• Awaken Online: Ember

  • Tarot, Book 1
  • By: Travis Bagwell
  • Narrated by: David Stifel
  • Length: 16 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (2,962 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Finn Harris should have been the one to die.

But he wasn't - his wife took his place. What was worse, he only had himself and his company to blame. They let their passion outpace their prudence, determined to revolutionize the world. While all innovation comes with a price, he never imagined it would cost him Rachael.

Nearly a decade later, Finn is content to hole himself up and wait out the rest of his life - what little he has left. That is, until his daughter intervenes, forcing him out of his grief and into a new virtual reality game developed by his old employer. They're calling it Awaken Online, and she believes there's something unusual going on inside the game. And since Finn knows the company, knows their tactics - she might be right.

Finn wasn't sure what he expected to find when he logged in. But it certainly wasn't a manipulative fire god or a school for mages - where the students are pitted against each other in deadly duels and the faculty isn't shy about maiming or injuring novice mages to prove a point.

Now Finn must learn to fight, for his own life and a chance at redemption. He'll need to prove that his fire hasn't been snuffed out.

That there's still an ember burning...

©2019 Travis Bagwell (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about Awaken Online: Ember

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Solid Side Story

Narrative- I have read the other available Awaken Online books released to this point and found them enjoyable. Though of the side/non-Jason stories, I would have to say that this is the strongest. Apathy, Unity, and Retribution are good self contained stories but lean upon the reader knowing emotional changes and character development that happens in the main plot. Thus, making them feel too narrow when compared to how the main series can cover more characters and more development. Ember and what I assume the Tarot series does better is that it completely divorces itself from Jason. Thus the characters and the story can go on its own path without the thoughts of how it ties back into the "main problem(s)". Finn is a great character I thought and offered his own perception and opinions on full immersion VR. His perspective is unique to the other POV characters the series has offered and it was enjoyable. I would however only recommend this to those already following the series as their are references that make the reading more enjoyable with the fore-knowledge.

Audio Performance- David Stifel delivered once again and performed on par with his other entries in the series. Strong sense of voice of the characters and he can really deliver emotional or dramatic beats in the story.

32 people found this helpful

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Better and Better

Normally I am not all about Side Quests and Side Characters in a World but Travis Bagwell has done it again. I absolutely loved this book and we really got some good information on the creation story of our AI and the Magic System in AO online. I also enjoyed that the Main Character was an Adult, gives you a different perspective on the whole world, it also shows the abilities from Travis Bagwell. So we follow the story of the Fire Mage on his way to his Conquest in AO online. Like other Main Characters he has to overcome personal inhibitions and is Fixed by the AI. Excellent addition to the World.

Random Side note " Fire Mage " come on who doesnt want to burn everything?

16 people found this helpful

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Best Awaken Online book yet!

Travis Bagwell is great at providing a strong emotional driving force in his characters, and he's really hit it out of the park with this one. This new side story in the universe features the most mature and gripping character yet. This also adds a ton of context to the universe of Awaken online and makes me even more hungry to see how the character of the AI controller develops. Is it a force for good, something that helps the users grow as people, or something insidious and tempting? If you've been keeping up with the Awaken Online series, definitely don't skip this one. if you haven't started it, I'd still recommend beginning on Book 1: Catharsis

As always, David Stifel's narration is excellent and perfect for the story.

11 people found this helpful

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An Amazing book to 'burn' through!

Travis Bagwell has made another amazing book in the world of Awaken Online. You will find yourself on a journey of adventure that doesn't let up till the very end and leaves you wanting more.

9 people found this helpful

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I don't get it, why 4.5 star rating

Not sure why this book had such high rating, duento the high rating I purchased the book. from the start, didn't like the narrinator but because of the high rating, I stuck it out. The story line isn't that great but due to high rating kept listening. after spending 9 hours, I said no more. I don't rate books often because, well it takes a lot of time. however, I feel cheated, felt like monotone reading and mediocre storyline. I read some reviews and it also had poor rating so how did it get 4.5 stars?

7 people found this helpful

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Meh

This review is filled to the brim with spoilers.

Perhaps I'm biased towards Jason. Perhaps I'm jaded by dead wife depressed widower. Perhaps the message that the story seems to be alluding to (live in the past, maybe the dead can come back to life?) bugs me?

Either way, this story didn't impress me. Actually each new Awaken Online Story has grown less and less good for me. I mean. It was still worth reading. Still 'good.' But no longer amazing like the original two books were.

Finn is boringly indecisive, especially for someone apparently expected to be the incarnation of Passion. He has no passion at all. Literally any other character in this story makes more sense for an incarnation of passion. The whole story is about his... distressingly dull attempts to care about shit.

Worst of all, his abilities don't reflect a master of passion and creation. He comes up with a grand total of one spell and it's fucking Enchant Item. Six hours talking about what channelling does to spells (which anyone listening to a litRPG already knows) and we get floating blades. That's it. THAT. IS. ALL.

We didn't get an aura of flame. We didn't get creative fire spells that turn the ground to lava. Didn't even get so much as an inferno.

The ending, the thing that finally gives Finn the resolve to embrace Awaken Online and believe that it could be real, simultaneously causes him to murder the beings he JUST came to accept as real?

It's not a good story. It's wonky. Finn's motivations are dull. Finn's Daughter just being there feels awkward and is never explained. The librarian who is OBVIOUSLY the background leader of the whole guild is so OBVIOUSLY OBVIOUS its not even funny.

The entire framework of the story is a tourney among novices to inherit leadership of the city... which... what the fuck? Why would you choose a novice?

I just... was incredibly unimpressed with this story. All the other marked ones usurped or took over their respective cities in ways that felt organic. This one just feels contrived. From the very beginning you are presented with a city and a prison of mages, a tourney pitting pretty much all the main characters against each other, and a relatively interesting fire themed powerset. All of this SHOULD add up to something awesome, but instead just feels silly. All of the final characters happen to be in the NEWEST batch of novices despite the implication that hundreds and hundreds of novices are competing in this tournament. The freshest, newest magic users end up the top 4.

Also, the points you gain for winning a match are 10. Okay. At somewhere in the MIDDLE of this two week tourney Finn has over 2000 points! He has won 200 duels. He has killed roughly 200 students! And he's STILL Angsting about killing players that revive in an hour in a realistic video game!

Yes yes it reminds him of his dead wife... *eyeroll*

Just. There are lots of inconsistencies that ruin this story. Any one wouldn't have caused much but as they all stack up it becomes intolerable.
1) Letting Novices compete for rule of a city? Okay... maybe the Amir wants to train their successor rather than have someone already old. Sure. Okay.
2) Finn killing NPC's AFTER accepting the possibility that NPC's might actually just be real people? Oh....kay.... That's... yeah that's a thing...
3) The strongest Novices all being from the same starting class in a group of nearly or more than 1000? --___-- Starting to get a tad skeptical here.
4)Finn never giving a flying fuck about his pet AI's developing fucking PERSONALITY when his whole shtick is that he developed an AI that got his wife killed? At this point I have issues.
5)Finn having so much creativity that he creates literally the first spells you learn in EVERY FUCKING RPG on the face of the planet and having everyone be so amazed by his floating fucking daggers?

... Really? Just... REALLY?

Travis clearly should stick to Necro cuz mage ain't his strong suit. The multi casting stuff was neat but underutilized. Also... did anyone else miss the dungeon crawling aspect that AO has had up till now? There was zero PVE involved in this story. Any true mage prison knows that the best way to keep your mages in line is endless fucking fetch quests through dangerous territory! Also, why don't any of these mages run away? It's never implied that this would be difficult. Hell the duels literally teleport the mages OUT of the Mage guild. What's to stop these people from just... fuckin' off to play AO like all the other players who didn't start out with the same intro as Skyrim?

Despite all of these issues, the story it's STILL worth reading. Still better than MOST litrpgs. That said, this wasn't even close to Travis's best story. In fact, with it coming out so closely after Frank's story, I'm starting to suspect he just has publishers rushing the fuck out of him. This was disappointing.

That said. I still bought it, and have yet to buy Frank's story. So. Y'know.

Weirdly, this was the first time I felt like the Narrator actually FIT the story though. David's voice sounds much older than I feel makes sense for Jason or Riley or Frank, but fit's Finn pretty perfectly. Not that the narration of earlier AO stories was bad at all. Just realizing that the voice fits Finn much better than the younger Protagonists.

7 people found this helpful

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Well, that might just have been the best litrpg I have ever listened to.

In fact, it was just a great book. The storyline in AO was just as deep as the story outside which made the story riveting. Great job Travis Bagwell.

7 people found this helpful

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So good and can stand on its own

Cranky old programmer that gets trolled by his programmer daughter turns into a epic that I won’t soon forget. Travis Bagwell’s writing evolution and skill are in full force here and it doesn’t feel like a shitty side narrative to the other awaken online stories.

I like how this is compartmentalized and has all sorts of nuggets for the readers is the earlier books without hard core re-iteration of world building points.

You can read this book standalone and have an excellent adventure.

6 people found this helpful

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Too Similar to Book 1 of Awaken Online: Catharsis

Yes, the characters were completely different along with the realm they inhabited but the story unfolded somewhat similarly. The protagonist was a withdrawn individual due to their real world experiences and the game AI glommed onto his brokenness to use as a catalyst to achieve a game pursuit while also helping the MC to move beyond their self-imposed limitations. The MC oddly accepted some literature seemingly written by an ancient mage as truly being an ancient account even though he was very much aware that the historical events dating back hundreds of year was simply made up stuff, most likely from the AI itself.

Travis Bagwell is a gifted writer and David Stifel was an excellent narrator but the story's framework was too similar to the previous Awaken Online series that it didn't captivate me as much as the first series book 1.

5 people found this helpful

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  • TD
  • 12-22-19

Intriguingly good

New character more mysteries.
This was refreshing, love learning more about the world of AO and the character living in it and the ones influence by it.
Love the new character and his journey. Another excellent job from the narrator. Can't wait for the next book. I'm so emotional invested in all the characters. This book series is just a gift that keeps on giving.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Morris
  • 12-06-19

Better than the original

I absolutely love this book it tops the original. I cant wait for him to meet the original sins. The mc is a total badass, he is analytical and deadly. His power over fire is overwhelming to say the least!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Silk
  • 12-02-19

Another exceptional novel by Travis Bagwell

Brilliantly written
Fantastic Narration
An amazing addition to the Awaken Online Saga.
Finn is a worthy side step from Jason and the main story and as such could be taken as a completely independent story that could stand on its own even if you haven't read the other novels, as a complement to them it shines like a star and fleshes out the AO universe.
Between Travis's writing and David's narration you connect and empathise with the characters, genuinely caring about their futures.
I await his next novels with baited breath!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-01-19

Stunning

Really loved this book and I want more!! This one was so amazing in multiple ways.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 04-10-20

Excellent!

Different to the other books in the series. Really enjoyed it and binge-listened. Highly recommended

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-13-20

Great book

I loved this story. As good at the original story. Can't wait for the next one

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  • Kristopher Eccles
  • 01-02-20

Good basis OK story

I enjoyed the book of the new series the basis is sound but the overall story is lack luster each chapter felt like the previous kinda hoping something new was going to happen and the progress and surprises and twists in the story where extremely predictable. I love the original books but was really hoping it was going to go up a step or at least be as interesting in game and out of game as the original books where.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-31-21

Love you Travis

This is the second time I’ve read through this book the whole series is on high rotation all the time. The world Travis has built is sensational with characters that have real depth and emotion. The story of this book and his others have so many beautiful layers and David reads the heck out of it, conveying the fun and the brevity of the book. Would recommend this and Travis’ other books in a heart beat.

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  • Matthew Carpenter
  • 07-31-21

Who wrote this??

I have listened to all 3 in this series and will just write this one review. My problem with this off shoot of the original series, is it feels like it was written by someone else. It follows none of the original series mechanics. The character feels over the top and manufactured with a immature point of view on how the character should behave, not one of an older man. The difference of who wrote this and the original awaken online series feels like night and day, irritated I had to listen to it because it made parts of the latest book not make complete sense.

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  • liam ridgeway
  • 03-23-21

still awesome

was hesitant on buyint this. but just needed my awaken online craving filled
the voices in this book are awesome. nice to hear something different

its also cool to see the story go into..other
.. mechanics