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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 listeners say about Ascend Online

Average Customer Ratings
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It’s ok, not too special

The narrator is mono tone and it pulls me from the experience a lot, story is ok nothing special to make it stand out

13 people found this helpful

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Was great until his friends showed up.

I was enjoying this book immensely, until his friends showed up. The author was a bit long winded on spells, but when mc was alone, it was quite interesting. As soon as the friends showed the MC turns into a full time crafter/politician. Even considering you want to be a good person and help the town, I would think as a potentially without limits fighter, training would be the best use of MCs time. This all led to the book becoming a snore fest 80 % of the time after the rest of party showed. Oh and the jokes...I don't mind some completely pointless dialogue, but the idiot mc and friends speak loudly and pointlessly at THE WORST times. I don't mind some idiocy to advance the story but author threw it out there too frequently and usually without any logical need. How these people are supposedly "elite gamers" is a mystery to me. Damn near anyone should be better.

30 people found this helpful

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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

60 people found this helpful

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A great listen

A great cast of characters, a narrator that seem to know what he's doing when he gives voices to characters and a believable plot with strife and build-ups in the right places, what more could you ask for in a LITRPG novel?

8 people found this helpful

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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.

101 people found this helpful

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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

90 people found this helpful

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After 3 hours, I had to stop

I got this because it had been compared to Ready Player One and Magic 2.0. Sorry to the author, no offense, but this book is definitely not in their league. Both of those actually have interesting stories. It's not enough for me to just have commentary on someone playing a video game, one that only a twelve year old would enjoy. Ready Player One has the mysterious underdog who, after 5 years, is first to put points on the board in a contest to win a fortune, and there are riddles to solve based on clues. The Magic 2.0 series has hilarious banter between funny characters. All the first 3 hours of Ascend Online had was someone tediously playing a game, one that's not very interesting.

6 people found this helpful

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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.

52 people found this helpful

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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.

104 people found this helpful

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Good by LitRPG Standards

Any additional comments?

So far reading through LitRPG series, I have been very disappointed by the quality of writing. Either the authors cling to clichés like a lifeboat or just have no idea how to create likable characters. But Luke Chmilenko did surprisingly well in the first book of this series. There were a few times that the main character became an idiot to forward the plot and a smattering of "close-calls", but overall the story was well written and paced. The narrator is a bit limited on voices, but does adequately to separate the characters enough to know who is who. The loot readouts were much less painful than in other books as well. I have hope that the second book will not fall off in quality as bad as most series, but we will see.

22 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anno
  • 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’

9 people found this helpful

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  • Wells
  • 10-09-19

Disappointing

Not very exciting or original. Coversations poorly written, they do not sound natural at all. Having picked this up after Awaken Online, the books feel miles apart in terms of quality.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ozzimmer
  • 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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • J. A. N.
  • 12-23-19

Carpet F-bombing

This book has a good plotline and I loved the narrator, however, it is let down by poor writing (for example the author uses the word "spiderlings" ten times in a single paragraph, and when he finally switches to a synonym, he uses it several times in a row again) and the sheer amount of unnecessary profanity.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 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 person found this helpful

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  • AudiobookDevotee
  • 03-12-21

Just not particularly interesting

Maybe I was spoiled by my first litRPG being Dakora Krout's ritualist but when I returned to the genre and looked online for the best one this was recommended and I had high hopes. I was disappointed.

For one, almost none of the players, except the villain, treat the game like a game. The mourn their friends dying intensely even when they've already respawned back at the base. They never seem to log out for a break and really you could remove the stats and this would work better as a straight-up fantasy novel.

You'll also find words like face or shoulder or cave get repeated a lot in a short span of time. I know books like this are self published without editing but when you get 5 'shoulder's in three sentences it can be jarring. Synonyms and 'it's would have helped.

The main character's adventures were filled with deus ex machina and again, not very game-like. There's also no humour at any point that I can recall. Made it a real slog to read compared to Krout's jumplomancer going round thrusting hia codpiece of holding at things!

I finished the book not giving a toss if the characters lives or died and I won't be reading the sequel. Lots of people recommend this book highly including people whose judgment I would trust so maybe there's something good here that just didn't click for me.

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  • juozas kasiulis
  • 11-04-20

Welcome to virtual reality

Just amazing story, loved all the time while listening. Interesting characters, so many details. Had to get the rest books 😁

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  • M. Richards
  • 05-29-20

Very well written, fun and exciting

I never leave reviews for my book purchases but for this one I had to. Luke has a great writing style and this series of books is excellent, fairly similar to the MAGIC 2.0 series which is also narrated by Luke Daniels (which is the only reason I tried this book as he's brilliant) The story moves well, pretty engaging and really hope Luke Chmilenko continues writing these stories.

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  • Ian
  • 05-27-20

Not a true series

I love Luke Daniels narration and saw this was a series. Luke didn’t let me down, great work as always BUT...
Sadly after a good first book that seemed to forget about the RPG aspect of the game the following books bin the MC and go off on stories in the world. Received a refund for book 2 as a result. So much potential.

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  • Luke Chadwick
  • 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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • 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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sleepydragon
  • 01-20-21

could have been a really good vrmmo book

the destruction storyline is to be honest a crappy curve ball you didn't even need it for this interesting vrmmo game storyline

1 person found this helpful

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  • mishmashn
  • 03-31-20

Fantastically written and voiced

Was kind of expecting the standard gamer who falls onto rare items and abilities left right and center.

However this book has the main character going all out on making their mark in the game. Story has some minor predictability but mostly feels fresh and very entertaining.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jackson
  • 08-09-17

worth you time

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-20

So good!

I loved this book! I am new to this genre and this only my second series that I have read, but the characters were wonderful and came across as such genuine personalities. Really enjoyed the more mature MC in this series in comparison to the last series too. Massive thumbs up!

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  • Leanne Wallace
  • 04-03-20

Awesome

Best LITRPG I have read since The land series. I'm rolling straight into the next book in this series, can't wait.

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  • John
  • 02-05-20

Ascend online

I really love this book by Luke Chmilenko I found the book enjoyable experience and with. Luke Daniels narration making the book a must to listen to and owned.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-14-19

Loved this!

I loved this book. I need to remember not to read this at night, because I swear some of this stuff was nightmare fuel. It was amazing though, I love the characters and the progression. Can't wait to get stuck into the next one.

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  • Chloe Priebee
  • 03-03-19

This series is amazing!!

If you like litRPG novels, then look no further! This is one of the best audio book series of the litRPG genre. I cant wait for the next installment.