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Dungeons of the Crooked Mountains

Underdog Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Derek Shoales
Series: Underdog Series, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 13 & Up
4.5 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Summary

Eric was born in a world governed by the Great System, in the family of Aren Bergman, a respected miner from Orchus. But the joy of gaining a son was overshadowed by the newborn's terrible affliction. Eric was completely nulled-level zero and no characteristics points. The only things keeping him from dying were his tiny base supplies of "life" and "energy".

The medicine woman who delivered Eric believes this to be the work of the evil spirit, Bug. Due to the peculiar laws of the Great System, Eric cannot use experience essences or characteristics tablets, so he risks having to spend his whole life confined to a bed. But his father finds a solution. He takes out a large bank loan and goes to the capital where he buys a few artifacts of the Ancients on the black market, which have no level restriction.

Despite having the artifacts, Eric is still very feeble, and everyone in town thinks him a freak. But at least he can move on his own, and that gives the Bergmans hope. But alas, it isn't for long. On Eric's 14th birthday, his father and mother die in a mining accident. The bank takes their house, and Eric is left with no choice but to work off the remaining debt in the Dungeons of the Crooked Mountains. And so begins the story of a nulled boy's struggle to survive....

©2019 Alexey Osadchuk; English translation copyright 2019 by Andrew Schmitt (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Christopher
  • 03-11-19

Interesting and worth a credit, but has some flaws.

This was a different approach to GameLit and I really enjoyed it. The plot takes place within a larger mystery about the underpinnings of the world. It’s not exactly clear whether the world is digital or not and it makes for a compelling story. The translation is passable... There are plenty of grammatical errors and use of incorrect words that sound like the correct ones, but unfortunately, i can’t say that the editing fails are any worse than most of the American GameLit I’ve listened to/read. I just finished a M. Chatfield, 10 Realms book that was so full of the same language issues that I wonder if he dropped out of school before he had a chance to take 7th grade English. So if you’re a fan of the genre in general, I don’t think the translation will bother you too much. Which is to say that overall I recommend that you should give this book a try.

You can stop reading here if all you want to know is whether this book is worth a credit or not. But in interest of giving a thorough review, below I will talk about the issues I mentioned in the header...

The flaws are three-fold:
First, this is a Russian GameLit translated into English, and as such it suffers from a some typical Russian LitRPG issues... i.e., female characters are either cherished mothers, kind old ladies, or sex-objects whose descriptions are limited solely to their physical attributes. Available females’ personalities are one dimensional and the only justification for a male character to be in love with one comes down to whether and to what extent the lady in question is physically attractive. On average they are also portrayed as flighty and prone to weeping. Unfortunately, it’s been my experience that while not universal, this is the standard baseline for female characters in Russian GameLit.

Second, there is another pitfall of Russian LitRPG which is the superfluous musing and meandering inner dialogue of the MC. It’s not terrible in this book, but it did happen often enough to pull me out of the story at times. I have not read much contemporary Russian literature outside of this genre. So on both this and the first point I am not sure to what extent these themes are common to wider Russian literature, but they sure do pop up constantly in the Russian GameLit genre. Again these flaws are not so bad as to make this audiobook unenjoyable, but they did force me to drop my rating somewhat.

Finally, there’s the narrator; technically, he did a decent job. The characters had distinct voices and the story flowed smoothly...

However, Derek Shoales seemed to think that what this story really needed was to be overdramatized wherever possible. To some extent the author is responsible for this in that the MC is a pretty high-strung and emotional guy put into very stressful situations. Unfortunately, Mr. Shoales decided not to let the words do the job on their own. What results is a pretty hammy experience with character voices that approach vaudevillian melodrama. I’ve heard worse on Audible and it didn’t ruin the book, but it did suck, and I was annoyed.

This was one of those situations where it’s hard to tell how good/bad the book actually was because the performance leant an amateurish vibe to the overall experience.

In the end, these flaws are closer to gripes than to deal-breakers. They don’t stop you from enjoying the book necessarily, but they do lessen the experience.

14 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 25-10-19

This audiobook is fantastic!

I really enjoyed this story. It has been a while since a story got its hooks into me, the writing and the narration are just spot on!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn Cartan
  • 21-10-19

Awesome new series!

Alexey Osadchuk has done it again! This first book in the Dungeons of the Crooked Mountains series continues his legacy of original and entertaining stories. The protagonist starts off as nulled - with no stats and has to may his way using his ingenuity and persistence. For me, this was a welcome change from main characters who progress very rapidly to having huge powers. I'm rooting for the underdog and his slower progress. I can't wait for the next one in this series!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Zack
  • 21-10-19

A Fresh breath for the LitRPG scene

I have been a fan of LitRPG for almost three years now. Many of them are the same old same old story. This one however is something fresh and worth a read.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • william
  • 17-02-20

well written story with a decent plot

this is a story about taking avantage of a broken game mechanic but well told and without a main op character

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • RBD 2
  • 06-02-20

Not very good.

Seems written by a young teenager. My guess is that this is a non-English written story with the feel of the story lost in the language translation.

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  • Sailfish
  • 28-01-20

An enjoyable litRPG starting book

30 minutes into the book I had wondered if this was going to be a story I would enjoy through the end. I am pleased to write that it was very much so and i look forward to the next book in the series.

Alexey Osadchuk's writing and Andrew Douglas Schmitt's translation was quite good and Derek Shoales' narration was also entertaining and well done.

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  • John
  • 21-01-20

Its ok

The book is pretty decent, the only issues I have is that it's a Teen book and you need hear it a bunch within the narration of the story..

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Barry
  • 17-01-20

This book has potential.

there's a lot of good stuff in this book.
I just didn't enjoy the way the story enfolded.
there's a lot of potential here I hope it gets better in the next one.

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  • Cory Hatfield
  • 28-12-19

Loved it

I really enjoyed this book, The narrator didn’t awesome jobAnd I love the story. Can’t think of a better way to describe it then main character being super week but Being op at the same time. Whatever book 2 comes out I’ll definitely be getting it.