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Publisher's Summary

For eons, conquering dungeons has been the most efficient way to become a strong adventurer. Although not everything is as straightforward as it seems. Several questions have always plagued the minds of those who enter these mythical places of power: why are there so many monsters? Where do the amazing weaponry and heavy gold coins come from? Why does the very air fill with life-giving energies?

Cal has all of the answers to these age-old questions, for a very simple reason. He is a Dungeon Heart, a soul forced against his will into a magical stone. After several lonely years, Cal was able to regain sentience, allowing him to form new memories while slowly growing a dungeon around himself. With help from a friend, Cal learned how to create monsters and traps, increasing his power and size quickly.

When a threat to his existence rears its head, Cal decides that he will do anything to stay alive and become stronger. Unfortunately for treasure-seekers, the fastest way for Cal to achieve his goal...is to eat anyone that enters his depths.

©2016 Dakota Krout (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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

A Gem in the RPG/Fantasy Genre

I stumbled upon this book while sifting through the Audible store. It sounded like a fun twist on the RPG World style fiction that I have recently been drawn to. What I did not expect is how quickly I would get drawn into the world that Dakota was spinning. This story takes you through the nostalgia filled settings of many a great RPG/Fantasy World from a perspective that I never even thought to envision; through the eyes of a young and only recently sentient Dungeon Core. You the dungeon through discovery after discovery as it comes into it's own developing itself into a great dungeon worthy of the best adventurers. Dakota weaves the mechanics of the symbiotic relationship between Dungeon, Adventurer, and Society as all grow and evolve around each other.

With the Audiobook, Vikas Adam excellently portrays the childish wonder behind the young and growing sentience that is the Dungeon Core. I feel Vikas portrayed the personalities of Dakota's characters so well that, even though I am dying to move on to book two, I feel I must wait for the next Audiobook to be released so that I can experience the book in all the excellence that is created via the pairing of Dakota and Vika's work.

I highly recommend checking this book out and I will be sharing it with all my friends.

129 of 140 people found this review helpful

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

The Dungeon is Alive!!

I had heard this story compared to Ready Player One, but where that was a futurist game going back to earlier well known games, this one was more like going back to beginning game programming. Back when you programmed in DOS. I remember writing little programs where first you learned to put a pixel character on screen, then learned how to move the character around, then learned to make the character interact with other things you programmed. This book reminded me of that. First Cal learned to create things, then learned to move them around, then each time he would see how his little monsters interacted, he would go back and re-do them to make them better.

I think this would be teen - young adult range, but as a (sometimes) adult I still enjoyed the story and would go onto the second in this series, just to find out all the changes the dungeon would come up.

Since I listened to this as an audiobook, the narrator, Vikas Adam, did a good job on all the characters. The Dungeon Heart (Cal) and his little willow-o-wisp (Danny) were portrayed in young pre-teen voices and like most pre-teens they seemed to get into little arguments over nothings. Vikas did a good job portraying their teen angst.

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Dungeon Dive Gone Wrong

Dungeon Born is a book I wanted badly to like. It promised an unconventional story told from the perspective of a dungeon - how cool - and had it followed through on this premise, I would have hung on every word.

Unfortunately, it let me down on multiple levels (pun intended). The first four chapters were an absolute slog, a "tutorial" of sorts that instruct the reader on the rules of dungeon building. I understand that this is probably a calculated risk that the author takes, but it still could have answered the who, what, where of the story, instead of just the how. What it does do is clue the reader into the fact that Dungeon Born takes place in a game world, where visions, hopes and dreams matter less than rank, loot and gold. Cal, the dungeon-main character, is thinly painted, and I still don't understand his motivations or his backstory (although I guess it has to do with the necromancer in the epilogue).

Despite the book's rocky start, I was looking forward to following Cal and his sidekick Dani as the focus of the book. The introduction of Dale spoils that. Dale and his friends are the first to enter the dungeon, and we have Dale murder his obnoxious jerk of a party member before he exits, leaving him as the sole survivor and beneficiary of the knowledge of the dungeon.

Dale then goes on to buy the land the dungeon sits on, and wheel and deal his way to greater fortunes and rank. He had all the makings of a good antagonist, a villain that Cal will eventually swallow up, except that he isn't. We come to learn that he, too, is a protagonist, which is odd considering the initial premise of the book (a fantasy tale told from the perspective of a dungeon).

Having Dale as the de facto protagonist wouldn't be so bad if the world he inhabited weren't completely borrowed from World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings. It has both dark elves and high elves. It uses the concept of video game guilds, which is different than what a guild would usually mean in a true fantasy world. It has barbarians modeled after Conan, even though they seem out of place. Dungeon Born promises an unconventional story, and then baits and switches it with the most conventional story of all. It's as if we were sitting down to read Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead, only to be fooled into reading about Romeo and Juliet instead.

I'm glad there are people that like this book, even if I am not one of them. There were certainly moments I enjoyed (for example, having people automatically removed from the mountain by simply saying that weren't welcome made for a good visual). The battles were well-written and easy-to-follow. The final boss and ending seemed inspired. But having Cal and Dani take a backseat to a guy I personally had a hard time rooting for - a murderer whose greatest instincts are those of a businessman - ultimately killed the story for me.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lore
  • SAN JOSE, CA, United States
  • 11-01-17

A fun concept poorly executed

To anyone who enjoys fantasy RPG games, including old school paper Dungeons & Dragons, the premise of this book is an interesting one. Why are there so many dungeons around just sitting there waiting for a party of adventures to come and plunder them? How did they get there and where did the monsters come from? What do those monsters in each room do all day long when the dungeon is not being raided? How can a rat drop a helmet twice its size as loot after it is killed? Well this book attempts to explain all of that and while a tongue in cheek book about the illogic of fantasy RPG video games may sound like fun, let me tell you why you might want to avoid this one.

This review serves as a word of warning to anyone interested in this book that you should put some extra effort into your screening process before deciding to pick it up. The book itself is fun at times but the majority is mediocre at best and sometimes it is just downright poorly written. This makes me question the many 5 stars ratings of this book on Amazon and Audible. Even very popular, best selling works by talented authors don't garner such ratings. My advice to you is that you should go out of your way to look at some of the lower rated comments on Amazon as well as the good ones to allow yourself to form a balanced opinion. Don't forget that people who return the book on Audible don't get to post a review.

The over-emoted narration of the audiobook is often beyond annoying with the first few hours of dialogue between the dungeon and the wisp being quite painful. I certainly encourage you to listen to the sample here on Audible to decide for yourself if the narration is ok for you or not. Note that they carefully avoided the really bad over-emoting in the audio sample but you can still experience a few hints of it. Vikas Adam clearly has talent but any time there is dialogue between the dungeon and the wisp his reading makes me cringe.

I quickly decided during the very annoying first few hours of the book to return it to Audible to get my money back, which made me wonder why the other reviews did not warn me off. So I decided to finish listening, just in case there was indeed a 5 star listen hiding behind a slow start, but sadly, there is not. At least by not returning it I can post this review to offer a different opinion, but I suspect it will get buried by unhelpful votes from those behind the skewed ratings.

112 of 135 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

I dont think Ive finished an audiobook faster.

What did you love best about Dungeon Born?

The nature of Cal and the dungeon. It was endearing and to be honest reminded me of myself when I was a child. The insatiable pursuit for knowledge and understanding. It helped that Cal was generally hilarious. He wanted to learn, to grow, but help while he did it. It was heart-warming in an odd way.

What did you like best about this story?

Two things: The unique point of view from Cal and his story -It wasn't as cut and dry as I expected. It was unique and I genuinely was surprised by some of the directions the book took. Plus I've always really wanted to know what a dungeon core was thinking. Pretty great insight on one, if you ask meCharacters felt real. They melded well and all had a really believable feeling to them. Their speech was something I could hear being a real interaction. For the most part, it wasn't stunted or robotic, it sounded organic. There were some cheesy characters, but they never took away from the story. They didn't take away from the other characters conversing.

Which character – as performed by Vikas Adam – was your favorite?

That's a hard choice. If I HAD to pick I dont think I could between three of them. Hanz, Dani, and Cal were all very solid. Cal was realistic in an odd way, even though it was hard to put myself in his place, it was explained and performed well enough that there were times I would lose myself to what I was seeing and hearing. And it felt nice! And the earlier days reminded me of myself as a child. Always wanting to learn and help. Then later reward those that able to think things out and act accordingly. Dani was probably the best in terms of dialogue to me. Her shifts in mood and bossy nature are familiar and made me grin. I know someone a lot like her, so she was instantly a character that I felt I knew and liked a lot. Her quips almost always were able to illicit a reaction, be it a grin or an eyeroll. Plus her voice was spot on. The second I heard it, there was no doubt that there could be another voice for her. Vikas nailed it. Hanz was just.. Hanz! A somewhat highbrow trickster, funny and deadly! Wasnt afraid to get his hands dirty though. He's hard to explain and complex - though I feel that is through lack of information at the moment. The guy is a good guy and always good for a smile or laugh.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I cant say without spoiling. There a part near the end though, I was almost in tears and cheering for a group. I really wanted to see them succeed.

Any additional comments?

Its not a terribly long book. Which is the biggest down side! I wanted to hear more and I am so tempted to buy the next one rather than wait for the audio. Vikas's performance really takes it to the next level and I cant ruin that. Overall, this is probably one of my favorite books and listens of the past 2 or so years. I cant wait for the next one to come out.

TL;DR - The book is great. Story is exciting, Vikas has hiccups in the beginning it feels, but quickly smoothes out to being the perfect fit, characters all feel like real people. If you love fantasy. Buy it. If you ever were a game nerd and always wondered what a dungeon core was like, how things happened in the dungeon when you weren't there, buy it. Its not too long and well worth the listen.

27 of 33 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wow Amazing, Something New & refreshing!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

This should be made into a film asap! Can't wait for the Next book! What a great story and the performance was amazing.

Any additional comments?

Give me more ...!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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absolutely amazing book

It's up there with the iron druid and king killer chronicles books on my list. In my top ten, such a different take it's great. also can't beat the narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great!

An excellent book form a point of view that no one ever seems to think about. Very funny and suspenseful with great characters throughout the book.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

amazing read.

at first i didn't think i would like this book. i was quickly into it and relized far too soon it was over....book 2 please and soon. it is out on ebook if u have to read..but i thought the audio telling was top notch. still waiting on release date and more info on book 2.....come on...dont make us wait......book 2.....soon.......really.......2nd book.....

28 of 36 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

interesting idea with terrible execution.

over all this book leaves me feeling disappointed. It has such a compelling concept and idea that I couldn't help but get excited about it but it's terrible execution left me wanting. The author has a childishly immature way of narrating the story that made me cringe at its awkwardness. the characters were flat and two-dimensional, their interactions were cringe-worthy and lackluster. the voice actor acted the crap out of it but the poor material just made it feel awkward.

21 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan Wright
  • 05-05-17

loved it

great book. alittle daft but lots of fun. well worth a read. give it a go.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 03-31-17

Fantastic Book

Any additional comments?

Whilst, for my personal taste some of the voices felt off, I loved every moment of this book, and am eagerly awaiting book 2. Throughout the experience of listening to the novel, not once did I feel bored or had to force myself to continue; each and every chapter added to the book in an interesting way.I really did love listening to this. (Apart from some minor voice issues)

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Artemis
  • 04-04-18

Great Concept, Novice Writer

The best part of this book is the concept of an entire Dungeon being a kind of Mimic and forming a symbiosis with Dungeoneers for food while giving them loot.

The worst is that the author isnt that great at writing stories. Its not bad and has its moments which were quite amusing but he needs to learn more, refine his ability. Same goes for the voice actor used too.

Im giving no2 a shot as I did enjoy the ride.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • j o Huntington
  • 03-02-18

Brilliant idea let down by sloppy writing

I really wanted to enjoy this book. The idea is original and exciting with so much scope for bringing a wonderful genre to life in a fresh way, however the writing just isn't strong enough to carry the premise to its full potential. There are some truly awful moments with plagiarised jokes "don't call me Shirley" (Airplane) and really lazy moments, "it was dark, until it wasn't" (not exact quote) but there are several of these moments.
Vikas Adam is clearly a talented voice artist however here it is very much a case of trying to hard. Some voices are overdone to the point of being unbareably annoying and as a result any possibility for character nuances are entirely lost.
I would only recommend Dungeon Born to die hard fans of the fantasy genre or D&D games; give it a go and see if you are happy to overlook it's many shortcomings and make it to the second book, sadly not for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mark ralph
  • 10-04-18

really enjoyed it

this is an nteresting take on the fantasy/litrpg genre. can't wait for the next one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • neil rackstraw
  • 08-22-18

awesome

really enjoyed it! defo worth a listen guys... off to buy the second book now :)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lachlan Kendall
  • 07-14-18

Great Fun, Fantastic Narration! Highly Recommend!

Dungeon Born is a LitRPG told from the perspective of the dungeon, Cal, and narrated by Vikas Adam. At this point, I was already sold and didn’t bother looking at anything else before I’d bought the audiobook expecting it to be nothing short of amazing. It did not disappoint. It was another one of those audiobooks where I did everything I could to find more excuses to listen to it. I enjoyed it so much that books 2 and 3 are next up on my to-listen list.

Dungeon Born actually features two different POV characters. Cal, the dungeon itself, ever growing and evolving with times, and Dave, the owner of the land where the dungeon sits and a new adventurer gaining experience through dungeon crawls. As with most LitRPGs, Dungeon Born was information-heavy at the beginning as the characters learn about themselves, how to level up, and how the world works.

Cal was quite the amusing POV. As the heart of the dungeon, he is the one who makes the monsters and traps and his goal is to stay alive and become stronger. Much like how video game characters level, Cal gains power by defeating his enemies — in this case, anyone who enters his depths. With his partner, a “wisp”, they work together in a symbiotic relationship where Cal runs the dungeon and feeds Dani. Cal’s chapters are all told in the first person and give a really cool view of everything happening in his dungeon.

The other main character, Dave, is one of the adventurers who is constantly clearing out the dungeon. He only recently started his journey as an adventurer and is grinding the dungeon for loot and experience, while also managing the surrounding mountains which he owns. He is the typical farm boy with no world experience and is thrust into a very difficult world when he notifies the Adventurer’s Guild and turns his land into its own town as people flock to the dungeon location.

The story is mostly focused on character development and how both Cal and Dave grow. There are underpinnings of a large overarching plot which I believe is spread out over the whole series.

As per usual, Vikas Adam does an absolutely amazing narration for the book with unique and distinctive character voices. Overall this was a really fun book which I loved and would highly recommend it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 06-19-18

amazing series, incredible progression

firstly the voice acting is outstanding, be it a flemmy necromancer, a high elf, or a glutinous dungeon, Vikas Adam performs all of them wonderfully.

the system of magic in this series is lovely and continues to grow throughout the books, your continuously growing more interesting and inventive.

wonderful references fill the gaps in action, and character progression is the core of this book done perfectly by Dakota Krout.

also check out his other book The Ritualist. :)

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Bald guy who knows stuff.
  • 06-19-18

Narrator is terrible but concept is good 👍

Love the idea behind this story as it's unique but it was painful to listen to. I think it was a mix of the writing style mixed with the narrator's voice. Very little range to his voice so, most characters sounded the same or didn't suit the description of a character. At times, it seemed very childish and I felt like I was listening to a children's story.

Even with these cons - I'll listen to the next book in the series and hopefully it'll be a little better.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-08-18

Dungeons and dragons in story from

very enjoyable book. unique idea with very likeable characters. It really is like a Dungeons & Dragons game or a RPG video game which I found very interesting. The only negative I can say is it drags a little in the middle but apart from that very pleasant experience I look forward to reading the rest of the series

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 10-02-18

Best series ever

A friend recommended I get audible and listen to this series and I have only just started and love it already.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • e
  • 03-24-18

mix of leveling, drama, and power research.

tis a story from 2 overlapping perspectives. the leveling is a manhua cultivation style adaption for western audiences. the drama is mild but well times and moderated for the most emotional investment. the power research is a picturesque loretastic overview of easily conceivable powers made ponderous for the reader.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-10-18

Truly a perfect LitRPG.

very interesting point of view. loved it alot, time to buy the next two books!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • connor
  • 11-30-17

Generic

Every dungeon book I have read had some feature which drew me in . this book is just a generic dungeon story there are several books in the audible library that are more interesting in the dungeon genre this book takes all the standards of the dungeon genre and tries to put a little twist on them but just come out more bland characters are interesting but that's about the best 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
  • Mark Vyner-Smith
  • 11-18-17

Great voice acting

This is a really nice take on the dungeon idea, well thought out. The voice actor really sells the characters and makes the playfulness of the script come to life. I've listened to many audio books and read many books, this is the first l've wanted to recommend. Immediately getting the next two in the series!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lee Redwood. Gorin
  • 05-18-17

now I know

been reading random litrpg stories . n ok w I know what one they were ripping off or thinking they could do a better job. Hope there is more of this made.
doise a good job of showing a town grow. And epic quest of one location.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 05-05-17

review

A little different then i expected and sometimes feels like a rpg manual but fun

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 10-01-17

Get popcorn and cozy, your in for a ride

I was sent this book by a friend with 0 information, I downloaded and started within an hour.

I have just finished in 22hours (yes I need sleep) and when I'm done with this review will probably hit play again.

This was so enjoyable, the narration is brilliant and the voices chosen for each character are held between each change in local. The characters are likeable and all have a little quirk that makes then fun. Finally the story is enthralling more than anything seriously who thinks of writing the story of a sentient dungeon, as I said I had no idea what I was getting into, just hit play and was fairly confused for the first 15m then ... again as stated I can't put the damn thing down.

Enjoy all and hope that they bring out the rest as audiobooks.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful