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Trial by Fire: A LitRPG Dragonrider Adventure

Archemi Online Chronicles, Book 2
Series: Archemi Online Series, Book 2
Length: 14 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (477 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One man. One game. One adorable baby dragon.

Two weeks ago, Hector Park cheated death by uploading his mind to the ultra-immersive fantasy RPG game, Archemi. After exposing the rotten heart of an order of dragon knights, he’s now on the run with a young queen dragon who could one day become the most powerful mount in the game. 

To get strong enough to face their enemies, they need a quest - a big one. Fortunately, trouble has a way of finding Hector, and it does - in the form of a series of brutally murdered priests, a king in desperate need of a hero, and a beautiful, fiery berserker. The risk? Huge. The payoff? More gold than a dragon’s hoard.

There's only one problem - Archemi is haunted by the ghost of a mad developer bent on making the game his personal playground. And now that the world outside has vanished in a storm of nuclear fire, there's no one left to stop him.

Or at least, that’s what he thinks. Because Hector isn't the kind of man to take this shit lying down.

©2018 James Baldwin (P)2018 James Baldwin

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Great performance, decent writing

The audio performance made by the studio and the performers are excellent enhancing the words of the book greatly.

However, the plot and the writing becomes frustrating with the main character showing falling for the tricks of the antagonist over and over again with the same tricks. The author attempts to bring political intrigue and conflict for the main cast to wade its way through, but the antagonist is so simple and incompetent that he is forced to bring down the intelligence of the main cast to make it dramatic. The greatest frustration is having a competent character from the first book not learning anything from his previous experiences and suddenly taking an extra dose of stupidity.

***Spoilers***


The main antagonist of the story is a usurper of the throne in a country bound by honour. A medieval city where the honor or at least the pretense of honour is important and the main antagonist humiliated the rightful ruler with what is essentially a recorded porno. The main cast are introduced to the evil ruler as a benign and rude but slowly the readers learn that he is dishonorable, will mouth that he is honorable, but acts in bad faith. I say the readers learn, because the characters say that they know this man is unreliable and deceitful but still trust him anyways. They know that he sacrifices loyal honorable men that are loyal to the throne but willingly walks into the same traps over and over again.

They learn he's a racist. Okay that's fine, racism is an issue that many medieval cities had.

They learn he had an honorable older brother that killed himself. Okay here's the hook

They learn the story of how the honorable older brother was kicked out of the family under suspicious circumstances.

They find the older brother who reveals clearly that the younger is evil, in a cult, has no honor. They decide, maybe this guy is not too good

They get wrongfully arrested by the younger brother and receive a mission to complete for the return of his dragon. The main character learns this mission was a trap. The main character completes the mission and returns to the ruler and expects him to behave honorably and receives the escort of a high ranking member of his court to retrieve the dragon. At this point, we saw the ruler stake a high ranking member of his court with no explanation given to the main cast. Why would the main character believe that retrieving his dragon would not be a trap?

I had to stop listening at this point. I love the main cast, but by partnering an incompetent villain, the author has to bring down the competency of the rest of the cast making it difficult to listen to.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

great second book

loved it cant wait for the next book. great cast that are amongst my favorite narrators

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

I love this series

I have waited for months to read this book ever since I read the first one. I love this series and how it's going

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Great continuation of the story

The story continues on with this book. New characters are introduced while old ones lurk in the behind the scene. Bonds are created and weather through several trails. The narrative is spot on with just enough sound effects to be distracting. I highly recommend this series to anyone look for a great epic story

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

Love it

I love this series. The characters, the world, and the story. Keep it up.

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

just listen to it

cant wait for more releases amazing narration and story one of he best in the genre

1 of 1 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 development.

I wasn't really sure where I stood at the end of the first book with this series. I didn't hate the first book and there were things I actually quite enjoyed about it. What I didn't really like in the first book though was probably that it felt a little shallow. I liked the character advancement of this book and it makes him feel a little less shallow than I felt he kind of appeared to me after the first book. It seems like its putting in some ground work to actually have some ongoing friends which is good because at the end of the first book it gave me a feeling of everyone is bad and out to get me kind of a vibe.

I would say its a step in the right direction for sure. I still would probably rate this book / series as a 4/5 which in my book is something worth reading if you do a lot of LIT RPG reading but not something I would necessarily name as my first number of suggestions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

I loved this book

This was a great book with awesome narration. Good plot, interesting characters and nail biting action. The narrators went above and beyond with this one. Next to great voices there is background sounds, music and amazing sound effects.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Actually a gold standard for the genre IMO

This book and the last one are on the list for some of my favorites from the LITRPG genre. This book is right up my alley. First of all, it feels like it's written by an adult, for an adult. The MC is actually a mature adult man (relatively speaking of course, he's a huge goofball too). He wrestles with moral decisions, he builds ACTUAL believable relationships with others; with actual real chemistry. The plot is deep, the world; awesome and well built, the progression; compelling!!!
The MC's relationship with his dragon feels deep and grows deeper; the exploration of the maturing mind of the dragon is super cool. My god this book just checks all the goddamn boxes!!! Aerial combat on dragons!!!!! Please give me more....

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Pretty good but diverts a bit from the first book.

This one was less of a LitRPG adventure and more of a mystery/thriller with a little magic and fairly small nod to the RPG aspects of the previous book. It was entertaining and interesting but much more of a self-contained story than any kind of epic or adventurous tale.

Justin Thomas James was the same as usual... Over all he did a decent job, but his standard flaws were still present. I.e. he repeatedly mispronounced words that are easily google searchable. At the level that Soundbooth Theater operates these days this is pretty inexcusable. Jeff Hayes needs to pull JTJ aside and tell him that if he’s not familiar with a word then the least he can do is to spend the 2 seconds it takes to look up the word in a google search. It’s just a matter of professionalism at this point.

LCW did her standard thing which is OK, but in my very subjective opinion some of her voices often come across as irritatingly high pitched and over enthusiastic to the point of caricature. If you like her style then she did the same good job she always does.

Also, as is the trend with SBT these days there was a bunch of jarring music and sound effects. Not only did the music sound like it was made with the standard patches on a Casio piano with built-in speakers, but it just pulls you out of the story and fails to add anything to the experience. I appreciate that they’re ambitious and trying to further their craft, but in my opinion the music is a little too “canned” and even if it were written and recorded by John Williams it would still be superfluous to the experience of listening to an audiobook.

Overall it was worth the credit, but I hope the next book heads back towards a broader and more expansive story.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Mauritz Krylander
  • Mauritz Krylander
  • 09-25-19

sound effects

unfortunately this book has sound effects which make it hard to enjoy otherwise the story is very good and would be a five star review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful