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Fantastic Survival / Crafting GameLit

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-02-20

If you like Terraria, Conan Exiles or ARK: Survival, you'll love this book.

Fresh Blood had the feel of a cool, gritty survival crafting game: collect stone and timber to make an axe, use that axe to chop down a tree then use the tree to make a crafting bench (all while fighting off monsters). It had realistic edge that I enjoyed - killing creatures to survive isn't always nice, and it isn't always clean - and the characters made intelligent decisions (as opposed to ones just to further the plot).

Speaking of characters - it was great to see depth in the alien sidekick, and though the female characters were sparse, I was pleased to see them written as strong and kick-ass. No juvenile, forced romance plotlines in sight.

All in all, a great listen. I look forward to book two.

Magnificent.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-10-19

THIS is how a story should be written (and told)! The story takes a couple of chapters to get into, but after that... woo boy was I hooked. Full of charm and wonder, it could have been the next Harry Potter if Seiple hadn't included swear words or the occasional darker element. As it stands, it's a story for adults regardless of the teddy bear protagonist.

For those who enjoy litrpg / gamelit who are wondering if this is for them... yes, it is. This is a different take on the genre for sure, but that's not a bad thing and it's done better than most. I've given other books 5 stars in the past, but this is one of those rare instances where I wish I had a higher score again, because this is on another level. World building was excellent, characterisation was excellent, dialogue was excellent. This is crunchy litrpg, which usually means lots of boring stat tables, but here it was handled really well.

Narration by Tim Gerard Reynolds was spot on. I think actually gets better as an audiobook than written word. Every single voice (and there's lots) was distinct and immediately recognisable, and the read was masterfully paced.

One gripe, because hey, I want to be honest - there's a section with a whole lot of puns thrown one after the other. It kinda removes you from the story a little, and while most worked the occasional one fell flat. Other than that, if you're still reading... possibly considering... go for it.

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1 person found this helpful

Great story if you like the narrator.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-19

As far as LitRPG / gamelit goes this is a great title.The book was an intelligent take on a 'joe-everyman' character. The unusual class was a refreshing change and as always, Mr. Krout deserves a standing ovation for his worldbuilding and subtle humor.

The book was predominantly slice of life, which is something of a disappointment. It read almost as serialised, with the author unable to go back and update earlier sections to make a more intricate story. The 'big' plot twist at the end of the story had some minor foreshadowing, but for the most part the character just went from quest to quest, solving one then the other without a clear direction or hints at a larger story (except for a goal to 'complete everything the game can offer,' which feels to me a bit generic). I would have loved a clear goal for the character at the start, and the bad guy the MC ultimately defeats to have made a show in the beginning, not at 70%. There was also the occasional bout of head hopping, not that this was too big an issue.

I do have some reservations about the narrator. Many of the voices tended to blend together, except for one side character that sounded like she had a speech impediment and a system message accent that I wasn't a fan of. Audiobook production itself was similarly lacking - this is a bare bones narration, don't go expecting sound effects. The narrator even says things like 'cough' instead of just acting it out.

All of this said, there's still a reason this book is rated so highly. Within this genre at least, it's one of the better books out there, and a thoroughly pleasurable read... or listen.

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4 people found this helpful

Unique 'town building' litrpg

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-10-19

Unique, enjoyable story with fantastic narration. Without giving away major plot points, it follows the adventures of a player stuck in a video game who has been turned into a monster and must build a settlement.

Though the book is an easy listen, be prepared for a plethora of stat tables and crunchy numbers which can get tedious. The author also has a tendency of repeating information two or three times in rapid succession. Made me feel like I was back at school, being told what was important by the teacher. Luckily this dies out and isn't an issue after the first couple of hours.

This is my first Soundbooth Theatre listen and I have to say I'm impressed. The audio was clean and beauiful to listen to, with little sound effects that really made a difference, like chimes and reverberation when appropriate that really added immersion to the story.

My one big issue, and the reason this book gets 4 stars not 5 for story, was the inclusion of a reasonably detailed torture scene toward the end of the book. While justified, it wasn't pleasant to listen to and came about suddenly. This, and the inclusion of one 'fade-to-black' sex scene, makes this book 100% not suitable for children.

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