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The Battle

Play to Live, Book 5
By: D. Rus
Narrated by: Michael Goldstrom
Series: Play to Live, Book 5
Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,595 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Russian cluster. The ground shakes as the enemy approaches. The angered gods frown as they look down from the sky.

Intelligence agencies are locked in a brutal fight. Hundreds of thousands of sentient beings happily slaughter each other. This is no longer a game quest nor a petty fight between clans over some land rich in resources. This is war! A war of civilizations, religions, and all the dimensions of the world.

The Earth weeps in pain. The astral beings turn away in horror. Burning castle towers collapse to the ground. Stones melt in the heat. The enemy is coming. Refugees flood the Valley. Alliance members are joining forces.

Max is not just a clan leader anymore. He is the Chief, the head of the resistance. And you have no choice but to fight; you are the hope of the children and the thousands of innocents. They have entrusted you with their lives.

©2014 D. Rus; Translator Alisa Bogodarova 2015 (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Decision time...

Any additional comments?

As my gateway LITRPG "Play to Live" was the chosen one and went full jarjarbinks... This book is just "okay". Most people say stop after book III maybe IV. I would agree; however, if you've already plowed this far I think you should power through V for the finality of the battle and then make a decision to continue on with VI or VII. Prepare for heavy Russian propaganda, cussing/sexism, and the author's thoughts on social issues.

I was wondering why this book received such low reviews on audible compared to VI and VII, but now that I have completed the series (book 8 still pending) it makes sense. The people rating VI and VII are the only ones left and they seem to actually like the new direction D. Rus is going in. Personally, If I was recommending this series I would tell people to read books I-V and then decide. VI is easily the weakest book in the series and VII was better but just ok. I feel invested at this point so I'll probably get 8 when it comes out just because I can't look away from the train wreck this series has become. D. Rus has cleary decided to move this series into some kind of cyberpunk/Russian nationalism platform with a light sprinkling of high fantasy and occasionally he remembers he should put a RPG element in the story somewhere. Sadly the series is drifting further and further away from the elements that made it one of the gold standard LITRPG series. Having completed book 7, I guess I understand why he brought all the "real world" elements into a virtual reality based book/world, but it ruined this series for me.

Hopefully, "The Way of the Shaman", "The Land", "Patch 17" and "Awaken Online" continue to deliver. I also found "The Gam3" surprisingly entertaining. If you found Max's recent angsty dialogue annoying and frustrating definitely skip "The Otherlife" series.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Awwww Man....

Any additional comments?

I freaking LOVED the first 4 books of this series, and then I just couldn't wait for more, so it actually prompted me to purchase a few other series from this specific unique genre (which ended up being quite good for the majority of them) but this was the one that set the bar, and set it HIGH... That said... This continuation of the series was awful... It was literally HARD to listen to the whole audiobook... If it were any other book/series I would NEVER have finished it, and asked for a refund!! I had to finish it to see if the old style came back, or all of the awesome story-line and gaming mechanics came back into play, mostly to just save face and allow me to consider picking up the next book in the series and chalk this particular one up to a fluke of editing and chopping up the story incorrectly to try and span the tale/story over more individual books (this being the one that got the "odd-cut" or something), but this was just bad... All of the fun quests, game-mechanics, epic-story of outside world vs. Alterworld, and even the banter and comraderie amongst the Other Gamers/Main Character/Faction Acolytes/etc, it is just bad... Uninteresting, and lack of cohesiveness is the only way that I can describe it... It just doesn't fit with the way the story has been created thus far up to this installment... WHAT HAPPENED??? It makes me sad, and I really don't know if I want to even give any of the remaining titles in the series a shot, because it would take some SERIOUS "Writing Firepower" to come back from what "The Battle" was, in my honest opinion - as a gamer of RPGs, MMORPGs, and almost anything halfway decent in the sci-fi/Fantasy realm of writing... This should have been just as awesome as all of the series thus far - I mean coming into it, this is what I was thinking... I imagine there will be MANY others as well... Good luck D. Rus... The last 4 were outstanding, and I hope you find a way to bring your readers back to that type of emersion and enjoyment again soon... I REALLY do!!!

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Love the Series, but Disappointed

Would you try another book from D. Rus and/or Michael Goldstrom?

I like Michael Goldstrom more than D. Rus at this point.

Would you be willing to try another book from D. Rus? Why or why not?

Yes, because there are some key components you cannot get anywhere else. The game mechanics for the VR world are what keep me listening.

What does Michael Goldstrom bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His sarcasm is spot on.

Do you think The Battle needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I will listen to the next book, but my hype is gone. Part of me is dreading it.

Any additional comments?

Honestly, the sexist and racist moments are getting harder and harder to swallow. In previous books you could chose to ignore them as they blipped by. It is incredibly tiresome in this book and pulls me out of the story. I've come to dislike the author on a moral level.

Also, the pacing is rushed and haphazard in this book. It's harder to follow than the previous ones. I have a bad feeling that this will be how the series is from now on and that saddens me.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Good writing just

This is good writing the story is very different and it is hard to track. If your a fan of big raids and such then this for you

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Misogyny from 1-100

Wow. All I can assume is something happened in the authors life at the time he was writing this book, because the misogyny from Max jumped off the charts out of nowhere.

It was negligible in the earlier novels, just a questionable line here and there, but Max at least had affection or sympathy for females he encountered.

But now?

There is just a pervading sense of disgust ringing throughout in this one.

It made it very hard to finish.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very disappointing, sadly....

Any additional comments?

I've lost my respect for the main character, or maybe just the author. The first four books were great, but you'd think that the threads holding our world together with this world would dispel the heavy nationalism in this book. There would be a decline of nationalities and why segregate when it's a fantasy world and the computer auto-translates? Given that the character idolizes Stalin who was a villainous turd in WW2. Though I forget if it was this book or the last in which he returns slaves to the Chinese because they are not Russian. Which makes me feel he is xenophobic or something to that regard. Of course, all the chest pounding, we are Russian we are in the right began to loose me. Perhaps maybe the translators should have translated this book should have left that nationalism junk out. Other translated books I've read don't even go to the extreme of how this book does and they are more enjoyable.

If this D.Rus was an American author I'm sure he'd be have his main protagonist riding a bald eagle while waving an american flag while screaming,"I am american and I'm in the right! bow down the greatness that is my nationalism." Where is the escapism in this? As other books like perimeter defense for example, the main character is forgetting about their real life self and becoming a part of their new environment.

The sexism that others are talking about, I really didn't notice it too much. As there are some strong female leads in this series. Just the chest pounding nationalism just came at me in too heavy a dose for me in this book.

I'm going to call it quits with his series and just remember the first four since those were the really good listens.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Not Strongest in the Series

I am still enjoying the overall story of this series. However, this book didn't seem as satisfying as the others. It kind of felt more like a placeholder or a sort of intermission, without the big payoff. we also see some of the prominent characters sort of fade into the background without the development in previous books. If you are already invested in the series, it is still a good listen for the continuation of the story. If you are a newcomer, this will not likely offer much to get you hooked. Michael Goldstrom continues solid narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another phenomenal book in the series!

I can't say enough about this series I absolutely love it! I read a few reviews that said they weren't happy with this book or the next one and maybe should have stopped but I totally disagree I think that this book is nothing more than a continuation of the story and it flows seamlessly. I'm very much looking forward to the next one and a very happy to write this review about the book. If you listened to the other books you should definitely continue on they're just as good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not bad

good story, the narrater was well done. it could have been better but still well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Didn't want to believe it.

I read most of the good/bad reviews and was a little hesitant to get this. After how much I loved the first four, I decided to give it a fair shot and see how it went.

I'm not sure if it was the translation, or the editing, or the switch-ups of priorities and focus in the story, but this installment just lost me.

By the last few hours I was just trying to get it over with. I commend Rus on his series up until this point, but it's strayed too far from it's premise/formula. The focus on Raid battles, the main character diving headfirst into egomania, the lack of scene transitions leaving you wondering what is going on, the trivialization of the RPG mechanics and world, the inclusion of bombs/technology and turning it into a strange war novel, it was all too much for me.

If you loved the first four, by all means give it a go. Half the readers were impressed with it, so you may fall in that half. I sadly did not.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Teitur Ásgeirsson
  • Teitur Ásgeirsson
  • 01-26-19

I really enjoyed the audio book.

I really enjoyed the audio book. A new spin on magic and the way the system works.. I highly recommended the book. I hope the author is a fast writer...

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Profile Image for Jeff Northam
  • Jeff Northam
  • 09-17-17

love D. Rus

I really like D. Rus's work though this book seemed to jump around a little to much.
It kinda felt like the editor said remove 300 pages for timing purposes and what might have been great plot twists and epic scenes got downgraded to footnotes.

Still, good book and I will likely finish the serise.