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Dead Must Die - A Novella of the Realms

The Realms: Master of the Dungeon, Book 1 (A Humorous GameLit Adventure)
Narrated by: Reuben Corbett
Length: 1 hr and 56 mins
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Publisher's Summary

Simon died once. He'll be damned before he dies twice.

Simon never asked to become the new dungeon master of the Barrow, but a millennia-old teenager stuck in the skull of a dead lich has few life options. After bonding with the Barrow’s dungeon core, he learns they are near death from hunger and only by consuming the life energy and experiences of sentient beings can they survive. 

Lucky for Simon a party of murderous adventurers invades the Barrow in search of treasure and glory. They look to be a perfectly tasty meal until one transforms into a mentally unstable fanatic whose specialty is killing the undead in all its forms, especially teenagers stuck in skulls bonded to dungeons.

If Simon can’t master his new powers, defeat invaders bent on plunder, and convince the Barrow to take a kinder, gentler approach to feeding, then he will die a second time. And this time it’ll be permanent. 

Dead Must Die is a short novella set in the best-selling The Realms universe. It takes place sometime after Barrow King but before the soon-to-be-released Scourge of Souls.  

©2018 C.M. Carney (P)2019 C.M. Carney

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ray Johnson
  • 12-03-2019

You gotta stay alive!

Full disclosure, I am huge fan of Chris Carney, and I am also a tried and true adorer of short stories. Seeing this it became a no brainer that I would be reviewing it. So, what’s the disclaimer? The novel centers on my least favorite character of the series, the boy Simon who ended up kind of inheriting the mantle of the dungeon that the lich king had been running. The dungeon is all his now, and it wants to merge with him and start munching on adventurers. So, even though it was about my least favorite character I still put on my unbiased earbuds and gave it a listen.
First and foremost I have to say that as much as I like Carney, his attempts at humor fell short with me. I don’t know if it was that the jokes were easy to see coming or if Corbett didn’t translate them from the page to my ears as well as he could have I don’t know. Either way, the humor took it down a little for me the longer the book went on.
On the upside, this almost becomes a dungeon core styled story. Almost, it had some of the elements, but never (most wisely) tried to become that. It stayed in its own little box with Simon mucking around with the dungeon and manipulating its inhabitants, but never became a full on core book.
I did enjoy the story when it wasn’t trying so hard to make me laugh. I really think that a straight story would have worked a lot better; something much more in the vein of the other Realms books that have humor, but not in such a rapid fire unrelenting way, but more spaced out. The book is a nice little gem that adds some flavor to the Realms, and will help feed your need for more stuff in the Realm settings.
The story is fairly fast paced and keeps you interested, and like I said before Simon is a character I could take or leave, and I found myself liking him more as the story went on. I was even glad to see that he had started dating.
I know the narrator, Rueben Corbett from another series that I read a few years back, Dragonia: Rise of the Wyverns. He did a decent job there, and he does the same thing with this tale. The problem that I have is that I’m going to compare him to Armen Taylor no matter what, since Taylor narrates the other Realms books. I have to say that he holds up surprisingly well, too. He does the necessary voices and keeps the story as fun as he can. I had no problems with what he did here and think he was a good fit for the series.
I would happily listen to another short from this series, I just hope the humor isn’t as pervasive next time around. Final score 7.9.


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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-02-2019

Fun little side story.

Dead Must Die is a fun side story to CM Carney's The Realms series, dealing an amusing group of adventurers and the 'rebirth' of a dungeon. It's an interesting story and has some really fun and funny characters.(love the group of adventurers) My only real complaint is that I wish it were longer. Granted it's a novella so of course it's going to be shorter than the much longer main books in the series. That being said, I'd like to know what happens next to Simon/Barrow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • R C
  • 17-02-2019

Thoroughly enjoyable series

Great side story to hold one over until the next book in this entertaining series is available. Well performed by Reuben Corbett, another fine story by CM Carney

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nighteyes
  • 09-05-2019

silly and fun

the book had me chuckling for most if not all of the duration...
it has little to do with the rest of the world at this time though I see promise for a big tie in later

Reuben did little for the book, but never got in the way of the story either...
his female voices could use a little work...
a fairly average performance and in all, but him being attached would not stop me from buying a book either

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Backlash
  • 24-04-2019

unknowing hypocrisy

hilarious short that proves you can't judge a dark lord by his cowl. narrator was spot on.