In a nutshell.
I’ve had a lot of people recommend that I get into Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve always felt intimidated and like I didn’t have the time. When it comes to video games, I like to watch people play. I don’t always like to play so much. Usually, it depends on the game, but if it were a game like the one we see in this book — full of action, drama, and death — I don’t know. Sometimes I can’t hang.
Since I enjoy watching the games, that really helped me enjoy this book. I have written throughout my notes, multiple times, that I felt like I was just kicking back on the couch and watching a buddy play a video game while I read this book. I mean that in the best way possible, as well.
I couldn’t tell you whether fans of this genre would like it or not, since I haven’t read many others to compare it to. Yet. For me, however, this acted as a great gateway into the genre. It didn’t deter me from it. If anything, it made me want to read through books like this even more.
Something else that I wrote in my notes was the comparison of a text like this to both video games and movies. In video games, I love seeing how far animation has come. In movies, I don’t like how CGI-heavy the graphics have become. It takes me out of the story because it reminds me that it’s not real. It isn’t innovative the way older movies that didn’t have that type of technology were.
Especially when it’s written as a video game, obviously. But the intricacy of the detail in here made the read that much more inviting and that much easier to get through.
It wasn’t one of those books that, like, blew me out of the water.
I still rated it a 4.5/5 (rounded up to 5 on Goodreads) because I thought it was really well done. It was also strangely one of those books I feel like I kind of forgot about as soon as I finished reading for the day. If I didn’t keep my chapter by chapter notes, I’m not sure I would remember as much as I did.
That isn’t meant as a bad note, however. I’d still recommend it. It’s also the only book from a self-published author that I read from that project that made me want to read more from that author
Overall, I think this is a great read for anyone who’s curious about the LitRPG genre, or just fantasy fans in general. Judging by the book’s ratings, it seems like other fans of this genre also give it favorable feedback. I agree with them.
For me, this was a great entry into the genre. I didn’t have high expectations, but it managed to impress me either way.
As I stated above, this was my first book in the LitRPG genre. I learned a lot about that genre through this. For one, while written in a video game style, the main character usually interacts with people in the real world in-between gameplay. Then they take part in the game, etc.
In this book, and I don’t think this is a common theme, but I would have to read at least one or two more in this genre before I know, the game has taken over the world. Like, everybody could play and something went wrong in the game and the beast, the Burgeon Beast, or whatever, is loose in the world.
We open up the book with a fight from the “game,” but in the real world. Our main character, Jacob, then gathers with his team, and they send him back ten years to change what happened. He interacts with people from his past, like an ex girlfriend, but also has the option of choosing different paths at certain points with knowing the ultimate outcome.
Through one of these decisions, he ended up unlocking this Fire Oppa, who we went on to learn was named Fenris. No one had heard of him, really, and he was part of the Phoenix Covenant.
I liked the interactions between Jacob and the Fire Oppa.
Anytime he died, or he recharged, or whatnot, the Fire Oppa came to him. They had a little chat, Fenris maybe gave him some advice or a warning, and off Jacob went.
There was a moment at the end where I thought the Fire Oppa died, but I’m ultimately glad he didn’t.
Not yet, anyway.
Speaking of his Phoenix Covenant, Jacob ultimately lands in that covenant with the Fire Oppa. There’s a whole drama at the center of the book about covenants. If offered a covenant and you say no, you lose all future opportunities with those people. If you join them and betray them, then you’re basically blacklisted and in some cases could even die.
Jacob agrees to join in with this Vile Covenant, but after a grotesque little backstab — almost literally — Jacob ruins everything with that covenant.
All for the better, though, really.
He then is captured by other members of this covenant, and they’re about the roast him. Camilla, his subtle little love interest here, ultimately ends up coming to his rescue. She’s my favorite in this book, I’m really glad she’s here.
She, however, is dead, as is basically everybody else but Jacob by the end of the book. He’s successful in killing the beast, but it triggers something else that opens up The Forbidden Lands. This proves unexpected, but now, of course, the fate of the world is in his hands once more in book two.
As to the time travel.
I think the author executed this well. Time moves at a different pace in the “real world.” Some of Jacob’s choices don’t necessarily directly affect the future, but it does create some drama within himself and his team back home.
Who’s basically not there at the end.
I have a feeling things are going to be different in the next book. I don’t really think everybody’s actually dead. Especially with this being a game. Everyone dies and comes back and dies and comes back. We saw it happen with Jacob a few times. We saw it happen with the Burgeon Beast.
My guess is that we haven’t seen the last of everybody.
Book two is not yet an option, so as of now, I will have to wait with everybody else.
It feels good to be at the beginning of a series, for once.
Maybe I can keep up with this one.
I don’t have much else to say about this book, because I really liked it. James is a really good writer, and I look forward to reading more of his works in the future.
Chapter-by-Chapter Reaction Breakdown:
I don’t actually have too much to say about the opening chapter — pretty solid opening, I’m liking the way the RPG aspect is written in [with certain things like this] to indicate the “level ups” or whatever. I’m not a gamer, but I’ve seen people play, so I’m going to make the best of it! Especially since the gaming aspect is what I’m most looking forward to in this book.
I really like this book so far. I think the tone and the writing style is really strong and engaging. The design is great, book both inside and out. Not all self-pubbed books think about hard copies, as seen with Monster Whisperer.) The storyline intrigues me. Loving the gaming aspect of this, too.
Everyone has always told me I would love Dungeons and Dragons or games like that, but I’ve never been able to get into them. I like watching them, I just never got into being the player. This book makes me want to at least get into the RPG Lit genre and read more. Definitely interested to see Jacob enter in and try to sort everything out. The time travel prospect is promising. I have a feeling I’m in for an action-packed page-turner.
At least I’m hoping that’s what it delivers by the end, because so far, so good.
Writing this down for my own benefit:
Attack Rating (AR)
One of the things I actually really like about this book: For someone who doesn’t game, I know exactly what’s going on. I think James T. Callum made a wise decision by breaking everything down the way he has and allowing the text to unfold as it is. This now being the third self-published book I’ve read for this particular project on the channel, I can say it’s the best one. The other two left me feeling like the text told so much information, and this book here shows the information as it’s necessary to me.
Even the discussion of races, the elves, the fairies, and the Karhu, works well. For all intents and purposes, I suppose the information about those races themselves is “told” to me. It’s done in a matter that makes sense. The main character is trying to decide on what race he’s going to choose and is looking through his options. It’s better to have those options laid out for us the way they were than to simply shoot straight for the six hybrids he went for in the end.
I also like the development of this game in general, and how it bled out into the real world and created the apocalypse and now Jacob is trying to avert that. That’s all back of the book information, of course, but it’s just nice to see it played out. I’m not very far in this book, at all, and I’m very intrigued and interested to move forward.
I really like that the author takes the time to develop the aspects of this game before anything really gets started. He just as easily could have sped through everything and “told” all the information needed for the game, but with the way it’s laid out, it just makes it a much more engaging and interesting read.
The game is officially about to start, now, so I hope it stays interesting. Really have enjoyed the development of it so far, and hoping that Jacob is successful in his quest.
Again, this book intrigues me. I find myself already attached to the main character, Jacob, and as someone who doesn’t have much gaming experience, I like how much time and detail is put into everything here, and how the book really is reading like you’re playing the game at the same time. I just think the style is really engaging and readable, and apart from the fact that I think he’s missing some commas in a few places, I don’t have anything really bad to say about this book so far. It’s a bit of a slow burn here at the start, but in a good way, and I’m excited to get more invested into this story.
Funny, the last book I read had 90% dialogue and this one seems to hardly have any at all! Not that that’s a bad thing, in this case, because at least the author takes the time to really develop the world and the game, as I’ve already stated. It’s still an interesting read, but there’s nothing too crazy to really report or write about right now. The Earth was always doomed, so I think that’s going to be an interesting plot to explore as we go throughout the book, since the whole point of Jacob going back in time like this was to save the world, after all.
Not too much to report here. Again, I enjoyed this chapter and have no qualms about continuing forth. And, also again, it’s just funny that the last book I read had way too much dialogue, and again, this is almost all action. It’s also funny that I thought The Queen’s Executioner was a little comma happy, whereas here I feel like there are some commas missing in various places, but that’s a minor thing that doesn’t distract me too much. Just some times when I think the extra pause would be beneficial.
Not really much to say again, but not in a bad way. Really enjoying the buildup of this story. Do just think it would be interesting to be a critique partner with this author, though. Would love to point out some grammatical stuff throughout the text, I don’t know. Nothing big, just stuff that a critique partner would pick up on, you know? Really enjoy the writing style here and like the buildup of the game. The Fire Oppa is cool, and I’m interested to see what’s about to be traded with this character Alec didn’t know about.
Also already considering reading the author’s other book, Beastborne I think, and am happy there’s a sampling at the end of this book. If I continue to enjoy it all the way through, I may just look into that sampling, and if I enjoy that, I may have a book that will take me through November, because… 1200 pages, so not a quick read, and this November especially… anyway, this isn’t about that.
One of the things I think is so interesting about this, I’m finding, is actually the lack of characters in here, but the story remaining intriguing without. It really is mostly just Jacob and him figuring out the lay of the land (again) and trying to make the right decisions to keep the world from ending, and he’s a strong character by himself who doesn’t necessarily need to be surrounded by a large cast. I just noticed I’m a little over 100 pages now and the lack of characters in here isn’t a negative thing — in fact I think it’s almost quite the opposite, to still have the main character be so interesting with such minimal interaction with others.
Funny I say that and then this chapter has him going back to the characters we met at the beginning in the present our main character knows. Just for my sake to try and remember them too, since I’m terrible with names and characters aren’t a big thing here — Alice, Alec, and Ian. Nice little reunion with them there and a reset before we get back into the game.
Also enjoyed the little addition of Emily there, too. What’s also funny is I was thinking about the lack of romance/love interests in here. Having the previous girlfriend who betrayed him come back and then get murdered was a fun little twist.
Still really enjoying the read, although I’m still sticking with my comments about some periods and commas being misplaced or missing. Not the biggest deal in the world, even though I know I’ve mentioned it a few times and I’m just over a quarter of the way into the book. Not detrimental enough to have me removing anything from my rating over it; it just gets distracting sometimes because I can be a grammar Nazi when I notice stuff. Thus why my nickname in middle school was The Grammar King.
Not much to say here. Enjoyed the chapter. Outside of the book I’m writing on YouTube, I like how in depth and detailed the writing of this game is. It makes me think of all the areas in my own writing where I’m scared to embellish like this because I’m afraid people won’t be interested, only to get feedback from people saying I need to embellish more.
Seeing it like this — it really is laid out, weapon by weapon, attack by attack, through the building of Jacob’s character in the game — just helps me understand more about what it’s like, as the reader, to want to get really involved, and seeing as how my main complaints from the other two self-published books I just read revolved mostly around a disconnect and my desire to have more in certain places, this book just acts as an example (in a good way) of what I mean by that.
Camilla is an interesting addition, and once again, not too much to say here apart from the generalized “I’m enjoying this read” notion I’ve stuck with for all the other chapters so far.
The Asylum of Silent Sorrows was good, and this Camilla character has got some spunk in her, doesn’t she? Wondering now, too, if Jacob and Camilla end up together by the end. I suppose she’s already a better companion than, what was it, Emily? Hopefully Jacob doesn’t have to kill off Camilla the way he did her.
Well, hopefully Jacob gets to return to Camilla, ha. Interested to see what’s going on with him here, and I also like that little flashback (or hallucination) with Kim. I like the way the backstory is weaved in with this text. I still have an idea of what’s happened without it being too overbearing. The writing style here also helps everything interesting.
Good chapter here, not much to report. Coming up on an “increased difficulty” section, so that should be fun, especially since just after the Hollow Dreams that are coming up is when Jacob originally gave up in the Defiled Cistern. How will he get through it this time…?
So I guess we’re going to watch Jacob die, huh? Good chapter here. Again, I like the way the world is building and the way the game itself is playing out. This book is really making me want to get more interested/invested in this genre. I like reading a book that’s written as a video game more than I like watching movies that seem like video games because of all the inputted graphics. I’m more of a story guy than a visual one, and this one is satisfying in that manner.
Gearing up and getting ready. I feel like this is a good midway point of the story, and I’m just about halfway through. Still really enjoying the read and looking forward to what happens next. Also like that he can trust Camilla. It’s fun to have a world where trusting people is hard, but it’s also nice when there is at least one person because it just feels more relatable, I guess.
Not much to say here. Nice action-filled chapter.
Another nice, action-filled chapter, and I really like Kim. There’s a lot going on in this book, but not in a bad way. It still is just interesting to me with the gaming aspect. I’ve never read another book like it, and it really is making me want to get more into this genre. Funny, of course, with the amount of recommendations I’ve had for it. I think this is well-done, and I’m still considering Beastborne, especially since that one seems to have even higher ratings.
And I oop! Jacob died. The Skeletal Beast was a fun little villain there. I enjoyed that chapter, as well. There’s so much action going on in here, which I like. Obviously it’s a video game, so there’s that element, but I also like that there’s a story underneath it and it’s not all just a bunch of fighting just to have fighting. I don’t know why, but I feel connected to this book somehow. It’s a strange feeling because I also feel like it’s one of those that I kind of forget about as soon as I’m done reading, but not in a bad way?
I still think about it after I read and I’m processing things and such, but I’m not gripped to the edge of my seat I guess and hanging on every sentence. It’s been a looooooong time since I’ve felt like that about a book, though.
Aww, I love the Fire Oppa and the interactions Jacob has with… it? I just looked back and I can’t remember if it actually has a gender or not, but that’s not too important either way. I like these little interactions because they’re nice interludes between the action-packed sequences, which, again, since this is a video game, it could have easily just turned into one long battle, and I appreciate that there’s some down time and space to breathe in this book.
And see, a nice, calm chapter, followed by one full of action and excitement. Not much else to say about this chapter, here, really enjoyed it.
I like the little interlude chapters like this where Jacob is connecting with various aspects of the game. I was thinking in this chapter that it feels similarly to being inside of Iron Man’s suit or something, where he’s always looking at his little stats and seeing how he’s growing or changing or where his weaknesses and such might be. It’s just something that I enjoy that connects me with the story like that, and again, since I’ve never read a LitRPG, I’m really enjoying the one this is playing out and I’m happy that it’s opening me up to wanting to read more from this genre.
Within the game itself, we are only 10 days away from the collapse that started it all, but we are currently back in Jacob’s present as he is reuniting once more with the doctors. Things are building up in here, and I’m hopeful (and also confident) that it will remain that way throughout.
Wow, what a great chapter! I was really there as he met the priest, went over the thought process of joining a Covenant, and hanging on to every word as he pulled the heart of the priest and enacted his betrayal against the Covenant. Great chapter, and I love the delivery of the action in this book. It’s moving forward at a good pace. The only thing I currently don’t like is my damn desire to keep these chapter by chapter thoughts going, because it distracts me from the book!
I love the relationship between Jacob and the Fire Oppa. It’s really cool and well done. Everything so far is just really intriguing and well done.
I kind of feel bad for not having more to say about this book, especially considering its length. It isn’t exactly short by any means here, but it’s just a decent read. I don’t know what else to say. Great pacing, the action works and isn’t too overbearing, the dialogue isn’t cheesy or lame, the character development works great, and I’m enjoying the “game” we’re playing.
I guess that might be the easiest way to describe this — I feel like I’m just chilling on the couch and watching a buddy play a video game. I’m entertained. I have no complaints, but it hasn’t “changed” my life all the same. What I will say, though, just because I’m me and the grammar thing, is that the only thing that does kind of bother me is some comma issues, because I’m still seeing a lot of that in here, but again, that’s like a silly nit picking thing that ultimately doesn’t bother me the way the God/god thing did in Monster Whisperer.
Things are building up quite nicely, I think, and I feel like I can logically see how we’re about to move into the last bits of this book. With just over 100 pages left, I don’t currently feel like anything is being dragged out or forgotten. That sense of enjoyment stays with me throughout the text. It’s just funny because I feel like I hardly have any spoilers even to really say about this, apart from maybe talking about his dreams with Kim or him murdering Emily, but i still do think this is a fun and enjoyable book so I’m not mad at anything
Hooray! Camilla! I was wondering when she was going to come back. I like how she did it to save him from his capture from the Vile Covenant. That had to come back around after he killed the priest. I like that he has her on his side, and I like that he can trust her. At least, I’m hopeful he can trust her, because it would suck if he couldn’t in the end. But we’re 3 days out from the collapse, so with I think exactly 100 pages left now it’s going to be moving forward into the final battle, and Jacob just defeated Alec so… I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.
Odd connection that I started thinking about last night that I have now confirmed this morning: I started reading this book on September 13. The day of the Collapse in this book is September 13.
The starts literally aligned for me to read this book when I did, especially considering why I chose it and how it became part of my life… so yeah, feeling a weirder, kinda random connection with this text now. Anyway, back to the story:
WooHoo, The Fire Oppa — or Fenris, as we now know him — is so cool! See, I knew he was a good character for Jacob to have around! The development between them enhanced all of that. I almost cried when Fenris talked about thinking Jacob wouldn’t return, then offering for him to be part of the Phoenix Covenant!
There’s definitely a lot that went down in this chapter, although most of it revolved around information and gearing up for the final battle against the Burgeon Beast. (Right? Burgeon? I haven’t written it down yet but I think that’s what it is, I’m so piss poor with names.)
But now that Jacob has his little team behind him, we’ve got 80 pages left to see if he’s successful in saving the world.
However: This is also a Book 1, so…
The “look” Fenris gives Jacob there at the end, I think, touches on what I basically just said about this being a book one. Maybe, just maybe, we won’t find a resolution within the next 70 pages.
I’m cool with that, although I would like to be able to continue reading immediately. That is the point though, is it not? I’m still really enjoying James T. Callum’s writing style, I’m still really intrigued to read the Beastborne preview at the end, and I might even buy that book if I like it, I’m not really sure. Money is an issue these days cuz, pandemic, but that’s not what this little thought-by-thought is for.
Regardless of if we get a resolution in this book or not, I’m still really enjoying it, and I think it’s really well paced and has been a fun read. Again, the best comparison I can really make is just feeling like I’m watching a friend play a video game. That friend’s tension increases as they reach the end, and their increased interest makes me put down my phone and pat attention. You know what I mean?
Things are getting wild! I think they’re about to fight the Burgeon Beast. I just really like these little chapters where Fenris and Jacob just do the pyres and Jacob does his little check-ins. Things are moving toward the end here, and I still don’t have that much to say outside of just enjoying it. I don’t know how the book will end, but I’m interested to see the setup for the second book. Does Jacob save the world? And if he does, is it just not as good as he thinks? And if not, then what happens?
Well, damn! That was a pretty intense chapter, obviously, with Jacob fighting the Burgeon Beast. Even though the beast died, so did Jacob! Although, that’s happened a lot in this game, since he’s in a game. Dying and trying again is all part of that. I think this chapter was really well placed with a well-played fight with Jacob and the beast.
Just about 50 pages left, and we’re moving toward the end.
I don’t remember Mac? Was Mac from way at the beginning? I’m so bad with names, that’s probably my bad.
We see another good buildup chapter here. We’re coming into the conclusion, at least of this book. I’m excited to move forward. I still hope there’s some resolution with Camilla, but this book may not see that. If this wasn’t a “Book 1,” I’d be more nervous about things not wrapping up. That said, those “nerves” make sense. I’m supposed to have open-ended questions. That’s what makes me want to move forward to book two, obviously.
Hopefully that comes out soon.
So, why we gotta be killing the Fire Oppa up in this bitch? Stuff like that has to happen. It’s not that big of a deal. Kill your darlings. Whatever. The Fire Oppa is always with him, blah blah blah.
Okay, THANKFULLY, the Fire Oppa is not dead. Burgeon Beast IS dead, so that’s the end of that. The Forbidden Lands are now open. That’s clearly where book two goes, and Jacob is shocked by this.
One chapter and an epilogue before I find out everything everything from this book.
I would still continue with this in the future. Hopefully the last few scenes don’t change that.
Okay, so, everybody, including Camilla, is dead. The Burgeon Beast is free, but Jacob has to go back again for whatever’s going on that will be in book two. The “fate of his world” depends on all of it, again, but I’m ready to move on into the next book and see what happens. Certainly open to continue this series, as well as the other current one written by this author.
So there was that! Okay. Well. Okay, so the vile covenant people are in the real world eating people? I don’t really know, but book two, here I come.