Our main character, Richter, after finishing a quest in the real world, wakes up in 'The Land'; a mythical world where leveling up, skill building, crafting, and world-building are a must to survive. Starting out at lvl 1, Richter has to quickly discover how the world works and just who his allies/enemies are. Much like in RPGs today, whenever Richter progresses levels/finds items/etc, there are pop-up notifications that guide his decision making, whether to add points to specific skills or learn a new trait that will help him on his next quest. I can understand where these notifications would become annoying while reading, but it was easy enough to fast forward in the audio when they became a little overwhelming. But in all honesty, these notifications are a requirement for the book as they are a mainstay in RPGs.
A little bit RPO/Armada, but full immersion and with swords and magic. While the book won't win Book of the Year nods, it was a truly enjoyable experience for me, as a gamer, because Nick Podehl absolutely KILLED the narration. Voice inflection, acting rather than simply reading, and pacing are key elements that make good audiobooks great, and Podehl knows how to create a great audiobook.
There are glimpses of greatness in Kong's writing, especially this being his first book. He has built a world out of video game knowledge and created, basically, another video game via text form. The world building is solid while the characters felt a bit lacking, especially as Richter acts/talks much like the kids who play online today and, for some reason, doesn't seem to care much about the world he left behind; but I guess when you are trying to survive in a new world, that is all you really care about when it comes down to it.
All in all, I would give the book itself probably 3-3.5 stars, but the narration ultimately gave it a 4-4.5 star vibe. Definitely a pick-up for any gamers out there who want an easy, fun read.