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Initializing

Somnia Online, Book 1
Narrated by: Andrea Parsneau
Series: Somnia Online, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Discover the class you were born to play.

Wren, a seasoned healer, is dismayed when Somnia Online automatically assigns her character, Murmur, to the Enchanter class. Determined to overcome the unexpected setback, she assembles her guild, intent on the coveted number-one spot. Twelve keys stand between her and victory, but finding them is only part of the puzzle. 

Armed with telepathic abilities, Murmur rises to the challenge. However, old rivals have followed her to Somnia Online desperate for revenge. Intricate quest lines become more dangerous as NPCs absorb powerful artifacts, and Murmur begins to wonder just what sort of AI controls the world. 

Murmur questions her sanity as the real and virtual worlds mesh together. Everyone is keeping secrets from her, even the AI, and Murmur’s determined to uncover them.

©2018 Katie Hanna (P)2018 Katie Hanna

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A Great Read

Really enjoyed the story and the gameplay. Can get a little winey in some place but not too bad.

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Great story.

Though the story is good. (minus a bit of character drama within the group and headache vague S#*t /) the narrator using high pitched voices is really getting to me and inducing a headache and causing my nerves and neck and shoulder muscles to tighten.

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Initializing

K. T. Hanna has done a awesome job with the writing of this book showing how talented as a Author her depth of her characters and stories and the Narrator Andrea Parsneau did a awesome job with the voices and narration of the great story 5 stars .

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  • eris
  • 04-10-2018

A great LitRPG

Initializing is a book in a new LitRPG series (Somnia Online) from author K.T. Hanna and it definitely comes into the genre with some very interesting differences from the competition. The book deals with new VR technology and the game that takes over the world and some of the lives it touches. This is the start of what could seemingly be a long series and doesn't feel the need to rush anything. It delves into the life of Wren and her band of misfits, while also telling another story about the development and release of Somnia Online. Each chapter starts with a small scene at some point in the development or release of the game and those running it. As the curtain is slowly pulled back you learn more about those running things and some of mysteries revolving around the game as well.

The bare bones for LitRPGs are fairly known now, and while this book doesn't break the mold in those, it does have some things that set it apart for me. The biggest thing for me is that the book actually takes its game elements in the LitRPG genre seriously, and doesn't just use the setting to tell a story with some "stats" thrown in. K.T. Hanna has the characters having to do many things I don't feel many other books in the genre do, like going more in-depth in encounters and what is needed to win a battle or fight. Generally, books in the genre are very vague and just skip over mechanics of fights, boss encounters, pulls or raids. These things get expanded upon much more and are done in a way where it didn't take away from any of the action for me.

There is a mystery that is slowly rolled out throughout the book and has revealed that come in both the game and the real world. The story is well intertwined and never makes either section seem unneeded. If I had a complaint it would be where the book ends. The main "twist" which I don't think is supposed to be a twist for the reader since it is hinted at throughout the whole book, seemed to be a point for great emotional and personal conflict to emerge for the characters. We don't get that payoff right now because the book just kind of ends with the reveal, which I guess makes you definitely want to read the next book, but left me a little disappointed, but only slightly.

The narration by Andrea Parsneau was fantastic as always, and I am enjoying all of her work. She is a great narrator and brings all the action to life, while giving every character their own strong voice and affectations.

A great LitRPG with fantastic narration, and I look forward to the rest of this series.

I received a copy of this audio title in exchange for an unbiased review

11 people found this helpful

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  • Lonnie-The GreatNorthernTroll-Moore
  • 01-09-2018

I absolutely loved this Lit-RPG...

I really didn't know anything about this book other, than that I've enjoyed other Lit-RPG books in the past, and that I know Andrea Parsneau is a fantastic narrator!
Currently I am at a point where I start a Lit-RPG with some trepidation. I've enjoyed them, but... well, isn't the trope kinda' played out? The answer, after listening to this book, is a resounding NO! I loved this vrmmorpg book! I just checked, and I see that the sequel has just been released in eBook, so now, at least I can continue reading... I seriously need to know what happens next!
As I suspected would be the case, Andrea Parsneau did a Bang-Up job! I'm gonna be recommending this book to all my friends...
If you like LitRPG's, or you're just trying one for the the first time, grab Initializing, sit back and enjoy!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

10 people found this helpful

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  • TU
  • 11-09-2018

So good, need book 2!

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I initially picked this book up because I am a huge fan of Andrea Parseanue as a narrator. In my opnion, she's one of, if not THE best female narrator on Audible. As a newly mented fan of the LitRPG genre, this was a no brainer. The best part is, it totally delivered. This was a great book with a cool premise and good game mechanics and story telling. Coupled with Andrea's narration, this is a must have for any fan of sci fi, fantasy and/or LitRPG.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ray Johnson
  • 27-09-2018

Awesome tale with Massive character development

Initializing is one of those rare books that really has no end game, no antagonist, and no real big battle scenes, but is very interesting nonetheless. It has a great twist at the end that you can pick up on if you pay attention to the way that the main character, Murmur, interacts with others, the powers that she begins to wield, and the way others treat her in the game, but you have to really be on your game. I figured it out during the bathroom scene, and maybe I was slow, but it was rewarding to see that my hypothesis , or in the words of the Heavy Jake Sullivan, Hypo thee sis, panned out to be accurate. No spoilers from me. Hanna is fantastic at fleshing out her characters, and their relationships such as those between Murmur and Sinister, Murmur and her instructor/mentor, and Murmur and her dragon pal. Each is unique and realistically rendered. The only issue I really had was that I have to wonder when Sin left the game.

Normally, I would complain that this book is just one long bit of grinding, as it really lacks a villain to latch onto, although there is a player that gives Mur some grief. What the book is actually about is Murmur coming to grips with herself before school starts, rekindling friendship, and unraveling a mystery that only she seems to notice. There is a movie out there that stars the ex-wife of Tom Cruise that this put me in the mind of, but I don’t want to spoil things for you. The grindy thingy, as Scott Pilgrim would say, is actually fun as Mur and company get to test their ever growing powers as they beat on monsters and accrue XP. Best of all, while the group does advance their levels quickly, they do not power level, which is a big no no in my book. No, the real fun comes in piecing together the mystery that Murmur slowly senses is around her and seeing just who is a part of the conspiracy. The best part of it, I was certain that Sinister was going to tell Murmur that she was in love with her. So, keep an eye open and an ear to ground to see if you can get the big reveal at the end.

The Fabulous Andrea Parsneau narrates this, and kills the narration. I am so glad to be able to review a book that has a solid narrator and I do not have to describe just how much they brought the story down. Nope, Andrea elevates an already great story to even higher levels. She really nails the characters, and is flawless in her readings. The sound quality is superb and she really enlivens the dialogue between Sin and Murmur to the point that you believe they are two distinct people, but also that they are very dear friends. You can feel their bond.

One thing that I like is that while this is a basically one long game session that it is neither bogged down by the grinding , nor does it try to be overly cerebral, Murmur outthinks her opponents, but also puts a good smack down on them in the process. She is not one to be trifled with, and it is clear as to why she is a leader, and not a follower. She is a very complex character, and one that I want to see more of, and cannot wait for the next edition to come out. This is a solid book that stands out for what it doesn’t have or do with the characters. The narration is outstanding, and the plot is slick and fast paced. I really enjoyed this book, and if I am going to be honest I wasn’t sure if I would. I knew nothing of KT Hanna, but I figured if Andrea liked her book it had to be of substance. I am awarding 8.25 stars. This is a great book, and I look forward to it more from this writing narrating pair in the future.

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

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremy Roney
  • 07-05-2019

Subpar even in a genre with low standards

While the narration was great, the story itself was less so. I've read a dozen or more series in the LitRPG genre, and this is quite comfortably at the bottom. I still enjoyed it, but it ranged from annoying to boring really often.

After 15 years of playing MMO's, there are a lot of terms in this I've never heard. "Con"? Closest I can think of is simply "inspect". "Repop"? Players use the term "respawn". "D.O.T."? Players say dot. "Area of effect"? That one is AoE, unlike dots.

As for the more important criticisms though.. all of the characters are one dimensional. The NPC's are constantly described as being incredibly smart and realistic, yet we never see that. We see mobs that behave like mobs. They even pull in packs and use LoS pulls constantly.

The main character is a massively OP player.. not unusual for this genre, but here she mostly just spams a single spammable CC with no diminishing returns on entire groups of enemies for the entire story. It's wouldn't be interesting to play, and it's certainly not interesting to hear about.

There are some major structural/editorial issues here too. At one point it's stated that following a death a charactet has 3% to level. That takes 30 minutes. So.. 1% per 10 minutes, or a bit over 16 hours to go from level 7 to 8. Problem is, they've been playing for 16 hours to go from 1 to 8. The book also states that chapters are occuring in the "real world" repeatedly, yet those chapters almost all occur in game. Players repeatedly spend upwards of 12 hours in game without taking breaks to eat, sleep, or use the restroom.. without explanation.

Every other chapter takes place in the real world, in a sort of prequel like leadup to the game's launch. I've read other series that did exactly this, and I hated it there too. Here though, it's even worse because those chapters add nothing whatsoever to the story. They just repeatedly enforce the idea that something shady is going on without ever doing more than ramble techbobabble at the reader and be super vague. One such chapter would have been enough, the rest just go over the same vague nonsense again and again.

To be honest, the worst thing about this story though is that vast portions of it are just "players go out and kill shit for however many numbers of hours". We don't get much of a description of these "epic" adventures aside from the main character chain cc'ing everything in sight.

I'll probably finish this series, because I despise leaving a story unfinished.. but unless you really like LitRPG's and have read everything else out there I'd pass on starting this one. Even with the relatively low standards that are the norm for the genre, this one just doesn't quite measure up for me.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lee
  • 06-09-2018

Meh.

I'm not sure how this is rated at 4.5 stars. I'm starting to feel like standards for the LitRPG genre are just lower.

This wasn't a bad story, it just really struggles to be exciting. Virtually none of the side characters are developed, they are simply warm bodies that help and praise the MC. The bantering between group members is bland and despite it's almost constant presence, doesn't give you much insight to the personalities of those involved.

The blandness wasn't just limited to the side characters, even the game world seems boring and 2-dimensional. In one sentence of dialog the characters will praise the game's npc enemies for being so realistic and their use of tactics. In the very next paragraph the group will pull those same NPC enemies like you would in any traditional rpg. Shoot one of them and then break line-of-sight so they will blindly run off into the darkness chasing you, then kill them away from their reinforcements. Pretty much just keep repeating those actions (pull, break LoS, kill) and that's the short summary to the first 15 chapters.

Additionally, the "twist" won't be much of a twist to anyone who was even remotely paying attention to the first half of the book.

If you're looking for another LitRPG series like "The Land" or "Awaken Online" I think you will disappointed here. If you're just looking to kill some time, it's something to read.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Aimee E. Esparza
  • 31-08-2018

Lit RPG has another contestant!

If you haven’t read any Lit RPG or you are look for another great one to add to your collection stop looking and download now. This book has your great characters, awesome story arch, and the grind that all gamers love. Outside of the game world K.T. Has created you get invested on what happens “behind the curtain” and inside the world of Somnia the author brings a new world to a great prospective with exquisite detail. A must have. Keep em coming K.T.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Sparky's Girl
  • 03-09-2018

Can I give 10 stars?!?!

If I could give more stars for this AMAZING work of art, I would!! I found myself completely immersed in this book, wishing I could be immersed in Somnia Online for real. There were multiple times I thought, "What is truly going on here?" but I couldn't put a finger on it. When I did find out...wow!! That was NOT anywhere close to what I expected. I love this book and cannot wait for the next one!!!!!

*I requested this book and am voluntarily leaving this review

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ian Stewart
  • 10-05-2019

I wanted to love it.

I know it's supposed to be an entirely new kind of MMO, but it just feels heinously dated aside from being a virtual reality game.

aside from a few nebulous quests in the game, all the characters seem to be doing is running around and power grinding mobs, which is something MMOs haven't done in over a decade, and they almost immediately start jumping into raid content that's meant for level 10 to 15 players. Just feels weird.

there is so little mention of the sort of skills they're using, or the Spells they get as they level up, and their lack of enthusiasm will gushing about them but it doesn't really feel black the author has ever played MMOs, or is convinced that readers would think those kinds of details are boring.

the author keeps talking about how interesting the world is to the players, and how drawn in they were, and how real it was. But there just wasn't any actual draw behind told there was draw

it's really disappointing considering how much I was looking forward to a litrpg book with a female protagonist.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Neng
  • 31-01-2019

Vague hints and grinding for level

Why. Did. I. Finished. The. Book?

I have to say, the author did a good job at the foreshadowing and hinting, i kinda like vague hints thing. I kinda guessed the it, but I was wrong in the end. That was quite good.

What I don't like is the GRINDING. It seems like they are having fun in the game. But it was NOT FUN reading how they grind their level. Most of the time, there was only 1 formula:
0) talk about the game developement (and hidden agenda the creator have)
1) vague hints
2) get power/skills/magic
3) go to some place with friends + grind for experience
4) nemesis showed up briefly
5) yay, level up
Rinse and repeat.

That happened like what, 3-4 times?

The fighting is summarized and shorten. There was no excitement in the fight scene because the protagonist and friends are GRINDING for power. So only boss fight worth some mentioned. But that also sometimes summarised.

Can't really relate to the protagonist, can't really like the world. It is not a world, it feels like a normal MMO world where the NPC means little than quest givers. I have read other books with MMO that has NPC that made me like them.

The narrator is not bad, just went overboard for some male voice. it feels fake for some characters, but most of her voices are OK.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nathan
  • 14-02-2020

Best LitRPG I've read so far

What it says in the title. This is written in third person LitRPG, it's absolutely amazing. It kept me really enthralled. Can't wait to read the next one.

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  • Dehs
  • 27-09-2019

Great listen

I loved this book, and the audiobook more than does it justice. The narrator is brilliant, bringing character to all the voices.

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  • Cameron
  • 21-02-2019

Brilliant but so bloody irritating!

I love the story but it’s so jarring jumping between the in game action to the slow real word company shit. It’s so irritating and it’s like bloody adverts, you have to suffer through to get back to the action. Sure the intrigue is good but going from dragon fighting cliff-hanger to man working at a desk it’s just arghhhh!

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  • N K
  • 13-09-2018

Andrea and KT do it again

Lovely book, Andrea kills the voices I've read the novel and listened to the book. Andrea has you enthralled with her vocal acumen and KT keeps you guessing on whats to come. This was a great listen, I couldn't put it down and was surprised at how long I had listened to it when it stopped. The action and adventure are well done, and Andrea portrays the emotions that you have come to expect from her.

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  • Aslanenlisted
  • 06-09-2018

Fantastic! Brilliant story!

One of the few litrpg stories with a strong female Main character. Murmur is a brilliant driven protagonist adjusting to an unfamiliar class and proving she can excel... The narration is brilliant. all around fantastic!