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Death March

Written by: Phil Tucker
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Series: Euphoria Online, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
4 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Narrator Vikas Adams pushes the boundaries of LitRPG to the next level, bringing this immersive VR gaming drama to nerve-jangling nirvana.  

Pro-gamer and eighth grade teacher Chris is preoccupied by thoughts of how to save his brother when he gets an invitation he can't resist: 

Want to play Euphoria for free? 

The free pass brings him to a portal for the newest and most awesome game in the universe. Chris agrees to play Euphoria Online in Death March mode, a secret and deadly level of the game. The real-life consequences of the game mean that if Chris can emerge victorious from a virtual six-month battle with necromancers, ogres, and wyverns, his brother goes free. But if he loses, well, game over.  

©2018 Phil Tucker (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

30minutes in and im almost in tears

amazing so far i am glad usually dont buy books shorter than 15hours this one was well worth it

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, narration is not great.

The story is good gaming-style fun, and put together in a fashion that is interesting instead of hokey and amateurish. The narrator does some voices very well, but the style chosen for the main character feels like it belongs in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Frustrating, but not enough to put me off the 2nd book, which says something.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

love this book

kept me up all night wanting to know what would happen. can't wait to read two.

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

Standard RPG Lit, nothing to see here move along

If you have read any RPGLit, you have read this one. Unrealistic contortions to get the main character into the game so that when he dies in the game he dies in real life. This in a world where the US doesn't allow Kinder's eggs because they are dangerous, such a game could never exist. Actually it would be a more interesting story if they described a world where such a game, one that kills people, exists, the breakdown of that society would make a good story.. The "hero" flails his way from one situation to another and rather than planning anything just picks his skills on the fly when he needs them. He and his low level friends take down monsters that are 4+x their level in groups of twos and threes. If you ever played an RPG you know that you would last about two seconds. It does end with an interesting plot point but not enough to make me get the next in the series.

I never got used to the narrator' voice. It certainly detracted from me getting immersed in the story.

If you have never read any RPGLit, this is about the same as any of them. If you have, you can pass on this one.

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

Honestly good

I got this book on a deal and I’m happy to say its a surprisingly a good read. This book seems to be underrated but don’t let that fool you, so far its a great series, in fact ive purchased the other two books. I don’t do spoilers so you’ll have to give it a go but. One thing I can say that will not spoil the book is, the entire real world in this book is completely under the control of an AI, so there is some pretty interesting story arcs both in game and in the real world. Dystopian? You be the judge

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story, Get on Discount

The story is enthralling. I found myself liking the characters and the conclusion was a long, well executed climax. The most annoying detail was the voice chosen for the main character, definitely an acquired taste.

The book is very expensive though for the short length and I wouldn't recommend it unless it's on a steep discount or money is something you've got in spades. I get that litrpgs in general tend to be shorter novellas, but still, wait for a discount.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining but massively flawed

Any MMO player is going to roll their eyes during the fights, massively flawed and inconsistent powers/cooldowns. A level 5 player killing level 30 to 40 monsters is laughable as any MMO player would know. I doubt the author is a serious MMO player or bothered to do much research.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Awful, awful, awful... I highly recommend

Yes, both of those statements are true. Oh, what a rabbit hole you have discovered. This is truly a gem. But awful, and I still recommend? Oh yes, dear reader. Stick around and let me tell you a tale.

This book is bad. It is the abandoned love child of Tommy Wiseau and Sword Art Online. Have you ever seen that 200th episode of Stargate SG-1? Or any self mocking episode of a franchise really. Add some of that to the pot and this is what comes out. This book is either so aware of itself and doesn't give a F*** or is so unaware that it travels through dimensions and becomes hyper-aware. Sorry, let me explain.

So, the book is basically your generic Harem-Isekai (see sword art online for the uninitiated). And the writing, wow, it is on par. But here is the thing. Books this bad I either don't finish or if I can suffer through them to the end, I return because I will never listen to them again. But this one, I couldn't finish it, but I don’t know if I should return it. Its the writing. It is fascinatingly bad. The pacing is bad. The dialogue is bad. The characters, aren’t. I actually think I might finish this one at some point. And a note on the narration, it is meh. Nothing good, but also nothing memorably bad. I mean, it was certainly bad at points, but not so bad as to wake me up at night.

Anyway, here is the hook. The writing is like something out of a parody. Anyone who has ever read “John dies at the end”, this is basically a full version of the stories Big Jim wrote, but taken even more seriously if you can believe it.

The writer seems to make every mistake you can make as a writer. This book’s main strengths are lines you read in books that make you groan, or the ones that are so painful you can’t believe they didn’t even try to come up with something better. If Ernest Hemmingway were the protagonist in a video game, Phil Tucker would be the end boss. And he would be poorly written. Just tacky, awful, onision levels of writing. I made it several chapters in before I wrote this review, but out of the ten or so characters we have met, all of whom wish to bone our protag, there have been no other male characters that have mattered (and this isn’t something I would normally complain about. I don’t care if a cast is full of one gender or another as long as it is interesting. Like the stupid inclusion of Sean Bean in the Silent Hill movie because it had no male characters before that, or the phone conversation with the girlfriend in The men who stare at goats because that movie had no female characters and the execs didn’t like it. That is stupid. I didn’t care if silent hill had no meaningful men in it, nor does the phone call make it a completely different movie in tmwsag. As long as it is good.). Yes, the main protag talks to his brother, for “no” real reason?, for a few seconds, and is mocked by some hyper jocks at one point. Other than that, everyone has been his harem. Just terrible, terrible, terribly written.

Just terrific. This is why I like it so much. The author comes across as either completely inept, or so talented that this was beneath him to do. Like an artist who painted a world-famous masterpiece who is asked to paint some murals in a pizza restaurant, and decided to make them so good anyway, but so avant-garde that nobody gets them. Either that or the writer gets free coffee as long as he writes a book every year and they were coming to take his card, so he banged this one out in an evening watching Netflix. Now I don’t really know anything about this author, but I really think (and kind of hope) he just didn’t give a single F***, because I believe that is the best way to experience this book. The timing is either Thunder-Snow made real, or this guys deliberate magnum opus. Holy smokes.

Every time he wrote a line that, before you heard it you say to yourself “oh no he’s not going to” and before you finish he says some awful line. But every time he did it, and I mean every time I noticed, while I was admonishing the poor, lazy choices, he would bring up how bad that line was. But he did it within the narrative of the book. Like “insert terrible line here” and while you are recovering from how stupid that line was and saying to yourself “I cant believe they sunk to that level”, the main character will go “man I cant believe we sunk to that level” or something similar. I am not saying that calling out your own bad lines makes those lines not bad, but in the same way self parody works it is all in how you handle it. And I just feel like there was way too much thought put into this to not give it credit. That’s why I thought it might be a really good writer that just didn’t care, but after he read the book and saw it sucked, it edited it to give it some character. Or maybe some self mockery. And every time I groaned with how bad it was, I laughed that the characters in the book were basically agreeing with me. This book is so bad, yet so intuitive, yet so, so, so awful.

This is a fascinatingly bad book, and I implore you to give it a try. This is an audible 420 friendly book, and I HIGHLY recommend.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • superstardrifter
  • 2018-08-31

Really great start! Can't wait for more.

Well then. I finally got some time to sit down and listen to this badboy, and while it’s only 9 hours or so long, it still took me a while because of so, so many other things happening in my life. I hate when that happens, but c’est la vie!

However this is one of those books that you just fall into for a while and you don’t realize how much time has passed since you started. I had an afternoon at work just fly by here, and before I knew it it was time to go home. That’s always good!

This is the story of Chris, who is a teacher and sometimes-pro-gamer, and in a rather untenable position. All he has left of family in the world is his brother, and his brother is in prison. He was caught scavenging off the coast of Florida, which in this world is partially flooded, and scavenging is a big no-no. There’s word that he’s going to be given the death penalty as an example to others as well, so Chris is scrambling to find out how to help him.

Suddenly and in seemingly the nick of time, Chris’ ex-girlfriend calls and says she has a free weekend pass for Euphoria Online, and would he like to have a go at the newest, most awesome game in the universe? Well, yes he does, because he has a brilliant idea!

Euphoria Online is a game that brings you right into the world. Your brain is hooked right into it, so it’s a much more real experience than any of these VR games that are all the rage. But, as such, it costs several thousand dollars for a weekend in the game. Good news though! One weekend in the real world feels like 6 months in the game. So at least you feel like you’re getting your moneys worth. There’s also a hardcore mode, like in Diablo for example, which in this game is called Death March. You get to die one time. Period.

Of course, with your brain all hooked in there and stuff, Death March is going to really for realsies kill you too, so there’s that. :D

But! If you manage 6 months in game in Death March mode without dying horribly, Albertus, the AI master of this game will grant you pretty much anything you ask. Money, houses, cars, visas…. or pardons. So, Chris is going to survive 6 months in Death March mode to get a pardon for his brother.

Of course, that’s not going to be as easy at it sounds.

I really enjoyed this one. I liked Chris as a character and I really wanted him to succeed in his quest. I liked that his character, while being suitably awesome enough to… yanno, not die immediately, was still fallible at times. He makes poor decisions at times, and he pays the price for doing so. It was quite fast-paced and the adventure was hair-raising when it needed to be, and took a bit of a break when needed as well. The addition of another character that he runs into, Lutharia, was neat. There was a bit of a romantic subplot here, which was actually really cleverly done, since charisma checks will often subvert a chance to be flirtatious in a way that doesn’t sound cringeworthy. Other characters Chris meets on the way are also fun. I especially liked the goblins.

Many books in this genre focus on stats a little too much for my liking, but this isn’t one of them – it seems to focus more on abilities than stats for many things. While the constant repetitive nature of some of the details of character sheets and what have you doesn’t always translate into audio well, it didn’t bother me overmuch here. This one is certainly repetitive when it’s time to look at stats, but I find that I could listen to Vikas Adam repeat things several million times and not really get sick of it, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice. ^_^

Guys, honestly, finding a narrator you really enjoy listening to and then getting *super* excited when you learn that they are narrating things by your favorite authors is one of those things that makes life worth living. :D

I am admittedly rather hesitant to jump into most of the LitRPGs I see (and there are very, very many to choose from at this point), since I had some real not-great experiences with a few of the first ones I ever listened to. I have been trying to choose far more carefully than I did a couple of years back. Thankfully, this is one that I never worried about not liking. Phil Tucker has never disappointed me thusfar, and so I was quite glad to hear that his kickstarter was a success.

This one gets 5/5 stars from me. I would totally play Euphoria Online. But not on hardcore mode. Man, that never goes well for me… my deeds of valor have absolutely been forgotten forever. :D

I can’t wait for the next audiobook in this series. ^_^

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sir Galahad
  • 2018-09-26

Brilliant world. Interesting overall arch. Moderate writing.

I deeply enjoyed this book. Went through it in about a day or two. I enjoyed the story. Will get the second book. Character depth is sort of there. But dialogue at times leaves a lot to be desired along with silly emotional responses. At other times is strong and enjoyable. Also, at times very repetitive in the sense of when he uses adrenaline rush. Like we get it. Please stop saying the same response every time.

3 people found this 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
  • RyRy
  • 2018-10-04

Very fluid LitRPG

Found this book not only wonderfully performed by Vikas Adams, but incredibly nostalgic and engaging. I was reminded of my youthful days of playing MUDs, Magic: The Gathering, and numerous RPG games. Tucker has an amazing ability to create characters with depth and introduce the LitRPG genre in a way that appeals to both experienced players and the newbies. Couldn’t wait and had to start Book 2, Nightmare Keep, before I could start this review....

2 people found this 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
  • Kazren
  • 2018-08-22

LIT RPG with real emotions

Unlike many new LIT RPG books, this one gets you really hooked into the plight of our hero as he does everything, even risking his life, for his brother. His motivation pushes him into what appears to be a weekend of immersive VR gaming, only to find everything has been shattered, and his plan for quick easy leveling quickly turns into life or death decisions at every step.

Once I started listening to this, I could hardly bare to stop! A really good book, and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-08-14

Awesome

I can't wait for the next two books. I knew I was hooked by chapter five. I really liked how there wasn't endless updates to the stats.

2 people found this 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
  • Klutz
  • 2018-08-11

Only complaint was that it ended too soon.

Narration was great, the story was exciting and griping. I can't wait to listen to the sequels.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Chris Vernon
  • 2018-10-29

MC is an idiot. ProGamer who is always tricked.

Interesting world developments both in and out of the game, plot, and characters. But huge potholes with an idiot for the MC. A Pro Gamer who bets his life on a game, that he could not be bothered to research. Who falls for obvious tricks his rich manipulative Ex-girlfriend sets to limit and trap his gaming avatar.
Could not get intontje story with such a poorly thought out Character and ever other paragraph going on about how he will die for real if his character dies. And how about finally actually explaining the brother's crime that is earning him a death sentence... Not little memories scenes, but the whole story...
What should have been an interesting plot hook and motivation for the MC, just makes less sense the further it goes on.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Joel Lewis
  • 2018-10-23

meh

I tried to give this one a try. Truly I did. The narrator is very talented but I don't believe he was the right choice for this series. He is overly dramatic in a novel that is already written in an overly dramatic way. The leveling and exp are too arbitrary as are the extreme luck of tye main on not being squashed. Also remember the brother who's actual life is at risk while the main cries and risks his actual life as well as his brother's salvation for his less than a week's acquaintance friend's completely respawnable characters. Not to mention that the main is only altruistic for his own feel good emotions and is both suicidal and emotionally unstable. Really just an asshole with a hero complex.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-01-18

blind fait dispute righteous suspicion

the main character flips between severe suspicion and unwavering faith towards a particular character but has 0 reasons, none whatsoever for 1 of those.
hint: it isn't the suspicion he needs to give up.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-12-15

excellent intro to litrpg

have not had much experience with litrpg genre, but hated that the book was over. I just wanted to keep going! narrator did a great job as well!