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Having just reviewed book one for a second time (my first review did not go through for some reason), I thought I'd get book two done as well. This time, I am going to start off with the negative stuff first so that it is out of the way.
First of all, the book feels short compared to the first. Book one was almost twenty hours long. Book two is just over ten. Not that I think that a book has to be a certain length, but it does go back to my theory that book one felt like two books that were put together. I really don't mind the length, but I really feel that a series should all be approximate to one another. It bothers me when a book starts out at a thousand pages and the sequel only has five hundred pages. It sticks in my craw.
Secondly, while the story does progress, and is moving along you don't see much character growth in the main character, aside from the realization that he must get stronger. That realization, by the way, is something that nearly every character who is stuck in a video game comes to at some point. Oh, and there were some audio issues that playedwith the sound level that was off putting.
OK, now for the good stuff. This world is really backwards, by that I mean I can't tell if it is Aragorn going into the Matrix or if it is Neo waking up in the real world next to Gandalf. This is an EPIC series that skitters along like a professional ice skater who happens to be a spider. It is a true wonder to behold and you won't believe it. This book focuses on crafting and world building, and I think Chatfield realized that some stats were overwhelming because when the protagonist completes his objective we are never told what the new improvements are.
There is plenty of action, the battles are well paced, and the focus on getting things done felt properly urgent. The characters are fun and continue to be interesting, and the romance builds ever stronger. Morris continues his fine job narrating and there were no hints of audio trouble this time around, so it seems that things were sorted out properly since the last book.
Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. In fact, getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.
This series is shaping up quite nicely, and lots of room for growth. I can't wait to see what comes next!
If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Benvari Mountains in three words, what would they be?
Way too short.
Any additional comments?
Book 1 was a pretty great entry for the Lit RPG category. It had a compelling story line, good world building and a fairly novel take on discrepancy between real and virtual worlds. <<<Now for my soap box. Too many writers are sacrificing monetizing their works at the expense of a full story. This story just felt too much like a long serial with no real finale. Sure there was more world building and the incorporation of the former secretary in the company was pretty fun, but the whole story amounted to the main character going through training. There were a couple of short skirmishes but otherwise the publisher's short summary really summarizes this book... here you go <<<<<<;As the fight for Boran-al's Citadel draws to a close (the battle is really already over at the start of the book), Dave's learned one important lesson: To protect what he cares for, he's going to have to become stronger. He can't just sit back in Cliff-Hill and take things easy. Emerilia is filled with danger as well as possibilities. It's time that Dave becomes a Master Smith. <<<< Now, maybe if you're Jim Butcher and have the talent to write a non-stop high quality adventure story you get away with a solid 10-12 hr novel, but here it's all build up with no payoff. You shouldn't just stop writing the story because you've hit the magic ten hour point. One of the reasons I picked up this series in the first place was that book 1 was 18 hours long and had a very solid story arc. So that's why I'm disappointed with this second book... I feel like this should more accurately be part 1 of a larger volume. That's why I've still given the story 5 stars but docked the overall book down to 4 stars.My only other critique is that the main character falls in the overly virtuous (excepting nearly constant use of the F-Bomb), super smart and progressively overpowered category... sorry, minor fear of heights doesn't count. Hopefully, we'll see more of his foibles come out in subsequent books or perhaps see more of a focus on more interesting/balanced characters.Now, will I continue reading the story... probably, but I go through a lot of audio books and as I said above the world building is generally pretty solid... So, overall not terrible just disappointing after the first book.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed listening to the first book in this series, it blends an interesting world with likable characters and while it uses some litrpg elements, it does so without being too heavy-handed with them, so that it can still be enjoyed by those who just want a fun fantasy novel.
Thankfully, the second book in this series builds on that strong beginning with the story picking up directly after the end of that first book and focuses mainly on Dave's continuing character progression more than leading up to a big set-piece like in the first one, but the underlying threads continue to develop as the pantheon seek to use their new powers to exert further influence on Emerilia.
Besides Dave and the other survivors of the end of the first book, we see a number of characters that were present in that first book get elevated to the main party. Suzie was Dave's secretary and only real friend during his time on Earth, but now she has joined him in Emerilia and so she serves as the newcomer this time round since she has to learn to adapt to the new world. The party also gains Anna, her links to Bob and Emerilia's past give her a lot of potential in subsequent books, but in this one she was a less notable addition than Suzie.
The narrator did a good job with this book, nicely helping to enhance the overall story and continuing to ensure that a varied cast all sounded sufficiently distinctive too.
Overall this book was lighter on the action than the first one, but this didn't really harm it and should help the overall series in the long run.
[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]
This book is a great continuation from the first book. It continues with a well crafted story and superb characters.
The story continues to grow and evolve with more backstory and context being added from the first book, whilst still allowing you to start here and have enough explanation and knowledge to enjoy the story. The characters continue to develop and grow with the story giving a truly organic and immersive feel to them.
I love the lighthearted humour and cultural references that are used throughout the book.
This slight spin on a Lit RPG continues to offer a refreshing experience and the menu sections actually help to give you context for the development of characters.
The narration is absolutely spot on with all characters feeling individual and unique. The depth of emotion and range displayed continues to impress me.
In summation this book is a fantastic standalone for anyone into fantasy but still appeals to anyone that likes a story based adventure romp. I would urge you to pick up the first book and work through it but starting here would in no way diminish your enjoyment.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily provided this impartial review.
Very definitely the middle of a series, no satisfying story arc. Good world building though.
loved it, left wanting more. narrator good enjoyed listening to dfferent character voices. very amusing.