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Publisher's Summary

Austin Zane leaves behind his CEO position with RB Corp to play Dave, a half-dwarf in the virtual reality game Emerilia, trying to escape his life.

What Dave doesn't know is that Earth as he knows it is really a virtual reality simulation and Emerilia is a world imbued with futuristic technologies to mimic early MMORPGs.

He just wanted peace and quiet, to build a house, do some fishing, to take some time to find himself once again. What he found out instead was a cause, he found out the biggest lie of his life. He found out the truth about Emerilia and the lies of Earth.

What's the best way to control slaves? Make them think that they're free.

©2017 Michael Chatfield (P)2017 Michael Chatfield

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,084
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    39
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 2 Stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the Top Five LitRPG Stories

Lately it seems all I listen to are LITRPG stories, I really like the genre and there are a lot of stories from which to choose.
I really liked, “The trapped Mind,” it’s now in my top five LitRPG stories. To give some perspective, here’s my list.
1. “The Way of the Shaman” series; a six book rollercoaster series of exciting twists and turns that grab your attention and test your emotional resolve, but in the end it’s worth the ride.
2. “The Divine Dungeon,” starting with “Dungeon born;” very clever giving a different perspective and new dimension to the LitRPG story. This series is still in progress and I can’t wait for the next book.
3. “Ascend online,” narrated by Luke Daniels, only one and a half books into the series but a great start and might take over the top spot if the story quality remains the same
4. “The Trapped Mind;” so far I’m up-to-date on all of the audio books that have been released and I really like the story. It’s another LitRPG with a different premise.
5. “Ready Player One;” the original, my first LitRPG, written by Earnest Cline, he nostalgically brought me back to the old time gaming world, great experience.
There are so many of these LitRPG coming out virtually every week that my list could change, and I hope it does because that would mean another really great story.

43 of 49 people found this review helpful

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

A real mind bending trip

I generally try to purge anything negative from my system first, and then tackle the good stuff. I do have some nits to pick, but nothing overly bad. I listen to books in the car. I drive a lot, and my wife will listen along with me. Since the majority of what I have been listening to has been LitRPG/Gamelit stuff she gets really annoyed when all the crunchy bits start flying. In other words, when stats or alert notices start flying and never end. It can be distracting, but she had to make me turn this off, as it overwhelmed her. It does bug me, but I got over it. However I see her point. Damage reports, level alerts, and anything else that repeats is fine on a page, you can skim that. On audio it comes off like Dr. Strange meeting Dormammu. Thankfully, once we get into the meat of the story this sort of dies down.

Additionally, and this is only speculation, I have to wonder if Chatfield started writing his book twice, like from a point that he found interesting, and then at the begining because he does rehash some of his world building stuff several times. I don't know if this was two books that got folded into one, but it was a touch distracting to go over something we already knew.

Now the good stuff. This book fed my need for action, but it also sated my intellectual needs. There were great periods of character growth, story building, and some mind blowing concepts. Chatfield really flipped everything on its side and bounced it off a wall. Brilliant concept.

The characters are interesting. The plot grips you. The unexpected truth will knock you down. There is good action here as well as the quiet moments. The story will grab you and take you for one heck of a ride. All that stuff I said at first was just minor crap. The real meat of this book is delicious, and the amount of fat and gristle is negligable. The story and characters progress in a realistic speed

Morris makes a great first impression on me as a narrator. I had never heard him before, but I can see why he has this gig. He's really good, and brings the story to life. He works hard to give each characters a distinctive and individualized voices. 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. In fact, 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!!!

34 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • M. King
  • New Hampshire, USA
  • 10-31-17

Interesting, but difficult to follow at times

I liked this audio book. It had a fascinating premise that I was very curious about . Earth is the fantasy and the game is the real world? Wow! That hadn't been tried before! Well, the political machinations of the ruling people, the Jakal, combined with the same thing going on with the 'players' started to get confusing. And I think there are only 2 people, one 'human' and one 'NPC' who actually know the real story ( these are the 2 main characters, Dave & Deia). The role of Neutrality (the Jakal who created the game world and is now trying to save it from exploitation) is interesting but also confusing. As I understand it, he has allied himself with the two main characters, but the ultimate goal is a little difficult to determine. I am hoping the next book will help sort things out. A good listening experience, though. I recommend giving it a try.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

The most infuriating 5 stars ever given

It's truly a testament to this books premise, story, and characters that depicts the many writing flaws it's an amazing experience.
That said FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THE REPETITION OF INFO DRIVES YOU NUTS THE FIRST 10 HOURS
Seriously you wanna shake the author screaming "I @$@(&(($&& KNOW ALREADY"
But once the final act gets going it stops completely and really buckles down on a rather spectacular and thrilling finale.
Worth the listen and greatly look forward to what looks to be a pretty expansive series

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

fun start, exciting dnding, boring middle.

So first the positive things. The beginning was interesting, the fighting was not overly arbitrary, the climax was exciting and THERE IS NO LUCK STAT.

The book's mechanics ect are basically a tweaked version of the lands. Tweaked mostly to give the protagonist a leveling advantage but the advantage is close enough to actual game exploits to not be too noticable.

Now my first big problem with the book is that the middle is basically all filler. And its all really stupid filler. Just one example, the protagonist invents the screw. You know, the screw, been around since before the founding of egypt screw. What makes it worse than that though is even if you think the screw is a modern invention. There have been thiusands of generations of players run through the game, constantly inventing stuff. And apparently none ever thought to make a screw.

Thats basically the level of dumbness this book's filler has. And dont even try to think about the economics of the game's world. You'll herniate. In addition to just that dumbness for filler there is also a dull uninteresting romantic plot. Which is just shoehorned in to fill in pages with needless kissing, flirting, groping and (thankfully) pg-13 sex scenes. But worst of all, are the redundant explanations. Every opportunity the author got he would repeat explanations in varying degrees of lengthy detail. Sometimes repeating thevsame information multiple times in a single conversation. It got to the point where I was dreading new character. Because every newly introduced character meant all the information would be repeated at least twice. Once from Dave or bob or whoever explaining things and once from their own perspective as they came to the same revelations everyone else did.

It was horrible, even at 1.75 speed I still had to skip ahead in many 30 second chunks. And for that insanely horrible filler I knock off 2 stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Convoluted

The premise of this book is too convoluted. That’s reflected by the author restating core elements constantly, as if we hadn’t been listening to the story all along. In the last half of the story the author is introducing new game play mechanics almost every chapter. I love litrpg. Give this one a pass

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

good idea that started off well but fell short

This book started off great. I noticed a couple of things that annoy me personally about the writing right off the batt but I looked past it. But gradually every encounter between characters became so cringey and lame. I don't know how many times I can hear "a smile crept to his lips" or "Dave laughed" "so and so smiled" "so and so laughed". The social interactions between people in this book were horrible. the jokes were horrible. the romance was horrible. I hated the way it was written and I hated the way it was performed. I'm a huge litrpg fan and I feel a little bad about being so harsh on this book but man...I swear it was written over the coarse of a week. Just bored writing as you go. making it up as u go along. the main character was not a likable person at all yet every person in the universe loved him lol. Ok I'll stop my rant. I'm sure there are those who would enjoy this book. dungeon born books are 1 million times better though

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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

Meh

I really tried to like this book but the author made it almost impossible. Halfway through the book and the main character is already a massively overpowered fighter that acts like a wise old monk. Then, in the 2nd half, he becomes a master smith and creates god-level armor. Yeah....no. I don't even like playing games with cheats enabled but the author is basically handing his main character everything on a silver platter. Is there anything Dave is not good at? Of course not.

What is the point of this book when the main plot point is breached with the introduction of Bob? Everything afterwards seems trivial and contrived. A handful of pages were given to Dave to deal with the fact that his entire life has been a sham, but Dave is good at everything so of course he has no problem with it. Again, it is apparent that Michael Chatfield has limited patience and is incapable of developing a story over an extended period of time.

I tried reading the book on Kindle, once I got tired of that, I tried the audio book. I reached the halfway point then refunded my credit because I just couldn't go on. About a month later I decided to give it another shot, hoping that the story would improve. Here I am now, I have 2.5 hours left of the book and can't take another second. I am returning this for good. I love a long series of books that I can binge on, so it's too bad that this series makes me want to put my head through a wall.

Oh and the narrator wasn't horrible. He isn't a Nick Podehl (the best narrator in the business) but he did a good job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Meh

Not well written or edited but relatively entertaining. It's pretty uneven, some parts very enjoyable while others can be a little excruciating...

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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

Thoughtful and Fun Read

This book, to my delight, is extremely well written and contains far deeper content than I expected from a litRPG book. In fact I am not sure if this was a litRPG book at all, save for the typical stats and stat building. I would just call this a great beginning to a sci-fi series and I am going to have to listen to it again as I await impatiently the next book! The narrator was fine but could have perhaps done better with the Dwarven voices, but this improves by the end.

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
  • kanundra
  • 07-15-17

So long, but so worth it!

This series has been on my list for some time, but my actual reading time is so limited. When it came to audio I was super happy.

Michael is a complete wiz at weaving stories in and around characters that have amazing depth and motivation.

What starts off pretty slow build till you actually can't stop listening... there's good back story woven in, crafting (a must for anyone who loves litrpg) and intense action.

The 18 hours totally whizzed past me, and I wanted more. I know this series is a huge one, and I seriously hope that Tristan keeps with it because he was a great choice as far as voice and tone go. I'd not listened to Tristan before, but the tone and voices he had for each character, especially Dave were great. The sarcastic and then funny side to him just had me laughing while driving. Some parts I literally was on the edge of my seat. A total joy to the ears, and it made the book go so much quicker. I believe Michael and Tristan nailed this one, and I'm so excited for more.

Now for some deeper thoughts.

As I said the plot itself was slow to get going, I do admit that there were some word choices and lengthy sentences that even made me think twice about the meaning, but it really didn't detract from the story.

Dave is a very interesting character, from a big company to the game he wants to play it's totally opposite to his usual life and it's relaxing and interesting. The game mechanics aren't hard to follow and they develop nicely along the way, of course, there are some huge things for Dave to learn and to develop but he does so at a good pace. It's not over the top for me even though he does develop some interesting items and skills.

Overall this is good start to a series of over 7 books and I do believe he has more on the go! the man is insane.... can't wait for the next one on audio :)

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • C. Rowlands
  • 03-30-18

Enjoyable fantasy twist on 'the Matrix'

I generally don't like books that tend towards the litrpg style, so I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, most of the time you could pretty much tune out the recitation of stats and simply enjoy a basic fantasy novel with a likable cast of characters.

When we meet the main character he is a rich CEO of a company on Earth who decides to play the virtual reality game Emerilia to get away from the stresses of real life, but over time while he is in the 'game' he learns that it is actually Earth that is the simulation and that in-game is actually the real world and a real world where humanity is not in charge.

The book follows his progress both from the perspective of his stats as a character growing and his personal as a real person in that 'game', culminating in a final battle that is obviously framed in the manner of a raid in an mmo.

The narrator gave a good performance overall, with Dave and the main supporting cast all sounding suitably distinctive without resorting to cliche too much with the wide array of dwarves and elves either.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and the narration and will be interested in hearing more of this series in the future.

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

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rob Cooke
  • 03-13-18

An amazing twist on LitRPG. Loved this book.

This is a fantastic twist on the LitRPG genre. It provided a wonderful basis to truly explore the story and characters. I think that the characters were well developed and crafted to add balance to the groups.

The story rolls along nicely never feeling slow or strained. It provides some lovely twists and grows as you move through building to a crescendo.

I loved the twist right at the end to give a gateway to the follow up book.

The narration was spot on providing in depth characters and distinctive throughout.
You never tire of listening to the narrator and you feel completely immersed throughout.

In summation a fantastic book giving a good intro to LitRPG or just a great fantasy book.
If you are already into LitRPG then this is a bit of a twist on the normal telling and adds a slightly different component.

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • O. J-kahn
  • 04-20-18

Great story needed proof reading

Would you listen to another book narrated by Tristan Morris?

Yes

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the world, characters and game mechanics of this story but there were two problems that almost made me quit reading early on. This almost feels like an early draft with lots of inconsistencies throughout creating the impression that the author was changing their mind about how they wanted things to happen. For example the main character discovered the same levelling mechanic for the first time on multiple different occasions. There were also grammar mistakes that changed the meaning of a sentence to the opposite of what had obviously been intended.

Despite this I'm still giving it 4 stars and I felt it improved as it went on. I'm mainly posting this to encourage people not to be put off by these problems.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tim Dearing
  • 03-23-18

Great book,


This was a great story, great idea, well written and brilliantly read by Tristan Morris.

I would happily listen to the other books in the series if read by the same narrator

This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-02-18

Love it

Love it can't wait for the next one. I have now read and listened to this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ShaunP
  • 10-15-18

Well narrated

Having read the book already there were no surprises with the storyline.
I enjoyed the way that the narrator worked the various accents into the story. Good pace and pitch, overall an enjoyable listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-18

Best ever

Amazing loved everything about it can wait to download the next on!! Three words remaining 😂

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • nerak
  • 04-07-18

A book for the gaming generation

I was provided with a free copy of this audiobook in return for an honest review.

I enjoyed this book from the very beginning. The premise was fun and the narrator was very good. This is the kind of book that will appeal to gamers who are obsessed with abilities, statistics and wish their games are real life not virtual lives.

I loved the detail included in the novel and I think the author has made a good job of including enough character development to make you want to keep reading. I want to get book 2 to find out what happens next for the characters.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Matt Roberts
  • 09-16-17

Just plain bad

Great premise, but it's so badly written...
Whole paragraphs seem to have been ripped from Aleron Kong's Chaos Seed books, without understanding why he wrote then in the first place.
Just a pale imitation.
Avoid!
Can I get my money back!!!

2 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-15-18

It's just quite dull

I enjoyed the book initially.

It was a little bit cliched and a little bit expository to start. Unfortunately, the exposition intensified, which was a shame because i just couldn't keep going 10 hours in.

The plot is ok but written so amateurishly. The author just needs a few writing classes to learn to show, rather than tell. The book could even be made better with a good edit -- entire plot points are repeated, abandon, or go on hiatus for hours of boring exposition.

It was just a little too dull because there's just too much in it that doesn't need to be.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Xravia
  • 08-17-18

Convenient storytelling.

I suppose this was an attempt to mash together the matrix and the hobbit. The result was terribly paced with 80% being a slice of life build up stage that could have been delegated as a time skip, with the other 20% being a single long raid with most of it focused on characters that were not developed properly. they were introduced in a way told you how they would benefit the Mary sue MC and aren't given a life of their own contrary to MC's established motivations. once they serve their purpose don't be surprised when they are killed off.

The power disparities are insane, he might as well be stuck in a world of Neanderthals as despite 700 or so years or permutations of players none of them made patents to ultra common tech, allowing the MC to skip the money system entirely as it can be explained away as 'patent' money when he spends money.
on top of of all the repetition, inconsequential skill level ups, little or no character progression and unlikable personality.

There are so many plot devices and blatant cheat items that it makes the mind boggle. 1. rich and influential in real life(which he does not exploit at all! even though the grey god explained everything!) 2. runes... basically the coding language of the world allowing him to make broken items and has great potential to be even more broken as he learns more runes. 3. souls stones... aĺlows him to store mana indefinitely and power up abilities beyond their limit. 4. grey mana.. allows him to use every type of mana and combine them for a ??? power increase when it calls for it. 5. stat boosting/ he knows that this is real life so he is planning for the long game not giving hints to anyone else and is actively hiding this fact from everyone else so he can be a messiah or something. 6. nanomachines/ superior body thanks to working on his skills gradually, erasing his height disparity by playing as a dwarf by increasing strength and store memories and can access the web. 7. powerful allies + 1 or 2 gods on your side that gives you skills , info, underground world seeders which conveniently have portals. 8. artifacts from a cabin in the woods 9. friendly relationships with all people because he is a bleeder. 10. The ability to conjure any item or rune in existence 11. The ability to respawn with his own custom respawn point and many more so when he does die he can only be called an absolute bloody idiot with little to no repercussions at all.

The last point I'll touch upon is his motivations, he was the richest man in the world because he was the smartest most drivenest man in the whole entire world *rolls eyes*. He is sad because his family wanted a bit of the wealth of 10 TRILLION dollars and wants to get praised for paying his employees wages on time and destabilizing the entire world economy while keeping most of it for himself? Only to leave it all with a drop of the hat!?!?! I'm done with this novel.





  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • A C Bennett
  • 07-28-18

Fantastic

Great story, excellent narrative and enjoyable storyline and characters too follow. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-10-17

A bit complicated for Audio

I really enjoyed this book and was using the audio between sections of reading. The quality of the performance was great, I just find this genre does not lend itself well to audio and I found it much easier to read.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-17

Some thing new

A new take on a somewhat over done premises looking forward to the next book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-13-17

I not a junkie I swear but I need more

Amazing and Great book love it all .. Dave is the boss
Looking forward to book 2 :)

0 of 1 people found this review helpful