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Publisher's Summary

Jason logs into Awaken Online fed-up with reality. He's in desperate need of an escape, and this game is his ticket to finally feeling the type of power and freedom that are so sorely lacking in his real life.

Awaken Online is a brand new virtual reality game that just hit the market, promising an unprecedented level of immersion. Yet Jason quickly finds himself pushed down a path he didn't expect. In this game, he isn't the hero. There are no damsels to save. There are no bad guys to vanquish.

In fact, he might just be the villain.

©2016 Travis Bagwell (P)2016 Travis Bagwell

What listeners say about Awaken Online: Catharsis

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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WELFARE

YA Cliché book
Jason is not poor, but he goes to a rich private school on a scholarship. The kids and staff at school hate him because he is not rich and they nickname him Welfare. Jason's parents hardly know he exists. The main bad guy is the school jock. Jason is a skinny smart kid. In the game he is sneaky back stabber. I made it almost four hours, but found nothing redeeming or entertaining about this book. In the game every move Jason makes is followed by the announcement that he has earned an x amount of points for an ability. I understand why this is done, but after awhile I feel like I am watching my older brother play a game and he will not let me play.

I have had my eye on this for awhile due to the really high rating. I am at a loss at what these people are listening to.

141 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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This is more of a YA novel than reviews indicate

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this book. its clearly part of the emerging genre of "LitRPG" - and reads like playing an MMO video game. And just like such games, the characters are stock and predictable: outsider, loner high school kid; rich jerk; decent girl caught in the middle. But it was still a fun ride.

130 people found this helpful

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Awful

Unless you are an angsty 12 year old who can literally not imagine anyone else as an actual person... Stay away.

This book is tragically bad. It's a self absorbed teenager who's constantly whining about the laughably cartoonist world he lives in. They call him welfare because his environmentalist lawyer parents got him a scholarship??? He ain't even poor. He goes on to live in his aunt's spare room and laments to himself how it only has a bed. Oh. The humanity. A room and bed. How very "spartan".

Moving into the game world, he has constantly overpowered abilities granted to him and keeps acting like he's overcoming some challenge and his "tactics" are the only thing getting him by. Okay buddy. Nevermind that you constantly one shot things way over your level and you can command a huge army of soldiers stronger than regular PCs. Also. Why tf are all the player characters so underhwelming? They mention that some of the strength comes from emotion. Ok. Cool. Everyone but you is a cardboard cutout. Alright. Jason is the most bland uninspired character of them all. I was honestly rooting for his rival. They also introduced the cliche love interest who can do nothing but simp for our dear great poor wounded main character.

Christ please someone message me and tell me what this book has to offer. Bad bland characters predictable plot unrealistic world, boring story of self indulgence. Nothing about this is good?? Im just confused at the rating.

85 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Gravely entertaining!

Would you consider the audio edition of Awaken Online: Catharsis to be better than the print version?

Hard to say. For me personally, I may have enjoyed this book more in print. Regardless, it is a very good read if you can deal with some minor eyerolling moments.

What other book might you compare Awaken Online: Catharsis to and why?

Probably "Ready Player One" though that is only for the mmo theme. Otherwise, Im not too sure.

What does David Stifel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr. Stifel was perhaps not the best choice. He does do a great job at building a good atmosphere, but falls short on some deliveries and tone of certain characters. He is just a tad too robotic and doesn't really fit with the book, in my opinion. When it comes to the cities, describing events, coming through with a building atmosphere or the clashing of titans, he nails it. When it comes to dialogue though... eh. It can be a tad underwhelming or just plain jarring. His voice just seems out of place and the voices aren't too varied. Still he did do a pretty good job and it wasn't enough of a mismatch to make me overlook the good things he did.

Any additional comments?

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, recommend giving it a read or listen even. It has hiccups without a doubt, some enough to make me roll my eyes or frown a bit.

The story itself is very enjoyable, but there are issues. Realistically, I think the Mr. Bagwell did wonderfully on capturing that general teen guy frustration, but at the same time after going through my own phase like this just made me groan. It did seem to be over the top at times.The hatred for the rich and just people that treated him badly was too edgy for me. Don't get me wrong it wasn't too much of an issue, just a small gripe. This bigger issue was that you hear a lot of repeating phrases and descriptions. Normally not something that bothers me, but here it did. Could just be personal bias after listening / reading a different book that had a larger range, but still.

Okay okay, so I whined about the bad. What was good, right? The author is damn good at describing battles, fights, horrors of beast and demon. These monstrosities that linger and tear out of nightmare. The times and convos when the main isn't being your average angsty teen are well-done and usually funny. He captures being an awkward boy in a place he doesnt feel he belongs like a champ. The parts with magic on average, while the casting is about what you'd expect, the description of how they act is pretty good. There are some magics though that made me sit up a little straighter and give the book/computer a respectful nod. Mr. Bagwell is also pretty good at the whole "Hey this guy is getting torn apart. It's not pretty and not everyone can watch it." Killing while plentiful in the book is never really completely normalized. There are parts where spectators or people have to leave cause they cant watch. There are part in some fights or battles where the battle isn't one side of unwavering freight trains versus the solid rock cliff of never crumbling foes! No. People run. People get scared. People leave and are never seen again. The frustration and fear is sometimes palpable.

Mr. Stifel just wasn't the right fit here, for me. I enjoyed his voice, but it was out of place. Went into enough about my issues with that already.

TL;DR - Pretty simple, the book overall is worth your time. I personally don't agree with the choice in reader, but the performance wasn't bad. In some places it was damn fine. The book has issues, if you hate or can't deal with a taste of highschoolesque angst and drama here and there, I'd recommend not listening. It is few and far in between though, keep that in mind. The fantasy and dark magic side is very good to the point of making this book almost amazing.

77 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Hurrah for refunds!

Woeful. In terms of story and narration, it's a cure for insomnia and that's about it.

56 people found this helpful

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How is this rated so high?

Because it makes perfect sense for a lvl 1 character to one shot lvl 70s, multiple time. That same lvl 50 character then summon multiple lvl 150 minions and take over a whole city. If that's how the system is set up, sure, but not really because only MC can do it and NO ONE else can, including beta testers... At this point please don't call it litrpg, call it wish "fulfillment isekai: I was trapped in an idiot world". How this is rated so high is beyond me.

53 people found this helpful

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Almost certainly written by a computer

The writing is like bad teen fiction, the protagonist lives the dream life of every bullied kid. He shows everyone how strong and independent he is, including his parents, He leaves school and makes his living playing the titular game, seemingly able to play it in ways unfathomable to even the creators.

In addition, the flow of the writing is off, it randomly switches from using contractions to not using them, the player is the master of making plans that he, in his own opinion, has no chance of succeeding at, but miraculously is victorious, time and time again.


52 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Reader is dull unfortunately

I loved the book. I am a huge fan of Ready Player One and this is very reminiscent of that - minus the 80's nostalgia. The reader was just terrible tho. Fortunately he wasn't bad enough to return the book, but had the story even been four stars I would have returned it. Sometimes I caught myself criticizing the reader more than listening to the actual story. Considered getting the book, but I listen to books on my commute and don't have a ton of other time to read, and I loved the story.

35 people found this helpful

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this Review brought to you by all the reviews.

This is a story of teenage male angst wish fulfillment and the reviewing of in game stats. The character development is a bit flat, and be prepared for a lot "strange feeling"s, cartoonish evilness, and checking up on how Jason numbers have changed.

35 people found this helpful

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Hands down the best Lit-RPG genre book

Awaken online is a marvel among a growing genre of immersive mmorpg books. The main character, Jason, is unique, clever, likable, and flawed and the world around him grows and changes to parallel his own personal growth.
Unlike other lit-rpg books, no one is trapped inside the game during this book, there is no contrived death-is-real shenanigans, and the MC doesn't exploit some miraculous luck or cheap exploit to mindlessly indulge the audience's power fantasies.
The game is run by a borderline illegal AI (from the future *spooky noises*) that's sole prerogative is to enhance the lives of its players. To do this, it gets personal and the quests reflect MC's real life issues. Overcoming them helps him to become the player he fantasizes himself to be outside the game world.
So if the game enhances his real life, lets hope his real life is interesting! Well, it isn't. He's got parents who have high expectations but pay him very little attention, he's got an extremely cliche elite jock bully who's out to make his life miserable (complete with teachers and principal who are hellbent on his expulsion), as well as an assortment of other problems dealing with being an insecure teenager. Most of these issues are pretty generic, but they're symptoms of an underlying problem with the MC's lack of self-worth and ability to stand up for himself. As he delves into the gameworld and grows - his bitterness and desire for righteous vengeance dissolve - the symptoms of his problems are made irrelevant and he begins to focus on his own happiness and future. This is a refreshingly adult take on a generally YA style power fantasy

27 people found this helpful

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  • Ruth Wade
  • 07-27-17

Loved it!

If you are a fan of Ready Player One, Super Powereds or the Off to be the Wizard series then you will love this. Great all round concept and story, the best audiobook I have listened to in a good while.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris Dawson
  • 09-06-17

Best played at X 1.05 speed as narrator is slow

Takes a while to get into but eventually all comes good. Best played at X 1.05 speed as narrator's speech is a bit on the slow side.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Kyle Groenewald
  • 03-30-17

Instant addiction

I found this soon after listening to Ready Player One. I became addicted to this book within the first chapter. The story is good, the reader did a very good job on the voices and the way the plot unfold and twists between the game and real life was fantastic. I have already bought the second one. I highly recommend the heck out of this audiobook​!

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • chris topliss
  • 05-29-18

David Stifel learn how to pronounce trébuchet

The story is slow to start but soon gains momentum…unlike the narrator.
David Stifel is a bit slow, but the most annoying thing was his inability to pronounce trébuchet correctly…the end ‘t’ is silent.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-07-20

so underwhelming.

I found this a real struggle to engage with as well as finish. The start of the story was leading towards a classic underdog story, which I happen to quite enjoy. For me however the author tried too hard to be different and create something edgy and different. I find myself disliking the main character and the direction of this series.
This is a series for me that I just can't get into and I will not be continuing.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-24-19

Angry boys revenge fantasy

I will fully admit that I gave up 90 minutes in to this audiobook. I don't give up on books easily, but this really was not good at all.

As a gamer, I figured this would be up my street, but it's essentially an angry rich teenage boy's revenge fantasy, or at least the first 90 minutes are! The main character was unlikable and hackneyed, and unless the author put some killer twists in I think I can see how this all plans out without reading the book, not that I really care to Such a disappointment.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • add642
  • 09-26-18

Good story bad voice actor

The story itself ways very interesting, one of the most riveting in the litRPG genre with a powerful main character, missing out all the cringe worthy and disappointing stereotypes of “at the last second” or “with 1hp left” which makes the story more personal. The voice actor on the other hand sounds like a robot with no clear tone difference in characters and the pronunciation of trebuchet made me want to skip the whole chapter

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sanu Sath
  • 03-02-17

A great listen!

I was on the look out for a book like this, I really enjoy mmorpgs and also love reading works of fiction around the themes

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-02-17

Great story, okay narrator.

Loved the story. Narrator was okay. Kept saying trebuchet with a hard t, which was jarring.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-10-17

great start to a series.

I started listening to this book whilst running a few errands, I ended up listening to the entire story in one go. The LitRPG genre is my current addiction this is one of the better ones. I thoroughly enjoyed the main character and his tactical playstyle. My only complaint would be that the main character seems to be overpowered from almost the beginning of the game.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tarei
  • 04-24-17

Story is ace!

Having enjoyed Sword Art online, this was along a similar vein, the anti-hero aspect is a nice story mechanic and I found myself enjoying more of this than I thought.

While people discredit the voice actor, you might find the tone a little off putting, the story is worth the perseverance, and Druid really makes the story his own. I grew to enjoy the story more due to his efforts.

Have fun, make your own decision - Sword Art/Armada and Ready Player One fans will enjoy this.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Leilani Coetzee
  • 12-12-16

great story

the voice actor is a bit off putting. I recommend this for anyone in search for a good storyline.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for B. Rawlings
  • B. Rawlings
  • 05-20-21

A slow builder with poor choice of narrator.

For the first hour or two of the story, I really struggled not to turn it off and give up. The narrator, although talented at narrated, was definitely not suited to this particular book. His strange voice makes it feel like a book for children or young teens, and he'd be much better suited to narrating stories in those genres. However, after slowly getting used to the narration and pushing through it, I was pleased to find that the story finds its feet and starts to get good. It's not amazing, nor does it push any boundaries, but it does manage to stay interesting enough to enjoy. There were a few elements that felt like overlooked plot-holes, but they aren't too irritating. The biggest irritation for me was the narrator's inability to pronounce the word "Trebuchets" correctly. This wouldn't have been such a big issue if it weren't for the fact that the word appears at least 15 times in the final battle and he said it wrong every time. I'm surprised no one in production picked up on it.

Honestly, I'd recommend the Noobtown series over this one, if only for the humour it delivers that this one lacks (or does poorly when it does try), but that's not to say that this is bad either. I am planning to listen to the second story in the series.

2 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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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-16-22

Average

An ok story with an unrelateable protagonist, with robot like dialogue delivered the best it can be. Strong themes which help to draw readers in for further installments.

Read/listen to "He who fights with monsters"

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Marshall
  • 12-08-21

couldn't make it past the performance

it may be a decent story, I don't know. The performance is really hard to listen to.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Austin
  • Austin
  • 10-25-21

Poor voice acting

Voice actor has little to no emotion and cannot pronounce trebuchet to save his life

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-23-21

decent story but the writing was basic.

A cool premise for sure. the writing though. "something in him snapped..." then a page later "something in her snapped..." or "this can't be fair he thought "this can't be fair" he said."

I won't consider the next book until I have exhausted every other book on my list and even then it will be like returning to an abuse relationship like twilight.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-19-21

First LitRPG book... wow!

What a great book! I was very sceptical of the combination of RPG elements into a fantasy novel. But , now I think this is the only way to do modern sci-fi/fantasy fiction. The RPG elements blended perfectly with character development and mirrored the buzz of leveling up in MMORPG's perfectly.

I highly recommend this story for anyone new to the genre. The narrative is unique and engaging. I found all elements of plot and characterisation to be smoothly handled and engaging.

The only negative was the narration at the begining of the story. The narrator had a really boring voice and was reading very very slowly. This all improved over time as he produced some great character voices. I also came to find his smooth and calm narration very relaxing. I could see this audiobook being something to help me sleep on flights... soon I hope 😅🤞

Fantastic audiobook, definitely worth your monthly credit.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • zak
  • 08-14-21

loveing it

loved it and i can say david stifel fits the voices so well + jerry is the best

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-11-21

great story

great story and writing, but the narrator really throws it off. h h h