Bookish Wednesday: The Secret of the Dark Forest by Vasily Mahanenko

Hey all, I’m back with the third entry to the Way of the Shaman series for this week’s Bookish Wednesday. It’s The Secret of the Dark Forest by Vasily Mahanenko!

Plot Synopsis: The Virtual World of Barliona is a place of rest and entertainment – but not for everyone. It has become a survival arena for Daniel Mahan after he was sentenced to 8 years in its virtual jail. Mahan has been through it all: the back-breaking work in the mines, betrayal by other prisoners, and finally, the retrial which has released him into Barliona’s common world. What more could one want? Mahan could have kept a low profile and enjoy relative freedom while serving the rest of his time. But being a Shaman, he can’t help himself…

Plot: The plot of this entry is pretty good, and while there were a few annoying parts I didn’t mind it all that much. That being said if you weren’t a fan of the previous books this won’t change your mind on the series.

Characters: We get introduced to a few new characters, but really the stars of the show aside from Mahan are Anastaria and Plinto, both of whom were pretty awesome. The newcomers were good, but the character we had already met are better. That being said if I had to choose a newcomer as my favorite it would be Barsa.

Overall: If you enjoyed the previous two books, The Secret of the Dark Forest will be just as enjoyable for you. Otherwise you’ll probably not enjoy it all that much.

Bookish Wednesday: Soulstone Awakening by J. A. Cipriano

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m looking at the first entry in another LitRPG series. It’s Soulstone Awakening by J. A. Cipriano!

Plot Synopsis: Aaron Hope plays video games, like a lot, just not professionally. When he entered the EpiX! Games! PVP World Championship on a lark, this college senior never expected to make it to the final round, nor to get drugged and shoved into the alpha test for World of Ruul.

Plot: This book tries too hard to be something it shouldn’t be and it has a lot of tropes that have made up the LitRPG genre, stuck in a game, permadeath etc…  Frankly betweeen the somewhat stale premise and the various references that litter the book about other series like Legendary Moonlight Sculptor or Sword Art Online, which aren’t even hidden they are just flat out mentioned, it’s pretty obvious that this is the authors first attempt at writing in the genre. Frankly anything slightly original in this book just doesn’t make up for the pure boredom the story gave me.

Characters: Aaron is a smart ass, and while I tend to enjoy that in a character, the entire cast is pretty unlikable including Aaron. In fact I hated just about every character.

Overall: Stay away from this book, and series. There are plenty of more entertaining and better written series out there for those who want a good LitRPG book.

For those who like: LitRPGs, Mediocrity, Stale Plot, Dull Characters.

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

Bookish Wednesday: Otherlife Dreams by William D. Arand

otherlife_dreams

Hey all I’m back with the first in a LitRPG series I ran across recently for this week’s Bookish Wednesday! It’s Otherlife Dreams, Book 01 of the Selfless Hero Trilogy, by William D. Arand!

Plot Synopsis:Runner has a problem. He and 499,000 men and women are trapped in a game. He also just happens to be the only person from IT who could log everyone out safely. And he doesn’t remember his password.

He, like everyone else in this nightmare, had their memories scrambled or lost in the process of being loaded into the game. A single garbled message is his only clue on how to save everyone.

The problem is that whoever loaded them into the game, loaded their minds completely. If they die, their brain gets wiped.

Now it’s time for Runner to flex his skills as a power gaming min-maxer and see what he can do. Because every time he levels, he might gain the memory of the password. Time to go Hardcore.

Plot: The plot of this first entry is pretty good, and frankly I really enjoyed the hell out of this book. It made me laugh and it doesn’t make me feel so bad for talking to myself occasionally. There are romance elements, though they are light in this entry of the series. Mostly this is about Runner adjusting to the world he finds himself in and him trying to adjust to his “Unique” circumstances. They make for absolute hilarity.

Characters: Runner is a hilarious person, who is very smart but can come up with some really idiot plans that would seem absolutely insane in reality. But as any gamer will tell you, using a glitch to gain advantages is a mark of a true professional. Scott and Linda were pretty funny as well, if sadly not in the spotlight very much.  Hannars, Lady Death, Kitten and Nadine were our female leads, and they were all very interesting, each has their own flaws, and strengths and are incredibly strong and capable women.

Overall: If you love gaming, and/or LitRPGs, you’ll love Otherlife Dreams, it takes the genre and makes it hilarious and heart pounding at the same time.

For those who like: MMOs, LitRPG, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Magic, Action, Adventure, Romance, Hilarity, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but how can you hate all that.

Bookish Wednesday: Edge of Reality by Andrei Livadny

edge_of_reality

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering a series I came across recently! It’s Edge of Reality, Book 01 of the Phantom Server Trilogy, by Andrei Livadny!

Plot Synopsis: Xander is a cyber dweller. A gamer who’s grown up in the web of virtual illusion woven from hundreds of phantom worlds. His biggest dream is to dump the real world for good. His desperate hunger of new experiences forces him to take a risk and become one of the first proud owners of a neuronet implant. The new gadget becomes part of him – but soon it’s not enough. If only he could finally burn all his bridges and make a step beyond the real world! He soon gets this opportunity. A new universe, overflowing with mystery and unimaginable, mind-blowing authenticity, opens up before him. This is Phantom Server. The game of the future where your pursuit of an adrenaline rush soon turns into a battle for survival.

Plot: The plot of this first entry is okay, although some plot points were really obvious to me even from the start. That being said it’s probably because I’ve read so many different stories that I was able to do that, so for some it might just prove to be very interesting. That being said it lacks the charm of series like AlterWorld, Way of the Shaman or Mirror World.

Characters: Xander is a decent lead character, but there are times when I seriously wanted nothing more than to throttle his dumb ass for being such a tool. Leori on the other hand was a great female lead, if not very active in this entry sadly. The rest of the cast was good, but still I found myself wanting to throttle more than a few of them more than once.

Overall: A decent LitRPG series, it isn’t as good as others I’ve covered, but it’ll do for those looking for a LitRPG and have gone through the rest of the ones I’ve covered thus far.

For those who like: Sci-Fi, Space Games, LitRPG, Video Games, Action, Adventure, Drama, Decent Plot, Okay Cast of Characters.

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

Bookish Wednesday: Patch 17 by G. Akella

patch_17

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with the first in another LitRPG series! It’s Patch 17, Book 01 of the Realm of Arkon series, by G. Akella!

Plot Synopsis: A new “update” arrives to the ultra-popular online game, Realm of Arkon. With Patch 17, the level of immersion experienced by players in their gaming capsules has made virtual reality indistinguishable from the real world. But every gamer’s dream becomes a nightmare for Roman Kozhevnikov after he gets confined to Arkon against his will. And not just to Arkon, but to an unreleased high level zone–Demon Grounds. Playing, or rather living as his character Krian, it’s not just about survival for Roman. He longs to exact revenge for his banishment to the virtual world where the sensation of pain has reached one hundred percent…

Plot: The plot is pretty interesting, sure it’s got some stereotypes, but it was interesting as hell anyways. Plus it was fun to read a translation from a Russian author who actually understood American geography (I’m looking at you Play to Live series). Patch 17 starts in medias res, which is not an easy thing to pull off, but the author does pretty well with it. I also loved the various shout outs to other series like Legendary Moonlight Sculptor.

Characters: Roman is a pretty awesome lead character and his interactions with the world he finds himself stuck in is very interesting. The rest of the cast is great, but I really enjoyed the side story with Max and his friend who seems to be missing a straw hat…

Overall: If you love LitRPG or just gaming in general, you’ll love Patch 17!

For those who like: LitRPG, MMOs, Gaming, Action, Adventure, Drama, Excellent Plot, Great Cast of Characters.

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

Bookish Wednesday: The Citadel by Alexey Osadchuk

the_citadel

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with the sequel to Project Daily Grind! It’s The Citadel by Alexey Osadchuk!

Plot Synopsis: f you’re a warrior seeking glorious feats, we need you! The walls of the Maragar Citadel are always in need of heroes!
Or are you a wizard in search of forgotten lore? One visit to our Ancient Library will reveal you many a great mystery!
Or are you an online player craving excitement? Then you’d better hurry! The Maragar Citadel is rife with adventure – choose one to your liking!
Performing deeds of online valor is the last thing on Oleg’s mind, though. Neither does he care about any ancient lore. He’s never trusted adventure, anyway. Mirror World is no place for the likes of him. Still, he’s here to stay – at the demand of Reflex Bank for a loan for his daughter’s hospital treatment. Which is the only reason he’s joined the ranks of the defenders of the Maragar Citadel.

Plot: The plot starts off right after the end of the last book and builds upon what Oleg, or Olger in game, has discovered about his unique and mysterious race, the Ennin (Probably spelling it wrong, but hey that’s what you have to deal with with an audiobook.) I really enjoyed this entry quite a bit as it built upon the world and Olger’s place in it. In addition I really enjoy seeing his interactions with the various NPCs in the game as he struggles not to enjoy his time in game, and focus on gaining enough money for his daughter.

Characters: Like I said above, this really is a broadening of the horizons book for both Olger and us as readers. We get to learn a lot more about the game and whats really happening with Olger’s unique race. That being said I probably have to say that I like the new characters we get to meet, the wizard in particular was quite funny.

Overall: An excellent sequel to a book that gave a new spin on the LitRPG genre. Definitely a must read for any gamer and/or Fantasy lover.

Bookish Wednesday: Project Daily Grind by A. Osadchuk

project_daily_grind

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with another LitRPG series! It’s Project Daily Grind, Book 01 of the Mirror World series, by Alexey Osadchuk!

Plot Synopsis: The ads enthused, “The virtual lands of Mirror World await you! Live out your most secret dreams in our world of Sword and Sorcery! Become a Great Wizard or a Famous Warrior! Build your own castle, tame a dragon, conquer a kingdom! All those desperate, lonely and insecure – Mirror World offers you a chance!” But Oleg isn’t meant to become a great wizard or a famous warrior. He’ll never have a castle of his own. Neither will he ever tame a dragon. And he’s definitely not the type to conquer a kingdom, however virtual it may be. Oleg is doomed to toil away in the recesses of Mirror World’s mines. His goal is to raise enough money for a heart transplant for his dying six-year-old daughter. The clock is ticking. Will he make it?

Plot: This isn’t like other LitRPG series, our main character isn’t a combat capable class at all. He can’t level, he in fact can’t die at all. That isn’t to say he’s invincible though, far from it. I enjoy this take at a topic that is essentially relegated to either jokes or horror in most VRMMO LitRPG books, which is to say the pure grinding aspect of most MMORPGs. It even takes on the part where most grinders use bots to get over the dullness of the process. I personally feel a bit nicer towards those Chinese Gold Sellers spamming my tells tab in MMOs now, but just a bit.

Characters: Oleg, or Olger in game, is our main character and he’s a pretty smart guy, granted that if you are a person who goes around doing translation for businessmen as their job you’re probably pretty smart.The rest of the cast is great too, especially Dimitri a character I didn’t at all expect to like.

Overall: If you’ve ever been spammed by a bot in a game, you need to read this. Just for perspectives sake. It also doesn’t hurt that this is a must read for any LitRPG fan.

For those like: LitRPG, MMOs, Gaming, MMORPGs, Brainy Lead Characters, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters.

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