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Publisher's Summary

A deserted island. An impregnable fortress. Step up or be stepped on.

Gus is a henchman separated from his friends at his new job, a henchman on an orbiting space base. He's happy with the gig, and has no real delusions of grandeur. Well...small delusions, but he’s seen all too often what happens to minions that get too uppity around their supervillain bosses.

His father had pulled a few strings and landed him a henchman position in hopes he could make something of himself. Before he's barely gotten used to the job, Gus narrowly escapes the base's destruction and is chucked at the planet below. The only reason he survived the fall was a damaged escape pod and the activation of his own latent powers. Marooned on a deserted island and yet somehow being hunted, Gus needs to step up and become the master of his own story.

Gus is a henchman, some would now say a villain, so there’s no chance of a hero coming to his rescue.

©2020 Carl Stubblefield (P)2020 Mountaindale Press

What listeners say about Lair

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Maybe bias but this is fantastic

It's amazing. This world is well formed. I am a game master and I've been running a heroes unlimited game for years. Putting as much realism in my world such as acceleration force, pressure and more; the way he explains how powers is near identical. I can't recommend this book more. Thank you for immoralitizing a price of my homebrew. Thank you.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

To be a hero

This book is great and very unique.

Nothing like zombies and super hero, which still makes sense.

Travis baldree great as always.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher
  • 2020-11-22

A reluctant 4 stars.

I’m bumping my rating up to a 4 for the interesting way that the author created the universe and systems in this audiobook. On the whole I enjoyed the book, but there is a major flaw in the pacing. The performance is what we have come to expect from Travis Baldree. No complaints there. The writing is executed well, and while the schlubby, unmotivated MC is a bit of a whiner, it’s not as overdone as is common in other LitRPGs.

The real flaw in this book is that only about 30-40% of it is actually plot or character driven. Because the MC is stranded on a desert island there’s not a whole lot of opportunity for the MC to interact with other interesting characters. The other 60-70% of the story is just stat and skill development with very little plot to move it forward. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like a Jonathan Brooks novel where the author just dryly info dumps on you for 5 hours without any real character activity. Stubblefield at least does a good job of having combat and training act as the catalyst for the stat and skill development.

That said, we get the vast majority of the main storyline in the first few hours, then some minor hints and flashbacks throughout the rest of the book. Then finally everything wraps up in about 45 minutes with startling rapidity. This story has potential, and given that this is a new author I am hoping that the next book will address this issue.

The universe and story have a whole lot of opportunities to be extremely exciting and interesting. Mr Stubblefield just needs to do a better job of keeping the pace consistent and the plot driving forward. If you’re a GameLit fan this is worth a credit. With any luck some decent sales will give this new author the opportunity to make the next book live up to the potential that is represented in his first effort.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-12-22

Great with a few issues I couldn't let go

This book is a very fun and very unique entry into the genre.

The music and pop culture references are extremely well done. The powers are frankly weird and the puns are solid.

The plot overall is very good and anyone complaining of him not interacting with anyone is silly. He interacts with his companion the entire time. By not introducing too many characters the author can fully develop Gus, his powers, backstory and world build. Its not a flaw its perfect for a first book.

Now on to why I gave it 4 stars. As solid as this book is there are a few very annoying holes I could not ignore. Spoilers:
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1) Gus gets a specialization and does not spend even 30 seconds looking through what it should be. We are not made aware of any choices he could have. He does not talk them over in his head or with his companion. Nope he just picks energy absorption, 10 seconds flat. As if he had been waiting for that moment his entire life. He didn't get any explanation for it, didn't know what it does, didn't compare it to anything despite it being a monumental choice. Then miraculously that power is needed to save them day. That's fine but why and how did he do that?

The answer is the author did it. Not him and that's terrible writing.

2) He had no way of knowing mediocus was the bad guy, none. No inclination the guy is still alive or evil. Yet at the end of the book they say "let's go fight mediocus"....ummm. Did I miss a chapter because it was a nameless, faceless enemy and a point of origin for zombies and magma. It was never mentioned it was him. How did they know?

These two moments are terrible editing and writing. They pulled me out. However I did enjoy and will be getting book 2. Just come on. Make it natural and pay attention. I should never feel the "because I said so" plot nonsense. Gus couldn't have known those things so introduce them in a better more natural way like the rest of the book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jon
  • 2021-08-15

Tower Defense RPG, meh. Horrible plotting.

Compared to other LitRPG, this one follows a Tower Defense strategy. At first blush, this book had promise with an interesting and fresh take on the normal dnd role play.

The plot for this book is unfocused, with tons of interesting world building threads that never get wrapped up. There are tons of disjointed systems and the authors grasp of time and math is ridiculous.

For example, the author makes a training montage a core part of the book. The training system initially showed some challenge/growth but later becomes a freebie ex machina where the Mc gets just what he needs for the next surprise by the enemy. In one of the montages he queues up a playlist, asks how long he’s been at it, gets told he has been working for 2 hours…and then the playlist switches to the second song.

Add to that the constant reminder that “how cool is it that our MC just needed super powers to assess self control and self worth.” Blech.

Not continuing to read this series.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Charles Longstaff
  • 2020-11-28

Fun super hero litrpg!

I enjoyed this first book in a super hero litrpg series. I found some of the gamification elements to be unique and I appreciated the inventiveness. I enjoyed the pop culture (gaming and music mostly) references. I look forward to hearing more!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-11-23

Liked it

good story but to be honest i don't know if the MC is op or not also what happened to the little girl that released the virus?

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • S. Seigel
  • 2020-11-22

It was worth taking a chance on

great story the main is actually relatable vary good book overall looking forward to the next one!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Max Farmer
  • 2022-04-09

Great Superhero LitRPG!

This is my #1 Superhero LitRPG Series! Has great references and is one of the nicer ones to share w/the family! Get your copy now!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Aaron Patridge
  • 2022-02-15

Flawed but Fun


Lair creates some amazing moments and, NIC's adopted personalities are a real treat, but it also suffers from a large number of well-known writing pitfalls that would have been easily avoided with even a small amount of study or a few beta readers who are writers giving feedback.

The most common problem is that the narrative is told in first person and the main character is constantly focusing on problems that aren't the most important thing at the moment. This is bad for story flow because, as a reader, I was constantly thinking, "Why is he worried about an inventory when X is happening?" (with X being one of several threats that threaten the main character and/or humanity as a whole that I won't specify in order to avoid spoilers). That kind of cognitive dissonance is not only uncomfortable for the reader, but once we have a thought like that, we're no longer engaged with the narrative and can easily spiral off into different thoughts instead of listening to the narrator. I had to back-track and relisten to chapters in this book over and over because the entire narrative is a series of cognitive off-ramps. Obviously, in real life, with a difficult problem that will take days to overcome, characters will have to deal with things that aren't emergencies, but those are the kinds of details I'd expect to be told about as details surrounding actions aimed at the larger problems. For example, a character might mention that they'd spent some facility points on turning on the cafeteria and collection bots which resulted in a delicious meal and a temporary stat bonus on their way to take out a terrible threat.

Most of this probably stems from a bad writer who incorrectly told this writer that tension must always be high. On the contrary, read popular fiction and this is obviously incorrect. Tension builds throughout the best narratives, but it also ebbs and flows. You get moments of emergency and then the emergencies are resolved, and you can then have periods of growth that aren't on a timer and thus things like creating an inventory, learning to fly, and powering up a cafeteria can become really cool progression moments instead of weirdly pulling focus from ongoing unresolved emergencies.

Further, the book series title is a fun idea of being about henchman. This is a book about a former henchman in his baby steps toward becoming a super hero. The book's content is still great and a story I'd want to read, so the marketing should reflect that. At the same time, the idea of reading about a henchman in a superhero or supervillain organization slowly growing up the ranks in a much lower-powered way is a great story idea and one that this title seems to promise and yet not deliver.

Having said all this, I still enjoyed myself somewhat. This author creates some amazing moments but doesn't seem to know the basics - like a figure-skater who can pull off amazing jumps, but then doesn't know how to put them into a cohesive routine. This writer is truly the Tonya Harding of litrpg. I'll be looking for his future works and hoping he's read some books on plotting and novel writing as he's doing the difficult things and failing at the basics, so the room for improvement with little effort is dramatic.


1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2022-01-07

STUPID

Boring and poorly done teenage super-heroesque book. Don’t waste your time, money or credit. There are better books.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mitra X.
  • 2021-12-28

Story? Probably in there somewhere.

I just couldn't see it under all the cultural references. Remember that cool thing from that other thing? It's almost certainly going to be brought up, used to some mediocre advantage, and then swapped out for another cool thing from that other cool thing everyone has heard of.

I never would have thought I'd be grateful for the end of any audiobook by Travis Baldree, but I have no idea how this story managed to rope him in. The author can't even get a cover that doesn't look ridiculous and cheap, how did he get a top narrator? But I digress.

The story might have been decent if done differently, but there's no point at which I cared the slightest bit for this utterly forgettable character, who solves his problem of blaming his own shortcomings on others by turning over control of his life to alien micro bots. He then wanders around an empty island, listening to popular songs that give him powerups and monologuing about how much he hates his dad.

There are zombies, bug creatures, some big villain or whatever... I don't care, all of it was completely uninteresting. Twice I felt the glimmer of an actual book worth reading, but then it was immediately drowned in more pop culture references.

1 person found this helpful