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Barrow King

The Realms, Book 1
Written by: C.M. Carney
Narrated by: Armen Taylor
Length: 13 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Betrayed by those closest to him, Finn Caldwell thought he'd escaped his life of violence and deception. But when a frantic message from his estranged sister draws him into The Realms, the world's most advanced holographic reality game, Finn is forced to embrace his deadly skills once more.

Armed with a mysterious artifact known as a Godhead, Finn becomes the warrior mage Gryph. Yet, things are not as they seem and to save his sister, he must escape a sentient dungeon by defeating its master the Barrow King.

©2018 C.M. Carney (P)2018 C.M. Carney

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • C.R. Swaty
  • 2019-02-26

Good beginning to a great series!

The writing and performance are both quite good, but the most important part of this book is it's the introduction to a great series! Unless you don't like it for personal reasons, you'll likely be listening, if not reading the entire thing! Book Four came out not long ago, and it looks to be getting even better! Definitely worth spending a credit.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ray Johnson
  • 2018-09-27

An unexpected Dungeon crawl of fun!

This is a book that does something mind blowing in its execution. It sets up a quest for a man to save his sister by entering a Game World, and then spends the rest of the time with him on a dungeon crawl. It is pure madness in how it appears, but is really flawless in its execution. In fact, the story is more interesting than most books that take place in an open world. I give a real tip of the hat to Chris Carney for the conception and the implementation of this tale. I would never have done what he did, creating a whole world, and then confining the whole book to just one dungeon. Even Dungeon stories have more outside interaction than this book. Not to confuse you, but there is no dungeon core involved in this story. Although, the villain, aka the Barrow King, pretty much runs the place like he was one. I also appreciated how he avoided the trope of the smart mouthed AI that usually helps and hinders the MC as the story progresses. He does so in a pretty clever way that only adds to the story. So, the writing is clearly innovative and original. I get shivers just thinking about how good it was.

The main character, Finn/Gryph learns that his sister is in danger, and has been trapped in a virtual world that is not so virtual for over 40 subjective years. He has to go in and save in spite of the fact that he is not a gamer, nor does he have any real game knowledge or experience. What he does have is real world fighting experience, which he immediately puts to use in the game. His instincts are spot on, and when he listens to them he tends to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. I like his fearlessness, but caution tempered attitude, and can respect a man who can stand up to a god.

The dungeon is full of dangers, and some almost familiar monsters if you are a fan of the Old D&D monster Manuals and Fiend Folio. I think my favorite was the Arboleth encounter that was a stunningly fun battle, and made me long for my old Psionicist character. There are nods to several of the best underdark creatures and races sprinkled throughout the book. It is easter eggs like that that I truly appreciate and respect. It was handled with a delicate hand, as it didn’t beat you over the head with it, but it also gave a nostalgic nod to days long gone. Another aspect of the book that I loved was the time compression that I touched upon a little earlier. Time moves much faster in the game, so days or months here could equal actual years there, I’m not sure about the time dilution, but it certainly made the story more interesting. Speaking of time dilation, this book did not seem like it was thirteen hours long, not even remotely. It was incredibly edited and time managed so that I really never saw a low point, or felt like there was a lull in the story. Once the book got going it was unrelenting, and for me the set up was the only thing that even slightly held the story up, but you have to have that background info, and even that was not some simple I’m entering a game and leveling up.

Armen Taylor really brings his A game to this book. I know I just talked about him in War God’s Mantle, but I have to say he is even better here than he ever has before, and he never sounded bad previously. There is just something in the way that he carries himself, and thereby the characters through the story. He is utterly gripping, and cements himself in the hallows of my heart as a preferred narrator. He really knocks this book out of the park.

Finally, he ends the book on a note with Gryph that I am not sure that I would have, but then he has turned some many other things on their ear that I can trust him to handle the new revelation with complete class and a deft skill that few writers I know can do. This book really hit every mark for me. I have to say that this is an 8.5 easily, but I’m going to go a little higher because of all the creativity employed here. 8.75 Stars, and a helping heap of I can’t wait for the next book.

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

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Angel Manuel Ortiz
  • 2018-11-24

Why?

Why would you make a man supposedly a bad ass in real life and an idiot in the game? Yes, they explained why he couldn’t be as bad ass in game as it pertains to retaining skills, but regardless his mental skills are nowhere near what they describe it to be. Left and right he keeps falling for crap that is to stupid as to be viable for an intelligent tactical thinking man as they describe him to be. All that said it is still a worthwhile storyline.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nighteyes
  • 2018-09-08

Great LitRPG

The main character is presented as a bad ass out of game, but a noob in-game, so that helps newer readers get into the story and action a little easier, however this is dropped about 1/3 into the book since, who wants a MC who is incompetent at basic things after all.
The characters are rich and interesting with their own backgrounds and motivations which are explained really well.
The setting is standard high fantasy, but let's be honest, with a title like that you weren't expecting cyberpunk.
The story is fluid and compelling strokes that paint a picture that I can't wait to see fully.

*Slight spoiler warning*
The book ends on a cliffhanger, which personally frustrates me senselessly since we don't know if we will get an audio version of this book, however there is already a second book out in hard copy, so it's not too bad.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linda Wilson
  • 2019-05-21

Exciting and easy to follow

Enjoyed listening rather than reading this exciting ebook. Enjoyed the pleasure of closing my eyes and listening to this story. My mind followed the voice that took me into the story. Filled my imagination and allowed me to become part of the action.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Moritz Ellerbrock
  • 2019-05-21

Binge listening

could not stop listening to this book. Sadly it only took a day to listen to the whole book. But i heard there is more....

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Domeki
  • 2019-05-20

overall good

This book has a rough start. it tries to establish the protagonists strengths from the onset a little hard. once he makes it in the game it becomes a good bit better. i love the imp, and many of the monsters were suitably monsterish.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-05-13

Amazing Book!

This book has very well developed characters, and an intriguing plot line! I have read many of this new RPG genre and am truly impressed by this Authors visionary writing.
I can't wait to listen to his next book, and any others he has written!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-05-13

Great Book!

I've been looking for a new series of books to listen to and I'm glad to have come across this one. The author came up with some truly imaginative fight scenes. Narrator did a truly amazing job each character had a voice of there own.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jae
  • 2019-03-09

Welcome all to LitRPG

Barrow King is a must have for everyone new and old to the LitRPG genre of storytelling. The foundation is solid and the details are on point.

Can't wait to hear what comes next!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful