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Warden

Nova Online, Book 1
Narrated by: Todd Boyce
Series: Nova Online, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
4 out of 5 stars (173 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ready Player One meets Halo 

Imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit, Kaiden's only hope of early release is in serving as a Warden in the game world of Nova Online.  

Playing as a unique class while surrounded by aliens, pirates and warring guilds, he and his squad are tasked with protecting new players and enforcing the rule of law.  

But Kaiden has other ideas; he is intent on proving his innocence. The keys to his freedom lie hidden in the game's seedy underbelly. And as he'll soon discover, the bloody trail that led to his arrest is more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

©2018 Jonathon Atkin (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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

Shawshank demption with colonial marines

This story is about a young fellow named Kaidon, who get framed for the murder of his only friend. Once in prison he is drafted into the Warden program, in which inmates are made into a virtual police force in a game called Nova Online to help players who get themselves into trouble. The whole thing seems a little silly, drafting criminals to be a police corps, and players needing help surviving their game. The last part makes since when you consider that if you are killed in the game then you are locked out of play for seven days, and so if you are paying a lot of money to play (and the game generates cash for the state) then you want to keep the players alive. Additionally, by using incarcerated people they do not have to pay them, whereas if they hired actual gamers to police the game it would cost money, so there is logic to this.

By Playing, Kaidon has an opportunity to shave time off of his fifty year sentence. He ends up with two teammates and slowly begins to unravel the secret of who killed his friend and framed him. The story itself is enjoyable. You will like Kaidon and his compatriots, and they have some excellent battles. As a lovecraftian maniac I particularly enjoyed the void spawn. The story is, for the most part, spent in game with a few prison scenes thrown in, so this is kind of like Shawshank Redemption blended with the colonial marines from Aliens. The book has some excellent fight scenes, and a fun chase scene. We pretty much only have about six real characters that rotate in and out of the book, with several background players popping in at various times, so while you get some character growth it also makes it a little easy to spot the villain of the story. Either way, I enjoyed the book.


Boyce is a bit of a conundrum for me. I enjoyed his reading style and the voices that he did, I thought he played the narration smoothly, and kept the story right on track, he handled the actions scenes well, and did one heck of an impression of a Drill Sergeant. However, he did what I consider to be rookie mistakes, and given that he’s narrated seven books in total thus far I believe that to be the case. Boyce really needs to look up how to pronounce words he is unfamiliar with, and not power through on what he assumes it should sound like. My first inclination of how things were going to go was when he mispronounced the word thrumming, as in the line “his heart was thrumming faster than. . .”. He pronounced it Thruoughmming instead of thrumming, and I thought well, there was a hiccup. But then he said Business magnet instead of magnate, which earned a giggle, but they were two things that chuffed me a wee bit. The first was his constant mispronunciation of the word ensign. This word was used more than I would have thought possible, and it was glaring, jarring, and annoying. He pronounced it as N- signs instead of Ensigns. Seriously, if he had watched five minutes of any of the first two seasons of Star Trek the Next generation, he wouldn’t have to “Shut up, Wesley” because he know that the word is Ensign. This is a big gripe for me, because every single time he said that word, and it was used a lot, it took me right out of the book. The magnet magnate thing I can understand, that might be something that Knight wrote, rather than he mispronounced it. Still, if I was reading that line I would have said the proper word; just changed it to Magnate rather than glossing over it. The other thing was the use of the word Riposte, which means a quick return thrust following a parry. He pronounces it like it rhymed with lost, re-pawst. Given that this is a frequently used power you hear it a lot, and again it is annoying.
Either way, when it comes to the magnet thing, I don’t know where the fault lies because I don’t have a print copy to check with, so I’ll slide him a pass on that, but with riposte and ensign I cannot let those go. This is a book with military and battle jargon. Do a little research. It is like saying the rank of sergeant like surgey-ent. It doesn’t take a lot of time. I suppose this is the audio book version of spelling and grammatical errors.

The book was a fun escape, and I will most definitely be on the lookout for book two. This was a solid eight stars, coulda been higher, but I had to shave points for the incessant incorrect pronunciations that filled this book. I hate to do that to a good story, but the fact is it was jarring and not fun to listen to. Now, honestly, I would rate this book higher, but the mispronunciations were so jarring, and easy to catch that I had to take some points way. What could have been much higher, I’m going to give 7.8 stars. Hopefully, next time around Boyce does some research or Knight checks his audio, because this was a decent and well written story.

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

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Good story for the online part

So 1st off the online part was great though things felt a little rushed. However the real word part felt like the author reading The Hunger games a few to many times while writing this. Good story but well honestly I wished he would of said yes to the Captain. It would of been something different sadly the excellent start petered off near the end.

My three year old love the part he heard because his name is Kyden and we call him Ky so he loved the parts he got to listen to. So I will be getting book two.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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

Not a bad book for those new to Litrpg

This book is alright. It has moments of being beautifully written then others where i have to *sigh* the trouble was the author wanted to create this incredible dynamic team but, he didnt give them enough time together to make that connection believable. They also didnt do anything so jaw dropping amazing to receive the praise they received from higher ups. In fact most of the time they were carried through by higher levels and had no team coordination. That does change in the two final conflicts where you see some sense of team coordination begin to take shape. Overall it was ok, i think the next book in the series will become more of what the author had planned with this one.

The narrator did a good job with the performance overall. He kept my attention throughout.

4 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

A Masterpiece in LitRPG Literature

This was hands down the best LitRPG story I have ever listened to. I really appreciated that the vulgarity was kept to a minimum, and the few instances where any did appear it was appropriate to the story. I also liked that there wasn't any sleaze, which unfortunately has become increasingly common for this genre. Most of all, the gaming mechanics were very well developed. I found myself just as intrigued in the gaming mechanics as I was in the story. The plot of the story was also extremely well designed, and I easily found myself caught up inside the storyline. The narrator's performance was also exceptional. Well done! Very impressed. I can't wait to hear the sequel!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Typical.

An average book with an average plot. Kaiden is a typical young man with dead parents, an newly independent young adult who is falsely imprisoned. Like so many before the government is the bad guy, corrupt and devious. A game of rebels and conspiracies ensue. The motivations of the books a rather mundane and completely turn me off.

Kaiden's character is plain enough, I am not really surprised he got duped into a murder charge. Titus is a typical big misjudged softie. Zelda bothers me the most though, she just flips on a dime like its nothing.

The entire story seems like it was cookie cut into place. Everything is rather mundane.

The performance was lack luster but acceptable. He could do mildly different voices and the characters distinguished themselves from one another but thats about it. The pacing of the narration along with the poor word choice, multiple reiterations, and poorly developed conversations gave him a little to work with.

On the plus side! Many of the in-game fights and events were rather interesting. I liked the universe created and the concept of the Wardens in the game. They are unique characters who are part solider, part enforcer, part prisoner. They all have loadouts and subclasses which keep things interesting. The beginning is a slog but the last half of the battles are really fun.

That said it is difficult for me to get behind a slow MC who is supported by a cliche cast and less than subpar plot who can't even make the obvious choice of a subclass he should take.

Every decision and event was foreseeable. Maybe one moment was surprising in how it got to the conclusion but thats about it. Overall this book has fun moments but is actually just a repeat

I'd only recommend this for people new to the Litrpg genre and are from a younger audience (teens) with little listening experience. Don't get your hopes too high for this one. RATING : 5/10

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

An entertaining listen

It was mostly an enjoyable listen. The premise was a stretch. The in-game progress was too fast paced and easy. They should not have been able to progress to the point they were by what felt like less than a week in game. All that said, it was an entertaining read. I will probably continue with the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Had a lot of promisebut the Narration lost me

The premise was intriguing however just never got into the characters and the way the narrator pronounced some of the words grated on my nerves. I doubt I will continue with the series and if I do it will be in ebook format.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Kaiden not Caden

I enjoyed this audio book. Intermittently the narrator would mispronounce the name of the main character. It was slightly annoying but not enough to ruin the experience.

The story was good and engaging. Some scenes were reminiscent of "Ender's Game".

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

Great book, I'd recommend it to all ages

I found this book to be very enjoyable. I like that the book has a plot going outside of their game and that the point of view switched back and forth from the real world to the online One. Additionally, the book is has no Harem/Sexual elements in it allowing me the ability to share the book with younger relatives.

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

Narrator lost this book a star.

It’s not that the narration is unlistenably terrible. It’s just not that great with some annoying aspects and an ear-screwing, constant repetition of mispronounced words.

First the minor thing: the narrator very often forgets to switch voices when two of the main characters are speaking back and forth. Not a deal breaker but it just smacks of a lazy performance.

The really annoying thing is that the author uses a word in almost every paragraph, often multiple times in said paragraphs. The narrator is clearly not familiar with the word or has never watched a tv show or movie that features the navy or a sci-fi spaceship show, specifically any of the Star Treks... clearly Will Wheaton should have been the narrator for this audiobook. Unfortunately, this is not the only word he repeatedly butchers and it does become excruciating after awhile.

That said though the narrator is kind of annoying he doesn’t manage to ruin the book. It’s fairly listenable if you can get past the mispronunciations.

The book itself has good moments but overall it’s just ok. There are multiple places where you want to slap the MC, but it’s really not his fault. It’s one of those situations where the author has the MC forget his own skills in a time of crisis, only to remember it at the last moment and thus does a crappy job at creating suspense. This is a common flaw among new LitRPG writers and I wish someone would teach a clinic to help them avoid these kinds of pitfalls.

In summation, I don’t know if I’ll pick up the second book. Just like when I decided to pick up this book if it happens it will be because nothing in my wishlist is catching my interest and there aren’t any new audiobooks that I’m interested in. If you’re in the same place then this isn’t a bad book to pass the time with, just don’t expect a Chaos Seeds type of experience out of it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful