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The Five Trials

By: Mike Truk
Narrated by: Leo Barnabas
Series: Tsun-Tsun Tzimtzum, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

My name's Noah Kilmartin. I'm from Ruddock, Ohio, and I'm absolutely, 100 percent unqualified to save the universe from the slavering demonic hordes of the super evil bitch queen Lilith. Too bad nobody asked my opinion.

All I've got to do is pass five lethal trials that'll prove I'm the universe's last chance at salvation. To do so, I'll have to lean hard on those three years of Okinawan jiu-jutsu classes I took in high school, learn to wield my new magic sword, and, oh yeah - select five women to flesh out my team, bonding with each one for arcane purposes and desperately trying to stay alive in the process.

Piece of cake. Right?

Warning and minor spoilers: The Five Trials is a book intended for mature listeners age 18 years and older. It contains graphic sex, medieval violence, and nudity. People curse, piss their pants, hack off heads, get a little dizzy and tortured, seduce each other, try to seduce each other, and get scared witless by horrors from the darkest dimensions. Most importantly, you'll meet gorgeous, powerful women, some capable for hurling lightning, others of swinging battle-axes, and one that's Noah's unrequited crush from high school. All of them are willing to enter unconventional, polyamorous harem relationships if it means saving the universe, and luckily for Noah, this time it actually does.

©2018 Mike Truk (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Teenage fantasy novel.

I really struggled to finish this and then just gave up. At times it seemed like it was actually going somewhere and gaining a level of maturity, then it just fell into drama, drama, drama, drama,......

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The Five Trials

I was surprised that I enjoyed this book from start to finish. The author Mike Truk shows real talent. And the narrator Leo Barnabas show real emotion in his voice acting of the characters 12/10 stars ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆....

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Great read/listen great performance

I new early on that this was going to be a great book. For me I like authors who arent afraid to use curse words or desribe sex scenes in detail, I mean would you want to skip the details in your own sex life? With this book its more than that ,great dialogue and tension between some characters , the story moves along well without skipping the depth and the author doesnt let you off the hook in the fight scenes either lots of tension there too. Also thought Leo Barnabas did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life. Loved it thanks Mike great work.

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  • Erik
  • 10-12-2018

Cringe

if I could post a "nice guy" meme I would. The MC totally rubbed me the wrong way. He is a spineless nobody that pines after his childhood crush even after she rejects him to his face and then builds a harem but still pines after her all while the universe is ending. That's pretty much the story with the addition of a few obligatory action scenes. It's like clockwork. MC finds hot chick, They fight through a trial, Sex scene, MC finds hot chick, they fight through a trial, sex scene, and so on. I called it quites after the second trial BC I realized that the "5 trials" mentioned in the title is most likely the whole book and I was wasting my time if what I'm looking for is any character development or plot building. Narration was great! He totally nailed the whining

28 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris Sheridan
  • 04-12-2018

Troubling

I don’t know why this is but the last few books of this nature that I’ve read as well as this one. The MC seems to be mentally unable to cope with the things going on and to him/her that the story suffers to the point of me not wanting to finish or caring how the book ends. It’s frustrating. They don’t have to be superheroes right off the bat but to continually piss yourself or doubt yourself from start to finish makes for a horrible MC.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Cthaeh
  • 30-11-2018

horrible whiny MC

The MC is awful. This book is 16 hours of a whining crying 12 year old beta male running from conflict. He has no redeeming characteristics he pisses himself constantly both literally and figuratively. When he isnt hiding under the bed from scary vaginas throwing themselves at him he is pining for the one girl who doesnt want him. He has zero agency no agenda no plan hes not a char he is furniture that hates itself.

27 of 37 people found this review helpful

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  • Decon Rev22
  • 09-08-2019

a bit over-sexualized for me but I great action

I'm a recent newcomer to books like this. this light RPG hair masks style. I didn't think I'd enjoy this book but it was recommended by a friend and also recommended by Amazon. I tried my best not to judge a book by it's cover I thought it was just going to be one of those sex harem style novels. but I enjoyed the story so much that I went ahead and ordered book 2 and book 3. The voice actor did an awesome job of conveying the emotions of each of the characters. I think this is well worth the price I paid for. The book was 6 bucks in the audiobook was $2. I think it was a great price for that. I hope you guys enjoy too. definitely very sexualized. so if you're a type of individual who enjoys the nerdy geeky guy becoming a hero and making love to beautiful women then this is a book for you. reader beware some of the sexual offense get a bit intense. it's not just romantic love it's a full-on hardcore p*** fest at times. 😅if they were to give this book a rating in a movie it definitely be on HBO again to a game of thrones except without so much incest LOL

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Magnus
  • 22-07-2019

Good story but...

Sex in a novel is fine. Never had a problem with it. Even graphic, thoroughly described sex. But good grief some of the sex in this book just doesn't feel necessary, at least the amount of it that's written.

Aside from that, it's a highly entertaining story, seems well thought out with some decent world building. The characters are fun and distinctive, and Leo does a great job of giving each individual their own voice.

I'll be picking up the next book and I'll rather my final judgment on everything until I'm through that one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • GABRIEL PEREZ
  • 29-12-2018

Worst MC ever..

I’m sorry but this mc was painful to listen to.. constantly whining, crying, and just plain pathetic.. he has a few moments where he steps up but for every 1 minute of him stepping up you have to put up with several hours of whining and just anxiety causing insecurities.

I wanted to give this a chance despite the other reviews.. but they were right. Too much whining.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 21-12-2018

Not my cup of tea.

This is a sex fantasy novel no doubt about it. However the emphasis on the sex over the creativity of the rest of the story is off puting. This story is so generic and bland I can't bring myself to finish it. On top of that the sexual encounters are not romantic at all but just dirty and casual. If that is your thing then enjoy.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-12-2018

Great story but frustrating MC

The story of the book was good, narrator was great but its annoying and frustrating that the MC always sounds meek after finally acting more forward and didnt really see how the martial arts applies if he doesnt use it...

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Jared Brockway
  • 06-01-2019

It was alright

I liked the story, it’s interesting, and it’s very engaging. The narrator kind of killed it for me though, I’m not sure if it’s the way he talks or what but for me it took a lot from the book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-12-2018

entertaining, but...

The story was entertaining, not a groundbreaking story. the main character was supposed to be a nerd overcoming his awkwardness. He became really annoying. Zero to hero story. Whenever the story would start to pick up, the main character would start to be a petulant whiny child. I struggled though the points to enjoy the overall story.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • OB
  • 17-06-2019

6 Stars

I've re-read this in time for the release of its sequel. Re-reading books is something I seldom do purely because my reading/listening backlog is massive. However, I had to make an exception for The Five Trials.

Harem fantasy in 2019 is in a bit of a hard place, almost always absurd wish fulfilment, shallow characters and weak world building. Sure, it's okay for a bit of escapism, but rarely can to engage and take it seriously.

The Five Trials has blown open this paradigm. A first-person story, a battle harem, but with the finest features and traditions of Progression Fantasy (Will Wight, Andrew Rowe, etc.). It features a protagonist who you're introduced to at his lowest moment. Even in the second read, the feelings of "Oh honey..." I got a sucked me into this improbable, but a vivid, tangible, believable tale - is a testament to Mike Truk's ability.
As the story unfolds, you're introduced to characters with depth, complexity and their development that, with great detail provided by the stories pacing, provides people you care about just as much as the MC, despite the first-person POV.

In terms of the fantasy aspect, the unique, and often at times confusing kabbalah inspired lore, helps you empathise with an MC who's seriously out of his depth. Magical abilities seem consistent, although at first, it might seem like it falls under the "New Powers as the Plot Demands" trope.

Although so much is happening all the time, inside and around these trials, the world building is interesting enough to hold the framework of the situation, and described with such clarity, that days or weeks after reading this the first time, I still imagined the tower, the portal doors, the chambers, and the trials.

And let's talk about sex. Never have I've seen erotic content integrated so well into books overall storytelling. Sure, on the surface, the main conceit of this story may seem ridiculous, but in actuality, all of these sexual encounters feel earnt. Which is a big reason why it all works. Also, not only are Noah's ambitions affected by these scenes in an honest, endearing and satisfying way. The way these instances change the interactions with his companions is done in a wonderful, complicated, unpredictable way.
And holy shit, Imogen is hot.

Basically, this book is unique, I'm desperately waiting for the next one, and you should probably give it a try.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful