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  • Shadeslinger

  • The Ripple System, Book 1 (A Fantasy LitRPG Series)
  • Written by: Kyle Kirrin, Portal Books
  • Narrated by: Travis Baldree
  • Length: 21 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (218 ratings)

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Shadeslinger

Written by: Kyle Kirrin,Portal Books
Narrated by: Travis Baldree
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Publisher's Summary

Corporate flameout Ned Altimer dreams of leaving his world behind. So, when Earthblood Online splashes onto the VRMMO scene, he dives in and never looks back.

His advantages are twofold: exclusive access to the game’s three-day Head Start period, and a ridiculously handsome talking axe named Frank who has knowledge of the game’s deepest secrets...if the magnificent Frank ever feels like sharing them.

But those advantages also make Ned a target. Once the Head Start period ends, his fellow players will stop at nothing to rip that suave, violent, yet disarmingly charismatic axe right out of his hands.

In 72 hours, the greatest manhunt in gaming history is set to begin.

It’s gonna be a lot of fun.

©2021 Kyle Kirrin (P)2021 Portal Books

What listeners say about Shadeslinger

Average Customer Ratings
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Loved it

This is in my top 3 LITRPG books that I've listened to. I unfortunately have spent a bit too much money on audible, so that's saying something 😅

8 people found this helpful

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Really really good

And not just good for the genre, it's actually just good. Full stop. No over the top violence or sadism, no weird character turn abouts that make no sense, no deux machina plot devices. Good character development, well written, very smooth progression. Some nice humor peppered in too. Was pleasantly surprised and eagerly await the next installment. Well done to both narrator and author, I thoroughly enjoyed this.

3 people found this helpful

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a true 5 star

i am usually pretty liberal with my reviews. as long as the books don't displease me i am all for supporting the author's. but then you come across something this good and you feel bad that you gave so many high ratings because a book of this caliber really stands above and beyond just being a good book. I laughed out loud, i felt gripped and finished this audiobook within a day a half despite it being fairly long. couldn't recommend this more.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book

This has the good feeling of Expeditionary Force series that I am a high fan of.
It has the cruel side kick and the good hearted main character. With an adopted crew for good support that is in it for all the right reasons.
I’m going to keep on buying these books as they come out.
Thanks for the long and fun stories.

1 person found this helpful

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Heavy on RPG mechanics. Really enjoyable!

Really great play on the genre. Only issue is that the player never logs out and all I could think was that he would die at some point IRL because of no food/water. otherwise real enjoyable listen, will be continuing the series.

1 person found this helpful

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deadly read

very interesting. A bit slow starting but once this book catches you it get so interesting and funny. Frank may be my favorite supporting character in a litrpg so far.

1 person found this helpful

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Very enjoyable read (listen?)

Good story, good pace, well written. Voice acting is great too.

A little more technical than some other LitRPGs, but that comes with the genre. It’s not distracting, and there’s info that you need to know in there!

If you’re a fan of “He who fights with monsters” like I am, you’ll also enjoy this series.

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Struggled to get through 5 hours of it.

SPOILERS

So, a guy spends 20 million to get a headstart in a game alone and ends up being an Axes b*tch all day. I don't know, bunch of nonsense thrown together to be a frustratingly slow story. Ended up only getting halfway through before I had to stop.

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The main character has no redeeming qualities.

I got 19 chapters in and I just couldn't take it. I really just hate the main character. The concept was there for a good story about an vr world and a guy trying to reinvent himself. But it was done in a way that mad me hate the main character right from the beginning.

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very good litrpg

one of the best I've listened to. a bit slow at the beginning but get much better later.

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  • Browley
  • 2021-02-04

Great new author! Looking forward to the next book

I really enjoyed the book. I've taken a break from new authors after a truly abysmal string of bad books but this one caught my interest. Travis Baldree does an amazing job and was a big part in why I gave this book a listen.

All LitRPG books have some things you just need to accept and move on with to enjoy the story but those are pretty minimal for this book and were really easy to continue with the story.

The MC (Ned) isn't OP or a jack-of-all-trades. He gets a head start and a unique ax to help guide him and has some good advantages because of them but also doesn't complete everything perfectly. He has some setbacks and disadvantages as well. Ned gets (from what I can tell so far) a unique class but only because of his choices and some guidance from his ax. It could be done by any player and had it's own limitations.

Things that I liked.

- Game mechanics make sense and work well. The players are playing a game, they can use game logic but have the freedom to make choices we all wish we could in rpg games. The classes are limited by a few choices the player makes but there is still a lot of flexibility without having an MC that can do everything. There are limits and trade offs to each class/profession/skill and players can't just learn everything or grind stats up. Also how the pain in-game is handled is well done. It's believable that people would want to play.

- There isn't some end of the world, rouge AI, or game breaking mechanic in this book. It's just players in a game. I really found this refreshing.

- The snarky Ax is a well balanced companion. It's funny without being over the top and isn't some one dimensional character.

- Most new books I've read in this genre have some seriously cringe moments or over the top profanity that breaks the story for me. This book had ZERO cringe moments for me and any profanity was so naturally a part of the conversations that I can't remember if there was really much if any. I've stopped reading/listening to plenty of books do to those issues. It can just be to jarring for me.

- No romance of any kind. It's focused on the game play.

- No out-of-game drama to speak of. The motivation he is in game, is just one of those small things you accept and move on with. Small thing really.

- This book is mostly PvE which I love. I'm not big on the PvP rival that never goes away or big battles between players. He does quests and plays the game.

- Other elements as well but I don't want to spoil anything.

Things I didn't like. Very few and minor.

- The setup for the next book leaves a possibility of a PvP rival. I'm interested to see where this goes and how it is handled while still progressing with the game. It is expected as players will be hunting him for his ax but it is a minor concern for me. That's personal preference thought.

- His traveling companion (Not his ax) felt under used and I hope to see more from that character in the future. Lots of potential there I think.

- MINOR SPOILER!
Ned has a small change to his character that I'm not a fan of. It has trade offs like everything else and doesn't change his overall build but just isn't a favorite of mine.


In the end I really enjoyed this book and am anxious for the next in the series. Only time will tell what this author can do but I think this is a great start with a lot of potential. It was a very satisfying listen and I highly recommend picking it up.


110 people found this helpful

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  • Jim
  • 2021-02-02

The trifecta of litrpg

1. Great value for audio book at over 20 hours.
2. Excellent likable characters in an interesting story.
3. Travis Baldree performance.

65 people found this helpful

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  • Jonathan Bledsoe
  • 2021-02-03

hell yeah

I honestly have no complaints. not a one. several other authors should take note. no sleaze, does not bog down in the details, constantly engaging, and leaves you eager for more. excellent execution all around

31 people found this helpful

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  • Ami
  • 2021-02-05

Best of the Best!

I don't usually write reviews. Typically it is some stars and I'm done...but...this book was genuinely amazing. Well written character development, genuinely funny and kept the pace throughout. Well done Team!

24 people found this helpful

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  • John Behrend
  • 2021-02-05

A new level for litrpg

I was predisposed to liking this book for many reasons. First, I was lucky enough to win a raffle on reddit to get the audiobook version for free! Also, I'm a huge Cradle fan and love Travis Baldree as a narrator. Third, there's a talking axe. That's a trifecta!

I enjoyed every bit of this story. There are rich characters, and a full blown evolving story. The ripple system is creative, compelling, and makes me wish I too could join in EBO.

This is a must buy. I'm hooked from now on, can't wait for book 2.

20 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Greg A
  • 2021-03-14

I don't get all the 5 stars. (Updated: got better)

Update:
After the first 8 hrs, I actually quit listening to it, because I didn't understand all the hype and the MC and Frank were annoying me. A couple of days later I picked it up and gave it another try. I'm glad I did. The story, the MC, and the interaction with Frank th Axe got a lot better and understand everyone who says it is a more "realistic" betrayal of the MMO's we all play (or used to in my case). Kyle has a really good base for a strong series, and hope that the next book continues to build off the strength of the 2nd half of this book.

I am 8 hrs in and don't see what all the hype is about.

Guy buys his way to a 3 day head start in a new MMO game. He's not an elite gamer and has proven incompetence IRL and has no friends. Not even clan/guildies from previous games and thinks he's going to make changes in a new MMO world? Once MC gets in the game he shows he's not really a good gamer and makes stupid decisions without any thought.

At lvl 5 with 60cp in his pocket he thinks he's going to build an Inn in a desert town with an entire race trying to kill him. The back and forth between the MC and Frank, his axe, isn't entertaining or funny. It's kind of stupid actually. Frank doesn't add any real help or guidance. Plus he has to protect this magical axe from the entire population of EBO when they come online. In any real online game the MC will have this axe taken from him within 10-12 hours of the game opening to the public.

I just don't understand all the 5 star reviews and claims of this being one of the best books in this genre. It's mediocre at best.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Kyle
  • 2021-02-04

Story time

I was interested in this book for many reasons. However I wasn't sure if I wanted to purchase or wait and see what happens. I spoke with the author via his Facebook group and ended up buying the book! I can't even begin to explain how good of a decision that was and I can't recommend this story enough. it's AMAZING! I'm also typically a picky person when it comes to the narrator but Travis killed it! Keep up the amazing work the two of you!

14 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Blake M
  • 2021-04-09

Strong narration and story setup. Poor characters.

I loved the narration, and the story setup was fun.

Overall, I just didn't enjoy the characters themselves. The MC has some good traits, but overall he's kind of a moron, which just isn't something I enjoy. He spends most of his time whining with a "woe is me" attitude, and supporting characters have to hit him over the head with answers before he understands something that should be painfully obvious.

Overall, if you like rooting for the underdog with a heart of gold, even if that character isn't the sharpest tool, I think you'll enjoy this. However, if you're the type who rolls their eyes every time an MC does something moronic, you're eyes are going to hurt by the end.

To each their own!

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-02-05

Totally worth it 5 stars

I loved this book and it’s even better because someone named Kyle wrote it. It is the best book I have listened to in a while and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. Travis Baldree is a fantastic narrator who makes listening as enjoyable as possible. I can’t wait for the next book to be released. Respect Kyle & Travis.

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • john smith
  • 2021-09-14

this book has lots of good reviews but....

Decent litrpg style book, but doesn't deserve all these 5 star reviews. Typical litrpg book problem is nothing sets it apart. Main character is a spoiled rich kid that immediately uses his large fortune to buy an advantage. He then proceeds to squander it just like he did all his advantages in real life. Somehow the monotone home butler that trys so hard to be human is the only likeable character

7 people found this helpful