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Level UP Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Ramon De Ocampo
Length: 15 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)
Non-member price: $29.24
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Publisher's Summary

At 30 years old, Phil is an unemployed gamer who struggles to make ends meet. His only source of income is freelance writing (when he feels inspired enough to add another article to his less-than-popular blog). His wife has just walked out on him, leaving him without money, purpose, or food in the fridge.  

On the day his wife dumps him, Phil receives a mysterious piece of wetware. A game interface seems to have been implanted in his brain, which allows him to see the world through the eyes of an RPG player.  

Now that Phil discovers his real-life stats, he can see they're far below average. With 4 pt. Agility, 6 pt. Strength, and 3 pt. Stamina, his most advanced life skill is predictably gaming.  

Luckily, real-life stats can be leveled up just like virtual ones. But will it help Phil get his wife back? Can he stop being such a couch potato? Would the new game help him become fitter? Or more successful? Can his gaming skills finally come in handy in real life? 

Last but not least, can he find out who could have uploaded the mysterious game to his brain? And how is he supposed to deal with this unknown but apparently omnipotent force?

©2018 Dan Sugralinov; English translation copyright 2018 by Irene and Neil P. Woodhead (P)2018 Tantor

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not your typical litrpg

This is not: a full on fantasy novel, no fighting (heroically) and its on earth.
This is a slice of life novel, it's nice, not the best not the worst. Interesting take on litrpg tho

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Slice of Life

A wonderful story that does not do to much but just enough to turn around our hero's life and bring value to his life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not your average LitRPG.

This book is more of a parody of LitRPG books if anything, if you're looking for a story about a hero starting from a level 1 noob and turning into a level 100 wizard or warrior or something then this is NOT the book for you, though I'm not saying there's anything wrong with those books, I quite enjoy the average litrpg books, my three recommendations for litrpg are the Awaken Online, Tower of Babel and The Gam3 series.

Anyway, this is a book about a guy who spends his time playing video games, his wife being discontent with him and subsequently divorcing him, while this happens he gains the ability to see the stats of people, turning his into a rpg. He then begins to start treating real life like a videogame, no, not in the sense that he started going off on adventures, in the sense that he starts to slowly improve himself, no longer content with being a 30 yo smoker who spends all his time on videogames he begins to slowly and steadily to turn his life around. He doesn't suddenly become a CEO of a company, but he does make realistic progress towards becoming a person of worth.

There is a subplot that explains why he has been given this ability but it's a minor part of the story. It did make the story more interesting with a touch of mystery but also seemed a bit crammed in and dream like. There is a bit of cultural difference because the book is written by a Russian, one thing I picked up on was the phrase fog of war was used, but because of translation it was translated to fog of battle or something of the sort instead of fog of war, just something interesting :)

Overall I very much enjoyed this book, it was honestly quite motivational, it has a theme about how today's society is all about pleasure-seeking and there is not enough focus on improving yourself and helping out your fellow man, but this might just be my interpretation. You may be wondering how this book could be motivational, I would say it was motivational for me because the main character was someone like me, someone who spends a lot of their time unproductive on their computer playing video games, and they managed to overcome that and become someone reasonably successful, yes you could argue that they only accomplished this with the help of their new ability, which is true, but the book makes a point of pointing out every now and again that you could achieve the same feats just in a longer time, for example it takes him about three or four weeks to double his agility score from three to six, this was boosted from the ability he had been gifted, but he realises that he could have accomplished this same feat in about three months, yes longer, but not an impossible feat to accomplish by any stretch. He doesn't improve himself by some magical ability, he just does normal stuff that everyone can do, reading, walking, going for jogs, etc. Because of this all I would recommend this book for any guy or girl who spends too much time playing video games ;).

I also think this is a good book regardless but only get this book with the understanding that it isn't your normal LitRPG story.

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  • Ray Johnson
  • 26-12-2018

Once you start you won't stop

Well this book has made me change my tune. I would never have thought that I would actually enjoy a Slice of life book, but that is really all this book is; as it follows around an average schlub named Phil who is in a loveless marriage, is unemployed, and has no ambition. Phil suddenly finds himself “awakened” to the realization that he is in a game and that he can level up, gain skills, make friends, and influence people. That is all the book is about, Phil slowly turning his life around one step at a time through meaningful social interactions.

That is what really stunned me. Dan Sugralinov made a book about going to the gym, buying an apartment, getting a dog, and making friends really exciting. Honestly, If you told me I would even read a book like this and loved it I would have said you were insane. I read fantasy and sci fi to avoid mundane stuff like that, but this book, with the wiley addition of the Lit Elements cleverly keeps all of the everyday stuff in the fun zone. Honestly, reading about a dude going to his estranged wife’s hotel room to make sure she is safe is not something that I would even glance at, by dang if Sugralinov didn’t keep me hooked the entire time.

The premise is brilliant, and is handled adeptly and wisely and he manages to balance the real world antics with game elements so that at no point was I bored or wishing for my life to end as so many books do to me. I actually cared about Phil, and got mad right along with him when something crappy happened to him. I hate to admit it, but the book was a roller coaster that really went from highs to lows really fast.

The narration was above average, but again I wasn’t overwhelmed. I have pretty high standards, and am used to Hays, Pohdel, Daniels, Parsanau, Rennie, Scarlato, and Toma setting such high standards that a good narrator comes across a lot weaker than he or she actually is. Either way, it takes a lot to impress me. Ramon De Ocampo does a nice job and manages to add vocal elements such as voices and emotion, and he has nice pacing.

I did have a little issue with the translations, for example one line that stands out in my mind was, “We made it back home without any further innuendo.” There was no innuendo before that statement was made, and it occurred again later. Some things just got mixed up or were misunderstood and I have to wonder if these translators ever looked at the spirit of the sentence or just words. I’ve studied Latin and ASL, and My Latin teacher would say that you needed to see the bigger picture when translating, you couldn’t look at a sentence word by word and get it right, there was more to it. I think that is what happened here. Still, the overall translation was pretty smooth.


I loved every minute of this book. It had real heart and made me enjoy everyday life type stories, and actually made me consider that I might want to start living my life like I was in a video game, but then I realized two things. First, I’d have to go to the gym and that I already live my life by code based on a cherished movie. I can’t go changing lifestyle creeds midstream.

My final score is 8.4. This is a strong first book to what looks like an amazing series, and I for one want another slice.

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

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • zancroft
  • 05-12-2018

Could've used more editing, but still great

I'll start by saying that the story kept my interest, even though there isn't much...drama. Stories tend to have peaks and valleys; high points for the MC, and low points for the MC. This story doesn't have much of that. It's just a guy getting through life with augmented reality helping him bounce back after his wife leaves him. It actually turned out to be very motivational for me, imaging myself with his ability and reflecting on what I can do to improve my life.

My biggest complaint is that the translators didn't seem to have a good grasp on the English language. Some very weird idioms are used and the conversations between characters seem very dry, I'm assuming because they were directly translated instead of trying to convey the original meaning of the conversation. Just some simple edits could have made this book a lot better. As a result, I think the narration suffered. When a narrator has to read a line that just isn't natural, it's difficult not to sound forced and robotic.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • adam
  • 21-11-2018

slow

I listened to it all the way through so that's something but I couldnt help feeling underwhelmed. Good writing though. my main issues is that there isnt much of a villain or conflict to rise against other than himself.

*spoilers*

The story is essentially about a main character who gets a "game system" that includes a google search bar for real life.
Using said google search bar he is able to become a fancy salesman for a packaging company, he levels up his salesman skill, he works out increasing his strength modifier and that's pretty much it.
The big reason I listened to is for so long is that I was expecting something more to happen. the most exciting thing in my opinion is that halfway through the book he fines out he can use the google search bar to find killers and kidnap victims. All of that probably takes up 10 pages.

not something a typical lit rpg enthusiast would like unless you find the idea of leveling up through paperwork to intriguing to pass up.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-01-2019

Fitting in, not breaking out

The story is more about a gamer growing into a productive member of society. The leveling is completely different from any book or game I've ever been exposed to, and the story is slow and boring at points.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Justin
  • 28-01-2019

Okay.

Not much action. Otherwise an excellent story. Not for those who require a faster pace story. Narrator did an excellent job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Charles Grayson
  • 03-01-2019

It's about character change

I'm a sucker for stories that show people undergoing a significant change in character. This book uses the framework of RPG technology to motivate a loser to start moving up in the real world. I can see how this story might not be to the tastes of people used to other books of this genre that put the characters in a fantasy world, fighting dragons and such. Here the dragons are of the mundane sort that we all encounter every day, but that only amplifies the ability of the reader to put himself in the shoes of the protagonist. The author, IMO, shows a great deal of insight into the human condition and I think that readers will find the story very motivating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-12-2018

Could not stop reading this!

Originally I wasn't sure about the premis of the book but it is amazing! Offering a glimpse into modern Russian society and by doing so highlighting the universal world wide addiction we have to social media and game culture, and made me really pull for the main character who goes from living that culture to true self reflection and change, and all the while he does this he makes it clear that anyone could do this, not just someone with an alien interface installed in there head.
Can't wait to read the next book and was genuinely sad when this one finished.
If you read a lot of lit rpg, as I do, you will find this highly original and well worth the credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steven
  • 08-12-2018

Big Surprise!!!

I have listened to many books in this genre and this one really stands out. When I read the summary I wasnt entirely sure I would enjoy this one but I ended up listening to thw whole book in almost 1 sitting. I look forward to the next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • alex
  • 07-12-2018

can't wait for next book

I loved it. Couldn't stop listening to it. Looking forward for next book. Definitely recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-11-2018

back on track

This book was awesome Let me go back to the gym start taking a look at everything I do in my day

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Justas
  • 17-12-2018

Loved it

I just listened book in one go completly engross in to it. This book is motivating to do allot of things and i actualy think someone might change their live style for better. Loved it and cannot wait for second book. And sorry for my bad english.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • michael
  • 10-02-2019

Good take on the LitRPG Genre

This book does a good job of making an enjoyable LitRPG story based in the real world. The main character is relatable and not overly arrogant. The plot behind the main characters abilities is a little shaky but the book is very enjoyable in how it shows our day to day lives through the eyes of a game.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • yusif elatmani
  • 15-11-2018

one of the best

This is one of the best Audio books I've listened to in long time. So relatable, something I'm sure every Litrpg fan would want to happen to them.


I actually started working out again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful