Book Review: Ascend Online by Luke Chmilenko

Ascend Online

Author: Luke Chmilenko
Series: Ascend Online, book 1
Publisher: Podium Publishing (July 18, 2017)
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Audiobook, 17h 55m
Goodreads  Amazon

Diving into a revolutionary new video game, Marcus and his friends escape a stagnant society, entering into a world that defies their wildest imaginations. But from the moment that he logs in, Marcus finds himself separated from his friends and thrown into remote village under attack by a horde of goblins.

Forced into battle, Marcus rallies the beleaguered villagers and with their help, manages to drive off the invading creatures. With the village in ruins and their supplies spoiled, the survivors desperately turn to Marcus for help in rebuilding the village.

Realizing that this game is nothing like he’s ever played before, Marcus is swept up into a whirlwind of adventure as he struggles to defend his new home, quickly finding that marauding goblins are the least of his problems.

Rating: 4 stars

This book made me want to play World of Warcraft again. I devoured this book like a big bowl o’ popcorn. It was overall really well written, and super compelling. It made grinding for materials and professions sound almost glamorous! (Which as any MMORPG player can tell you… it’s not.) I liked the main character and he seemed like someone I’d like to play with (even if he is a little crazy about being super OP with professions…) This was my first LITRPG read, and it’s made me want to discover more of the genre. It also made me re-up my WoW subscription when I haven’t played in about 5 years, so there’s that… Ascend Online is pure escapism, and is basically the book version of a summer action blockbuster. If you hate movies that are all flash and cool action scenes without a whole lot of there there, this is not the book you’re looking for. If you like to kick back with some popcorn and a soda and turn your brain off for some flashy fun, this is the book for you!

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Luke Daniels. Daniels did SUCH an amazing job narrating this book. He gave each character a distinct voice (though sometimes I was a little confused about what sort of accent he was going for…) The only downside to the audiobook is all the times the character stats and item stats are listed out and Daniels has to read them all out, where if you were reading the book you’d likely just skim over it.

This is the first book in the series but can be read as a stand-alone as it wraps up the major plotlines pretty well, with enough lead-in to give some hints about what might be coming in the next book. A warning: if you’re looking to read the next book in the series, Legacy of the Fallen is really the next book about this group of adventurers. Audible lists Hell to Pay as book 2, but it’s actually more 1.5 and a novella about a different group.

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