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Publisher's Summary

"There's only one rule … don't get hit."

Ryan's life sucks.

His brother is a jerk, his mom is sick, and his legs are next to useless thanks to a neurological disorder. Plus the world ended two centuries ago from nuclear war. Now, what's left of humanity live below ground, with the only escape from reality being the massive VR world of Crystal Shards Online.

But even in the game, Ryan's life sucks. Unable to play a combat class due to his condition, he works as a miner, earning barely enough to get by and not nearly enough to afford the operation that will save his mom's life. 

When Ryan discovers an item that grants the ability to dodge any attack, however, he has the chance to become one of the game world's most elite and sought after players: a Dodge Tank.

But for someone who's never played a combat class, success isn't so easily had.

To save his mom, Ryan will have to overcome his disability and level his way to the top. But the real-world consequences are more far reaching than he ever could have imagined and the fate of not just his mother, but humanity itself, may be resting in his hands.

©2017 Rick Scott (P)2018 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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

Wow! Great read!

Loved the story the most. Especially the ending. Great scaling. No fillers or anything not necessary. Takes a lil bit to get into the action but once it gets going, it's intense! Easily my favorite litrpg book.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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

Multiple Classes?! Mostly, but Multiple Classes!!

I’m a gamer. Have been most of my life and I’ve RPG’s and MMORPG’s. I’m also an end-gamer, meaning I enjoy the leveling, but it’s a means to an end… the end game is always the goal. This being said, my thoughts on this work is shaded by this, so hopefully, it helps you weigh my review better.

So, the TLDR version? Overall story? Loved it! Plus, they had multiple classes they can switch to. Actually able to change classes! Narrator? Loved it as well! The minutia of said plot? Great leveling development but the drama… was very over the top. It wasn’t at the queen level of drama, but it was pretty high by my thinking.

So, right off the bat, finally, a LitRPG that actually allows class changes on one account. I love LitRPG’s, but this arbitrary limitation that all writers seem to have embraced, “Only one class per account… to change, destroy this character and make another”, I’ve never understood. I usually play multiple classes using different toons, and I refuse to believe I’m the only one that thinks that way. So for that alone, I enjoyed the bejesus (Yep, real word) out of this book.

The story, when stripped away of leveling and melodrama… is a good one. The world is interesting, well developed and feels well fleshed out. The plot is waved into the story with delicate care, it’s there for you to wonder over and gradually place the important pieces together, right up to the end when it all fits together. Very well written and executed.

And the leveling… thank you! In this book, they actually grind, put thought into taking advantage of conditions and pushing the preverbal nose to the grindstone and pushing through. They actually reach high level! At times I feel the people who write some LitRPG’s, from anywhere but Russia, Japan or Korea, never got past level 20 and glorified each level as if level 100 was just a pipe dream. I mean, ending book one at level 15? And they are the hero of the game world? I never understood those ideas. At least in this work, that is not an issue. The high-level content is clearly seen as an end goal and pursued.

Now, the one weak area, at least for me, is the overly melodramatic character moments. I understand and appreciate tough dilemmas that really weigh on a person… I get it, but the LitRPG writers.. come on! Stop making Every MC space out. This is not as common a trait as you all think. And why can’t they think While they do actions? This isn’t a comic book, it’s not one action at a time, while they think they can actually grind, walk somewhere… do Something besides just freeze and ignore the world. To me, it was a bit heavy handed on the drama. I get it, tough choices, but it felt like the writer was pushing our nose in it like we were puppies and wouldn’t understand the importance of it if it wasn’t said in as many words a possible.

With that being said, I’m still waiting on book 2. Well worth the read and glad I added it to my over-sized library.

24 of 27 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

Anime feel to a Lit up LITRPG

This book needs a theme song. Given an existing one, I would pick the Cowboy Bebop theme as it is as frantic and frenetic as this book, and sounds great. Everything about this book is tinged with anime, just look at the cover, take away the title and you might think that was a Toonami program. Ryan could be about to throw down with Inuyasha or Naruto. The internal fighting feels the same way, and I am not saying this in a negative way. Anime either works really well, or it fizzles out spectacularly. This book works.

But it shouldn't. I don't do spoilers, but nothing I am going to say won't be revealed in less than five minutes into the book. This book lays on the old LITRPG tropes like it was making a sandwich. Ryan/Reese, the protagonist, lives in poverty and only his gaming keeps the family in food and shelter, but just barely. Trope #2, the sick relative. Ryan's mother is dying of cancer. Trope #3, the player suffers from a physical ailment. Ryan has a gimpy leg, and this limits what he can do in both the real world and the virtual one. Trope #4, the cute and supportive love interest. Ryan just so happens to work in the mines everyday with a sexy mama, but he's too focused on bringing home the bread to cook some bacon. Trope #5, he has to win the against the big boss to save his family. There are a few more, but you get the point. Yeah, Rick Scott almost made me put the book down, because I've seen all of these things a hundred times by this point.

The book also has a few other things that I hate going for it. The first being game currency doubling as real world currency. I see it all the time, and in every book that I read with that as plot device I think that the writer is out of touch. Yes, Bitcoins are real, and there are several other types of Cryptocurrency, but I will say this, no matter how much gold I ever earned in WOW it never translated into my bank accepting that as honest to God dough. I really wish it had, but no. No. The other flaw, and one I particularly loathe, and will not later forgive, is the super leveling that happens. Ryan literally levels roughly 100 times in a matter of days (if you count all the previous classes he had to take before getting to Ninja); and he does this mostly as a solo player. Now I totally get that this is a plot device to get him where he needs to be, but the game would be pretty boring if it took you no time to Max level. I get where he was going, but he could have done the same thing with lower levels. The part that really peeved me about this is that several characters explicitly say that they cannot and will not help him power level, and then he does it anyway.

So, I have just listed a boatload of issues I had with this book, and yet you look at the Stars above and think I am being inconsistent. Well, let me just say that while the tropes are the tropes you forgive each one a little at a time. Ryan is trying to become a dodge tank, that is a person who accrues aggro, but doesn't get hit. He has a few devastating attacks, but the ninja class is designed to gradually wear an opponent down. The book, for me at least, took off when Ryan fought Bathsheba the giant cat. Up until that point the wheels were spinning but had no traction. After that point the car had hit the ground running and was hauling arse like it was on fire. Each trope got resolved or managed to actually have a purpose that fit well into the story as things moved forward.

Best of all, the book derails the plans it laid out so carefully and takes you into new territory. Into a land that you were not expecting, but want to see more of. Now I will warn you that this book does, in fact, end on a MAJOR cliffhanger, so beware if you can't handle not knowing what comes next, and what is coming is like something out of the Matrix. I liked the concept and thought that even with the power leveling Ryan ends the book too weak for the place he is at, and that he needs to start leveling quickly.


Eric Michael Summerer does a really nice job on the narration. There were one or two word snafus, but nothing that was unforgiveable. I enjoyed listening to him, and anticipate his tackling the next book soon. Sound quality was good, and he played each character with emotion and presence.

While it took me a little while to get into this book it sank its claws into me, and has yet to let me go. I cannot wait to see what happens next. You won't either, so don't delay, become a dodge tank fan. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. In fact, getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

5 of 5 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

Excellent Lit rpg!!! Top Tier

Loved it. Good world building and interesting characters. What I like in a book, especially litRPG, is good grounded world physics. This means do I have a good enough understanding of this world and its laws to superimpose my own thoughts; to grab onto with my imagination and spiral off into a myriad of "what if(s)".

Other litRPG I really like: The Land, Delvers LLC, Emerilia, The System Apocalypse.

Honorable mentions(I really liked these too but your not me so): War Gods Mantle(#harem), Travail Online, Ascend Online, Dante's Inferno Beginnings, and maybe Bushido Online... I'm saying Perilous Waif, Daniel Black(#harem) and Apocalypse Gates as well; they are not litRPG If you wana get technical but are good and similar. (Heck I say they are though...)

And a lot more I haven't mentioned. cough* cough* Apha World(#harem), Tamer(#harem), Super Sale on Super Hero's(really good # pancakes?, #harem), Morningwood- everybody loves large chest (# satire), Otherlife(#harem), Adventures on Terra, Orconomics(# satire), The Valens Legacy(#harem), and Alterworld (plz just stop at book 4 for your sake # downhill)...

ok I'm done... for now...

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

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

get it

One of the best LitRPG books I've listened to. Good characters good story and a twist at the end. I will be getting book two.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Good, just has plot holes

Good book, fun to listen to, just felt like a novice author that was so close to a great book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

good story mc kinda dumb great plot very PG lol

I like this story i really do, but man i have to say something first. The main character is really dense. Like in every situation he just has no idea whats going on. The girl hes with, the ppl who lead him into a pvp zone, his brother, I mean hell, he even sure as hell doesn't know a whole lot about the game even though his entire society is obsessed with the virtual world. Like the dude couldn't spend an hour or two reading some forms about game mechanics classes or leveling strategies...really. Aside from Reece's ridiculous air-headedness yea the book is really good. It really gives a whole reason behind everything. You won't know why until the end but this book is def worth listening to. Also the dialogue is pretty original, and the story is on point.

2 of 2 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

Great Book!

Emotional story with tons of entertainment! This is easily a five star book and one of the best Litrpg books out there.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

so much potential but most of the book is boring

I have listened to a lot of LitRPG novels but honestly the fights are just boring. In the end I just had to skip the last 2 boss fights (each a chapter long) because I just couldn't stand it anymore. I wish this book has a better summery. I will now post what the book summery should have read. In a post apocalyptic world where humans are forced to live under ground and nanites can make you anything you want (including food and new body parts and cure cancer), assuming you have the money, A poor young boy who has a physical disability is stuck playing a gathering character in an online game world to make money because his real world leg disability lowers his connection to the game and makes him unable to use his arms to swing a sword accurately (yes, you read that right) due to bad connection... because of his legs. So he mines ore with a pick (that uses his arms) to sell for real world cash because that causes him no problems. By a freak chance of luck he find a skill scroll inside an ore vein (...what? but yes this happens) which just happens to be an ultra rare level 12 skill (yes... level 12, level cap is 85). With this skill he is able to turn the ninja class into a "dodge tank" because with it he can block aoe attacks which can't be dodged (so he doesn't dodge those...?) He can't play a ninja though due to his legs making his arms unable to work in the game world. BUT!!!! It is SOOOO rare that another person is willing to spot him more than half a million credits so that his legs can be healed so he can use his arms and will be able to dodge tank for her. And of course he needs the money to heal his sick mom who has terminal cancer. So you spend most of the book hearing how he grinds mobs for hours on end while thinking to yourself that making money is actually stupid easy and nobody should be poor and how unrealistic it is, only to find out in the FINAL CHAPTER that the final boss fight is really to do a secret "raid" on the surface with nanite bodies who can use in game skills to gather more nanites because the city it self has almost run out and the entire population only has 6 months to live before all of the humans. Yes the most exciting part of the book that is a good story... is the last chapter. I have a feeling though that the potential will be lost. At the end of the book, you know nothing about the game itself since he basically beat it in 3 days of game play and you know nothing of any other classes or skills or anything. Also according to the skill as read in the book the dodge tank can only active dodge once every 30 seconds, he actually uses his evade skill to avoid 80% of the attacks. Just saying... So in the end, skip this.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

I always start with the negative reveiws...

I always start with the negative reveiws. Amazon, IMDB, Audible or any other app and judge for my self if they have valid points. I've listened to the first book, and as a 10 year veteran of WOW, and many other similar games, I can tell you this, book 1 captures what it feels like to play MMORPG's. I dont play anymore but the home sickness is so real. Yes, there is excessive drama, as other reveiws have stated, however the story, characters and world the author had dreamed up are awesome. The drama and ignorance of the main characters situation adds a depth to the story that makes it feel more real and easier to identify with. We all start out that way in new situations. Juggling real life while learning new skills. I wont include any spoilers because I hate ruining a fun intelectual experience for anyone, but I have to share this info. I love LitRPG books and I've listend to around 30 or 40. This is something different and amazing, and for me atleast, more real and personal. Listen to and enjoy book 1. I lays down a wonderful framework for book 2...

1 of 1 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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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mike
  • 06-20-18

Captivating and enticing

LitRPG fans will love this one. The action is fast paced and engaging.

Sometimes a little too fast paced, I didn’t feel as engaged with any character as I did the growing hero. Which left the empathy a little lacking. And the main twist in the story was glaring me in the face from about halfway in.

Although I kinda want to play this game now.

A good premise. Let’s see where the story takes us

1 of 1 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
  • James Bedford
  • 09-14-18

great read

great onto the 2nd book right now
sword art online meets ready player one. dunno which came first but similar premise

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • moninoni
  • 09-08-18

Brilliant

Came across this book by chance, thoroughly enjoy it from start to finish. So well written, story enthralling, fast paced and I’m going to start listening to the sequel right now. Brilliant

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ian Brooks
  • 09-06-18

Amazing!

I couldn't stop listening, really good story it's easy to listen to. Has quick and progressive story. Can't recommend this enough!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sariusmonk
  • 07-07-18

Very reminiscent of Final Fantasy 11

First off this is my first listen to anything of the "LITRPG" genre and only my second audiobook, but it's a genre you kind of know what to expect these days with anime such as Sword Art and movies like Ready Player One following the theme.

The story itself isn't too complicated and it ends with you wanting to move on to the sequel. If you like MMO's and the fantasy of delving into a fantasy game world this book does a good job making it feel like a real MMO with various fantasy locations, an auction house and game mechanics you'd expect to see. Though I feel a lot of the books influence can be heavily linked to Final Fantasy 11 with the jobs (particularly the Ninja, the focal job of the protagonist), the skillups system and some of the way the locations felt.

The performance by the reader is solid, the voice is always clear and he does a decent job of various characters as well as the "game" messages.

For the main positives I'd say it's a fun story of a characters growth and it never really goes anywhere too unexpected, though by the end more mystery and interesting things start to happen, as such the ending makes you want to continue onto book 2 and see how things play out.

On the negative side I'd say the vocabulary used isn't too interesting or varied, you'll hear a lot of "What the heck!?" and "Woohoo" throughout. Descriptions aren't anything too imaginative or creative but it doesn't hurt for the genre it's in, you wont find yourself hearing any words you aren't familiar with so it'll be an easy listen for young listeners. Sometimes hearing the "stats" and "game messages" can get a bit irritating since as a paper format you can imagine it being a block of text easy to glance over like a character sheet, but being narrated it begins to feel repetitive.

Overall for my first LITRPG I did enjoy it, I will check out the 2nd book and it has made me more interested in the genre as a whole. If you have nostalgia for FFXI or a desire for a VR based MMO book that has some fun in and out of game elements, I would recommend this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • KC
  • 07-04-18

Weird title and picture, great story...

Don't be put off like I was initially, this is up there as one of the best I've listened to.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Xravia
  • 08-26-18

The world building isn't very believable.

The story is unbelievable , corny and predictable. There is lots of drama, forced conflicts and author intervention. The gaming system seems exploitable with stats carrying over from other characters and the economy seems beyond broken with how easy it seems to earn money as a high level gamer. The last hour saved the novel for me.

Guren Lagann does the premise better on all levels and The legendary moonlight sculptor has a better underdog arc imo.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-16-18

nice

however I don't need to hear congratulations you have gained a level 18 times in a row