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The Curse of Hurlig Ridge: 1st Dive

World Tree Online, Book 1
Narrated by: Anneliese Rennie
Series: World Tree Online Series, Book 1
Length: 21 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the future, androids have taken over most jobs, leaving humans with little to do and even less to motivate them. Enter the World Tree Online, a fully immersive virtual reality experience. 

Join Byron in his first 30 days of a non-stop fantasy adventure in the cursed province of Hurlig Ridge, a land filled with monsters, mysteries, murderers, and treasure. The people of the province have been tormented for centuries by a pack of voracious wolves. Now, with the arrival of the adventurers, dark forces have begun to stir, accelerating their dark plans. Can Byron unravel the mystery of this curse before it’s too late?

Adventure and excitement await anyone brave enough to join the World Tree. Will you be one of them?

©2018 MA Carlson (P)2018 Spectrum Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Above average gamelit

Narration was great, lots of world building. Looking forward to the next installment.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a lot of fun and entertaining.

a literal lit rpg. It follows a characters adventure in a fully immersed rpg world. it doesn't follow typical trapped in a game trope. It was a nice change of pace from many of the other books floating around.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • United States
  • 05-31-19

Very fun, relaxed, character-focused LitRPG

Very enjoyable book! While I didn't voraciously devour it in a few sittings like some other books make me, I did enjoy just about every component of this book. And maybe it'll stick with me longer as a result of me listening to it over a 10-day period rather than two. While perspective doesn't shift, it's very much a group-focused and character-focused book. Despite the length, there's minimal growth from the characters, but to be honest I came out seeing this book as the prologue or introduction to a game. We meet the key players, learn the basics of their abilities, personalities, and interface with the world, and then at the end we are released out into the broader game. While this might sound like a lot of book for an intro, it worked well to me and left me looking forward to the next book.

Each of the characters is distinct, the main character is a bit of a Gary Stu but they didn't go completely over-the-top with him. Some interactions are predictable for the genre, but there was still a lot of fun in how the characters bantered and helped each other out. The world expands around the characters, and we get hints about the outside world (likely to be explored more in book 2), and both left me wanting to know more.

The stand-out downside to me was the MASSIVE FLOW OF STATUS UPDATES. Wow. I've never seen or heard anything like the number of system messages in the first quarter of this book. It gets self-mocked but it still drove me cuckoo even skipping through most it. It felt like padding, and totally unnecessary for such a lengthy novel. I didn't penalize because a) skippable, b) tapers off as the book continues, c) should be gone/minimized in future books. Other than that, while I mostly enjoyed the narration it didn't quite hit the level of other work I've heard by Anneliese Rennie. Still above average for the industry, but I wasn't in love, and most of the accents didn't work for me.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Great LitRPG

This is an epic LitRPG. The length of the story with discovery at the center sets this novel apart. Anyone looking for more from a book in this genre would be best served by this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Very Enjoyable

This was a very good start to the series. I have read many LitRPG books and some don't hold my interest. I actually cared about the not only the "real life" characters but also the NPCs. There doesn't seem to be anything new in terms of leveling, spells, abilities etc but I did enjoy the feelings and emotions the characters had in regards to killing within the World Tree.

The narration was great. I could easily tell people apart.

There were some hiccups on the tech side. Some sentences/paragraphs repeated and once around the middle it jumped ahead a bit.

Looking forward to the next installment!

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Good Character/World Development

Where M. A. Carlson excels in this first installment is with developing the main characters and how the world works around them. We have plenty of opportunities to get to know and become invested in main characters. We also get to learn about unique ways the game world handles quests, magic, skills, etc. If you like diving into these details, there's much here to satisfy you and you should grab Curse of Hurlig Ridge right away.

However, if you are seeking a fast-paced thrill ride, you may feel held back with book 1 for this series. This is more about learning and development than a hack and slash adventure.

Narration by Anneliese Rennie is generally solid, but a bit slowly tempoed for my tastes. This is particularly noticeable when simulating a computer for level/skill stats, etc. For the very first time, I kicked up the Audible play speed some. This adjustment made it more of a comfortable listen for me.

I received a review copy of this book for free, in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Great Story!

Okay, so this is the first LitRPG-type book I've read. I'm also not much of a gamer (grew up in the 80s with NES, played a little Halo) but I do make it a point to play every Zelda game! I was really interested by the story description though, so I decided to give it a shot. It did not disappoint.

In the beginning I was a little annoyed by the "wall of text" but so was the main character, ByeBye, so I decided to stick it out figuring if he was annoyed then surely the author would take care of that, and he did. I read other reviews saying the narrator's computer voice was annoying, but I didn't think so. I mean, she IS trying to convey text across the screen, which has no personality, so. As for the story, I loved ByeBye's unique class and how he interacted with the characters in game. I really liked the ogre couple. When the sisters were introduced I thought it might get cheesy, but it didn't. I also really liked how, as later quests were completed, you could see how this whole elaborate game story had been put together with all of these dependent actions that the characters could (or could not) have taken to get to that point. I liked ByeBye as a character, but I would have liked to know more about his background and the backgrounds/stories of his friends.

All in all, I was sad when the book was over. I can't wait for book 2 to be released in audio so I can continue the story! Even if you're not into these types of books, if you're any level of gamer, I'd recommend reading this one. If you don't play/like video games at all, this book will probably be annoying to you and you probably didn't get this far into reading my review, if at all, anyway.

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Enthralling

As I have started listening to more and more litRPGs I have gotten a bit more stingy on giving 5 star reviews. This book isn't without some flaws either but I also think that overall it is still quite high even with its few flaws.

Naration - My new favorite way for narration is by far to have both a male and female narrator so you can split the roles based on the gender of the character speaking. This book has one narrator whom is female (nothing wrong with that) but the main character is male. I found it a little off putting at first but I have to say Anneliese does a very good job and while I found it initially distracting I quickly got over it and I think she did a fantastic job. In my opinion the optimal narration these days is to have two narrators but shy of that I think it was well done.

Backstory - This story has almost zero time established IRL as things get going. Normally speaking the IRL portions of these are painful and terrible so from that standpoint I am happy that it almost immediately gets into the game but from a character building and world building standpoint you don't really get a lot of setup as to what is going on and what the situation of the world is until well into the book and even then it seems like short snippet references.

Overall, I didn't have a lot of complaints. The things I had were very minor and if I were to truly break down my review while I wouldn't say its the most solid 5.00/5.00 I would easily have given this a solid 4.5-4.7/5 which is really saying something. The characters were relatable and I felt that the interactions between them believable. The skills and abilities of the world were interesting and the growth of the characters was fun.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Great Storyline

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

First, having a female voice narration is great for a multicast reading, but for this book, I was not impressed. This book would have benefited from having an additional male voice reader.

Second, this was a great book to listen to... it was very well laid out and Bye-Bye is a fantastic character. I love the chemistry between Bye-Bye and Rose... the back and forth between them is really funny. Baby antagonizing Rose with Heath was awesome. There was some adult language, which I am used to and prefer, but in this book made it feel off somehow.

I'm looking forward to the next book and liked the way this book ended. I would definitely recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great start to LitRPG Series

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

TLDR; LitRPG, This seems to be fairly standard LitRPG. Fun action scenes, enjoyable banter, MMO with a deep history. If you like LitRPG, you'll like this.

As the new troupe goes, it's a full-dive VR MMO. The main character is a lore player, so the focus is on exploring the world, and his interaction with other players and NPCs. I really enjoyed this, it allows for a lot of world-building, and the slower pace lets you get a feel for the area (this whole book takes place in the starter town). It follows a fairly standard progression, solo-player inadvertently teams up with a fun cast of other players and they go on adventures. Not a new concept but it's done well here. The narration is great, there's a wide variety of characters to cover Ogers, humans, elves, and fae, and they all are well done. The story (main quest line) is a fun one, and while I feel like the stakes were a bit high for a starter area, it works with the way dungeons unlock in this game.

Overall: If you LitRPG you'll enjoy this. I've gone through a few of these and really enjoyed this one. If you are unsure about LitRPG this isn't a bad place to start, the story is easy to follow, and you don't have to wrap your mind around stat progression to enjoy this (stat progression is there, but it's simple enough here that it shouldn't cause any major problems).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Cameron
  • 06-24-19

The narrator have me a headache.

Honestly, I found her voice infuriating. It just droned on using basically the same tone for every character. It’s a shame, I wanted to listen to it but I got maybe 15 minutes in before she gave a headache and I had to stop listening. As I said I only got a little way in so I can’t comment on the story.

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  • Daniel
  • 06-20-19

great litrpg

one of the best books in a long time.

it had a lot of meat with 20+ hours, and I didn't want it to end

hopefully the next one will be out soon!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Rowlands
  • 05-22-19

Great first book in the series

One downside to most litrpg games is that they immediately have to find some way to make the main character into the 'chosen one' and despite being a newbie in that game they end up being overpowered right from the start, that happens in this book too with the main character finding a little edge during character selection and almost immediately gaining a special class upon joining the game itself. However, the author makes this necessary evil work well in this case with the new class also having downsides and also being more about giving Byron (aka Bye-Bye ingame) an equal chance against other players rather than making him too overpowered in general.

Besides Bye-Bye, the main cast of player characters is an entertaining mix of classes, races and personalities, building quite naturally into a group able to take on more than just the basic quests Bye-Bye might be able to manage without them. The book also does a good job of giving the NPCs interesting personalities too and it will be a bit of a shame if the party doesn't find a reason to return to that starting area in later books.

The narrator does a very good job with this narration, her performance enhances the book and helps to bring these characters fully to life and a pleasant tone helps with the obligatory stats parts of this genre too.

Overall, a very enjoyable book and I was slightly disappointed that the next book isn't yet available on audible as I went to go and buy it after finishing this one.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-01-19

I wish every game came with a book like this.

I loved the exploration of the lore and the NPC's that felt both like people and video game characters at times. The narrator manages to give every character a unique voice that at points I forgot that every character was voiced by the same person. There is a growing cast of characters that are introduced gradually and naturally and I liked them all. Like all game lit it has a propblem with the stats at the start it has humourous titles but eventually the author just lists the more relevent stats. The exploration of the world was fun but slow to get going but that really only added to the book.
The only thing I was disappointed by was that there wasn't already a sequel.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • neal
  • 04-25-19

The Curse of Hurlig Ridge

The Curse of Hurlig Ridge: World Tree Online Book One

M.A. Carlson- author

Anneliese Rennie- narrator

The world of fantasy fiction and LITRPG is one full of cliches and a single-minded determination to become the most powerful being in the cosmos. A being who stands seven feet tall. Who shoots fireballs from his eyes and lightning bolts from his arse! Funny enough, The Curse of Hurlig Ridge gives its readers this overpowering trope in a whole new light.

Studying as a warrior-priest 'secret class' our Hero Bye-Bye delivers justice to the wanton PKers and otherwise dastardly online entities in a swift fashion. This is thanks to his divinely-given traits passed on by an otherwise aloof albeit scrupulous diety. Brandishing his mighty spear and shield combo, our intrepid hero quickly becomes a skilled novice in the ways of combat and survival.

Along the way Bye-Bye is joined with a full cast of characters: from a berserk-raged tank and fairy healer sister team, a thief whose true ambitions lay in a direction geared more for entertainment, and the two most lovable pair of miners you will have the pleasure of being introduced to.

This cast of characters and impactful story is all told by the new, yet highly respected Annelise Rennie. An enormous amount of talent lays just beneath the surface of this story in our narrator. As like any other new narrator to a new series there are some stumbles in voice acting. Honestly, for having such a variety of characters to play I think Annelise has done a rather good job. The heartfelt emotions relayed by Ms. Rennie during some of the key moments to the story really brought the message home for me.

As someone who has spent countless hours and paychecks on this particular hobby, I for one can tell you this book is a diamond in the rough. An amazing tale told by two varied and equally talented voices. This one, is worth the credit.


*This review is completely unbiased and is given freely by the critic*