladies into buying handbags, crafted himself a crude anti-magic girdle, went to magic school, grew a couple of apple trees, was drafted into a secret paramilitary organization, tamed a pet most people would rather never meet, regrew an elf's ears, gained a split concentration ability in the form of his former Earth self, and much more.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A regression of ideals and potential

  • By Donovan on 03-05-19

Couldn’t make it past the first 2 hours...

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-13-19

I really enjoyed the first book in spite of its flaws. This book’s flaws were so numerous and constant that I was forced to return it before I even got to the meat of the story.

First, the narrator... He read almost every line with a breathless, over-dramatic, and childish delivery. It made me think he was dying to shout “golly, gee-wiz!” at the end of every single sentence. Mix this with the execrebly immature banter between any of the characters and I felt like someone was trying to jam candy-coated feces into my ears rather than tell me a story.

And then there’s Cranny... which was already a stupid and annoying facet of the first book, but at least his appearances were few and far between. The author made the serious mistake of making this a constant voice throughout the second book. By constant, I mean he has more lines than the MC and is constantly cracking “jokes” or is messing with the MC in the least mature or genuinely funny ways possible. Remember that Cranny is supposed to be the “adult” version of the character from before he was reincarnated. I can only think the author may have been trying to attempt to add more humor into the narrative. He failed.

It’s not all that often that I give a review this negative, but when I do it’s almost always on a 2nd or 3rd book in a series. This is because at one point the author has written a book good enough to convince me to spend the credit on its sequel. Then instead of improving their craft and drawing me deeper into their world, they’ve written something truly unlistenable. Which is the case here.

Don’t buy this audiobook.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • A Squire's Wish: A GameLit Novel

  • Hidden Wishes, Book 2
  • By: Tao Wong
  • Narrated by: Patrick Zeller
  • Length: 5 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

Given magical powers through a wish by a jinn, Henry Tsien was thrown into a hidden supernatural world. Forced to battle his own faulty, pop-culture-driven assumptions, as well as shadowy supernatural organizations while leveling up, Henry found an ally in Alexa Dumough, the Knights Templar initiate.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It was good, but not great.

  • By Christopher on 02-11-19

It was good, but not great.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-11-19

This is the problem with 6 hour installments. The first “book” in the series really managed to pull you in, and while it would have absolutely benefitted from being a full length book, the short format didn’t leave you feeling like you only got half of the story.

This second installment did. Though the events kept me listening and the writing was executed well, this book really didn’t do much to pull you further into the story. It felt like the first half of a book where you are entertained, but the characters are more or less just doing their thing.... and you know that all the really good stuff is going to happen in the second half. Except this book ends right before that second half would have begun.

In the end, this was overpriced for what it was. Spending a whole credit on half a book is not a great feeling. I hope that the author either drops the short installment format or starts releasing omnibus editions. This book was enjoyable, but I felt like it was more of an episode than the next book in a series. Which would be fine if I could buy it for $7 or $8.

  • Out of the Dark

  • An Orphan X Novel (Evan Smoak, Book 4)
  • By: Gregg Hurwitz
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,289
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,178
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,169

Taken from a group home at age 12, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as part of the Orphan Program, an off-the-books operation designed to create deniable intelligence assets - i.e. assassins. Evan was Orphan X. He broke with the Program, using everything he learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man, a man who helps the truly desperate when no one else can. But now Evan's past in the Orphan Program is reaching out to him. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just some comments

  • By Wayne on 02-01-19

Best book in the series since the first one.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-06-19

I’ve enjoyed every Evan Smoak book so far. The first one hooked me hard. The following books didn’t disappoint. But this installment really has to be one of the best in the entire genre.

Move Out of the Dark to the top of your wish list, or better yet just spend the credit on it now.

  • Skysworn

  • Cradle, Book 4
  • By: Will Wight
  • Narrated by: Travis Baldree
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 372
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 371

With his duel fast approaching, Lindon is locked away in prison. As a Blackflame, he is too dangerous to remain free. The Skysworn, protectors of the Empire, have imprisoned him to keep him under control until the day of his promised fight arrives. When it does, he will face Jai Long. But a new danger approaches the Empire, closer every day. Only the Skysworn stand between the people of the land and total annihilation. And Lindon may be forced to join them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Great One!

  • By Hannah Beach on 03-08-19

Good, but tastes like half a book.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-24-19

I’m always wary of fantasy titles with run times shorter than 9 hours, but sometimes you get a great book in spite of the short length. This author managed to pull it off at least once in this very series.

However this one just felt like 2/3s of a book, with an attempt at tying the story together with a big reveal at the end. It’s the kind of book where you have to wonder if the author or publisher is just trying to make an extra buck by splitting a few long novels into a much more profitable, six-book-plus series.

This was a good continuation in the story but by no means a self-contained “chapter” in the overall story, unlike a couple of the other books in this series were.

So summing up; I recommend this book to anyone hooked on the tale and its’ characters, but it kinda felt like I paid a credit just to have the plot points filled so I’d know what’s going on in the next book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Gearing Up

  • Apocalypse Gates Author's Cut, Book 3
  • By: Daniel Schinhofen
  • Narrated by: Tess Irondale
  • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381

Alvin had another rough week, but at least this time, he had Gothy with him. Travelling from Utah to Nevada, they were able to set up two more Settlements. Then they had to visit the world of Fey to rescue the kids of the Beatty, Nevada, Settlement. Just when things looked like they were going well, the Developers got involved. With the very rules of the game changing, Alvin found himself in a new position. Gothy pledged herself to him through the game system, leaving her collared and bound to obey his every whim. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Blandness and voice actors

  • By Andrew Epperson on 01-24-19

Promising series devolves into BDSM gag-fest.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-17-19

Pun in honor of the crappy and unfortunately ubiquitous flirt-banter between the MC’s. This series was riding the line that only a few of it’s contemporaries have managed to do... That is to be a good enough story that you’re willing to fast-forward through the poorly written sex scenes and flirty dialogue written by authors who clearly don’t have enough personal experience to pull them off.

It’s like listening to the dirty fantasies of 14 year old boys and it’s disgusting: I’m not talking about the topic, I’m referring to the experience of listening to some furiously masturbating, shut-in author’s desire to connect with furiously masturbating, shut-in listeners who share the same extremely vanilla and unimaginative sexual fantasies and believe they are being ever so naughty. It’s like picking up a landline phone and accidentally overhearing your father’s pay-per-minute phone-sex chat session... So, gross. I’m going to go disinfect my ears now.

What was I talking about?... oh right, Gearing Up... the LitRPG story in this installment is still really pretty good, but Shinhoffen (famous for being unable to write a story without basting it liberally with bad porn) has so thoroughly inundated this book with cheesey “sexy-talk” and laughably bad, semi-hardcore porn scenes that it rendered the fast forward method largely unusable.

Normally I’d just give a book like this 2 stars and move on with my life, but it’s become so frustrating to see so many viable LitRPG series made unlistenable by this disturbing trend of inundating them with harems and 13-year-old sex fantasies.

Please, get your Penthouse Forum letters out of my GameLit... I’m begging you.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Limitless Lands: The Commander's Tale, a LitRPG adventure

  • Limitless Lands Series, Book 1
  • By: Dean Henegar
  • Narrated by: Jack Voraces
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 465
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 451
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 450

Colonel James Raytak is about to die. The 93-year-old combat veteran is living his last days in a nursing home; his only hope for survival is an experimental Medpod life support system controlled by an artificial intelligence. Co-developed by the world’s largest gaming company, Qualitranos the AI will also control the soon to be released game Limitless Lands. Without its creator’s knowledge, the AI decides the best course of treatment is to import its patient’s consciousness directly into the game.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unique take on LitRPG

  • By thompson on 11-21-18

Good story with incongruous narration

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-01-19

I’m glad to say that the problems with the narrator, while off-putting, were not so bad that they spoiled the book. However this audiobook could have been so much better.

I can’t understand why a book set in an American VA hospital which contains no British characters is being read by a narrator with a somewhat outlandish British accent. We’re not talking a Simon Vance or Tim Gerard Reynolds, “story-teller by the fireplace” British accent either. This narrator sounds like the English version of the overly dramatic, heat-scorched, “In A World...” movie trailer voice. When he even bothered to attempt an American accent i found myself wishing he would go back to the ridiculous British one.

Whoever made this staffing decision should have their head checked. Accent aside, the narrator makes a bunch of obvious mispronunciation blunders that should have been caught in the editing process... my favorite being the 4 or 5 times in a 5 minute period that he pronounces the phrase “under-fed” as “un-durf’d.” As in the sentence, “there was so little durf on the table that it appeared that a high powered laser was used to ensure that the entire surface was completely undurf’d.”

...In the end, the book was good enough to overcome the irritating narration, and I’m glad that I’m able to recommend this to anyone who likes solidly-written and passably edited LitRPG.

This is not a 5 star book, but anyone familiar with this genre here on Audible knows that a 5 star rating for a LitRPG audiobook often means that the listener was able to make it through the whole book and didn’t feel the need to send the author hate-mail or punch the narrator in the face.

As such I’m forced to give this book 5 stars just to make sure it doesn’t end up with an overall rating comparable to the LitRPGs on Audible that were clearly written by sex-obsessed, psychologically stunted, trench coat jockeys who are so isolated that they couldn’t find a single literate person to read (let alone edit) their book prior to publication. I.e an overall review rating of 4.4 stars... seriously people we all just need to do better.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful