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: Project Daily Grind by A. Osadchuk

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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.

Bookish Wednesday: The Kartoss Gambit by Vasily Mahanenko

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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

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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.