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Freehaven Online: Dragonsbane

A LitRPG Adventure
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
4 out of 5 stars (151 ratings)
Regular price: $24.95
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Publisher's Summary

Freehaven Online is more than a game to Justine. By day, she creates monsters for the world, by night she's raiding dungeons. Most importantly, it's her one connection to her dead brother whose buffs still linger within the game. 

When his virtual shrine is threatened by an update, Justine reforges his guild to complete the Dragonsbane quest in his honor. As an experienced tank, she's no stranger to the bandit attacks, PvP combat, and dragons Freehaven will throw at her. 

Little does she know, a hacker organization known as Archangel tampers with the update, leaving thousands of players, including Justine, stranded in full immersion virtual reality. As if that weren't strange enough, NPCs are getting smarter, and some marooned players don't want to escape. They're ready to jump at the chance for virtual immortality. 

Justine must temper the fervent emotions stirring in her guild and unite them to complete the quest. If she doesn't, friends will break from sanity, and others will die in real life.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Jun Prince (P)2018 Jun Prince

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A look at grief via gaming

I think that as a funeral director I see this book in a light that few others will. I look at it as an introspection of a character going through the grieving process. Jun really looks at loss in a couple of ways, and how it affects our lives, and I really appreciated that aspect because I had never seen it done in LITRPG before. Justine’s brother died, and she sort of steals his account, and finds herself entering the game as him just to get a feel for who he was, and what he was like. The best part of it is that she has to come to conclusions on her own because no one magically shows up and tells her how great her brother was, or what a D-bag he was to other players. She has to figure these things out all on her own. The book also deals with loss in a few other ways, the players become trapped in the game (not a spoiler it’s in the description) and have to deal with the possibility of never going home again. Also, some players learn that there is a way to permanently join the game, but die in the process. This leads to some complications, and Prince does not make it easy, as grieving never is just a simple emotional process.

Another aspect that I enjoyed was the concept of two MMORPG’s merging into a totally new game. Let’s be honest, not every game can end up like World of Warcraft and exist in perpetuity. So, how could games stay alive? By merging with another game that is also losing traction. Can you imagine if City of Heroes merged with Everquest? How cool would that be? Great idea!

The story has some innovative battles, cool quests, dragons, and interesting NPCs, but it isn’t without its own issues. First, the whole trapped in the game thing kind of comes out of left field. Personally, I think it would have worked better if it had happened early in the book. As it was it was a little jarring even if you had read the book’s description. A lot of possible ramifications were overlooked, such as what if a single parent had gotten online just before the attack happened. Young kids would be left to fend for themselves, even if the parent was kept alive by the VR tech. It could be days before they were found. What if a person trapped had to have medication, and lived alone? I would have loved to have seen some other players voicing these concerns. We do have one dad who wants to get back to his kids.

The biggest issue I had, and only because I could see it being confusing was that the MC, a well as the other players, could all switch between their alts at any time. One it made it really hard for me to connect with Justine’s character side, as I enjoyed Scootie Wootums, but the dwarf got bounced as the party needs dictated. I was fully expecting a merging of her brother’s character and her own. I think a melding would have played better, so that all the alts merged into one unique class. That would have really amped the story up, if everyone was struggling to suss out what their capabilities were after the merge. As it was it was just a choice of picking your COH superhero or the Everquest Druid whenever you wanted for example. Also, I don’t really recall a lot of the other players swapping their characters all that often. I did appreciate that Justine’s squad was basically a playground group, you know you wander around the playground and ask kids if they wanted to play. This was a pack of LFG people, you know “Looking for a group!” That isn’t something that you see very often in Litrpg books either, while it should be the norm. Most times you enter a game with maybe one other person you know playing, and get to know others by shouting out Tank LFG or Rogue LFG. The story was good and well written, but I did have an issue connecting to the characters as much as I would have liked, but I loved the underlying theme that grief and loss played throughout the book.


The narration by Landon was fair. There were times that I just did not connect with her at all, she was very clear when she spoke but her non dialogue bits lacked any emotion at all. Go back and listen to the book’s audio clip. She almost says each sentence separately, and without any kind of inflection. Her dialogue isn’t bad, and she does some decent accents, but I could not connect with her reading style much at all. It was very distant and seemed cold. She’s not bad, but really needs to add some energy into the reading of non-dialogue portions of the novel. This had a major impact on me, as I found it a little harder to connect with the characters and their actions, especially during fight scenes.

So, just on the basis that I enjoyed the narration, but was not enamored of it, and a few other factors such as having a hard time identifying with the MC’s rotating character class, and the wonky delivery of the game trap I have to give this a 7.3 stars. I enjoyed it, but felt that some issues could have been better addressed and it really needed one class for me to latch onto as a reader/listener.

Final Score: 7.3 stars

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. 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!!!

As seen on the LITRPG AUDIOBOOK PODCAST, please check it out on Youtube.com

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

IT'S DRAGON-A-GEDDON!

This book rocks because it not only has solid battle sequences, and dragon pummeling action, but because it's founded on a heartfelt emotional core that many LitRPGs are lacking. In game actions have real world consequences. The idea of using the game to keep someone's memory alive was touching, and the entire cast has enough depth to them that they feel like real people.

Amy Landon owned this performance. She speaks clearly with multiple accents, and infuses every character with life.

The bottom line is that this book is filled with a bit of humor, exciting quests, well choreographed fights, and a twist at the end that'll stab you in the heart. There's no cliffhanger ending, but a lot of room for the story to expand in future novels.

The worst thing about this is that I'll have to wait a few months for book 2, and knowing that there's no where in the world I can buy a magic elemental powered motorcycle. Book three is already on Amazon, so I guess there's more to come.

8 of 9 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

Epic

World building *check*
Relatable characters *check*
Well written action *check*
A game I want to play myself *check*

This is everything I want in a GameLit/LitRPG. It's a marriage between a gaming world with stats, questing and battles with characters with enough depth that you can imagine hanging out with them.

I enjoyed the tournament.because it's a lot like WoW arena and battlegrounds. I haven't seen a lot of contest style of PvP in LitRPGs. I also love that this book has a powerful female MC. Having read/listened to the author's other novel, he does a fantastic job getting into the heads of his female characters. There's no sex or harems in this book (this is a plus for me).

When I read the eBook I was like "WTF?" with what happened with Mirae at the end, but now I see that her story continues in book 2.

The narration was great. Landon brings the characters to life.

Totally worth the credit.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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

A fine entry into LitRPG if you're a newb

This is my first foray into LitRPG, and what a nice surprise! Stepping out of my comfort zone was fun, and I believe I have found a new genre to add to my favorites list! If all LitRPG is this much fun, it may become my latest obsession. My sons, both early 20s, listened in a bit while I was enjoying this audiobook in the car, and they thought it held up well to similar books in the genre.

That said, I do think a good part of my excitement here comes from this particular novel, Dragonsbane. The held-hostage-in-a-VR-world premise, the world building, the endearing characters (especially Justine/Mel), the audio narrator, the writing in general -- it all came together into a thrilling and fun adventure. The fact that I've finished and am still insanely curious to find out what happens to the new guild and what happened to the original Toxic Muffin guild members proves this was a story well done. I do hope the originals appear in the next book.

For those of you wondering, I don't believe it would take a gamer to enjoy this novel, but it definitely requires a bit of knowledge about high fantasy role playing games to understand all the lingo. And while the narrator definitely gave a valiant effort to the multitude of voices and accents, you might need to let go of some expectations of authenticity. Maybe 1% of the narrators out there could hit all those accents out of the park, and Amy is good, but she's not *that* good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A strong start to a series

I've never read LitRPG before… mainly because I never knew it was a thing. But if the rest of the genre is anything like this book, I AM IN.

The main character, Justine, is a computer game developer and gamer. Her younger brother has passed away and she's taken to playing in his favourite VR game to feel closer to him and to try to contact his old guild members to let them know why he suddenly disappeared from their game. She's a very sympathetic and likable character, though she can be a little over sensitive at times.

This was an amazingly immersive read, exploring the new world with Justine and discovering her capabilities within it as she did. She meets a variety of new people from different walks of life and creates her own guild, which felt very personal to me.
I enjoyed this book in audio format so discovering that the book is actually 600+ pages long after I'd finished it blew my mind, I was easily listening to 3 hour chunks while doing housework and trying to drag it out as long as possible near the end so I wasn't going to have to say goodbye to the characters.
The audio format did make listening to the stat read outs a bit tedious, I probably would have skimmed those bits in a print edition but there weren’t so many that it was a problem.

I've listened to a few audiobooks by Amy Landon before and I love her first person narration and pacing, but this time I'm going to have to say that the accents she used in this book are not her strong suit.
As an audio listener, I'd rather hear a narrator use the wrong accent than one they haven't mastered - making me giggle does ruin the immersion a bit!

Thankfully all the characters start using American accents around halfway through the story so it does become less distracting.

Having just finished this audio, I now have to decide whether or not to jump straight into the next instalment in print or wait for the audio.... decisions, decisions!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great first book in the series

I really enjoyed this first book in series. The characters are well developed, had losses and problems you can relate to and you soon become attached to them. The entertaining storyline has lots of action, scenes that touch your heart and others that make you laugh. I enjoyed the mix of real world and game world; how in-game actions had an impact on the characters' real lives. You care about these characters and want them to achieve their aims and to survive. The narration suited the book well, drawing you into the world and giving the characters individual voices. I look forward to the next book in the series.

2 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

Awesome

I think this might be my new favorite LitRPG series. Solid characters. Interesting quests. Lots of action.The performance was phenomenal, and the story is proof that writers are stepping up their game. Ignore the rating bombers. This is a fantastic book. I must have book two.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

cadence-bound narrator

I think I really would enjoy the story if I were reading it, but I just can't handle the narrator. she does alright with the voices, but she gets into a particular rhythm and tonal cadence that just... it's very repetitive and grates on my nerves.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Basically SAO + Log Horizon

The second the they intro another female character I thought SAO. Then things turn mysterious it pretty much sealed the deal on that thought. When they exploration on their new situation began Log Horizon popped up. Granted not a bad thing but couldnt help and see the insane amount of similarities.

Not a bad book, still enjoyed it alot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Superb

Really awesome book cant stress that enough. Has everything i would expect from a litrpg book. Cant wait for the next one

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-16-18

A great story that never left kindergarden

Disclaimer: I'm about 2h into the book.

Interesting worldbuilding does not adjust for sub par writing unfortunately. To much "I said", "he said", "i thought" to make an interesting and engaging story. He's good at describing scenes and actions. (mostly) but conversations which makes up a good part of any book Is just jarring listening to.

I did like the narrator, she has a pleasant voice compared to other female narrators which I often find to high pitched to be pleasant, but that's taste.
She has some interesting accents and does a good job those few times the author forgets, and actually writes a fluid conversation, discerning between characters, thoughts etc. I hope she has narrated more books in my genre.

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  • Ian
  • 10-16-18

narrator lets it down

I couldn't even get past chapter 6. sorry to say the narrator is so monotone, it's like a painful droning, sorry to say. I'm not going to finish it.
im sure the book is a good though.

I'm no critic, I could not do a better of narration. it's just my opinion..