Bookish Wednesday: The Airship by Skyler Grant

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with the sequel to a fun LitRPG series I’ve covered before. It’s The Airship, Book 02 of the Laboratory Series, by Skyler Grant!

Plot Synopsis: Emma is back! The core has been transferred to an airship crashed deep on the Rim. There, Emma and Anna will encounter feuding factions, terrifying monstrosities, and new powered foes in need of becoming research experiments. With a badly damaged vessel, they must steal, scavenge, and fight for what they need to upgrade to survive. More upgrades, more insults, more science

Plot: The plot is pretty awesome, and just as snarky as the first entry, which is excellent as that was my main draw to the first book. While fairly short it does do the plot justice and I really enjoyed this entry.

Characters: We get a ton of newcomers in this entry, and while I won’t say who is my favorite newcomer, I will say that Emma is just as crabby as always.

Overall: If you enjoyed playing Portal, again this would be the book for you. A solid sequel.

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Bookish Wednesday: Io Online by Dave Willmarth

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the first in another LitRPG series. It’s Io Online, Book 01 of The Greystone Chronicles, by Dave Willmarth!

Plot Synopsis: In the latter half of the 21st century, Alexander and his guild mates play Io Online for fun and to earn a living. It’s the largest VRMMORPG on the planet, and the source of income that supports families around the globe. Given the chance to test a new experimental immersion system, the friends must give up their high level characters and begin again at level one….

Plot: The plot is pretty great, in fact it’s one of the better LitRPGs out there. I’m looking forward to listening to the sequel quite a bit. While there are plenty of standard plot devices that occur, they are utilized in such a way that it isn’t grating, at least to me.

Characters: Alex is our main character and PoV for most of the story. He’s a great lead character, and while he’s not the best I’ve ever seen I found myself enjoying his story quite a bit. The rest of the cast is also pretty awesome.

Overall: A good LitRPG and one of the better ones out there. Definitely worth a read if you love games or good Fantasy.

For those who like: LitRPGs, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Awesome Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: Past Tense by John Van Stry

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with a series I stumbled across fairly recently. It’s Past Tense, Book 01 of the Days of Future Past series, by John Van Stry!

Plot Synopsis: Paul’s been having a bad day, perhaps one of the worst days he’s ever had. And now into the middle of all this, his instructor just got drafted by some mystical goddess to help save a world. As for Paul? Well, he’s really not supposed to be there, and if he thought he was having a bad day before all of this, it just got worse, a lot worse. He’s now on a one way trip, forced to help a man who despises him…

Plot: The plot is pretty good, nothing spectacular, but not super terrible either. It was entertaining and I enjoy the use of Native American mythology in conjunction with more standard Fantasy. I won’t say more about the plot, because this book is fairly short, but it’s good for quite a few laughs.

Characters: The cast is pretty good, and while Paul is occasionally incredibly dense as hell, he’s not a terrible lead character. Of the side characters I think Heather is my favorite, if only because she’s quite true to her own nature.

Overall: A good first book in an fairly interesting series. Worth a read if you like Fantasy.

For those who like: Action, Adventure, Drama, Romance, Fantasy, Native American Mythology, Good Plot, Decent Csat of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: The Beginning by Charles Dean

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the first in a rather interesting LitRPG series. It’s War Aeternus: The Beginning by Charles Dean!

Plot Synopsis: Lee is a quiet and unassuming office worker who leads a life of solitude, comfort, and routine. Day in and day out, he shuts off his brain, keeps his head down, and goes about doing his job and minding his own business. That is, he does until a drunken god shows up randomly one day and whisks him off into another world, demanding that Lee serve as his pawn in a game between the gods.

Plot: The plot is fairly typical LitRPG mixed in with the Isekai genre that you’ll probably recognize from many books or even Anime. However the new thing here is what Lee has to do in this new world he finds himself in. I won’t spoil it, but it’s probably not what you are thinking. Some people might offended by it, but the fact that Lee is so uncomfortable with the job he’s tasked with mitigates any offensiveness in my book. Not that I was particularly offended at all mind.

Characters: The entire cast is awesome, but Augustus is probably my favorite. However Lee is the real star of course, and it shows. However if Augustus is my favorite, a very close second is Lin. And by close, I mean I only picked Augustus because of his eccentricities, otherwise it’d be a straight tie between the two. The

Overall: This is a great read, or even better listen, for those who like the LitRPG genre.

For those who like: LitRPGs, Isekai, Comedy, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: Ghost in the Game by Christopher Keene

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the third entry in a LitRPG series of a reader of mine. It’s Ghost in the Game by Christopher Keene!

Plot Synopsis: Noah has made a deal with the devil. In return for access to Wona’s inner circle, he must guard their Dream State game. It could be worse. After all, the Dream Engine saved his life, even if it ended so many others’. But his new alliance didn’t come without a cost. It turned many of his friends against him. Luckily, the company has assigned him a new team: Catastrophe. But leading Catastrophe takes a dangerous turn. At the grand opening of a new game zone, a vicious attack puts even the Wona President on edge. As Noah digs deeper, he discovers hacking beyond anything he’s ever imagined.

Plot: The plot is okay, but was also a little predictable. At least it was to me, and that’s probably I’ve because I’ve read so much. I won’t go into the plot too much, but it was a good entry in a LitRPG series that is fairly decent. It’s not the best, sorry Christopher, but it’s definitely not the worst. The biggest problem I have with the story is something that I’ve had since the beginning of this series, and that’s the use of drugs to game properly. I’m not a fan of implying that gaming is so addictive that it kills the user, which is the underlying tone that happens with this story consistently.

Characters: Putting aside the fact that all the characters are essentially drug addicts, the cast is okay. It’s not the best cast of characters, but I’ve experienced much worse characters. Noah at the start of the series was a decent guy, but it’s quickly become very obvious that he’s slowly growing into what he despised at the start of the story, a druggie. I don’t like the implications of this, not at all.

Overall: A decent entry, but I’m getting more than a bit tired of having the drug usage included in this story. Sensing a theme? I hope so.

Bookish Wednesday: Pet Peeves

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m continuing my mini-rant on things that make me drop a series or even an author if they do it even more. It’s all about some Pet Peeves of mine.

Pet peeves: I have a huge list of pet peeves that will get me to stop following an author or dropping a series entirely if enough of them pile up. But here are some that really get on my nerves.

#1 Killing Off Love Interests: I hate this plot device and frankly it’s not quite a bottom line, but it’s damn close. I respect that sometimes characters have to go through adversity, but we read fiction for a reason. Keeping a bit of hope in a story is a good thing. Dark and dreary stories are not fun for me to read, and that may be because of my own mental health issues. However this is one of my  personal pet peeves. Now killing off parents of characters? I can deal with that, it’s a different sort of emotional impact for both the character and the reader.

#2 Separating Love Interests: Chinese authors have a terrible habit of doing this, and it ticks me off. They are often poorly done harem stories that has the main character leaving behind his loved ones at every freaking opportunity for no particular reason other than to go galavanting off on an adventure. It doesn’t matter how it occurs, it’s a stupid plot device. It also cheapens the loved one as a character. If they get left behind they aren’t going to grow, either emotionally or in more concrete things like strength.

I will admit that Eternal did one thing right and that was keeping the main characters. who are soulmates, together. They overcame every obstacle together, and frankly there’s no reason why other authors shouldn’t do the same. Having some random teacher drag off the main character’s loved one to get training is also bullshit plot device that I despise and I sincerely hope never gets any traction in the Western world. Having a couple that can actually fight together and work together is a great way of showing character growth. Because anyone who has played a team activity will tell you that no matter how much solo practice you do, it still requires just as much if not more time practicing with your partner(s) so you don’t get in each other’s way. But the character’s will never learn that if they get separated.

#3 Dense Harem Leads: If an author has to write a freaking harem story, at least make the freaking lead character open to a more diverse relationship with all of their potential love interests. Because frankly no matter what the author does, they’re going to piss off one reader or another. Yes polygamy and polyandry are illegal in most of the world, but here’s the thing. It’s a freaking story, and the author can write it however they wish. Maybe they have to deal with the social backlash of being in such a relationship, would make for great character growth.

#4 Forgotten Side Characters: I hate it when authors leave side characters in the dust and just forget about them. This ties into #2 a bit, but more than that some authors are just terrible about remembering all the various side characters they introduce. I Eat Tomatos in particular is a notorious author for doing just that. “Cough” Haeru “Cough”

Those are just some of my personal pet peeves, and there are like I said above many more. But that would be a very long post and frankly I’m not interested in listing every thing that ticks me off in a story.  That’s it for this week’s Bookish Wednesday.

Bookish Wednesday: Bottom Lines

Hey all I’m back with a few guidelines on what really pushes my buttons and why I get so mad at certain authors for this week’s Bookish Wednesday. It’s all about my Bottom Lines!

Bottom Lines?: Yeah, if an author crosses one of these I tend to stop reading a book immediately. Or shortly after if they don’t make up for it quickly.

#1 Killing Kids “on Screen”: I absolutely have no sympathy for an author who will kill named characters that are kids on screen. If it’s a monster’s point of view you often get it for a random set of characters that are never named and it’s glossed over for the most part by the story except for whatever purpose it served. Killing child characters that the author names and introduces to us? That’s inexcusable for me, and I’ll drop any book that has it in it. Dungeon Lord was a huge offender and my most recent example of a series that just ticked me off. It named a kid and gave us a point of view through that kid’s eyes. You grew attached to the character, and the author brutally murders it in one of the most horrific ways of any story I’ve ever experienced. And I’ve experienced a literal truckload’s worth of books, not counting movies or games.

Ways to get around this? Don’t kill them on screen, have the characters find the aftermath if the author must have such a plot occur. Or just don’t do it at all.

#2 Mental Illness: I deal with mental illness personally, so when an author demonizes people with mental illnesses, or they treat it like any other plot device and depict it in incredibly poor ways I’m going to get more than a little angry. The fact that I can write and do what I do is a minor miracle I’m grateful for every day. I don’t have a glamorous life, I’m not wealthy and I really only get by just barely. However I’m still happy that I’m not a psycho or curled up in the fetal position and unable to do literally anything.  When people treat Mental Illness as anything other than what it is, which is a terrible disease that is not easily treatable and may never be fully curable for many people, I get really angry.

Why?: Because I fight myself every day, saying that my life is a literal hell is not an exaggeration. I constantly have parts of me that hate myself, another wants me to give up, and yet another tries to beat me into submission. It never goes away and while medicine helps keep the negativity of my own self in check, I don’t ever have a good day by most people’s standards. For me a good day is when I can distract myself with something that keeps most of my consciousness from being able to do any self reflection for a majority of the day. But that’s it, because a part of me is every second of every waking minute trying to drag me down into a pit of despair.  And that’s just my depression, I have other issues that I won’t go into here, because frankly it’s none of your business. Needless to say that I absolutely have no respect for any author who treats depression or other mental health disorders as anything other than what they are. A living hell for those who deal with it.  People who don’t have depression will never fully understand the absolute suffering people who deal with severe depression go through on a constant basis. So to those authors out there reading my blog. If you have to use mental health issues in your stories, please do your due diligence and actually learn about whatever issue you plan on using. Because depicting it in anything other than truthful ways is a great way to alienate readers who actually deal with the same problems.

#3 Bigotry: I don’t have any respect for bigots, I think they are cowards and troublemakers at the best of times. Having the protagonist subscribe to any form of it is a great way to get me angry and stop reading the story. What is it like to be Eternal had an incredibly homophobic remark 3/4ths of the way through the series and I immediately stopped reading it. I had enjoyed the series up to that point, because it was well written. But the moment a lead character stated something like that I had no desire to continue reading it. Now I know that some stories written in the past are going to deal with such things, and some are just plain old satire. I love Blazing Saddles, it’s my favorite movie of all time. It’s also got a ton of bigoted characters in it, because that’s the point. It’s supposed to make them look like ridiculous fools.

That’s it for this week’s Bookish Wednesday. Next week will cover some lesser offenses that won’t get me to drop a story nearly immediately.