Bookish Wednesday: Otherlife Awakenings by William D. Arand

Hey all this week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with the third book in Runner’s adventures. It’s Otherlife Awakenings by William D. Arand!

Plot Synopsis: Runner and his team managed to bring peace to Tirtius, successfully log the crew out, and have begun settling in to make a home on the isle of Vix. North Wood fort itself. Fate isn’t going to let them go that easily though. She clearly hasn’t decided on what to do with him. Plots are in motion. Threats local, outside of the ship, divine, and abroad in game scheme to exterminate Runner and the threat he represents. The possibility of what he could become. To top it all off, the server is clearly ramping up towards a full awakening. What does one do with an entire world of “living” beings who are aware? It all comes to a head when an assassin attempts to take his life in his own home. Now comes the true test. What is he willing to wager to build the future he wants, both in game and out? Or rather, who?

Plot: The plot is awesome, with plenty of revelations all around about the world Runner has come to inhabit. It also deals with Runner’s severe depression after the events of the last book, which I won’t spoil. There’s more “idiot plans” and new additions to Runners group of close followers.

Characters: Of all the new characters I found Satomi to be the best, though that may be slightly affected by the soft spot I have for the name as that was one of my teacher’s names in my Japanese High School class. That said Runner still was great to live the world through, even if Scott and Linda weren’t as present in this book as I would have liked. The rest of the cast was great, but truly the female leads were awesome in this entry with plenty of screen time for Grace, Sparky, Minxie, Brighteyes, Angel, and Bell.

Overall: An excellent ending to the trilogy, but not the end of the series apparently. The series will continue in the future, hopefully by the end of the year.

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: Otherlife Dreams by William D. Arand

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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

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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.

TNT: An Explanation on Subject Matter

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Hey all I’m back with an answer to a frequent question I’ve had for this week’s Translation Necessary Thursday! It’s An Explanation on Subject Matter

What Question?: Well I’ve been asked quite a bit why I don’t cover books like the Play to Live series or officially translated Light Novels and the like in this column. The answer is pretty simple, because they aren’t really the same to me.

Bulls*&% Michael!: No really, they aren’t the same thing to me. Not to mention the frequency with which they release official translations are slow as hell and isn’t going to meet any serious readers demands either. If I cover something that was translated in my Bookish Wednesday column like I did for yesterday’s Patch 17 it means that it’s been released in an Audiobook format and/or it usually has been available and translated for people who really want to read it on the internet for a while already. This isn’t always the case, but frankly I can’t be bothered to care about such things. I’m not going to pay for a translation that is often riddled with mistakes and I’m certainly not going to suggest others to buy such poorly made products either. I often get my source material for Bookish Wednesday from my local library for free.

But what about Yen Press and others like them?: Like I said above, it takes way too long for them to release things that have been on the net for months, often years, prior and have already been translated in a quality fashion by fans for fans. If they want to earn my respect, and I’m going to bet a vast majority of fans respect, they won’t earn it by releasing things so slowly. That isn’t to say they don’t do quality work, although sometimes it’s questionable, but speed has a big factor of whether people will buy it.

So why all the Chinese Novels recently?: Because I don’t like advocating going out there and finding books with “grey” methods. It’s not wrong in my opinion because I’m all for free stories, but the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way. So with the Chinese novels I try to cover series that have gotten official approval or authors flat out don’t care all that much. It’s also why I’m not active anymore on the Baka-Tsuki forums, even though I’m an official “leader” and have access to what they do in their admin forums. I put my two cents in on the subject and they decided to go a different route from what I suggested. I don’t agree and so I won’t cover stuff hosted by them anymore, unless the translated material is truly extraordinary.

That’s it for this week’s Translation Necessary Thursday!

Bookish Wednesday: The Citadel by Alexey Osadchuk

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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.