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Trial by Fire: A LitRPG Dragonrider Adventure

Archemi Online Chronicles, Book 2
Written by: James Osiris Baldwin
Length: 14 hrs and 15 mins
5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One man. One game. One adorable baby dragon.

Two weeks ago, Hector Park cheated death by uploading his mind to the ultra-immersive fantasy RPG game, Archemi. After exposing the rotten heart of an order of dragon knights, he’s now on the run with a young queen dragon who could one day become the most powerful mount in the game. 

To get strong enough to face their enemies, they need a quest - a big one. Fortunately, trouble has a way of finding Hector, and it does - in the form of a series of brutally murdered priests, a king in desperate need of a hero, and a beautiful, fiery berserker. The risk? Huge. The payoff? More gold than a dragon’s hoard.

There's only one problem - Archemi is haunted by the ghost of a mad developer bent on making the game his personal playground. And now that the world outside has vanished in a storm of nuclear fire, there's no one left to stop him.

Or at least, that’s what he thinks. Because Hector isn't the kind of man to take this shit lying down.

©2018 James Baldwin (P)2018 James Baldwin

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  • Kim
  • 2019-11-10

Great book

I was given book 1 of this series and loved it. As soon as book 2 came out in audio I snapped it up. I love the characters and the storyline, add my favorite narrators and this series is a best seller in my mind. I wish that my eyesight was good enough to read books again so that I could read more of James Osirus Baldwin's books.

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Just as good as the first

Baldwin continues to impress! Book 2 continues the plotline in a new realm, introducing new characters and new quests. Hector, the main character, continues to be likable. He also continues to win great successes while simultaneously making things worse, similar in feel to the Harry Dresden books. There's not a lot of news about the real world beyond Archemi Online, but there are a few hints scattered in the pages (er... lines). The book also seemingly ignores most of the main quest, instead focusing on a murder mystery that Hector needs to solve in order to stay safe from the pursuing, angry dragonriders he pissed off in book 1. But as the quest comes together, we come to realize that it's all connected - very satisfying.

As in book 1, there's a lot of crude language and swearing in the book. It's not obnoxious, but there's a lot of it, so be warned not to listen around little kids. There's also one brief sex scene that was more explicit than I expected - well written and short and not out of character, but a bit surprising. Other than that, there's some mild descriptions of torture off screen and threats of genocide, but nothing that was super off-putting in a fantasy adventure.

The readers (Soundbooth Theatre) continue to be a delight. It's refreshing to have music, sound effects and different voices, and they did a good job. This particular book introduced two accents we heard a lot - a kind of Bohemian Eastern-European accent used by most of the NPCs and an Australian accent used by another player. Both took a few minutes to get used to, but both readers did a good job of making every character sound distinct.

I will be pre-ordering book 3 as soon as that's an option.



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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon Kim
  • 2019-10-09

Great performance, decent writing

The audio performance made by the studio and the performers are excellent enhancing the words of the book greatly.

However, the plot and the writing becomes frustrating with the main character showing falling for the tricks of the antagonist over and over again with the same tricks. The author attempts to bring political intrigue and conflict for the main cast to wade its way through, but the antagonist is so simple and incompetent that he is forced to bring down the intelligence of the main cast to make it dramatic. The greatest frustration is having a competent character from the first book not learning anything from his previous experiences and suddenly taking an extra dose of stupidity.

***Spoilers***


The main antagonist of the story is a usurper of the throne in a country bound by honour. A medieval city where the honor or at least the pretense of honour is important and the main antagonist humiliated the rightful ruler with what is essentially a recorded porno. The main cast are introduced to the evil ruler as a benign and rude but slowly the readers learn that he is dishonorable, will mouth that he is honorable, but acts in bad faith. I say the readers learn, because the characters say that they know this man is unreliable and deceitful but still trust him anyways. They know that he sacrifices loyal honorable men that are loyal to the throne but willingly walks into the same traps over and over again.

They learn he's a racist. Okay that's fine, racism is an issue that many medieval cities had.

They learn he had an honorable older brother that killed himself. Okay here's the hook

They learn the story of how the honorable older brother was kicked out of the family under suspicious circumstances.

They find the older brother who reveals clearly that the younger is evil, in a cult, has no honor. They decide, maybe this guy is not too good

They get wrongfully arrested by the younger brother and receive a mission to complete for the return of his dragon. The main character learns this mission was a trap. The main character completes the mission and returns to the ruler and expects him to behave honorably and receives the escort of a high ranking member of his court to retrieve the dragon. At this point, we saw the ruler stake a high ranking member of his court with no explanation given to the main cast. Why would the main character believe that retrieving his dragon would not be a trap?

I had to stop listening at this point. I love the main cast, but by partnering an incompetent villain, the author has to bring down the competency of the rest of the cast making it difficult to listen to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • shankstab
  • 2019-10-07

great second book

loved it cant wait for the next book. great cast that are amongst my favorite narrators

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-10-07

I love this series

I have waited for months to read this book ever since I read the first one. I love this series and how it's going

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nightling
  • 2019-10-05

Great continuation of the story

The story continues on with this book. New characters are introduced while old ones lurk in the behind the scene. Bonds are created and weather through several trails. The narrative is spot on with just enough sound effects to be distracting. I highly recommend this series to anyone look for a great epic story

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-10-05

Love it

I love this series. The characters, the world, and the story. Keep it up.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kody
  • 2019-11-26

Wow

I was hooked rather quickly as i love these types of books and i have spent every free second i had listening to the books cant wait till the next book comes to Audible

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jacob
  • 2019-11-21

best LITRPG

i liked edens gate but this is much better. can't wait for number three to come out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Wesley
  • 2019-11-12

fudging awesome

This was the perfect blend of Sci-fi and fantasy performed in best way to provide the best imaginative experience an audiobook listener could ask for. good job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • RJ
  • 2019-11-10

Long live the Queen!

At the close of the previous volume, Hector, now a Dark Lancer Dragon Rider, was given the infant queen dragon Karalti to care for by the Matriarch. Dragon and rider escaped from the city by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin. In a stroke of literary luck, Hector’s path crosses with a knight and mage traveling home to Valachia. They offer Hector and Karalti sanctuary and a quest to assist them. Off they go on a new adventure while distancing themselves from the Assari, or so he thought! One of my few quibbles; i.e., Early on, Hector kills a level twenty-five mage receiving one level-up to nine while his level two dragon got nothing. Very odd, this should have garnered them two to three levels each. The story progresses with the quest in Valachia revolving around the murder of several priests. Hector and Karalti continue to level and grow in many ways. In this volume, Hector and Karalti will discover prophecy, politics, subterfuge, conspiracy, and betrayal. The story develops, gets more complex, and the plot thickens. The influence of Soundbooth Studio on audio production is amazing; the piano music accompanying the reading of Hector’s skills was perfection.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • 2019-11-07

Hurry book 3 please :)

This was entertaining book to hear. Waiting to hear book 3 in the series. Thank You :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful