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Summary

A man broken by despair and depression, Grant Legate finds himself in a once-in-a-lifetime situation after receiving an Ultimate Edition copy of Continue Online. All he wishes for is a distraction from the thoughts plaguing his waking hours. He dives in headfirst, unknowing of the AI's intentions. They offer him the chance to play as one of their own, a NPC deserving of a proper send off. What he discovers during the journey shakes Grant to his very core.

©2015 Stephan Morse (P)2017 Stephan Morse

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

Different Litrpg, great start for a series

I read the e-book back in December and this was my review for a magazine. Following is the audio review.

Concept/world-building – 4
Plot - 4
Character – 5
Dialogue – 4
Prose – 5
Conflict/resolution – 4
Overall rating 4.5

It takes me a good while to get through a book, not an audiobook. So this was read before bed at night.

As far as LitRPG goes, I’m still wetting my appetite, absorbing all the audiobooks I can, and devouring works from Royal Road Legends.

For me, this novel stands out already for its incredible emotional impact as well as the attention to detail, both inside the VR world, and the Mc’s outside life. There were some excellent visuals in here, of the Mc as well. I mean who doesn’t wander around their own home in underwear?

The novel itself takes a little time to get going, and I didn’t mind that because instead of a prologue, which I do tend to skip. The writer gave us some very interesting passages of time. And then we’re launched into the main story.

Grant and his family are just like most people, they have a connection, but don’t always get along. I think that is one of the deciding factors as to why I enjoyed reading this as much as I did. I also thought a lot about the darker tendencies of the story. It’s very deep. It deals with a lot of inner struggles, and I believe that’s why the game helps out our sometimes depressed MC.

I enjoyed the journey that Grant goes on. When his niece shows him inside the game he is hooked, just as much as I was on the book. Old Man Carver, is an interesting character his life is almost peaceful within the game, ie, not quite as exciting as some, but the fact is he’s not really all there to go hunting big monsters, and such. This book has a much deeper level than all the regular litRPG’s, and his journal is very interesting, as is his life as an NPC.

With lots of humorous events throughout the novel, and I admit, I’m hard to make laugh. I also found this to be one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. I do hope there were supposed to be funny moments because I couldn’t help myself but laugh, maybe it’s my brit humour ‘go moo at that’ lmao.

I don’t want to spoil anything else for this reading journey, but there are some well-defined sub characters, backstory, world-building and more.

On the whole, this was a refreshing change to some of the litRPG books’ I’ve read and listened to so far, and it was and hopefully will be (as I’m heading to pick up the next one) one of the more memorable this year.

Performance -

Pavi was a very easy listen, I also have another of his LitRPG audiobooks. What made him stand out in this one for me, was I think the emotional tone of the story was very different.

What Pavi brought to the table here, was just pure emotion, and really out great effort into the characters tone and emotions. Compared to the ebook this was a totally different experience. I laughed out loud with Carver, and the others in the 'Game'

The ending was just perfect.

Well done Pavi. I look forward to more audio from you.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally found a litrpg with AI and romance

I really liked the story. I am a fan of the idea of romance between man and machine and this book delves into that idea but one step further, I love it. The other aspects of the book is also enjoyable as well. It's easy to sympathise with the main character as well making him easily likable. After reading the land founding, this story is so much better then that story.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Gamers.

This is a tough one,
I hade a love hate relationship with this book or more like hate love because the hate came first but as I kept moving forward into the story it got pretty good.
About recommending this book, that’s tough, I do but not for all games for sure will love it so I have no problems recommending it for that group, about anyone else I don’t know what to say.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Waiting...

Waiting a long time for something to happen, the book didn't go anywhere, found myself getting bored and at poi T-Shirt losing g the will to live.

Had promise but failed.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jayde
  • 17-05-17

Theater of the Mind lives on!


Once in a while a really good story is written by an author that is not that well known. This is certainly one.

I have heard Orson Scott Card talk about the audio book being the best medium for reading his books. My understanding of what he speaks of is that a movie takes all the imagination and places it on the director/producer to tell the story. The written book requires the engagement of the mind to decipher the letters on the page to bring the story to life. The audio book, on the other hand, allows the listener/reader to sit back and take in the story and let it play in the “theater of the mind”.

I listen to a lot of books and really enjoy most of them. But once in a while, one comes along that truly creates Card’s “theater of the mind” experience. This book was one of those for me.

The narration was not up to par. The character voices were not well differentiated although the narrator did not really just drone on. I got used to the narrator by the end of the book but think it would have been an even better experience by someone else.

The story however, was well above par. This is one that draws you in and don’t let go. The character development was well done with good pacing and did not leave you wondering who was who and what was going on. The story is about a video game that is so completely immersed in reality that while in the game it is easy to forget who you were before you entered. This audio book has such an experience in the “theater of the mind” that it is just like the game in the book. It is easy to get lost in the story and forget reality for a time.
Although this book stands alone as a complete story, it is the first book in a series and is a great introduction into the world for the stories to come. Can’t wait for more and if this book is any indication worth every credit I will be spending on the rest of the series.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audio book by the author, narrator, or publisher.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • HeatherY
  • 09-10-17

Amazing Depth

This is book one in the Continue Online series, and it's unlike any LitRPG novel I've read so far. Grant Legate works with an AI companion to repair virtual reality capsules. Grant throws himself into his work to distract from his recent loss and bouts of depression. When he's gifted a copy of the virtual reality game Continue Online, he finally takes the time to explore the game that the rest of the world is obsessed with. Once he does, he faces questions about the concept of reality and AI.

The author created an absolutely fascinating virtual reality world, and I can't wait to see Grant explore more of it. This wasn't a traditional LitRPG novel with hack and slash action scenes, level stats, and awesome gear. This book was more intellectual and explored more mature concepts. Like James, it asked more questions than it answered. It was very character driven, Grant was a broken man and it didn't shy away from showing the depths of his pain. While that could be difficult to read at times, it was deep, and real, and so worth reading.

The narration was well done, it fully immersed me in the story. His character voices aren't overacted and dramatic and they don't detract from the actual story. I requested a copy of the audiobook, and I'm voluntarily leaving a review.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ray Johnson
  • 16-05-18

A different LitRPG story, not what you expect

Most LitRPG books go this way. The main character has some external issue (physical handicap, coma, world is ending, they are dying, etc) and they enter a virtual world, kick a lot of buttm level up and start to come into their own. This is the first time that I've ever seen a VR used to help someone heal their psyche. There is a lot of character development and growth that occurs once we enter the virtual world. The book is introspective, and features more on the psychological than the physical.

The story is about a man, Grant, who loses his fiance and rather than facing her loss he attempts suicide. He tries therapy, but still has yet to move on. The VR world lets him experience someone ele's life, or at least life from a different perspective and that, my friend, is where this book sets itself apart. It could have gone a completely different way, with him finding love in the VR, or forgetting his "real" life and moving on, but that doesn't happen. Instead, he simply gets to reexamine himself.

The book does take a while to get moving, I enjoy slow burn type books, and never complain about the way a good story is set up. Shoot, you want to see a long set up look at the latest Godzilla movie, it took forever before we got a real look at the big guy, and when he did make it he was only there for about 10 minutes. Ok, that's a bad example, but it kind of proves my point. A long setup is OK so long as there is payoff. You won't have the set up blues here.

Prozcko comes off a little stiff, or maybe monotone, just slightly off at first, but he does a good enough job on the voices, and reads everything well. I think he just has a voice you have to warm up to at first. Once you get into the story you really don't feel that way anymore.

As a funeral director I found this to be an excellent examination of grief and mourning, and enjoyed that Morse opted to break off and not go the route of having to get crunchy with stats or do epic leveling. He created a mature and introspective it novel that stays with you. I look forward to the next book. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. In fact, getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matt
  • 10-01-18

A mixed bag

Pros: The overall story is very interesting. Unlike many books in this sub-genre, there is little to know discussion of character sheets. You will not have to listen to a bunch of number that have little to do with the story. The stats mentioned here only serve to underline what the protagonist and the reader do not know, which is the point.
Cons: certain phrasing, emotional hooks/character motivations/back story are used over and over. The author is not subtle in his writing.
Take away: I liked it and will likely listen to the second book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jonathan
  • 02-07-17

Wow

I wasn't sure about this book at first. The description seemed generic but I decided to give it a shot. I'm amazed. It takes you on a whirlwind of emotions. I can't wait for the next in the series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David Johnson
  • 11-06-17

loved every minute

i loved every minute of it. both the story and the voice actor were perfect.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Randy Barrett
  • 30-05-17

I cried and I laughed...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book carefully to others. If they have lost someone close to them and have had a hard time dealing with it, then this may not be the best of choices. There are some small parts that deal with great depression and a glancing blow at suicide, which I found tearful, having had to deal with that with friends and family. However the overall story line buoys an underlining emotion of hope and the struggles of the main character, who valiantly pushes onward, makes every triumph yours also. I greatly enjoyed this and wholeheartedly wish that Audible had more than just the first of the five books available.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dominique
  • 26-05-17

I want to live in this future

I love books about the future, especially a future with cool technology and artificial intelligence. This is once of those book that you should probably listen to a sample to see if you a) like the narrator and b) can follow along with the story for a few minutes to see if it's your cup of tea. I liked it right away.

I liked how two scientists fought passive-aggressively to call an artificial intelligence "it" or "she" and each refused to budge on the personal pronoun. It seemed like Stephan Morse was illustrating that prejudice won't end in the future; it will just change from race, religion and color to whether you're born human or not. It reminds me of some of the themes that Gene Roddenberry toyed with in Star Trek: TNG days in terms of crew not treating Data with equality at times because he was a form of AI.

Going into this book without knowing a lot is the best way to go. You'll either dig it or you won't. I'm a future-lover, so I loved everything about it, including the fact that it didn't get so hung up on gadgets or tech that it lots its main focus of human emotions and the struggles people face, which never seem to change no matter how much time goes by, Highly recommended for a nice escape from reality.

I should mention that I was provided this free review copy audio book by the author, narrator, or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • AudioBook Reviewer
  • 19-03-18

definitely going to listen to the rest

Grant Legate had a good life until his fiancé unexpectedly died in an accident. Then his world fell apart. After a couple of suicide attempts and a stay in a mental hospital, Grant is slowly putting his life together with the help of his twin sister and young niece.

Work is Grant’s life now. Grant and his robotic coworker repair machines that allow people to experience virtual alternative realities. In these machines, called ARCs, anyone can be anything they want to be.
Just about everyone has an ARC and there is plenty of work in repairing them.

Grant spends so much time at work that he gets way more work done than his colleagues and because of this, his boss gives him a gift. A copy of Continue Online, the Ultimate Edition. At first, Grant is hesitant to accept the gift and not sure that he wants to play. But his boss makes him take some of the vacation time he never used so, Grants gives the game a try.

Pretty much everyone plays Continue Online however only a handful of people are able to get a copy of the Ultimate Edition which has many unique features not offered to regular players. Once in the game, Grant is offered an unusual opportunity by the Voices of the game. The Voices are basically gods within the game. He takes the opportunity and what he learns helps him to move forward with his life.

Continue Online Part One: Memories is not what I have come to expect from a LitRPG book. In most LitRPG books, there’s a lot of talk about hit points, stamina, and other stats pertaining to the game. While there are mentions of those in this book, the plot is much more action driven. You hear more about the character’s lives and what they are actually doing. There is much more interaction between the characters and their environment. In my opinion, Memories is the perfect starter book for someone who is just starting out reading LitRPG.

Overall Pavi Prozcko does a good with the narration and characters voices. When I first started listening his voice sounded a bit monotone, however, once the book got to the main human characters, the narration was very good. Production quality was high, no audible hisses or pops.

Stephan Morse was able to take all the action and adventure from the LitRPG genre and make anyone feel like they are in the Continue Online game. Even if the reader has never played that type of game before. I definitely going to listen to the rest of this series.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michelle
  • 31-05-17

Unique spin on virtual reality and AI

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Memories is the first book in the Continue online series by Stephan Morse. It follows Grant Legate, a man who lost his wife and has now thrown himself into his work while most everyone else has become obsessed with the latest Virtual Reality "pods" that allow people to fully immerse into fantasy worlds. When Grant finally catches up with the rest of the world and tries the most popular Fantasy game, Continue Online he finds more than he expected and gets to experience the game in a unique way.

Overall I enjoyed this book and while this plot has been done before, I felt that Memories put enough of a fresh spin on it that it kept it interesting and unique. The story provides enough mystery and intrigue throughout to keep my interest. There were times I felt that the plot was moving a little slow but not enough to really diminish my enjoyment of the story, though it came close a couple times.

As a long time gamer and MMO player, there were a couple elements that bothered me throughout the book. First off Grant is employed by the company who makes the Virtual Reality systems as well as the hottest game "Continue Online", yet seems to know very little about the game and some of the VR systems functions. Before even trying the game Grant goes online to learn about the game but finds nothing useful. It is later hinted at that any specifics about the game put online have been deleted or taken down but it is not very well explained. The game also has no manual or instructions what-so-ever, yet millions of people including young teens are able to figure out the game easily - still, Grant seems to be completely lost despite being a gamer in his youth and working for the very company who makes the VR system AND game!

I was also a tiny bit frustrated that the end of the book barely answered any questions presented in the story, not even the main mystery that drives the protagonist throughout the story. I get it, this is a series and you want to leave some threads dangling to entice readers to continue reading the series but when none of the mysteries are answered it ends up accomplishing the opposite effect. I am more hesitant to jump into Book two as I do not want to invest my time into another book and find myself at the end of that book with still no answers! This has happened to me enough times before that I can often recognize the signs and this book has several of them. I will likely give book two a chance mainly because I am interested in the plot and world enough to give it a shot.

I listened to this story in Audiobook form, narrated by Pavi Proczko. At first, I was not sure about the narration as it felt a little robotic and dry... but there is a reason for that which I will not give away here as to not spoil anything. Once the story was underway and more characters were introduced the narration started to shine through and I was overall satisfied with the performance and would be willing to listen to more of Pavi's works and see other sides of his narration.

I would recommend this book to people who like Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Role Playing Games, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence.

**I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.**

6 of 7 people found this review helpful