Narrator: Todd Menesses
Series: Shards of Reality #1
Published by Self Published / Indie on 9 November 2017
Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
Source: Narrator, Submitted
Walt and Oz need to level up to survive and every moment is going to hurt.
Walter LePointe and Oswald Blackwell just woke up inside of the online role playing game Realms of Th'loria. With no memory of how they arrived, Walt and Oz soon learn the hard way that living in an epic fantasy world isn't all it's cracked up to be. As level one characters with no skills or experience, nothing can prepare them for their new lives as they prepare to enter the realm.
©2017 Timothy W. Long (P)2017 Timothy W. Long
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.comAdd to Goodreads
Shards of Reality, Enter the Realm, Book 1 is a LITRPG novel. For those of you not in the know that is a genre in which protagonists find themselves in a virtual reality, usually as players in the game, but sometimes there might be more nefarious or sad reason. For example, Viridian Gate Online has a player enter the game world to escape an asteroid that is going to destroy all life on earth. Reboot, has a player die, and his mind uploaded into the game. Here, the protagonist, Walt, wakes up in a popular MMORPG that he has played numerous times, with no memory of how he got there. Worse yet, he is in a newbie character, and not the one that he spent a lot of hours building up. Walt manages to find a few other people who are in the same predicament as him, players, but with no recollection of how they got there. The scary thing is they might not be able to leave.
The book starts out a little slowly, allowing you to take in everything at the same pace as the characters, and what I really liked is that this book is not bogged down by tons of stats like most LITRPG books. Yes, they grind, and level, and improve but their stats do not run by every five minutes like they do in some books. Let me tell you, that incessant listing of stats can be annoying. I enjoyed how they didn’t overwhelm the listener.
Another nice touch is that the characters all earn their skills and levels, there is no OP character seen here. Oz, for example, does whine and cry like most of us would at the exertion and pain he goes through to level. Walt can come across like a jerk sometimes, and I can see him being off-putting to some listeners. All I can say is that either you will get him, and his sense of humor or you will not, and if you don’t you won’t like him very much. That can be hard on a listener when you aren’t fond of the protagonist.
Another issue that some readers might take umbrage to is that the book ends on a cliffhanger. I know readers who absolutely flip out when they have that happen to them, but it is no big deal to me. I can handle a cliffhanger so long as I know there is more coming. I just put this out there because I know how readers can get.
The writing is smooth, the dialogue is snappy, and the plot really picks up once they hit their main quest. The characters do play out like real people and are not one-dimensional cutouts. If you cut them they will bleed, and then they will yell at you about cutting them. The narration is clean and crisp, and fun to listen to. Todd Menesses really pulls out all the stops, sets off some fireworks, and blows up the bells and whistles in the kitchen sink. He really helps to bring the story to life, and you will find no faults with his work.
One thing that bugged me is that I really liked the cover. It is beautiful and is the absolute picture of defiance. However, the main character is a mage. The cover shows a warrior. The mage carries a mace. The warrior has a sword. While the cover is beautiful and intriguing it literally has no relation to the pudgy wizard that packs a mace. I find it to be a little misleading. Not quite bait and switch, but close enough for government work.
The book is fun and enjoys nice pace once things are explained and the characters get rolling on their big quest. Like I say, I don’t mind a slow burn as long as there is pay off, and we get a pay off, and an excellent set up for the next book. Don’t miss out. Get in before there are 10 books in this series and you struggle to keep up with them!
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