Bookish Wednesday: The Beginning by Vasily Mahanenko

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with another LitRPG. It’s The Beginning by Vasily Mahanenko!

Plot: The plot is pretty bad. Honestly our main character Yaropolk is incredibly unlikable and the plot doesn’t back him up all that much. The basic premise is that the world is a game and only a few people actually know that fact. Everyone else is just screwed.  Our main character finds out and starts out on this quest to become a “Player”. It’s been done before and usually is done much better than this. It might just be that the translation is bad, which is a thing I’ve noticed with Russian LitRPGs. Honestly Russian LitRPGs are super disappointing in general and if I wasn’t trying to clear out the backlog of books I’ve read for this column I wouldn’t even bother looking up the book again to see the main character’s name that I forgot because I disliked him that much.

Characters: The cast is bland and full of a bunch of jerks. Honestly there’s really not a single likable character in this entire book.

Overall: Stay clear of this and any other series from this author, you’ll just be disappointed.

For those who like: Mediocrity and Disappointment, you masochists.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above, or just have standards in general.


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: The Kartoss Gambit by Vasily Mahanenko


This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the second entry in the Way of the Shaman series! It’s The Kartoss Gambit by Vasily Mahanenko!

Plot Synopsis: After gaining Respected reputation with the prison mine Mahan has left to journey in the game world of Barliona… but even though he just wants to level quietly his introduction to the outside world brings him an immediate shock…

Plot: The plot picks right up after the end of the first book, and it follows Mahan as he adventures in the actual game world. It’s quite an interesting plot, and I really didn’t want it to end when it did, but that’s always a good sign for a book.

Characters: We get introduced to lots of new faces, including Anastaria who is probably my favorite newcomer although Mahan’s teacher is pretty interesting. Mahan on the other hand does some real growing up in this entry which was pretty great. He’s also not stuck in a mine which makes the plot so much better.

Overall: A great sequel to a book that was quite fun and had a novel approach to the LitRPG genre. Definitely a must read after the first book.

For those who like: LitRPGs, MMORPGs, Gaming, Funny Lead, Great Plot, Awesome Cast of Characters.

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

Bookish Wednesday: Survival Quest by Vasily Mahanenko


This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with a series I just started listening to. It’s Survival Quest by Vasily Mahanenko!

Plot Synopsis: Barliona. A virtual world jam-packed with monsters, battles – and predictably, players. Millions of them come to Barliona, looking forward to the things they can’t get in real life: elves and magic, dragons and princesses, and unforgettable combat. The game has become so popular that players now choose to spend months online without returning home. In Barliona, anything goes: you can assault fellow players, level up, become a mythical hero, a wizard or a legendary thief. The only rule that attempted to regulate the game demanded that no player was allowed to feel actual pain.

But there’s an exception to every rule. For a certain bunch of players, Barliona has become their personal hell. They are criminals sent to Barliona to serve their time. They aren’t in it for the dragons’ gold or the abundant loot. All they want is to survive the virtual inferno. They face the ultimate survival quest.

Plot: This book isn’t quite like most LitRPG series, Mahan our main character is sentenced to virtual prison for eight years because he blew up a waste processing plant’s computer system by accident… So yeah that happens in the first few pages. There is no glory in this book, Mahan is pretty much the book’s whipping boy for the entire book. That isn’t to say it’s not good, it is but it’s a bit different compared to something like the Play to Live series or Legendary Moonlight Sculptor. There are similarities, like LMS and this share an awesome crafting main character, but Weed in LMS is a lot more hilarious than Mahan ever is.

Characters: Mahan has terrible luck, and that makes him a fairly amusing main character. But he’s not as good as someone like Weed from LMS or Ark from the series Ark. The rest of the cast is fairly interesting, especially the Orc Governer. I like that character quite a bit.

Overall: A fun book, but not quite as good as it’s competitors.

For those who like: LitRPGs, VRMMOs, Gaming Stories, Comedy, Luckless Protagonists, Good Plot, Fun Cast of Characters.

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