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Publisher's Summary

Henry and Jason led normal lives in Seattle before they were abducted to another world. Their kidnapper, the vain, self-styled god Dolos, refuses to send them back unless they can accomplish an impossible task. Oddly, Dolos doesn't seem to care if they succeed or not.

Luckily, Henry and Jason studied Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) on Earth. Unfortunately, a Japanese American EMT and a geeky IT programmer don't have many other useful skills on a sword-and-sorcery world like Ludus.

Stranded in the middle of nowhere on an alien world, the friends have no real direction and only a few possessions including magic-granting orbs from an apathetic god. Undaunted, the two begin their insane adventure to return home...but basic survival and eventually paying rent will have to take priority.

©2016 Blaise Corvin (P)2016 Blaise Corvin

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • C.T.
  • Ashland, Ky USA
  • 02-25-17

Like an R-rated Dungeons and Dragons cartoon

Since Mark Twain did A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, there's always been a desire by some people to be the guy who goes to a fantasy world in order to make use of their knowledge to take over. Err, I mean be a big hero. My favorite of this subgenre is probably Army of Darkness followed by Eric Flint's Ring of Fire series. Still, Blaise Corvin's Delvers LLC has probably supplanted the latter as my second favorite of all time. The only reason it's not at the top is because, well, Bruce Campbell.

The premise is Jason and Henry are a pair of martial arts enthusiasts who get kidnapped by the Great God Dolos (bolded for emphasis). Dolos is effectively a being akin to Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation only obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft (depending on what decade you grew up in). He's omnipotent or close to it and has populated a planet with elves, humans, goblins, beast people, and orks.

Even more so, he's created a bunch of dungeons spread across the planet full of treasure as well as magical items designed to simulate leveling up. Dolos outfits the pair with a couple of orbs and tells them to go onward, Christian soldier, and kill some monsters for loot. The rest of the book follows them in their confused attempt to deal with the fact they're now trapped in a Gygaxian death world.

As the writer of the Supervillainy Saga series, I'm aware of a rule which Blaise Corvin seems to be, which is that any premise can be sold to the reader as long as its implication are well thought out as well as presented sincerely. The idea of a god playing hack and slash rpging with real people is absolutely insane but it works wonderfully because the characters take it seriously. They discuss things ranging from: "is it right to kill people", "are the monsters we're killing actual people", "how do we survive in a world based on violence", and "can we get home?"

If I have any real complaint about the book, it's that Jason and Henry are a little too well-adjusted to the insanity around them. I'd have thrown in a bit more, "Is that a ****ing elf? That is a ****ing elf!" Then again, Jason has the ambition of nailing a cat girl before he discovers they're not the anime kind so I can't complain too much. Jason and Henry may be both straight men but they each have specialties with the former being a trained soldier while the latter having a science-fiction/fantasy background.

Really, I'm pleased to say the supporting cast from Ludus is even more interesting than the protagonists. Mareen and Uluula are more than mere love interests for the character with the former being a fairly well developed fantasy archetype (farm girl turned adventuress) while the latter is a Space Elf stuck on a planet full of primitive screwheads. I'm also pleased Corvin tackled the issues of romance, courtship, and sexual taboos are different on Ludus than Earth. It may sound a bit peculiar but I'm actually interested in seeing if Corvin will tackle polyamory in the setting. The rest of their adventuring company is also entertaining with their own arcs and story beats.

Dolos, himself, is a great character and a fine fantasy villain that comes close to being Handsome Jack levels of hateable. For example, one thing I loved is how he misleads the various races into killing one another while making it seem it's all in good vs. evil fun. That's some dark and disgusting stuff from a man who is just doing this as a giant experiment. The cover of my copy really captures what a smug jackass he is, complete with little crown.

A fair warning for more sensitive souls, part of how the book sells its premise is the fact violence is unsanitized. People die horribly in the setting and Ludus is kind of a hellhole where the strong prey on the weak. There's allusions to rape and sexual slavery as well as one scene where a female character has to fight off a sexual predator. The dissonance with the colorful premise gives the book a distinct flavor, though.

In conclusion, I recommend Delvers quite strongly. It's entertaining and has an original premise with characters I actually care about. The women are arguably more interesting than the men but I wanted them to hook up with their love interests--which is rarely something I care about in books. I also like the set up for a full-length series as a lot of seeds are planted for the eventual fall of Dolos (or not).

9/10

97 of 99 people found this review helpful

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

It's good enough, you filthy Terrans.

Delvers LLC has its ups and downs, gaining more traction with an audience the longer they are willing to listen.

On the plus side, the setting and ideas are interesting without requiring a tedious amount of explanation. While it does take a bit of listening, the story gains better traction as it’s being told.

At first everything seems pretty simple, even standard, for this type of novel. Two men, Henry and Jason, are teleported to a random spot in a fantastical fantasy world designed by the hilariously self-centered god Dolos, given a bag of random stuff, and a goal: If they become rulers of the world Dolos built, then they can go back home.

Henry and Jason spend most of the book getting into trouble as they learn how Dolos’ world seems to run itself and discover that it seems ridiculously close to something a game designer would come up with. There are races that seem close to what one would see in most fantasy novels, there is magic that is possible to level up, and monsters that appear with anatomy that doesn’t make sense.

The action sections of the story are also attention grabbing without being bogged down with to much talking and over analyzing of every action each character takes, a typical pitfall of the LitRPG subgenre, keeping those sections as tense and fast paced as they should be.

On the downside, “Delvers LLC” is far from an audio book masterpiece. While the plot does grow on you, the pacing has an odd stutter to it.

Characters almost seem bipolar at times due to this as chunks of backgrounds’ and moral code seem to be added to fit actions in a situation and not the other way around. Jason and Henry, for example, go from confident, to unconfident, to sadistic, to kind, to insightful, to ignorant within similar situations interchangeably. The makes them hard to pin down as separate beings at first since they both seem to share personality traits only to display them at different times. Luckily, as the book goes on things seem stabilize and characters become more consistent in their behavior.

The other portion of the downside is confusing tone of the book. Events flip from light hearted and brash to darkly twisted and creepy at the drop of a hat and then, on top of it all, there is the weirdness of the romances in the story. Romance is robotic and stiff in a way that makes one want to just skip entire sections of the audio book.

Narration was also fairly stiff. If it wasn’t for Jeff Hays’ wonderfully funny portrayal of Dolos’ arrogant voice, his contribution to this story as a narrator would have seemed almost non existent and most his female voices made those characters seem angry at all times for some reason.

This book is recommended to an adult audience that sees it as their mission in life to play video games and listen to every plot where normal people are forced into a video game like situations. Also, as a warning this book was clearly mint to set up characters for a plot in a book two so it doesn’t really have a conclusion, just a cliffhanger after a while.

8 of 9 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

Ludus, a great place for a family get away.

Welcome to Ludus was my introduction to Blaise Corvin, and my introduction to Gamelit stories. This man is a writing BEAST. He is like a runaway train powered by quantum level energy drinks! He hits the ground not running, but on futuristic sky cycles that have no mufflers. The story starts with an abduction from Earth to the planet Ludus, by the Great God, Dolos (Hail, Dolos!!). Henry and Jason, the abductees, find themselves in a deadly land they are completely unfamiliar with, must contend with magic, and discover their technology won't function because certain types of metal just can't survive on Ludus. In order to survive they have to eat a device so that they to can gain powers and survive in their new home.
From this point the story takes off like it was written in gasoline ink, and someone struck a match. Jeff Hays is that match. This man does voices better than Mel Blanc; that cartoony wuss Blanc couldn't do women's voices. Shoot, Hays makes you believe he has chicks dubbing their voices and letting him get the credit. Each character is distinctive, both male and female, and his emotional inflection is top of the line Dolby THX quality stuff.
This world is rife with beast men, elves . . . er, sorry Areva, orcs, goblins, etc. It takes old fantasy tropes runs them through a paper shredder, slaps that with some paste, and paper maches it into something modern, fun, and original. I loved watching Henry and Jason level up and meeting their party members. Dolos is the best. Gotta love the Great God. His shiny pate brings warmth and glory to the world. Just don't let him notice you.
Anywho. This entire series is fantastic. It's like they shot this book into outerspace, and it got belted with cosmic rays, and when it returned it had gotten super powers. It's that FANTASTIC. Soon the will be 4 of them in this series. Give your brain some candy, go listen to this audible book now before you die and miss out on all the greatness that is Ludus!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Only Edgy Like A Teens Diary

This book reads like a 14 year old boy wrote it. You are reminded over and over (and over) about how sad and tragic the main characters are. The need to empathize with them is shoved down your throat and after the third or fourth mention of their tragic history you just stop caring. They are constantly comparing themselves to their other friend and being painted with every "stoic hero" stereotype there is.

The storyline with a god that simultaneously doesnt care & hates the characters, but seems to lavish them with more attention than any other beings makes so little sense. It just seemed like a Mary Sue set up. New characters are kinda just jammed into the story when the narrative needs an extra body for the storyline, you end up not givng two shits about them.

The women are one dimensional and the hyper focus of describing their physical attributes just ripped me out of the story. I mean, did the reader really need to be told the woman was "sexy" multiple times; especially after you finished describing her nipples and phat ass? The women barely have an internal thoughts that dont revolve around a shitty mangas version of "oh i hope senpai loves me too". And even when in danger, stereotypes of women being distracted by pretty things and shopping get poorly written into the story.

All the R rated violence and themes of rape and hyper violence against women; including detailed sexual deaths; just felt like the author was trying to force "mature/edgy" content into his story and instead it came off as creepy voyeristic fetish fullfillment.

Lastly why are there shitty special effects in the audible? if you need an echoing effect to get the listeners to know a character is thinking something instead of saying it, write the inner monologue more distinctly I had high hopes for this LitRPG, but I think book 1 is where i stop with this series.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mesmiro
  • Bradenton, FL United States
  • 07-16-17

Great story for an older crowd

Great story! The only reason for rating 4 of 5 stars is from the recording. Throughout the book there is an occasional echo from the reading. Usually when the narrator has to raise his voice. At first I thought it was on purpose when the narrator was expressing the characters inner thoughts, but it was happening too often.
Has a good amount of coarse language and a few adult situations which could require a parent's discretion.

7 of 8 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

Where has this book been all my life?

All around great books. Characters were all well written and unique. Plot was great. Gaming aspects or fantasy aspects were solid enough to build a world around it. Reading by Jeff Hays is and always will be great.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

takes some sustained effort to get into

Henry and Jason suddenly find themselves on Ludus, a strange and violent planet run by the homicidal god, Dolos.  They are given a bag of goodies and instructions to either save the world, have a chance to return to Earth, or more likely die in the effort.

The story is an unapologetic fictional creation of a roll playing video game (RPG).  Henry and Jason can gain points, improve their magic skills and get better weapons and knowledge with their efforts and successes.  Ludus is full of Orcs, Goblins, Hell Hounds and other demons who simply want to kill everything and everyone.  Ludus is mostly inhabited by transplanted humans, but also a host of other humanoid aliens, some friendly, some not.  Ultimately, Henry and Jason must kill or be killed.

There is a sense of unreality throughout the story, like the main characters could simply wake up from a bad dream.  They are perhaps a little too lucky at everything they face.  And like a video game, the challenges get harder with their greater skills and weapons.  Though Dolos says he doesn’t expect them to live, he has given them extreme advantages.

Delvers LLC starts off slowly and takes some sustained effort to get into.  But with the effort comes a very entertaining listen.  There is plenty of action and clumsy love interests to keep the listener involved.  To the author's credit, it doesn't take itself too seriously and is pretty funny.  The story is cartoonish and somewhat unbelievable – like a game; but that is the point and is true to itself.

The story is performed by Jeff Hays, who does a very good job.  The characters are clearly differentiated and sound true to their personalities.  He generally stays out of the way, just giving enough interpretation to allow the listener’s imagination to fill in the rest.

Delvers LLC is like watching over the shoulder of someone playing a video game.  It is very entertaining and full of action and video violence.  The characters are defined early, but evolve into something resembling real people.  Though you really don’t expect them to fail, the action is engaging.  If you enjoy roll playing games, or the recent genre of bringing these games to fiction, you should definitely put this novel at the top of your list.  A good dose of humor throughout the novel keeps it fun too.  Delvers LLC is not listed as a series, but is clearly written as one.  It neither ends, nor wraps up the story.  If you like it, you will want to continue on to book 2 when it is released.  Recommended for the intended audience.

Note: Appropriate for the right young-adult audience. Keep in mind there is graphic violence, sex and adult language.  The equivalent of an R rated movie.

Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

bad cover art almost lost my attention

great story, good reader, the cover art was so crude it made me think the book might be too. Glad i gave it a shot, surprisingly refreshingly take on fantasy/ modern mix.

18 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

Masterfully done.

The authors writing style resonates with me as a veteran. It's a well written and fun book. The narrator is equally fantastic.

6 of 7 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

loved everything about it.

Excellent voice acting, believable characters. excellent description and detail on the scenes and especially the fight detail.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • kanundra
  • 01-11-17

First LitRPG listen

When you like a narrator you do tend to find books and genre's you've never listened to before, so this was a first for me. I did used to game a lot when I was younger but I'm a bit out of touch now.

The story had a great sense of humour from the get go. Our two Mc's are transported to another world and meet the God - Dolos. Who through his intentions brings out the sarcastic unbelievability of our human nature. He doesn't appear much, but he has a good role. There were some POV shifts that didn't gel with me at first, but once I got used to it, it was much easier to follow, it could well be that this is an audiobook and not me reading it where the confusion lies...

I hadn't known what to expect from the plot, and I hoped that it would entertain, yes it did. There were some really great points and then some low ones. I did find that although the Mc's were almost 30 and older, that their mindsets were that of much younger guys, for me in their 20's either that or their teenage male hormones just kick in at stupid times and especially around the women of the planet. I would like to think guys a little more mature didn't act like these two in some situations. Their reactions in most situations are quite normal, even if they're accepting to their new situation a little too easy, but as explained theres reasons for that.

In relation to the two 'ladies' they come across, I think that both of them ending up in a relationship with the two Mc's is a little too good to be true and feels a little more like hero worship and entrapment of some kind, at least to me.

Of course, I can't fault the performance, Jeff really brings the best to the table and he's always going to make something amazing. As an audiobook I listened til just before Chapter 15 before I the writing actually pulled me out the story. As I'm new to the genre, I'm not 100% sure on how switching POV's so late in the story is acceptable, but I guess it is.

Marine's pov here didn't do anything for me, and I have to be honest. As a script writer and juggler of multiple POV's they're important for me to be early on in a story. I can only think that and the same goes for the other POV's that sneak in now and then.

There were two pretty important big battles in here, and the most important for me is the fight against Thod obviously, and this is a really great scene. Almost wanted the book to end soon after, I honestly am not sure that the dungeon scene later measures up to it.

Overall, I had some fun, laughed and routed for the Mc's in their quest. I know I'm not quite the target market, and that shows in the way I perceived some of the plot points. I do think this is a good book and that people of all generations and those who love both Fantasy, Scifi and this newer genre will enjoy.

I look forward to more from Jeff and Blaise. Thanks for the entertainment. :)


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle CustomerSyrob
  • 03-04-18

ehhh

It was wery boring book. Two guys became so powerful that they kill everything around. Waste of free credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-18-17

Conceptually interesting, poorly delivered

The idea is a classic at this point - modern characters in a fantasy world and the hijinks that follow.
Several issues with this one though.
a) main characters are bland and uninspiring. It keeps adding quirks or details to them in an attempt to add depth, but they still come off as flat.
b) the violence is gratuitous. It takes charisma to pull off explicit and detailed violence. This book doesn't offer that - and the scenes that spend a good ten minutes unnecessarily explaining the horror involved are not only poorly written, but pornographically twisted.
c) the dialogue is pretty clunky.

unfortunately makes this a disappointment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • cameron
  • 08-19-17

classic bad author falling back on sex

Is there anything you would change about this book?

like all the romantic encounters is he 12 years old it comes across like a tween fantasizing.

If you’ve listened to books by Blaise Corvin before, how does this one compare?

nope, and I probably won't again

Which character – as performed by Jeff Hays – was your favourite?

Jason

Was Delvers LLC worth the listening time?

yeah maybe, probably if you're after a fantasy to fill time if you have run out of better books like "name of the wind".

Any additional comments?

its cringe but has some redeeming fighting scenes and ideas.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • despie
  • 05-10-17

Great start to a new series

Liked the book overall. Though not as good as his other book secrets of the old ones. Felt like some of the paragraphs got repeated whilst listening to it. Story is good but doesn't feel like it's anything different than other books on the market. narrator did a great job.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr Socko
  • 01-26-17

A lot of fun

This is a fast-paced, entertaining read. You're taken straight into the RPG world from the beginning There are some really interesting rules to the world that have real consequences in the story. I particularly enjoyed the interaction between the two central characters. Looking forward to book two.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tarcha
  • 02-11-18

Worth a read

I was put off initially by the reviews that complained about the violence.
I hate unnecessary violence (grinding etc is fine, but kicking someone when they are down for fun ... not a fan). And so I put it off and put it off.
Eventually I bit the bullet. And yes, there was a lot of violence, and some of it “unnecessary” (hurt them when you can), and yes there was mention of horrible things done to people.
But it wasn’t glorified and it wasn’t so far fetched (it was all the antagonists). And it was purely a mechanism to drive the story along.

My biggest gripe with this book, is in fact with Jeff Hays (who I usually love). His lack of distinction in the narration of the different characters’ POV means it takes time to adjust a bit when the story bounces back and forth between Henry and Jason.

Overall I think the characters were written realistically and I liked the interplay between them. I loved the different way they interact with the world and the circumstances they encounter.
This is an ensemble story with two main MCs, and it feels like it, with various opinions and reactions written in. Some authors miss the dissidence or the “how will we solve X issue when we come to it” when they write ensemble stories. But Blaise has clearly thought about it and planned it out.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Liam
  • 11-10-17

One of my favourites

First off, I don't write reviews, I usually just offer some stars but hardly ever actually write something but this is just such an amazing series that I finished waaay too fast, I couldn't stop! Characters are great, with the story going back and forth between their point of views, gives a great in depth feel to the world.

The powers, good God they're cool, like seriously. After some action sequences, had me wishing it was me.

The narrating is absolute tops, giving such depth to everyone, I could really feel like I was really there.

Thank you team, I can't wait for more!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-06-17

Lighthearted and Engaging

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

I'd happily recommend the book to any friend that liked either games or fantasy.

What did you like best about this story?

The story is fast-paced and lighthearted. The characters are likeable in a way that is quite rare; they feel real, even when suspending disbelief for some of their rections.

Have you listened to any of Jeff Hays’s other performances? How does this one compare?

First time listening to Jeff Hays, but I'd happily listen to him again. He makes characters sound distinct, and he never broke my immersion. The audio quality is also excellent.

Any additional comments?

If you like LitRPG, Fantasy or just games in general, just get it. The book is at least worth the money.