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Equalize: A Post-Apocalyptic LitRPG

Ether Collapse, Book 1
Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Series: Ether Collapse, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Gaia has awakened, and the world will never be the same again

Rockland Barkclay has had a rough year. On top of everything else, his father has just passed, and Rocky has to go it alone on their annual trip. But his plans for drinking alone in Algonquin Park are rudely interrupted by a sea of cosmic energy that governs the universe. Ether, the driving force of creation, has returned. Now a confused Rocky must navigate odd hovering messages to survive.

With the awakening of the very planet they reside on, humans are in a desperate fight to survive in an evolving world. If only Gaia hadn’t woken up so very...very...unhinged.

©2019 Mountaindale Press (P)2019 Mountaindale Press

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Equalize

I was surprised by how much I enjoy this book and other lucky surprised.
Ryan DeBruyn is now a author I'm going to keep a eye out for love the this book and his work greatly.
And with the voice acting talents and skills of Luke Daniels who narration makes the characters and world come alive.
12/10 stars a must to listen to and owned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Unexpected but Brilliant

A great story and intriguing world awaits in this debut book and it honestly had me from beginning to end. Love that it doesn't get bogged down in constant stat rundowns and descriptions, that's definitely a pet peeve of mine in the genre. Cannot wait to see where this adventure leads next.

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I'm about 5 hours in and can't stand it anymore

enjoyable story but the constant character sheet updates that last 2minutes ruin it for me.

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Is good, want more

Very similar story line to System apocalypse, our hero is camping in a national Park when the system kicks in and it turns out to be a high level area, he gains control of a territory and saves a bunch of hapless non gamer types, but... it's better! Good job, next please.

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    3 out of 5 stars

An okay litrpg.

Although a bit generic and lacking in magic realism, while falling into some obvious tropes like fortuitous encounters, missing family which exits purely for plot. killing excess characters not because of consequences but due to a formulaic plot.

sadly there isnt much I like about the book as it stands. The main bad guy was terrible aswell as the last battle. The second they brought out the plasma grenades, they pretty much screwed up the power creep.

I found the oil = planet essence thing a bit contrived aswell. as its possible to make ethanol based petrol. an even if that dosent contain planet essence. if someone was on an oilrig they would be an intant billionaire.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hunter
  • 10-07-2019

There's a lot to say about this book.

First. There is a lot to like about this book, it is fun and generally entertaining. The characters are mostly likeable if a bit cookie cutter, the overarching premise is a bit different with the magical apocalypse happening because Gaia wakes up and is pissed.

This book seems to be a bit influenced by Palladium Rifts but mostly in a good way, interdimensional markets, planetary intelligence, the magic apocalypse simultaneously brings access to hypertech and superpowers while also knocking out infrastructure and transportation making a journey of a couple dozen miles take several days of adventure.

This series could become a real gem.


There is also a lot to dislike about this book. I'm going to preface this by saying I know some of this is going to sound nitpicky if you haven't read the book, but it's honestly not as frivolous as it sounds.

First and foremost nobody fake swears like that at all. The first couple times you hear him make a bizarre substitution swear it's mildly amusing, but it's constant and quickly becomes an annoyance and really drags me put of paying attention to the narrative. It would be far better if the MC just didn't swear at all, than to have him use a constant stream of Mickey Mouse Club exclamations.

Second the stat pages and notifications are way over the top, there are places where stat screens are showing up every ten minutes, and the notifications are verbose and repetitive, if the stealth skill levels up 10 times between the last time he checked and now he will read 10 instances of "the stealth skill has leveled up, the stealth skill is now level X" this is unnecessarily wordy and adds nothing to the narrative.

Additionally there are a couple of handwaved inconsistencies I don't want to provide spoilers so, no details on this one. But they aren't bad enough to ruin the enjoyment just somethings I noticed that don't make a whole lot of sense with rhe rules as given.

102 of 104 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kyle
  • 11-07-2019

Good w/ issues

Enjoying the book so far. The system building is interesting and has a "system apocalypse" to it. That being said it is not without issues. One of the biggest issues is that the author is so adverse to swearing that his MC makes up words and phrases to take the place of the omitted "curse" words. The first time this happens it's jarring, by the hundredth time you hear it, it's just annoying,

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Joseph
  • 14-07-2019

Mostly 'okay', cringey protagonits.

Right off the bat, I want to say that the protagonist had me physically cringing several times throughout the audiobook. I dunno if it's been mentioned already (I got the book pretty early upon release, didn't get to see any reviews), but the author does this thing where he substitutes cussing with... let's just call it Mormon Cussing.

Fudge Nuggets!

What in the celestial feces?!

I don't give two protein poops! (I shit you not, this one was mentioned during a scene where he's talking about his possibly deceased family).

These are a few of the many I jotted down. Each and every time it completely drew me out of the narrative. I'm not 'angry' at this. I'd say it was to avoid some kind of 'explicit' tag but there's plenty of other explicit content of the murdering variety this, if this were actually the case, it'd be even more embarrassing. I mean, these would make a puritanical English lady cringe in embarrassment. As someone who experiences their fiction through the eyes of the protagonist, trying to imagine I'm them when reading, I do NOT want to be cringing whenever they open their damn mouths...

That major annoyance aside, there are other issues I had with the book. I'll preface this by saying that these have more to do with tropes that crop up way too often in this genre that I'm really getting tired of. Some notables:

- A super special class that only the hero has access to. I'm very much over these. Don't differentiate your protagonist by applying forces that they have no control over. Personally, I don't find a hero that has an uber class interesting (and this isn't a bash against powerful protagonist, trust me). I'd find it way more interesting if he just picked up one of the holy trinity and became super powerful by exploiting the mechanics to make it so.

- Don't do slapstick. Or more specifically, don't make your hero do/say embarrassingly stupid things for laughs. I'm so, so over this. Again, this doesn't mean the characters need to be perfect, but if you want them to make mistakes, make them ones that are more believable. This includes every joke relates to 'Oh derr, I just don't understand women.'

- I'm also very much over the whole 'inner darkness' schtick, and the hero being scared of it corrupting them or whatever. This is a trope as old as time, and it's probably why I prefer stories with protagonists that have served in the military (so we can skip that step). Especially when it's not even cleverly executed. You're not going to get me to sympathise with a protagonist who feels bad about killing really, really bad people (can't get into specifics, spoilers). If you want to try execute this trope, it needs to be handled with MUCH more efficiency. The choices they make that causes a moral crisis need to be really hard ones.

Overall, this was an 'okay' listen to pass the time, and if you're struggling for something to read in the genre, it's an easy enough listen. I wouldn't recommend it if you have a large wish list though and have others you've been putting off for some reason or another.

45 of 50 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-07-2019

Earth after Ether

Rocky is out for a camping trip when suddenly, he falls to the ground unconscious. Little does he know, that the entire Earth just did the exact same thing. Mother Earth, or Gia, just woke up and found that humans have been pillaging the world. She starts making contingency plans and returns Earth to the way that she remembers it to be. It turns out that the world used to have classes, levels, and monsters. Not only that, it used to be a part of a much larger universe.

Waking up from the event, he quickly finds out how different the world is now. His main goal is to find his family and keep them safe. He gathers his camping gear and starts heading towards his car. Things don't go quite as he plans.

I have not enjoyed a LitRPG like this one in quite a while. It has some great concepts and turned them into plot devices that the entire book revolves around. I'm not going to go into too much detail, but Gia does not like littering and has a plan to clean up.

Another thing that I truly appreciated is the creative cursing that the main character does. What the Tartar Sauce? Rocky has quickly become one of my favorite LitRPG characters! I am very excited for the sequel to this great book.

40 of 45 people found this review helpful

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  • rasmus
  • 28-10-2019

Just not very good..

So.. After reading other peoples reviews, I have come to the conclusion I didnt get the same
book as everyone else.. Everyone is so impressed with this book and I just dont see it..

The lead character is boring, hes obsessive and generally just not very good.

I cant really say much without spoiling, however I can say this:

The book is about a bloke thats got a hardon for his family in more than one way, the obsessive tendencies
he shows when it comes to "rescuing" his family borders on the insane. Sure, you gotta save them or get them
or what ever, however the choices he makes are just very.. Odd, not to mention it seems like he REALLY wants
to bone his great great great grand mother. Sure, shes like a few 100 years his senior, but the amount of lust
he shows for someone he more than once claims is part of his family is just very weird.. Like show some constraint
will you?

Now, for the author. The author just seems very lazy.. We DONT need to see the full character sheet of the main guy
every 10minutes! We're not that effin slow! I swear, if you cut out all the unnecessary times the full character sheet
gets brought up and read out, the book would lose about 3 hours of play time. More than once I found myself going
"What? Again?", before checking how long it was since last time (Often it was more than once in the same chapter
with less than 10minutes between character sheet reading). I often found myself skipping major plot lines as I tried
getting past the character sheets again and again, and I often found that I either didnt really care what happened
or what was skipped didnt really have any large impact on the story.. I must have skipped about 1½ hour out of the
7 hours I listened to before saying "Right.. This book just pisses me off more than I enjoy it."

Lots of people seem to fall over themselves to tell others how amazing this book is, I have a feeling its either people
from Canada that really wants a book told from a Canadians point of view, or people that are very different from myself.

The voice acting is really good though, like REALLY good, I was very impressed with the narrators voice range.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 13-07-2019

great story

this story was great except for the main character making rookie mistakes that anyone who's played D&D shouldn't make that was frustrating but otherwise it's been a great start to a series.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Hunter Wall
  • 11-07-2019

The overall story made this a good read.

My opinion is that this book is a good book to maybe introduce casuals to Lit RPG,but weird because it’s character is 31, and the author chose to remove every swear word and replace it with childlike phrases. I cannot tell you how much I hated hearing “Fudge Nuggets” repeatedly throughout the novel. Ignoring this flaw the story does a good job at combining mythical and sci-fi into a functional universe. The skills are interesting and could maybe use a better explanation as I’m still confused by levels and ranks of skills. But overall the character’s were enjoyable the story had many good turns and many good laughs. Will read the next book.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben Barlow
  • 02-08-2019

Word count fluffing

The story is overall OK. Numerous plot points, pieces of equipment, or names are pulled from other books. The main character gets a neat sword, and it is named after a Kel Kade book, and character. Plot armour abounds to protect the protagonist to the point that nothing really jumps out and makes the reader worry for him. Linguistically it is a tad childish, describing something as massively huge, instead of colossal, or titanic (words that seem to have been forgotten altogether). Don't expect too much, treat it like an 80's action flick, it is mindless action with little in the way of character arc.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony Toney
  • 02-12-2019

Quite Enjoyable

I am relatively new to the Lit-RPG scene and have been loving it. this book has me hooked and I cannot wait for more! The narrator does a wonderful job portraying the different characters, and I love how DARK it is without going into every Gorey detail.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ed Giniat
  • 01-11-2019

Different enough and well written

This book reminded me very heavily of many of the works in Dakota krought, and other novels in the litRPG genre. but it was unique enough to be very entertaining and fun.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-08-2019

Annoying kid friendly swearing

Good enough book, but the fake swearing is really annoying. It'd be.much better if they just used mild swearwords instead.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig Thompson
  • 07-09-2019

Grate book but

Really enjoyed this book and Luke Daniels did a grate job narrating only reason its 4 and not 5* is the use of made up swar words it really broke immersion in the world as no one alive would speak like that.

other that that grate book and look forward to the sequel.

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  • O. J-kahn
  • 11-08-2019

reminds me of Tao Wong's system apocalypse series

but i might like this one better. Too soon to tell but great start.

Looking forward to book 2!

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  • Danielle Allan
  • 10-07-2019

It's good so far

I'm sorry, when I first opened it did a literal double take this is not Nick podehl but they have very similar voices.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful