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Ascend Online

Ascend Online, Book 1
Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Series: Ascend Online, Book 1
Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (204 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 a 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.

©2016 Luke Chmilenko (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars

Unusual but good

This is an oddly postmodern book. Usually when you enter a game world in a novel it is part of some greater plot (e.g. Ready Player One). This however is the very manifestation of the Simulacra.

The people just live and breathe within the game and everything is seen through that lens.

There are similarities to Sword Art Online, but without the trapped in the game aspect. Though perhaps there are greater things at play that will develop further in the hinted at sequel.

Despite the oddities it manages to be very interesting. Exploring a future of gaming and some interesting ideas, such as skills being implanted in a person's brain [read: Matrix "I know Kung Fu"] and thoughts/personalities changed.

At the same time it's an enjoyable escape. Nerding out on skill development and everything that comes with a MMORPG.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely enthralling

Another great litRPG series.

is this really a game? You will hear this and ask your self the same thing over and over.

The characters are very interesting and amusing in their own right. The story MUST be continued for the sake of an apt analogy it feels like I'm half way through a chocolate bar and someone just told me I can't have another bite till they say so and won't tell me when I can .... and I'm diabetic so very willing to tackle whoever keeping me from this.

Guess I'll go satiate my craving with another until they give me my chocolate again.

Highly recommend to any lit fan and could rival "the land" series with a few more instalments

Cheers and be safe,
Matt

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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worth you time

its a good book but there are some aspects that don't translate well to audio

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved this!

I loved this book. I need to remember not to read this at night, because I swear some of this stuff was nightmare fuel. It was amazing though, I love the characters and the progression. Can't wait to get stuck into the next one.

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This series is amazing!!

If you like litRPG novels, then look no further! This is one of the best audio book series of the litRPG genre. I cant wait for the next installment.

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Awesome!

What a great book! Loved every minute. Luke Daniel's delivers a great performance yet again!

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Not for me

I tried to get into this book and im sure for some it would be fabulous but its like watching a role play game in slow motion. far too tedious for me sorry.

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good story

I really enjoyed the story and found it hard to stop listening can't wait for book 2

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Fantastic! Can’t wait to listen to the next book

Great narrator. If you love sci-fi, gaming, medieval you’ll love this book.. very fun story line to follow, kept me on my toes

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worth investing thr time

An enthralling book about a fantasy world that has a mixture of both interesting game style mechanics and a worthwhile story

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  • Don Gilbert
  • 07-08-2017

Luke Daniels and a great LITRPG; enough said

There are many LITRPG stories coming out seemingly every day, some good some not so good, “Ascend Online,” narrated by Luke Daniels is a great entertaining experience. My personal favorite in this genre has been “The way of the Shaman,” series and I rate the first book in this new series just as high, maybe even higher given the narrator. I hope the next book is just as good; can’t wait.

70 of 81 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-09-2017

A humble hero story with cool action!

I love evolving hero stories where power ups or new abilities are tempered with ever more challenging situations! this book delivers that with entertaining action and new introductions that kept my attention throughout. even taking small 15 min bites of the story was enjoyable!

books it reminds me of:
ready player one
we are Bob: the bobiverse
codex alera series by Jim butcher
I'm off to be the wizard
the Chronicles of Jonathan tibbs

57 of 67 people found this review helpful

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  • Jamie L. Nolte
  • 20-08-2017

Fresh to death

Don't get me wrong, the VR world is starting to become saturated and that's the only reason I was hesitant upon getting this one. Ripped through this in 4 days it was that good, beginning to end, I could not put it down. This is a must for your collection, highly recommended

29 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • albert
  • 02-08-2017

The author found the right narrator

Would you consider the audio edition of Ascend Online to be better than the print version?

Most authors have to rely on the readers sense of humor to get their joke across, but this narrator knocked those parts out of the park. I found myself laughing from this book more than any other.

What did you like best about this story?

This book is better than your average Litrpg audiobook. While the first part of the book is great, it picks up a lot around 35 percent through. You will notice the difference

Have you listened to any of Luke Daniels’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Once, i found this to be the best one.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

That would be spoiling

Any additional comments?

I didn't want to waste another credit one a lit novel, considering how often the genre tends to stack to the same formula, but this book strays far enough from the normal path to make it worth while.

36 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • matt
  • 24-07-2017

Excellent LitRPG!

I won't go into the details of the Book, but as someone who has almost 24 months of logged listening time on Audible, this book not only has excellent content by Luke Daniels (who is a fantastic narrator) but it also has the hours to create the background and build the story.. it is a great listen. if your like me and you look to reviews before spending the credit then trust me, this is a worth while listen.
I was not given this book for free, I purchased it, and I did not have to write this review. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

67 of 81 people found this review helpful

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  • John C Crabtree
  • 22-07-2017

I want more

loved it, great story. And Luke Daniels continues to be one of my favorite narrators.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Joel Lewis
  • 25-11-2018

Was great until his friends showed up.

I was enjoying this book immensely, until his friends showed up. The author was a bit long winded on spells, but when mc was alone, it was quite interesting. As soon as the friends showed the MC turns into a full time crafter/politician. Even considering you want to be a good person and help the town, I would think as a potentially without limits fighter, training would be the best use of MCs time. This all led to the book becoming a snore fest 80 % of the time after the rest of party showed. Oh and the jokes...I don't mind some completely pointless dialogue, but the idiot mc and friends speak loudly and pointlessly at THE WORST times. I don't mind some idiocy to advance the story but author threw it out there too frequently and usually without any logical need. How these people are supposedly "elite gamers" is a mystery to me. Damn near anyone should be better.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Keith R. Dercole
  • 20-06-2018

An interesting attempt that mostly fell flat

This was a first LitRPG for me, a guy who loves fantasy fiction and online MMO gaming. Sadly this iteration of the two did not work for me and left me struggling for the finish line.

I honestly felt like this would have been a much stronger story without the MMO elements and instead tried to stand as it's own fantasy universe. The UI dialogue and stat talk felt monotonous, the quests felt unnecessary, and the fact the characters can respawn at will all but removed any aspect of danger, even at the climax of the story.

The story was your standard run-of-the-mill good guys versus bad guys game of supremacy, this time at play over the fate of a small town in the sticks. Moral direction was always obvious and clear, a black and white path with zero shades of grey or ambiguity to spicen up the plot. But you can't expect much character depth from a cast completely lacking of any real emotion. Before long, I began to confuse the players from the NPCs because they all kind of came off robotic and stiff.

The protagonist was your typical hero Mary Sue, usually stronger and smarter than most of the obstacles put before him. The side characters were incredibly one dimensional and never really grew throughout. Honestly it became a challenge even keeping track of them all. Finally, the villain came into the story late and did not offer much to enhance the narrative. More than anything the villain felt inept and bumbling and more than once I felt awkward just listening in on repeated failed attempts at dominance.

Finally, the voice actor's performance was normally fine, barring a few odd character voice choices that made my ears hurt to listen to, including a half giant oaf that sounded like a dimwitted stoner most of the time. He did the best he could with the material he had to work with.

All in all I do not recommend this story. As it was my first foray into literary RPGs, I cannot say if other authors do this kind of plot better, but for now I think I'm going to stray away from the genre. At first I applauded the author not going the hackneyed "if you die in the game you die in real life!" route, but he definitely needed *something* in place of it to create a feeling of loss you otherwise never felt whenever the characters engaged in battle. You may like this story if you're a lover of this genre, but don't expect any character depth or world building. You're better off spending your credit somewhere else.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Gabriel Cheinquer
  • 24-03-2019

Not for me

Not much to say here, just like there wasn't much said in the first 15 chapters of this book. The way it was said also left much to be desired, with the narration ranging from cringy to strident..

I love LitRPGs, and I've read my fair share of them, but when the protagonist doesn't advance the plot for 5h of reading, and doesn't use his head to figure things out, it's just painful. A nope from me.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve C.
  • 23-08-2017

Excellent story, excessive profanity.

Good story, good characters, nice long enjoyable book. my only quibble is that it was pock-marked with constant use of the f-bomb. I dont care that there was swearing, but there was so much it just got old and took away from the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • kanundra
  • 29-07-2017

Great listen! more please!


Concept/world-building – 4
Plot – 4
Character – 5
Dialogue – 5
Prose – 5
Conflict/resolution – 4
Overall rating 4.5


I picked this up as Luke's highly recommended in the litrpg facebook groups. So, when the audio was put up for pre-order with Luke Daniels as the narrator I nabbed it quick.

It's a long listen, so it did take me a while. But it was well worth it.

Plot

For me, the start to anything takes a while, and I do admit this was a little slower for me than usual, but it's more than worth it.

Where the world that Marcus actually lives in, isn't very well defined or spoken about much. The interaction with his friends at the start and then into the game is. I enjoyed all what each character brought to the story, and more from the NPC's.

Once the story really does start to move forwards, you get the experience of Luke’s gaming and background as the world of Ascend Online develops, bits of history and information are peppered in just the right places so not to feel like too much of an info dump and you are as excited as the players for the challenges they’re about to face.

It’s got enough crafting, fighting and loot to make all the gamers want more, and the stats read out aren’t as heavy as some other litrpg books. It doesn’t slow the pacing at all, and Luke does a great job with reading them so they’re also not just hard core skill lists. The story telling around these alone helps make this a book to remember.

Character

There wasn’t quite enough of the ‘real’ world for me. I would have wanted some more interaction with it through Marcus, even if it meant he had to log off once. However, each of the characters that Marcus/Lyrian enter the game with are well defined enough once he meets back up with them in the game.

As for them being supporting characters, they’re pretty great all by themselves. As for a fav one, I’d have to say Natasha has a spot, but defo Amaranth has the biggest. (sp)

Dialogue

I thought all the characters had decent dialogue. And also with Luke narrating, they were a breeze to listen to, each with their own personalities which really shined through. Luke did a great job with the ladies in the group and also with the demons and other worldly creatures. I did however think that the two overlords of the game were brother and sister at first, till I realised they were sisters.

Graves’ character drawl was also really good to listen to. Awesome job from both narrator and writer in design of the bad guys and in the way he really stood out in the narration.

Conflict/Resolution

I think because this has so much scope for the series, that there’s always going to be underlying threads we don’t see tied up. But the overall conflict in this book was left with a satisfying ending. Even if I did want more of the book and story world.
You can’t expect me to listen to almost 18 hours of something and not come away with a book hangover! Omg give me more!

I am glad I picked this up. And I really do look forward to more in this series from both Lukes’

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-09-2017

No Awaken online

narrator amazing as ever but some of the later voices are quite smilar. Cant really remember any of the secondary characters. not really any hold to story. The whole game aspect of the book seems to be lost with it having very little to do with story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Artemis
  • 28-09-2018

A Cardboard Cutout

Ascend Online Book 1 is what I call a cardboard cutout of a story. The characters are flat, the detail is poor, and the story is wooden.

6 long term friends go on an adventure. At no time is their real world life described, the basis of their personalities explained, or how they can afford to up and leave the real world for a virtual one explained adequately. They dont feel like theyve been together forever. And for some reason they all appear to defer to one guy in the group in decision making and leadership. We arent looking at 6 people playing a game. We're looking at 1 guy with 5 others in the order of assistants or possibly willing slaves with no will of their own.

There isnt much detail to anything. Ive listened to the entire thing and couldn't tell you what anyone's hair colour or body build is. Who is the tallest member of the group? The most attractive? What annoying querks do people have? Their virtues? Where are people from? Ive lived mostly in the South of England. That has had a huge impact on my personality. I think the characters are American...maybe. I should be able to provide something like detail but can barely remember anyone's actual name because I dont have a picture of that person in my head.

The Land has a cast of unique characters and Richter has personality and humour in spades. Awaken Online makes a point of fully fleshing out each individual character, their emotional and psycological issues. And Devine Dungeon provides a unique look from the other side as a Dungeon is more or less the protagonist of the story. Ascend Online though feels like grinding away 1000 hours in one of those old school MMORPGs like Legend of Mir or old school WoW only less distinctive. You could easily give this one a miss. There's better out there.

And the narrator. He did his best work while reading The Iron Druid Chronicles and, like Kevin Hearne, he peaked in the early books, growing less distinctive and proficient as time goes on, though I admit that he might just have been hampered by the poor quality of writing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark H.
  • 07-09-2017

A fun adventure!

Would you consider the audio edition of Ascend Online to be better than the print version?

Certainly easier to enjoy in a casual setting. It makes walking to work more fun.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ascend Online?

The climactic final battle was suitably gripping I'd say.

What does Luke Daniels bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

A good flow of narrative that leaves me free to do other things.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I chuckled a few times at some of the funnier bits, and was suitably eager to listen to the action scenes.

Any additional comments?

A very entertaining story, one that I hope to see continued soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cameron T Wells
  • 09-10-2019

Disappointing

Not very exciting or original. Coversations poorly written, they do not sound natural at all. Having picked this up after Awaken Online, the books feel miles apart in terms of quality.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-08-2019

This one is worth listening to

don't have time to review, gotta find the next book. fast. Need the next book fix...

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  • Ian
  • 25-10-2018

incredible, couldn't stop listening to it.

fantastic book, had me hooked by chapter 1. great detail, very well written. narration flawless. I'll not say anything about the story line, I'll just simply say it's a MUST 5 stars easily given.

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  • Bendik
  • 07-08-2018

The perfect LitRPG

A well balaced LitRPG with a great story, interesting characters and a lot of humor.
It focuses more on strategy strategy and enginuety in regards to how skills are used during combat in sted of relying heavily on the stats portion.. It is refreshing not having to listen through a stat list every five-ten minutes which is often the case in this genre.

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  • Darren Plant
  • 05-08-2018

Absolutely awesome

From the very beginning, this is a well thought out and well paced story. The characters are likeable and believable and the action is explosive at times. Give it a listen, you will not be disappointed.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexander B.
  • 22-06-2018

A template for a computer game

I found the narrator a bit off-putting to start with but got used to the delivery. The story shows imagination and I feel is aimed at the younger game playing set who appreciate the details of the role play. Far too much detail of acquisitions although I can see why they are important to the role players and can imagine readers/listeners of that mindset identifying with specific characters. Not gripping enough for me so will have to abandon it.