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A Dark Path (Grimdark LitRPG)

Forsaken Talents, Book 1
Narrated by: J. Scott Bennett
Length: 13 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From International Best-Selling Author Stuart Thaman:
 

The Seven Portals to Wonder changed the world. The most advanced AI ever created powered the worlds, bringing infinite possibilities and endless adventure to everyone across the globe. War on Earth practically ceased as most of the planet's population became addicted to the game.
 

Ben Hales was no different. He spent a few years saving enough money to buy lifetime passes for himself and his daughter, Ingrid. Now he has the cash, and Ingrid just turned 16, the minimum age required to play.
 

Not everything - or everyone - in Wonder is quite as it seems. Evil lurks both inside and outside the game, and that evil finds Ben all too soon.
 

Ravaged by loss and consumed by hatred, Ben awakens an ancient necromancer and a host of long-forgotten classes. Now he's building his citadel of darkness and raising an army of the dead with a singular goal: revenge.
 

If it means the death of everyone inside Wonder...so be it.
 

Check out Stuart Thaman's other epic fantasy and LitRPG novels!

©2019 Stuart Thaman (P)2019 Stuart Thaman

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narrator

Narrator breaths heavy into the microphone after every few words, it distracts from the story. It's like a great picture with a finger in the corner of it.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Story!!!

This is an extremely entertaining tale. If you're a fan of this genre, then you're going to love this one!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A pleasant start to a, hopeful, series.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

To begin with, I enjoyed the attitude of the MC early on. His love of his daughter and his attempts to cope with his past tragedies were endearing in my eyes. Though later on it feels like his mid-set becomes erratic... and not in a way that can be easily explained by "current crisis-managment" reactions. The supporting characters were great! I felt like their characters were in this odd balance of typical game AI and Human personality, it almost always made me smirk to listen to their interactions.

To begin with, I wasn't sure that I was a fan of Mr. Bennett's narration style, but over the course of the first half hour of listening, I came around. I enjoyed his tone, cadence and his separation of characters seemed well done to me. Aside from a few pronunciations that I felt were off, I very much enjoyed his performance.

I enjoyed the pretense for this story. Although it has been said in other reviews, its not often that the reader/listener has the chance to visit these types of works and view the story from the darker side. There were plenty of moments in the story that I felt provoked thought, but were sadly left unexplored... though that was likely to keep the story from being overly bogged down in details and minutia. I'm interested to see just what the Author has in store for the next installment.

Thank you to Mr. Thaman and Mr. Bennet, I appreciate the opportunity to explore the world you created for us.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • RJ
  • Cottage Grove, MN, United States
  • 11-23-19

Tale from the dark side!

The real world is set sometime in the future. The world has been at peace for two years now. So, the population takes out their frustrations and aggression in Seven Portals to Wonder Online, the leading VRMMORPG. The tale begins quite docile. Our protagonist Ben Hales is tutoring his sixteen-year-old daughter Ingrid, this being her first time in-game, the basics of Wonder Online. As I said, aggression and violence had been shifted to Wonder Online, Ben and Ingrid were not immune. Rage and revenge forced Ben to seek a dark path. Joining with an ancient necromancer, Ben decides his path to revenge is through building his own evil empire. Thus the true story begins as Ben becomes more arrogant, evil and powerful. We follow Ben’s rise to power as he creates and expands Undercroft Citadel. Excellent story, finely detailed and well thought out. Great start to a new series. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Meh

The narrator sometimes struggled to use the correct voice for a character and some of his voices didn't seem to match the character it was meant for. However, mostly it wasn't a problem. As for the story, The main character never really seemed to face any challenges and this was a problem in many different ways. Anytime there was an opponent with a higher level including "bosses" the MC killed them quickly and with little effort. He was given strong items despite putting in no effort and always seems to be able to loot everything despite other characters not having that same luxury and previous statements about some loot system that never appears again. There is supposed to be a NPC revival mechanic in the game separate to the "players" system but it is forgotten about. Overall, it seemed as if the author knew what video games are but had no idea as to how they actually work and it became a constant frustration. The story had some fun moments but had too many repeating problems, some of which I haven't even mentioned.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Really Great but Not Gritty or dark

Before I start this review I will say really liked this book. The main character is just ok for the majority of the book, but steadily becomes better and better. His motivation is there but seems faulty or not well guided. The story really is not dark or gritty, like I had imagined from the description. It's really only dark in the fact that he is killing other players that he knows are now permanently dead. That being said the action and gore is very very lite, especially since this revolves around dark classes and a death bringer. The story and world are very interesting though and I'm very excited for a second installment. It has strong base building themes and this is very interesting from the "bad guys" point of view. Cliffhanger ending. I recommend this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Vj
  • 11-18-19

Really good.

This was a good audiobook. The story was exciting and bit slow moving, engrossing with well-constructed characters and an undertone fantasy. There was quite a lot of character building in this book and the plot kept me engaged, twists, turns, quests and other adventures kept the fill of a video game in this plot and by the end we get a cliffhanger, the narration was really good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Well done

Good story! Nice to finally get a story that's a bit darker than average à

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Lots of Evil

I can enjoy a good villain. The MC can definitely be classified as evil. The main supporting characters are also evil. The writing of all of the evil acts is well done, fleshed out, and provokes emotions regardless of how numb to it all you might be at that point.

My main problem with the story is the reasoning.

During the beginning there is too much setup. I understand you want us to become attached to his daughter so we can feel the loss. However, when you have over an hour and a half of exposition, it slows your story and I imagine it might even turn people off from the book entirely. On top of that, the change in the MC's reasoning doesn't gradually or immediately shift. It is like a heart monitor rather than a steady graph upwards. His personality is all over the place.

When his daughter dies, he doesn't suffer from a complete psychotic break and go on a rampage. He doesn't make a well thought out plan of revenge either (Although the author tries to portray this, it fails.) I can clearly tell the MC has no idea what he is doing. He only reacts, never planning until the enemy is on his doorstep. ALSO, he is basically handed a cheat in the very beginning in the form of sword and armor. He is a noob with a nuke throwing a temper tantrum.

The MC isn't simply unstable. He jumps from being a grizzly dictator lopping off heads, to a grieving father, to a widow, and says "It is all for you Ingrid, it is all for you." She didn't ask for this. His reasoning is completely unfounded based on nothing. You might say that this makes a nice deranged MC. You are likely right. But I can't get behind him. The reasoning seems so forced. Like the author was trying too hard to give him a reason to be evil. Just let him be evil.

OVERALL: I think the attempt is nice. The story was slightly enjoyable. The exposition was too long. The Litrpgs elements are limited. The MC was given a cheat. The development of the evil characters and supporting characters were extremely well written. The author is able to successfully keep the reader on their toes. Thus, I am conflicted and give this book a 3/5.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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BRING FORTH THE CORPSES! Finally A Dark Hero!

So if you are looking to get out of the Happy Friendlier Side of LITRPG this book is for you. Our Hero has been beat upon and had to much taken from him. Its time to BURN THE WORLD! Excellent read and really nice to see some Dark Hero Books. Time to bring out the sacrifices and continue this SERIES! Book structure was good and the LITRPG elements were not overwhelming. We didnt get that all to amusing Sarcastic System Notices but I still loved how the book was done. Highly recommend for anyone who loves LITRPG and wants to see a Darker Side

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • 11-22-19

Let's be evil

I recieved a review copy of this book, it's well written and narrated, but the main character is quite irredeemably unlikeable. Given the choice between right and wrong, he chooses wrong, flimsily justifying it. Its a testament to the quality of the writing and performance that story remains interesting despite this and I look forward to the next installment.

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  • james mcadam
  • 11-13-19

great book loved it

loved the story nice to see a book from the bad guys side of things and not all goody goody

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  • Xravia
  • 11-10-19

Identity crisis.

This book dosent know what it wants to be. Although the start was interesting even though the MC was purposely weighted. They abandoned the daughter-father party dynamic in the most contrived and stupid way imaginable. It wasnt even a surprise once the admin messages showed up, there was no weight to the death since they had one quest together.

The only unique element was the so called gates of wonder was abandoned aswell. The litrpg elements are mishandled as the novel doesn't follow the cause and effect style the genre is associated with.

The MC is woefully immature for a 47 year old, he blames all his actions on his dead daughter. He recruits literal terrorists and psychopaths and claims that he had a job in government where he fired someone for being lazy which is the worst excuse the author could come up with. There is alot of double standards and events that do not mesh well with what would really happen.

Its not dark, its stupid. Im not keen for a second book.