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Dragon Seed

Archemi Online, Volume 1
Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
5 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)
Non-member price: $34.76
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Publisher's Summary

What would you give to be a dragon rider?

Before being conscripted to fight in the Total War, Private Hector Park had a shattered family, a collection of old video games, and a promising career as a motorcycle stuntman. Now, he is dying from a virus threatening humankind with extinction. He has three days to live.

When Hector’s brother contacts him after years of hostile silence, Hector goes to try and make peace. But his brother has an offer even more unbelievable than reconciliation: the chance to cheat death by joining him in Archemi, a full-immersion fantasy VR-RPG video game. 

Determined to forge a life worth living, Hector undergoes the experimental upload process and chooses the difficult path of the Dragon Knight. To achieve his dream, he must prove himself worthy of imprinting a dragon, a being with whom he will share a telepathic bond more intimate than any human relationship.

But at what cost?

Join Hector on his first steps toward mastering the skies in Dragon Seed, the first audiobook in the Archemi Online LitRPG series!  

The Soundbooth Theater team for this production:  

  • Justin Thomas James - narration, music, sound design 
  • Jeff Hays - Steve, Skyr Arnaud, and other supporting characters 
  • Laurie Cateherine Winkel - Rutha, Sergeant Blackman, and all other female characters 
  • Griffin Malnar - proofing, editing, and mastering
©2018 James Baldwin (P)2018 James Baldwin

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fievel
  • 10-12-2018

good story, well told

This story is exactly what it says it is. Dragons, knights, game mechanics, a hard magic system, what is not to love. The readers bring out the different characters with a really good, but not overdone, mixed media performance. By mixed media I mean some music or background sound effects at specific moments in the story (e.g. rain sounds during a flash back).

More than most litrpg I've read this book establishes the different characters' backgrounds and world without lengthy boring expose. It is a hard balance to strike but this story establishes background through dialogue and that works really well for it.

Overall I liked it and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-12-2018

The Gold Standard for LitRPG

This book.. No this production is probably the best if not close to the best experience I have had in the LitRPG genre. From the voice acting to the added effects and music everything is on point. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and am eagerly waiting for more. wondefully done.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • caleb
  • 05-12-2018

Loved it!!

Now one of my top favorites. I especially like it when vets are the main characters. He may be army lol but he's bad ass.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ray Johnson
  • 12-03-2019

The seeds of a great series to come planted here

Dragon Seed is an excellent book that I enjoyed right from the start. In some ways, it reminded me of Dave Willmarth’s Dark Elf series and James Hunter’s Viridian Gate Online, as it starts out with a world ending sort of apocalypse when something called the Hex virus. It’s a virus that when you get it you have about 4 days to live, and it will be a nice slow and miserable kind of death. The MC, Hector Park, ends up getting Hex and leaves quarantine, as anyone who is infected should and goes looking for his brother. Turns out his bro is an important figure who just so happens to have a set up that will allow them to have their brains downloaded into a game in order to save their consciousnesses. So you can see the similarities, but that is all it is, pretty facile, and to be blunt it is hard to come up with new and creative ways to put people into game worlds. That wasn’t a plug for my new segment, either.
So, once in the game world we get to see a lot of PC options, and Hector wants to become a Dragon Rider, and what is cool is that he doesn’t automatically start off as one. He has to go through an entire series of events to actually EARN the class. That’s right, he has to earn the class, and if he fails there is no second chance. He can’t reapply. I liked that aspect a lot. Plus, there are some little hints as to what’s really going on, so pay attention to comments made about the NPC’s and their dreams. Also, this is one book where I think it is safe to actually view the NPC’s as being as real as the PC’s, since everyone that is playing the game is dead. They are just as electronically alive as the NPC’s, the only difference is that they get a respawn ability.
There are several things that I like about this book, but the primary ones are that we do not really get a definitive answer on what happened to Hector’s brother, nor do we get to find out if he makes it as a Dragon Knight until the end of the book. Also, there is the mystery of the NPC’s dreams that needs addressed, so while the book does a good job wrapping up its first act it unquestioningly has plenty of things to focus on in the following books. The only downside that I found was that it was predictable as to who was going to be the baddie that sticks it to Hector. I really saw the “twist” coming from a mile away, but then I never trust anybody so I’d never be surprised. Still lots of crunch and excellent game mechanics and a wonderfully built world.
Without a doubt one of the best things about this story was how it was handled by Soundbooth. The team really pulls out all the stops, and while they don’t hit the sound effects button on this book what they do is to add a wonderfully cinematic score to a lot of parts of the novel. In fact it was most notable during an epic battle scene, when the score kicked in it added so much that it made a good battle scene feel pretty epic. I really appreciated how it didn’t overwhelm the spoken words and only added to the drama and excitement of the scene. I really felt like I was watching a scene out of Braveheart. The score itself was well done, and I applaud the subtle way it was used. It could have dominated everything rather than enhancing. I feel that the score in various parts of the narration was more of a benefit than I would have expected. Justin Thomas James and Laurie Catherine Winkel, the Bonnie and Clyde of SBT are amazing here. I call them that because the only people that get three names are people like John Hinkley Jr., John Wilkes Booth, and Lee Harvey Oswald. So, if you hafta use all three names you must be up to sumpin! Or it might just be that they’ll steal your breath as they steal the story away from James Osiris Baldwin. Hmmm, another one with three names. I’d say watch out for this guy, because so far he’s blown me away with his writing. Jeff Hays, also lends his vociferous skills to the track, and as he is my favorite narrator anything else I say will sound biased. Because it is. But he rocks. Party on, Jeff. Party on.

So the long and the short of it is that this is an impressive debut Litrpg novel. Baldwin has a few books under his belt already, but this is his first foray into the genre and he hit it pretty well. My final score 8.3 just because I did see a few of the twists way before they happened.

Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

As seen on the LITRPG AUDIOBOOK PODCAST, please check it out on Youtube.com

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Couch Potato
  • 17-01-2019

Do yourself a favor and GET IT!

I'll be honest. When I was reading the summary of the book, I was not expecting much out of it. I figured it would be just another LITRPG where some guy gets stuck in a game. I guess the dragon riding thing hasn't been done yet, so why not?

Well, I can definitely say this book is AMAZING! There's so many references to games and little jokes I can relate to. It really let me know the author is a gamer like myself. But more than that, the story is superbly written and demands you come back for more. The protagonist is likable and one can easily relate to his circumstances and understand his actions. As a matter of fact, all the characters were superbly done. Big round of applause for the author.

It definitely doesn't hurt that this book was brought to life by the cast of Soundbooth Theater. Sound effects. Multiple cast members providing their amazing skills. Music. It is ALL there. It was a treat to listen to.

The only downside to this book is I wish there was more, but I mean that's how it always is when you have a good book in your hand right? Do yourself a favor and GET. THIS. BOOK!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Erik
  • 16-04-2019

Loved it!

I really enjoyed Dragon Seed, the characters were well written and it had emotionally charged situations. I feel like it ended at a good place, giving closure but still leaving the listener wanting more. There wasn't much interaction with the real world, save for the beginning, but what there was of it was good. I liked the use of sound effects and background music at critical points in the narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian M.
  • 08-03-2019

Excellent story and performance! I am very happy

I took a chance on this book and I was pleasantly surprised by the level of detail, the wonderous scenery, and the talent of the readers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bryan
  • 25-02-2019

Production value is amazing

Simply one of the best LITRPG stories I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. The multiple narrators and the music was worth more than 5 stars. I wish there was 10 stars to put here! Such a compelling and interesting story right out of the gate and it holds onto you all the way through. I'm extremely impressed and hope there is much much more coming from this team and author!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kenneth
  • 06-02-2019

Great book and wonderful performance!

Great story with a wonderful cast of characters. If you are thinking about getting this book DO IT!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-02-2019

Best performance I've heard.

I wishI could give six stars for the performance. Between the music and multiple voice actors, they went the extra mile and it really paid off.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • scribbler
  • 23-12-2018

Really, really good

This is probably the best audio book I have listened to in terms of the narration. I can’t describe how superb it was - granted that I enjoyed it more at 0.75x normal speed, but I have started doing that with most audio books now (I read somewhere that the human brain processes words more easily when they are spoken at around 130 words per minute, and most modern speakers and readers clock in at around 180).
It isn’t that this narration is particularly fast, and most wouldn’t even notice, so don’t be put off - I have just started slowing everything down, especially if I am listening before I go to sleep.

In short, the narration was excellent, the story was engrossing and I really liked the main character. I’m new to the
Litrpg genre, and was worried that I wouldn’t be gripped by it, but this book has a lot of depth and realism and I was surprised to be drawn so thoroughly in the world that by the end I really cared about what was happening.

I am really hoping that the second in the series will be available soon, and read by the same narrators.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • ATPase
  • 25-02-2019

Wow... Just wow; and not in a good way.

Other than the performance, this book is just really bad. In light of that, I'll just list of what I didn't like about the book, in no particular order.

1) The characters have no real characterization, the motives are convoluted, and the plot keeps changing. At the end of this book, I was more disappointed than anything else.

2) The author was trying too hard to be "cool". Like that one uncle that you have to invite for your family dinner, who is always talking about how he still gets around.

3) The main character might as well have a warning over head, stating that anyone with female genitalia, should be warned that he is around, as, females being females, will instantly fall in love with him. This wouldn't be bad, but the writing is so poor that I found it cringe worthy. (I actually did cringe a few times)

4) This maybe revealed in the later series, but the main bad guy was your typical jerk level villain. The way that he was written made me believe that he should be a side villain. His motives are unexplained (apart from him being a racist - but I want a little more depth than - he's racist ergo he's the bad guy. I'm sure there are more racist's in this world, that are of higher station, so why aren't they the main bad guy?)

5) SPOILERS - why did the betrayal happen? The book gives no real indication as to why this happens, but I am forced to believe it happens for some reason. Why? I have no idea.

6) Sometimes the internal monologue sounded really corny. Maybe that was what the author wanted, but as stated, it just came off as cringe worthy.

If you are into LitRPG novels, then maybe you will enjoy this, but not me.