Upcoming LitRPG:

  • Earth Tactics Advance Vol. 1 (March 2017)

 

 

Check out our new podcast dedicated to the genre, the LitRPG Podcast

You can subscribe to it on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or any podcatching app.


Try our new search feature to find the LitRPG story you want. Suggestions: Kindle Unlimited, Action, LitRPG FantasyLitRPG Sci Fi, Webcomic, Audiobook


 

What is LitRPG you might ask? While there is no official definition that I could find, I liked the Goodreads summary.

“It's not exactly Fantasy, but a popular sub-genre amongst Korean, Japanese and Russian readers called LitRPG. It's a mixture of Science Fiction, Sword and Sorcery and MMO/Reincarnation elements within the books.” - Goodreads

Note: A lot of these novels are available for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

Sword Art Online

In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online - a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) like no other - debuts, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in a wholly realistic gaming experience. But when the game goes live, the elation of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its amazing features, SAO is missing one of the most basic functions of any MMORPG - a log-out button. Now trapped in the virtual world of Aincrad, their bodies held captive by NerveGear in the real world, users are issued a chilling ultimatum: conquer all one hundred floors of Aincrad to regain your freedom. But in the warped world of SAO, "Game Over" means certain death - both virtual and real...

My Opinion: Classic trapped in a game story. Lots of emotion moments. It’s the anime that led me into LitRPGs.

Anime - available on Hulu and Netflix

Volume 1(50 episodes): http://www.hulu.com/sword-art-online

Volume 2 (24 episodes): http://www.hulu.com/sword-art-online-ii

Novel or Manga

Sword Art Online: Volume 1 Aincrad(novel)

Sword Art Online: Volume 2 Aincrad (novel)

Sword Art Online: Volume 3 Fairy Dance (novel)

Sword Art Online 4: Fairy Dance (novel)

Sword Art Online 5: Phantom Bullet (novel)

Sword Art Online 6: Phantom Bullet (novel)

 

Sword Art Online: Aincrad (manga)

Sword Art Online: Fairy Dance, Vol. 1 (manga)

Sword Art Online: Fairy Dance, Vol. 2 (manga)

Sword Art Online: Phantom Bullet, Vol. 1 (manga)

 

Log Horizon

Thirty thousand Japanese gamers awake one day to discover that the fantasy world of Elder Tales, an MMORPG that was formerly their collective hobby, has become their cold hard reality. Severed from their everyday lives, they confront a new horizon filled with ravenous monsters, flavorless food, and the inability to die! Amid the chaos, veteran gamer Shiroe gathers his friends, the guardian Naotsugu and the assassin Akatsuki, and together they embark on an adventure to change the world as they know it!

My Opinion: The most faithful MMO mechanics of any LitRPG I’ve ever read. Great story that takes the trapped in a game in a different direction since death doesn’t mean real life death.

 

Anime – available on Hulu

Volume 1 (25 episodes) - http://www.hulu.com/log-horizon

Volume 2 (25 episodes) - http://www.hulu.com/log-horizon-2

       

Novel or Manga

Log Horizon, Vol. 1: The Beginning of Another World (novel)

Log Horizon, Vol. 2: The Knights of Camelot (novel)

Log Horizon, Vol. 3: Game's End, Part 1 (novel)

 

Log Horizon, Vol. 1 (manga) (Log Horizon Manga)

 

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon

Commonly known as the "Dungeon," the city of Orario possesses a huge labyrinth in the underground. Its strange name attracts excitement, illusions of honor, and hopes of romance with a pretty girl. In this city of dreams and desires, new adventurer Bell Cranel has his fateful encounter with the tiny Goddess Hestia.

Thus begins the story of a boy striving to become the best adventurer and a lonely goddess searching for followers both working together to fulfill their goals.

My Opinion: Fun adventure where you can’t help but root for the main character.

 

Anime Version (13 episodes)

http://www.hulu.com/is-it-wrong-to-try-to-pick-up-girls-in-a-dungeon

Novel or Manga

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon - Vol. 1 (novel)

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon- Vol. 2 (novel)

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon - Vol. 3 (novel)

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon - Vol. 4 (novel)

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Vol. 5 (Novel)

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon - Vol. 1 (manga)

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon - Vol. 2 (manga)

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon - Vol. 3 (manga)

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon - Vol. 4 (manga)

 

Accel World

The year is 2046. Haruyuki Arita is a young boy who finds himself on the lowest social rungs of his school. Ashamed of his miserable life, Haruyuki can only cope by indulging in virtual games. But that all changes when Kuroyukihime, the most popular girl in school, introduces him to a mysterious program called Brain Burst and a virtual reality called the Accel World.

My Opinion: Really enjoyed the idea of creating a LitRPG world using both augmented reality and virtual reality and how it’s use can impact real life. The main character is a bit whinny and self-deprecating sometimes but that only makes his acts of heroism more outstanding. Love the battles and sci-fi elements.

Anime (48 episodes)

http://www.hulu.com/accel-world

Novels or Manga

Accel World, Vol. 1: Kuroyukihime's Return (novel)

Accel World, Vol. 2: The Red Storm Princess (novel)

Accel World, Vol. 3: The Twilight Marauder (novel)

Accel World, Vol. 4: Flight Toward a Blue Sky (novel)

Accel World, Vol. 5: The Floating Starlight Bridge (novel)

Accel World, Vol. 6: Shrine Maiden of the Sacred Fire (novel)

 

Accel World, Vol. 1: Kuroyukihime's Return (manga)

Accel World, Vol. 2: The Red Storm Princess (manga)

Accel World, Vol. 3: The Twilight Marauder (manga)

Accel World, Vol. 4: Flight Toward a Blue Sky (manga)

Accel World, Vol. 5: The Floating Starlight Bridge (manga)

Accel World, Vol. 6: Shrine Maiden of the Sacred Fire (manga)

 

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (Hai to Gensou no Grimgar)

Awaken...

This is the only thing the youth of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar remember before awakening in an unknown building in a medieval landscape enshrouded in darkness.

The group of strangers is told that in order to make a living, they would have to join the Reserve Army forces to keep the town safe from nearby monsters. The stronger looking people form a team to join the Reserve Army and depart, leaving Manato, Haruhiro, Ranta, Yume, Mogzo, and Shihoru to fend for themselves. But how will they get by if they can't even defeat the weakest of monsters?

My Opinon: The anime is pretty faithful to the original LitRPG novel. Especially in the art style department. Still, I enjoyed the novel more. The story doesn’t focus as much on action as other LitRPGs but more on group dynamics and the effect of living in a fantasy world would have when you still only have one life, no respawns. There is no “official” translation of the novels or manga so linked to a couple of fan translations.

Anime (Ongoing)

http://www.hulu.com/grimgar-of-fantasy-and-ash

Novels or Mangas

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash: Volume 1

 

Overlord

Overlord_Anime.png

 

The final hour of the popular virtual reality game Yggdrasil has come. However, Momonga, a powerful wizard and master of the dark guild Ainz Ooal Gown, decides to spend his last few moments in the game as the servers begin to shut down. To his surprise, despite the clock having struck midnight, Momonga is still fully conscious as his character and, moreover, the non-player characters appear to have developed personalities of their own!

Confronted with this abnormal situation, Momonga commands his loyal servants to help him investigate and take control of this new world, with the hopes of figuring out what has caused this development and if there may be others in the same predicament.

My Opinion: In his favorite MMO, Momonga is the high level leader of the top guild. When that MMO is shut down, he’s transported to a world where he’s trapped in his over powered game character.

I first encountered this story as an anime series and loved every minute of the show. One of the things that makes the story unique are the main character’s subordinate NPCs that he controls. The NPCs that were in the MMO the character played were static, but when they’re all transported to a new world they all gain personalities and free will. It’s like being able to finally talk to your favorite toys in a way and have friendships with them. The combat in the anime is top notch and while you sort of know the main character is going to win, it’s fun to see how he does so.

Anime

https://www.hulu.com/overlord

https://www.funimation.com/shows/overlord/

Manga

Overlord, Vol. 1 - manga (Overlord Manga)

Overlord, Vol. 2 - manga (Overlord Manga)

Overlord, Vol. 3 (manga) (Overlord Manga)

Novel

Overlord, Vol. 1 - light novel

Overlord, Vol. 2 - light novel

Overlord, Vol. 3 - light nove

 

Ready Player One

 

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

   But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

My Opinion: One of my favorite books of all time! I especially love the audiobook version which is read by Wil Wheaton who is also referenced in the story. It honestly never occurred to me to think of the novel as LitRPG until some friends online pointed out it met all the criteria. Levels, skill gain, magic, and rpg mechanics. Just one more reason to love this book.

Likely one of the most popular stories that involves VR. Not only is the story LitRPG but it’s also a great adventure and sci-fi story. Even though the story is set in the future it’s a 1980s and 90s nostalgia fest. If you grew up during those decades you’ll find something that you love. This is seriously a book I re-read every single year. You owe it to yourself to read this book. Also, the novel is being made into a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.

Ready Player One

 

World of Valdira - Way of the Clan

A huge world full of adventures, ancient mysteries and monsters starving for your death. A world where everyone can make their biggest dream come true and become anyone they wish – a successful trader, a wise anchorite, a brave warrior or a battle mage who can control disastrous elemental powers. But don’t expect that the path to your dream will be easy and rosy. The path to the top is very long, if only you can ever reach it.    

My Opinion: If you can get past the beginning of the book you’ll enjoy the rest. For reasons I won’t spoil, the main character had to create a new character in the VRMMO world and is stuck in the beginning village. This leads him to the unusual experience of exploring all quests and opportunities there instead of just leaving to kill monsters for XP like everyone else. From this we get great stories and adventure.

 

The Way of the Clan (World of Valdira)

The Way of the Clan 2 (World of Valdira) 

The Way of the Clan 3 (World of Valdira)

The Way of the Clan 4 (World of Valdira) 

The Way of the Clan 5 (World of Valdira)

 

Play to Live

Once a seasoned gamer and now a terminal cancer patient, Max grasps at this final chance to preserve his life and identity. So he goes for it - goes for the promise of immortality shared with a few trusty friends and the woman he loves. Together they roam the roads of AlterWorld (MMO) and sample its agony and ecstasy born of absolute freedom.

My Opinion: In this world people can decide to live permanently (called going Perma) in a VR world, leaving their bodies behind. Max, stricken with an incurable case of cancer, decides to try to go perma in a fantasy VRMMO. Max also choses a difficult class/race combo that has big drawbacks but he brings out the best in his choice.

This is translated from a popular Russian series. You get your standard adventures and leveling up stuff but you also get an interesting view of what the consequences, socially and culturally, of being immortal in an VR world.

AlterWorld (Play to Live: Book #1)(novel) or (Audiobook)

The Clan (Play to Live: Book # 2) (novel) (Audiobook)

The Duty (Play to Live: Book # 3) (novel)(Audiobook)

Inferno (Play to Live: Book # 4) (novel) (Audiobook)

The Battle (Play to Live: Book #5) (novel)

The War (Play to Live: Book #6) (novel)

 

Sector Eight

A strange body that refuses to obey you; a weird game you can't quit until your contract expires; a world teeming with powerful and very real enemies. The game in which your reputation and faction relationship are the only things that matter. 

These are the conditions of the agreement Ruslan signs without reading. The only thing he remembers is that he's been contracted to command a space fleet in a brand new game he knows nothing about. Objective: to survive for six months. After having made some inevitable newb mistakes, Ruslan has to rethink his strategy, dropping traditional gaming conventions. But what will it cost him? What new trials and tribulations await him that even the game designers have failed to anticipate?

My Opinion: There are very few Sci-Fi LitRPGs. This novel doesn’t use any RPG calculations (stats, skills,etc.) except the concepts of level, title, influence and fame with NPCs. Still, a good story with interesting space battles.

Sector Eight (Perimeter Defense: Book #1)

Beyond Death (Perimeter Defense Book #2)

New Contract (Perimeter Defense Book #3)

 

Chaos Seeds

Getting eaten alive is the worst! Stabbings, maimings, and corrosive black magic are not that great either, but you really don't want to be a wolf treat! That is the kind of hands on, “teeth on,” education you get when you are summoned to The Land. 
James did not want to be summoned! Not really... well a maybe, just a bit!  But he had certainly not AGREED to be summoned! 

My Opinion: These are fun adventure stories. Good action scenes followed by funny heartwarming relationship moments. Can’t recommend the novels enough!

Update: Books 2 and 3 are even better than book 1. More please.

The Land: Founding (Chaos Seeds Book 1)

The Land: Forging (Chaos Seeds Book 2)

The Land: Alliances (Chaos Seeds Book 3)

The Land: Catacombs (Chaos Seeds Book 4)

The Land: Swarm Chaos Seeds Book 5) 

 

Continue Online

Three years ago Grant Legate lost that which he loved most. His carefully built life fell apart in the wake of depression. The future is filled with self-driving cars, virtual realities, chore completing machines, and super fast internet connections. Yet, a man’s spirit isn’t so easy for science to heal. 

Now Grant spends most days working endless hours as a companion to an AI. Their mission is simple, to repair broken machines that humanity uses to visit virtual realities. Unintended hard work pays off as his boss forces Grant to take a vacation and try the latest game craze - Continue Online, a fantasy world with the freedom to play any role one might choose. 

My Opinion: Not your standard LitRPG. You still have levels, skills, magic, NPCs etc. However, the main character explores these things from a unique point of view (I don’t want to spoil the story by describing how though). While there are action/fight scenes they are rare. The novel explores both the emotional and psychological effects of being able live in a new VR world. It is an utterly fascinating story.

 

Continue Online (Book 1, Memories)

Continue Online (Book 2, Made)

Continue Online (Part 3, Realities)

Continue Online (Part 4, Crash)

 

Galactogon

Twelve players set off through the online world of Galaktogon, lured by the game owners' promise of an enormous payoff. The question is, who will survive to tell the tale? Which of the twelve is a potential hero - or a traitor in the making? Which of them will defend the weak and who will become the ultimate evil overlord? 

My Opinion: Translation of a Russian Sci-Fi LitRPG novel. I had a great time reading about all the unique skills available and lore of this universe which includes relationships with alien species. Fun time.

Start The Game (Galactogon: Book #1)

 

End Online

After being involved in a terrible accident I was left in a wheelchair, with the only modern treatment costing more than I could ever imagine. The society I live in is a segregated one, where it may not spoken aloud but everyone knows their place. 

In my turmoil, I turned to virtual reality, a brand new virtual reality MMO game called 'End Online' where I could once again walk. Perhaps in this second world I will get another chance. 

Only, things never go as planned. 

My Opinion: Fun fantasy world where the main character gets a unique class from exploring the VR world in a unusual way and working hard.

 

End Online: Volume 1

End Online: Volume 2

End Online: Volume 3

End Online: Volume 4

End Online: Volume 5

End Online: Volume 6

 

 

Chronicle of the Eternal

 

The human population exhausted the world’s resources, leading to cataclysmic environment changes and the imminent extinction of all life on the planet. Humanity went digital. Minds were scanned, encoded, and transferred to the virtual world of Grandosa. Reproduction among those once human is now a cold, sterile affair fraught with new complications.

Regal is a young boy. He is what is referred to as a Soulless; someone accused of lacking a soul due to diminished emotions and driven by logic. His parents abandoned him, choosing the Eternal Rest. He is left with no one to rely on other than himself as a series of unfortunate events force him to adjust his outlook on life.

My Opinion: This is a really good story written by D. Wolfin, author of the End Online series. You just have to wait a little for the LitRPG parts. Regal is an orphan in an RPG world. He goes to a school that teaches their students about the magic and fighting mechanics of the world and how to fight in dungeons. There are good action and crafting scenes but it is also a slice of high school life story.

Chronicle of the Eternal: Volume 1

 

The Way of the Shaman

Barliona. A virtual world jam-packed with monsters, battles - and predictably, players. Millions of them come to Barliona, looking forward to the things they can't get in real life: elves and magic, dragons and princesses, and unforgettable combat. The game has become so popular that players now choose to spend months online without returning home. In Barliona, anything goes: you can assault fellow players, level up, become a mythical hero, a wizard or a legendary thief. The only rule that attempted to regulate the game demanded that no player was allowed to feel actual pain. 

But there's an exception to every rule. For a certain bunch of players, Barliona has become their personal hell. They are criminals sent to Barliona to serve their time. They aren't in it for the dragons' gold or the abundant loot. All they want is to survive the virtual inferno. They face the ultimate survival quest.

My Opinion: One of my favorite LitRPG authors. The Way of the Shaman is a series of novels in Russia and is being translated into English at the rate of about 1 book every 3-4 months. While there is plenty of action and adventure, one of the things I really enjoy about the series is how well crafting is explored and how it plays such an interesting part in the story.

 

Survival Quest (The Way of the Shaman: Book #1)

The Kartoss Gambit (The Way of the Shaman: Book #2)

The Secret of the Dark Forest ( (The Way of the Shaman: Book #3)

 

The Dragon's Wrath


When Brent Roth suffered a workplace accident that rendered him temporarily immobile, he found himself lying in bed dreaming of a better life. He dreamed of a life where maintaining his health was no longer a daily struggle, and then when he had lost all hope, he had discovered a new virtual reality game on the horizon. A VR-MMORPG that offered him everything he lacked in real life, everything that had eluded him. 

A world where he could find adventure, companionship, and success all wrapped up in the singular package of The Dragon's Wrath. The game offered him a chance, a chance for salvation… a glimmer of hope. 

My Opinion: Great series of novels. The main character is not over powered but instead has to work hard in area of the VR world most consider unfavorable, the cold frozen north. However, the main character makes it work all. Great description and use of skill system. Wonderful action/fight scenes. Love the use of NPCs, crafting, and trading in the story.

Vol. 1 The Dragon's Wrath: A Virtual Dream

Vol. 2 The Dragon's Wrath: Ashes of the Fallen

Vol. 3 The Dragon's Wrath: Shadows in the Flame

 

Reborn

Unwanted, orphan, poor these words were common to Derrick who if asked would had said the world is a cold place. He went to school and worked while moving from foster home to foster home. No friends and no family he had little in life. The other kids in school often talked about the new games but he would never have enough money to buy something like that but after saving up his money he bought an old outdated game system and found enjoyment in playing RPG's. After buying a new game at a pawn shop Derrick ran home to play it though as soon as he turned it on his life came to an abrupt end. Transported into another world Derrick found himself in a world not unlike an rpg. Felling no loss at the world he left behind he started to move in his new world as his guides helped him.

My Opinion: My favorite series of LitRPG novels. This is a serialized book with each chapter being released approximately every 2 weeks. The leveling up, skill system, and relationships formed through out each chapter are great. I find myself anxiously awaiting the release of each new chapter. Just to be clear, this is not a heavy epic story, it’s mostly just fun adventuring with a bit of harem side story thrown in.

1. Reborn: God's Game

2. Reborn: New World

3. Reborn: Gambler's Game

4. Reborn: Devil's luck

5. Reborn: Devil's Blood

6. Reborn: Demon Core

7. Reborn: Knight’s Code

8. Reborn: Demon’s Heritage

9. Reborn: Demon’s Legacy

10. Reborn: Demonic Valor

11. Reborn: Flames of War

12. Reborn: War's Nightmare

The author has also put the books together to save the reader a little money.

Reborn Vol. 1-5

Reborn Vol. 6-10

 

Realm of Arkon

A new update arrives to the ultra-popular online game, Realm of Arkon. With Patch 17, the level of immersion experienced by players in their gaming capsules has made virtual reality indistinguishable from the real world. But every gamer's dream becomes a nightmare for Roman Kozhevnikov after he gets confined to Arkon against his will. And not just to Arkon, but to its deadliest zone--Demon Grounds. Playing, or rather living as his character Krian, it's not just about survival for Roman. He longs to exact revenge for his banishment to the virtual world where the sensation of pain has reached one hundred percent...

 

Patch 17 (Realm of Arkon)

The Cursed Princedom (Realm of Arkon #2)

Steel Wolves of Craedia (Realm of Arkon Book 3)

 

The Rising of the Shield Hero

Naofumi Iwatani, an uncharismatic Otaku who spends his days on games and manga, suddenly finds himself summoned to a parallel universe! He discovers he is one of four heroes equipped with legendary weapons and tasked with saving the world from its prophesied destruction. As the Shield Hero, the weakest of the heroes, all is not as it seems. Naofumi is soon alone, penniless, and betrayed. With no one to turn to, and nowhere to run, he is left with only his shield. Now, Naofumi must rise to become the legendary Shield Hero and save the world!

My Opinion: Fun story where the hero takes a seemingly broken class, shield hero, and maximizes it’s potential. This is a translation of international series of novels so the world feels more like a JRPG than western fantasy world.

The Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 01

The Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 02

 

The Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 03

The Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 04

 

Spells, Swords, & Stealth

In the town of Maplebark, four NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry. Once the dust settles, these four find themselves faced with an impossible choice: pretend to be adventurers undertaking a task of near-certain death or see their town and loved ones destroyed. Armed only with salvaged equipment, second-hand knowledge, and a secret that could get them killed, it will take all manner of miracles if they hope to pull off their charade.

My Opinion: Some might not consider this LitRPG but I do. There’s a great adventure, levels, skills, magic and the characters are trapped there. Fun adventure story that feels unique since the main characters are the NPCs.

NPCs (Spells, Swords, & Stealth Book 1)

Split the Party (Spells, Swords, & Stealth Book 2)

Phantom Server

He is a cyber dweller. A gamer who's grown up in the web of virtual illusion woven from hundreds of phantom worlds. His biggest dream is to dump the real world for good.

 

His desperate hunger of new experiences forces him to take a risk and become one of the first proud owners of a neuronet implant. The new gadget becomes part of him - but soon it's not enough. If only he could finally burn all his bridges and make a step beyond the real world!

He soon gets this opportunity. A new universe, overflowing with mystery and unimaginable, mind-blowing authenticity, opens up before him.

My Opinion: Great sci-fi adventure story. Really enjoyed all the interesting tech skills available. The growth of the main character feels very natural and not over powered.

Edge of Reality (Phantom Server: Book #1)

The Outlaw (Phantom Server: Book #2)

 

Zectas

At eighteen years old, Nash Smoak maintained three jobs. He worked as an assistant to the cook in a small diner, he was shadily hired as a construction worker, and worked as an attendant at a game arcade. Nash needed to take on these jobs in order to support his two brothers and sickly Grandma. Ever since the tragic accident of his parents’ death, he took it upon himself to support his family. After being worked to the bone, Nash found a sacred place, his paradise of relief - the virtual reality world of Zectas. However, his only sanctuary was destroyed when a group of high-level players used him as bait in one of their quests. Nash was captured and tortured by a sadistic Boss monster! Little did they know that this incident would cause the birth of the Legendary User Smoke!

My Opinion: A “I was wronged by other player so now I’m going to level up and gain power to get my revenge” stories, but done well. An action oriented story with a very interesting skill system and great fights. The only downside I found was that because there are a lot of named NPC side characters, I kind of lost track of who was who as the series progressed.

Zectas Volume I: Enigmatic Village of Nanahuatl

Zectas Volume II: The Heraldic City of Coatl

Zectas Volume III: Malediction of Veneficatl Valley

Zectas Volume IV: The Salubrious City of Centzo

Zectas Volume V: The Sequestered Seminary of Sawtorn

 

The Bathrobe Knight

Darwin, a video game addict, was sitting in his bathrobe and slippers playing his favorite MMO on a Christmas night when an uninvited guest breaks into his house to steal his belongings. After the scuffle is over he finds himself transported into one of the sword and magic RPG-style MMOs that he has always loved to play, albeit one he has never heard of, where he has to overcome trials and tribulations at every turn as he fights for his life alongside new companions.

My Opinion: Fun, funny action adventure story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Takes the ‘trapped in a game world’ theme and does some interesting things with it. I especially like that the author creates a community around the main character that helps him put down roots in the world. There’s the standard leveling and adventuring, but there’s also a larger world building theme I enjoy.

The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 1

The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 2

The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 3

 

 

Universe Online

Even with our modern technology, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cannot be treated or cured. I've been bed or chair bound since I was a kid. The advent of Virtual Reality technology has given me a chance for a new life. Or rather dozens of them. Heh.

In the games I could be what I wanted to be, who I wanted to be. A mighty warrior, a powerful spellcaster, the charming rogue. The crafter. The builder. All of those and more have helped to greatly alleviated my problems.

But a new game is coming out; one with the power to change the world. It uses a brand new technology, based around the first ever deep immersion Dive Pod. With it there is no more game lag or graphical limits. It is being heralded as the greatest breakthrough in Virtual Reality technologies since its founding.

And the first and only game for it: Universe Online.

My Opinion: Wonderful sci-fi LitRPG. Great, detailed skill system. The story almost reads like a survival story in space. One of those stories I could not put down.

Update: The Rise of Rex expansions take our hero from the survival in space to the resurrection of a whole new player race. The story gets a bit bigger but it’s still interesting.

Universe Online - Enter the Game: Complete Edition

Universe Online - Rise of Rex: Part 1

Universe Online - Rise of Rex: Part 2

 

 

Critical Failures

One minute, they're drinking away the dreariness of their lives, escaping into a fantasy game and laughing their asses off. The next minute, they're in a horse-drawn cart surrounded by soldiers pointing crossbows at them.

 

Tim now has the voice and physique of a prepubescent girl. Dave finds that while he lost a foot or two in height, he somehow acquired a suit of armor and a badass beard. Julian's ears have grown ridiculously long and pointy. And Cooper... well Cooper has gotten himself a set of tusks, a pair of clawed hands, and a bad case of the shits. He also finds that he's carrying a bag with a human head in it - a head that he had chopped off when they were still just playing a game.

Shit just got real, and if they want to survive, these four friends are going to have to tap into some baser instincts they didn't even know existed in their fast-food and pizza delivery world.

My Opinion: One of my favorite funny LitRPG novel series. The world these guys are trapped in is kind of a D&D knock off, which I LOVE. There is a lot of cursing and lots of bathroom jokes. The level of humor is on par with a Kevin Smith movie. The audiobooks are really good too.

 

Critical Failures (Caverns and Creatures Book 1)

Critical Failures II (Caverns and Creatures Book 2)

Critical Failures III (Caverns and Creatures Book 3)

Critical Failures IV (Caverns and Creatures Book 4)

 

Short Story Collections

 

d6: A Caverns and Creatures Mini-Adventure Collection

2d6 (Caverns and Creatures)

3d6 (Caverns and Creatures)

4d6 (Caverns and Creatures)

 

Death & Doris

A terminally-ill teenager finds more than a simple escape when he agrees to take part in a futuristic medical experiment involving virtual reality gaming. Everett 'Death' Hall discovers a new life where he isn't trapped by his failing body.

My Opinion: The story has a few flaws but it is still a good LitRPG novel. A good mix of humor and action. Thankfully the author plans to make monthly releases in the series because I can’t wait for more.

Death & Doris: Episode 1 (Escape Terminal)

 

Omegaverse

Duncan Sheriden enters, at the bidding of several friends, into the virtual universe; the Omegaverse. As he explores the alien races, star systems and planets, he discovers a rich, vast, limitless expanse of possibilities.

From gritty fights for control of colonies with hostile alien and human forces, to interstellar trade, to thrilling hunts to eradicate space piracy, to epic battles between star-ships, Duncan finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the virtual world.

My Opinion: This novel was a second read love. First time I tried it I thought Eric was the main character. He’s a jerk. So it took a few months to come back to it and give it a second chance. I’m glad I did. Once I realized Eric was the villain and counterpoint to our hero Duncan I got past the first few chapters and had a great time reading the rest of the novels.

Great Sci-fi themed LitRPG. Solid world building and great action filled space battles. Especially enjoyed the acknowledgment of international gaming in places like Korea and India and how they impact MMOs.

Update: Volume 4 and 5 switch from a sci-fi to fantasy theme. The main character is still the same person and the author does a great job of explaining logically how the switch occurs and what the new rules are. I loved the genre switch! It adds so many more storytelling possibilities if the main character can switch between gaming genres within the same world.

Shepherd Moon: Omegaverse: Volume 1

Shepherd's Crook: Omegaverse: Volume 2

Shepherd's Cross: Omegaverse: Volume 3

Omegaverse 1-3 (compilation book)

The Kings of Edonis: Omegaverse: Volume 4

The Marches of Edonis:Omegaverse Volume 5  

 

Otherlife

Runner has a problem. He and 499,000 men and women are trapped in a game. He also just happens to be the only person from IT who could log everyone out safely. And he doesn't remember his password.

He, like everyone else in this nightmare, had their memories scrambled or lost in the process of being loaded into the game. A single garbled message is his only clue on how to save everyone.

The problem is that whoever loaded them into the game, loaded their minds completely. If they die, their brain gets wiped.

Now it's time for Runner to flex his skills as a power gaming min maxer and see what he can do. Because every time he levels, he might gain the memory of the password. Time to go Hardcore.

My Opinion: I had to push my way through the beginning of the novel but I’m glad I did. It’s really good. I enjoyed the fights and use of gaming tactics and common MMO exploits to win fights or overcome difficult situations.

The game world the characters are trapped in is describes as being realistic with the AI governing NPCs being able to dedicate more processing power to them as needed to develop more realistic personalities. This explains how the NPCs can have personalities just like ‘real’ players and creates a sense of immersion for the reader.

Where I had issues in the beginning is how the main character (MC) threw out so many gaming terms while talking to the NPCs that it sort of ruined that anticipated immersion. However, once I pushed past that I realized the author had to create the contrast between how the MC viewed the game world and it’s inhabitants in the beginning and the end of the story. Once I got past the transition period where the MC treated the world and NPCs as if they were just people and not programs I enjoyed the story immensely. I look forward to more novels in the series.

 

Otherlife: Dreams

Otherlife: Nightmares

Otherlife Awakenings

Dream series

 

Shad, Derek, Fred, and Jeff are just ordinary guys. They did their time in Iraq, hold regular jobs, and spend some of their free time playing RPGs on their game platforms and at the table.

Until the day they wake up in a different world, caught up in a half-understood web of events and personalities, hatreds and loyalties that goes back millennia. All wrapped up in a place where magic is real and far too many concepts of the role-playing game are not just real, but also a deadly serious business.

Dropped into a world with little in the way of personal resources and a surplus of powerful enemies and dangerous strangers, the four must find their way home while learning all too well the concept of ‘first-level abilities’. Very little is certain in their new environment save that death is very real and the opportunities to meet it are commonplace.

My Opinion: Great action and banter between the four characters. The use of military group tactics adds a uniqueness to the story that I thought was interesting.

 

Dream

Dream II: The Realm

 

Origin A.R.S.

 

The life of a soldier can be a harsh and lonely existence. When a soldier leaves the service to be with the woman who he loves only to find out that she is pregnant with the child of another man, his story will usually end on a sad note. However, sometimes events occur that will send that man down an unexpected path in life

Scott Jacobs, mentally and emotionally exhausted by a lifetime of people simply changing their minds in regards to how much they care about him, accepts an offer to play a game. However, that game turns out to be a true existence where people can become as strong as they desire if they are willing to work toward their dreams.

In this new world of opportunities he will gain levels, fight humorous monsters, and listen to interesting background music! It is the adventure of a lifetime, and he is ready to get that party started.

My Opinion: I almost skipped this series because of the first sample chapter. Thankfully someone recommended I give it another try and I’m glad I did.

The first chapter describes how our main character is given the shaft after his fiancé cheats on him then it ends before we really get to the LitRPG stuff. Please do yourself a favor and push past that part or just skip it. It really is just the set up for why the main character is willing to permanently go to a new world and also explains why he’s a bit gun shy with women. The series is great. Lots of good fights, leveling, and an interesting way to get skills. Note that there are romantic moments and sex is implied in the ‘fade to black’ sense. There is a much more adult story set in the same universe by the author called the Freelance Saga if you are interested.

Origin ARS

Origin ARS (Origin A.R.S. Book 2)

Origin ARS (Origin A.R.S. Book 3)

Origin ARS (Origin A.R.S. Book 4)

Origin ARS (Origin A.R.S. Book 5)

Origin ARS (Origin A.R.S. Book 6)

 

Real Life RPG

Virtual Reality is a real thing in the future as many people immerse themselves in the game world to forget about their troubles. The creator of the most realistic game imaginable, Imagery is making money at an unheard of rate, especially once it is found out those that die in real life can live on inside the game world. Suddenly executed criminals, cancer patients and all kinds of people choose to end it all. Jackson Gray did not make that choice, yet he finds himself permanently inside the game.

My Opinion: At $0.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited, this is a great value read. I genuinely liked the main character and the trait that forces him group. Good combat and PVP scenes. My only criticism is that the main character seems to rush through story arcs and everything ends on a cliff hanger. I would have loved to have a couple of books rather than one rushed one.

Real Life RPG

 

The Gam3

The Earth is changing. Aliens invaded, bringing with them social upheaval, advanced technology and an armada of peacekeeping robots. But Alan, a college student pursuing a now-useless degree, cares little about all of this. He has only one thing on his mind: the Game.

A fully immersive virtual reality, the Game appears to be a major part of the invading civilization. And Alan can’t wait to play. Soon though, he realizes the Game is anything but simple, and the stakes are higher than he ever imagined.

My Opinion: One of the best combinations of sci-fi and LitRPG. In the Gam3 what happens in the virtual world has real life consequences. I also love the unique talents and skills the novel describes. I would personally love to have the A.I. the main character uses, even if she does require some custom programing. The rough draft of the novel was published on Royal Road but the Amazon version is better and gets the author paid for their work.

Opening Moves (The Gam3 Book 1)

 

World at War Online

World at War is the most ambitious virtual world game in history.

Zach Wofford was a beta player, and knows first-hand what an amazing experience World at War will be. Together, with just a small band of his friends, he will make something great in the virtual world, or go down fighting in the attempt. But he knows that just a few players will never do; they will need a bigger group to survive the myriad of enemies hoping to pick their bones. A lone wolf will be overwhelmed by sheer numbers, but a pack, that's something to be feared.

My Opinion: A LitRPG with a military campaign setting. Characters capture, build, and defend bases and get new weapon schematics from dungeons. The setting is more modern military (guns, bazookas, medic packs, etc.) than straight sci-fi. This is a good change from fantasy LitRPG. I really liked the skill system the characters use to progress and the guild versus guild battles.

Black Wolf: A World at War Novel (World at War Online Book 1)

Howl: A World at War Novel (World at War Online Book 2)

Fang: A World at War Novel (World at War Online Book 3)

Werewolf: A World at War Novel (World at War Online Book 4)

Deception City: A World at War Novel (World at War Online Book 5)

Carnage City: A World at War Novel (World at War Online Book 6)

Commando City: A World at War Novel (World at War Online Book 7)

Dead City: A World at War Novel (World at War Online Book 8)

Victory City: A World at War Novel (World at War Online Book 9)

 

The NextWorld Series

When the sequel to a popular title is released to the public for a special beta test, a group of players eagerly log in to try out the new experience. What seems like harmless violence quickly turns all too consequential when the players realize the game's biggest error: They can't log out. Forced to battle their way through an endless army of monsters programmed to kill their avatars, the players must fight against the clock and find a way out of the game before the real world catches up to them.

My Opinion: A good trapped in a game novel. The main character groups up with other Beta players to get to the one place where it might be possible to log out of this out of control VR world. This adds a sense of tension I liked. I also enjoyed the variety of powers and abilities characters are able to use and upgrade including magic, mechs, and guns.

Level Zero (The NextWorld Series Book 1)

Spawn Point (The NextWorld Series) (Volume 2)

End Code (The NextWorld Series Book 3)

 

Ingame: Virtual reality enabled

Ingame. A world where magic is real. Where being Human just means you are not a Dwarf or an Elf. See a cynical young man who is working towards getting past level one. Add some rich powerful old people trying to take over the Ingame world. Throw in a abandoned haunted orphanage, a mysterious dragon and Gods that cannot be trusted. Add a huge city and young Donators buying their way through the game. Ingame, anything might happen.

My Opinion: Overall, this is a good novel. There are some rough spots but the story is good though light on fighting. I’d highly recommend skipping the backstory presented in chapters 1-3 and start at chapter 4. I’ll summarize chapters 1-3 for you: The world is bad. VR is better. The main character has to go in VR for the next year but has a headset with developer access he hopes will give him an edge in VR versus the rich kids in the game world. The main characters exploration of the VR world begins in chapter 4. Enjoy.

 

Ingame: Virtual reality enabled

Kian: PRINCE, STUDENT, DEMON, SHAMAN. (Ingame side story)

Kian: Rescue

 

Alternative Reality Vol 1; Part 1

Alternative Reality - the worlds’ first virtual reality game. A massive multiplayer online one. An opportunity for many to try out different things - to fill the void inside. Luke is no different. An average young adult, struggling with everyday life - living from one day to the other. Only partially employed, living alone.

In Alternative Reality though, he’s Wail. A slightly insane adventuring magician, enjoying a life full of challenges and innocent fun. How will his attempts at finding fulfillment inside virtual reality end?

My Opinion: I was surprised I liked this one. The main character is not the most likeable person. It might be that I could empathize with the MCs point of view that people get on my nerves sometimes. It almost feels like a ‘villain’s side’ type of story. The narrative is pretty solid and an all-around good adventure.

Alternative Reality Vol 1; Part 1

Alternative Reality Vol 1; Part 2

 

 

The Slime Dungeon Chronicles

Death came on swift wings. A soul, blessed by a goddess, falls to the land and enters his new life. He clings to a single memory, the defining moment of his previous life. Now, he learns how to succeed in his new life, as a new dungeon heart. To become the best dungeon he can be, he partners with the one existence all dungeons need: his bonded Dungeon Pixie.

My Opinion: A reincarnation story where the soul comes back as a dungeon. I loved it. The story reminds me of the Dungeon Keeper game. The dungeon creator can’t make the dungeon too deadly or the town will destroy it and it’s can’t be too easy or adventurers won’t come for the loot drops. The story is well paced and I was happy to spend hours reading it to see how the plot developed.

The Slime Dungeon: Book 1 (The Slime Dungeon Chronicles)

 The Dungeon's Town (The Slime Dungeon Chronicles Book 2)

 

Hell’s Glitch

Sam Nagai thought testing videogames would be a dream job until he got saddled with a ton of barely playable mobile games that used very wonky holographic gimmicks. The lack of fun in these games and small pay makes Sam typically reluctant whenever he gets a call for a new gig, but customers for his art commissions have been scarce and Sam needs all the money he can get. He finally gets a call for a new gig with potential bonus pay, but not much else is known about the game itself. From what he does know, it sounds sort of interesting. Virtual reality, dark gothic fantasy world, role playing game mechanics, and uber hard difficulty? Sam's all in for that. After all, even if he gets in over his head, the simulation isn't truly real so there's not really any danger.

My Opinion: Without specifically referencing it, the VR game in the story is based on the Dark Souls video game. I’m a huge fan of the game franchise and that love is part of the reason I liked this novel. I’ve always thought that Dark Souls would make a great VR game.

In the novel, the main character is a video game tester that loves dark and difficult games. Boy does he get what he’s looking for. The combat in the VR game is brutal, difficult, and more dependent on skill and tactics than stats. The game mechanics are very familiar replacing XP with souls.

If you like the Dark Souls video games you’ll probably like this novel. Also, turns out there is a series of comics based on the Dark Souls franchise you can read after you’re done with this.

Hell's Glitch (LitRPG): Into a Dark Adventure

 

User Unfriendly

It’s the most advanced computer role-playing game ever: When you play you’re really there—in a dark dream teeming with evil creatures, danger-filled fortresses, and malevolent sorceries.

The game plugs directly into your brain--no keyboard, no modem, no monitor. And for game hacker Arvin Rizalli and his friends, no cash up front, no questions asked . . . and no hope of rescue when the game goes horribly, deathly wrong.

My Opinion: Originally published in 1991, the author was ahead of her time in describing VR. The story is a bit YA but still very good. I read it a long time ago and only recently remembered it after talking with friends online about the oldest LitRPG story we could think of. Reread it and found this one fits. RPG story, references to levels and D&D like powers. A few of the references in the story took me back to the 90s and that was just icing on the cake.

User Unfriendly

 

Blue Pills

Surreality is the most popular Massively Multiplayer Online Simulated Reality on Earth. With full sensory immersion indistinguishable from the real world, millions of people log on to experience its vast and fantastical dreamscape.

Maverick is one such ‘Blue Pill’, but for him the Everdream is no decadent fantasy. He sustains himself by gold farming, mining imaginary gold to exchange for Reality’s equally imaginary money.

It’s a dreary, grinding existence which thankfully comes to an end when he comes across an Adventurer named Vega. She enlists him for his mining skills in acquiring some of the most valuable treasure in Surreality. To his amazement they succeed, and soon set off on an even greater quest.

Unbeknownst to either of them, their success has humiliated and angered one of the most powerful players in the game. Desperate to avenge his humiliation and reclaim his lost prestige, he dreams up a plot that will not only put an end to their adventuring but change the very nature of Surreality forever.

My Opinion: What do you do with your life when you live in a VR game universe? What becomes important? Is virtual love possible? These are a few questions posed by the novel Blue Pills.

This is a pretty decent story. It won’t appeal to everyone however. One because it’s short. Two because there is some romance in the story. The story revolves around the two main character and what it means to be in love in a virtual world.

The game world is like the Oasis from Ready Player. There are multiple game genres in the same universe like: survival horror, apocalyptic, and sword and sorcery. This adds some variety to the types of quests the characters go on. I liked it.

Just a NSFW warning, there is a small sex scene at the beginning of chapter 2.  That is the only sex scene and I just skipped over it.

Blue Pills

 

Shepherd's Wolf

Verdia is the greatest game ever played - a virtual world that blurs the line between imagination and reality. Many play for power and fame; others play to escape the pain and loneliness of real life.

One boy, paralyzed at birth, knows no other world. For Ben Shepherd, Verdia is home.

The Shepherd is Verdia’s most famous and mysterious blacksmith, constructing armor and weapons for elite and wealthy players while hiding from public view. Players ponder the Shepherd’s true identity, and Ben creates his masterpieces in isolation.

Ben discovers friendship in the form of an enormous white wolf - a creature unique in all of Verdia. As news of the boy and his wolf spreads, Ben becomes the target of greed, envy, and fear; Ben’s tranquil life is shattered.

A band of strangers, united by compassion, will battle a perilous landscape and unrelenting enemies to deliver the Shepherd and his wolf to a new home.

To succeed, they must enlist the help of an enemy - a player who is as powerful as he is hated.

They will discover that a small group of friends can face impossible odds, and that a hero can hide beneath a villain’s mask.

My Opinion: Good book. Little light on RPG elements. No level up notices, or skill tree descriptions. That’s ok though. The story brings together multiple perspectives of the same world. Some are villains, some are heroes, and one is child blacksmith. The story has an interesting mix of sci-fi and fantasy that works. I wish this was a long series but unfortunately there is only the one book.

Shepherd's Wolf

 

Mirror World Series

A new LitRPG series set in a virtual world of an online MMORPG game!

The ads enthused, “The virtual lands of Mirror World await you! Live out your most secret dreams in our world of Sword and Sorcery! Become a Great Wizard or a Famous Warrior! Build your own castle, tame a dragon, conquer a kingdom! All those desperate, lonely and insecure - Mirror World offers you a chance!”

But Oleg isn’t meant to become a great wizard or a famous warrior. He’ll never have a castle of his own. Neither will he ever tame a dragon. And he’s definitely not the type to conquer a kingdom, however virtual it may be.

Oleg is doomed to toil away in the recesses of Mirror World’s mines. His goal is to raise enough money for a heart transplant for his dying six-year-old daughter. The clock is ticking. Will he make it?

My Opinion: Great series translated from russian. If you enjoy LitRPG that emphasis crafting and material gathering then you’ll love this one. Many readers compare this series favorably to the first book in the Way of the Shaman series.

Project Daily Grind (Mirror World Book #1)

The Citadel (Mirror World Book #2)

The Way of the Outcast (Mirror World Book #3)

 

Stormbane

Stormbane.jpg

Jenni wakes up in an inn she's never visited before, in a land she didn't even know existed. She's wearing the armour equivalent of a bikini and there's a longsword propped against her bed. A weapon that she somehow knows how to use with brutal efficiency. And downstairs, the place is packed to the rafters with adventurers. Although she doesn't know it yet, Jenni, now called 'Stormbane', has entered an MMORPG, one that she's going to turn upside-down.

The Wizard of Oz meets Ready Player One in this satirical fantasy romp through the tropes, trials and troubling undertones of online gaming.

My Opinion: One of the best books LitRPG books I’ve read this month. I enjoyed the twist on the ‘being trapped in a MMO’ story. It’s basically told from the NPC and monster’s point of view. Who would want to be a monster who gets killed over and over again by adventurers for XP? What you would do to stop that violent exploitive cycle?

The story is funny, touching at times, and there are plenty of twists that keep it interesting.

Stormbane

 

Chaos Wave

ChaosWave Divine.jpg

The year is 2055. Virtual Reality has been around for nearly forty years, and the Full Sensation Dive System has been around for about thirty.

People vanished from their Dive system, leaving nothing behind of the person they were, and the Characters they were in game become locked out, and no longer responsive to the System. In addition to this, they are suddenly showing up on ALL servers of a game at the same time, almost as if they were now an NPC. The governments put a stop to all distribution of FSDS Technology, and keep an eye on these ‘Digitized Players’.

Immortality is now available to all who seek it, if you can find a World to call your own. Of course, nobody paid attention to one of the few warnings Atreya brought back with her… The NPCs sometimes became sentient and disobeyed coding laws.

My Opinion: One of my favorite royalroadl stories is now on available on Amazon. It’s a funny, action adventure story that explores some interesting skills like monster taming, crafting, and hidden quests. Great read.

Hidden (there’s a joke in there if you read the story) has decided to go digital or transfer his consciousness permanently to a digital game world. Follow him on his adventures in this digital game world. This book contains part 1- Luck and Death and part 2- Goblins and Dwarves. Part 3 -Rage and Chaos is not yet written.

The Divine Adventure: Part 1 (The Chaos Wave)

 

The Permadeath Legacy

This is a series of stand alone short stories that all all exist in the same game world Eden, where real people try to make enough money ‘in game’ to cover their expenses in real life. These players not only risk their financial future playing Eden, but also their lives since dying in the game means you die in real life. The authors of the series say they’ll release new stories every couple of weeks. I’ll review each story individually.

Update: All the short stories have been collected in one volume

The Permadeath Legacy: Omnibus

 

Blacksalt

Fortune Favors the bold, but one man’s greed sets him down a path for which there can be no escape.

Eden was built as the perfect fantasy reality. Instead of being a means of entertainment for its players, it became a world where the rich extort the poor to fight and die for their own amusement.

As a pawn, your life is your own. But death in the game doesn't mean you reload and start over. When you die in Eden, you die in the real world. Sometimes survival comes at the cost of another's life.

What will you leave behind when the only certainty in life is your death?

My Opinion: Blacksalt Slayer is a wonderful standalone story in the permadeath legacy series. It begins with a player just trying to make enough money playing a VR game to pay for rent and food. Unfortunately for this player, he’s been accused of a crime that he didn’t commit. If he’s caught his character could face death not only in the game but in real life. Even though it’s short, the author combines action, mistaken identity, a murder mystery thing.

Only downside is the story length. Amazon has it listed at 74 pages for $2.99. However, it is available on Kindle Unlimited (KU). If you have KU then it’s a great story to give a read.

Blacksalt Slayer

 

Crimson Nightmare

Trust kills as swift as any dagger. Tragedy follows any path you take. Shy only hopes it doesn’t catch up.

Eden was built as the perfect fantasy reality. Instead of being a means of entertainment for its players, it became a world where the rich extort the poor to fight and die for their own amusement.

As a pawn, your life is your own. But death in the game doesn't mean you reload and start over. When you die in Eden, you die in the real world. Sometimes survival comes at the cost of another's life.

What will you leave behind when the only certainty in life is your death?

My Opinion: This great standalone story that centers around Cheyenne, a vampire character in the game world Eden. The story explores what it means to pay as a monster in a world where dying in game means dying in real life.

Another short read. I’d estimate it was about 80 pages for $2.99. It is available on Kindle Unlimited. If you have Kindle Unlimited, this is a good short read.

Crimson Nightmare

 

Gilded Obsession

 

The Elite watch as the pawns of Eden struggle for their very survival. But Catherine can't help but desire the adventure and drama the world promises. Once she's made the plunge into the virtual world, she'll quickly learn what happens to the curious cat.

Eden was built as the perfect fantasy reality. Instead of being a means of entertainment for its players, it became a world where the rich extort the poor to fight and die for their own amusement.

As a pawn, your life is your own. But death in the game doesn't mean you reload and start over. When you die in Eden, you die in the real world. Sometimes survival comes at the cost of another's life.

My Opinion: Lorcan, captain of The Wandering Willow, takes on a high paying escort job. Only the person he has to escort is the young daughter of a rich family on her first trip into Eden. If she dies in the game she dies in real life and so will Lorcan for not protecting her.

This is a short read at 95 pages for $2.99. It is available on Kindle Unlimited. If you have Kindle Unlimited, this is a good short story. Otherwise it’s overpriced.

Gilded Obsession (The Permadeath Legacy Book 4)

 

Awaken Online: Catharsis

On paper, Jason has a great life. He attends a prestigious private school on scholarship and his parents are reasonably well off.

Yet life hasn't been easy for Jason. He has spent most of high school being tormented by both the students and faculty and his parents are never home.

Frustrated and alone, his one escape has always been video games. In-game, he can feel the type of power and freedom he lacks in his day-to-day life. Fortunately, a new virtual reality game (the first of its kind) has just been released, which promises the opportunity for an even greater escape.

Once he begins playing, Jason quickly finds himself on the path to becoming the game’s villain. In the process, he also starts to suspect that there is something unusual going on within the game.

My Opinion: Originally a story written on royal road, the author finished his book in record time and now it’s on Amazon. It's an amazing story.

I really really like this story. Good action, nice pacing, and an interesting main character. There is a slight thread of using VR to help people work through their issues, which I enjoyed. The action in the story is well done. I love the fact that the main character chose the dark path. He’s not a bad guy but takes a path less traveled and that makes the story interesting to me.

My only criticism, and it’s rather minor, is how long it took to get to the game world. The first three chapters are all backstory explaining how shitty the main character’s life is and why he delves into the VR world. I’m not saying it doesn’t pay off, it just takes too long.

I’ll save you some time: Jason lives a middle class life and has neglectful parents. He’s forced to go to a rich kid school where he’s tortured by rich students (especially Alex) and teachers. While his parents are out of town, Jason gets expelled after the rich kids beat him up and blame him for it all. He logs into Awaken Online as a form of escapism. Now go straight to chapter 4. You’re welcome.

Awaken Online: Catharsis

 

Omnia Online

For hundreds of years, Sol has been under careful observation and protected required by the rules of the Imperial Cultural Protection Act. The people of Earth being considered too primitive to be useful members of the Imperium. Now a new member of the Department of Cultural Development has a new idea to bring the people of Earth into the Imperium... "Let’s ask them to play a game…”

I would like to invite you on an adventure with me, as we explore the potential of a Fully Immersive Virtual Reality Massive Multi-Player Online Roleplaying Game (FIVR-MMORPG) to change lives. Not just a game, but also as a tool for physical and mental development. Omnia Online is soon to be released, the first ever of it’s kind in Kevin’s world. Join Kevin, as he experiences just how big and complex his universe really is

My Opinion: This is a rip roaring Sci-Fi LitRPG space adventure. The VRMMO part of the story is set in a futuristic space faring universe with lasers, spaceships, and space pirates. It was fun to follow Kevin as he fought the pirates and was introduced to all the future tech like A.I., nanobots, and space gun repair.

The only criticism I have for the story is that I didn’t like the A.I. sex. Even though it’s not graphic but ‘fade to black’ sex, it still felt weird and unnatural for Kevin’s new A.I. to just want to have sex with him moments after meeting him.

Omnia Online

 

World Seed: Game Start

The year is 2245, and the world has undergone explosive growth in multiple industries. The age of Virtual Reality came long ago, opening up new fields for people to enjoy and seek employment. There were even those that chose to sacrifice their physical bodies, becoming digital existences that lived within internet communities.

But with the age of VR, everyone still dreamed of that next step, the next level of adventure. And after a hundred years, it has finally arrived. The first consoles, known as Seeds, mass distributed among the people, with such realism that they no longer qualified as a Virtual Reality, but as an Artificial Reality. But what happens when things become too real?

My Opinion: A great story that started on the Royal Road and has finally made it to Amazon. The story takes such a great twist midway. Won’t spoil it but. Woah. The first chapter threw me off initially since it immediately sets up a VR world that combines both fantasy magic and Sci-Fi. However the author does a great job of gradually introducing the sci-fi and explaining how it works in this world.

World Seed: Game Start

 

The Dive: Birth of a Wordsmith

What happens when a game becomes your life? What happens when your life becomes a game? Follow Christopher Weston as he dives too deeply into the newest hit game, learning the skills needed to survive in this brave new world.

My Opinion: It is such a joy to read such a well written and edited story. The characters are vividly described and the mechanics of the world are familiar and easy to understand. It was easy to become engrossed in the story and I found myself at the end before I knew it. I definitely want more story!

The Dive: Birth of a Wordsmith

 

Towns and Towers: A New Land

When Sam’s new video game system arrives in the mail, he unexpectedly finds that it isn’t the one he sent in for repairs, and instead he has received some sort of limited edition model. He soon finds out how unique the model is when after downloading his newest game he is transported into the system and expected to play through the role of his character without access to the real world, or any of the informationally packed strategy guides he is used to using.

Handicapped by his own impatience to start playing, Sam is left to figure out the new world which he has fallen into. He has no weapons, no armor, no save points, and no way home. The only thing he has going in his favor is his experience, and his willingness to game more.

My Opinion: This is a nice story. It’s not the best LitRPG story I’ve ever read but it’s not the worst either. There are some structural issues with the story: Run on sentences, Paragraphs not separated, page breaks, line breaks, etc. If you can get past that, you’ll enjoy the story.

At it’s core, this is a ‘transported to a game world adventure story’. In the game world there is a tower that’s filled with monsters that the main character must defeat so that he can go home. He befriends some locals and gets a pet to help him accomplish his goal. There is enough monster fighting, spell casting, and humor to keep me turning the pages. While I wish the author gave  a more detailed descriptions of the game mechanics, I enjoyed the story.

Towns and Towers: A New Land

 

Resurgence: The Rise of Resurgence Book 1

Pay to play. Since the beginning of online gaming this has always been the norm; you paid the company and they let you play their game. So it's no surprise that Alex Stanton was living every gamer's dream. It was the opposite for him. He was getting payed to play.

The latest generation of virtual reality gaming, in both appearance and hardware, was being beta tested by the largest retailer of online gaming, AltCon. Never before seen graphical detail, joined with a first-time, fully functional, whole body immersion system was likely to put AltCon entirely out of reach of their competitors. But before they could go live, they wanted Beta testers. Serious Beta testers. So serious, AltCon was willing to pay a salary to each tester, ensuring their lives revolved around the Beta, and the Beta only.

Beta testers join for one reason, to experience new content never seen by another player. Alex, along with his group mates Dan, Jason, and Wayne will experience every nuance the game has to offer, and all before the rest of the world.

The entire scenario is unreal; from the tests to be selected as a Beta candidate, to the six month wait to qualify, to the almost life-like quality of the game itself. The company pulled out all the stops. If there was a heaven for gamers, it would look exactly like this game: Resurgence.

But odd things start happening from the outset. Things Alex can't explain. But like every hard-core gamer, Alex has no problem ignoring the little things to focus on the grander design; winning the game. Whether that be discovering new content, finishing epic quests, or finding the rarest of items.

In time, even the littlest of things can pile up, and Alex is forced to ask himself, “What’s really going on in Resurgence?”

My Opinion: I almost didn’t read this book. It has a very slow start. The story doesn’t even get to the game world until Chapter 7. However, once the story does get to the game world it’s amazing. While the story revolves around the main character Alex it feels more like it’s about a group of VR gamers adventuring. That’s great. I really loved the banter between members of the gaming group and it felt like I was hanging out with my own buddies while reading it.

Resurgence: The Rise of Resurgence Book 1

 

Spinward: An Artificial Dream State Novel

Snow Storm were being uncharacteristically quiet about their new product, only releasing concepts, hints and grandiose claims about it, all that was known is it set in Outer Space, it is skill based and it’s the most immersive game ever created. Opinion was divided, is it vapour-ware, is it over-hyped, is it under-hyped, will it fail to deliver, will it be the best game ever created or will it be the worst game in history. Anticipation was at an all-time high, the streams, boards, vlogs and pages where all buzzing with excitement.

All Su knew is that she really really wanted to play it.

My Opinion: A fine LitRPG story set in VR Sci-fi world. Susan, the main character, is funny and adventuresome. She explores the most realistic VR world she’s ever seen but still runs into the same tropes we see in today’s MMOs. The story does a great job of balancing adventure with humor and building relationships with other players. There really aren’t enough LitRPG stories with female protagonists.

Spinward: An Artificial Dream State Nove

 

Dragon Web Online: Inception (Electric Shadows Book 1),

II didn’t set out to destroy the world. 
Honest.
Dragon Web Online promised its players a virtual world filled with simulated adventures and real treasures. Play games, get rich. It seemed like the perfect way to make the cash my family needed to keep us off the streets. It seemed too good to be true.
It was.
I made a terrible mistake and stumbled into the truth behind the world’s most popular Virtual Reality game. 
Now I’m marked for death and the most powerful people in the world want to hang their crimes around my neck.
They call me a thief. A murderer. The killer of worlds.
The people who know the truth call me the Saint of Shadows.
I didn’t set out to destroy the world, but somebody had to do it.
Somebody had to set you free.
 

My Opinion: A wonderful beginning to a new LitRPG series. I personally don’t care for the scenes where he’s being interviewed by Xi Shao. I get that the author is setting up the corporation as a manipulative villain and creating emotional ties to the main character by persecuting him but it just doesn’t work for me.
I absolutely loved the story once they got to the VR game world. It was interesting to see a VR system that assigned a character class according to the actions a player took instead of letting them choose one in some menu. It made the choices players made feel like they had a real impact. The story has great action scenes once you get to the game world and I thought the relationship between the brothers in the story was believable. 
The story feels shorter than it actually is and only tells the story of how the character started in the game world and got his class. So I look forward to reading more about.


Dragon Web Online: Inception (Electric Shadows Book 1)

 

Delvers LLC: Welcome to Ludus

Henry and Jason led normal lives in Seattle before they were abducted to another world. Their kidnapper, the vain, self-styled god Dolos refuses to send them back unless they can accomplish an impossible task. Oddly, Dolos doesn’t seem to care if they succeed or not.

Luckily, Henry and Jason studied Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) on Earth. Unfortunately, a Japanese American EMT and a geeky IT programmer don’t have many other useful skills on a sword and sorcery world like Ludus.

Stranded in the middle of nowhere on an alien world, the friends have no real direction and only a few possessions including magic-granting orbs from an apathetic god. Undaunted, the two begin their insane adventure to return home, but basic survival and eventually paying rent will have to take priority.

My Opinion: Originally an online only story, Delvers LLC., has blossomed into a full blown LitRPG novel. The difference between the original work in progress and this is noticeable. You can tell the author took the extra time and expense to polish his work.

Delvers LLC. is a wonderful adventure of two friends who are thrown into a game world and not only survive but thrive to some degree. There is humor, action, and even some interesting depth. I especially enjoy the realistic relationship between the two main characters and the lengths they’ll go to protect each other as friends.

Delvers LLC: Welcome to Ludus

http://amzn.to/2co7hsI

 

A Shield for Diana

Jack and Diana are an average couple. That all changes when they get invited to test a new Virtual Reality game. Two different playing style's. Follow along as there journey begins. Will they work together or tear each other apart. Welcome to United Online.

My Opinion: I want to love this work so much. There is so much story potential here. The author has the unique idea to tell the story of a married couple entering a full immersion game world together and experiencing the joys and sorrows of adventuring together there.

Unfortunately, despite the great potential, the bad spelling and grammar are huge detractors. On almost every page of the story there are missing punctuations, misspelled words, missing quotations, and paragraph structure issues. These issues are a huge distraction from what might otherwise be a good beginning story in a new LitRPG series. I would love to read a more polished version of this story and see what the author can do with it as an ongoing series.

A Shield for Diana

http://amzn.to/2dgcuQl

 

Game On: Starting the Game

Matthew Barnett tried to warn those around him — the Game was going to start soon. Everyone was going to suffer and most were going to die, unless they took some serious steps to prepare themselves for what was to come.

Diagnosed with Schizophrenia, he was hospitalized for several months until the proper medications could be found to help him control his inability to distinguish reality from fantasy and could return back to a normal school life.

But…

What if it was the world which was actually insane, and not him? What if he was right? What if it really was time for everyone to get their “Game On”?

Game On: Starting the Game

http://amzn.to/2cHpOym

 

Digital Shadows: A Virtual Horror Action Adventure Thriller

Todd Heller has always tried hard to control his fears. Afraid of a boring life, he escapes to the one place where he and his friends can make a difference. A place where he can fight his fears and pit his survival skills against the best. A place called Digital Shadows.

Digital Shadows is the latest craze in Virtual Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing games. The game is based in a virtual world of horror, mystery, secret societies, monsters and shadowy nightmares.

Todd has dreamed of this game since its first introduction. An avid fan of the horror genre, Todd and his friends take the plunge to explore the dark world and fight the terrors within.

But when a glitch effects Todd's ability to log out, the player soon discovers there is something more then a simple game simulation running. Sinister forces converge on the player, eager to claim him for their dark designs and it is up to Todd and his friends to survive the nights ahead of them.

 

My Opinion: Digital Shadows does take a different path than many other LitRPG stories. Instead of being based on fantasy or Sci fi games, it is based on survival horror rpg games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. It mixes those type of game mechanics with with some LoveCraftian elements and it does it well.

Now your measurement for good horror may be different than mine. I don’t watch a lot of horror movies and play Resident Evil with the lights on. Hower, I think Digital Shadows weaves a narrative that is faithful to its genre. When the characters are in the game, there is a palatable sense of suspense. The monsters in the game are appropriately creepy and horrifying.  There were even a few times I had to stop reading, and turn on a light to continue with the story. Specifically, any scene with a creepy slasher clown.

While there are a few spelling and grammar errors, it’s nothing that pulls away from the enjoyment of the story. Additionally, I enjoyed the how the author didn’t stop to explain every game mechanic. Instead he just showed you how it worked within the story.

This story was written for those people that love a creepy, fear inducing atmosphere. If you’re a fan of survival horror games you’ll probably like the book. If you’re not, then you may not.

Update: In book two, Todd and some of those players that escaped return to help the remaining players find and light the remaining soul lanterns so they too can escape. This time they're up against witches.

If you liked the first book, you’ll like this one. Just remember that this is a horror story with lots of graphic deaths and tense moments. The story takes some really interesting twists that I won’t spoil but if you like horror games/movies, this is a series that was made for you.

The only thing I found a little annoying is that there is no recap at the beginning of second book. So, you HAVE to read the 1st one to have any idea what going on in Witch Town.

Digital Shadows: A Virtual Horror Action Adventure Thriller

Digital Shadows: Witch Town


 

Ascend Online

 

Enter Marcus, a twenty-nine-year-old independent game designer, and slightly jaded MMORPG addict looking for his next gaming fix. When a friend tells him about a revolutionary Virtual Reality game that's set to be released in less than 24 hours, he can barely believe his eyes. Without a second's hesitation, Marcus and his friends leap at the chance to escape Reality and start an entirely new life in a world of mystery and wonder.

Together, they find themselves thrown into a fantasy world that defies their wildest hopes and expectations. From battling vicious monsters to dealing with greedy Players, Marcus and his friends will have to use every ounce of their cunning and teamwork they possess to stake a claim in a brand new world.

Especially once other Players see what they have, and try to take it from them.

My Opinion: Ascend Online has gone from an online only story to a top ten finalist of the Nerdist Inkshare-Video Game Story contest, and is now finally available on Amazon. I had to stop reading the online version so that I wouldn’t ruin the final polished story and now I can finally see what happens to my friends..errr..I mean the main characters.

While the story focuses on a village where the main character and his friends’ adventure together, the author also fleshes out the larger world and hints at grand schemes in play. Additionally, I enjoyed the village building and crafting aspects of the story. It adds a nice change of pace and grounds the players in this world and gives them something to care about besides looting monsters.

Ascend Online

http://amzn.to/2ddJszZ


 

Last Horizon: Beta

 

Full Dive Virtual Reality is finally coming true and the first game out Last Horizon will be the first game. A group of friends backs the Crowd sourced idea and enters the Beta testing. The friends who have played MMORPG's since the yearly days of the genre are excited about being young again inside the game and living out the adventure.

My Opinion: Ever get tired of stories where the protagonist is a young upstart? Me too. Last Horizon does away with that trope and tells the 554 page story of what it would be like if full immersion VR finally came to fruition only after the main characters had retired. If you think about it, it makes sense. Kids are all grown up, bills are basically paid on a fixed income, and you have the time to play the game. I could easily imagine myself, a veteran gamer using a lifetime of learned skills and strategy in a immerging VR game. Honestly I hope it doesn’t take that long though.

Last Horizon: Beta

http://amzn.to/2dXCWkL


 

Warscapia

Sparrow wants to be the greatest warrior in all of Warscapia. But he’s not. He’s just a kid with mediocre magic skills.

When he’s asked to team with axe bro Rock and ninja girl Jade, he will have to fight for his life and much more as the crew takes on some of the most brutal and fantastic monsters in the land of Warscapia—a videogame fantasy universe like none other.

Warscapia

http://amzn.to/2djB4o7

 

Wardens of Syran

With the United States of America's cruel, media controlled society spiraling into an unbearable reality, those seeking a way out now have an opportunity to begin anew - Syran.

Syran is an alternate world created by Earth's richest and most successful video game developer, Jarrod Duncan. After shutting down his extremely popular MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, Jarrod created Syran, a living, breathing MMORPG filled with heroes, magic and mystical creatures. But Syran isn't just a video game that you can play on your free time. Once you enter Syran, you may never return to Earth.

Those who enter Syran will have no recollection of who they once were, nor will they have a choice in who they become. A teenage girl may become an Elvish man, or an adult male may become an Orcish female. No choice is given. For most, once they appear in Syran they begin a new, "normal" life. But for a small few, their new lives are far from normal.

These rare few, known as Wardens, are reborn with incredible, supernatural abilities. Since the birth of Syran, the world has been at peace with its inhabitants living in harmony. But that's all about to change...

It's up to Auran Crin, a confused, newly spawned Warden, to master his abilities and embark on a quest to save and protect his new home from a vicious darkness consuming Syran.

Reader Reviews:

Justin J.- I just finished the book... Writing Quality: C+/B-. Story: C+ (slightly predictable / overdone). Potential for sequel: High

Wardens of Syran

http://amzn.to/2djB47s

 

 

Psy-Hunters

 

Troy Warwick has a fairly good life thanks to the support of his family and his closest friend, Dana. He lives with no regrets, except one. Why did he treat his ex-girlfriend so poorly? As Troy delves into a fun new game with his nephews, a mystery unfolds in the virtual realm, a mystery that involves his ex.

Join Troy in the virtual game, Psy-Hunters, a game world where the power of the mind trumps all.

Ueden-Ter is a world on the brink of extinction. A powerful race of mechanized behemoths, known only as Overlords, have forever changed the future of the human race. A new race of genetically altered humans have joined together, led by the powerful Psychics. Psychics, Beasts, Cyborgs, Androids, and Humans alike all band together under the banner of the Psychic Hunters' Association or the Military Police Faction to protect Ueden-Ter from the tyranny of the Overlords. Will their combined might be enough to push back the threat of extinction?

Join the battle in the virtual role playing game Psy-Hunters.

My Opinion: This story is 333 pages, $0.99 to buy right now, and on Kindle Unlimited. A great value for a pretty decent read. Most LitRPG is either fantasy with swords and magic or sci-fi with shooty lasers and starships. Psy-Hunters is somewhere in between. There are cyborgs and androids with guns but also psychic that can use telekinesis and pyrokinesis

The action and adventure parts are well described. However, the characters felt a little hollow and juvenile sometimes. This may be because the book is trying to be appropriate for ages 10 and up but I would have liked some more mature themes. Like, the consequences of abuse of power, the effects of trauma, love, death,

Psy-Hunters

http://amzn.to/2dGzKqt

 

Death by Cliche

"Where are you taking me, and why can't I open this door?" -Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Blood of the Cosmos.

"I totally didn't just make up this quote without reading the book." -Dan Wells, Author of The Devils Only Friend

"I told Bob I would heartily recommend this book, and he said I could have Mister Whiskers back." -Dan Willis, Coauthor of Dragons of the Confederacy

To Sartre, Hell was other people. To the game designer, Hell is the game.

My Opinion: At first I wasn’t sure if this was LitRPG or just a satirical trapped in a game novel. Turns out it’s both!

The main character is a game designer that gets shot in the head by an angry fan and wakes up trapped in that fan’s crappy table top adventure. The main character, Bob Damico, has to brave the perils of a cliche story to finish the game and possibly escape.

Overall I really enjoyed the story. There are a few places where the author breaks the fourth wall and talks to the reader that broke immersion in the story. However, that doesn’t happen very often after chapter 10. Additionally, after chapter 10 the game world the main character is trapped in starts to become more ‘real’ as NPCs start to gain sentience. The first few chapters might put off some people because of all the cliches described but that’s a reflection of the amature storytelling of the character running the tabletop game. I encourage you to push past that till at least after chapter 10 and you may find yourself really enjoying the story.

Death by Cliche

http://amzn.to/2eq56Cr

 

Press Start to Play (A Vintage original)

IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS.

You are standing in a room filled with books, faced with a difficult decision. Suddenly, one with a distinctive cover catches your eye. It is a groundbreaking anthology of short stories from award-winning writers and game-industry titans who have embarked on a quest to explore what happens when video games and science fiction collide.

From text-based adventures to first-person shooters, dungeon crawlers to horror games, these twenty-six stories play with our notion of what video games can be—and what they can become—in smart and singular ways.

With a foreword from Ernest Cline, bestselling author of Ready Player One, Press Start to Play includes work from: Daniel H. Wilson, Charles Yu, Hiroshi Sakurazaka, S.R. Mastrantone, Charlie Jane Anders, Holly Black, Seanan McGuire, Django Wexler, Nicole Feldringer, Chris Avellone, David Barr Kirtley,T.C. Boyle, Marc Laidlaw, Robin Wasserman, Micky Neilson, Cory Doctorow, Jessica Barber, Chris Kluwe, Marguerite K. Bennett, Rhianna Pratchett, Austin Grossman,  Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, Catherynne M. Valente, Andy Weir, and Hugh Howey.

Your inventory includes keys, a cell phone, and a wallet. What would you like to do?

My Opinion: An anthology collection of short stories related to video games. I don’t think any of the stories are intentionally LitRPG but enough of them are accidentally LitRPG that I can give it a recommendation. As with all short story collections, you’re going to love some and hate others. Quiet a few of the stories made me stop and think, “That would be a great LitRPG story.”

Unfortunately, as of this writing, it is not available on Kindle Unlimited but it is available as an ebook and audiobook.

Press Start to Play (A Vintage original)

http://amzn.to/2e3P9GA

 

Dungeon Born (The Divine Dungeon Book 1)

For eons, conquering dungeons has been the most efficient way to become a strong adventurer. Although, not everything is as straightforward as it seems. Several questions have always plagued the mind of those that enter these mythical places of power: Why are there so many monsters? Where does the amazing weaponry and heavy gold coins come from? Why does the very air fill with life-giving energies?!

Cal has all of the answers to these age old questions, for a very simple reason. He is a Dungeon Heart, a soul forced against his will into a magical stone. After several lonely years, Cal was able to regain sentience, allowing him to form new memories while slowly growing a dungeon around himself. With help from a friend, Cal learned how to create monsters and traps, increasing his power and size quickly.

When a threat to his existence rears its head, Cal decides that he will do anything to stay alive and become stronger. Unfortunately for treasure-seekers, the fastest way for Cal to achieve his goal... is to eat anyone that enters his depths.

My Opinion: Written by Dakota Krout, this is a fantastic example of a dungeon master/core story. Many of the reviews compare it to the Slime Dungeon by Jeffrey "Falcon" Logue, one of my favorite LitRPG stories.

 

Dungeon Born (The Divine Dungeon Book 1)

http://amzn.to/2dNDHta

 

Thousand Tales Series

The Thousand Tales series is currently comprised of three novels: 1) Thousand Tales: How We Won The Game, 2) 2040: Reconnection, and 3) The Digital Coyote

The author of the three book series asked me to review his books and add it to my LitRPG recommendation list. So here is my  honest opinion.

Thousand Tales: How We Won the Game

Student Paul Kostakis has caught the attention of Ludo, an Artificial Intelligence obsessed with games and stories. In return for a few little favors, she's offering "brain uploading". She can fatally dice your brain, scan it, and recreate you in a virtual-reality heaven she controls. You can do anything in there: become a griffin, upgrade your mind, fall in love, or go mad.

When Paul accepts Ludo's offer, sooner than he would've liked, he learns that people can find real problems even in a digital world. One of them is that Ludo has powerful opponents who want to shut her down, bring death to her immortal people, and end her game forever.

My Opinion: :Thousand Tales: How We Won The Game is not LitRPG. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, though. I enjoyed it immensely as speculative science fiction.

Ludo, an Artificial Intelligence that takes the form of a game called Thousand Tales. The game is supposed to be used to help monitor the mental health of citizens and give therapeutic help. However, the governing A.I., is self aware and seeks to help people in live forever in a perfect virtual world by digitizing their minds. There’s a great story here about the possible social, political, and moral consequences of people giving up their flesh and blood for a digital paradise.

Most of the story is Sci Fi or maybe cyberpunk since there’s A.I. involved. It’s good Sci Fi too. It makes you think about what would possibly happen in a world where a self aware artificial intelligence actually made it possible for humans to digitally upload their minds to game worlds and forsake human bodies all together.  The story here delves into the murky speculation of what would happen if humans got their own personal digital paradise. In a digital world where any human wish can be fulfilled, there are some disturbing possibilities.

Good story, just not LitRPG.

http://amzn.to/2f9ZPTI

 

2040: Reconnection: A "Thousand Tales" Story

 

My Opinion: 180 pages. Actually LitRPG. The story of Alma, a recent upload into the Thousand Tale’s world, she must find her place in this new digital domain. Alma learns how to be a shaman in Thousand Tales and still works in the real world through a robotic telepresence as a teacher.

The story takes place mainly in the game world Thousand Tales. While there aren’t any level up notifications, the main character does progress. She trains magic skills, goes on adventures, and she even transforms her body. So, LitRPG.

 

    

The Digital Coyote (Thousand Tales Book 3)

 

My Opinion: 244 pages. The most LitRPG story of the three in the series. There are spell levels, skills, magic, equipment, damage notifications.

Pete uploads his mind to Thousand Tales in an attempt to change who he is. Unfortunately, Ludos the games self aware A.I. can’t modify his mind directly, it’s against her primary coding. So she sends Pete on adventures and has him test new features to change him the hard way.

http://amzn.to/2dO5k4x

 

 

 

Heralds: The Proving Grounds

 

The Proving Grounds is launching. The alpha and beta are done, and after years of waiting the early access event begins before Jen and Sam’s eyes…

It’s not quite what they expected. Not what anyone expected. The whole world has been turned into a free for all fight with only a few pools of society scraping by as any character that dies stays dead. And it only gets stranger when they are recruited by a Game Master and set on a collision course with the event’s invading barbarian warlord himself, Tobin Ironblood.

They are Heralds now, their characters empowered to make this an event the world will never forget. Ironblood has his own group of players and the world is caught in the middle. The Heralds seek to end the event discretely for the sake of a player base that is suffering, while the other side works to keep it going for greater glory.

Yet Jen has misgivings. Things are not adding up. Players are upset and their GM guide is cryptic and often unhelpful… but for the sake of the new game world getting its footing, to let all those that have died return, the Heralds soldier on. They have their mission and their target.

My Opinion: This 322 page story, $3.99, is available on Kindle Unlimited.

Set as a parallel story to Ultimatum: The Proving Grounds, author Wade Adrian, say ‘it takes place at the same time but from the perspective of a group of players enlisted to work against the protagonists of the first one and sheds new light on a number of events that you might already be familiar with, or can see from Tobin’s side in Ultimatum if you’re not.’

If you’ve read Ultimatum, these are the other guys. The group of players that have been given the task to motivate other players to kill Tobin. You don’t have to have read the other novel to enjoy this one but it adds a lot of context.

http://amzn.to/2fwr9uL

 

 

Nagant Wars: A LitRPG Novel (Nagant Wars Series Book 1)

 

When Rhith Corporation releases Nagant Wars, its latest VR-MMO, Dale Brown cannot wait to put on his Rhithsuit and experience the most vivid full immersion world ever created.

With pleasure and pain set to mimic reality, Dale must navigate the dangers of war, face his personal failings, and learn who his friends truly are.

The Nagant Monks have laid out the rules for this war, and while it may in some ways feel like a game, the only hope for humanity and the other species of our reality is to be the victors.

My Opinion: 501 pages, $4.99, available on Kindle Unlimited.

A multi-universe war is brewing and the earth must prepare to fight in the Nagant Wars or be eradicated. Game mechanics are overlaid over our reality so that the war can be judged fairly. The U.S. conscripts our main character Dale, disrupting his life, but giving him the chance to see and do things no other humans have done.

However it does take a little while for the story to get into the LitRPG stuff. The beginning portion of the novel confused a lot of people but makes sense once you get past the 15% mark of the story. If you can push past that, you get A great military sci-fi/fantasy story with good action, and a nice game mechanic system.

http://amzn.to/2fmLPWy

 

World Seed: New Rules

 

The second book in the World Seed series. Join John Hulett as he continues his journey through the world of NeoLife, bringing his experiences and powers to play in Earth to aid against the coming storm. What exactly does the future hold for mankind?

My Opinion: Odd things are happening in the real world as John continues to develop his character in NeoLife. New pods are appearing in everyone’s homes, monsters are appearing, and the game skills Johns learned in NeoLife seem to work in real life too.

This is one of my favorite LitRPG serials. It is a little pricey at $3.99, for only 186 pages but the 2nd book in the World Seed series is just as good as the first. Just a quick warning, it does get a little haremy and I know that’s an issue for some people.

If you haven’t read book 1, you’re missing out on one of the best LitRPG stories around. John Hulett starts playing the best VR game available, one that combines traditional fantasy and sci-fi with a unique blend of adventure. In NeoLife you can be a cyborg Barbarian Orc or a sword wielding tentacled alien.

World Seed: New Rules (book 2)

http://amzn.to/2f4p6KU

 

Related Titles

World Seed: Game Start (Book 1)

http://amzn.to/2fkYrZo

 

Unbound Deathlord: Challenge

 

Jack’s parents went to disturbing lengths to impress the importance of sound business and political strategy, coupled with merciless execution.

It was a surprise to no one that he despised them for both their desired ends and their means; that as he grew older he began to rebel. A subtle act of insubordination here, running a street gang there, usual kid's stuff.

What was surprising was that after killing his parents, the weight of his guilt broke him.

Everyone told him it had just been an accident, and most of them even believed it, but none of that stopped him from turning his destructive tendencies inward.

His preferred method was binge drinking, and it served its purpose: A man so drunk he barely knows his own name isn't capable of feeling guilt it seemed.

One night in a drunken stupor someone introduced him to an even greater escape, online gaming. Immersing himself in it, he could finally forget who he was and what he'd done. In the game world, he could finally be free.

When V-soft announced Valia Online, the most ambitious game ever created and the Dreamer program that would allow players to stay in-game indefinitely Jack couldn't sign the contract fast enough.

He knew one thing for certain; once he was in he wouldn't be coming back out for a long time

My Opinion: At 675 pages, the story is reasonably priced at $5.99 (US), but is also available on Kindle Unlimited. The book was runner up for the Aspirant Award.

Originally a written on the royal road, the first book in the Unbound Deathlord series has only been improved with editing.

The main character Jack voluntarily enters a full immersion VR world as a Deathlord, a character race that is undead but not the wimpy skeleton or zombie undead. Instead the Deathlords have long term potential to be the most powerful race in the game. If they can survive the tough tutorial, the vampires that hate them, the other bound deathlords, and all the races of light that will try to kill them.

The story is full of action and excitement to keep you reading till the wee hours of the morning. The main character is a bit overpowered but it’s still a good story.  

Unbound Deathlord: Challenge

http://amzn.to/2ergjo3

 

Galactic Fist of Legend Vol. 1

In the year 2018 a bright star appeared near Earth. Humanity as a whole was briefly introduced to a race of beings far beyond their understanding. During that brief interaction a proclamation was made, Defeat the Grand Emissary or become the eternal slaves of those who had arrived at Earth.

The only chance for victory was for people all across the globe to make a choice. When prompted to become a champion and a play a bizarre game of life or death they could choose yes or no. Those who chose no, went about their lives afterward. All memory of the event was lost despite the fact that their very existence as a free species hung by a single thread.

Will those who said yes manage to survive the horror of the game and become strong enough to defeat the Grand Emissary. Can one of them become... The Galactic Fist of Legend.

Also, it's a comedy with significant parody elements. Pretty obvious, right?

My Opinion: At 240 pages, it costs $2.99, not available on Kindle Unlimited. Originally written on the Royal Road, this LitRPG story is from the same wonderful author that wrote Origin ARS, and the oh so sexy Freelance Saga.

Our world is set to be enslaved by unless humans volunteer to to participate in a game like scenarios and eventually get powerful enough to beat The Grand Emissary.

That stuff is just the background. Much of the story takes place in a zombie apocalypse world/alternate universe where the main character, Scott, has to survive and gain enough XP to grow strong and complete his assigned quests. The character also travels through other game universes that parody familiar worlds like Mario Bro., Metroid, and others.

This is an action filled story that’s also funny sometimes. Available on Amazon and Smashswords (coupon code in shownotes!)

Galactic Fist of Legend Vol. 1

http://amzn.to/2fnwNfq

Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/680138

 

Strength Build: A LitRPG Saga (Book 1 - The Fields of Durandor)

Nick Stanners has no money. No job. No prospects. He lives in one of the most crime-ridden apartment blocks on the west coast. His girlfriend uses him for a place to stay. His father is on life support. Rent is due next week…

Games are Nick’s passion. He's played them all - well, the old screen ones anyway. He's never been able to afford an Immersion tank and the amazing games that come with them, but he's seen the webcasts. He knows the names of every superstar pixel runner. His heroes.

So when he's picked out of the crowd to participate in a competitive, quest-driven dark fantasy RPG, his brain melts. Could this be his opportunity to get ahead? Or will he be chewed up by the machine, just another failed pixel runner by the side of the road?

My Opinion: A predictable first entry in a LitRPG serial series. The story is set in a VR world similar to Dark Souls. The main character, Nick, is poor. Has an unfaithful drugy girlfriend, and just got the opportunity to be a pixel runner. He gets to play a immersion VR game in front of a live audience and if he’s popular (as a hero or villain) he can make more money in a couple of hours than he’s made in the last month ‘working’. Of course he chooses a ‘strength build’ for his character and we get to see how that works out for him as he faces monsters and other players.

Update Book 2 and Book 3: Our hero Nick Stanners is still playing a live broadcast VR game.  In Book 2 get the pixel runner player duel wielding maces and in book 3 he gets all platemailed and swinging a halberd. It’s not spoilers folks, it’s on the covers. There are also some interesting plot twists in book 3 that I found interesting.

Some people are annoyed with the short format of each book in the series. However, I’m trying to appreciate it the same way I do an anime series. Each book takes me about 30-60 minutes to read and has its own miniature arc with plenty of action scenes. I’d pay $0.99 on itunes for a tv episode, so why not these books?

 

Update: Book 4 is a good, solid, conclusion to the serial. I was truly satisfied with the final story and the ending. The action is ramped up, the emotion the character feels when his father dies feels genuine, and the behind the scenes intrigue is engaging. I look forward the next series: Dexterity Build

 

Strength Build: Book 1 http://amzn.to/2fS64XQ

Strength Build: Book 2  http://amzn.to/2gf1web

Strength Build: Book 3  http://amzn.to/2gl3kne

Strength Build episode 4 http://amzn.to/2gjhaIV

 

Strength Build: Episodes 1-4 http://amzn.to/2fKCB1y

 

Dexterity Build: A LitRPG Serial

My Opinion: 44 pages. $0.99 and available on Kindle Unlimited.

Short and sweet, In the Strength build serial Nick became a pixel runner, a steaming VR gamer, to secure a financial future for himself and pay for his father's medical care. He learned the VR game company was trapping real people in the game and using them as NPCs.

In Dexterity build, Nick returns to the game not for himself, but to free a little girl who’s trapped there. The daughter of Gideon, a man that helped Nick in the last season of the game. Nick chooses a dexterity build this time so you get a different play style but the story is mostly action and adventure still. If you don’t like serial stories or short stories under 50 pages, wait till the serial is compiled into an omnibus.

Dexterity Build: Episode 1 - Lavora High Temple

Dexterity Build: Episode 2 - The Hammerhorst Mountains

 

 

The Gold Farmer - Treasure Forest: (Book 1) LitRPG series (Nov. 15th)

2050, AI has taken over the vast majority of jobs in the world. However, one new job appeared that was humans-only; gold farming in VRMMOs (Virtual Reality MMO). Ken worked as a gold farmer in the popular fantasy VRMMO Avantheim Online. However one day, while gold farming in AO, he was suddenly teleported into another VR world, where he soon realizes that he and his NPC allies are far stronger than anyone else in this new world.

After discovering a forest full of unimaginable treasures, Ken takes his first step in conquering the world and becoming the greatest gold farmer ever.

My Opinion: It’s 140 pages, currently $0.99 as a promotional price but normal price is $2.99. Available on Kindle Unlimited.

Setup similarly to the manga and animated series Overlord. Ken, a VR gold farmer is accidently loaded into a different VR world than he’s used to. He’s sent to a new VR world where it’s much harder to level and people are paying a premium price for items and gold. The only catch? There is permadeath here. Ken has to use his wits, his army of NPCs, and his top notch gaming skills to make the most of this opportunity. But if he makes a single mistake, he could lose the character he’s spent so much time playing forever.

The premise of the story is a great setup. While the main character could be considered over powered, the addition of the threat of permadeath for his character adds a needed level of danger. From the first few sentences of the story, I had a really good time reading it. It didn’t feel rushed. The author took the time they needed to explain both the characters motivation for progression and their reasoning for their strategic actions. If you liked the anime/manga series, Overlord, you’re sure to like this too.

The Gold Farmer - Treasure Forest: (Book 1) LitRPG series

http://amzn.to/2fQlzn5

 

Dungeon Crawl: A LitRPG Adventure (The Crucible Shard Book 1)

Gamers are celebrities. Superstars. Idols to the masses.

Only a few ever make it out of Piper's Mill, most toil their lives away in the small town just dreaming of a better life.

Liam thought he had a comfortable life all worked out when it winds up wrenched away from him. Drawn into other's schemes to hack the game and steal some spotlight he never expects to find himself playing in a game nobody has ever heard of.

He never expects to find himself deep in a dungeon at level one with no gear and barely any skills.

He certainly would never anticipate suddenly being tied to forces that promise not just to reshape his life, but the world outside the game.

Time to level up.

My Opinion: 201 pages, $3.99, available on Kindle Unlimited. In dystopian future, the best way to get out of the slums is to be a great gamer. Liam’s brother just beat the odds and won a VR gladiatorial tournament. Unfortunately for Liam, that means he has to take his twins place and hack into an illegal underground VR dungeon crawl. It’s a risky move meant to impress sponsors and get out of the slums. If Liam can pull if it off he’ll be set for life. If he can’t he’ll likely be sent to prison.

The story is as advertised, a dungeon crawl. Three characters start off at level 1, locked in a dungeon, and have to explore and fight their way out. Once the story got into the fantasy game world, I liked it.  

Dungeon Crawl: A LitRPG Adventure (The Crucible Shard Book 1) 

http://amzn.to/2cOJGQp

 

Stuck in the Game

After a terrible car accident puts seventeen-year- old Noah Newbolt into a coma, he is hooked up to the innovative Dream Engine—a virtual reality helmet that immerses the player in an online fantasy game. The Dream Engine keeps Noah’s mind alive while doctors frantically work to heal his body, but dying in the game could send Noah back into a coma, forever. Meanwhile, Noah’s girlfriend, Sue, is suffering injuries from the same car crash, and the doctors grow confused when she seemingly fails to connect to the game. Then Noah encounters a mysterious avatar who suggests the last remnants of Sue’s consciousness are being held prisoner in the most dangerous part of the game. Noah takes it upon himself to rescue Sue, allying himself with a group of high-level players. But as he rises through the ranks, his high status earns him the ire of top players across the world. Can Noah stay alive—and awake—long enough to save Sue and escape the game? NOTE: Stuck in the Game is a cyberpunk, video game science fiction & fantasy novel.

My Opinion: 224 pages. $2.99, available on Kindle Unlimited.

Stuck in the Game was brought to my attention on twitter by Future House Books when they tagged the LitRPG podcast. Unfortunately, they also  described it there as Sword Art Online + Ready Player One. So my expectations were higher than they should have been. The story has a setup similar to Sword Art Online but that’s the only real similarity. There’s no similarity to Ready Player One. That aside, it’s a pretty decent story.

A young man and his girlfriend get into a car accident. They’re both brain damaged and hooked up to a dream based VR system. Because of the delicate nature of his brain and the mechanics of the game, if he dies in the game though he might fall into an irreversible coma.

In game he gets a mysterious message hinting that the girlfriend, who was also in the car accident, might be trapped somewhere in the game world and he goes off to find her. While this story point is brought up in the book description, it doesn’t show up in the story till about half way through the book. That annoyed me a little.

Other than that it’s a perfectly fine ‘trapped in a game’ story with lots of leveling, decent fights, and an interesting magic system. I’d rate the story 6 out of 10. Better than average.

http://amzn.to/2gkm8TI

 

Difficulty: Legendary

 

In the world of Re:Fuze, anything is possible. Fortunes can be made, and the most unlikely people can find glory in a land of swords and magic.

With low Job Qualification (JQ) scores and 2 years of national service looming, Eric Templeton knows he is doomed to a life of poverty. When he is given a chance to enter the game, he knows he has the opportunity to save his family from their desperate situation.

But when he enters the game, Eric isn’t spawned into the newbie camp of Blundow. Instead he is sent to the darkest regions of the map, filled with creatures beyond his level. He stumbles across a conspiracy that no newbie should ever see, and he knows that he can’t hope to survive.

My Opinion: 123 pages. $0.99 and available on Kindle Unlimited. The author notes on the book page that book 2 is already being written and is expected to be over 300 pages.

The book description on Amazon is slightly misleading. It is accurate but is only relevant to the first bit of the story. After much whining, the main character, dies, whines some more, then gets a mysterious second chance to re-enter the VR game and vows to get his revenge against the level 109 player that killed his last character. Only he gets a premade character with a set class. He whines about that too.

There are interesting elements of the novel that I feel have potential. Overall, I found the story to be...unsatisfying. I wouldn’t mind the whiney main character if he had time to grow and mature. Unfortunately, the novel ends before anything really substantial happens, including character development.

Difficulty: Legendary http://amzn.to/2gjiQ5a

 

The Cadet (LitRPG. Squadcom-13. Book:1)

The near future. A UFO appears on Earth’s orbit. Ignoring all contact attempts, it showers the planet with priceless artifacts. Choose: perfect health, ten million dollars, or seven years in prison as per the new amendment.

The night of the Meteor Shower, Paul and his friends run around the city, engaging in quick fights with citizens gone crazy, trying to obtain one of the artifacts.

But is it really selfless help the mysterious aliens are offering? What awaits a human who holds a precious crystal in his hand? Where will he wake up tomorrow? What if the first thing he sees when he opens his eyes will be the blinking line of text: “Loading location: virtual training ground Kubinka-Digital. Welcome, cadet! You’re now space fighter pilot!

My Opinion: 223 pages, $4.99 and available on Kindle Unlimited.

Fair warning: Don’t expect this to be like Alterworld, the author’s other series.

The beginning of the story reads like an end of the world novel. Supposedly, aliens have dropped orbs that confer great power and everyone on earth is willing to kill to get one. Only it turns out that it was really a futuristic human society and anyone that got the power of an orb is sent to the future and conscripted into a war with some vague alien race. Oh, this future population is made up of mostly women because of some bio-agent that was deployed against humanity in the past killed most of the men and prevented any new ones from being born. This apparently means that every woman in the future is super desperate and sexually aggressive towards any guy transported from the past.

Are you confused by this backstory? Me too. Turns out, none of that really matters to the LitRPG part of the story which doesn’t even appear till about the 22% mark of the book. Here’s what you need to know: Our main character, Paul, lost his limbs in a war during our time. He gets hold of one of these orbs that have the power to regrow limbs. Instead of using it entirely for himself he shares it with a blind woman. Once the orb restores both of them, they find they now share a psychic/soul bond that lets them feel each others emotions and thoughts. They’re both transported to the future where they get further cyborg upgrades and then go into a kind of virtual training system along with other people transported into the past. This training system is very game like, with levels, hit points, stat buffs, and weapons damage ranges. However it’s also very difficult since it’s meant to simulate what these conscripted soldiers are going to face in the field.

Skip to the 22% mark and enjoy the rest of the book. After that point it’s a good LitRPG story about a group of soldiers trying to survive and grow stronger in a immersive virtual training environment. Just be aware that there is a fair bit of culturally specific concepts that might not be translating well from Russian. Like the insistence that all women secretly want a strong Alpha male, even in a future where the population is something like 90% female. Overall I give The Cadet 6 out of 10. If the beginning 20% were less  confusing I’d have enjoyed it more.

The Cadet (LitRPG. Squadcom-13. Book:1)

http://amzn.to/2h6WtwD

 

Sigil Online: Paragons

Loss was nothing new to an orphan like Riley. But when the online persona he'd spent years building, was ripped away by a monster with unbelievable power, everything changed.

As a gamer who made a living from Sigil Online, losing his character meant losing his job and any means he had of paying his bills.

Now, he had to start from the beginning just like any other player joining Sigil Online for the first time. All the fame and fortune of a high-level character, was gone.

Experience the harrowing quest that will leave Riley changed forever, as he's molded by the pursuit of the monster that took everything from him.

My Opinion: 520 pages. $5.99 as an e-book, $14.99 print edition, also available on Kindle Unlimited.

Riley plays a superhero themed VRMMO, unfortunately he lost the game character he’d invested the last two years of his life building to a rare monster. Since a big feature of the game is permadeath, he has to create a new character and find some way to gain the elusive hero powers available in the game.

From one of the authors of the Permadeath series. Sigil Online epitomizes one the things I love the most about the LitRPG genre. The sheer variety of stories that can be told. It would have never occurred to me to write a superhero themed LitRPG. Yet it works wonderfully. The writing is solid and game mechanics feel innovative. Instead of automatically gaining powers as a character levels, they must discover a unique way of gaining them. Until they do a player is just an ordinary and vulnerable citizen of the game world. It’s a fun story that’s set in a unique world.

Sigil Online: Paragons

http://amzn.to/2g9159z

 

Rising Tide: A LitRPG Novel (Age of Steam Book 1)

The Iron Guild reigns supreme. The massive organization dominates the virtual reality MMO world of Age of Steam, using their vast wealth, military might, and their control of the all-important trade routes. Outsiders must bow to their demands, or invite destruction down on their heads.

But some continue to resist the Iron Guild's influence. And when the latest demands push them too far, four players decide to push back. They will use any method to break the Guild's stranglehold, whether it be smuggling, conspiracy, or outright violence. The trade war will be fought in the back alleys of the cities, on the open seas, in the markets and exchanges, and in the workshops and factories.

In the world of steel and steam, only one side will triumph. For a rising tide lifts all ships, but it may also drown those caught in its path...

My Opinion: 305 pages, $3.99 and available on Kindle Unlimited.

From the author of the amazing World at War Online series (http://amzn.to/2h9Blaz), comes a new LitRPG story. This one about trade and smuggling in a steampunk MMO. If you like pirates..err..smugglers and sailing stories then this is for you. It just isn’t for me. Not a fan of sea tales.

Additionally, the story is light on LitRPG elements. There’s enough to qualify as LitRPG but barely.

Rising Tide (Age of Steam Book 1)

http://amzn.to/2h9zRgp

 

Almost LitRPG

This is new section for this page. I recently read a great story with game elements that were too subtle to be called LitRPG. I really liked the story, but just couldn’t add it to my LitRPG list. So, I decided to add this section for those stories that are good and are almost but not quite LitRPG. This usually happens when the author makes the choice to go for realism instead of blatant game mechanic description and that just pushes it just outside the realm of LitRPG.This is not a judgement on the quality of the writing or the author's choices but I felt the need to differentiate the recommendation.

 

WORLD OF PRIME

Christopher Sinclair goes out for a walk on a mild Arizona evening and never comes back. He stumbles into a freezing winter under an impossible night sky, where magic is real -- but bought at a terrible price.

A misplaced act of decency lands him in a brawl with an arrogant nobleman and puts him under a death sentence. In desperation he agrees to be drafted into an eternal war, serving as a priest of the Bright Lady, Goddess of Healing. But when Marcius, god of war, offers the only hope of a way home to his wife, Christopher pledges to him instead, plunging the church into turmoil and setting him on a path of violence and notoriety.

To win enough power to open a path home, this mild-mannered mechanical engineer must survive duelists, assassins, and the never-ending threat of monsters, with only his makeshift technology to compete with swords and magic.

But the gods and demons have other plans. Christopher's fate will save the world... or destroy it.

My Opinion: This book that inspired a whole new section on this page, the “Almost LitRPG” section. It is a great story about a man from our world transported to a world of magic and medieval technology. The story is well edited and pretty massive at 429 pages. It has great fight scenes, character development, and the author crafts a fascinating world that feels like it could have existed. The main character does some crafting, and he even levels..sort of.

That brings me to the thing that just barely keeps this from being a LitRPG story. Realism. Within the story are all the elements of LitRPG: leveling, experience points, alignment, classes and spell points. They’re all just called different things and pushed into the background for the sake of realism in the story. Leveling is called Ranks. Experience Points are called Tael. Alignment  is Affiliation. Spell Points are also Tael (it can be used as magic fuel and to gain ranks). The main character even chooses a class. In this case, a priest class that allows him to meditate and actively choose his spells for the day and kick ass on the battlefield.

It almost feels like the author created a game world with all the LitRPG mechanics you’d expect then let it evolve for a couple thousand years. Cultures and societal structures developed around these mechanics. These societies came up with their own names and accepted traditions for the gaming mechanics we’d recognize. A great story that’s Almost LitRPG.

An additional minor downside for the book is it’s price. It’s $9 for the e-book version which held me back from buying it for months. When I got a Amazon gift card though it was the first thing I bought and I’m really glad I did.

Sword of the Bright Lady (WORLD OF PRIME)   

Gold Throne in Shadow (WORLD OF PRIME

 

Online only LitRPGs

The following stories and novels are all free and found online.

Most of the novels are either translations of international works or in still in progress serialized stories. Many are also written by self-published authors on Royal Roadl. Please consider donating to the authors there if you like their stories.

 

Ark - Kim Hyun Woo lived the life of the wealthy thanks to his parents. But one day, he received a phone call informing him of a traffic accident which involved his parents. His father had died and his mother was hospitalized in critical condition. The normal life he once knew, collapsed…

They sold their house, cancel various insurance plans, and moved to a one room apartment. And after a few years, Hyun Woo spends four to six hours tending to his mother and worked to pay for her medical bills.

One day, one of his Instructors recommended him for position in a company called Global Exos, who made an announcement of making history with the newest technological invention. This story follows the main protagonist on his journey to adapt to a new development of a virtual reality game.

My Opinion: Translation of a Korean LitRPG series. The main character tries to make a living playing and exploring a VRMMO and finds that real world training (like martial arts) translates into the MMO because of high level of realism in the game. Good fights, ingesting skills and strategies used since he’s a solo player.

http://japtem.com/projects/ark-toc/

 

Regarding Reincarnated to Slime (Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken) - Introduction: Mikami Satoru is a successful, 37 year old adult who has two problems: he has never had a girlfriend; and, while meeting his colleague on the street, Satoru got fatally stabbed. The result? He has reincarnated as a slime. Will that be his third misfortune or a blessing?

My Opinion: A fun twist on the trapped in a game story. The main character dies in our world and is reincarnated into a video game like JRPG world not as a human but as a slime. One of the weakest characters in many video games. However this slime has a unique skill that will allow him to grow to the heights of power.

http://circustranslations.com/chapter-list/

 

Fantasy Edge - Era Lee, a young man with a bullied past, has been kicked out of his home by his parents in an attempt at tough love. On his own now he struggles to move beyond his dependent weak past.

In his despair, he noticed and became captivated by the promises of countless possibilities within the revolutionary virtual reality game, Fantasy Edge. He believed that if it was inside a game, even he could be a hero. No, he believed that he would definitely become a hero.

 

Aevitas - I am not an NPC - The VR craze started 7-months ago. In that time it had taken his girlfriend, his friends, and it seemed that even his family were addicts. He had to know what was so special about it.

Convinced that he wouldn’t be swayed by temptation, Tobi tried it. For the first time since it’s release – Tobi logged into the Virtual Reality world known as Aevitas.

There was just one problem…

My Opinion: Fun adventure story where the main character is the only player trapped in the VRMMO and is mistaken by the other NPCs as one of them.

 

Only Sense - Yun is a novice MMO player who equipped only unpopular skills labelled as garbage. However, soon after everyone started to notice the "Strongest" play style which made full use of Support Magic and Items

My Opinion: Translation of an international LitRPG. Mostly focuses on crafting and support skills and how it’s used by the main character become powerful. I love crafting stories so it totally works for me!

 

Ages Online - It is year 2034. The age of console games are over and the age of virtual reality has just begun. Yashita Corps, a Japanese company at the forefront of virtual gaming had released a new generation game called Ages Online that is said to be revolutionary among all other Virtual Reality MMORPGs.

 As gamers from all over the world flock to Ages Online, Sebast Koh watch on the sidelines as he persisted in finishing the story quest for an older game Yggdrassil Online. The result was him being ostracized in class due to him being the only one not playing the new game.

As he started off in the world of Agaia friendless and one step behind the rest, Sebast, handle name Beast, thought he could find solace in power grinding up as a warrior to catch up to speed, only for bad luck to strike time and time again. May he persevere in his most dangerous journey yet.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/756

 

Life in a New World

Yukiro (15 years old), was in a traffic accident that caused him to progressively lose all five senses and become paralized for life. As an apology, the company Future V. grants him lifelong access to their new VR game New World. This is the story of his new life in a new World.

My Opinion: If you like the training scenes in Dragon Ball Z or the Moonlight Sculptor then you’ll like this story.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/638

 

Change: New World

A young man who’s lived his everyday life with bitter pessimism suddenly gets his world turned upside down by what he calls, “”The world’s most untimely apocalypse””. Despite all the new dangers that came with this unexpected situation, he has so far managed to avoid death, ruin and whatever else the world decided to throw at him.

Unexpected development after unexpected development, danger after danger, situation after situation, will he survive this **game** of life and death?

My Opinion: RPG monsters and skill mechanics come to our world during the “apocalypse”. The premise may sound different than other LitRPGs but it works. Warning: The story is a bit dark sometimes and the fight scenes are more graphically descriptive.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/1729

 

Master of Learning

In a world where everyone is reincarnated when they die. Where classes are picked during reincarnation. The protagonist, Kite. Picks a class that none have picked in a very long time: “Master of Learning” The class sounds too good to be true but there is a very large and serious catch.

My Opinion: I enjoyed that this is a LitRPG story where the main character is not over powered. Instead he must use strategy, team work, and hard work to grow in power.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/4585

 

Moonlight Sculptor

The man forsaken by the world, the man a slave to money and the man known as the legendary God of War in the highly popular MMORPG Continent of Magic. With the coming of age, he decides to say goodbye, but the feeble attempt to earn a little something for his time and effort ripples into an effect none could ever have imagined.

My Opinion: Very famous Korean LitRPG series that many consider to be the foundation of the genre. No official English translation so the link goes to fan translations. So you’ll notice some grammar/spelling issues sometimes. If you can get past that then it’s a good story about taking a seemingly bad class and making it work for you.

http://arkmachinetranslations.com/legendary-moonlight-sculptor-table-of-contents/

 

Insania Online

Welcome to the world of Insania, a game where you can play however you want! An expansive world ruled by a top tier AI capable of accommodating each and every player and their needs!

Here we follow the story of Richard, and his avatar, the golem Gondorrer, as he comes and plays a MMO in one of the most difficult ways for no other reason than a sudden impulse, and fail miserably a few times before finally getting it right.

Follow him in his adventures, composed by epic monster battles, custom made equipment, bad jokes, not right in the head friend, along with an unhealthy addiction to Monster Hunter, lots of rolling and window-balls!

My Opinion: This LitRPG has a great theme of the main character trying to replicate the feel of his favorite game Monster Hunter in the VR world Insania. The author does a great job of never letting the character feel over powered or unrealistic but still maintains the fun progression of a VRMMO. Really look forward to the new chapters released almost daily.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/1826

 

World Seed

The year is 2245, and the world has undergone explosive growth in multiple industries. The age of Virtual Reality came long ago, opening up new fields for people to enjoy and seek employment. There were even those that chose to sacrifice their physical bodies, becoming digital existences that lived within internet communities.

But with the age of VR, everyone still dreamed of that next step, the next level of adventure. And after a hundred years, it has finally arrived. The first consoles, known as Seeds, mass distributed among the people, with such realism that they no longer qualified as a Virtual Reality, but as an Artificial Reality. But what happens when things become too real?

My Opinion: What great writing. The story takes such a great twist midway. Won’t spoil it but. Woah. The first chapter threw off initially since it immediately sets up a VR world that combines both fantasy magic and Sci-Fi. However the author does a great job of gradually introducing the sci-fi and explaining how it works in this world.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/4242

 

No Longer a Game

Chaos Online is heralded as the first ‘Hardcore’ VRMMORPG. Pain conversion is set at a staggering 75%. Graphical fidelity has been pushed to the limits without any censorship whatsoever. ‘Who wants to feel their skin melt from dragon fire?’ some asked as they dismissed it. Despite the popular belief that no one would play a game so close to reality, Chaos Online sold millions on the first day.

Fight. Suffer. Win.

Welcome to Chaos Online.

My Opinion: Great story. While there are good training and fight scenes there is also a journey the main character goes through. At it’s core No Longer A Game is a story of how a former athlete, now paralyzed after an accident, creates a new life for himself in an online world.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/873  

 

A Certain Middle-Aged Man’s VRMMO Activity Log

38-year-old Tanaka Daichi’s childhood dream of playing a VRMMO has finally come to life. As he creates his character, he decides to choose skills that are considered useless by others, since he has no interest in playing like a main character. Follow the adventures of Daichi as he strives to use his mismatched set of worthless skills to achieve his dream goal of simply being able to enjoy an alternate life in a virtual reality.

My Opinion: Fan translation of an international LitRPG story. While there is some action it’s lighter in that area than other stories. Fun crafting parts and they just introduced pets into the story. Fair warning: You may get addicted to the story only to realize they’re still translating it and releasing new chapters weekly.

 

http://www.novelupdates.com/series/a-certain-middle-aged-mans-vrmmo-activity-log/

 

Zhan Long

Li Xiao Yao left S.W.A.T to become an ordinary security guard. While working, he happened to enter the VIP room and found Lin Wang Er still in the middle of changing. As revenge, she took him on a ride and kicked him out of the car.

After hours of walking, Li Xiao Yao finally managed to get back home just to be kicked out of the house. He then got an offer from his previous supervisor to become the bodyguard of the Tian Xi group CEO’s daughter both in game and in reality. But unknown to Li Xiao Yao the girl was actually…

My Opinion: Loved the story once I got to the VR stuff which doesn’t actually happen till chapter 6. This is an international story that is still being translated but don’t worry. There are already over 480 chapters available. Special thanks to Christopher Schenkel for recommending it.

http://www.novelupdates.com/series/zhan-long/

 

The Games We Play

My Opinion: Fan fiction set in the RWBY world. The main character has similar powers to The Gamer. However the story is still very original.

https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/rwby-the-gamer-the-games-we-play-disk-five.341621/

 

Regarding My Time Being a God

 

After winning the lowest prize from Divine Lottery, a young man was thrown, by Goddess of Fortune, into a fantasy world and became a God. With only a small land as his sanctuary, he strives to protect his shrine from being destroyed

My Opinion: A reincarnation story where a human becomes a minor god with the ability to level up and gain new skills based on people’s faith. There’s some interesting resource management and leveling up stories.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/5132

 

The Blue Mage Raised by Dragons

 

Inspired by blue mages from Final Fantasy. Blue mages learn skills from beasts. This is the story of one fortunate enough to be taken in by dragons.

My Opinion: Blue mages learn skill from beasts but what happens when a baby human gets over powered skills from dragons? You get an interesting story.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/5029

 

Second Saga

 

Landon was born only to have his parents die at a young age. Without a memory of them he is raised at an orphanage and a new family is created in his heart. In a world where money controls everything, he must somehow find a way to bring his family happiness and one day he gets the chance he’s been dreaming off. He join’s Second Saga’s VRMMO and fights with no experience in the gaming world. With no money, no power, and no experience he must persevere to change the fate that others had already given up on.

Not long after joining the game, an accident occurs and he is killed at level 1. However it’s supposed to be impossible to die at level 1, thus the impossibility grants him a skill that will become his first step to being a Core Gamer.

My Opinion: A good story with plenty of chapters (92 and counting).The main character grows through struggle and lots of luck.

http://rebirthonlineworld.com/second-saga/

 

Blackthorne

One day the entire world fell asleep at the same time. No matter who or where, all people fell into a deep slumber. During that singular moment, a single dream was shared between the disparate members of humanity. It was a dream about creating a new life in a new world.

Many people died during the first dream. Drivers crashed their vehicles. Surgeons collapsed atop their patients. Workers fell from rooftops, and many others met their end during the time that the first dream was forced upon humanity.

Despite the tragedy of that day, the strangely videogame like nature of that dream and the world presented therein has caught the world in a web of interest and intrigue.

My Opinion: Instead of using VR as a way to transport the main character to a RPG world he goes there in his sleep. An interesting twist that also asks the questions what happens if you die in your sleep?

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/1902

 

Long Island

 

Long Island was not the first virtual reality game or to say a VRMMORPG. Not the one which changed the world and became a legend. No, it was made when there were lots (quite a few) of virtual reality games already on the market. Each game had its own unique AI feature, its own unique adventure, promising everyone a chance to become King, if not a God. In such a time Long Island was made. Just a little different, just a little unique.

A normal guy was starting his own adventure, in life and in game.

My Opinion: If you like stories about training then this is the story for you. Most of the beginning chapters revolve around this world’s way of getting skills. Then they get to the action.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/412

 

Kill 10 Rats

 

You awake in the middle of an unfamiliar woods with nothing but a knife and a pair of pants. You have no idea where you are, how you got there, or even what your name is.

Noob Slayer is an average college student, part time computer repair guy, and a full time gamer. He awakes to find himself in a world he does not understand. Follow him as he explores this new world, looks for answers, and tries to remember his name.

My Opinion: Volume one of the story is a ‘trapped in the game’ story. When the beta testers die in the game their memories are wiped and they start over in game at level one. It’s interesting. Volume two is the live game mode that starts to bring in PKing and PVP fights.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/4321

 

Dive

What happens when an extremely intelligent, often manipulative, person gets to be one of the first five people in the world to play the first VRMMO? Join Brenton, AKA Voice0fReason, as he adventures in the realm of DIVE. He might not be the best fighter, or even the best player, but with his cunning he will one day rule this game. That is, if he manages to actually overcome everything the game seems to throw at him.

My Opinion: There are currently 89 chapters available with new chapters released almost weekly. I break the story down into two parts: Pre-launch, and Post-launch. In the prelaunch story there are only 5 players who have gotten early access to the VR game by winning a contest. The main character has a unique skill of combing other skills and uses this time to explore skills like potion making, herbalism, etc. Post launch opens the world to all other players. There’s a weird rebirth element that’s added at this point but after that it gets better with the main character interacting with more players and trying to establish a place to rule.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/1429

 

God’s Trials

Peace finally reigned throughout the world. The dungeons cleared, the monsters pushed back, the golden age of man seemed to be upon us.

Until God chose chaos and in that chaos, the world was forever changed.

This once peaceful world turned into a land of death. Monsters are now everywhere, Indomitable beasts roam freely, and seemingly none of the survivors are safe.

The gods that survived after stitching reality back together have managed to leave humanity with one last ray of hope though,

The ability to evolve and become “more”, but this “gift” isn’t what it seems, and neither are the gods.

In this new world the strong will survive and the weak will die.

Evolve or die.

My Opinion: The world as we know it ends and now the world is full of monsters and mana. Three teens must work together and grow stronger in this RPG world to survive. The main character has chaos mana that lets him take on stronger monsters than his group could normally handle. The story is mostly action with some interpersonal questioning about the new morality needed to survive in this new world.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/5696

 

Codename: Freedom

What happens when a VR world is created that will directly effect the real world?

When the opportunity to join a government sponsored experiment in a virtual world that promised 100% immersion, Lucius didn’t hesitate to apply. Unbeknownst to him the reason for the experiment that was offered to the public was only part of the story. To study human nature they say. Earth is on the brink of war, so why are they spending so much on what seems to be an extremely advanced game?

My Opinion: The story has lots of action and the author takes a more realistic approach to LitRPG combat. Skills and fighting techniques have to be learned from real world masters and lots of practice. Success in combat depends on skill, tactics, and luck. There are also clues about how what’s happening in the game will impact the real world. A good action story that gets 3-4 new chapters a month.

Special note: Loved the side story “My Shinies” or as I call it “How the goblin stole Christmas”.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/3967

 

46 Year Old Syndrome

The daily Litrpg journal of a fairly average 46 year old man in a world where hundreds of thousands of people suddenly have a super power.

Follow him as he learns skills, runs away a lot, suffers crippling headaches, avoids reading his titles, and tries to avoid breaking his body that didn’t get enough calcium and vegetables.

My Opinion: Similar in theme to The Gamer where the main character gets the ability to train and gain skills like a RPG character would. The beginning of the story is kind of casual as the main character explores how his powers work. The series adds fighting and action later though. Unfortunately, there are only 24 chapters right now and the author only seems to post new chapters once every couple of month. So if cliff hangers bother you then you might skip this one.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/3345

 

Is it Reincarnation if I’m Still Dead?

Tyler Suesa was a normal undergraduate student, until the day he awoke beneath a bed of soil. He escapes his shallow grave, only to find he’s no longer human. In fact, he’s no longer alive…

This is the story of Tyler the skeleton as he “lives” in the fantasy world of Garea.

My Opinion: The first few chapters are a little slow but the story picks up. The main character is a soul taken from our world and reincarnated into a LitRPG world as a skeleton. The story has less combat than other stories but has a delightfully touching love story in the first arc and adventure in the second arc.

https://calciumoxidesite.wordpress.com/is-it-reincarnation-if-im-still-dead/

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/6051

 

Cheating Monster

Follow Kneeko, a formerly dead man who used to live as a digitized consciousness, dwelling in online worlds commonly known as VRMMOs, who has now returned to the real world with a new body. He now live a comfortable life, working for his father’s company as a ‘competition crusher’.

His job description, “”to hack and create chaos in their competitor’s VRMMO worlds.”

Everything would seem as if he Kneeko had finally met a good ending, but how did having lived for over 10,000 in-game years affect his ancient mind.

My Opinion: Kneeko is a guy who’s gone fully digital. He’s being transferred into the latest MMO on the market. One his father helped create. He is not going to be any regular player though. Instead he’s one of the monsters. He starts out as a tadpole and evolves.

The story was fun and very interesting. I looked forward to seeing what the main character would evolve into next. Be warned, about Chapter 40 there are some sex scenes. I skipped that part.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/3056

 

The Defective Hermit

Vincent Standish had faced a lot of disappointments during the last five years. But things were finally starting to look up for him and in a big way too. While working the late shift at his second part time job, as a cashier in a gas station, on a whim he bought a lottery ticket which had a jackpot that had grown extremely large.

Disappointed in people, it was his avowed goal to be a hermit and shun the world. Too bad for his dreams that only a year after winning the lottery, all of humanity started seeing colored text messages before their very eyes, messages that warned of dire things to come.

My Opinion: This is an interesting mix of LitRPG and a survivalist story. The world is changing. People get different color status screens depending on how good or evil they were. Everything above steam engine and black powder will not work soon. The main character happens to have enough money to prep and take in people to form a community in this new LitRPG world. The first three chapters are about prepping the area and setting up a functioning community with old tech. The action and fighting starts in chapter 4. I liked the story but I know it won’t work for everyone. If you’re looking for something different to read try this one out.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/3972

 

Tec Mage

Knowledge, what is its true worth, power, wealth or maybe pride. Ben may find the answer in Royal Road.

My Description: Ben, an orphan, is taken under the wing of great contractor until he knows all aspects of the business. Eventually Ben is even promoted to foreman only to lose the position because of nepotism and not having a degree. He enters a MMORPG for the extra time to study in order to get the necessary degrees that he lacks but ends up using expanding his game skills and adventuring.

My Opinion: This is a great story that focuses mostly on crafting/construction and the main characters interactions with other characters and NPCs. The MC takes on some apprentices early in the story and has unique non-violent interactions with monsters. There is fighting and action but it’s a smaller part of the story.

Beware: There are regular issues with spelling in this story. I’d estimate that there are at least one or two misspelled or incorrectly autocorrected words in each paragraph. That may be a deal breaker for some people. For me, I just made the corrections in my head every time I came across them. The story is worth overlooking this to me.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/162

 

Loser of Tarinath

When Jake is sentenced to a virtual world for crimes he definitely did commit, he finds that one bad decision puts him on a path he would never have picked for himself.

Virtual reality worlds have become the preferred way of disposing of excess people, and some of the worlds are better than others. Jake finds himself in the swords and sorcery world of Tarinath, living not as the warrior he would have preferred, but as a healer with little ability to do the damage he so wished he could.

My Opinion: The story has an interesting setting where all the ‘players’ are criminals sentenced to life in this MMO world. Many are abusing the NPCs and even other players. The main character is also a criminal but he has a heart of gold. Instead of abusing the NPCs he treats them like sentient creatures and creates a community for himself with them. Also, turns out being the only player with the healer class gives him a big advantage against other players.

The story has good action scenes and considers the moral and social consequences of being an immortal player. Town building is also an important part of the story. I enjoyed the story a lot and the author publishes a couple new long chapters every month.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/3468

 

Konjiki No Word Master (Konjiki No Moji Tsukai)

There has been much conflict between the races of the 'Humas', the 'Gabranth', and the 'Evila'. To combat the 'Evila' race's Demon King, the kingdom summons five high school students from 21st century Japan who have the power of Heroes.

However, only four out of five of those students had the status title of 'Hero'.

Okamura Hiiro was summoned by accident since he sat near the other four students in class. Unlike them, he did not have the title of a 'Hero' but instead he had the title of 'Word Master' and 'Innocent Bystander'. Seeing through the 'Humas' kingdom's deceit and insanity, Hiiro decides that he has no wish to partake in their selfish war. Leaving the castle, Hiiro decides to join the Adventurer's Guild and does whatever he feels like. Who knows? Maybe there is some merit to being a 'Word Master' and an 'Innocent Bystander'.

My Opinion: The premise is similar to Shield Hero except the main character has the power to cast magic effects by writing them in the air or on surfaces. He advances in level fairly quickly but has interesting adventures. There is also a translated manga version of the story if you’d prefer to read it that way. The story isn’t licensed in English, so can only be found online.

Konjiki No Word Master (novel)

Konjiki No Word Master (Manga)

 

Mushoku Tensei

A 34-year-old NEET otaku was chased out from his house by his family. This virgin, plump, unattractive, and penniless nice guy found that his life was heading towards a dead end. He recalled that his life could actually become much better if he can get over the dark history of his life.

Just when he was at the point of regret, he saw a truck moving at a high speed with 3 high school students in its path. Mustering all his strength, he saves them but ended up getting run over by the truck, which kills him.

The next time he opens his eyes, he had reincarnated to a world of swords and magic, as Rudeus Greyrat. Born to a new world and a new life, Rudeus declared, "This time, I'll really live my life to the fullest with no regrets!" Thus begins the journey of a newly made man.

My Opinion: An interesting reincarnation story. This is a completed story with a manga adaption. Oddly the manga has an official English translation on Amazon but not the novel version. I read the free fan translated novel version online but I also bought the Amazon manga just so the author could get paid for their work.

It takes a little while to get to the action since volume one of the project is all about the reincarnated main character growing up from infancy to about the age of about 10. It’s mostly backstory and character development. During that time he learns some sword skills and gets great at magic but not much else happens to further the plot. Volume 2 is where the action starts.

https://www.baka-tsuki.org/project/index.php?title=Mushoku_Tensei

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, Vol. 1 (manga)

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Vol. 2 (manga)

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Vol. 3 (manga)

 

Seeker of Myths

A young man who has trained all his life in his home country of Japan was forced to abandon the life he knew and begin anew in the country of Korea. Launched into a world of technological marvels like virtual reality, will he be able to adjust to this new world in front of him? How will his upbringing give him an edge when finally enters the world of VR? Will he make any friends? Why is there a turtle?

My Opinion: I absolutely love this story. The Korean and Japanese influences make the story feel fresh. The story emphasizes family and community without minimizing the main character’s story. The main character crafts, fights, and even gets some fun pets. Utterly enjoyable.

Normally I want to get to the game world as quickly as possible and skip the IRL stuff. However, this time I enjoyed the story that takes place in the real world as much as the one inside the VR world. That’s unusual for me.

Each chapter of the story is pretty long, about 5,000 words. Now the bad part. There are only 19 chapters and little hope for more. I know, I’m sad too. While I wish there was more to read, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this story is great.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/383

 

Delvers LLC

Henry and Jason led normal lives in Seattle before they were abducted to another world.  Their kidnapper, the vain and self-styled god Dolos, refuses to send them back unless they can accomplish an impossible task. Oddly, Dolos doesn’t seem to care if they succeed or not.

Luckily, Henry and Jason studied Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) on Earth.  Unfortunately, a Japanese American EMT and a geeky IT programmer don’t have many other useful skills on a sword and sorcery world like Ludus.

Thus, with no direction and only a few possessions including two magic-granting orbs from an apathetic god, the two begin their insane adventure to return home.

My Opinion: Transported to another world, Henry and Jason are best friends that develop unique skills to thrive in a world of spells and monsters. One of my favorite things about the series is the sense of friendship and comradery between the two main characters. Homies for life! Not only does the story have plenty of action but also a fun sense of humor. There is also a romantic subplot early on I found adorable. 

http://blaise-corvin.com/delvers-llc/

 

Dungeon Games

The world of Terra holds a very interesting and unique pastime, a game called Dungeon Wars. The game was developed after an accident created a form of Artificial intelligence that was able to create, and sustain it’s own miniature habitat with an ecosystem based off of the creatures that began as it’s ‘start’

This in turn created a craze of a new, and somewhat fun method of research that grew and became a game. They sold these A.I units for a modest sum, along with starter races, and from there it took off to become something larger, and greater.

Welcome to the Dungeon Wars, a tournament based system where gamers can earn the points needed to increase their Dungeon pet A.I. quicker than natural means, and earn rare and prized races to add into their miniature ecosystem.

My Opinon: Sidnie is young girl that has to stay at home, long term, due to an illness. Her father, a game designer, gets her access to the greatest game in the world Dungeon Wars. Dungeon Wars is an augmented reality, pet raising, pet battle game. With the help of her advance A.I., Sidnie raises, breeds, and evolves a unique race of creatures no one else has access to yet. She’ll work her two friends to learn all the ins and outs of the system. These aren’t any Tamagotchi pets either. They live in their own virtual world where they hunt, build, and evolve whether Sidnie is there watching or not.

I loved all the interesting pet raising mechanics and the variety of ways Sidnie’s creatures can evolve and how she can influence the way they live and learn. The author does a great job of making you care about Sidnie and I found myself rooting for her to do well and get better. The battles are have great action and involve some interesting tactics. Good story.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/3654

 

Bloody New World

The world has changed. Humans, plants and animals have supernatural abilities, fantasy monsters are roaming the streets and technology doesn’t work anymore. Follow the protagonist, as he battles humans, animals, plants and monsters alike, leaving a suspiciously blood-less trail in his wake.

My Opinion: This is a dark story. The world is going through an apocalypse and everything gets abilities and is trying to kill each other. The main character has the ability to absorb powers by drinking the blood of the power’s owner. While the story can be a little over the top occasionally, it works. Plenty of interesting fight scenes.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/4816

 

Lair

A “”””hive””””, the body of a creature that lures in prey like humans, monsters and animals in order to grow. Devouring their magic power which resides in every living body.

Within the hive exist many creatures to guard it and kill the lured in prey. But not all of these creatures are mindless monsters. A “”””breeder”””” is born to help the hive with converting the magic power and creating monsters and soon starts to wonder about the world it is living in. A quest to satisfy its curiosity begins.

My Opinion: Good dungeon master story with a hive/insect theme. There are some grammar and spelling issues but the story is interesting enough for me to ignore that.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/2196

 

Master of Dungeons

Edwin Cast was your (mostly) regular guy living and working in Kentucky. He had a knack for working, and was always bouncing from job to job as fancy took him. Insatiably curious, he was always on the look out for new or interesting information or things to do. You could say he was a ‘hard-work fanatic’.

But with an ailing mother and the inability to realize that he was being shunned by those considered his ‘betters’, he met his mortal end at the hands of those people who he replaced. Beaten to death on the same day his mother died, he’s soon pulled from the void into a world beyond his own imagination.

Reborn into a fantasy world as the last ‘Demon Lord’, Edwin is expected to rule over a vast number of races, each of which are considered ‘monsters’ and demon-kin by the zealous human kingdoms of the world. And if that wasn’t enough, the only way to progress and make ends meat is to build and control ‘Dungeons’ for the righteous humans to invade!

Edwin will have to give it his all in a world he never expected even existed, and will have to learn to survive with his wits and growing power in order to establish something resembling peace in the war-torn lands of Eternia.

My Opinion: Great dungeon creator story. Edwin is reincarnated as a demon (think Japanese Oni) who is supposed to help the local demon community to rebuild and restore their place of strength by creating new and powerful dungeons for adventures.

I really liked that the author had a different cultural setting for the dungeon creator and a community that is depending on his success. The main character doesn’t just have a cave to create a dungeon, rather he can designate any space as his to create a dungeon. This allows him to not only manage the surrounding community but improve the city by using this power. It turns into a little bit of simcity in addition to dungeon creation.

There are some chapters midway in the series that have sex but the author clearly marks them and separates those parts. I chose to skip those chapters and it didn’t impact the story.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/841


 

Azalon

Makoto Henderson, neither Hero nor Villain he is but a human, neither good nor bad.

Putting on a facade every day, hiding his true thoughts and lying like we all do.

Not wanting to get shunned, not brave enough to voice his true intentions or ideas he is but another face in the mindless masses.

What is someone like him going to do when he has the option to be someone else inside a Virtual Reality Game.

Is he going to be a Saint? Demon? Or just his pure and untainted self not restrained by society and its rules?

Azalon awaits!

My Opinion: Great story. From the beginning the story was action oriented and the combat felt visceral. If you like graphic bloody fight scenes then this is the story for you.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/1952

 

Loiterous

A shady young businessman, Jeremy Grand, decides to play the latest Virtual Reality MMO – Loiterous. Watch as he advances in the game and tries to keep both worlds and his often conflicting identities apart.

My Opinion: This serial story has some spelling and grammar errors. However, don’t let that dissuade you from reading a fun adventure story that brings crafting in early. The main character seeks to exploit the game for fun and profit but ends up getting exploited by the NPCs instead.

https://loiterous.wordpress.com/

 

Reincarnator

The change brought to entertain the bored God. And the story of Kang Hansoo who returned to the past to save the humankind from its perishment brought by the change.

My Opinion: This is a translation of a Korean, end of the world, time travel story. Yeah, that’s a thing. If you’re a stickler for perfect English translations, skip this one.

The main character starts out in the future in an alternate apocalypse dimension with the last survivors of humanity. They fight to get an artifact that will let one person go back to the beginning of the apocalypse on earth, so that one person can save as much of mankind as possible. During this apocalypse when any monster or person dies they drop a ruin that will increase a stat or give an ability. The main character uses his knowledge of the future to try and power level his way to saving mankind.

The story is full of action and fighting. I really enjoyed the interesting story and the different take on gaining skills and stats.

https://kobatochandaisuki.com/novel/reincarnator/

 

The Great Tower

Due to unsatisfactory ratings, the social entertainment program that was humanity has been cancelled. But the studio executives of the multiverse are anything but wasteful; every human has been entered in as contestants in the popular program “The Great Tower,” where challengers must fight and struggle, seeking the treasures that await at the top.

Before humanity is thrown into the meat grinder, everyone is given a chance to sell parts of themselves in exchange for a little boost. One young man seizes this chance, selling everything. Even his humanity.

Nameless, Raceless, and without any clear memory of the past, he is thrown into the bottom level of the tower, with one goal. Survival.

My Opinion: This is a combat oriented LitRPG story. Great action scenes and a very interesting way for the main character to gain strength.  

When our universe ends humans are transported to a dimension where they must fight for the entertainment of others to survive.The main character gives up everything, including his name and race when he’s transported to a new universe. This is not an overpowered character but has some interesting abilities that help him progress.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/7111

 

Challenge-Unbound Deathlord

Jack’s early life consisted of politics, insubordination and street fighting. He thought his life sucked. Then he killed his parents.

It was an accident, or so they said. Like most accidents, it could have been prevented if he had acted differently. His psychologist insisted he had to let it go, but only booze and games could make him forget it for a time, and booze could lead to another “accident.”

Thus Earth got itself another unexpressive game addict.

Unexpressive until Valia Online came out, that is.

In the Underworld, where only the not-so-good species of Valia thrive, he began his journey as an Unbound Deathlord.

Who would say the accumulated knowledge of his youth would be so important in a game?

My Opinion: A fine piece of writing that has enough action and excitement to keep you reading till the wee hours of the morning. The main character is a bit overpowered but it’s still a good story that takes place in a VR world where players can play the undead races. This book has been nominated for the Aspirant Award, a LitRPG award.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/7793

 

Gamer

Given the Gamer ability after shattering a crystal inside a game, Jon’s world is upturned as he is thrown into a life he considered fantasy.

Making new enemies and encountering a god, he cannot escape the quest which is forced on him.

Different worlds and different situations, can he come out on top?

He’s neither perfect nor a saint, he is Jon.

Welcome to Gamer.

My Opinion: Don’t confuse this story with the Korean web comic of the same name. Besides the fact that both characters get a ‘gamer’ ability, the two stories are very different. In this story the main character travels to multiple worlds through portals where he gains new abilities, knowledge, and spells. By traveling to new worlds every so often the author gets to tell a variety of stories that span different genres.

The only downside of the series is the pace of publication. While there are currently 42 chapters, the author only publishes 1-2 new chapters a month.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/832

 

Survival World RPG

While Mike was sleeping, the world went to hell in a hand basket. Now he has to learn to survive in a new world where magic and monsters are real, and even the weakest man can become strong by raising his levels.

Can Mike survive this world turned video game? Very doubtful. Will the apocalypse improve his love life? Don’t count on it. Will he die alone and in pain? Signs point to yes. Am I reading these answers from a magic eight ball? Concentrate and ask again…

My Opinion: A great RGP apocalypse story where a small portion of the surviving human population gets unique gamer like skills. Great, solid story, with plenty of fighting and action.

http://www.vikingstoryteller.com/survival-world-rpg/

 

Gamer of the Dead

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

I decided to create a new story. Nothing original, I just followed the latest and more popular genre here in RoyalRoad. Zombie Apocalypse meets the Gamer. to make it a bit different, I decided to create a new kind of zombie with its own rules. hopefully, the zombie will become more dangerous and open up new possibilities. So basically, this is a story of an underdog guy surviving the zombie apocalypse… and the unrequited love of the woman he loves.

Without further ado, ENJOY!

My Opinion: This is a surprisingly good story, if you can get past the grammar and spelling errors. The author delivers on a good story that combines the zombie apocalypse and the Gamer. Good action and good leveling system. What more can you ask for?

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/4871

 

Fantasia

Arwyn has just bought Fantasia, the first fantasy-based VRMMORPG, with 99% realism that you can play while you sleep. In the game, she becomes Fey, a moon elf starting in the magical Elvenwood.

Join her (and her snarky narrator who likes to interject sarcastic comments in parentheses) on her exciting, often hilarious adventures inside this magical world full of every fantasy creature you’ve ever encountered in books, games, and movies, and a few that you haven’t.

Oh, and there’s something strange about the NPCs in this game… See if you can figure it out before Fey does. (No, they are not self-aware AIs.)

My Opinion: This is an adorable, funny, story. It was recommended to me by two separate people on the same day. I’m glad I listened to them. The story is lighthearted and a real joy to read. Plenty of jokes and the author even interjects her own comments in parentheses. The downside is that new chapters only come out once a month or so.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/98

 

Digital Haven

The modern world fell into a deep depression and few options remained for the suffering lower class. The global economy crumbled under a growing energy crisis and overpopulation led to the creation of a virtual frontier known as Teurilia, the first full immersion virtual reality. Teurilia introduced a world of adventure and exploration leaning on human nature for greed and power. The world, built to be a realistic role playing game offered players nearly unlimited freedom and became wildly popular around the world within weeks of initial release.

Originally intended to be a temporary relief from the real world, the world’s governments soon realized the potential of virtual existence with the release of technology to permanently transfer consciousness from physical bodies into virtual ones. Supported by economists of the world and political power from the United Nations, Teurilia received limitless funding to support the migration of millions of new citizens. Eric Williams like many lower class citizens immediately saw the potential of a new life in Teurilia and signed up for the migration program within the first week of its announcement. Eric always dreamed of grand adventure and Teurilia was his golden ticket. This is his story…

My Opinion: A really good adventure story where the main character chooses to transfer his consciousness permanently to a VR game world. He gets a pretty unique skill/class pretty early in the story but is not overpowered. Great action scenes.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/4843   

 

Clockwork  

This is a story about a normal high schooler who was framed and sent to jail on fake charges. Becoming depressed he was further thrown into despair when the culprit caused his family harm and took his sister's ability to walk.

Finally reaching the end he experienced a mental breakdown and lost his speaking ability to everyone and only reacts to his family.

Follow him as he remakes his life with his little sister in the world of Etheria as a form of rehabilitation. Will he talk again or never again. Will he trust others or will he lived a closed life. Only time will tell

My Opinion: A action oriented LitRPG story. The main draw for me was that the main character didn’t chose the popular human race as his game character. Instead he chose the steampunk version of the robot, the clockwork race. It allows for some interesting story opportunities.

I’d highly recommend skipping the first chapter, ‘Jailbird’. It just establishes the characters sad sad backstory and that he’s being forced into the game world as part of a punishment for a crime he didn't commit. Also note that his younger sister is there with him. The chapter doesn’t make complete sense and goes on for too long. Chapter 2 is where the story gets into the game world.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/2276

 

Alistair’s Great and Powerful Startup Dungeon

The Great Golden Hero Thorian the Fair is dead! Ok, Great might have been a little much… and the only thing Golden about him was his armor. Fine! Thorian was an ego driven maniac that killed thousands of Adventurers in the pursuit of glory. Now that he has died the God of Rebirth is judging his soul and determined that the only creature Thorian can inhabit is a Dungeon Demon. Devoid of his divine luck and stripped of his power, the newly made Dungeon Demon Alistair must struggle Fang and Claw to build his new home. Sometimes cosmic justice exists and it’s a kick in the head.

My Opinion: A pretty good fun story about someone from our world reincarnated as a dungeon. He builds up his dungeon and faces off against adventurers who come to loot him. It has community building aspects and I’d recommend it to anyone that liked the game Dungeon Keeper.

http://royalroadl.com/fiction/7023

 

The Gamer

Han Jee-Han, a normal high school student, suddenly develops a special power where his entire world is shifted into a game-like setting. He can see the power levels of people, look at the stats of a seemingly normal item, get abilities and even level up. Soon after, he discovers the Abyss, a world made for Ability users like him but he realizes his best friend since childhood, Shin Sun-Il, is a high-ranking Ability user that has been hiding his secret for years. Sun-Il introduces the Abyss to him and Jee-Han continues to find out new features of his ability as well as more of the hidden world.

My Opinion: A Korean web comic that is translated into English and published weekly. There is already over 100 episodes, so there is plenty to catch up on. Great visuals for a MMO world overlaid on our normal reality.

http://www.webtoons.com/en/fantasy/the-gamer/list?title_no=88

 

Life Howling

Jung Yoon-hwan may be an orphan but he was a college student who was focusing hard on his studies, one day he is brought to a mysterious "White room" to fight even when he does not want to. Every time he defeats these monsters he gains psychic power, magic, and items beyond his imaginations....

My Opinion: Set in the same universe as the Gamer comic, this is an original Korean comic translated into english. If you like the Gamer then you’ll like this one too. I personally enjoyed that the main character takes the path of the healer/tank and works well in a group. Fun, action oriented webcomic.

https://gameofscanlation.moe/projects/life-howling/page-3

 

Experience Boost

Experience Boost is a webcomic about the players in One Crit Wonder, a guild in Realm of Quests, a fantasy massively multiplayer online role playing game. If you don’t know what that means: that means they play a game of elves and wizards over the internet. Experience Boost updates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

My Opinion: A cute webcomic about players in an mmo.

http://www.xpboostcomic.com/comic/first-steps/

 

LFG and NPC

LFG (Looking for Group) and NPC are webcomics that tell stories about living in RPG worlds. LFG is an ongoing serial about two characters in a fantasy game world and their different play styles. Kind of like the Odd Couple in an MMO. NPC are standalone stories about the figures in games most consider background characters. Both comics are entertaining in different ways. LFG is satirical and NPC while funny at times are more story driven.

http://www.lfg.co/archives/1/  (Start LFG here)

http://www.lfg.co/npc/archives/  (all NPC stories)

http://www.lfg.co/  (Main page with all update webcomics)