Narrator: Christian Rummel
Series: Bushido Online #1
Published by Audible Studios on 20 March 2018
Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
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How Often Do You Get a Second Chance in Life?
Seth Kinnaman's dream has always been to become the best fighter the world has ever seen. After spending his entire life training, he's finally ready to test his skills in the biggest tournament on Earth, where hundreds of the fiercest competitors vie for the supreme title.
In the semifinals, Seth is getting the upper hand when his opponent uses an illegal blow to take him out. Upon waking up from a coma, Seth finds out he's lost his sight. He's become blind, and he's completely devastated. All his dreams are now shattered, and he soon falls into depression. What is he going to do with his life?
That's when he's introduced to Bushido Online, a game that promises to keep his skills sharp while he figures out what his next move is going to be. Set in feudal Japan, this VRMMORPG is the land of ninjas and samurai. A world where the most honorable warriors meet the vilest bandits and where mythical creatures roam free. When he'll enter that new reality, Seth will discover that while it's easy to make friends there, one doesn't have to try very hard to get his fair share of powerful enemies.
Soon he's going to have entire clans hunting him down as he struggles to learn the ropes and regain a sense of normalcy. Thankfully, Seth has a few things going for him: his extensive knowledge of combat and a never-say-die attitude.
Bushido Online: The Battle Begins is the first book in the Bushido Online series, a work of litRPG fiction.
Credit: Cover art by Pindurski
©2017 LitRPG Freaks (P)2018 Audible, Inc.
Bushido Online is something that I have waited for, for a very long time. Most of these GameLIT, LITRPG books all tend to play out in a western fantasy setting. That is fine, as most fantasy novels I have read are in that setting but I really wanted something new and different. In fact, I was thinking about this and recalled when AD&D put out a hardcover called Oriental Adventures. That book changed my RPG life. I added ninjas and martial arts to my campaign, and soon I was having more fun than I had in years. Bushido Online made me think of that as I read it. This is the kick in the pants writers need to do something different and fun. No need to stick to the same old stuff, and man, did Thorn ever end up miles away from all the other books in this gaming category.
Are there some issues with the book? Sure, all books have some problems, and I like to get those out of the way first, so we can get into the good stuff later. We start with a protagonist who is a master martial artist, but after an accident, he becomes blind. As a result, he ends up spending all of his time in a new game, the titular Bushido Online. A game in which he can see and act normally again.
So what is the bad? To be fair, there is nothing that says you must have a character overcoming adversity. However, I do think that the MC, Seth, should have had some issues dealing with his loss of vision. Could he learn to cope better? Could he accept it? I don’t know because it seemed like he never logged out of the game. Other people seem to do so, but not Seth. He has hunkered down for the long haul and seems to have no plans to ever go back to eat, take a bath, or have a real life. So, I would have liked to have seen this addressed a touch more than it was.
Beyond that, this book was, to be blunt, a fun ride through feudal Japan. A place we rarely ever get to experience in the US as most games are Eurocentric. Another boon is the fact that Seth is not some overpowered Ogre running rampant with special abilities or opportunities no other PC seems to have. His training in the martial arts does help him a little; but not so much that it makes him untouchable. He is an average everyday player in Bushido Online. He is only 9th level when the book is completed and has some nice gear, but there is nothing that can secretly slay gods. It is very refreshing to find an MC in this genre who isn’t at least level 70 by the end of the story, and possess magic or equipment that no one else will ever find. I loved this aspect. Additionally, the story flowed. There were some emotional parts and action-filled episodes. The plot, the pacing, and the characterizations wound together in one nice tight story.
Rummel does a fine job narrating. His voice fits in with the characters and the setting. His voice is almost whiskey hardened, nice and deep. He plays each character, no matter how big or small as if they mattered, so no throwaways here. He adds a lot of emotion and gravitas that is needed. I loved his work.
I did receive a copy of this book from ABR for an honest and unbiased review, which I have fairly given here. Even though I did receive a promo copy for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and only 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.