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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 (135 ratings)
Regular price: $24.95
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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pam C
  • Wolfforth, TX
  • 09-30-18

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Didn't slay me

This was a wonky bit of work. The story is ambitious, but in a lot of ways its grasps impedes its reach. It wants to do a lot of things, and goes all over the board because of it. Game mechanics were weird, motivations were off, and the characterizations were off putting. For example, the main character finds himself in a game only to discover that it is not a game, it is a real game and that if you die there then you die for real. The players have been separated mentally from their bodies, but the bodies remain alive, as do their minds. Dying in the game is true death, and disconnecting from the game will cause the body to die, and will have severe repercussions for the player who is still alive. This disconnect issue makes no sense. No one would live very long if they were forced to stay attached to the game, and that means that the issues that the players face is going to happen to all of them at some point regardless of what they do in the game. Secondly, the whole mind body connection is tenuous at best. Either they are on a new world with new bodies, or they are still on Earth and playing a game. It can’t be both.

Another issue was the omniscient powers of the Main character, Adam. Although he is just as much a newbie as every other player in the game he somehow knows certain rules and prohibitions that no one else does. It is never explained why or how he can do this and no one else can. Also, the mechanics of the game fluctuate. Sometimes they require energy and sometimes they don’t, cooldowns are the same. It really felt like this was a book that was started one way and then changed direction midway through and was never reworked at all. Another issue is the fact that you only have one life. Yet Adam and other players continually do things to risk their existence for no reason. I don’t know about you, but if I have to decide to be safe, get a job, and maybe start a family vs going out into the wilds of an unknown alien world full of magic, monsters, and mazes and most likely getting killed I’m going to become a merchant. There is no reason to risk themselves. Yes, Adam is tempted with the possibility of going back home, but you and I both know as readers that the likelihood of that happening is about two hundred to one odds against.

There were a lot of issues, and I have to ask myself if it would have worked as a strait forward fantasy, and I still say no. Adam is kind of boring and dumb. I mean he just doesn’t catch on to things that my five year old would see coming from a mile away. Honestly, the entire premise of the reborn world makes very little sense when you consider that the people who destroyed it before are going to do the same thing over again, and not one of the newly minted NPC’s who are real people remembers the events that trashed their world the first time around. The book is very predictable and not even being a straight up fantasy could have done a thing to help it.

Scott Bennett narrates this story, and while he does a good job he could not save this hot mess. I often wonder why Bennett is not a bigger part of the LITRPG community, he has done a lot of LITRPG books, but he seems to only pop in on the FB pages on occasion. I’d love to see him become a larger part of our community. Honestly, there is nothing that he or anyone could have done to save this book. It was a hot mess from start to finish with inconsistencies, a bland MC, and predictable storytelling. Bennett is not a magician, and I do not lay one issue this book has on his feet. He did everything he could to keep this ship afloat. But this book was the Titanic carrying twenty tons of instant forming concrete mix, and another forty tons of steel girders. It started off with some hope and went down quickly. Bennett was like one of those brave musicians who continued to play as the ship sank. They had nothing to do with the crash, but did everything they could to make the passengers feel better. He tries to bout your spirits, but to no avail, a sinking ship is a sinking ship no matter what sounds it makes as it submerges.


This book isn’t as bad as some I’ve reviewed, but I had to force myself to listen. I know when I’m doing that a quarter of the way in it isn’t going to be fun. I have thought a lot about this score. If I am honest I didn’t loathe the book, but neither did I like it. It was kind of like an accidental bully, it beat you up without meaning to. Regardless of the intent, it still left me with bruises. So, in fairness I am giving this a 5 out of 10, since this book wasn’t a complete dumpster fire, and I think it had the skeletal frame of a decent book that just got bogged down with inconsistencies.

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




5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • RJ
  • Cottage Grove, MN, United States
  • 09-12-18

A kinder, gentler VRMMORPG

Welcome to the opener of a new LitRPG series. This one is a much more “friendly” or “tamer” version of the LitRPGs that have been coming out of late. A usual plot line will be found; a gamer wanting a better life inside a VRMMORPG. Although this one does have some issues with game mechanics; such as skills and spells crossing character classes, levels did not seem to scale up, and attribute stats which seem to be MIA. Of interest: a warrior executed a shield bash without equipping a shield, all characters had access to a familiar, Other than that it maintains a decent story and characters to go with it. I enjoyed the story although Darren needs to ruminate over MMORPGs. Three.point.five. This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book.

This is a great story and is well written and narrated, Kept me engaged from start to finish.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

uninspired generic elementry school YA trash

I enjoy YA when done well like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Dante's Immortality, and others. This book though is like a rushed check list of ideas with some action scenes that are so generic it's pitiful. Hardly any to no character development so you kinda don't care if the characters live or die. This really takes the suspense out of the action scenes. The confused and near rip off idea of how they came to be in the virtual reality. Rips off Viridian Gate and Eden's Gate. Then rushes the character from one action scene to another leaving no time to develope relationships between the characters or build the world or character in any way. Overall this book fails to be entertaining at the most basic level. Maybe 3rd graders would like this but I don't see many high school students loving the crap out of this trash.

8 of 11 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

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.

1 of 1 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

Entertaining virtual RPG story

I enjoyed the interesting twist in this virtual RPG story. The characters are stuck in the game but their bodies in the real world still remained alive; it truly becomes a game of life and death. I liked the world building, the plot, fights, skills, attributes and the leveling up of the characters, but I did think that giving more background in the real world to Adam would have added depth to his character and increased his ties to life outside the game. The narrator fit the story well, bringing the characters and action to life and moving the story along at just the right pace. This is an enjoyable story with a good ending, I am looking forward to the next in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

a good book

The book although a little slow at certain times is still a very good listen. I can't wait for the next one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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