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Into the Light

Axe Druid, Book 1
Narrated by: B. J. Harrison
Series: Axe Druid, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A tight-knit group of buddy gamers. A relentless galactic conqueror. One big ol' ax and a whole bag of magic.

Chris and his friends had been hearing voices begging for help, but aren’t dreams supposed to stay dreams? When they finally answer the call, they’re pulled into a fantastic world with themes similar to modern role-playing games. The world of Brindolla. This is what every gamer has always wanted...right? 

There's one major problem: War. The big baddie of the universe has come to collect another planet for his relentless march. The Brindollan Gods have the power to hold him back only for a short while, which they can only hope will be long enough to give Chris and his buddies a fighting chance. Either this team gets rid of War’s vanguard of minions and generals, giving the Gods a chance to keep him out for good...or War comes for Earth.

The group is ready to dive into combat, magic, and any other obstacles that come their way. No matter what needs to be done, Chris and his buddies will always do it together.

Warning: This book contains profanity.

©2019 Mountaindale Press (P)2019 Mountaindale Press

What members say

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Profile Image for Ben
  • Ben
  • 25-09-2019

Rambling, fun, party LitRPG

Into the Light is a hefty read, and packs a lot of story in. It's got some pulp (stats) to it, but I never felt it was drowning me in numbers the way some LitRPGs do. The main allure of the book is the characters and their brotherly interactions. At times, their mannerisms felt pretty strange, and the way they used Earth colloquialisms nonstop around people who had no clue of their meaning felt weird and not the way real people would act. But overall, their interactions had a fun vibe and some easygoing humor.
The plot rambles, and felt a bit off-the-cuff rather than planned, but I did enjoy the arc of it overall. There is time devoted to "sidequests" for powering up, which I appreciated, as many LitRPGs can't seem to write a side quest without fumbling to find a way to tie it into the world quest and make everything that happens super important. The story ended very abruptly, with a pretty big cliffhanger, which is never cool, but I didn't feel so invested in the characters that it broke my heart the way it might have with a smaller cast. I think that might be the downside of having ~6+ main characters. At times I got the feeling the writer was writing about his real life friends, and their personalities didn't get much explanation or background because in his mind they were already established.
I look forward to the next book, and hope to see more development for each of the main characters...or honestly, a death or two to trim the roster wouldn't be so horrible. I frequently forgot James was a character and could never keep the other characters straight except for Yosuke. Despite my complaints, it was good clean fun (other than some torture), and I'd like to listen to more.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Brandon C. Vola
  • 27-06-2019

Implausible

I read/listen to a lot of LitRPG and fantasy. I’m a fan of the genre but I had a number of problems with this one. I only made it through about 4 hours and returned it. I found the main character’s reactions to just about everything completely unnatural, unbelievable and unrelatable. When your mentor asks you to kill them because they’re being corrupted by a source you’re aware of, you don’t just respond with “ok”. You go to the source of the corruption and try to save them... or you AT LEAST argue about it first. And then when you do kill them, you don’t take their skin and go make armor out of it!! Also the liberal use of “bro” “broseph” “broski” etc was a general turn off for me. Just the general banter between characters was annoying to me.

53 of 58 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Margaret Stempson
  • 10-06-2019

Underwhelming

I don't like leaving a negative review without giving my reasons doing so. So I guess here is where I am at for my reasons saying that I was not very interested by this book.

1) I constantly found it incredibly difficult to keep my attention. I was drifting and on several occasions fell asleep and had to backtrack. The combat situations move very quickly and its easy to get lost as to exactly what is happening. I found that I had to backtrack a lot and sometimes I just missed parts because I couldn't keep track of what was going on.

2) Support characters - there are a number of the main characters IRL friends that get ported into the world with him. I felt that they were incredibly hollow and lacked depth. The author didn't really set them up well or go in depth into who they are plus I felt the names weren't easy to keep track of who is who. It doesn't help that all of them come in at the same time and there is kind of no character building of them in my opinion. I felt that they had very bland personalities and they really just kind of melded in as other people with him.

3) Boring Main Character - normally speaking you want the main character to stand out. From what I saw it seemed like he had no real advantages over his friends and in a lot of cases he seemed weaker or the same as his friends. It doesn't help that all of his friends seemed to have the same mentalities and personality as the main character. I just found the support characters to be like..... duplicate copies of the main character with different classes but all of which were equal in terms of power. In a lot of books you get a main character that distinguishes themselves due to an ability, unique class, unique ability, intelligence or something. I found that the main character probably could have been any of them and it probably wouldn't have changed anything in this book.

4) Combat - When they would get into combat sometimes it was fine and I could track what was going on but at times it was just a cluster of me not knowing what they were fighting and or what was happening. Extended combat seemed like the worst on this front.

Ultimately, I found several points a bit underwhelming and I am not even sure if I plan to finish. I am writing this review half way through the book and I don't know if I have intention to finish. If I do, I guess I will update this review if I find reason to do so.

51 of 58 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • James S.
  • 20-08-2019

Great story once you get into it.

For me it was a rough start getting through the introduction of characters. However, once the story transitioned the main plotline was very enjoyable and the narrator did an excellent job. I enjoy the military influence in the author's writing and hope he continues writing fantasy books. Looking forward to getting into the sulfurous book 2.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Vance E. Williamson
  • Vance E. Williamson
  • 30-08-2019

Not a bad book, but not a great one either.

it took me awhile to figure out why I didn't really enjoy this story, and maybe it is just me. The entire story felt, in a word, rushed. I felt like I was listening to a brief recap of someone's D&D campaign where the teller forgot the details and forgot to put actual character to the characters. For me the characters just weren't believable and there was no sense of danger towards any of them. I would have liked to see some character growth in the story but everything is pretty much handed to them on a silver platter with nothing that seemed to me to be a challenge. I wish the author the best for the future but sadly I dont think I'll be following this series.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Angela Montague
  • 07-10-2019

It takes extremely long to get good, but it does

edit: The highlight of the series is book 2 is about as good as the end of this book. but afterwards it goes down hill from there. I haven't yet been able to finish book 3. It is much harder to finish than the poor quality of the first half of book 1.
I would rate book 1 as overall 4, performance 4, story jumps up to a 5 at the end. But I lowered this book to a 3 for overall and story since it is just the opener for the series and the story goes downhill afterwards dragging you along with not much development.

original review:
It takes about half the book for it to get good.
The second ~half of the book is really good and
The last quarter of the book more than makes up for the unengaging first half.
the first half of the book suffers in tone and exposition. The main character don't take things seriously until almost half way through the book, which makes the tone hard to engage with. He introduces too many of his friends all at once (making it hard to keep track of who is who), also the first few chapters violate "Show don't Tell" telling us his friend's personality instead of showing it (obviously eventually it gets shown too).
The tone affected by the characters not taking things seriously causes the beginning to be a bit unengaging, which is obviously not good.

The narrators slow languished pace does not help things. He intially reads it like an neutral observer which when combined with the characters attitudes creates the tone as if it is all just a game--until things jappen that make them reevaluate and they stop treating a real world as such. Narrator's tone does improve near end of book, he may have been reading the same tone into the main character's attitude as the narrator's tone combined with that attitude portray's.

Clearly the author started off relatively new at fiction writing and then improved as he wrote the book, but for whatever reason couldn't bring himself to or didn't think to re-write the beginning of the book. I am going to go buy the next book now.

Still worth the listen.

My suggestion, once it gets past exposition, speed the book up to 1.5x or however fast you can listen to, until the book starts getting good.

I found x1.25 to be a good pace to listen to the narrator at, as he has a naturally slow enunciation speeding it up improves the action feel of the book.

Last thing worth mentioning: book has strong language a lot of cursing. All of the curses. It may be realistic, but it really doesn't do anything positive for the book, the main characters all curse so much that there isn't any impact to any of it.
My note to author: maybe turn it down. When the dial is always at 11, 11 is just the new 1.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 02-09-2019

An inspiring performance to innovative story

It's not often i've seen stories written from the druids perspective, let alone druids that weren't human to begin with. Now that could be a lack of diversity on my part, or perhaps they just don't exist in sufficient numbers. However B.J. Harrison Makes sure to give voice to the story in ways that truly fits with what i felt when i originally read it. I felt he put the emotions in the right places and in the right amounts. Let me Axe you a question, are you looking for a LitRPG with Animal Companions, ALL THE LOOT, and a strong sense of friendship? Then look no further, cause Axe Druid is the story for you and B.J. Harrison has done a wonderful job of narrating the story.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David K. van Hoose
  • 25-11-2019

What I Really Enjoyed the Story

Nice Character and World build up that takes the reader on a journey into a Fantasy World that is new and known at the same time. Going to pick up the next two books now as the cliff hanger is to much to pass up and needs and ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Brian
  • Brian
  • 21-11-2019

Solid Series Starter

This story was pretty entertaining as our main character and a handful of his friends find themselves in an rpg world with a varied cast of classes and personalities. The main character, is a druid, but as you can discern from the name of the series he's prone to using more of a melee fighting style than druids normally are. It gives a bit of a personal touch in his normal actions that's pretty cool. As it's a longer story we get to listen to several larger quest areas where they clear out camps for a couple different sets of allied creatures. These are reminiscent of doing dungeons in real world mmorpgs so that appealed to me as you could follow along with the different triggers for combat and the patrols and groups to fight as well as the strategy to take on groups of enemy creatures. And things go along fairly regularly until about halfway through when an unexpected wrinkle amps things up and changes the scope of their adventure considerably but helps keep things interesting when it could potentially be getting repetitive. By the end I was ready to sign up for another engagement in their world again. The narrator did a good job of giving a voice to the story especially considering it's not entirely character driven so the ability to keep interest in other things was more important.

I received the review code for this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Rojo
  • Rojo
  • 19-11-2019

A pleasant surprise

The story begins with Chris and his friends telling each other that they have been hearing voices for help in their dreams. The night after they have this talk at the gym, the group finally answer the call thinking that this was just a dream. The crew is pulled to Brindolla, a fantasy world with some mechanics that you would find in modern role-playing games. This is any gamers dream... or is it the crews new reality? Eventually, we find out the Brindollan Gods are using a majority of their power to hold off a relentless galactic/dimensional conqueror, War. The gods hope this will give Chris and company long enough to amass enough power to fight of War's generals already present in the world as spies and saboteurs. This is what the tight-knit group of buddy gamers were summoned for. But what really drives the group is that if they cant get rid of War’s vanguard of minions and generals, War will eventually set his sights on Earth itself.

I have to admit, I went into this book thinking this would just be a book to pass the time while I waited on releases from my favorites. I actually am not interested in druid type classes at all, which is Zeke's (Chris' "in-game" name) class. I could never get into druids for long in games and I always prefered Shaman type characters. However, following Zeke felt new and refreshing from the characters I am used to in my LitRPG's.

The book started pretty simple with a little bit of backstory on each character in their real lives. Even into the "virtual" reality things were pretty simple to follow. It was not until the characters finished some preliminary training and conquered a tough challenge in the form of a dark and twisted community did the story begin to throw in some real depth and severity into what the characters were dealing with. It was then that I really enjoyed Christopher Johns form of build up and realized that he was holding back. Even thinking back to the brief backstory part of the book I am reminded that these guys have people they love in their world. I went from thinking this was a filler book between releases to consuming 3 audiobooks in less then a week.

Some of my favorite parts involve learning about each party members class and abilities, ALL THE DWARVES, and meeting the fey Queen of Ice and Darkness. Another favorite thing about this book is the comradery of the party and how, as a veteran myself, at home I felt with the characters. Each time I was away from the book I couldn't wait to get back to what felt like friends.

I'll also point out that B. J. Harrison did a pretty good job here as far as narration. Could use a little more work on female voices but even that was pretty good. Having listened to all 3 audiobooks I can say he does improve.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-11-2019

why isn't it longer?

Eventhough the book is already 16 houres long, it didn't bother me.

I would love to play this game. Ok I would probably die, like in the first few chapters but still.

You get to really know the characters and their love for games and playstyles. They guide the decisionmaking troughout the story.

The narration was very clear and consistent in the story.

So read it, you won't regret it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-10-2019

Simply loved it

Great story, great narration. I was so immersed in the story I could only think "f**k no!" when it ended.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Maks
  • 09-06-2019

Not my kind of book.

This book was somewhere between “good” and “meh” on my book judging spectrum. My main problem with this book was that it was filled with goody goody characters. The story presents everything as either black or white and it gets really tiring after some point. This kind of approach just isn’t for me and I am not likely to read the second book. But if you are a reader who likes all the talk about the chosen ones and saving the world from big bad than this book should be right up your alley.

The narrator was a big redeeming quality and the reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 3. He has a large spectrum of voices and is overall pleasant to listen to.

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  • G T.
  • 16-06-2019

worth a listen

was a little unsure of the narrator at first, as I had never listened to him before, a few chapters in I realised my worry was unfounded.

story was excellent, cant wait for further audio in the series

0 of 1 people found this review helpful