Narrator: Jeff Hays, Justin Thomas James, Laurie Catherine Winkel
Series: Archemi Online #1
on 28 November 2018
Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
Genres: Fantasy, LitRPG
Source: Narrator, Submitted
What would you give to be a dragon rider?
Before being conscripted to fight in the Total War, Private Hector Park had a shattered family, a collection of old video games, and a promising career as a motorcycle stuntman. Now, he is dying from a virus threatening humankind with extinction. He has three days to live.
When Hector’s brother contacts him after years of hostile silence, Hector goes to try and make peace. But his brother has an offer even more unbelievable than reconciliation: the chance to cheat death by joining him in Archemi, a full-immersion fantasy VR-RPG video game.
Determined to forge a life worth living, Hector undergoes the experimental upload process and chooses the difficult path of the Dragon Knight. To achieve his dream, he must prove himself worthy of imprinting a dragon, a being with whom he will share a telepathic bond more intimate than any human relationship.
But at what cost?
Join Hector on his first steps toward mastering the skies in Dragon Seed, the first audiobook in the Archemi Online LitRPG series!
The Soundbooth Theater team for this production:
Justin Thomas James - narration, music, sound design
Jeff Hays - Steve, Skyr Arnaud, and other supporting characters
Laurie Cateherine Winkel - Rutha, Sergeant Blackman, and all other female characters
Griffin Malnar - proofing, editing, and mastering
©2018 James Baldwin (P)2018 James Baldwin
ABR received this audiobook for free from the Narrator, Submitted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the audiobook or the content of our review.Buy from Audible Buy from Amazon.com
“Dragon Seed” by James Osiris Baldwin is the first book in the “Archemi Online” series in the Literary Role-Playing Game (LitRPG) genre. In a very crowded space, this book had many aspects that made it feel unique and different from others I have listened too. It is at times darker and drearier both in game and out as most characters in books like this enter a game world to escape their real-world experiences. I think what elevated the story even more was the audiobook’s narration by the team at Soundbooth Theatre productions. Those who have listened to Jeff Hays know the professionalism and quality of this team’s narrations. This audiobook does not have only one, nor two, but three narrators telling the story. We have the likes of Justin Thomas James, Jeff Hays, and Laurie Catherine Winkel all a part of this team. If you are a fan of the LitRPG genre, I think you will find this book enjoyable and entertaining. It is not the best storytelling I have listened too, but it is far from the worst either. If you are looking for a new audiobook series to begin, I think you will find this audiobook a good start.
As the book’s summary says, what would you give to be a dragon rider? We see just how difficult a task this becomes as we follow Hector, or main character, though his trials and tribulations necessary to be awarded with such an honor in game. Why put so much effort into a game you might ask? Much of the world is dying due to an incurable virus ravaging the planet. On top of this, there is a war between man and machine in the likes of the “Terminator” movie. Hector is given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of an experiment where people are being uploaded to a computer system prior to their physical bodies dying from the virus. Once uploaded to the MMORPG system, which is still experimental and has a few glitches, our main character needs to survive and thrive to become the famed title of Dragon Rider.
Overall the book flowed well and the story was told in a way that made it feel alive. There were scenes of action and even a few spots that were quite emotional; including some light romance rolled in. The writing was a bit more Young Adult (YA) than I had expected it to be and bits of humor were often crude and overly silly. At times, the humor felt forced for someone in the situation our character was. If you can get past these, there is a solid story within its pages. I enjoyed the vastness of the virtual world and the descriptive nature of the various scenes, but much of it was ruined by immense amounts of vulgar language which did not seem in place for the characters of this virtual worlds. It was used enough that even a hardened sailor might find themselves blushing a bit. I liked the addition of the complex character creation, but after that, character statistics seemed to be irrelevant to the story line. Some LitRPG book focus too heavily on stats where this book went in the opposite direction. I wanted more details and direction of how the main character was going to grow and become the hero he is destined to be.
The scenes of action and battles felt grand and well choreographed. I liked the addition of the magic system. However, I would have liked a bit more focus on this element specifically. Hopefully in future books. There were also a few stereotypical items, but the author did a good job of creating some newer and different one. I know the book is titled “Dragon Seed”, and there are some dragons later in the book. But what surprised me was the inclusion of dinosaurs as well. It was a bit of Jurassic Park meets How to Train Your Dragon. And again, for me this worked and added some things that are not found in other books like it. The book ended quite well and left the series open for many additional adventures and explorations. Will the Dragon Seed turn into a Dragon Rider? We will have to wait until the next book is released to find out.
The audiobook’s narration is professionally performed by Soundbooth Theatre Productions by a team of wonderful narrators: Justin Thomas James, Jeff Hays, Laurie Catherine Winkel. Justin did a great job of narrating Hector while the other narrators filled supporting roles. The audio was clean and clear of any audio artifacts and volume was overall consistent. There were a few places where the sound effects or music seemed to overwhelm the narration, but this did not make the book less enjoyable. More a note for the purists in the group that like only voice narration in their audiobooks.
For parents and younger listeners, note the book itself has a rating of both Mature and 17+ printed on the front cover. There are a few bits of crude humor, sexual subject matter, and loads of profanity, which seemed out of character for me in this fantasy world. If such offends you, I would recommend you find another series to pick up.
In summary, there is a solid story here if one can get past the amount of vulgar language and crude humor. If you can put that aside, the adventure is vast, the narration is super, and the potential is immense for future books in the series. The book had been very well received and reviewed by others, so I would say that you might want to pick it up if you are looking to start something new.
- Dragon Seed (Archemi Online Volume 1) by James Osiris Baldwin - March 4, 2019
- Open Primary (Ameritocracy Book 1) by A.C. Fuller - February 15, 2019
- Wildlife: Reckoning by Jeff Menapace - February 14, 2019
- Titanborn (Children of Titan Book 1) by Rhett C. Bruno - February 11, 2019
- Horizon by Tabitha Lord - January 25, 2019