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The Land of the Undying

Dark Elf Chronicles, Book 1
Series: Dark Elf Chronicles, Book 1
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Shari is a med student, months away from being a doctor. Mace is a coder on his first day of an exciting new job. When the world comes to a sudden and horrifying end, none would have expected them to be among the few survivors. 

Hyper-aggressive undead zombie creatures hunt anything living on the surface, where even the grass and trees can kill you. Hiding underground is safe, but not much of a life. Their only escape is a virtual world of magic and monsters where Shari can use her healing skills, and Mace can focus on something other than his fears. 

But Shari is a light elf, and Mace is a drow. Their people are ancient enemies, and neither would be welcome in the other's world. Still they strive to come together in the game, while they scavenge for food and fight to stay alive in the real world. 

The odds are against them, and their food will eventually run out. Is their best hope for survival to find a way to upload themselves to the game permanently?

©2018 Dave Willmarth (P)2018 Dave Willmarth

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Prepare Yourself

I've listened to a wide range of audio books and this one was one of the most enjoyable of all, great characters, fantastic, captivating story and really great narrators. As a testament to this, I have never been a fan of role playing games, I'm more of a first person shooter gamer but this book has made me a massive fan of RPG, I just wish this game existed as I really want to be part of the game world created by this author. I highly recommend this book but fair warning, its very difficult to stop listening 😊

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Genius for something big to come!

What an amazing novel both the game and reality in the story have you immersed and begging for more !
Looks like we might have a new "The land" on the block, and Dave isn't pulling his punches!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 01-09-2018

I’m pretty stingy with my 5 star reviews...

And while I’m not sure that this is technically the best LitRPG book I’ve listened to on audible, I can say that I’m experiencing the same feeling I had after listening to The Land for the first time...

...I am feeling bereft that the book has ended, and I’m seconds away from going on Patreon to donate money to this author to get the next book recorded already!

I will breathlessly await the sequel to this book. For those of you out there like me who just can’t trust a highly reviewed LitRPG book on Audible to be well-written, or even edited, this is one where the positive reviews can be believed. It’s definitely made the list of LitRPG series that I comb the “coming soon” list for.

Tops on that list are: Chaos Seeds, The Gam3, The Dark Herbalist, The System Apocalypse, and the first five books of Alterworld, plus a whole bunch of other series that only have one or two books in them so far.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Ray Johnson
  • 27-09-2018

I have Undying love for this book

Holy crap, this book, I must say was the complete package. I don’t know what I enjoyed more, the real life stuff that the MC had to endure or the game play itself, which was also fun. And that was a real pleasure. Mace, the protagonist, lives in a world populated by zombies of every shape and size. It seems that those numbnuts at Cern goofed up, and collided the wrong leptons, muons, and preons together an accidentally created a zombie particle, an insidious sub atomic beast that infects biological material and turns it into nasty zombies that can infect with but a touch. The real problem is that the particles attack ALL biological matter, thus plants and animals are also infected. Now, here is my one and only beef with this story. I said the exact same thing when Brian Keene wrote his zombie masterpiece The Rising. If insects became zombies, as well as higher animals, then nothing would exist in a matter of days. Insects and arachnids are everywhere, and touch everything. Life on Earth would not have a calendar of weeks or months, it would be days. Make the grass deadly, too, and the timer speeds up. Now, in Wilmarth’s case, I completely understand that he could not say that the particle only affected humans, as there would be no discernable reason for that to happen, so it had to be anything biological, but it does really make me have to fight to suspend my disbelief. Thankfully, the tale that he crafts is so outstanding that I can let it all slide and just enjoy the story.

It turns out that Mace got lucky, and essentially found a bunker that he could hole up in, and joy of all joys, he is able to access the MMORPG that he loved to play before everything went to hell. He hatches a plan, one in which he will upload his mind into the game itself, so that he won’t have to consider starvation or becoming a mindless monster. Still he has to venture out in order to get supplies and see if he can locate any survivors. And it is in the daily struggles to stay sane, keep fed, and ever alert for the rampaging undead that Wilmarth really ups his game and makes this not just Litrpg, but also survival horror and I appreciate that he turns the concept on its head. Most Lit books would make it where the zombies were in the game, and not vice versa. He has created some real depth in the land of the unliving, and it is so well (ahem) fleshed out . This feels like it could be a real world event, and is exactly how humanity would react to it occurring.

The gameplay was amazingly just as interesting and fun as the real life drama, and there were several battles in the Underdark that just caught my imagination. I’m thinking of the Cthulhuesque kaiju battle for one, but I can honestly say that for every moment spent in the real world I wondered about the game, and for every moment in the game I wondered about the real world. Wilmarth also comes up with a rather likable love interest in Shari, who is fun and complex and can actually show Mace a thing or two when it comes to surviving. I like that Shari is no wilting flower, and has complete control of whatever situation she is in. The two make up some of the best Character’s I have read/listened to in some time. The world, though bleak, is rich and vibrant in its descriptions, and the game is the kind of game I’d want to play in. Oh, and I have to comment on this, Mace plays a Drow, and in the game he is treated like a baby killing mad man by most of the “people” that he meets. Just the way a Drow should be treated, this has been a moment of reflection in memory of Archaic Venture and its Drow character. Take notes please. Mace struggles to overcome his dark legacy throughout the game, which only adds more to the realism and the overall wow factor because you can sympathize with his struggle as a good person who has to overcome his appearance.

This is the part where I praise Justin Thomas James, and Laurie Catherine Winkel, two people who must be constantly in trouble because we keep using their full names when we talk to about them. Justin Thomas James! What are you doing?!? Why creating a vocal masterpiece. His narration is full of emotion that ranges from angst to antici. . . . . . . pation. He fully embodies that character of Mace, and brings him to life in such a way that you really worry for the poor man whenever he goes outside his door, of get choked up when he talks to a brother and sister who are hanging out over at the fire department. LCW, that’s Laurie Catherine Winkel to you and me (mumble) since the restraining order) is utterly vibrant as Shari. She makes you believe that this is a real girl who has had to endure a ton of crap since the moment things started going haywire, but is still able to cope and keep herself clearheaded. Honestly, I am so happy to hear her get a nice juicy role like this, and I really want to hear her do a whole great big book unto herself at some point. She has a wonderful voice, and I really want to hear more from her every time she is in a book narrating. JTJ, is the same, and I am an unabashed fan of Soundbooth theater. I know that whenever I see that name on a book I am in for an experience. Also, I deeply appreciated that only two narrators were used in the making of this Audio. As much as I realize Jeff Hays has a master vision of what the audible book experience can be I still cotton on the concept of having one or two narrators as most, and this made the book all the more enjoyable for me even though Jeff and Annie were deeply missed.

I really cannot convey how much I enjoyed this book, and I hated the fact that it ended. Thirteen hours just wasn’t enough, I could have used a another thirteen, but probably still wouldn’t have been satisfied with the extra time allotted. All I can say is that I eagerly await the next installment of this series, and that I am glad that Dave stepped aside from his main series to pen this critter. This was a blast to listen to; I loved the characters, and really enjoyed both the real world as much as the game world. I can only see this series getting better and better. This is a solid and seamless story of two worlds, and two characters; each of whom is as interesting and fascinating as the other. So, please, take a trip into the Land. . . .of the undying.

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

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  • Austin
  • 02-10-2019

A Romantic Horror Litrpg

I am upset I didn't pick up this book sooner. The beginning set up (around an hour) was slow and almost turned me off but it quickly picked up and got interesting.

This is the first Litrpg I have read which actually balances two worlds. The game world and the real world. The real world is dead and overrun with undead. Even touching a tree or fly will kill you.

This is most likely my favorite production from Soundbooth. Justin and Laurie work perfectly off each other. In their other books where one plays the MC and the other is merely supporting, it just doesn't fit as well. In this book we bounce between the perspectives of both characters, giving each narrator time to do their own thing. When the two characters interact they work together perfectly and their conversations seem natural. It is cringey at times but, oddly enough, that is what makes it seem real.

The story itself is perfect. In a world where characters die, everything felt more real. The game world is a bit wonky with our MC getting a crazy boost, but it evens itself out. I love that the NPC's are intelligent and are self-conscious of the "outworlders". They even give them a quest to bring people back into the game. How interesting is that?!

I will be picking up the next book right away, as soon as I have a credit.

This book encompasses many genres and would recommend it to just about anyone. It is a slash of romance, horror and of course Litrpg.

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  • Tory Wilson
  • 10-01-2020

Good writing and performance.

I put off this book for a long time despite enjoying everything else the author has put out due to one factor. My inability to commit to suspension of disbelief based on the description of the book. You see I love apocalypse stories it's my favorite genre I also greatly enjoy gaming stories and RPG mechanics in apocalypse stories so you would think this would be right up my lane, however because I enjoy those things I just couldn't see why someone would log in and play VR games during the apocalypse when they could be doing other things to survive. Even the obligatory trying to upload their consciousness into the game so they can live there bit just doesn't click with me because inevitably the servers will fail at some point. Now that the reason I avoided this book is out of the way lets move on to the actual review. The book didn't hook me early on, The main and supporting characters are likeable enough, I personally liked Shari more than Mace her background actually trying to survive was more fleshed out and was more enjoyable to me, as was her time in game. The story is well written despite my inability to accept the above. The apocalypse take is one that's new to me in how it happened and what's going on in the world, it's a new level of infection compared to other stories but it does make a few of the scenes in the book not connect well with me. I spent the first 60% or so of the book wishing the book took place more in the real world than in the game and it shows in how long it took me to finish the book as I kept stopping, after that point the story in the game started to pick up and I then I finished the book before I knew what happened and started the second one. The book itself doesn't feel like it has a clean finish, it has a good stopping point but it just feels like the end of a chapter rather than a book. Overall despite me personally having a slow start with the book in the end I enjoyed it despite my inability to suspend my disbelief. The narrators over at SoundBooth Theater have once again done a fantastic job with the production. If you've liked the authors other work you will enjoy this, It's well written and a good story or rather two good stories smashed together. Don't let my review put you off as in this case there is nothing wrong with the book just me.

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  • M. Knight
  • 17-12-2019

Entertaining!

Amazing story. Loved the concept the characters, the action and the adventure. The narration and sound effects were excellent. Need more!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aaron Zupan
  • 07-12-2019

Dave slays it with another great story

Post apocalyptic. Check.
2nd world fantasy. Check.
GameLit. Check.

Dive in for a wild ride.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Steven Noble
  • 24-07-2019

litrpg mixed with zombie apocalypse... yes please!

it was pretty fun, really liked the voice actors in it, look forward to reading the next one

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-06-2019

Was skeptical. Am Happy.

The book description SUCKS! it made me shy away from this title for a LONG time. and it made me very skeptical about listening.

the first 20 minutes or so I almost put the book down for good due to me having judged the book by the cover.

but I am very happy I gave this book a chance. I recommend giving it a listen.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-03-2019

This is amazing!!! Must buy!!!!

I find this book way better than “The Land”
Go ahead and buy it!!
Aloha!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 24-10-2018

I almost like the rl part better

The real world situation is really interesting and I found myself skipping some parts of the chapter where the main character was in game. I was more invested in the real world situation. The audio production was great, loved the voices.

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  • Snapper
  • 11-11-2018

Main character is a neck beard (katana and M'lady)

I dislike the wish fulfilment and also how has airborne bacteria not contaminated everything yet?

The character lines are cringey, a lot of the phrasing sounds closer to what an extreme introvert would write, it was quite unrealistic.

Great performance from the voice narration team though and I'd listen just for that.

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  • Dingo 883
  • 10-01-2019

Two books in one

A very novel idea in that the real world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland overrun with zombie creatures. I found both real and virtual world stories intriguing, liking the out of game story as much if not more than the LitRPG part. Excellent narrating as always by Jeff and crew. I look forward to the next one.

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  • Mike Phillips
  • 11-12-2018

Please Sir, may I have more?

I would highly recommended this book, it is not only a captivating story of two great categories, but the way the Author blends them is just.. amazing.

Please write up a table top ruleset for this, this is a fantastic setting to play in a pen an paper game!

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  • Daniel Sigley
  • 19-09-2018

Another great production from Soundbooth theater!

I'd never thought pairing an apocalypse with game lit would work but it did brilliantly and I loved the multiple narrators. The story was engaging and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.