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Publisher's Summary

The virtual world of Barliona is a place of rest and entertainment - but not for everyone. It has become a survival arena for Daniel Mahan after he was sentenced to eight years in its virtual jail. Mahan has been through it all: the back-breaking work in the mines, betrayal by other prisoners, and finally, the retrial which has released him into Barliona's common world. What more could one want? Mahan could have kept a low profile and enjoyed relative freedom while serving the rest of his time. But being a Shaman, he can't help himself. Soon he's a clan leader, taking 50 of the continent's top players to claim the secrets of the Dark Forest.
©2016 V. Mahanenko; English translation copyright 2016 by Natalia Nikitin (P)2016 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

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By D on 12-13-16

Best LITRPG

So far the first three Audio books of “The way of the Shaman” series are the best LITRPG I’ve heard. I’ve enjoyed others’ in the genre like “Ready Player One,” and the “Phantom Server,” and the “Play to Live” series; although the follow up to RPO stunk and the last few books of the “Play to Live,” series had lost some of the excitement, but “The Way of the Shaman” just keeps getting better and this third book, “The secret of the dark forest,” is the best so far; I didn’t want it to end.

From the start of this series I liked the premise; a future society sending its prisoners to a virtual world called Barliona, where they must endure hard labor, digital style, in order to earn their way into the general gaming population. Daniel Mahan is one such prisoner, an engineer and hacker sentenced to eight years in the game. Mahan soon learns that he has a natural talent to survive in this world and becomes the Shaman that this series is centered on.

Barliona is a place of magic and special abilities with many unique and complex quests; some that have expanded through the entire series and have yet to come to fruition; the Emperor’s chess set, for instance, and we still don’t know the entire story behind Mahan’s incarceration. Then there is the exceptional and surprising character leveling and I really like the relationship with the NPC characters; they are not simply passive gaming props but integral parts of the story line.

About the narrator; at first I wasn’t sure about Jonathan Yens performance, but have now found it works perfectly with Vasily Mahanenko writing.
Hurry up with the next book, please!!

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful


By Paul D on 11-25-16

Keeps getting better

When I started the series, I was cautiously optimistic about litrpg. I never really enjoyed books based in gaming worlds. I always found them to be lacking. To my great surprise, this series has quickly become one of my favorites. It helps that I'm an old gamer and the references to game culture and game mechanics are nostalgic. If you enjoy gaming, this series will pull you in and leave you wishing for more. I have shared the series with other old gamers to universal appeal. I'm not sure how non-gamers will react to the series but I think the story and characters are exciting enough that it would be worth checking out if you are on the fence.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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By David on 01-07-17

Story continues to grow well

Again this book needs to be read in order and is a good continuation of the story line. Characters are levelling up and it is good to see that whilst they need to level it is not poorly done. The author manages to stop it being too power levelly but equally allows development at a pace. Character story and world development continues to be really good and I like the development more and more. Roll on the next book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Payton on 02-18-18

Good like the rest!

If you've followed the series this far then you won't be disappointed, lives up to the previous standards

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By glenn on 11-25-16

God I love these books

I like the complexity of the inter locking quests and the evolution of the characters.

I disliked that he did not cover the real world tie ins better that is brings them up then never went back

Id recommend this for anybody who likes litRPG or fantasy in general

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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