Ritualist: Completionist Chronicles, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The decision to start a new life is never an easy one, but for Joe the transition was far from figurative. Becoming a permanent addition to a game world, it doesn't take long to learn that people with his abilities are actively hunted. In fact, if the wrong people gained knowledge of what he was capable of, assassins would appear in droves.
In his pursuit of power, Joe fights alongside his team, completes quests, and delves into the mysteries of his class, which he quickly discovers can be practiced only in secret. Ultimately, his goal is to complete every mission, master every ability, and learn all of the world's secrets. All he has to do is survive long enough to make that happen.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 6 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 15, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #2,232 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#19 in Cyberpunk Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#69 in Cyberpunk Science Fiction (Books)
#196 in Epic Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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Others have commented about the quality of the writing, characters, and story. I want to point out how refreshing it is not to have constant cussing and frequent adult content. This is the first LitRPG book I have enjoyed that I would actually allow my pre-teens to read.
The main character has some religious convictions which leads to some interesting inner turmoil and story depth at times. I liked these parts.
Let me first start off this review by mentioning I've played a lot of MMOs with most of my focus on World of Warcraft, Black Desert, Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. And I am one of those completionists who has to do all the quests and get the best armor and know all the nuances of my character's classes and constantly upgrade to have the game's most meta build.
Pros: The idea is a good one and the story starts out pretty entertaining. Joe has an usual class given to him by a Hidden God (cool idea) but he must keep it secret so what other players see is that Joe is a Monk/Cleric and provides heals for the group. Love all that.
Cons: The idea is executed poorly.
Joe is a paraplegic from IED in the military and agrees to have his consciousness uploaded into a game and his body destroyed. That's acceptable. What I couldn't believe is the way his mother suddenly won and lottery and was able to pay the exorbitant fee to pay for the game company uploading Joe's consciousness into a game. There had to been a better way to do this, like for people with Joe's condition, it's free on the grounds that scientists can study the effects of living in a game on the human psyche or brain. The "my mom won the lottery" lacks imagination.
Joe's hidden class The Ritualist. That is a cool class if this were a regular fantasy story and not a litrpg. Thus far it's a very bad idea for an MMO class. This may change as I read the next book. But in context of a MMO like game that Joe is in, it makes no sense. It's slow, mana intensive, and resource intensive and worthless unless he has time and resources to set it up. Maybe the author is going somewhere with it, but we'll see. It makes me think the author doesn't play MMOs and decided to write one because it's a popular genre right now.
Joe's 'fake' class that everyone sees is Cleric/Monk. I played this class in WoW and Guildwars and it is perpetually in demand. Que up for a dungeon in WoW as a Healer, and you're instantly in a group. In fact, you almost can't have a group in WoW without a Healer. At first , in the story, it seemed players were thrilled to have Joe despite the fact that he was under level, but then suddenly no one wants him, and the way the game mechanics work in The Ritualist, a group MUST HAVE a healer. Groups would be clamoring to have Joe in their group even if he does have a knack for attracting trouble.
Spawn times when you die: What? It takes HOURS to respawn? Any MMO that did this would bleed players until it was a ghost town and the game company went bankrupt. No. Just no. It a huge nope in a game, and it's a huge nope in a book that's suppose to be a litrpg.
If a writer is going to write a litrpg, I expect them to be familiar with either MMOs or DnD or both.
A friend told me that this author's big draw is the puns. I saw no puns, and those I saw were not funny and the system's snarky notices as Joe levels up were only mildly amusing.
Joe is the main character. I'm not sure I like him. I like that he's determined and smart, but it seems the writer isn't sure who Joe is either so the character is all over the place from being a healer to the guards, to taking a Mage hostage and forgetting to leave him food and water. His interactions with his first group is awkward and not fun to read. Joe is written like he's three different people. Maybe this changes in the following stories, but this should have been really cemented in the first one because it's the hook for the series.
Lastly, grammar and editing is good. But, the author isn't a competent writer and would benefit from creative writing classes with a focus on using words to paint a picture and avoid pitfalls like "He grinned evilly". That's just one example and every time he resorts to that lazy writing flaw, it pulls me out of the story. I hate correcting passive sentences in my head while I read, and I did that a lot with his story which is why I would rate it a 2-1/2.
I found this book frustrating to read because while it could be fantastic, the author's skill is not yet up to the task of writing an immersive story. I'm about to quit reading litrpgs because it seems to be a trend to jump on the bandwagon with zero creative writing skills and bang out a 'good enough' story. However, there are so many 5 and 4 stars that I guess most readers don't care.
When I got recommended this series, the concept drew me though I was also warned it 'wasn't as serious' as the other fantasy novels I've recently been reading. I went into it anticipating something to this effect and was immediately familiar with the writing style. It felt very narrative-heavy, with a lot of focus on the development of the main character. There were equal parts frustration and entertainment while reading this story.
Plot-wise, I was left wanting a bit more depth in terms of the conflict. It felt like there were many opportunities to hint at the main conflict for the Kingdom, but most of this issue didn't really take the spotlight until the final fifth of the story. The author does fortunately leave a lot of room for future conflicts between the players and the AI overseer.
The rest of the novel felt very familiar with the main character exploring his skills and the game world. Though, I have read more complex plots that left me wishing for more exploration into the divide between game and fictional reality. (Log Horizon comes to mind.) There were also a few instances of head-hopping that I couldn't help but notice.
But ultimately, I'm a sucker for Isekai-type stories. The story was easy to read and I had a good time reading it. I certainly appreciated the Chekhov's gun that came in at the end. While it lacked what I would consider a smooth overarching plotline, The Ritualist certainly sets up nicely for the following installments. Despite my gripes, I'm almost certainly going to continue the series.
Top reviews from other countries
Inside the game, Joe is a bit special (as are all LitRPG protagonists ha) as he is the only person to complete several days worth of tests to determine his best character class. He is offered an obscure class - the Ritualist - which he accepts; the Ritualist is like a cleric, able to cast healing spells, but with huge reserves of mana required to cast rituals, which are exactly like they sound with big chalk circles and blood and guts and whatnot. He has terrible combat skills but is very prized by a local guild in a world where magic is severely restricted and true magical healing is incredibly rare.
Joe joins a ragtag band of adventurers, completes a lot of quests (hidden or otherwise), and starts to really discover the secrets of the world of Eternia. What I loved most about the book was the indepth but not boring look into how all the skills function, how all of his abilities levelled up, and how Joe chose to develop as a Scholar and use his limited magical abilities in really unique ways. There's a lot of thought behind this novel and I loved it.
Tldr: Good story, well thought out mechanics, decent characters.
Spoilers may follow after this line.
We follow a mans journey through personal disaster into a brand new world of rules and adventure. The opening is reasonably standard fare, giving us motivation and justification.
The initial character interactions are a bit strange, and feels forced. Some of the npcs feel needlessly antagonistic. There seems to be only one other guild in the game, and they are essentially a nuisance.
The npcs are better developed, and their power structures are believable.
All in all it scratches the litrpg/gamelit itch, doesn't contain a lot of typos or grammar issues and gave good bang for buck.
Now onto book 2.