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  • Benjamin Ashwood

  • Benjamin Ashwood Series, Book 1
  • By: AC Cobble
  • Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 356
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 329
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 328

Life is simple in Ben's small town until an attack brings the arrival of exciting strangers straight out of a story. Before Ben understands what is happening, he embarks on a dangerous journey to help his friends. A mage, demons, thieves, and assassins are just a few of the perils he will face while trying to make it to safety. But things aren't always what they seem, and safety is a fragile concept when the destructive behaviors of the powerful are exercised unchecked.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Pleasant surprise for fans epic fantasy.

  • By Christopher on 02-13-17

This book deserves to have a higher average rating.

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

Unfortunately, the skewed ratings of the fantasy genre on Audible have gotten totally out of hand. It’s now to the point where the quality of a book is better measured by how many 10ths of a star above four the average is.

These days I pretty much only buy books that have at least 4.5 stars. Anything between 4.0 and 4.4 has a better chance of being written or narrated by a trained monkey than by an author who bothers to get someone to edit their books. Anything below 4.0 is almost guaranteed to permanently harm your intelligence.

In light of this, Benjamin Ashwood should have a minimum of 4.5 stars... Yes, if you’re looking for non-stop unicorns, ogres, and fornicating cat girls then this book might feel a little tame, but those are the same people who couldn’t make it through Name of the Wind because of “all the jumping back and forth between the Inn and the story.”

This is a well crafted, carefully written, engaging book. The author manages to take a somewhat typical fantasy premise and make it seem like a unique adventure. The world is so well defined that you can visualize everything that’s happening with an uncommon clarity.

If you’re looking for a manic paced, crazy spell-slinging, underpants removing, relentless race to save the world then this book might not hit the spot. However, if you like fully fleshed out characters and an adventure that sprawls out in front of you then you should spend the credit and enjoy a seriously good book.

  • The Wayward Bard

  • World of Chains, Book 1
  • By: Lars M.
  • Narrated by: Justin Thomas James, Jeff Hays, Laurie Catherine Winkel
  • Length: 12 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 132
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 122
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 123

With all the pesky planning out of the way, Daniel set out to realize his ultimate dream: gaining enough money to buy a tropical island and spend his days playing the violin and RPGs. What could possibly go wrong?   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you like LITRPG, you won't regret this purchase

  • By Mike on 10-05-18

Good story, a different vibe than most LitRPGs

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

Reviewed: 10-08-18

I enjoyed this book. It’s worth your credit. I have only two complaints:

1. The writing mechanics were ok for the most part... This isn’t one of those books where every other sentence would make a 4th grade English teacher cry. But the poor and repetitive word choice and incorrect use of words made it clear that the author would benefit from working with a good editor. That said I only found it mildly annoying and overall it wasn’t a deal breaker.

2. The pacing of this book might not be for everyone. The author really took his time in spinning out the story. Compared to most books in the genre this book only made it a third of the way into the story. At the end of book one the MC is still a noob in a starting location. This wasn’t a bad thing really. However, I feel like this book should have been twice as long if the author is going to pace it that way. It’s like if Dune or The Name of the Wind were only 300 pages long.

Despite this I do recommend this book to people who are already fans of the genre. I don’t know that this would be the best book for someone new to LitRPG though. There are definitely more exciting, engaging, and better paced books for GameLit newbies.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Death March

  • By: Phil Tucker
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167

I sacrificed everything for my family. It wasn't enough. I lost my mother, and now I'm about to lose my brother. I've got only one thing left to gamble: my life. Which is why I'm willing to play Euphoria Online in Death March mode. If I survive six months in-game against a lethal array of wyverns, ogres, necromancers, and more, I'll earn my brother a pardon. If I lose? Well. I'm done with losing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really great start! Can't wait for more.

  • By superstardrifter on 08-31-18

Pretty good no thanks to Vikas...

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

Reviewed: 10-03-18

This is a better than average LitRPG book. Not fantastic, but when weighed against many audiobooks in this genre that somehow manage to have ratings above 4 stars this is a solid selection.

That said, it’s possible that Death March could have been much better had Vikas “McSpamtongue” Adam not been the narrator. It’s a problem I’ve come across multiple times when listening to books narrated by Vikas “Oh my god I just took my first acting class and I am so in love with drama!” Adam.

Every time anything remotely exciting, profound, or dramatic happens Adam’s delivery sounds like it should be followed by a pianist hammering the low keys on a piano: Duh Dum Dummmm... like right after a plot twist in Scooby Doo.

His performance didn’t manage to make the book unlistenable but he certainly didn’t really do it any favors.

In summation, it’s worth the credit, I will be buying the next book, but I’m sure I’ll be rolling my eyes every time Vikas “Hamdongle D’Cheesimo” Adam finishes a paragraph.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Cities in Chains

  • An Apocalyptic LitRPG (The System Apocalypse, Book 4)
  • By: Tao Wong
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 310
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 310

It's been more than a year since the System came to Earth, bringing blood and monsters in equal measure. Having left Whitehorse, John and his team travel down to British Columbia, running into new dangers from aliens and humans alike. Faced with new challenges and new enemies, John steps up once more to set things right and teach a few aliens why you never put humanity in chains. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another great book with my usual complaint.

  • By Christopher on 09-14-18

Another great book with my usual complaint.

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

Reviewed: 09-14-18

I support Tao Wong on Patreon. (If you’re a fan of up and coming writers and you don’t know what that is I highly recommend you check it out immediately). I appreciate how regularly he publishes, and I’m a big, fat fanboy. So I can confidently say that this book was just as enjoyable a LitRPG tale as the rest of his body of work.

My only complaint is the same one I’ve had with several of Wong’s other works... it’s too short. That said I consider anything over 8 hours to be worth a credit, however I often (but not always) feel that the books in his series seem like they’re several hours shorter than they should be. The result is that they can feel serialized and episodic rather than like solid, fully-realized installments.

All that said, I highly enjoyed this book and though I would have liked to see a whole lot more gear upgrades, loot drops, and “character” development (in a skills and levels sense), this book is still more than worth the credit.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Land of the Undying

  • Dark Elf Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: Dave Willmarth
  • Narrated by: Justin Thomas James, Laurie Catherine Winkel, Jeff Hays
  • Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153

Shari is a med student, months away from being a doctor. Mace is a coder on his first day of an exciting new job. When the world comes to a sudden and horrifying end, none would have expected them to be among the few survivors. Hyper-aggressive undead zombie creatures hunt anything living on the surface, where even the grass and trees can kill you. Hiding underground is safe, but not much of a life. Their only escape is a virtual world of magic and monsters where Shari can use her healing skills, and Mace can focus on something other than his fears.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I’m pretty stingy with my 5 star reviews...

  • By Christopher on 09-01-18

I’m pretty stingy with my 5 star reviews...

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

Reviewed: 09-01-18

And while I’m not sure that this is technically the best LitRPG book I’ve listened to on audible, I can say that I’m experiencing the same feeling I had after listening to The Land for the first time...

...I am feeling bereft that the book has ended, and I’m seconds away from going on Patreon to donate money to this author to get the next book recorded already!

I will breathlessly await the sequel to this book. For those of you out there like me who just can’t trust a highly reviewed LitRPG book on Audible to be well-written, or even edited, this is one where the positive reviews can be believed. It’s definitely made the list of LitRPG series that I comb the “coming soon” list for.

Tops on that list are: Chaos Seeds, The Gam3, The Dark Herbalist, The System Apocalypse, and the first five books of Alterworld, plus a whole bunch of other series that only have one or two books in them so far.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Valley of Death

  • Apocalypse Gates Author's Cut, Book 2
  • By: Daniel Schinhofen
  • Narrated by: Andrea Parsneau
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 403
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 388
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 386

Alvin had a rough week. Thrown into a digital death game, Apocalypse Gates, with only his wits and a less than helpful AI handler, Alvin's prospects for survival looked bleak. Managing not only to survive but to thrive, he helped build a settlement of survivors in Green River, Utah. Along the way he met the very sexy and broken Gothy. He's taken on the undead, mutated bugs and animals and the worst possible enemy - other people - and triumphed. Nothing looked like it would be a major problem, except for the flight of dragons.  

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not as good as the first

  • By P West on 08-24-18

5 hrs of good story blended with 4.5 hrs of total crap

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

Reviewed: 08-23-18

The big problem here is that much like the parkways in Chicago... the story rarely makes it more than two steps without plunging into a stinking log of shit: i.e. this author’s unquenchable need for idiotic sexual banter that would make a 14 year-old, chess champion cringe.

If he just kept it to the terrible, repetitive, and far too numerous sex scenes, you could just lay into the FF button where necessary and everything would be fine. But you just can’t avoid the moronic, emo/sexy banter because Schinhofen has managed to weave the crap into and throughout almost every scene.

So yeah, I knew going in that I’d be contending with some amount of this. Unfortunately for me, I’d hoped that this book would be similar to the first one and I’d get a pretty good story with some poorly written, juvenile sex scenes that I could pretty easily avoid if the cringe-factor got too high. But no, this book picks up where the last one left off and just runs away with it.

I wouldn’t be so irritated if the underlying story wasn’t so potentially good.

.... But that’s it.... I’ve learned my lesson with this subgenre of GameLit.

I’m not sure why so many potentially good authors have decided to wreck their own stories by inserting these horribly-written letters to Penthouse Forum. But I’ve been burned one too many times.

The sexually immature, furiously masturbating, harem-obsessed LitRPG authors on audible have gotten their last credit from me. Unless they get better at writing sex into their novels or they grow up and stop being so skeevey, I’m officially done with them. From now on I’m screening every LitRPG title for pre-pubescent loser fantasies written badly.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Space Knight

  • By: Michael-Scott Earle
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 13 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,454
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,379
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,376

In a universe where technology and magic co-exist, Nicholas Lyons desires one thing: to serve his queen as a Space Knight in the Royal Trident Forces. But when his final mission as an Academy cadet goes horribly wrong, Nicholas discovers he possesses illegal magical abilities that grant him power far beyond that of a normal man, knight, or mage. When a clandestine assignment lands Nicholas on the worst starship in the kingdom’s fleet, he finds a motley crew of warriors hiding their own terrible secret. Death and betrayal lurk around every corner.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • MSE writes another almost, pretty good book.

  • By Christopher on 08-21-18

MSE writes another almost, pretty good book.

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

Reviewed: 08-21-18

This is the 4th or 5th MSE book I’ve listened to... and if I’m being honest the only reason I risked the credit was that Nick Podehl is the narrator.

I’ve found MSE’s stories to be interesting and compelling, but his writing is often hackneyed and his omnipresent, juvenile, sexual compulsions are always cringe-worthy.

He’s never written a female character that isn’t sooooooo hot. Moreover, he seems incapable of even mentioning a woman in his prose without making sure to add an adjective describing her sexiness.

It gets so repetitive that it pulls you out of the story and I find myself wanting just slap the author and tell him that puberty is supposed to end in your teens.

That said this book is at least free of his overt obsession with harems and disconcertingly bad sex scenes. Though the main character is of course torn between the three women (who also happen to be sooooooo hot) on his space ship.

All in all the story is pretty good despite his big plot twist being obvious from almost the beginning...

So great literature this ain’t, but if you need something entertaining to listen to while you wait for a really good book to be released then this one might suffice.

P.S. Props to Nick Podehl as always.

127 of 129 people found this review helpful

  • The (Sort of) Dark Mage

  • Waldo Rabbit Series, Book 1
  • By: Nelson Chereta
  • Narrated by: Gary Furlong
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 740
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 695
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 692

The (Sort of) Dark Mage is the story of a young man named Waldo who grows up in a world where monsters, the undead, and dark magic are part of everyday life. He is forced to go on a journey to prove himself and soon discovers that his beliefs don't fit into the wider world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Truly Enjoyable

  • By Arthur on 05-11-17

Listen to this audiobook...

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

Reviewed: 07-21-18

Modern fantasy is unfortunately filled with bumbling, sad-sack dummies who luck their way into succeeding against all odds. They do idiotic things through naïveté, ignorance, or just because the author is lazy and has decided to have the character do something... because reasons.

Not only is this book spot-on with a humorous take on the quest fantasy genre, it is also a compelling and engrossing story in and of itself. All the while it manages to have you rooting for the ignorant dummy instead of rolling your eyes and ultimately trying to get your credit back.

The narration is seamless to the point where you stop noticing that someone else is reading the book to you and it feels like you are absorbing it directly.

I will definitely be looking out for any books read by Gary Furlong going forward.

...I hardly ever give books a whole-heartedly positive review, but this one deserves it. I can’t wait to start the next one in this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Martyrs

  • Legends of the Great Savanna, Book 1
  • By: Justin Lincoln
  • Narrated by: Matthew Broadhead
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 110
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 104
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105

After being approached by the military with a contract he couldn't refuse, James winds up uploaded into a virtual-reality game as a beta tester. Waking up in the Great Savanna, James struggles with a less-than-useful interface before he comes across two creatures locked in battle. The shoulder-high grass allows him glimpses of a lionesque creature fending off a torrent of scales and claws. He grows to love the beauty of the Great Savanna and his adopted game brother, whose life he saved.... That is until Patrick arrives and the tranquility of the game is shattered.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • MY NEW FAVORITE SERIES

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-20-18

Mathew Broadhead ruins it again...

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

Reviewed: 07-19-18

The writing in this book isn’t by any means professional grade. It’s filled with lots of the mistakes that new writers make when they don’t have their work edited by a competent editor, i.e. misuse of similar sounding words, repeating the same words or adjectives several times in a paragraph, non-sensical shifts in scenes without explanation, and over-simplified repetitive internal justifications for actions that don’t really make sense.

In spite of this, the story was still good enough to keep me listening. Unfortunately, Mathew Broadhead’s horrendous reading forced me to quit before I could get to the end.

If this was the first time I’d had to endure his low-rent, used-car commercial voice I might have stuck it out, but alas I’ve tried to suffer through several other books he’s read and it just gets worse. I won’t go into the litany of obnoxious quirks he brings to the narration, but I will say that this is the last book I will buy with him narrating.

If the author had just gotten Jeff Hayes to read this (like almost everyone else in the genre) I think I would have been able to give this book a positive review in spite of the writing flaws... But Broadhead could have made The Name of the Wind into an unlistenable train-wreck, he’s just that inept. Please do us all a favor and go back to doing voice-overs for infomercials.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Cost of Survival: A LitRPG Apocalypse

  • The System Apocalypse, Book 3
  • By: Tao Wong
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 454
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 429
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 430

The Onlivik Spores have been defeated; the dungeon tamed but at great cost. John and his friends are reeling from the losses, but the countdown to full integration to the System continues. Threatened by System-integrated races and new, more powerful monsters, John will need to get creative if he and the city are to survive.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another good book in this series...

  • By Christopher on 07-11-18

Another good book in this series...

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

Reviewed: 07-11-18

I really like this author’s approach. More than anything I like that he is actually “writing” LitRPG and not just chucking unedited and horrendously written, soft-core drivel all over audible like it’s a dorm building on the ASU campus.

I really appreciate the authors who contribute quality writing to the genre and who clearly take the time to have their work edited and revised.

My only reason for not giving this book 5 stars is that this author has yet to release a book on audible that breaks the 9 hour mark. I don’t mind a shorter book every now and then, but I rarely feel satisfied without getting at least 10-11 hours out of a story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful