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Life in the North: An Apocalyptic LitRPG

The System Apocalypse, Book 1
By: Tao Wong
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Series: The System Apocalypse, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (185 ratings)

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Summary

All John wanted to do was get away for his life in Kluane National Park for a weekend. Hike, camp, and chill. Instead, the world comes to an end in a series of blue boxes, animals start evolving, and monsters start spawning. Now, he has to survive the apocalypse, get back to civilization, and not lose his mind. Life in the North is book one of the System Apocalypse, a litRPG apocalypse series that combines modern day life, science fiction, and fantasy elements along with game mechanics.

©2017 Tao Wong (P)2018 Tao Wong

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

Too many rage monologues

I saw someone write something similar before but I just can’t identify myself with the MC, I don’t know how it feels to have anger issues which probably explains why most of the MC’s monologues seemed irrational to me. Also the dark elf guy, I am not homophobic, but scenes with him were a bit uncomfortable to me. But besides that the story is fine. The world seemed to be shaping well and I hope there will be more dungeons. I just wish that John would maybe pay some attention to what’s happening in the towns and with people, because really his monologue are getting really annoying after some point. I am willing to give the next book a try and see where it goes from there.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Unexpected!!

This book rocked!! I read the blurb and had a picture of what I thought it was about, but this is so much better than I thought. The plot was unique and intriguing!! The basic premise is that John needed a break and so went to Kluane National Park for the weekend, little did he know that his life is about to change beyond anything he ever thought! He wakes up to a world completely changed. He is living in a game, but it's not a game, it's real life and he needs to figure out how to survive and level up before it's too late! The plot was fast paced, intriguing and exciting!

I didn't really like John. I found his anger issues just.... weird and annoying. I felt like there was no need for them, but then again, maybe it's revealed in a later book!! All I know is that I had a hard time connecting with him. Not that I totally hated him, he did have some redeeming qualities and I'm hoping he grows a bit more in the next one.

The world building was the best thing about this book. I loved the idea behind it and feel like it's a novel and unique LitRPG book that everyone should read. I loved trying to figure out the world along with the characters. There is also a plethora of magical animals and beings to satisfy everyone. I fell in love with the world and can not wait for the next one!!

In all, a fun and fast read. It captured my attention right from the start and held it till the end. An intriguing and exciting book and I highly recommend!!

I've heard of Nick Podehl before but never listened to anything he has narrated, but that was my mistake because ,wow, he was amazing!! He had an array of tones and voices for all the characters and really brought this to life. It was like listening to a cast of characters instead of just one person. I've already added some of his other ones to my wish list.

I was given this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting idea for a story

Do you have any additional comments?

During action it was easy to follow the story but often I found the changes between scenes and enviroments erratic and abrupt. It is just my feeling though so don't let me put you off this book. The idea for the story is really good and characters are unique. It's just the way the story flows made me loose track of it more times than I can count. But if you can ignore it, this is a good book overall.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • MK
  • 03-05-20

disappointing all round

I have now listened to like 8 books in this series. As much progression happens in the first hour of this book as the entire rest of the series this is a huge underlying problem in the authors writing but I will cover the other problems with this series and why it eventually leaves you dissatisfied with it.

Firstly 1 dimensional characters and a railroad plot make this impossible to invest in. For example everyone expects John to do everything all the time.

"hey John fight literal everyone in the universe who wants earth with no help and then come here and pay for my new start up which will literal never pay you back a thing also I'm gonna betray humanity and destroy our chances of freedom see you later."

This is lana perhaps the worst developed character in history 1 diemnsional, demanding and annoying to no end.
Despite being the main character and having the main character tax imposed on him having to pay for everyone else mearly for existing the MC is still undeveloped. The only defining thing about him is that he has anger issues that's it nothing else. I'm not hating on anger issues just that it is not a replacement for a real personality.
Because of this no motivation is possible because the character are poorly developed it's like getting a dog to solve a rubik's cube, possible but almost never going to happen and if it does it's a coincidence.

Progression is a Litrpg most important element and this book only allows a mockery of it. John literal gets as much or more progress at the very start as he gets almost the entirety of 8 books later. Getting powerful is great except he is ALWAYS fighting someone more powerful so there is no change. what I'm trying to say is that almost all the litrpg talk could be removed and the only difference remaining would be the name of the abilitys that actual do something tangible.

The reason this book and the entire series is so unsatisfying is because the author never finishes a story. He doesn't defeat the duchess he just let's them take over he doesn't unify the humans and drive off the invaders instead opting to leave for plot reasons? maybe. he does everything poorly and gives away everything its fustrating that the author portrays EVERYONE like the definition of abusive in relationship terms. Also despite constantly fighting MC is so unskilled at fighting that everyone except his students lecture him on fighting its ridiculous.

I have tired to portray the underlying problems with the authors writing with examples but this book does one nice thing it doesn't preach it could very easily fall into that category but it avoids it well despite a highly political plot at some points.

Narration was decent nothing note worthy.
I will not be following this series any further because the author is drawing out a plot which should have been 3 books long at most and doesn't deliver well even then.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Passable

The story is fine. The narration is fantastic. Nick did a great job as always.

My only problem with this series is the social signalling.

The MC repeatedly encounters situations where he explains how he isn’t gay but being gay is ok. It feels shoehorned in and I’ve noticed in other series by this author that this situation crops up in all his books.

There are repeated “racist white redneck” characters that justify the characters of colour lamenting the injustices of racist white folk. At one point in a later book the MCs former love interest (a stereotypical buxom redhead white woman who the MC was more than happy to be with) is described as a “middle class white girl that never escaped that mindset”. This is racist in my view. The author also never addresses the well documented attitudes of Chinese and Japanese to black and white folks, or native African attitudes to other races that strikes me as hypocritical.

If you can ignore semi frequent virtue signalling and like this genre you will probably enjoy this story.

There are much better books in this genre such as reborn apocalypse, the excise/equalise series among others.

It’s ok and could have been amazing if it wasn’t for the authors anti european racism which comes across as preachy and divisive especially as the demographic of people who enjoy this genre are generally european men. Social signalling in entertainment always alienates a part of your audience.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

After first i bought the other 4.

Well as the title say i really liked it, The system is one hell of a world. Literpg skills and world build is quite important this got that and some intresting chars.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

More laughs per chapter than most LITRPG.
Due to both the writing and the performance of narrator.
Great different twist to the genre. And very funny.
If you’re looking for a good LITRPG to go for, this won’t disappoint you.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best Listens

I just finished listening to this fantastic book. The main character i found to be sympathetic and understandable a guy just wanting to put his past behind him and live life when suddenly the world changes. The voice actor is able to carry of the multiple characters well and the writer builds a believable world. Far better than some of the LitRPG garbage out in the land. For anyone interested in gamelit you should give this a listen. i already plan on reading the authors other books in the series.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Really great story

Really great story, purchased the next book before I was even halfway through the first one. May have to buy the ebooks to carry on story.👍

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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TRUE LITRPG!!! 5 🌟 STARS PERFORMANCE!!!!

Life in the North is true a great idea and superbly well achieved and balanced with a bit off fight and base construction. Nick really much enjoy this because I can even feel the carecters emotions coming through!!! I can certainly said that I am in love with this series!!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • adam
  • 13-08-18

Great Book! Negative reviews are misleading!

This is a great LITRPG! I loved it! I bought book 2 and 3 already and can’t wait to listen to them.

WARNING ABOUT MISLEADING AUDIBLE REVIEW COMMENTS!!!
Despite being a LitRPG enthusiast I refused to read this book for multiple months because of the negative reviews. There was a similar trend of issues mentioned in audible comments which are typically red flags for books that I will not enjoy. These concerns were unfounded and I want to mention them just in case other listeners are deciding to not read this for the same reasons:
1. I cannot stand it when the main character is dumb or when stupidity drives plot. If I am fifteen minutes in and I keeps screaming “WHY DID YOU DO THAT?” then there is a high probability that the book is being returned. There were a lot of comments which seemed to suggest that the main character kept making dumb decisions or that his rage caused him to make dumb decisions. Yes…The main character has a rage problem, but other than some emo moments in the last ~10 minutes of the book I didn’t see it leading him to dumb decisions. In some ways I understood it. Minor spoilers…There was a moment when he sees a terrible sight and his “rage” drives him to want to kill a bunch of overpowered monsters that “an army would have trouble fighting.” His companion warns him not to, but he risks his life and moves in to fight anyways. At first I was slapping my head because I expected him to run into the middle of these monsters’ guns blazing. I was pleasantly surprised when he formulates a plan, which takes most of a day to implement, and manages to kill all of the monsters. A risky well executed plan leading to great rewards, thumbs up scene in my opinion.
2. This refers to the many comments mentioning “HOMOSEXUALS.” Typically I have a lot of trouble stomaching sex scenes in general. I prefer them to be vaguely hinted at and if not, I usually skip them because they are typically awkward to overhear or to melodramatic for me. For example; my heart was burning with such intensity that I worried it would melt through me, around him, and down my legs…
Really?
Really?
That being said explicit man-on-man sex or man-on-man emotions are a bigger turn off. I don’t think I’m homophobic, I believe in gay rights and really don’t care where you put your sexual organs, as long they are willing and past the age of consent. I think my issue is that when I read books I typically see myself as the main character and I don’t find men attractive. If I am putting myself into the viewpoint of someone who is pining over a wilder beast of a man, then its difficult for me to maintain immersion because I can’t see myself in that situation.
With all that being said, let me state that the “homosexual” sentences (because I can’t say there is a homosexual scene in the entire book) is so trivial that I am surprised anyone even mentioned them. I went into this expecting to be skipping chapters where the main character is having “ball slapping sex” with Joe the Lumber Jack. Instead I have maybe ten sentences in the entire book that may suggest the main character is Bi but prefers women. Not only that but other than a single sentence that states “I dabbled back in college.” the only male he seems to be attracted to is an elf who has a MAGICAL ABILITY WHICH MAKES PEOPLE ATTRACTED TO HIM. So the three scenes with the elf are pretty much like:
*Sees elf* “I want to kiss him.”
*Elf smiles coyly at him*
“I don’t trust him, and I don’t have time for this.”
The only other thing is that some people actually think that the main character is interested in this elf but the only actual sexual encounter he has is with a women and thankfully its pretty much just mentioned.

Legitimate concerns
These concerns did not impact my enjoyment of the book but if you are someone who can only spend a credit on a perfectly written book, then it may impact your enjoyment of it.
1. This is a LitRPG. If you don’t know the genre a writer uses role playing game themes or systems when creating their fantasy world. For example, a leveling system is used in this fantasy world. That being said some LitRPG enthusiasts will not enjoy this book as the LitRPG aspects are kinda light. Although I preferred it… rather then 10 minutes of reciting spreadsheets this book focuses more on the characters.
2. I felt like this book didn’t have a good antagonist, climax, or resolution. The closest thing to a main antagonist seems to be the world itself. When the book ended it left me wanting more and if there wasn’t a book 2 for me to immediately jump into I would have been disappointed.

117 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 29-10-19

should have read the reviews

the main character was whiney and borderline psychotic. it was really offputting to have him go from whiney self loathing to raging out and slaughtering small animals. anytime he heard or saw something he didn't like he screamed and swore and threw a little tantrum. if this is what the author thinks makes a good and relatable main character then maybe he needs to see a psychiatrist......

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kurtis Karr
  • 10-10-18

Just couldn't get into it.

I usually like litRPG but this one wasn't for me. I made it half of the way through before I realized that I just didn't care about any of the characters or what happened to them. Always a bad sign.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jaryn Drakeln
  • 20-01-19

Protagonist becomes increasingly disturbing

As the story progresses the protagonist more and more frequently deals with his anger by seeking out things to kill. It was fine the first couple times when there was an element of justice but the narrative tends toward sadism in a way that's increasingly disturbing.

The climax was very unsatisfying, cementing my decision not to continue reading this series.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • TampaDave1968
  • 06-04-18

A promising concept ruined by the main character

Would you listen to Life in the North: An Apocalyptic LitRPG again? Why?

I probably won't listen to it again. The protagonist, John, is supposedly a late 20s or early 30s computer programmer with severe interpersonal problems. It felt like watching a teenager in an adult's body with superpowers flop around with zero self-awareness

Which character – as performed by Nick Podehl – was your favorite?

Ali the spirit

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • ED
  • 07-04-18

good till the end

it's a good book up till the last hour or two. then it just turns into I'm a winey little baby that can got over my feelings. real though the last hour of the book kill the hole thing for me.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 26-03-18

annoying main character

the worst character is by far the main character. I stopped the book half was and went through another before finishing it.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 06-03-18

Great story and performance

I love this storyline but I don't know why. I really like the narrator and he has done other Lit RPG books just as well. It makes me nervous that the third book is "not available yet" I hope this doesn't become a never ending wait like a few other series I am waiting STILL for the next book in the series to become buyable! Some of these I have been waiting YEARS for not exaggerating. DON'T WAVE THE CARROT IN FRONT OF MY FACE IF YOU NEVER GIVE IT TO ME! But yah worth the credit and would buy book three as soon as it becomes available.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-08-18

Interesting concept

Post apocalypse rpg is a very interesting concept. I may be old school in disliking the modern tech that's available but it makes sense for the story. What turned me away is how much it jumps around, sometimes hard to completely follow. Not a bad story by any means and I will, at a later date, come back to the following works to finish the series.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jed
  • 25-04-18

Great narrator, no real story

This book is fun with sufficient amount of leveling and action but with no real direction. I guess the book is titled appropriately in that it’s just following various characters life of survival. I just wish there was an overarching goal or mystery or something that drives the story forward. (For example finding out a way of defeating the system that has been set up and working toward it). The more I listened the more bored I became due to this weakness.

2 people found this helpful