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Publisher's Summary

Diving into a revolutionary new video game, Marcus and his friends escape a stagnant society, entering into a world that defies their wildest imaginations. But from the moment that he logs in, Marcus finds himself separated from his friends and thrown into a remote village under attack by a horde of goblins.

Forced into battle, Marcus rallies the beleaguered villagers and, with their help, manages to drive off the invading creatures. With the village in ruins and their supplies spoiled, the survivors desperately turn to Marcus for help in rebuilding the village.

Realizing that this game is nothing like he's ever played before, Marcus is swept up into a whirlwind of adventure as he struggles to defend his new home, quickly finding that marauding goblins are the least of his problems.

©2016 Luke Chmilenko (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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

Luke Daniels and a great LITRPG; enough said

There are many LITRPG stories coming out seemingly every day, some good some not so good, “Ascend Online,” narrated by Luke Daniels is a great entertaining experience. My personal favorite in this genre has been “The way of the Shaman,” series and I rate the first book in this new series just as high, maybe even higher given the narrator. I hope the next book is just as good; can’t wait.

60 of 69 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I want more

loved it, great story. And Luke Daniels continues to be one of my favorite narrators.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

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

A humble hero story with cool action!

I love evolving hero stories where power ups or new abilities are tempered with ever more challenging situations! this book delivers that with entertaining action and new introductions that kept my attention throughout. even taking small 15 min bites of the story was enjoyable!

books it reminds me of:
ready player one
we are Bob: the bobiverse
codex alera series by Jim butcher
I'm off to be the wizard
the Chronicles of Jonathan tibbs

47 of 56 people found this review helpful

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

The author found the right narrator

Would you consider the audio edition of Ascend Online to be better than the print version?

Most authors have to rely on the readers sense of humor to get their joke across, but this narrator knocked those parts out of the park. I found myself laughing from this book more than any other.

What did you like best about this story?

This book is better than your average Litrpg audiobook. While the first part of the book is great, it picks up a lot around 35 percent through. You will notice the difference

Have you listened to any of Luke Daniels’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Once, i found this to be the best one.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

That would be spoiling

Any additional comments?

I didn't want to waste another credit one a lit novel, considering how often the genre tends to stack to the same formula, but this book strays far enough from the normal path to make it worth while.

30 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fresh to death

Don't get me wrong, the VR world is starting to become saturated and that's the only reason I was hesitant upon getting this one. Ripped through this in 4 days it was that good, beginning to end, I could not put it down. This is a must for your collection, highly recommended

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent LitRPG!

I won't go into the details of the Book, but as someone who has almost 24 months of logged listening time on Audible, this book not only has excellent content by Luke Daniels (who is a fantastic narrator) but it also has the hours to create the background and build the story.. it is a great listen. if your like me and you look to reviews before spending the credit then trust me, this is a worth while listen.
I was not given this book for free, I purchased it, and I did not have to write this review. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

56 of 68 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

LitRPG like it SHOULD be written!

Instead of endless number crunching to act as filler, like so many books in the genre do, this book is a masterpiece. It COULD have been chopped into three small novels, because each act was so compelling in its own right, but instead the author gives you a satisfying complete story that has all the meat you want in a first-in-the-series novel.

Most LitRPG is very episodic, and the first book usually feels like a pilot episode. This, however, is the LitRPG full-length cinematic release type of title that makes you know that you'll be enjoying the next installment the first day of its release.

The characters were likable, the main character has drives and motivations that are logical and relatable, the narrator is brilliant, and the world is both realistic and compelling.

I truly cannot recemend this title enough, and look forward to the next in the series.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed more action for a LITRPG

Just a quick note... sometimes these LITRPG stories can get too bogged down in listing the stats of the protagonist. I appreciated a little more excitement and action in this one. Not quite my favorite (sufficiently advanced magic) in a LITRPG, but in the top 10.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

definitely entertaining

this is a fun story. I love the character development and the system. keep em coming, please.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A new standard. A breath of fresh air.

Seriously I love the LITrpg genre, but the many common flaws and tropes cause me to enjoy the first few books and then be unable to stand it.
One thing that is prevalent is the singularity of protagonists. One player, one central person with no friends or is socially inept and is the perfect fit for the video game world.
NOT HERE MY FRIENDS!!!
Unlike so many stereotypes in the genre not only is the main character a fairly average life like person, he BRINGS HIS FRIENDS WITH HIM. If you are reading this review trust me. The difference this makes is unbelievable. Suddenly things feel more life like, it doesn't seem like the writing feeds into tropes.

I honest to god am praying this series stays true to its promise because this book set a new type of standard for genre. I haven't been this excited for a series since Aleron Kongs "the land"

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • kanundra
  • 07-29-17

Great listen! more please!


Concept/world-building – 4
Plot – 4
Character – 5
Dialogue – 5
Prose – 5
Conflict/resolution – 4
Overall rating 4.5


I picked this up as Luke's highly recommended in the litrpg facebook groups. So, when the audio was put up for pre-order with Luke Daniels as the narrator I nabbed it quick.

It's a long listen, so it did take me a while. But it was well worth it.

Plot

For me, the start to anything takes a while, and I do admit this was a little slower for me than usual, but it's more than worth it.

Where the world that Marcus actually lives in, isn't very well defined or spoken about much. The interaction with his friends at the start and then into the game is. I enjoyed all what each character brought to the story, and more from the NPC's.

Once the story really does start to move forwards, you get the experience of Luke’s gaming and background as the world of Ascend Online develops, bits of history and information are peppered in just the right places so not to feel like too much of an info dump and you are as excited as the players for the challenges they’re about to face.

It’s got enough crafting, fighting and loot to make all the gamers want more, and the stats read out aren’t as heavy as some other litrpg books. It doesn’t slow the pacing at all, and Luke does a great job with reading them so they’re also not just hard core skill lists. The story telling around these alone helps make this a book to remember.

Character

There wasn’t quite enough of the ‘real’ world for me. I would have wanted some more interaction with it through Marcus, even if it meant he had to log off once. However, each of the characters that Marcus/Lyrian enter the game with are well defined enough once he meets back up with them in the game.

As for them being supporting characters, they’re pretty great all by themselves. As for a fav one, I’d have to say Natasha has a spot, but defo Amaranth has the biggest. (sp)

Dialogue

I thought all the characters had decent dialogue. And also with Luke narrating, they were a breeze to listen to, each with their own personalities which really shined through. Luke did a great job with the ladies in the group and also with the demons and other worldly creatures. I did however think that the two overlords of the game were brother and sister at first, till I realised they were sisters.

Graves’ character drawl was also really good to listen to. Awesome job from both narrator and writer in design of the bad guys and in the way he really stood out in the narration.

Conflict/Resolution

I think because this has so much scope for the series, that there’s always going to be underlying threads we don’t see tied up. But the overall conflict in this book was left with a satisfying ending. Even if I did want more of the book and story world.
You can’t expect me to listen to almost 18 hours of something and not come away with a book hangover! Omg give me more!

I am glad I picked this up. And I really do look forward to more in this series from both Lukes’

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-08-17

No Awaken online

narrator amazing as ever but some of the later voices are quite smilar. Cant really remember any of the secondary characters. not really any hold to story. The whole game aspect of the book seems to be lost with it having very little to do with story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark H.
  • 09-07-17

A fun adventure!

Would you consider the audio edition of Ascend Online to be better than the print version?

Certainly easier to enjoy in a casual setting. It makes walking to work more fun.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ascend Online?

The climactic final battle was suitably gripping I'd say.

What does Luke Daniels bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

A good flow of narrative that leaves me free to do other things.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I chuckled a few times at some of the funnier bits, and was suitably eager to listen to the action scenes.

Any additional comments?

A very entertaining story, one that I hope to see continued soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Artemis
  • 09-28-18

A Cardboard Cutout

Ascend Online Book 1 is what I call a cardboard cutout of a story. The characters are flat, the detail is poor, and the story is wooden.

6 long term friends go on an adventure. At no time is their real world life described, the basis of their personalities explained, or how they can afford to up and leave the real world for a virtual one explained adequately. They dont feel like theyve been together forever. And for some reason they all appear to defer to one guy in the group in decision making and leadership. We arent looking at 6 people playing a game. We're looking at 1 guy with 5 others in the order of assistants or possibly willing slaves with no will of their own.

There isnt much detail to anything. Ive listened to the entire thing and couldn't tell you what anyone's hair colour or body build is. Who is the tallest member of the group? The most attractive? What annoying querks do people have? Their virtues? Where are people from? Ive lived mostly in the South of England. That has had a huge impact on my personality. I think the characters are American...maybe. I should be able to provide something like detail but can barely remember anyone's actual name because I dont have a picture of that person in my head.

The Land has a cast of unique characters and Richter has personality and humour in spades. Awaken Online makes a point of fully fleshing out each individual character, their emotional and psycological issues. And Devine Dungeon provides a unique look from the other side as a Dungeon is more or less the protagonist of the story. Ascend Online though feels like grinding away 1000 hours in one of those old school MMORPGs like Legend of Mir or old school WoW only less distinctive. You could easily give this one a miss. There's better out there.

And the narrator. He did his best work while reading The Iron Druid Chronicles and, like Kevin Hearne, he peaked in the early books, growing less distinctive and proficient as time goes on, though I admit that he might just have been hampered by the poor quality of writing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bendik
  • 08-07-18

The perfect LitRPG

A well balaced LitRPG with a great story, interesting characters and a lot of humor.
It focuses more on strategy strategy and enginuety in regards to how skills are used during combat in sted of relying heavily on the stats portion.. It is refreshing not having to listen through a stat list every five-ten minutes which is often the case in this genre.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darren Plant
  • 08-05-18

Absolutely awesome

From the very beginning, this is a well thought out and well paced story. The characters are likeable and believable and the action is explosive at times. Give it a listen, you will not be disappointed.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Alexander B.
  • 06-22-18

A template for a computer game

I found the narrator a bit off-putting to start with but got used to the delivery. The story shows imagination and I feel is aimed at the younger game playing set who appreciate the details of the role play. Far too much detail of acquisitions although I can see why they are important to the role players and can imagine readers/listeners of that mindset identifying with specific characters. Not gripping enough for me so will have to abandon it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • O. Almond
  • 05-31-18

Fun action packed story.

I am not a RPG player so I was a little hesitant to read this book, but I have really enjoyed it. There are frequent stat and character trait updates that I found a little confusing, however, they are blended into the story well, and by the end I was starting to get the hang of it ( a little like the first time you play munchkin, at first no clue and by the end you are shouting +5 with the rest)
Luke Daniels gave another brilliant performance, as he did with the Magic 2.0 series, I love his almost dry reading, which with his characterisations makes for some fun narration.
The story itself is fun, with plenty of action, and left me looking forward to book 2... actually book 3 as book 2 deals with other players apparently.
I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed books like Ready Player One, Magic 2.0 series ( off to be the wizard) or Sufficiently AdVanced Magic. This book is probably best for teens and up, as the battles are rather graphic and the language is consistently colourful.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jeremy cajiao
  • 03-25-18

Brilliant book!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It’s a story about a world I know i would love to experience, and it gets better with every addition!

What did you like best about this story?

The actions were all the same I would have made, no random weak areas to just justify a change in the story, a brilliant book overall.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Lyrian deciding to devote himself to the town, after appearing naked and having to fight for his life!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The growth of amaranth’s conscious mind

Any additional comments?

If you’re only going to buy one book this month, it needs to be this one.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Adam Turner
  • 03-02-18

Escapism

I downloaded this only because I enjoyed 'Ready Player One' so much and wanted something set in a similar world. I wasn't disappointed.
Almost immediately there is action and throughout there is usually only the briefest of pauses before it starts again. The story has lots of tension and suspense but kind of leads you into each chapter with a good idea of what's coming. The whole thing is performed really well and I enjoyed the characters. A little more detail about the Ascend universe/world would've seen a five star rating from me but it's still an addictive story.
It finishes with me wanting more and I'm going to download the next book after I'm done typing this!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-31-17

Unusual but good

This is an oddly postmodern book. Usually when you enter a game world in a novel it is part of some greater plot (e.g. Ready Player One). This however is the very manifestation of the Simulacra.

The people just live and breathe within the game and everything is seen through that lens.

There are similarities to Sword Art Online, but without the trapped in the game aspect. Though perhaps there are greater things at play that will develop further in the hinted at sequel.

Despite the oddities it manages to be very interesting. Exploring a future of gaming and some interesting ideas, such as skills being implanted in a person's brain [read: Matrix "I know Kung Fu"] and thoughts/personalities changed.

At the same time it's an enjoyable escape. Nerding out on skill development and everything that comes with a MMORPG.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 11-09-17

Absolutely enthralling

Another great litRPG series.

is this really a game? You will hear this and ask your self the same thing over and over.

The characters are very interesting and amusing in their own right. The story MUST be continued for the sake of an apt analogy it feels like I'm half way through a chocolate bar and someone just told me I can't have another bite till they say so and won't tell me when I can .... and I'm diabetic so very willing to tackle whoever keeping me from this.

Guess I'll go satiate my craving with another until they give me my chocolate again.

Highly recommend to any lit fan and could rival "the land" series with a few more instalments

Cheers and be safe,
Matt

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jackson
  • 08-09-17

worth you time

its a good book but there are some aspects that don't translate well to audio

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • scott
  • 10-08-18

good story

I really enjoyed the story and found it hard to stop listening can't wait for book 2

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-26-18

Fantastic! Can’t wait to listen to the next book

Great narrator. If you love sci-fi, gaming, medieval you’ll love this book.. very fun story line to follow, kept me on my toes

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • pa81trick
  • 06-03-18

worth investing thr time

An enthralling book about a fantasy world that has a mixture of both interesting game style mechanics and a worthwhile story

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Drew
  • 04-26-18

Great book for mmo gamers!

As an MMO gamer myself i loved this book. love that it deals with health percentages and item and character stats. really made me reminisce about my time spent in MMO'S while also adding to the experience with an evolving world and economy. Luke Daniels is one of my favourite narrators and he delivers a top notch performance once again!

all in all the story was an enjoyable ride as the the group embark on quests and land exploration... highly recommended for gamers but good for all people who like the idea of gaming and fantasy!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 03-23-18

Great book

Loved the story and characters.
Though I have listened to other series read by Luke Danials, I felt as though he didn't suit this as well as other series. But still ebjoyed it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • james
  • 03-21-18

Loved it

It felt very similar to the anime Log Horizon. Luke Daniel is a treat as always. If you enjoy a good MMORPG type book you can’t go past Ascend Online.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 10-26-17

Finished it in 2 sittings..

amazing narrator, awesome voice acting and an amazingly intricate story and very consistent video game mechanics that make you believe you are playing a game more than you are listening to a story.