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Publisher's Summary

Eric was born in a world governed by the Great System, in the family of Aren Bergman, a respected miner from Orchus. But the joy of gaining a son was overshadowed by the newborn's terrible affliction. Eric was completely nulled-level zero and no characteristics points. The only things keeping him from dying were his tiny base supplies of "life" and "energy".

The medicine woman who delivered Eric believes this to be the work of the evil spirit, Bug. Due to the peculiar laws of the Great System, Eric cannot use experience essences or characteristics tablets, so he risks having to spend his whole life confined to a bed. But his father finds a solution. He takes out a large bank loan and goes to the capital where he buys a few artifacts of the Ancients on the black market, which have no level restriction.

Despite having the artifacts, Eric is still very feeble, and everyone in town thinks him a freak. But at least he can move on his own, and that gives the Bergmans hope. But alas, it isn't for long. On Eric's 14th birthday, his father and mother die in a mining accident. The bank takes their house, and Eric is left with no choice but to work off the remaining debt in the Dungeons of the Crooked Mountains. And so begins the story of a nulled boy's struggle to survive....

©2019 Alexey Osadchuk; English translation copyright 2019 by Andrew Schmitt (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about Dungeons of the Crooked Mountains

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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

Interesting and worth a credit, but has some flaws.

This was a different approach to GameLit and I really enjoyed it. The plot takes place within a larger mystery about the underpinnings of the world. It’s not exactly clear whether the world is digital or not and it makes for a compelling story. The translation is passable... There are plenty of grammatical errors and use of incorrect words that sound like the correct ones, but unfortunately, i can’t say that the editing fails are any worse than most of the American GameLit I’ve listened to/read. I just finished a M. Chatfield, 10 Realms book that was so full of the same language issues that I wonder if he dropped out of school before he had a chance to take 7th grade English. So if you’re a fan of the genre in general, I don’t think the translation will bother you too much. Which is to say that overall I recommend that you should give this book a try. You can stop reading here if all you want to know is whether this book is worth a credit or not. But in interest of giving a thorough review, below I will talk about the issues I mentioned in the header... The flaws are three-fold: First, this is a Russian GameLit translated into English, and as such it suffers from a some typical Russian LitRPG issues... i.e., female characters are either cherished mothers, kind old ladies, or sex-objects whose descriptions are limited solely to their physical attributes. Available females’ personalities are one dimensional and the only justification for a male character to be in love with one comes down to whether and to what extent the lady in question is physically attractive. On average they are also portrayed as flighty and prone to weeping. Unfortunately, it’s been my experience that while not universal, this is the standard baseline for female characters in Russian GameLit. Second, there is another pitfall of Russian LitRPG which is the superfluous musing and meandering inner dialogue of the MC. It’s not terrible in this book, but it did happen often enough to pull me out of the story at times. I have not read much contemporary Russian literature outside of this genre. So on both this and the first point I am not sure to what extent these themes are common to wider Russian literature, but they sure do pop up constantly in the Russian GameLit genre. Again these flaws are not so bad as to make this audiobook unenjoyable, but they did force me to drop my rating somewhat. Finally, there’s the narrator; technically, he did a decent job. The characters had distinct voices and the story flowed smoothly... However, Derek Shoales seemed to think that what this story really needed was to be overdramatized wherever possible. To some extent the author is responsible for this in that the MC is a pretty high-strung and emotional guy put into very stressful situations. Unfortunately, Mr. Shoales decided not to let the words do the job on their own. What results is a pretty hammy experience with character voices that approach vaudevillian melodrama. I’ve heard worse on Audible and it didn’t ruin the book, but it did suck, and I was annoyed. This was one of those situations where it’s hard to tell how good/bad the book actually was because the performance leant an amateurish vibe to the overall experience. In the end, these flaws are closer to gripes than to deal-breakers. They don’t stop you from enjoying the book necessarily, but they do lessen the experience.

20 people found this helpful

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Too depressing

I Tried listening to this book. waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel but, this books world is so depressing. It's bad enough that hes got a case of permanent weakness but, to kill his parents and throw him in to a slavery debt with no hope of getting out. Then he gets preyed upon by the others then they talk about the whole world is preying on others. I hate it.

5 people found this helpful

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This audiobook is fantastic!

I really enjoyed this story. It has been a while since a story got its hooks into me, the writing and the narration are just spot on!

2 people found this helpful

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Awesome new series!

Alexey Osadchuk has done it again! This first book in the Dungeons of the Crooked Mountains series continues his legacy of original and entertaining stories. The protagonist starts off as nulled - with no stats and has to may his way using his ingenuity and persistence. For me, this was a welcome change from main characters who progress very rapidly to having huge powers. I'm rooting for the underdog and his slower progress. I can't wait for the next one in this series!

2 people found this helpful

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A Fresh breath for the LitRPG scene

I have been a fan of LitRPG for almost three years now. Many of them are the same old same old story. This one however is something fresh and worth a read.

2 people found this helpful

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well written story with a decent plot

this is a story about taking avantage of a broken game mechanic but well told and without a main op character

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A surprise

In LitRPG I've personally found it difficult to find the right combination of literature and narrator that I enjoy. This was a very pleasant surprise and even had a couple unexpected belly laughs. I'm a big fan of Nick Podehl: he has the amazing skills in bringing literature to life... even when the content he may be reading is sub par. I really enjoyed Derek Shoales in this work: and I'll be keeping an eye out for some of his other work.

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Unique Idea, not enough follow through on the plot lines that are set up

There’s a lot to love here from the idea to the setting, to the system design, etc. But nothing really resolves in this book. It feels like it was kind of ended on what should have been the ~3/4 mark of this singular book’s story

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Starts good ends slow

For the first 5 or 6 hours this book is fantastic with a lot of potential. Then the author falls into the litrpg trap of just gaining levels or exp with no story. For the last two to three hours of the book nothing happens. It could easily be put into one chapter and been a somewhat boring chapter. Of course the book ends on a cliffhanger that is so abrupt that you can't even call it a cliff hanger. The book just ends right in the middle of something important. Also everything in the beginning of the book that draws you in is just completely forgotten and just thrown to the next book. Spoiler ahead. Lastly, if you've played any video games you know that there is no way you would get a stun that lasts 10 seconds let alone a second one that lasts 15. They aren't even legendary abilities just one common and one epic.

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it'll do in a pinch

this was a fairly good story kept me entertained for a night just felt like it was missing a little something but all in all good story

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-21-20

Excellent

One of the most enjoyable Litrpg's I have listened to in a while. Thanks getting second book now.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-08-20

sigh

The MC's is a coward pretending not to be he would rather run then fight it's always some external reason the makes him fight like when he's lock in the stone city. Then there are the artifacts they say that they can be leveled up and gain more characteristic's but the MC does nothing to try and find out how to make them stronger which would make him stronger

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  • Xravia
  • 10-11-19

Middling Story

The story leaves quite a bit to be desired. It was swallowed by all the grinding the mc has to do. from essence to tablets to tokens. There was quite alot of currency with no interactive way to utilize it. They put quite a bit of effort into crumbz and happy but that went nowhere, the cat got leveled up but they didnt showcase the difference in a meaningful way. the way skills and stats are translated into fights is left up to author interpretation. the way the mc dosent realise his potential kinda ticks me off aswell. Alot of story threads are left unresolved leaving the final product messy and lacking focus.