Epic

Narrated by: Samuel E. Hoke
Series: Epic Series, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
4 out of 5 stars (110 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Welcome to a society governed through computer games!

On New Earth, society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. If you win, you have the chance to fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing. When teenage Erik dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends must face the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying the Committee's tyranny. But if they lose....

©2004 Conor Kostick (P)2018 Conor Kostick

What listeners say about Epic

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A great read especially if you are a gamer.

Would you consider the audio edition of Epic to be better than the print version?

Have only listened to the Audio edition.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Cindella is out of charactor for this author..... she is a woman.

Which scene was your favorite?

When the main character realizes the government is tracking his every move.

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

Gamer Heaven

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

35 people found this helpful

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

Early LitRPG Novel, RPO for Adults

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.


Epic is an early LitRPG novel set in a dystopian future where all violence has been abolished in favor of combat in an MMORPG, Epic which has been around for decades. The economy has stagnated and most people live a subsistence lifestyle while a small collection of the few live in virtual luxury since the economies of the real world and the game world are intertwined.


This novel was originally published in 2004. Ready Player One was published in 2011. why do I mention this? If you are familiar with RPO from the book or movie then you may see some parallels. That's not to say that if you have read one then you can skip the other - they are different beasts. If you are one of the people that could have done without the litany of pop culture references crammed into every nook and cranny of RPO or want a more mature take on the theme - then you are in luck.


Epic is its own world with creatures and races derived from mythology and fantasy from various cultures. It's so sprawling and immersive that there are areas that are still unexplored and enemies that have never been vanquished. It asks big questions that don't necessarily have easy answers. and the characters have real emotional stakes. It's a more mature story while still being clean such that a YA could read it, enjoy it and mull over it a bit. If you've read many LitRPG you may expect more stats, levels or experience points or skills. The story is more Lit than RPG in that respect. The majority of the story takes place in a game but we are meant to understand the world more than the game mechanics themselves.


Samuel Hoke puts in an excellent performance. His voice is pleasant to listen to and compelling. He can be expressive when the moments require it but the reading doesn't draw attention to itself and distract from the text.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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good narration to a great story

The book was simply amazing every step of the way. No overcimplication of how the game system works, just pure awesomeness. I will totally be recommending this.

2 people found this helpful

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Original for its time

First, this book gets major kudos for its premise of video games crossing over with real life, something we've seen more recently in Ready Player One and the growing number if RPGLit books. The idea was unique at the time it was written and is interesting -- a society with no actual violence, where all disputes are handled through duels in an online RPG (such to World of Warcraft). Unfortunately, this means that the person with the strongest character wins, so every spare minute is spent grinding in game to get coins you can use to get the best weapons and armor. And unlike most RPGs, if your character dies, it dies and you have to start over with a new character.

So I love the idea, unfortunately, the story itself left me kind of flat and with WAY too many questions. While there were obstacles put in the way of the heroes, there was always a convenient savior -- I just never felt that the characters were in any real danger or that there was any question that they would succeed in their quest. Each adventure was just another in a list, kind of like playing an actual RPG. But I expect more arc, story, and character development in a book. It felt like a draft of what could have been an awesome story.

This book was published 15 years ago. I would love to see the author take another stab at it.

As for the narration, I just found the voice very soothing, which made it difficult to pay attention sometimes because I was lulled by the sound of his voice.

That being said, it's not a bad book, it's just not great. I think a younger teen who has played some RPG games would enjoy it. It just lacks the complexity and sophistication an adult reader generally wants, even in YA lit.

I was given this review copy for free at my request and I voluntarily leave this review.

1 person found this helpful

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What... Just what? Spoilers ahead!

Lets start with the narrator. I've seen other reviews praise him for having a soothing voice and I just cannot agree, as soon as the book started I was annoyed and hoped it was just the prologue which was narrated like that, but how wrong I was! The whole book through it is like someone is whispering in your ear and you have to strain to make out some of what he's saying or turn up the volume to a degree that is becomes unpleasant. The inddvidual characters are not narrated to a degree that gives them a personality that I can actively follow apart from the writing and felt sluggish, the only part i felt was engaging was the few parts from the vampire and a little stuttering here and there either by accident or effect I'm not sure. I don't feel I'm usually very picky when it comes to narrators, it can of course make a huge difference when a good one does it with extra sounds effects not predicted in a book and it... It just fits, but it never really bothered me when it was just a simple "reading' of the book rather then acting of it either. This time though, my only thought for the narrator was when the dammed book would finish so I'd be free!

As for the writing, it's like the auther found several problems throughout the book, marked them down to fix later, but never got around to it and just winged it. The whole book is riddled with contradictions of itself, the world of epic is made to deter the stress of no violence in the real world! Sure makes sense... But there's no pvp... Unless you are in the arena or enter this code when creating the character! Okaaaaayy?... Or until the final battle where pvp was not problem after all.
The executioner is unbeatable maybe a few hundred can take him down! They then take him down with basically 2 people.
The currency in epic is our whole economy! But they never explain how apart from in game equipment to challange a law.
The church abandon mission when a major evil vampire joins the boat, but when asked to Defeat said vampire later gives the whole order of paladins no questions asked...
The whole rpg element also seems to be all over the place, there is no indications of levels or the usual stats in the world, the only one we hear about is beauty and its described as useless. The main character is supposed to be special and unique, but there is no explanation to why in this case, his class is special but his stats are in beauty, why did they come in 5 in the tournaments with such a liability when everyone's lives depends on epic everyday.
What about the ending, it came so rushed. No answers to a lot of things, who was anonymous, why was there a self destruction button in game, how do they guard prisoners without violance, what their technical level, they use cook fires but got solar panels and tractors.
I could go on and on about this book, but I'm just getting mad whenever I think more about it.
Overall I liked the world of epic, there seemed like there would be a lot to explore, but the storytelling of it was a mess, even if some of the unresolved questions would be answered in another book I'd be hesitant of buying it.

1 person found this helpful

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A Million Times Better than Ready Player One

If you listen to this book you will wonder why Ready Player One got all the hype. This book explores the possibilities of an immersive Virtual Universe in an incredibly interesting way.

The story and characters are amazing, and the narration is fantastic. The voices bring all of the characters to life, and the pacing and narration style make an already great book even better.

I only wish the next two in the series were available.

1 person found this helpful

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Early LITRPG style story

Take a society where the economy is based on game play. You can see an almost virtual hunger games as well as many other stories that have definitely pulled some inspiration from here and vice a versa. The tale of the down and out community rising up against those in power and those in power betraying each other for more power is always amusing. The trim style MCP making deals with the real life Dylan style character is great. Get ready for an awesome listen with some great plot twists, story arch’s and great characters. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story, I love the idea.

The story is great. Personally i would have liked to see more depth to the game itself. More information, more time spent in the game and more focus on how it played into their society. I liked the MC, he was interesting, clever, and a little naive. The supporting characters could use a little more development, but that will come with time. The narrator I found a little irritating at times. He seemed to stutter a lot when characters spoke, like they were shy or unsure what they were going to say. Of course this could have been how the story was written, I didn't see the actual text because I didn't buy the Amazon Kindle edition until much later. In conclusion, the story was fun and interesting, however I felt it lacked some of the gaming jargon most story's of this genre have. Good read

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting Twist on the LitRPG Genre

I'm not a gamer, but I've enjoyed a few books in this genre. This one has a nice twist in how the game integrates into another world and culture. Using a game world as a method of government is a novel and interesting spin on the standard story line. The story develops both in the real world and in the game and they play off each other well. The book is well written and flows quickly along.
I found Samuel Hoke's narration worked well with the story and characters and enhanced the experience.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 person found this helpful

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the end of the world.

who would expect or hope for this as our future. I for one would be scared. but for reading about it I was riveted. if u like onling gaming and professional players and pseudo dystopian world's. I recommend

1 person found this helpful

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  • jim.a
  • 06-25-19

My first role-play book I really enjoyed

Rather than throw you into mindless fantasy that just assumes you are prepared to believe in it, Epic almost explains why a future could be lived through the fantasy roll play rather than having to face cold realities of life. Pretty complex story superbly narrated and executed throughout, I found my walks clouded with visions I have not had before. A good book and well worth the time devoted to respect it. Jim

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rob Cooke
  • 03-02-18

"A true progenitor of LitRPG. Amazing & Immersive!

This book is claimed as being one of the forerunners to the increasingly growing LitRPG genre and it is easy to see why.
This book has a wonderful premise, a society that has done away with violence and uses VR instead to deal with conflict and give an outlet for humanities savage urges.
The book deals with topics in its stride such as Sociology of a populace that uses a RPG game to determine all facets of its society. Politics whereby various opinions and anti government sentiments are presented and explored. A possible precursor to how society might use technology like VR to hold public forums and meet as a group through the use of this technology.

There are some wonderful twists at various points throughout the story that give depth and texture to the story. Some of these come out of left field and you don't see them coming, others are a little easier to see.

The narration is without a doubt on the money, the vast array of characters have their own distinct sound and this helps draws you further into the characters. Samuel Hoke has given life to these characters and in my opinion has delivered the essence of the book.

In summation this book is without a doubt a must read for anyone that enjoys the LitRPG genre or is even a casual fan of RPG games.
I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys fantasy with a little science fiction.
I will definitely be placing the two follow up books on my to read list.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Selina ryles
  • 07-03-19

Interesting read and good blend of sci fi

I find this type of book interesting any way and it reminds me of following the lines of novels such as ready player one . Although the book is aimed at young adults I thoroughly enjoyed it so I can confidently say that the book will also appeal to adults . Throughout the novel it was apparent to me that the author has a genuine love of technology and online gaming and hence has a lot of knowledge in the area . It was easy to differentiate between the real world and virtual reality world which can sometimes become a little complicated when reading a book within this genre. I love that the amount of wealth etc that a person obtains is dependent upon how well they play the actual game and although the ideas and concepts are not new the book held my attention .The narrators voice is also quite calming but none monotonous . The reading voice is full of character and this is a big plus for me . I was given this book by the author / narrator in return for an honest and unbiased review

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 03-26-18

Interesting.

A solid story with good narration.

The writing is good, well paced and with characters with plenty of personality. The in game parts are easy to understand and does not go in to too much detail about the systems in game. Letting it be more about the action, conflicts and characters.

The narration is easy to listen to and clear. Each character is enhanced with unique voices and plenty of emotion. I would happily listen to more books with this narrator.

In a world where everything is controlled by those who have the most powerful characters in a game it can be hard to get by if you have work to do instead of being able to dedicate yourself to improving your character. It is an intresting lesson about what can happen if keeping power becomes more important than using it wisely.

This was an intresting listen and I can recommend it.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andy
  • 07-11-20

Enjoyable

New to the author and the reader was unsure to begin with but the story and characters grew on me over time.
Would recommend

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  • Queen of Swords
  • 05-05-20

A Really Good Listen

Epic does what a lot of LitRPGs have failed to do - make in-game actions matter to the lives of the protagonists. There are very real stakes at every step of the way along this character's journey and I love this book for that.

One thing that is lacking in this book compared to others in the genre are explicit stats and game mechanics. While levels are in fact referenced in passing, and used to demonstrate which characters are more powerful others, it doesn't break down fight scenes into "So and so takes X damage." This doesn't bother me. In fact I think it's easier to focus on the story due to the lack of these announcements.

Overall, this is an engaging read with a strong emotional component that is sorely lacking in the genre. It is recommended for people who prefer more 'creamy' GameLit as opposed to hard crunchy numbers.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 04-27-18

All the marshmallows you can eat.

Centuries before the time sitting of this story, a game was created to while away boredom, an entertainment for the travellers to New World, an inclusive multiplayer computer game called Epic, where people could work off their aggressions and have fun. But, over time, this psychological release became all pervasive, ruling life both in and out of reality. In order to succeed in real life, players - and that is everyone - had to succeed in the virtual world, building credits even to further their education and to select the levels in society in which they will be placed. There are many losers, chosen to do the hard work of provisioning New World, and only a few winners who rule both the game itself as rich members of Central Allocatons and decide the life placements of everyone else.

Eric is a talented player but, with the Graduation Ceremony fast approaching, he is destined to fail as he keeps being killed in the game. He can no longer afford to re-equip new characters to acquire the desired monies to to fight, defend himself and so claw his way upward. So he changes his usual player character to that of a girl he names Cindella with the attributes of the long forgotten Swahbuckler, and invests all he has left in beauty. Then he sets about the task of raising his financial profile and trying to rescue his parents fallen victim to the harsh reassignment regulations and, in the process of changing the world itself.

The story concept is a good one, but, although there are flashes of excitement and some excellent descriptive passages, for this reader the book never really comes alive. The characters themselves are the main reason as they remain stoically two dimensional without ever engaging a feeling of empathy which would have increased a feeling of excitement. Changes in plot directions, and too easily won battles, compound the overall lack of involvement.

Narrator Samuel E.Hoke has a pleasant, deep timbred voice. His reading is clear and steady with a good single pace throughout which adds to the fairytale unreality of the story, further compounded by a lack of emotional imput even when the tensions are rising. His voicings of the characters other than the main protagonist are also minimal even if clearly defined. In many ways his input is excellent, matching the text itself, but it also has the effect of making the whole seem overlong and, to be perfectly honest, tedious apart from the central portion of the book.

Epic is very much a Dungeons and Dragons type story which, if rewritten now would probably be far more thrilling set in the full LitRPG world. A clever idea but not one I would recommend, even to game players unless very young and really into their gameing. My thanks, however, to the rights holder who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy of Epic, via Audiobook Boom.