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Summary

Aaron Hope plays video games, like a lot, just not professionally. When he entered the EpiX! Games! PVP World Championship on a lark, this college senior never expected to make it to the final round, nor to get drugged and shoved into the alpha test for World of Ruul.

The premise for this virtual reality MMO is simple. Find all eight treasures scattered throughout the world before the maelstrom's forces devour everything in sight. The only catch? You can't log off, and if you die...well, let's just say what happens in the game doesn't stay in the game.

©2017 Jason Cipriano (P)2017 Jason Cipriano

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

Suprisingly brilliant

I cannot explain why I was not originally keen to buy this book. Maybe it was the description. Maybe it was the cover art. Maybe it was the fact that the Author has written many other genres than RPGLIt. However, the delay in picking up this book was totally my loss. It is excellent.

I have spent half the day at my desk pretending I was on a conference call listing to the end of this book. it is witty, clever, funny and downright entertaining.

These books are often power leveling crazy, saving the world or some lame attempt to be an anti hero whilst still of course being a hero. Here it is quite different, even though he is a bit of a hero!

The characters are great, (love George and his attitude) well thought out and with some real identity. Plot good, could do with a tiny bit of pacing work perhaps, but that is me being very picky and also you wont believe me if I don't find some small fault.

if you are the shy retiring type then there is a fair bit of swearing, but it is in context and in no way appears to be overdone.

In short go get the book. I will now have to see if I like his other books now!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

a fun lit rpg romp <br />good fun but at a cost <br />

I enjoyed it a fun rpg lit novel well narrated but I think 9.99 per book would be fair I don't think £50 PLUS IS FAIR for the series while I love these easy to listen to novels the cost out weighs the experience - audible needs to at the least sell a set at a discount some are way way overpriced otherwise I will stick to reading the book

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

Good book overall.

While I did enjoy the book, I felt that the amount of swearing in it was uncalled for. I'm no prude having grown up with an Irish father, but really I don't think I could let my child listen to this. Bar that story was good, performance was great.l, just don't think all the swearing was needed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jenniferk
  • 25-02-17

A nice surprise and very addictive

Would you listen to Soulstone: Awakening: A LitRPG Novel again? Why?

I would listen again since by the end of the book I was better acquainted with the subject matter and will probably hear things I may have missed the first time around. I haven't heard many litRPG books and I don't play the games. I found out that I didn't need to be familiar with gaming to get into the story quickly. It's main plot is easy to follow and it felt like I was reading a regular supernatural book. There is plenty of humor and since the characters are learning as they go through the story I was pulled along quite easily. The author expertly crafted a world and characters that are unique and engaging. I really enjoyed this take on the genre and would recommend it to any fantasy reader. My only disappointment was that there isn't a book two yet.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • The Super-duper Amazing Silver Golem
  • 29-05-17

Dispite grammer & narration flaws, it's still fun.

Off the bat, it is obvious "Soulstone: Awakening" is not perfect. At times it even feels like it barely creeks up to the passible finish line. The concept is fun but simple, there are places in desperate need of an editor, and the narrator sounds, at times, like he is falling asleep. All low points considered, however, this audiobook has something many in the LitRPG subgenre rarely seem to get right during the first introduction that had me rooting for it all the way to the end; An actual character focused storyline.

Yes, avoiding a typical LitRPG pitfall, "Soulstone: Awakening" actually focuses on keeping the interest in the characters as a welcome change. These characters change, plan, make mistakes, have flaws, mistrust each other, have something to lose, have a defined goal and a stopping point that makes sense. They might grow on you as they discover more about the strange mission that they find themselves on. Even George, possibly the most irritating comedy relief character to listen to ever, has a mysterious element about him that makes a listener want to discover what lies under his seemingly silly gangster wannabe bunny existence. Not all the players are what they seem, so "Soulstone: Awakening" keeps listeners just interested enough to keep listening dispite glaring flaws.

This book is recommended to fans of both videogames and stories focused on characters. Beware there are a ridiculous amount of memes, media references, cringe worthy attempts at trash talking and grammer problems.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • superstardrifter
  • 10-03-17

Fun times!

So, I don't have a toooon of experience within this genre, but what I have read is very similar in some way to either Sword Art Online, .hack, The Matrix, or Ready Player One. This one isn't too different from those in the basics either. It even uses RPO as a reference at one point. I knows what it is, and I liked that about it.

In this story, a college senior is drafted into saving the world from a nearly-sentient virus by being very good at a video game that was expressly made to mirror the game that the virus itself has created. So, it's got some common tropes in this genre, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There's only so far you can go to make 'this is a virtual-reality MMORPG except that it's actually real on some level so don't die or you'll really die' seem different, you know? For me, first and foremost, how entertaining a novel (of any genre) is to me is always the most important factor. I appreciate good writing when I find it, and super-original ideas, but if a story is compelling and told in a compelling way, I'll enjoy it all the same. Even if it uses tropes that are very familiar to me. If it has characters that I like and that I root for, chances are that I'm going to not hate it.

Anyone who reads my reviews regularly (and I can't imagine that anyone actually does >.>) will know that I love it when books reference my favorite things in enjoyable ways. So, this book pretty much wins on that front right from the beginning. In chapter one we get a character that is cosplaying Tifa Lockhart, red gloves and all, so I did a little 'heheeee!' because FFVII is absolutely among my favorite games of all time. Plus, it's from my generation, and so there's something specifically for someone who grew up or lived through my generation to relate to.

Anyways, I mostly enjoyed my time with this book. Aaron was an enjoyable character and I quite liked his adventures in leveling. He is absolutely foul-mouthed (like me!). He references a lot of real life things that I also like (Diablo, Penny Arcade, Star Wars, Skyrim, etc, etc, etc.) so my inner (and outer) nerd nearly always had an opportunity to have a little smile of recognition. These sorts of things make parts of the story you would think are boring (like level-grinding) not actually as boring as actual level grinding is. George the Bunny was also a pretty good character, though there were times that I thought he was a bit over-the-top. Ok, a few times... but I still appreciate a bunny who swears that much.

This was a pretty easy listen, because it was quick, and I never found it to be overly plodding, even during the level grind, but it was an easy listen because Nik Magill nails the narration. I liked Nik's narration of one of my favorite books ever, and so seeing his name on this one made me very excited to have a listen. He did a real great job with this one and I enjoyed my 8 or so hours with it. I will definitely put 'listening to books Nik Magill narrates' on my to-do list. As I said in my review of the last book I listened to him narrate, his voice is mesmerizing. This sounds a bit like I'm fangirling (and I guess I am in a way?), but I actually mean this as in his voice hits a note, or a timbre or a tone or whatever it's actually called that just sounds.... nice. I like some narrators because I love the accents they can do, or I love the accents they have. I like this one because I just like the sound of his voice. *shrug*

My one criticism that I can think of is that Dora, the merchant (and one of only 3 women that Aaron ever meets throughout the book) was ridiculous. She's a merchant. Her job is to buy trash items and sell some potions. So, my eyes rolled as far as they could go when the first thing out of her mouth was something along the lines of 'Hey there big boy... how can I heeeeellllp you?' *touchy touchy* (paraphrasing, but you get the idea). I'd have ignored it, but then she did the same thing to Player Two as soon as she met him. Having her just buy some trash instead of the more or less 'oh sure, I'll buy your goblin swords, but first can I have a go at your +69 Staff of Penetration?' out of nowhere for no reason would have gone over better.

Thankfully, other than Dora, this book has 2 other capable women (that's actually a lot for a LitRPG in my experience), Darkheart, who is a Paladin and the leader of the 'We need to beat the Maelstrom!' initiative, and Jo, a pink-haired sassy blacksmith. I actually really liked Jo, but she was only introduced within the last 20 minutes or so. So, we'll see what happens with her in the future perhaps.

(I was given a free copy of this audiobook by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

14 of 17 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
  • 09-04-18

Soulstone Ruulz!!!

I am really beginning to think that J.A. Cipriano can write just about any genre. You want an action comedy? Check out The Pen is Mightier. Urban Fantasy? Dig the Thrice Cursed Mage, the Half-Demon Warlock, and The Clans of Shadow. Now he's doing GameLIT!!!! LitRPG is one of my favorite genres. So, naturally, I just had to read this as soon as possible! Thankfully, I was able to do so.

Soulstone does the LitRPG genre proud, giving us a new viewpoint on the relevance of being in game. Here, the antagonist is a virus that will wipe you out when you get killed. So, in order to play you had better be good. Like real good. Aaron just happens to be that good, unfortunately for him.

There are a lot of nods to other video games, which is a nice touch. It has some nerdish humor, which nicely compliments the action. All I can say is Cussin' Bunny. Plus, who wouldn't want Liz Hurley to make your game announcements.

Oh, and for anyone who says that the way that Aaron got his stats is crap I can testify to that happening to me once. I was a DM and had my brother start rolling for his character, on 4 stats he rolled natural 18's. 4 times. His other rolls netted him 17's. So it can be done.

The action, as always with Cipriano is frenetic and fast paced, the swearing is frequent and loud, and the ladies all want to know "How you doin'?" If you appreciate his writing in other books then you will love this book.

Magill narrates pretty well, and he gives all those guards with different names voices of their own, you'll see what I mean. He really paces the book and amps up his energy levels when the fighting begins. 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!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 03-04-17

Soulstone: Awakening

Any additional comments?

So i came into this off of listening to Delvers: LLC, and thought this would be a lot more like that. It had a good concept and while i can see the appeal of this, frankly I personally could not get past the excessive coloquialism of the residents of the fantasy world (the rabbit "George W. Bunny" (a poorly forced pun, in my personal opinion) overusing the adjective "Motherf***ing", as an example.) I gave it a fair shot, and while i can see it appealing to others, i will probably not be returning to this series.

With that said, i recommend at least giving it a shot. maybe you would like it better. maybe i was spoiled by the previous book. it just wasn't for me

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • thymespace
  • 30-03-17

Not A Bad Start

What did you like best about Soulstone: Awakening: A LitRPG Novel? What did you like least?

What sticks with me the most is the foul mouthed bunny. While cute, a little can go a long way. Even the characters around the bunny start cussing more and more. I felt that story started out slow and then the end seemed really convenient for getting the final two players. There were some details that were over explained and others that were never clarified.

Overall this was not a bad read. It has an interesting concept and a different angle to how the players are in a game. I would like to see a follow up book to see if the writer improves and where the story is going, I am will not be running to get the next edition the day it comes out though. I will wait till it goes on sale.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jonathan
  • 28-03-17

Prepare your brains...

I thought it was a great take on the whole.. STUCK IN A GAME... genre that I have seen since .Hack//sign when I was a kid.. Die in the game and you die in reality... If your looking for a literary masterpiece you got the wrong book, there are foul mouthed rabbits, giant dragons, evil scientists, self centered wizards, under sexed vendors, and so much more to see... Its a story of making the best out of a horrific situation and plotting your revenge for when it is over, a story of love between a man and his gold, a story of.. well you will just have to start listening now won't ya....


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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • 21-03-17

Had to stop.

I felt like this one had a decent premise, and it started off all right. However the further into the book I got the worse the overall writing and characters were for me. I just couldn't keep listening to it without nearly grinding my teeth from trying to listen to it. I usually try to at least finish every book I listen to, but this was one of the rare exceptions. I do not recommend this book, was very disappointed.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Redd23
  • 02-03-17

A FUN Read for a Game Player - a Real What If?

What made the experience of listening to Soulstone: Awakening: A LitRPG Novel the most enjoyable?

The Reader was Excellent. - I felt like I was playing my 1st MMO Again - "I liked it SO Much that I'm listening to it Again"

What other book might you compare Soulstone: Awakening: A LitRPG Novel to and why?

It's the 1st of this Type I've Listened to - But Cannot wait for 3 2 of the Series.

Have you listened to any of Nik Magill’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not that I can recall. I liked his reading of the book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I liked the interaction of the Player with the NPCs - How his being nice to them seemed to have them get move involved in his game success.

Any additional comments?

I await volume Two as One was SO MUCH FUN!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • TU
  • 03-04-18

Fantastic series so far!

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I was eager to jump on the opportunity to listen and review this book. I have become a huge fan of J.A. Cipriano's work and this one was as good as I had expected. There is great dialog, plenty of sarcasm, and a good story line. The narration was pretty good too. All in all, a great listen. On to the next one!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful