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The Greystone Chronicles: Book One: Io Online

Length: 14 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)

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Summary

In the latter half of the 21st century, Alexander and his guild mates play Io Online for fun and to earn a living. It's the largest VRMMORPG on the planet, and the source of income that supports families around the globe. While completing a rare First Kill dungeon in hopes of epic loot, they discover that demons have once again invaded Io.

Given the chance to test a new experimental immersion system, the veteran players must give up their high-level characters and begin again at level one. As they work through the noob zone quests, they discover that the new immersion system allows them to play in ways that hadn't been possible before. Casting is faster. Movement more fluid. Even magic itself behaves differently. They quickly run afoul of a party of player killers and become the targets of an entire PK guild bent on spawn-camping them until they leave the game. War has been declared.

The fight expands into populated areas, where innocent citizens are murdered, and player accounts are terminated. The guild works to help citizens rebuild what has been destroyed, but are repeatedly forced to stop and defend against enemy attacks. After the gods of Io and a powerful being of darkness get involved, Alexander and his friends learn the hard way that their in-game actions have consequences, both in the game and in the real world.

Soundbooth Theater has had the honor of working with Laurie Catherine Winkel once more, in the first installment of the epic Greystone Chronicles. Her bright and light performance matches the tone of this Gamelit romp about friendship and community, while perfectly framing Jeff Hays' performance as the male cast.

The Soundbooth Theater team for this production:

  • Laurie Catherine Winkel - narration, female characters, and Fibble!
  • Jeff Hays - male characters
  • Dalton Lynne - proofing, editing
  • Justin Thomas James - production, editing, mastering
©2017 Dave Willmarth (P)2018 Dave Willmarth, Soundbooth Theater

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

Disappointing

Let me start by saying that Jeff, as always, did a masterful job with the voices, as did Laurie. But I did find Laurie's narrative to be a bit flat but still very good. Here comes the painful part:
It's billed as a LitRPG but there's very little in the way of character and skill progression. I don't think a character sheet came up more than two or three cursory times. The characters start off with new toons at level 1 but keep their legendary artifact demigod gear from the beginning. Coupled with substantial wealth, this leaves them with absolutely no character growth whatsoever, which for me is the most enjoyable part of RPG's and LitRPG books. No one learns skills through actual training or leveling up. They just kind of have all these abilities that are OP as all hell. They can waltz through dungeons filled with demons and destroy player characters 50 levels higher than them without hardly taking a scratch.

The combat is largely glossed over. You get to a few descriptive opening shots on the first encounter then a, "They continued to battle their way through the dungeon until meeting the boss." They shoot a couple of arrows and launch a couple spells and the boss is dead and they add thousands of gold (seemingly the default amount for nearly every battle) to their already endless coffers as well as some awesome loot that is perfectly suited for each character, even the goblin the recruited just a few minutes prior.

The character themselves are fairly bland and ultra-goodie goodie, going through the game world like benevolent gods tossing handfuls of gold at the peasants and magically erecting entire buildings and towns and paving miles of roadways in minutes or hours. The main premise of the book revolves around a PK guild being dicks by playing in a way that the game allows but they don't like. This main plot encompasses maybe 30 minutes with 4 brief encounters where the PKers act like morons and get wiped out every time by people a fraction of their numbers and level with the heros once again not even getting scratched. Their encounters are boring and over in seconds. The other 95% of the book is mostly detailed corporate accounting reports and describing their numerous ingame meals.

Had the narrators not done such a good job, I doubt I would have finished it. As it was, I skipped through probably three hours of tedious, pointless conversations and dinner descriptions and made it to the end. It was a decent premise that was poorly executed.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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I don’t like it.

This book took the meaning of the main character to the new meaning. Overall the whole book revolves around Alex and his friends while they play a VR game. The game seems rather lacklustre, it’s your typical knights vs demons and that’s it. I haven’t listened to the whole book simply because it was tedious to listen to. There are other books with VR elements that are much more sophisticated with more interesting characters, a simple example would be Ascend Online.

Jeff and Annie still did a good job, they were a major factor in my decision to take up this book and I honestly wish I didn’t. Still have them 5* for performance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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two voices

both narrators were great and I really enjoyed this litrpg looking forward to more in this series

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant New Series

Hat's off this is world building at its best and is up there with the best.
The characters are very well thought out and are very compelling and interactive as are the secondary and tertiary characters.
The mix of humour and the intriguing, innovative solutions to the problems used in the real world and in game show great foresight and I was drawn in by every word due in part to the great skills of Jeff Hays and LCW. the editing and these two working together are a great match and well picked by Dave Wilmarth. I will be eagerly awaiting the 2nd audio and shall also follow along by the written word as well.
I got this audio at no charge by competition and have left my thoughts on this for you to peruse.

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GOOD BOOK

I have over 300 audible titles and I have to say that the narration and performance of this book is one of the best I've heard. It's a compelling universe with a great story and awesome characters

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Don Gilbert
  • Don Gilbert
  • 04-11-19

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Graystone Chronicles
The Good: Jeff Hayes and the Sound booth Theatre. They really make any audio production a terrific entertaining event.
Also good is the world building, the story line; both inside the game and out in the real world, character development, and the vast array of creatures and other humanoids that are introduced into the story.
The Bad: the lackluster pace and absence of anything resembling a thrilling tense filled conflict, Alexander and his clan simply destroy any enemy regardless of level discrepancy or number, it’s all very anticlimactic.
The Ugly; Relationships; they all act like virgins on prom night. I know this isn’t a Harem book but Alexander and the rest need to grow a pair. Also fuzzy bunnies
Overall I like this series, despite the lack of intensity; I like the story progression and listening to Jeff Hayes and the rest of Sound booth Theatre makes it entertaining

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason
  • 08-03-19

Disappointing

The addition of the romance element feels like it was added by someone who never met or had a conversation with a woman. Nothing was done by the protagonist to earn the affection, and the game system is heavily weighted for the protagonist, basically cheating like a fiend non-stop. With much eye-rolling I finished the book, but will not be buying the next installment. The narration was excellent, it kept me going when the story started to sour.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 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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  • Charles Grayson
  • 06-01-19

Boring

This story is so insipid that it makes me angry. It's as if the author deliberately set out to remove everything that makes you care about characters or plot resolution. here's a list of the problems:

1) the main characters are essentially Mary Sues. Everything comes easy to them and they continually win effusive praise from all the supporting characters.

2) no real conflict. Yes, there is the enemy guild, but our heroes effortlessly defeat/humiliate them at every encounter, even though the enemy characters have vastly higher levels.

3) conversational interplay among characters is very unrealistic

4) no real plot. The “conflict” between our group and the enemy guild occupies only a small amount of their time and is never represented as an important challenge. Even the leveling up is portrayed as meaningless, because our main characters acquire god-level skill the moment they acquire a skill at all.

5) failed humor. Most attempts at being funny aren't funny at all. One guy teases another “if you don't stop bothering me, I'll tell the waitress about the rash you had last year!” Ha, ha, ha, yes, hilarious.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • cosmitron
  • 30-03-18

Very good production

What made the experience of listening to The Greystone Chronicles: Book One: Io Online the most enjoyable?

The entire book is first rate from the quality of the sound the talent of the narrators the interesting story.This book can be listened to by anyone at any age.

Who was your favorite character and why?

No favorite character because the narrators are so good you enjoy the totality of the book which contains many interesting characters that the narrators bring into focus.

Have you listened to any of Laurie Catherine Winkel and Jeff Hays ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

They are very good narrators their work is all among the best in the business.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This work is 14 hours and 43 minutes...... what do you think?

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

34 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacob Goodrich
  • 16-03-18

another masterpiece by soundbooth theater

An amazing story written by Dave and brought to life by the greatly talented Laurie Catherine winkel and Jeff hays. This is one of those audio books you can't pass on its that good. Dave did such an amazing job writing the story and creating loveable characters that want to help as much as they can and the talent at soundbooth theater made them come alive in ways unexpected.

I can't recommend this enough. I love the plot and advancement of the MC and his guild and the mysterious fibble.

If your looking for an adventure that will suck you in and make you want to go haring off on your own, then this is the book for you.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Beachcombers
  • 18-02-19

Privileged OP players go on SJW quest set on EASY

First, Soundbooth did an excellent production.

Second, this book is terrible, don't buy it.

SPOILERS!

I have listened to a lot of LitRPG, and as is usually the case when the Main Character gets overpowered or has some kind unique edge, you at least understand and appreciate the effort required to become that way.

However these characters are quite literally given every advantage right from the start. Unique abilities, a unique character class, Mythical gear for them. Every NPC they meet, soon starts praising and treating them like family, the "Evil" faction is comically inept and is humiliated at every turn. The team steam roller their way through dungeons, with zero effort. The female characters are so bland and generic, fawning over the MC and anything "cute". If it wasn't for the swearing, I would put this firmly as a kids book.

Team America for SJW's. Uggh.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Søren Jesper Bloch
  • 28-02-19

Kind of Borring

there wasn't really any time the heroes where in any actual trouble main character is sick, dad findes solution guy is poor, main characters dad provides extremely well paying tester job the world economy should tank because of lack of jobs, for some reason in game economy fixes this...

1 of 1 people found this review 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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  • Anthony
  • 11-02-19

Tremendous Start Followed By A Great Decline!!

This story started out great. I loved the idea of the game itself and and the banter between the MCs as well as the quick thinking implemented in the first battle. The author did a great job of making you emotionally attached to the characters as well. The delivery of the storyline was top notch. Then, "KERTHUMP"!!! The character development became bleh. All you get is hey we found some OP abilities that let us kill strong enemies without getting hit. Now I can kill PKers that are 70 levels above me in one hit.
The last few hors of the book becomes a how-to-guide for how to build a village with earth magic. I suffered through hours of what stone to use and how tall to make the walls. The only damage the MC takes is the damage he does to himself while building the village. And by building I mean literally making walls and windows, with detailed explanations about how to use magic to do it. It became really underwhelming really fast, which is really a shame because the story outside of the character development was really fluent and interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kyle Louthan
  • 26-04-18

Amazing

Great story, and amazing voice acting. Need book 2. greatest character so far is Fibble and Fitz followed closely by all dwarves. The main cast is made up of good characters while the story itself has good pacing and plenty of laugh out loud moments and was even able to hit me in the feels once or twice. Way to go as that is rare for me especially in this type of story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • L.
  • 20-04-18

Wow!

This was totally worth it! I can't wait for the next book! The narration seemed to have to much of a pause and created a disruption in the flow, but was easily fixed by increasing the speed of the narration!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful