The Slayer

A LitRPG Saga (Aether Gate Online, Book 1)
Narrated by: J. Scott Bennett
Length: 11 hrs and 42 mins
4 out of 5 stars (235 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Raise your blade. Take up the mantle of Slayer." 

Adam’s life was anything but easy. With people at both school and home eager to make his life a living hell, the only place he felt like himself was in the virtual world. At least there he had some control.  

When the newest VRMMORPG title gets announced, Adam and his best friend, Max, are more than ready to dive in. Launch day arrives quickly, and Adam is plunged into a world that’s more immersive than anything he’s experienced before. Although the game offers a bevy of character choices, Adam quickly chooses the title of Slayer, a class that specializes in taking down stronger, more difficult opponents.  

Adam begins his adventure, but it's not long before he realizes there’s much more at stake when taking a life in this new game. The pain is very real, and death...is permanent. Now, trapped in a virtual world, Adam must take the mantle of Zander Darkblade and brave the dangers of the Aether Gate.  

It is a world of mighty creatures and fallen gods. A world where powerful familiars bond with their masters, granting them extraordinary powers they wield with uncanny force...and as Adam and the others will soon discover, it is a world of secrets that have lain hidden for far too long.... 

Welcome to Aether Gate Online. 

Disclaimer: This novel is a LitRPG/gamelit title. Its contents include various role-playing game stats and video game references.

©2018 Darren Hultberg Jr (P)2018 Darren Hultberg Jr
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great for YA, mildly entertaining for adults

This is not the best of LitRPG novels I've listened to, but it's okay nonetheless. I liked the main premise, i.e. the way people got stuck in the game. I also liked the fact that although the MC starts out as a somewhat insecure game character, he grows into it and develops into kind of an action hero - although at heart he's still a teenager or adolescent, with the insecurities that come with that. I also like the game world, and the way it works, the familiars and their bonding to characters, and the Guilds.

What didn't keep my interest were the somewhat superficially developed characters and the interactions between them. For instance, if more time had been spent on who they were as a real person and why certain relationships in their real lives mattered, I would have been able to empathize more with their longing to go home. In that sense there were some inconsistencies in the plot that bothered me. Maybe it was sloppy writing, maybe the author didn't want too many pages in his book, who knows.

Then again, maybe it was because this is probably a YA title that I found it lacking. The thing is, Audible most of the time does not mention this in its genre categories, so I usually only find out through actually listening to a novel. Which is why I'm mentioning it in my review title, to help others along.

However, the ending had some fine nuggets that made me want to listen to part 2 anyway!

Narration was fine, I enjoyed listening to J. Scott Bennett and would listen to other books read by him. He has variety in his character voices and even adds emotion.

So depending on your age and interests, this could be a fun and thrilling game adventure for you. However, if you are a seasoned reader/listener of 40+, I wouldn't spend a full credit but wait for a Daily Deal or a review copy.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. I was not required to write a positive review and this reflects my honest opinion of the work.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another LITRPG all star story

Yet another in a long line of great stories and story lines. This one introduces the class of slayer to the series. The sheer amount of skills and attributes that appear in these books truly takes you back to the basement and comic book store games of My youth. The characters and plot lines are amazing the narration is fabulous. The new age of fantasy stories. These are the dragon lance stories of this generation. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator or publisher

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Jaded

I had no intention of liking this book when I started reading; the concept did not interest me but I was running out of books.

This type of book can only go a couple of ways "surprise, you're trapped inside a game" or "surprise, you're trapped and it's not a game". Both I find irritating. The best twist I saw was the "surprise: your in a game... and your meatspace is also a game and always has been" this is not that book. This is yet another trapped-in-a-game-book. Nothing new here.

Dispite my dislike of the very concept of this book I must admit to one thing: It's not bad. I was hoping for something unforgivingly bad so I could stop in good conscience. It never happened. I finished it. ok I stopped before the glossary. but really that doesn't count.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A new twist for this genre

I am not a gamer, but I have found that I am really enjoying this new genre of writing. This story, however, has a different twist to the usual storyline. THIS story is truly life and death, good vs evil, the end is the end of the game. Want to know what I'm talking about? Read the book, because there is no end game or escape in the normal sense of the word. But, believe me, you want to read to the end...
I listened to the audio book version of this book. Scott Bennett is one of my favorite narrators. I love the smoothness of his story telling. He is able to find the heart of the characters and bring them out in their voice and the sense of their actions are felt in the hearing of their expressions.
I highly recommend this book and this narrator!

3 people found this helpful

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What an excellent start of an adventure!!

This book is absolutely incredible. You're on the edge if your seat as you travel with the main character in this beautiful and crazy virtual world. Can't wait for the next in the series!!!

2 people found this helpful

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I want to fight.

This is a good start to the series. I would like to go to this world and fight. I would have liked a bit more of the progression info like his skill options on leveling and a description of the skill when he got then but that might just be me. It is a good story and was well done by Scott.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Start to a Series!

This was exciting and fun to listen to. It is what I would imagine playing video games IRL to be. The story kept me engaged and it was hard to stop listening. I will have to get the rest of the series and I recommended to my HS age child as I think he would love this! It is a fun listen I highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Simplistic but fun

I didn't find much to surprise me in this story. It feels like a first attempt at LitRPG, and if that's the situation, then it does a good job. It presents like a few popular LitRPGs and Sword Art Online smashed together, and as another review mentioned, it feels young adult. There are certainly enjoyable aspects found in the action and the inventiveness of some of the classes and abilities shown, and overall I thought the writing quality was quite good. The game system though, just doesn't feel very fleshed out or well-thought out. Perhaps this is intentional as there are themes of "alternate world/VR world becoming its own world" throughout the book, so maybe book 2 will lean less on the completely unbalanced-seeming skill and familiar system.

I can say, having read another book by the author which I believe to be more recent, that he has made great strides in several aspects of his craft. I may pick up book 2 to see if they're evident there as well.

2 people found this helpful

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The Slayer

This audiobook is one of the most enjoyable in the genre and I am really excited for Aether Gate Online Book 2. So I started listening to book 2.

2 people found this helpful

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Let yourself enjoy this story!

I listened to the first two books of this series very quickly and am looking forward to the third! These are very entertaining books. I admit that the first book took a bit more "suspended disbelief" than i usually like to credit, but the narration was excellent so i had no trouble continuing the story. It wasn't hard to overlook the occasions when the mechanics seemed off. The book has a definite YA feel to it, but the motivations of certain characters make more sense when you keep in mind that they are teenagers. I am long past YA and I thoroughly enjoyed this new world and the story we find there. I'll just add that book two is even better!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Queen of Swords
  • 04-29-20

Badly Needs a New Narrator

The MC is supposed to be a young adult... high school age, maybe early 20s.... So why does it sound like a grandpa is speaking to me? Terrible casting. This is especially true for a first person point of view novel.

The story is sort of okay at times, but I can't give higher than 3 stars for something that rips off Dungeons and Dragons. They didn't even change the monster names (Dryders, Mindflayers, etc.), and base stats, It's not like these are different creatures with coincidentally the same names, these are a direct copies of their D&D counterparts with the same powers, appearances, and abilities. It's okay to use stuff like this when a book is a parody, but that's not what this is. It seems more like someone was flipping through literal Dungeons and Dragons books to find antagonists and stealing their intellectual property.

There are also issues with the structure and organization. For example near the beginning of the book, "Familiars are so rare, no one knows how to get them, they can't even be accessed via skills, oh hey look there's one on the side of the road. Guess what it's even one of the most powerful creatures in fantasy literature (a dragon), and we don't even have to work for it. MOAR POWAH!"

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  • Ian
  • 10-14-19

A solid LITRPG

I was given a free code for this book, where by I promised to leave an honest and voluntary review on audible once I'm done.

This first instalment of Aether Gate online is great, it's got all you could ask for in a litrpg serise, the characters are very likeable and easy to follow. The journey takes you in and keeps you entertained.
The narration is pretty good, and he brings life to each character.

This deffinatly has the makings of a great LITRPG serise.

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  • Lee
  • 10-02-18

A Very Good Read

This is a typical LitRPG, it isn't anything groundbreaking but it is a good solid read with very good narration that when it ends, leaves you with a bit of a cliffhanger which is just enough for you to be wanting more.

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