The Wayward Bard

World of Chains, Book 1
By: Lars M.
Series: World of Chains, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (686 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Daniel's guide to early retirement:  

  1. Intercept illegal money transfer from mafia boss. 
  2. Hide out in super-exclusive full-immersion virtual reality game until the heat is off. 
  3. Roll a bard. Max out charisma. Live it up.  
  4. Profit.  

With all the pesky planning out of the way, Daniel set out to realize his ultimate dream: gaining enough money to buy a tropical island and spend his days playing the violin and RPGs. What could possibly go wrong?  

Disclaimer: There shall be no harems in this series. Overpowered, perfect protagonists will not be tolerated, and excessive cursing will result in donations to the swear jar.   

The Soundbooth Theater team for this production:  

  • Justin Thomas James - narration, music direction, editing, mastering 
  • Laurie Catherine Winkel - female characters 
  • Jeff Hays - Gillem Drizzlefog, Greck, and other supporting characters 
  • Dalton Lynne - proofing, editing
©2018 Lars Machmuller (P)2018 Jeff Hays
What members say
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A New Look

This is a more mundane version of a litrpg that you may find among audible. There isnt a huge grand scheme where the main character does Heroics. He doesnt break the game and he doesnt topple empires. The main character barely gains levels and spells.

What it does offer that makes interesting is the musical addition. The violin acoustics throughout the story are very well done and are pleasing to the ear.

My only concern is that the book seems slow to me. I enjoy more grand endeavors and achievements in a litrpg, but that doesnt mean I cant enjoy this too.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you like LITRPG, you won't regret this purchase

My favorite part of any story is the beginning. The slow development of a neophyte hero who has no idea what's in store for them; slowly blundering through successes that gradually define them, with the devastating failures lagging close behind. This book hit me right there and didn't end in a great and powerful hero dominating their dominion, ready for epic adventures in the obvious sequel. There's a slow, but captivating simmer to the main characters development that I truly enjoy. I genuinely hope that the public's reaction to this story is as positive as mine, and that Lars is motivated to create a long series from this base. I can't wait to hear what comes next, as long as the pace is maintained, and he stays true to this base. This is a 6 to 12 book series potential here that I'll buy into as long as it doesn't become templated and unoriginal, as so many LITRPG series do.

Totally worth a credit!

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great Bard Book finally!!!!!

OK Kiddies, gather round the fire, because here is the tale you’ve been waiting for. This is my Soundbooth Spotlight for the week, and I have been trying to get this on the show for a while now. Other books just jumped ahead for various reasons, but I am finally able to let you know about how awesome this book is.

Ready? Imma going to start off chatting about the wat the Soundbooth theater handled this book. You know, one thing I respect about Jeff hays is his vision. He does not want to just crank out readings of books. He wants you to have an experience. That’s why if you listen to Harmon Cooper’s amazing Cherry Blossom Girls series you practically get the entire cast plus effects. I sort of griped about there being so many readers, because I really prefer one voice to tell me a tale, but SBT has slowly made me into a convert to that way of thinking. Now, they’ve upped their game all the way around. The Wayward Bard was less an experience as it was a full on EVENT. This had multiple narrators, sound effects, and music.

Justin Thomas James carries this book like he is Atlas holding up the world. He shrugs his shoulders and the world moves. The man has smooth mellow voice that just draws you in. You can’t help listening to him. His is the voice I want on loudspeakers during the Apocalypse saying, “Please remain calm. There is nothing you can do to stop the end of the world, but you don’t have to go out in a panic. Please enjoy the remaining time that you have left.” After hearing him say that I think I’d just opt to chill out and watch the world burn. Seriously, James is one of my faves, and has been since I first listened to After Life Reboot by Domino Finn. JTJ has a range of voices that you don’t expect from a fellow with such a sonorous vocal style. Jeff Hay rolls in to play a punny little character or two, and the Bonnie to James’s Clyde, Laurie Catherine Winkle stops by to steal a scene or two as a matronly tinkerer/shopkeeper. Did I mention James sings as well. Yep yep yep. You really don’t want to miss this book. Now, I have to admit, when the music first rolled in I had a little trouble hearing Justin speaking, but that is my crappy ears, not a production issue, and I did not have a problem like that again for the rest of the book. SBT really turned things up to 11 here, and I seriously think the only contender that will be able to take my honorary award of Most Audacious Auditory Attempt in 2018 might just be that Monster Hunters book I keep hearing about, but that is a questionable release for this year. Either way, no one loses this was an Event.

So let me tell you about Lars M. Here’s a guy, as John Madden would say, who knows how to write. Not only does he craft a great story that starts off with one hell of a good reason to go into a game longterm, but he makes the game interesting enough that you are glad it is a two year game plan. He not only scripts perfect prose, but he also cranks out some decent songs for JTJ to sing.

The story is about a guy who rips off the Russian mob, and opts to go underground for about two years by hiding in a virtual game called World of Chains. He hopes to do two things. Let the heat die down while he is in game, and sit back play some music, drink some brew, and dally with the ladies. Of course something goes wrong and all of his plans go out the window moments after arriving in the game. He reluctantly becomes a hero, and sets off to become a real bard. From there a mystery intertwines with the adventure, and the story takes off. I like the reluctant hero, and am so glad to finally get what I have been wanting for a while now. A GOOD bad novel. My only complaint? I wanted to see a little seduction getting pulled off, and I don’t count charm monster spells. I will admit that this is not an action packed go kill kill kill type of book. This is a bard tale after all, and bards are not tanks, they are more like boomboxes (do you youngsters even know what a boom box is?) that fire arrows or spells. I did miss seeing the bard placed into a group dynamic, and by that I mean an actual party rather than partner. I would have loved to see the bard enhance, bolster, and empower his group with his music. Either way, the story was fun, and it wasn’t a I saw who it was the whole time type of mystery.

From start to finish Master M., I only now wonder if that stands for Moriarty? Weaves a nice slow build mystery with some puzzles and monsters to overcome. The work by SBT will just blow your ears as well as your mind. I have to pass out 8.5 stars for the combination of the production and writing. Congrats to Lars Machmüller and Soundbooth Theater for an amazing experience.





8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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4,8* rounded up :)

It's not perfect, but the few rough edges are by far overshadowed by the awesomeness that is the sum total of it's parts. I have a singed version of this book and yet, I doubt it will ever be opened, because this audio version is so much better.
There are several places where the MC plays on his instrument of choice and these segments are put to life in the book by a true professional.
If this is the way Audiobooks are moving, to be not "simply" narration, but welltimed effects that enhance the story without hindering it, then I start to fear I will listen to little else than SoundBooth Theater...

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Holy shit...

I could go on and on about why I loved this audiobook, but I'll just highlight my two favorite aspects of it.

First, obviously, the music. I feel like the guys at Soundbooth theatre were a little conservative with adding too much of it, but i sincerely hope they go all out in the next book. Every time Archie plays his violin, whether in a tavern or in combat, I want to hear it. It ads so much to the experience. I was very disappointed that the song at the end wasn't accompanied by music especially. More music, please.

Second, the scope. Too many of these litrpgs are fascinated with the big picture, rushing immediately into world-ending scaled plots and battles between gods. Snoozefest if you ask me. This entire book is basically a who dunnit murder mystery and I love it for that. Archie picking up the Chronicler gathering profession aids this hugely.

Can't wait for book 2. I seriously can't recommend The Wayward Bard enough. My new standard, for sure.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Storytelling+Music pushed to 5

This wasn't the action packed LitRPG I initially set out to find, but there was enough to keep me interested.
I would've given 4 stars but the just above-average story topped on with music took my immersion in this book to a new height. This experience has made its mark.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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worth a credit

I'd like to start by saying the performance was stellar. The main narrator is above average and the supporting narrators were great. I especially appreciated the violin pieces and would not mind them adding that into the combat.

The writing is well done, with the character development fluid and the character personalities unique. The story is entertaining and I like the bard spin on the whole thing. It all has a very different take on things compared to the normal hack and slash litrpgs. The MC is not impeccable but is likable. He makes mistakes and he does admit them. This book is actually a bit refreshing in the lit rpg series as it does not contain tons of ridiculous harem plots nor a ridiculously overpowered mc. Actually the MC is a touch weak, as expected of a bard. However, once again this is definitely worth a credit and I will be getting the next book.

There are only two reasons I docked a star. The first is that the starting in a bum town in the middle of no where and then coming to like it and staying there is a little cliche...and overdone. Once in a while it would be nice to see big picture stuff. Also in order to not give any spoilers ill beat around the bush here but I can just feel the foreshadowing and build up to who killed the bar keeps mom...and its a touch obvious to all the little hints being dropped everywhere. I hope the next book starts with that discovery so we can get to some new and exciting content..but what evs.

All in all this really is a great book and alot of it comes from how well it is written in terms of dialogue, character personality/ development and the overall feel of the book. I would love to see where this book leads and do hope to see the mc go on some grand adventures.

7 people found this helpful

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no cussing would be perfect

great story pretty clean for the most part. could be even better without any cussing.

2 people found this helpful

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I can't even..

The violin, the cast and the possibilities!
I can't wait for the next book. 5/5

2 people found this helpful

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Well-written, clever whodunnit in the LitRPG genre

I'm well past 100 books deep in LitRPG at this point, and this one definitely makes my top 10, maybe top 5! It's fun, clever, impressively well-written or even crafted, and was a breath of fresh air among a genre too replete with torture scenes, brutal violence and deaths, gratuitous sex, and moody depressing protagonists being manipulated nonstop. I found this story charming and had to force myself to stop listening each night to sleep. The RPG portions largely take a backseat to the plot and characters...and that was refreshing. I'm looking forward to finding out more about the secrets of Grant's Crossing and its unique residents!

2 people found this helpful

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  • L.
  • 10-12-18

Absolutely amazing!

This outstanding performance by soundbooth theater has given me more than enough faith in audiobooks. I've been debating on canceling my subscription, bc honestly I've grown bored of it, but now I honestly can't wait for the next book! The music was amazing! I soapy cannot wait for the next book!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex
  • 05-25-19

He played the bard like a pro

Awesome performance. The music was a nice touch and the over all feel of the novel is good..I recommend

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nathan J
  • 11-22-19

Loved listening to this.

I liked the fact the story didn't progress too fast as some other books of the genre tend to do. The MC is likeable in a realistic way, we know he's a bit arrogant straight away but he gets better. The violin that matches up with the story is a nice touch that adds something special to the story.

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  • Danielle Allan
  • 01-12-19

boring

couldn't get into it, no foreseeable plot, doesn't do a good job of creating any sort of anticipation

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  • Liam
  • 04-01-19

Raising bars

Short and simple, this book raises the bar on what makes a good audiobook. CAN I JUST SAY YOU GUYS DID AN AMAZING JOB and I can't wait until the next installment.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Reader Girl
  • 06-20-19

Fantastic!

Both story and narration were fantastic. If you enjoy any kind of fantasy, you’ll love this book.
Includes actual music and songs!

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  • Embrakh
  • 04-24-19

Amazing Book

An amazing spin on the traditional style of RPG-style of story. I'm praying we get a second book but only time will tell. Regardless, the narration is amazing, the characters fun and the story engaging. It's one of the most memorable books of this genre I've read in a very long time.