Awaken Online: Catharsis

Narrated by: David Stifel
Series: Awaken Online, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (8,853 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

In fact, he might just be the villain.

©2016 Travis Bagwell (P)2016 Travis Bagwell

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    4 out of 5 stars

Gravely entertaining!

Would you consider the audio edition of Awaken Online: Catharsis to be better than the print version?

Hard to say. For me personally, I may have enjoyed this book more in print. Regardless, it is a very good read if you can deal with some minor eyerolling moments.

What other book might you compare Awaken Online: Catharsis to and why?

Probably "Ready Player One" though that is only for the mmo theme. Otherwise, Im not too sure.

What does David Stifel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr. Stifel was perhaps not the best choice. He does do a great job at building a good atmosphere, but falls short on some deliveries and tone of certain characters. He is just a tad too robotic and doesn't really fit with the book, in my opinion. When it comes to the cities, describing events, coming through with a building atmosphere or the clashing of titans, he nails it. When it comes to dialogue though... eh. It can be a tad underwhelming or just plain jarring. His voice just seems out of place and the voices aren't too varied. Still he did do a pretty good job and it wasn't enough of a mismatch to make me overlook the good things he did.

Any additional comments?

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, recommend giving it a read or listen even. It has hiccups without a doubt, some enough to make me roll my eyes or frown a bit.

The story itself is very enjoyable, but there are issues. Realistically, I think the Mr. Bagwell did wonderfully on capturing that general teen guy frustration, but at the same time after going through my own phase like this just made me groan. It did seem to be over the top at times.The hatred for the rich and just people that treated him badly was too edgy for me. Don't get me wrong it wasn't too much of an issue, just a small gripe. This bigger issue was that you hear a lot of repeating phrases and descriptions. Normally not something that bothers me, but here it did. Could just be personal bias after listening / reading a different book that had a larger range, but still.

Okay okay, so I whined about the bad. What was good, right? The author is damn good at describing battles, fights, horrors of beast and demon. These monstrosities that linger and tear out of nightmare. The times and convos when the main isn't being your average angsty teen are well-done and usually funny. He captures being an awkward boy in a place he doesnt feel he belongs like a champ. The parts with magic on average, while the casting is about what you'd expect, the description of how they act is pretty good. There are some magics though that made me sit up a little straighter and give the book/computer a respectful nod. Mr. Bagwell is also pretty good at the whole "Hey this guy is getting torn apart. It's not pretty and not everyone can watch it." Killing while plentiful in the book is never really completely normalized. There are parts where spectators or people have to leave cause they cant watch. There are part in some fights or battles where the battle isn't one side of unwavering freight trains versus the solid rock cliff of never crumbling foes! No. People run. People get scared. People leave and are never seen again. The frustration and fear is sometimes palpable.

Mr. Stifel just wasn't the right fit here, for me. I enjoyed his voice, but it was out of place. Went into enough about my issues with that already.

TL;DR - Pretty simple, the book overall is worth your time. I personally don't agree with the choice in reader, but the performance wasn't bad. In some places it was damn fine. The book has issues, if you hate or can't deal with a taste of highschoolesque angst and drama here and there, I'd recommend not listening. It is few and far in between though, keep that in mind. The fantasy and dark magic side is very good to the point of making this book almost amazing.

60 people found this helpful

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Greatly surprised and impressed

As an avid MMO player I have tried to read other books of this type (entering the virtual world if a game) but they have for the most part seemed very one dimensional. THIS is an in depth emersive world that I could see existing in, with all the action of battle and faction intrigue, down to the intricacies of finding the right crafting mats. This is a great book series that any MMO player will enjoy. Come, join the Kin!

5 people found this helpful

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This is more of a YA novel than reviews indicate

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this book. its clearly part of the emerging genre of "LitRPG" - and reads like playing an MMO video game. And just like such games, the characters are stock and predictable: outsider, loner high school kid; rich jerk; decent girl caught in the middle. But it was still a fun ride.

104 people found this helpful

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One of the best LitRPG series available

One of the best LitRPG series available. So many are trash. This author understands the balance needed between geek and good writing. Have loved all the books in this series.

4 people found this helpful

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Reader is dull unfortunately

I loved the book. I am a huge fan of Ready Player One and this is very reminiscent of that - minus the 80's nostalgia. The reader was just terrible tho. Fortunately he wasn't bad enough to return the book, but had the story even been four stars I would have returned it. Sometimes I caught myself criticizing the reader more than listening to the actual story. Considered getting the book, but I listen to books on my commute and don't have a ton of other time to read, and I loved the story.

27 people found this helpful

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  • KT
  • 04-03-19

Absolutely loved it

I remember reading this on royalroad a while back and remembered when it came to Amazon. fast forward a few years and I saw it on here, Bought it instantly. My first purchase, no regrets whatsoever!

2 people found this helpful

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Wow

I really enjoyed the main character, he is not unlike many teenage men. I had put off this series for awhile due to some of the reviews focusing on it being dark. Honestly it's more a shade of grey that has good and evil elements.

2 people found this helpful

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LITRPG genre is a fantastic break from reality.

love the LITRPG genre and this book is a fantastic example of what this genre can produce. The characters are engaging and fun while the story makes light of the darkness so prevalent in the world. I highly recommend this book to all my fellow nerds.

2 people found this helpful

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Better than expected.

slow start, turning into a great original singularity story line. more than the summary leads on

2 people found this helpful

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Strong Lit RPG

I'm a big fan of this genre. I think that there were some outstanding parts throughout the story with a couple of troubling areas. I would have to say that my favorite moment was the attack on the nobles. I thought that it was an exciting and fun idea to be played out. Usually, in this genre, the protagonist is the classic good guy cliche. I will say that this is one of the few books that I've started and couldn't put down. Awaken Online seems to be a book more suited to D&D or RPG buffs.
Some of the issues I saw in the book have to do with the pacing and the switch in character perspective about 3/4 the way into the story. I think that the pacing of figuring out the world, in the beginning, was spot on. Pretty much as soon as he learns to summon a zombie, it all speeds up a touch too quickly. I'm not too sure how I felt about Alexion. He seems a bit underdeveloped. As the significant final battle ends, it is on the cliche side (trying not to toss out any spoilers).
I enjoyed this story, and I hope you keep writing. Good work and I look forward to reading the next book. As always, if anyone wants to talk with me about this story feel free.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kyle Groenewald
  • 03-30-17

Instant addiction

I found this soon after listening to Ready Player One. I became addicted to this book within the first chapter. The story is good, the reader did a very good job on the voices and the way the plot unfold and twists between the game and real life was fantastic. I have already bought the second one. I highly recommend the heck out of this audiobook​!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Ruth Wade
  • 07-27-17

Loved it!

If you are a fan of Ready Player One, Super Powereds or the Off to be the Wizard series then you will love this. Great all round concept and story, the best audiobook I have listened to in a good while.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-06-17

Best played at X 1.05 speed as narrator is slow

Takes a while to get into but eventually all comes good. Best played at X 1.05 speed as narrator's speech is a bit on the slow side.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • add642
  • 09-26-18

Good story bad voice actor

The story itself ways very interesting, one of the most riveting in the litRPG genre with a powerful main character, missing out all the cringe worthy and disappointing stereotypes of “at the last second” or “with 1hp left” which makes the story more personal. The voice actor on the other hand sounds like a robot with no clear tone difference in characters and the pronunciation of trebuchet made me want to skip the whole chapter

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sanu Sath
  • 03-02-17

A great listen!

I was on the look out for a book like this, I really enjoy mmorpgs and also love reading works of fiction around the themes

3 people found this helpful

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  • jonathan
  • 03-07-20

so underwhelming.

I found this a real struggle to engage with as well as finish. The start of the story was leading towards a classic underdog story, which I happen to quite enjoy. For me however the author tried too hard to be different and create something edgy and different. I find myself disliking the main character and the direction of this series.
This is a series for me that I just can't get into and I will not be continuing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rod
  • 12-16-19

Loved it from beginning to end

Captures the imagination. What if you could fully immerse into an MMO game and controlled your destiny.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vivienne
  • 09-21-19

Really good if you listen to it at 1.1 speed

A refreshing spin on the genre. The story is intriguing and the characters are relatable from the very beginning. The narrator is quite slow but if you speed up the audio the performance is actually great.

1 person found this helpful

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  • fretlots
  • 03-12-19

Great story

I normally read Grimdark or High Fantasy, and being a gamer I have read a few LitRPG but they haven’t drawn me in until now. The story is great and it had me cheering and laughing quite a few times, and no annoying ear splitting ‘Ding’ on levelling up or reading stats every five minutes. David Stifel is a fantastic narrator. Now onto book 2

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 03-04-19

Fantastic

Fantastic. Takes a little time to get into but then it gets you hooked. Really keeps you guessing. Stop narrator - but fine running at 1.25x

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tarei
  • 04-24-17

Story is ace!

Having enjoyed Sword Art online, this was along a similar vein, the anti-hero aspect is a nice story mechanic and I found myself enjoying more of this than I thought.

While people discredit the voice actor, you might find the tone a little off putting, the story is worth the perseverance, and Druid really makes the story his own. I grew to enjoy the story more due to his efforts.

Have fun, make your own decision - Sword Art/Armada and Ready Player One fans will enjoy this.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Leilani Coetzee
  • 12-12-16

great story

the voice actor is a bit off putting. I recommend this for anyone in search for a good storyline.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-04-20

2 mins in

chapter 2 and story already has depth and the narrator has diversity. can only hope

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-19

Great first Audible experience.

Incredible. Loved every minute of it. Will get the whole series!

I was actually recommended this book by a friend of mine. Its the first Audiobook I've listened to, and it won't be the last. Totally hooked on this story so far.

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  • Kevin
  • 08-28-19

So. Damn. Compelling.

This book is effectively a gamer power fantasy with enough elements to stay interesting throughout. There are a few twists which propell the story scale in leaps while everything else builds at a perfect pace.

The game elements are recognizable but unobtrusive and the story itself and characters are well realised and sufficiently deep without going into infodump territory.

The narration was great but still felt a little bit flat in some parts. Voices are different enough for most characters but in some instances the same voice was used for a few diff characters which makes you immediately assume it's X until it's confirmed in the dialogue that it's actually Y talking etc.

Great start to an interesting series. Buying book 2 immediately!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-07-19

Addictive

once i started the next day after work i listened for 8 hours straight on the edge of my seat. will continue the series for sure.

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  • matt
  • 05-24-19

Immersive with great narration

An immersive and well written story with characters that are solid and believable.
Recommended as some great escapism.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-23-19

Enjoyed the story !

Very much enjoyed this story, narrator kept a good casual pace but sounded a little monotone for me, I understand the hard work narrators put in and respect his work. But a review should be honest.
Enjoyed this book either way and have already purchased book 2 and 3.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-03-19

brilliant

loved every second also the narrator does an excellent job. cant wait for second part

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  • Greg Gordon
  • 11-12-18

Good fun

Good fun. What it lacks in editing it gains in a rollercoaster of a story