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 eight 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 enjoyed relative freedom while serving the rest of his time. But being a Shaman, he can't help himself. Soon he's a clan leader, taking 50 of the continent's top players to claim the secrets of the Dark Forest.
©2016 V. Mahanenko; English translation copyright 2016 by Natalia Nikitin (P)2016 Tantor
Again this book needs to be read in order and is a good continuation of the story line. Characters are levelling up and it is good to see that whilst they need to level it is not poorly done. The author manages to stop it being too power levelly but equally allows development at a pace. Character story and world development continues to be really good and I like the development more and more. Roll on the next book.
So far the first three Audio books of “The way of the Shaman” series are the best LITRPG I’ve heard. I’ve enjoyed others’ in the genre like “Ready Player One,” and the “Phantom Server,” and the “Play to Live” series; although the follow up to RPO stunk and the last few books of the “Play to Live,” series had lost some of the excitement, but “The Way of the Shaman” just keeps getting better and this third book, “The secret of the dark forest,” is the best so far; I didn’t want it to end.
From the start of this series I liked the premise; a future society sending its prisoners to a virtual world called Barliona, where they must endure hard labor, digital style, in order to earn their way into the general gaming population. Daniel Mahan is one such prisoner, an engineer and hacker sentenced to eight years in the game. Mahan soon learns that he has a natural talent to survive in this world and becomes the Shaman that this series is centered on.
Barliona is a place of magic and special abilities with many unique and complex quests; some that have expanded through the entire series and have yet to come to fruition; the Emperor’s chess set, for instance, and we still don’t know the entire story behind Mahan’s incarceration. Then there is the exceptional and surprising character leveling and I really like the relationship with the NPC characters; they are not simply passive gaming props but integral parts of the story line.
About the narrator; at first I wasn’t sure about Jonathan Yens performance, but have now found it works perfectly with Vasily Mahanenko writing.
Hurry up with the next book, please!!
"Keeps getting better"
When I started the series, I was cautiously optimistic about litrpg. I never really enjoyed books based in gaming worlds. I always found them to be lacking. To my great surprise, this series has quickly become one of my favorites. It helps that I'm an old gamer and the references to game culture and game mechanics are nostalgic. If you enjoy gaming, this series will pull you in and leave you wishing for more. I have shared the series with other old gamers to universal appeal. I'm not sure how non-gamers will react to the series but I think the story and characters are exciting enough that it would be worth checking out if you are on the fence.
This book paid off in ways I never could have expected. Just when I was starting to lose interest the book took a turn that had me hooked until the end.
This author is excellent at creating moment after moment of sheer delight. Everything you would want to happen in an MMO.
"Vasily Mahanenko has done it again!"
This book is nothing less than spectacular. If you enjoy the LitRPG genre then this series is for you.
Vasily, I applaud you with a virtual standing ovation you're an excellent writer. This unique story line keeps getting deeper and more exciting with every new book. Congratulations to you sir!
"they just keep getting better"
I have been waiting for this third book to finally get released in audio format, and was so excited when I saw it that I splurged my remaining credit (I was saving it for something special) immediately and bought it. I really enjoy this series not just as a gamer and fantasy novel lover but overall it's just an outstanding series. Mahanenko and Yen are an incredible team together; as a narrator he is on part with Nick Podehl or Oliver Wyman imo. Each character has their own unique voice as well as very in depth fleshed out backgrounds. This makes you really get sucked into the story, then all of the sudden a rare gear piece drops and you're hit with the stat increases and buffs given to the character (s) that makes me suddenly have that "oh yea!" moment; I constantly forget the book is a LITRPG. The only reason I did not give it a 5/5 was that personally the book was a little slow for me in some parts (10 minutes, once an entire chapter) just making me space out, but that's just me. I still loved the book and will reread it often as well as immediately buy up the next book when it drops. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
"Another great one can't wait till the next!"
Great story. Can't think of anything bad to say. will be buying all other books to come in this series.
I want more! After the third book in a series I'm usually fed up with the story but not in this series. I can't wait to see what happens next!
"Need the next one"
just as good as the first two books in the series looking forward to the next one. I might have to buy the next book in the series in December when it comes out in paperback on Amazon
"Best book of the series"
Excellent performance by the narrator, and a story with lots of surprises for Mayan and his clan. Can't wait for the next book!
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