Ebook Review – First Song

First Song, Book One (Anthem of Infinity 1)

Wow, just wow. I’ll start off by saying that First Song is my first non-video game related GameLit novel. I was not disappointed by any means. I’ll also try not to give away any unnecessary spoilers because the surprise is what really hooked me into this book.

I will agree with others that the first 25% of the book was tough to read. The main character, Noah, is difficult to sympathize with. He’s portrayed as a really weak, self-deprecating you adult. He doesn’t speak up and allows others to make choices for him. Again, it’s hard to trod through but if you can make it to that 25% mark, you are in for a treat.

At 25% is where the book takes off into fifth gear. I was completely surprised and taken unaware by the shift of perspective. My one hint, reread the book’s blurb. In hindsight, the author brazenly foreshadows the plot twist. That’s all for spoilers. The book is well written and the pacing, post-25%, makes it worth the read.

With book two of Anthem of Infinity, my hope and expectation are more exposure to the Aelves and The Voice. Make it through that first 25%. To quote a fallen movie star, “Just do it!”

Ebook Review – Radioactive Evolution

Radioactive Evolution by Richard Hummel – Review

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Review 1

What happens when the Road Warrior gets a pet dragon?  Let’s find out…

Jared is alone and living in the base of a ruined Statue of Liberty in post-apocalyptic New York City.  Like all remaining people on the ground, his body contains nanites that allow him to stay alive amongst the radiation.  Since his nanites need periodic boosting, he scavenges around NYC to find nanite boosters, guns, ammunition, etc.  While exploring a subway station/tunnel, Jared hits the jackpot and comes across a rock that produces an electric shock, takes it for later study and turns out to be a dragon egg.  Hey, the world has dragons. Who knew?   Well, that’s part of the story.

In short order, his dragon companion Scarlet is born; it turns out that by “bonding” to Scarlet through nanites, Jared can essentially level up and pick up “magical” skills through killing mutated creatures.  Also, Jared gets a quest from Scarlet’s mother to protect the remaining dragons that have been in hiding for thousands of years. Thus, Jared and Scarlet start their adventure to find and defend the new dragons and grow themselves stronger.  There is also a subplot about getting back at the rich folk that live in cities that float in the sky and the water, they are somewhat responsible for the awful conditions on the ground apparently, but that’s only touched on as motivation to push the story along.

The combination of post-apocalyptic survival and dragon story is an interesting fusion of those two sub-genres and is woven together in a way that feels surprisingly logical.  I also give the author credit for introducing a gamelit/RPG system based on nanites and the dragon’s ability to contextualize the nanite’s powers for Jared.  While the justification for this mechanic is not made clear in the book, it wasn’t hard to just go with it.

Jared and Scarlet are solid main characters, and their dialogue is sometimes informative, sometimes funny, and sometimes sickly sweet.  While the mechanic to “bond” the two is artificial through nanites, they seem to take to each other awfully quickly.  I would have appreciated a bit more focus on why and how they get close.  Jared appears to be a capable scavenger with a strong moral center and a good amount of banter centers on Scarlet’s eating habits and Jared’s morality.

The middle of the story tends to drag somewhat, which to be fair often happens in stories like this where the main character will often spend time grinding to get stronger or, in this case, gets into many monster fights that are well done but aren’t interesting enough to warrant that much attention.  The ending has some interesting twists and turns, but as this is clearly part of a much larger story arc, the ending feels abrupt.  On the positive side, I do look forward to completing this story in future instalments.

I think that readers interested in the bleakness of survival stories and those interested in the wonders of dragon stories will enjoy this author’s initial effort.

7/10

Review 2 –

Not crunchy, just delicious! This is the counter to Harem gamelit-a story wholesome enough I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to younger or more romantically adverse readers. The game elements are integrated into this fun, post-post-apocalyptic world. Levelling is fun, more organic than system notifications, which makes it very immersive. The effort he put in to make this book shine is clear, and it makes reading so enjoyable! Definitely, an author to watch! 5/5 stars

Ebook Review – Succubus 5

Review: Succubus 5 – Hardcore Dungeon Core, by A. J. Markam

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Can a man love a crystal?  Let’s find out….

Ian’s succubus is “dead”.  Nope.  It turns out that she was transferred to a dungeon core and Ian and Alaria both want her back as a succubus.  Ian finds the dungeon’s cave and quickly finds a starter dungeon fairy, Wylla, and the crystal Alaria is stuck in.   Shortly we find out that Alaria’s soul was transferred to a dungeon core in the operation that Soraiya was trying to perform at the end of book 4. Luckily Ian can communicate with the dungeon core if he is touching it.  Ian brings her and the crystal she’s stuck in out of the cave and Alaria mentions that she had an old master named Deek that was a dungeon core and he might be able to help, so they set off to find Deek in the city of Vos.

Ian has to deal with more bounty hunters and gets involved in some court intrigue between church, state and guild that want to control the local Dungeon, Deek.  How this all resolves itself was even more fun than I expected.  Obviously, Ian gets to have a ton of sex and battles throughout, which is a staple of the series.

In truth, I was worried about this book before I started because I didn’t like the way the last one ended, and I thought we would spend a whole book trying to “find” Alaria or find out if she is truly dead.  I was wrong.  How odd is it to find a fifth series entry to be your favorite?  Obviously, I’ve liked the series enough until now to keep going, but this one had a light, fun feel that really worked for me.

I do hope Markam figures out how to get Deek into other stories.  He is a fun character.  Also, the four people he teams up with to go dungeon diving have interesting personalities and the banter amongst them is enjoyable.  These four are also in another Markam book, Dead Man Gaming, which makes this a fun crossover.

Also, I’m glad that even though in the beginning of this book Ian is still doing stupid things driven by his immaturity and anger, we get a long respite from that for the rest of the book.  I wouldn’t mind seeing the Varkus/Bounty Hunter story come to conclusion sooner than later. It was interesting in the last book and passable in this one, but it’s time to move on.   It Looks like we’re heading underwater for the next entry and I’m looking forward to whatever fun comes Ian’s way.

8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Succubus-Hardcore-Dungeon-Core-LitRPG-ebook/dp/B07KSDG8D