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Valley of Death

Apocalypse Gates Author's Cut, Book 2
Written by: Daniel Schinhofen
Narrated by: Andrea Parsneau
Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Alvin had a rough week. Thrown into a digital death game, Apocalypse Gates, with only his wits and a less than helpful AI handler, Alvin's prospects for survival looked bleak. Managing not only to survive but to thrive, he helped build a settlement of survivors in Green River, Utah. Along the way he met the very sexy and broken Gothy. He's taken on the undead, mutated bugs and animals and the worst possible enemy - other people - and triumphed. Nothing looked like it would be a major problem, except for the flight of dragons. 

Now the Gates are opening, and Alvin and Gothy are heading out along the roads of America. They'll need to earn XP, upgrade their stats and gear, find new settlements, find allies, and hope they survive long enough to explore the world and each other. The end of the world had come, and a new one awaits. Welcome back to Apocalypse Gates.  

(This book contains adult situations, in all their horror and glory. Ranging from abuse to drug use to murder. It also contains graphic sex scenes, which contain elements of BDSM. You’ve been warned.)

©2018 Daniel James Schinhofen (P)2018 Daniel Schinhofen

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

awesome story awesome narration

this book really takes you to a different world. really grasps the concepts of litrpgs and improves on them

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  • Peter Pakalnis
  • 2018-09-23

PIck your genre; airport romance novel or litrpg

Disjointed interesting narrative sections interrupted by insanely over the top, poorly worded sex scenes. The story is book two of a post apocalyptic wasteland where the character is the star of their own "game", but he really doesn't care about that.

Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the implications of the situation, following the fun of LitRPG in min/maxing, watching clever uses of upgrades or mechanics, we get a dumb asshole wandering around. This story is written like a D&D campaign where the DM forgot to prep after their first awesome week. They have a cool world set up, but this week you're going to just kind of go around and have random encounters.

"Even as aroused as she was, his actions made her giggle."

Make the MC a self described asshole, unlikable protagonist - sure interesting.
Make them never give a shit about anyone, except the one random 18 year old girl they constantly bang - ok, clearly theres a bit of an auto self-insertion here but sure....
Make the make character barely give a shit about the overarching plot you wrote - bold move, he doesn't care beyond the literal basics about what keeps him going.

"Almost done Gothy - do you feel the same desire that you stirred in me earlier?"

This is could be a great world and a great story without the truly mind blowing number of "as she bent over to tie her shoes, MC stared at her ass" followed by twenty lines of "Oh hero you make me so hot when you call me your slut".

I like Alvin being an asshole, but give him a purpose. He reafirms with his girlfriend that he doesn't care about anyone or anything except her every other page, but he keeps doing STUFF. Shut up about how he doesn't want to do anything helpful ever if you're going to make him do the opposite in every random encounter.

I like Gothy being a devil may care renegade, but make her more then a Mary Sue sex freak who is a genius and a gunslinger and a slut and super hot and super submissive to MC and super dominant and super everything. Make her real!

I do not need the hyper focus on how every few paragraphs the MC thinks of, or does, grab her lushious, pillowy, creamy, white, firm but supple, so tasty, oh so good, yes oh baby, breasts. Like what the hell my dude we were just discussing how you wanted to upgrade your guns to beat dragons!

SEE HOW MADDENING IT IS TO EVEN TRY TO READ THIS REVIEW. NO ONE WANTS THAT TYPE OF SEX DESCRIPTION.


24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • P West
  • 2018-08-24

Not as good as the first

After listening to the first book I was excited to hear the 2nd. However, it's not as good as I'd hoped. Too many "hero" quotes by Becky and way too many sex scenes and less substance to the story. I stopped reading with about an hour left. Hopefully the next book is more consistent with the first. The narrator did do a good job which may be the brightest spot of the audiobook.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ray Johnson
  • 2018-11-04

Valley of death fails to kill it

Make no mistake, one of my favorite style of games to play was survival horror, I was a Resident Evil Junkie, and I played Dino Crisis long after I should have. Hell, I bought an entire gaming console just to play Alien Vs Predator when it first came out. I love horror, not the crappy stuff that Stephen King calls horror, I mean real horror. Like when John Caprenter was actually crafting films, rather than cranking them out. Ghosts of Mars, I am looking at you. So, when you hit me with a book with a horror theme I’m all in.

Valley of Death does that thing I like where they pick up where they left off in the last book. I just wish that the tone would have carried over as well. This book confused me on a couple of levels. Book one set up that Alvin, the anti-hero (because he’s a self professed A-hole) is set on the task of creating various safe places for humanity to rebuild from, or at least take a solid stance to survive from. He fought some zombies and mutated animals and basically did what he set out to do. He managed to start a settlement and have it prepared to defend itself. Then these things called the Apocalypse gates get opened, making things even harder to survive in. Sounded even more interesting, as we would now have more monsters for Alvin and Gothy to fight.

The truth is it kind of turned into a hodge podge of genre’s that took away the horror elements the first book established. Suddenly there are dragons, wyverns, drakes, and Fey to deal with making the book into more of a dark fantasy survivalist setting. Sure there are still zombies and mutated animals, but Alvin literally has a discussion with a set of mutated birds that eliminates a need to fight, and we gloss over that the zombies are becoming more intelligent and using weapons. This reminded me of the Walking Dead TV show in one way, they pretty much overlook the zombies until they are necessary to the plot. What could have been a great turn of events is overshadowed by boring flying lizards and and weaksauce elves. Oh, and you know how I am always kvetching about doing research before you write something? Here is a prime example. In the book, Alvin and Gothy are attacked by giant toads. It was a cool scenes and awesome premise, but toads do not live in the water. They are amphibians, yes, but the ONLY time that they live in water is during their metamorphic stages as tadpoles. Once they are adults they are land bound. They would not have gone into the water, and I don’t want to hear that they are monsters and so can do whatever the writer says. That’s a crap argument. If he meant frogs then he should have used frogs, the terms are not interchangeable. It is stuff like that that takes me out of a story pronto.

Another issue I had was that in spite of upping his charisma, which as supposed to make his life easier he still seems to run into jerks that don’t trust him or try to kill him. This is in every single potential settlement. Secondly, and my biggest beef is that there are massive changes that happen at the end of the book that really negates everything that Alvin has worked to achieve. It really makes no sense. It felt like Schinhofen had gotten tired of the outline that he had and scrapped it in hopes of making something more suited to what he wanted. Don’t change horses midstream. Don’t rewrite code while you are playing a game, and don’t shift a plot for no discernable reason. Granted, as I listened to this book I kept saying to myself that it felt like Schinhofen was just spinning his tires. It was try to start a settlement, have sex with Gothy, kill something, have sex, start a settlement. I could see that even with the gates open that it was just a kill a new kind of monster adventure.
My issue comes from the fact that I totally respect Alvin and Gothy’s relationship. It is very healthy and supportive and shows that two people can be adults and not fight all the time. There is no struggle in their relationship. This is the books shining achievement, and it gets a little undercut with the constant sex. I would have preferred a tender moment or two over three or four of the sex scenes. Sex scenes you can skip, but open emotional feeling filled scenes, ones played by the intense Parsneau add a hell of a lot more than them boning for two or more pages. I know there are people who skip the sex scenes, but I don’t, and even I felt like there were more than there should have been. Especially towards the end of the book. They just popped up like daisies.

Parsneau is what keeps this book on an even course. She fuels it with emotion, and can read an action scene far better than Michael Bay can direct one. I know that I often come across as an unabashed fanboy, but Andrea really knows her craft and tells one hell of a story. I doubt that I would have enjoyed this story as much if she hadn’t been given the reigns. It is her portrayal of Gothy that just resonates with the listener and rings so true she makes you believe that she is real.

The book lacks a solid direction, and really did nothing here to advance the story. I was not happy with the changes that were implemented, which seemed to be arbitrary, and by that I am talking about the entire Settlement issue. I don’t see why that was redone, and it pretty much negated a lot of what Alvin did in the first book. Still, I enjoyed the book. I just didn’t see any progression, and it was a step away from the horror elements introduced in book one. The fey are not creatures of horror, no matter what they do, and dragons in any setting are fantasy creatures.

I’m giving this book a 7.7 stars. It isn’t bad, but it was just one long run down a dark hallway that had no door at the end, in other words it went nowhere fast. I sincerely hope book three does a course correction and gets this back on track. 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.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-09-18

Is the author a virgin?

Great plot for a series but Jesus lay off the sex scenes man. Completely kills the book when they are just fucking the entire time. This might as well just be a damn porno

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Ramsey0319
  • 2018-09-12

went the wrong direction

I really enjoyed the first found the story interesting and could relate to the characters. This one unfortunately decided to use all the action and story as filler until the next sex scene. Even more unfortunate is the decision at the end to throw away all the established rules. Build the world then let the characters play in that world don't change the entire world in just the second book. but hey what do I know.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Josh Noneya
  • 2019-10-01

Fallout meets Skyrim!!!

Great story and narration!

Alvin and Gothy are back for more zombie and monster hunting madness! The story continues as gates are opening across the world, and creatures from other planes run amuck. Will our young lovers be able to create more settlements, save more people, and still have time to deepen their relationship?
>.>
<.<
0.0
yes, yes, and YES!!!!

LOL, this is a great continuation of the story, and I really enjoyed it.
I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Note:
This story is Haram Gamelit and this book contains several explicit scenes with a more S&M vibe.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • steven
  • 2019-09-22

all I can say

homest review thabks to andrea parsneau.

The narrator does a great job in pulling you into the characters feelings and mindsets.

the author has always held my attention in his books and this one is no exception. I'm so excited to read the third one.

things have changed drastically for gothy and the main character alvin. I'm very curious what they will do next

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ramzes
  • 2019-09-01

Gets better with every book

The story characters and the performance all get 5 stars wish I could give more. The narrator is in my top 5 all time favorite. Will definitely look for more of her work. The book reached the perfect balance for me and the author will be on my list to buy on site.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marcopolo
  • 2019-05-31

Excellent!

Another excellent book! I would say that the characters are unbelievable but I know to many people like them. Al and Gothy are great and I can’t wait to see where they are going. I’m also interested to see them explore other worlds or realms or whatever they are called in this literary universe. I know Daniel will do an excellent job!
Once again Andrea Parsneau has done a wonderful job and kept me riveted, I cannot consume these books fast enough!
It is a wonderful ride you should hop on!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • KC
  • 2019-05-28

Only downside is that it ended

This novel was the perfect sequel. Expanded world, characters, and a much deeper peak into the plot line. I'm sold and anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful