• Dodge Tank

  • Crystal Shards Online Series, Book 1
  • By: Rick Scott
  • Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (2,103 ratings)

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Dodge Tank

By: Rick Scott
Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
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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

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    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.

35 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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...

30 people found this 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!!!

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Decent story, barely bearable protagonist

As the title says, the story is interesting with some nice, if obvious twists. The problem is the protagonist. Sixty percent of the time he's an incredibly whiny bitch (I'm unsure if this is a narrator problem. I feel like I've felt this way about his reading before, but can't say for certain).

In a story like this you want your underdog protagonist to be savvy, maybe even a touch cynical given the hand he's been dealt. Instead he's got the wide-eyed innocence of a child, and this naivety gets grating often.

It seems like the author is treating the reader like an idiot, which I don't appreciate. I see this often where the protagonist is made ignorant and incapable of making deductions because the author would rather take our hands and painfully explain every conclusion through the ignorant protagonist. Frankly, it's insulting and does a massive disservice to your characters.

The relationship with Gilly is also super cringe, but they're teens, so that's probably accurate... The relationship Ryan has with his brother also seems plastic, like the author had an idea of the kind of antagonistic nature it would have, but was unable to make it authentic.

The main thing I did like is the litrpg aspect. The ninja stuff is cool, even if the author constantly has Ryan forgetting his abilities...

In short, thoroughly meh to average.

9 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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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.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    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.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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**Spoiler** and don't waste your time

** spoiler alert ** This review encompasses books 1-3 of the Crystal Shards Online series.

The first book was interesting enough that I purchased the next 2 of the series before I was finished reading it.

I hate reading/listening to a book that is fun/interesting/captivating, and then the author makes inexcusable mistakes and ruins all of the enjoyment.

The Good:
The first book was not bad; the game world was interesting enough and the real-world story was also okay. These kinds of books (LitRPG) are fairly predictable, but I enjoy them on the level of "What weird and wacky ideas of future tech are we thinking about in relation to full immersion VR gaming?" So, I'm not too critical when it comes to the actual setup as far as game world and the character's in-game vs real-world story. They are usually predictable, but I'm always looking for the cool new ideas that might set them apart. Even the mediocre books I've read/listened to in this genre have been enjoyable for me… for the most part. So my criticisms of this series have little to do with that.

The Bad:
The bad here has nothing to do with the genre, it has everything to do with the author's writing ability. There are a few things that will set me off, and in this book it is one of the greatest failures an author can make. Characters have to be believable! The setting, the tech, the bending of physics and such are all expected; we are pre-disposed to enjoy the sci-fi imaginings of the author, and as such the content in the book can fudge a little in the laws of the universe, but more so we expect to be immersed in the author's view of what future tech may hold for us. Here too Rick Scott, the author, has created an interesting enough setting for his books. However, this is not enough if you want to be an author! One has to be able to create believable characters. If you are a fiction author, please take note. If you create a smart character, then make sure your character doesn't make stupid mistakes… that just kills the immersion in the story. If you create a character of a certain age, then understand how that age affects his/her decisions. There is more to this, but if you start there and continue to ask questions about how this character would think and act then you are well on to creating a story character. Ignore this and destine yourself to the archives of unreadable literature.

**Spoiler**
The failure of this story happens in the second book. Ryan, who is 17, his first and new girlfriend, Gilly, his older brother and their friends get captured by an evil player character. So the bad player, puts everyone under a spell that forces them to do whatever he tells them to do. Then tells Ryan that the girls will join his harem. So, this bad guy intends to rape his new girlfriend as well as his other friend. In what scenario would a 17 year old, ever, not kill that bad guy if he had the chance? His youth would make him impulsive, his hormones would make him angered and jealous beyond belief, and in that instance there is no scenario where the bad guy and Ryan's team could share the same world. The bad guy already set the stakes. So when Ryan has the opportunity to kill this guy, he has a crisis of conscious because he does not want to be a murderer… he completely ignores that the situation is kill or be killed, and Scott completely ignores temperament of teenage boys. Scott ignores the intense feelings of first love; Scott ignores our human nature to protect one's tribe (especially when one is the most qualified and able to do so).

There were so many ways to believably write this part of the story: have the bad guy rescued and brought back from the brink of death, after Ryan makes his best attempt at killing him. Then, long after the confrontation, Ryan could brood on whether or not his intention to kill the guy makes him an evil person… that would almost be believable, but the stopping in the heat of the moment to feel mercy for this insane bad guy… no, you can't sell that. I don't believe Gandhi would have had that control and introspection at 17.

I lost it at this point. That mindset is not human and such reflections are true fantasy (in the sense of fantasy lacks all reality). Even a truly good person would kill in these circumstances because it is the only good that can be done in such circumstances.

Was Rick Scott trying to define good or innocence as the inability to experience the extreme emotional gambit and impulsivity of teenagers? In what human DNA exists the possibility of a teenager with the means to stop an avowed rapist from carrying out his plan to rape his girlfriend and enslave his friends, yet not act on this to save everyone he cares about? I'll grant that this is a possibility, but against all probability. Evolution does not suffer idiots and we as readers don't want authors writing about such idiots as heroes. I couldn't take the book seriously after that.

Scott attempts to justify this action, but it just made his creation the least believable character ever conceived. Even sillier, the bad guy was not even a pivotal character in the plot. Everything the bad guy did later in the book could have been done by introducing another villain. The world he writes about is dangerous and the dangers and adventures which happened after Ryan's crisis of conscious could have just as well been the actions of another villainous character had Ryan done what any other teenager would have done, kill the rapist slaver to protect everything that is precious in his life.

The third book did not redeem Scott's attempt (or lack of attempt) to create believable characters, but the third book failed additionally, in that the plot made no progress. The group is no nearer their goal than they were at the start of the book. Yes, stuff happened, but it was just filler to allow for another worthless book in a series of unbelievable character development.

Once again, to authors and would be authors, when you define a character as an author, your character must act within bounds you have created. Young characters can make unwise decisions through impulsivity, jealousy, inexperience etc. and these poor choices can be integrated into a story in a very believable way. There are, however, always limitations on what actions and choices a well written character will make.

There are many other inconsistencies in the series, but continuing this criticism won't help anyone looking for a recommendation to read or not to read this series.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

SUCH A TEASE!!!!

90% of the way into this story I was ready to rate it 1 star and return it. I was able to listen to it, barely. The LITRPG aspect here was weak. I've kind of gotten addicted to LITRPG stories recently and this is near the bottom of the pack in that regard. I can't see how someone can level from zero to near ultimate in 4 days. Especially if this is a world where people live to play in for entire lifetimes. The leveling up was pretty boring as well. Also the entire world economics thing was just silly.

HOWEVER... wow, what a twist for an ending. I'm kind of pissed because I HAVE to get the next story in this series to see what happens next. Its a great twist. It feels like here is where the story could actually start.

3 people found this helpful

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  • 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 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-17-22

well

good idea but for me to much "wow she is so hot" from mc.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-21

Good listen, but issues with plot holes

Really fun listen and makes me want to buy the next book, but there were a few plot holes and some confusing unanswered questions. After reading the reviews for the next book it seems like those issues haven't been fixed, but have gotten worse so am going to stop here.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-15-21

Great idea, repetitive writing

I liked the story ideas. I've read a lot of Korean Isekai Manhwa and I feel they do it better because there is some comic relief. This book has very little levity. Also the writing is very repetitive. The characters seem to cycle through the same actions and emotions, you could turn it into a drinking game.

The ideas a good though and the story is interesting. This book sets up the series and I just couldn't bring myself to tolerate the writing to find out wht happens next.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Queen of Swords
  • 02-08-20

Meh

It was okay. Entertaining enough, but there were a lot of problems with the basic game design and economy that didn't make much sense, some I'd go so far as to call ridiculous. This doesn't seem to have been edited correctly because there are grammar problems and misuse of words. The entire premise is destroyed by a massive plot hole that appears at the end.

Most importantly however the characters don't accomplish anything. None of the goals that are set at the beginning of the story are achieved. This makes the book feel incomplete. I'll try the next book, but if it doesn't end with at least some goals accomplished, that'll be it. I didn't pay money for half a story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian Rider
  • 01-20-20

brilliant

A great serise. Well worth getting. Good characters and storyline. Nice detailing and pleanty of depth.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • scobie
  • 09-05-19

dodge tank

good plot storyline and characters made me by the second book as soon as I was finished the first one and that's where I'm off to now to listen to the second book by

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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

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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
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  • 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!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • The Keyboard
  • 03-19-21

Decent

First person POV where the biggest issue is needing to suspend disbelief. If you can get past the huge sums of money that land in the character's lap and the 'I need you to do this but I can't tell you why' storyline, it's not bad.

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  • Alexander Devitt
  • 09-03-20

Awesome

This is the first LitRPG I didn't turn down after listening to the preview. it really sold me on the genre. Most 10-15hr novels I listen to don't tie up so many loose ends like this one does, and the narration was great. I loved every minute of it.

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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
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  • Melspring
  • 01-26-20

I love this book!

I love this book not just because I’m a big video game fan 🎮🎧 it has so much drama! It’s really good I highly recommend this book peeps!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Nadav bar
  • 06-16-18

nice

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