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C. Rowlands

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Enjoyable instalment of this series

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

Reviewed: 18-10-19

I have read/listened to some of the earlier books in this series, but not the previous two and was thus pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to jump back into the series. While things have changed quite drastically for Ivy, these changes are readily covered in passing in this new book and do not detract from my enjoyment of this instalment, which is a credit to the author as getting the balance of progression and accessibility right is a tricky task the more books there are in a particular series.

The narration helps to enhance the listener's enjoyment of this book, with suitably distinctive tones to cover an extensive cast and pleasant tones to ensure that it is not tiring to the listener.

Overall, this was an enjoyable instalment in this series and I will be looking out for subsequent ones and returning to those earlier ones I have missed out on previously.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

Interesting world-building with cinematic feel

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

Reviewed: 18-10-19

This book is an interesting mix of ideas and world-building that are probably stronger than the characters within it, while there's nothing particularly wrong with them, they simply don't feel as fleshed out as the world itself and it's rules of magic.

The pacing of the book feels quite cinematic, a steady pace until the end of act one event and then it kicks into a much higher gear, on the whole this works well for me, but some people might find some of the later parts of the book to be a little rushed and that is reflected in the overall runtime of the book that is slightly shorter than most.

The performance of the narrator nicely enhanced this book, clear and distinctive tones ensuring the varied cast was suitably presented in a manner that helped the enjoyment of the listener.

Overall, this was an enjoyable introduction to the book's system of magic and world that will probably payoff more in the future if the author adds more books to the series.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

Interesting world and characters

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

Reviewed: 09-10-19

I have read or listened to a number of books from this author and a lot of them have been about the heroes of Just Cause (not to mention their failings) but this one is distinctly different from those with the near-future setting and being focused on a main cast that could more generously be called antiheroes. One particular thing that they do have in common with those other books is that the main cast is an interesting one that serves to draw you into the book very effectively.The author does a good job of still keeping the story feeling grounded despite the crazy settings and adventures of this varied cast.

The narrator's performance was a good one overall, keeping the cast sufficiently distinctive in tone to help the listener's immersion and keeping the tone and pace at the right level for the story too.

Overall, the author has created another interesting world and cast in this book that all contributed to my enjoyment of it.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

Interesting start to this series

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

Reviewed: 09-10-19

While I enjoyed the focus in this book on cultivation being the method of progression rather than it being a side element alongside regular levelling as is more often the case in more mainstream gamelit, some of the story felt a little too heavy-handed such as at the start where it seemed like the author was trying to build the connection between the reader and the main character simply by making everyone else so completely unlikable more than by making the main character grab the reader more readily. One aspect of the story that I thought worked particularly well was how readily the author expanded the book's world with both the reader and the main character rapidly learning how small the initial world and people actually were.

The narrator's performance was a pleasant and clear one, with all the main characters having suitably distinctive tones that served to enhance the story and my enjoyment of it very well.

Overall, an interesting and fairly strong start to the series and I will be interested to see how it progresses from here.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

Entertaining take on this bit of the gamelit genre

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

Reviewed: 09-10-19

The dungeon core style of gamelit books already adds a twist to the basic genre, but the author does a good job with this take on the sub-genre with the attitude and personality of his main character carrying the book through what is obviously the earlier stages of a much bigger story.

The narrator's performance was notably stronger with the female characters, but was still sufficiently distinctive with the rest of the cast and served to nicely enhance my overall enjoyment of the book.

Overall, this was an enjoyable listen, but will probably seem even stronger when placed in the context of a larger series and I will look out for further books in the series.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

Interesting and quick listen

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

Reviewed: 09-10-19

Usually when books tackle the subject of immersive VR, they tend to be set once it has been fully established and integrated into daily life, so the author's decision to go for an earlier phase where there was still room for groundbreaking discoveries was an interesting one and some of the other ideas in it work really well. However, the snarky overall tone of the writing was a little too overbearing at times for me as it felt a little jarring and I didn't connect as readily with the book as I could have done, a little more subtlety to it and the tone would have been perfect for the subject matter, so I am sure some will find it to be spot on.

The narrator's performance worked well with the subject matter, he helped to convey the somewhat bleak nature of the book's world and had a suitably distinctive range of tones for the supporting cast too.

Overall, this is quite a short book and ideal for somebody who would devour it in a single sitting as if it was a long movie, in many respects it felt quite cinematic, try the sample as it gives a good impression of the author's writing style.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

Stakes are greatly raised for the heroes

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

Reviewed: 07-09-19

This series opened strongly with some strong world-building along with an interesting and varied cast, this second instalment maintains that strong start and then proceeds to ramp everything up with the main cast suffering and struggling greatly against an even bigger threat than before.

The trouble they experience in this book helps to further develop the characters strongly, particularly Harper who learns the terrible secrets of her ancestry, not to mention additional pressure being put on her with a prediction of a destiny for her too.

The narrator again delivers a strong and entertaining performance that nicely enhances the immersion and enjoyment of this book.

Overall, this series goes from strength to strength, building on a strong opening book.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

Strong start to this series

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

Reviewed: 07-09-19

In another series by this author, I found the world-building to be strong, but the characters weren't as engaging and the series was weaker than it should have been. So far this new series seems like it maintains the strong world-building of that one, but crucially for me, I found the characters to be far more interesting and they helped to draw me into the book that much more strongly.

The narrator of this book also helps to enhance the book with a strong and distinctive performance that helps to bring the cast to life in an enjoyable manner.

Overall, this book worked very well as both a standalone and as the first part of a series and I am enthusiastic about subsequent books.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

Good start to this series

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

Reviewed: 26-08-19

Most of the litrpg books I have read have not been in the dungeon core style, that is where the main character is the dungeon or some entity bound to it in some fashion, but this one worked well for me as the main characters settled in well to their new circumstances despite the manner in which they became trapped in the game.

The narrator gave a very good performance, with pleasant and distinctive tones that helped to enhance my enjoyment of the story.

This book is quite a short one, but during its running time the author manages to progress the story well and makes the main characters interesting enough for me to want to see the subsequent books in the series.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

Lacked subtlety at times but good overall

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

Reviewed: 26-08-19

The combination of litrpg and super powers worked well in general, but the author didn't make enough use of the game mechanics and progression seemed overly generous with the main character simply picking up new powers whenever they needed something new. Despite the somewhat haphazard progression, the main character was an interesting one that helped to draw me into the book, the supporting cast did their part too with interesting characters and a wide range of powers with many that were out of the ordinary for a comic book setting.

While the author had a number of clear themes he wanted to push with this book and most of them added to the story, I think a little more subtlety at times would have worked wonders, sometimes less is more, reusing a Trump quote verbatim for a character to establish them as racist felt a little lazy as the same thing could have been more effectively accomplished with a bit more originality from the author as then it wouldn't have clouded the message.

The narrator was well chosen for this book giving a particularly strong performance in helping to bring the main character to life while providing a suitable range of voices for the supporting cast in a manner that helped to enhance the book.

Overall, an entertaining listen and the decision to split it into separate books worked well and helped the pacing, but I would recommend skipping the excessively long character sheet recap at the end of the book which was over half an hour and really didn't work as part of an audiobook. (I'm sure it is fine in a text edition)

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]