Loss was nothing new to an orphan like Riley. But when the online persona he'd spent years building was ripped away by a monster with unbelievable power, everything changed.
As a gamer who made a living from Sigil Online, losing his character meant losing his job and any means he had of paying his bills.
Now, he had to start from the beginning, just like any other player joining Sigil Online for the first time. All the fame and fortune of a high-level character was gone.
Experience the harrowing quest that will leave Riley changed forever, as he's molded by the pursuit of the monster that took everything from him.
©2016 Jeff Sproul (P)2017 Jeff Sproul
I am not a gamer, nor will ever be, but I do enjoy occasional visits into the electronic fantasy worlds so many seem to frequently inhabit.
Sigil Online is set in a time not far distant when the game has become a huge part of life for everyone, rating news updates and even video clips of recent action played to the general population by the media. Successful gamers are able to make a living by playing, the best can earn a lot of money. Reilly was one such player. At only 16, orphaned and alone in the world, he has built a comfortable life for himself as Radiance, an advanced player, 2nd tier: a Paragon. He has followers but, apart from one, no friends. But he is content.
Then his in-game character, Radiance, is killed and he loses everything. With almost no money left and fearful of not being able to pay his rent, he goes back to work: in Sigil. But he has to start the game again from the beginning with a new persona and no powers. And this time he is surprised by the kindness of others - occasionally - and as he progresses in the game, also grows as a real life person.
No real surprises in this basic coming of age story but the journey through the levels, the characters and, especially, the brilliantly conceived powers and described fight scenes make this a very memorable book, far better than some others I have read. The writing is very visual, the characters well drawn, although a little additional 'real' life background could have added deeper interest.
Juggling miriad character voices, a complex text of colour and action, narrator Jeff Hays is outstanding. Pacing his reading to match the speed and intensity of the storyline, this is a superb dramatisation, sounding as if there were a whole array of actors, male and female, taking part and not just a single voice artist. He binds the whole book together with his distinctive performance.
Simple story, complex and visual fight scenes, superb narration, this was a book which I could enjoy without deeper knowledge of gaming. My thanks to the rights holder for gifting me my copy of Sigil online:Paragons, via Audiobook Boom. Hopefully, there will be another following soon. If so, I will most certainly be looking out for it.
Writer, reader, now an avid listener, why hadn't I discovered this before!
I'm still pretty new to LitRPG and this is mostly brought on by facebook and the fact I'm a huge Jeff fan, so taking that into account, I'll post my review.
Jeff did a really great performance with this, some really good female characters as usual, Brenda and Laura for sure. Even with Chace and Aaron, and then Riley as well. I don't know how they put it all together, but with a Voice actor like Jeff there's something worth listening to in all the stories he's done.
So, a little bit of feedback on story. I enjoyed the story don't get me wrong, but there were some things that just left me feeling a little cold, and miffed. I get that the MC - Riley as Radiance was an ass and being knocked down a peg or two really was tough. But as a character, he didn't really seem to grow so much and there were many times throughout the story that I wondered why he never thought about certain things, why other characters never got a mention until it seemed it was past late. Some small parts of seeding in his thoughts here and there would have really benefited the story, no matter how much of an ass he was, no one just doesn't think about certain life events for so long or more so people, things like that play on your mind no matter who you are, or what you're doing.
Having said all that, and no spoilers for anyone else. There were some things I personally guessed really early on, maybe that's just my film background, I'm not sure, so I did think that was a little bit of a let down, not too sure what the writer might have done to aid that. Building their characters up some more, inside the game and out of it might have helped. I understand that maybe LitRPG's just want to be inside the game but for a real story to take place, there are things we do, on a day in day out basis that are interesting. That needs to be said and done.
Not a bad length, but I think it could have been longer, with better set up and story building. There's so much potential I'm still interested to see where this one goes, and what they do with the next 'game upgrade' so I'm not lost on it, like I have been with others. I'll be looking out for more, and will poke about to see any ebooks :) thanks for the entertainment.
Great story and great performance!
the story itself is mostly carried out inside a VR/AR world called Sigil online. the main plot of the story imo is the redemption and Frank maturing of the the main character who starts out has an arrogant just for me player and after an incident kills him, he makes a new one and grows from there to the conclusion.
side note; it's tough to give a good review without spoilers.
The narrator did an excellent job with the performance using a variety of different voices to give more depth to the story which helped with the immersion.
"Well performed, unique in ways"
Book provided by author, or affiliate for honest review ....
Well crafted and somewhat unique in a market almost as saturated as zombies. Narration then becomes a key distinguishing aspect. Jeff did well, if you like this genre you will enjoy this book.
"Coming of Age:::In Virtual Reality"
Riley is a bigshot VR star who supports himself through an online game called Sigil. He spends his days inside the game hooking up with various groups, killing monsters, and picking up loot. Until the day his bigshot character is killed and he has to start over.
Riley makes the mistake of reading press about his now dead character. It’s not good. People didn’t like him. They thought he was a jerk. So, he starts over and tries to fix the flaws in his game that made him so unlikeable. He meets other gamers. They allow him to tag along on their expeditions to build his levels. Something happens. Riley begins to care about the other gamers. He thinks of them as friends. Soon, he must make a decision. Will he go back to his former ways and bounce from group to group to use whoever he can to get more loot and move up in the game? Or will he stick with his new friends and watch their back and maybe move more slowly but have the comradery he is missing in his real life as an orphan?
I liked this story. I cared about Riley and wanted to see him get his levels back. But I wanted him to include his real life friend more in his life. And I wanted him to have friends and people he cared about because he was so alone in real life. I was rooting for him. I saw where the story was heading and who the white worm was long before it was revealed but enjoyed they story and stuck with it to the end.
The narration for Jeff Hays was somewhat subdued in this listen. There were no sound effects and his voices were less varied than I’m used to. So, it was just OK for me. I usually jump at Hays’ narrations because they are phenomenal. This one wasn’t a standout for me but it was still very good.
I received this audiobook for free through Audiobook Boom! in exchange for an honest review.
"Ready Player One without the nostalgia"
Paragons tells the story of an Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), Sigil Online, somewhat similar to a steroids version of World of Warcraft. Set sometime in the future the game is played using virtual reality sets that allow the player to move their characters and 'experience' the game. Sigil Online has become so massive and renown that the currency in the game is able to be traded for money outside the game, allowing people to make a living through playing the game. It is also so large that television news is filled with stories about the game - deaths of major players, updated to the game etc.
This is not too dissimilar to Ready Player One, the recent smash hit revolving around an MMORPG. However in Ready Player One the outside world's obsession with the game is explained through a huge monetary prize for finishing a super-quest. The reasons for Sigil Online being as famous as it is isn't given in the story.
Riley is one of the Sigil Online players making a living from the game, while playing with a major, well-known character. When that character is killed Riley is suddenly back to Level 0 and back to having no income and almost no way to get it. He has to build up a new character, all while finding new friends, discovering old friends weren't actually friends, and that his old online persona was generally disliked for being a selfish jerk.Riley is given a second chance to remake himself, not just his character.
The online story is interesting, and the action is well told. The powers hte characters have a diverse and interesting. The story is breakneck and has a few good twists in it, and it's all a little tense... until you remember that it is a game and it doesn't actually matter that much. Sure Riley makes money form the game and needs it to survive, but it is stated he has several months savings so that risk is not imminent. It never really gives much details of the world outside the game and how he lives and what other opportunities he might have if he didn't play. The outside world is so vague that the risk of him being forced into the 'real world' isn't really there. Add this to the fact that several character actually do say it doesn't matter if they die because they have other income and just play for fun. There is therefore no tension with them.
If this was real characters in a fantasy universe it would have been great, but adding the extra MMORPG layer that means the effects on half the characters aren't real really reduced the impact.
The pacing of the book is a little off too. While it is clear throughout what the climax will be about, it doesn't actual build the tension to it. It just is suddenly there. And then it is done and there is almost no details of the aftermath (at least not for the characters, there is an 'afterward' presented as a news story showing how Sigil Online will change).
Narration by Jeff Hays is great. Well paced, and very easy to listen to. He performs the book, not just reads it. Voices, emotions, comedic timing, building tension. It is all there and well done.
He makes the book better through his narration.
so incredable... a different takenon the other litrpg that i have heard but definitely worth it looking forward to many more deom this author
"A story of self realization set in a gamer world"
Yes. The narrator did an excellent job of conveying the main character's emotions as well as the many colourful people who are all linked with him in the world the author built.
Critical Failures series but with less over the top humor. This is an in game world story mostly and more mature than that. The world building and action in the game are entertaining as well.
Riley the main character is the orphan whose work is this game to survive in the real world. He starts the journey of self discovery a bit callous and jaded and ends it mature in multiple ways.
Self discovery through online gaming.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. This is my honest and unbiased review
"Well written, good narration."
The way Jeff Hays brings the characters to life, the idea of the world. I addition the fact the scenes are well paced avoiding any overly long,dull or pointless moments. Unlike a lot of fictional MMO type games in books this one seemed to be a believable game.
Yes they crafted an interesting world and I would like to see what could happen in it next. I want to know more about the world outside of the game Sigil Online.
As with all good narrators Jeff Hays grabs you and immerses you in the story with distinct characters voices lending emotion and motivation to them enhancing the story beyond the mere written words. I would happy listen to any book narrated by Jeff Hays.
Live, Die, ReRoll
I have no regrets spending the time listing to this book, it was interesting and engaging. I happily finished it over too days.
Yet looking back having finished the book it feels like a little something is missing from the story as a whole, there does not feel like there is quite enough pay off at the end of the story. Like it did not have as much of an impact as I feel the author was aiming for.
I believed it could have been a better overall experience if it was longer and we had more time to get to know the characters given more time and grow attached. That being said I am looking forward to see if there is a sequel as I liked the setting. I would like to know more about the world out side of the game as some things are hinted at but without a bit more context about what is normal it is hard to judge what it all means.
Worth giving a go. It is a well ordered and paced story that is interesting to listen too but would be better with a bit more depth and background. A solid 4/5.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.
"Nice LitRPG story. Good addition to the category."
YES! Love audible editions and virtually anything Jeff Hays does. He is excellent as usual
Love the category in general. This book isnt overly original, but if you like the category, you'll enjoy this book.
Yes - I found myself not wanting to stop. Very good, easy listen.
Strange things, well basically anything is possible in a video game as the players of Sigil Online are well aware of.
This was an enjoyable, entertaining and engaging story. The online world is interesting, creative and full of action.
I have never been a video game player. Even without any prior knowledge of how role playing games work I had no problem following the story even with all the odd and unusual things that happen inside of the game and to the players.
The players of Sigil Online work hard developing their characters and gaining their abilities. If they are not careful it can all be taken away with one wrong move. Riley learns this lesson on one fateful mission and has to start from the beginning to rebuild his character. Realizing that his character was not well liked, this time around he intends to play differently. The game is evolving and changing, Riley will have to change the way he plays and evolve with the game if he intends to stay alive in the game this time. Riley also learns this time around that the game isn't everything.
Jeff Hays did a fantastic job with the narration. Clearly spoken with a smooth even pace. This book has so many characters and each one had a distinct voice. You could always tell which character was speaking. He pulls you into the story through his narration and makes you feel like you are part of the action. It's always an enjoyable listen when he is narrating.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator or publisher.
"Interesting world, but lacking in plot development"
Disappointment. It had a strong start, but just floundered in the middle due to a lack of plot development. Things wrap up hurriedly at the end, but there's no pacing.
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