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Equalize: A Post-Apocalyptic LitRPG

Ether Collapse, Book 1
Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Series: Ether Collapse, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (254 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Gaia has awakened, and the world will never be the same again

Rockland Barkclay has had a rough year. On top of everything else, his father has just passed, and Rocky has to go it alone on their annual trip. But his plans for drinking alone in Algonquin Park are rudely interrupted by a sea of cosmic energy that governs the universe. Ether, the driving force of creation, has returned. Now a confused Rocky must navigate odd hovering messages to survive.

With the awakening of the very planet they reside on, humans are in a desperate fight to survive in an evolving world. If only Gaia hadn’t woken up so very...very...unhinged.

©2019 Mountaindale Press (P)2019 Mountaindale Press

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    4 out of 5 stars
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There's a lot to say about this book.

First. There is a lot to like about this book, it is fun and generally entertaining. The characters are mostly likeable if a bit cookie cutter, the overarching premise is a bit different with the magical apocalypse happening because Gaia wakes up and is pissed.

This book seems to be a bit influenced by Palladium Rifts but mostly in a good way, interdimensional markets, planetary intelligence, the magic apocalypse simultaneously brings access to hypertech and superpowers while also knocking out infrastructure and transportation making a journey of a couple dozen miles take several days of adventure.

This series could become a real gem.


There is also a lot to dislike about this book. I'm going to preface this by saying I know some of this is going to sound nitpicky if you haven't read the book, but it's honestly not as frivolous as it sounds.

First and foremost nobody fake swears like that at all. The first couple times you hear him make a bizarre substitution swear it's mildly amusing, but it's constant and quickly becomes an annoyance and really drags me put of paying attention to the narrative. It would be far better if the MC just didn't swear at all, than to have him use a constant stream of Mickey Mouse Club exclamations.

Second the stat pages and notifications are way over the top, there are places where stat screens are showing up every ten minutes, and the notifications are verbose and repetitive, if the stealth skill levels up 10 times between the last time he checked and now he will read 10 instances of "the stealth skill has leveled up, the stealth skill is now level X" this is unnecessarily wordy and adds nothing to the narrative.

Additionally there are a couple of handwaved inconsistencies I don't want to provide spoilers so, no details on this one. But they aren't bad enough to ruin the enjoyment just somethings I noticed that don't make a whole lot of sense with rhe rules as given.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Earth after Ether

Rocky is out for a camping trip when suddenly, he falls to the ground unconscious. Little does he know, that the entire Earth just did the exact same thing. Mother Earth, or Gia, just woke up and found that humans have been pillaging the world. She starts making contingency plans and returns Earth to the way that she remembers it to be. It turns out that the world used to have classes, levels, and monsters. Not only that, it used to be a part of a much larger universe.

Waking up from the event, he quickly finds out how different the world is now. His main goal is to find his family and keep them safe. He gathers his camping gear and starts heading towards his car. Things don't go quite as he plans.

I have not enjoyed a LitRPG like this one in quite a while. It has some great concepts and turned them into plot devices that the entire book revolves around. I'm not going to go into too much detail, but Gia does not like littering and has a plan to clean up.

Another thing that I truly appreciated is the creative cursing that the main character does. What the Tartar Sauce? Rocky has quickly become one of my favorite LitRPG characters! I am very excited for the sequel to this great book.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Best lit rpg I’ve listened to in a while

It’s a good story but I do wish there were more dungeon crawling and loot

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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It will blow you away.

I wish I was better with worda to describe how much I loved this book. the theory and details of fantasy and sci-fi all slammed into what i would think is a masterpiece future series.

Luke daniels did an amazing job making laugh and really appreciate how he brought these characters to life.

im so excited to see where this world/base/terrain building world will lead us too. what new abilities the characters all gain and the harsh lives they will lead. 12/10 good job.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Good w/ issues

Enjoying the book so far. The system building is interesting and has a "system apocalypse" to it. That being said it is not without issues. One of the biggest issues is that the author is so adverse to swearing that his MC makes up words and phrases to take the place of the omitted "curse" words. The first time this happens it's jarring, by the hundredth time you hear it, it's just annoying,

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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great story

this story was great except for the main character making rookie mistakes that anyone who's played D&D shouldn't make that was frustrating but otherwise it's been a great start to a series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The overall story made this a good read.

My opinion is that this book is a good book to maybe introduce casuals to Lit RPG,but weird because it’s character is 31, and the author chose to remove every swear word and replace it with childlike phrases. I cannot tell you how much I hated hearing “Fudge Nuggets” repeatedly throughout the novel. Ignoring this flaw the story does a good job at combining mythical and sci-fi into a functional universe. The skills are interesting and could maybe use a better explanation as I’m still confused by levels and ranks of skills. But overall the character’s were enjoyable the story had many good turns and many good laughs. Will read the next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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ottawa's burning and there's only one man to save

this is an amazing book it shows an amazing start to a great series and is very accurate in places too bad Merrillville High School is now a Walmart due to asbestos other than that everything's still standing can't wait for the next one to come out to sea what the next adventure is and where he'll be going

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Gaia is real you’ll real upset with what we’ve done to her.

Yes the way the story starts is close to Life in the North but that’s all. Really not to give it a chance because of that is messed up. How many LITRPGs are about someone getting trapped in a MMORPG. This is a great story and I like the MC more.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Creative cursing....new trend?

I absolutely love the way the writer keeps the profanity creative not just the normal f bombs and move on. Looking forward to the next installments, especially with Luke Daniels behind mic!

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  • Danielle Allan
  • 07-10-19

It's good so far

I'm sorry, when I first opened it did a literal double take this is not Nick podehl but they have very similar voices.

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  • Simon
  • 07-02-19

Is good, want more

Very similar story line to System apocalypse, our hero is camping in a national Park when the system kicks in and it turns out to be a high level area, he gains control of a territory and saves a bunch of hapless non gamer types, but... it's better! Good job, next please.

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  • Xravia
  • 07-11-19

An okay litrpg.

Although a bit generic and lacking in magic realism, while falling into some obvious tropes like fortuitous encounters, missing family which exits purely for plot. killing excess characters not because of consequences but due to a formulaic plot.

sadly there isnt much I like about the book as it stands. The main bad guy was terrible aswell as the last battle. The second they brought out the plasma grenades, they pretty much screwed up the power creep.

I found the oil = planet essence thing a bit contrived aswell. as its possible to make ethanol based petrol. an even if that dosent contain planet essence. if someone was on an oilrig they would be an intant billionaire.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful