• Dungeon Born

  • Divine Dungeon Series, Book 1
  • By: Dakota Krout
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (15,807 ratings)

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Dungeon Born

By: Dakota Krout
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
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Publisher's Summary

A powerful dungeon. A sheep-herder turned Noble. Their path to ascendance through cultivation. 

Conquering dungeons and using them to grow has long been the most efficient way to become a powerful adventurer. The only thing keeping the process from being easy is the Beasts that inhabit these places. Questions plague those entering this particular place of power: Where do the "rewards" of weapons, armor, and heavy gold coins come from? Why is a fluffy bunny charging at me? For abyss-sake, why are there so many monsters? 

Cal has all of the answers to these age-old questions for a very simple reason. He is a Dungeon Core, a soul forced against his will into a magical stone. With the help of an energetic friend, Cal grows a dungeon around himself to bring in new sources of power. 

When a threat he doesn't fully comprehend bares its many teeth, Cal is determined to survive the attempt on his life. Unfortunately for adventurers, the only way for him to achieve his goal is to eat anyone that enters his depths. 

©2016 Dakota Krout (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about Dungeon Born

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    10,934
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    3,246
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    997
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Performance
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    10,047
  • 4 Stars
    2,969
  • 3 Stars
    1,001
  • 2 Stars
    319
  • 1 Stars
    301

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A fun concept poorly executed

To anyone who enjoys fantasy RPG games, including old school paper Dungeons & Dragons, the premise of this book is an interesting one. Why are there so many dungeons around just sitting there waiting for a party of adventures to come and plunder them? How did they get there and where did the monsters come from? What do those monsters in each room do all day long when the dungeon is not being raided? How can a rat drop a helmet twice its size as loot after it is killed? Well this book attempts to explain all of that and while a tongue in cheek book about the illogic of fantasy RPG video games may sound like fun, let me tell you why you might want to avoid this one.

This review serves as a word of warning to anyone interested in this book that you should put some extra effort into your screening process before deciding to pick it up. The book itself is fun at times but the majority is mediocre at best and sometimes it is just downright poorly written. This makes me question the many 5 stars ratings of this book on Amazon and Audible. Even very popular, best selling works by talented authors don't garner such ratings. My advice to you is that you should go out of your way to look at some of the lower rated comments on Amazon as well as the good ones to allow yourself to form a balanced opinion. Don't forget that people who return the book on Audible don't get to post a review.

The over-emoted narration of the audiobook is often beyond annoying with the first few hours of dialogue between the dungeon and the wisp being quite painful. I certainly encourage you to listen to the sample here on Audible to decide for yourself if the narration is ok for you or not. Note that they carefully avoided the really bad over-emoting in the audio sample but you can still experience a few hints of it. Vikas Adam clearly has talent but any time there is dialogue between the dungeon and the wisp his reading makes me cringe.

I quickly decided during the very annoying first few hours of the book to return it to Audible to get my money back, which made me wonder why the other reviews did not warn me off. So I decided to finish listening, just in case there was indeed a 5 star listen hiding behind a slow start, but sadly, there is not. At least by not returning it I can post this review to offer a different opinion, but I suspect it will get buried by unhelpful votes from those behind the skewed ratings.

261 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A Gem in the RPG/Fantasy Genre

I stumbled upon this book while sifting through the Audible store. It sounded like a fun twist on the RPG World style fiction that I have recently been drawn to. What I did not expect is how quickly I would get drawn into the world that Dakota was spinning. This story takes you through the nostalgia filled settings of many a great RPG/Fantasy World from a perspective that I never even thought to envision; through the eyes of a young and only recently sentient Dungeon Core. You the dungeon through discovery after discovery as it comes into it's own developing itself into a great dungeon worthy of the best adventurers. Dakota weaves the mechanics of the symbiotic relationship between Dungeon, Adventurer, and Society as all grow and evolve around each other.

With the Audiobook, Vikas Adam excellently portrays the childish wonder behind the young and growing sentience that is the Dungeon Core. I feel Vikas portrayed the personalities of Dakota's characters so well that, even though I am dying to move on to book two, I feel I must wait for the next Audiobook to be released so that I can experience the book in all the excellence that is created via the pairing of Dakota and Vika's work.

I highly recommend checking this book out and I will be sharing it with all my friends.

192 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Just a heads up.

In this series the narrator changes without warning a few books in. The transition is jarring and awful. The new reader doesn't even attempt to stay along similar voices as the previous. I wish I was warned.

184 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

ESSENCE

DARK ELVES, YES.
I want to start with the best part of this audio book and that is the narrator. If he does not win an AUDIE for this performance, than there is no justice in the world. Even when I started to lose interest in the story, his great performance kept me listening. Let me preface this, with the fact that I tend to like narrators who act more than narrate. Some people don't like that type of narration. Vikas Adams is the heir apparent to Dick Hill or Will Wheaton.

BLOOD MOSS
This was a unique book and starts out way different than most. It pretty much starts out with a gem that falls in a puddle. We are witness to the coming of age of a dungeon. A dungeon in a RPG game. We are also witness to the coming of age of a soon to be hero. To those in the story, this is their reality.

MY NAME IS TOM
My head was really in this and I was really enjoying this for the first seven hours. I listen to the rest of the book, but it was getting too repetitive and too Game-ish for this 59 year old man. It started off as a sort of Asimov Fantasy (if he had ever wrote fantasy), but ended more about the game. The whole purpose of the players and the dungeon are to gain ESSENCE and I felt if I heard the word ESSENCE one more time, I might shoot myself. For them ESSENCE is life and without it they die, as this is their reality and there are some times in the second half of the book where you wonder if the dungeon or the main character might die.

YEA, YOU!!
This was not a five star listen for the whole 12 and a half hours, but I might go ahead and continue the series. Hopefully, some of the reviews will shed light on the sequels.

71 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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The Dungeon is Alive!!

I had heard this story compared to Ready Player One, but where that was a futurist game going back to earlier well known games, this one was more like going back to beginning game programming. Back when you programmed in DOS. I remember writing little programs where first you learned to put a pixel character on screen, then learned how to move the character around, then learned to make the character interact with other things you programmed. This book reminded me of that. First Cal learned to create things, then learned to move them around, then each time he would see how his little monsters interacted, he would go back and re-do them to make them better.

I think this would be teen - young adult range, but as a (sometimes) adult I still enjoyed the story and would go onto the second in this series, just to find out all the changes the dungeon would come up.

Since I listened to this as an audiobook, the narrator, Vikas Adam, did a good job on all the characters. The Dungeon Heart (Cal) and his little willow-o-wisp (Danny) were portrayed in young pre-teen voices and like most pre-teens they seemed to get into little arguments over nothings. Vikas did a good job portraying their teen angst.

66 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Dungeon Dive Gone Wrong

Dungeon Born is a book I wanted badly to like. It promised an unconventional story told from the perspective of a dungeon - how cool - and had it followed through on this premise, I would have hung on every word.

Unfortunately, it let me down on multiple levels (pun intended). The first four chapters were an absolute slog, a "tutorial" of sorts that instruct the reader on the rules of dungeon building. I understand that this is probably a calculated risk that the author takes, but it still could have answered the who, what, where of the story, instead of just the how. What it does do is clue the reader into the fact that Dungeon Born takes place in a game world, where visions, hopes and dreams matter less than rank, loot and gold. Cal, the dungeon-main character, is thinly painted, and I still don't understand his motivations or his backstory (although I guess it has to do with the necromancer in the epilogue).

Despite the book's rocky start, I was looking forward to following Cal and his sidekick Dani as the focus of the book. The introduction of Dale spoils that. Dale and his friends are the first to enter the dungeon, and we have Dale murder his obnoxious jerk of a party member before he exits, leaving him as the sole survivor and beneficiary of the knowledge of the dungeon.

Dale then goes on to buy the land the dungeon sits on, and wheel and deal his way to greater fortunes and rank. He had all the makings of a good antagonist, a villain that Cal will eventually swallow up, except that he isn't. We come to learn that he, too, is a protagonist, which is odd considering the initial premise of the book (a fantasy tale told from the perspective of a dungeon).

Having Dale as the de facto protagonist wouldn't be so bad if the world he inhabited weren't completely borrowed from World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings. It has both dark elves and high elves. It uses the concept of video game guilds, which is different than what a guild would usually mean in a true fantasy world. It has barbarians modeled after Conan, even though they seem out of place. Dungeon Born promises an unconventional story, and then baits and switches it with the most conventional story of all. It's as if we were sitting down to read Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead, only to be fooled into reading about Romeo and Juliet instead.

I'm glad there are people that like this book, even if I am not one of them. There were certainly moments I enjoyed (for example, having people automatically removed from the mountain by simply saying that weren't welcome made for a good visual). The battles were well-written and easy-to-follow. The final boss and ending seemed inspired. But having Cal and Dani take a backseat to a guy I personally had a hard time rooting for - a murderer whose greatest instincts are those of a businessman - ultimately killed the story for me.

50 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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interesting idea with terrible execution.

over all this book leaves me feeling disappointed. It has such a compelling concept and idea that I couldn't help but get excited about it but it's terrible execution left me wanting. The author has a childishly immature way of narrating the story that made me cringe at its awkwardness. the characters were flat and two-dimensional, their interactions were cringe-worthy and lackluster. the voice actor acted the crap out of it but the poor material just made it feel awkward.

47 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Lackluster storytelling.

Reads like a video game tutorial written to sell future games in the series. Interesting concept, but no closure to the story, it just stops.

The performance of the book is excellent, though.

32 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good book but some dialog is cringe-worthy

I thought this was a good book however, dialog between Cal and another character are extremely cringe worthy. The other side of the tale and he's growth with the humans was much more interesting. Don't want to introduce spoilers but you'll notice the cringe worthy dialog within the first few chapters.

The narrator was great.

32 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I dont think Ive finished an audiobook faster.

What did you love best about Dungeon Born?

The nature of Cal and the dungeon. It was endearing and to be honest reminded me of myself when I was a child. The insatiable pursuit for knowledge and understanding. It helped that Cal was generally hilarious. He wanted to learn, to grow, but help while he did it. It was heart-warming in an odd way.

What did you like best about this story?

Two things: The unique point of view from Cal and his story -It wasn't as cut and dry as I expected. It was unique and I genuinely was surprised by some of the directions the book took. Plus I've always really wanted to know what a dungeon core was thinking. Pretty great insight on one, if you ask meCharacters felt real. They melded well and all had a really believable feeling to them. Their speech was something I could hear being a real interaction. For the most part, it wasn't stunted or robotic, it sounded organic. There were some cheesy characters, but they never took away from the story. They didn't take away from the other characters conversing.

Which character – as performed by Vikas Adam – was your favorite?

That's a hard choice. If I HAD to pick I dont think I could between three of them. Hanz, Dani, and Cal were all very solid. Cal was realistic in an odd way, even though it was hard to put myself in his place, it was explained and performed well enough that there were times I would lose myself to what I was seeing and hearing. And it felt nice! And the earlier days reminded me of myself as a child. Always wanting to learn and help. Then later reward those that able to think things out and act accordingly. Dani was probably the best in terms of dialogue to me. Her shifts in mood and bossy nature are familiar and made me grin. I know someone a lot like her, so she was instantly a character that I felt I knew and liked a lot. Her quips almost always were able to illicit a reaction, be it a grin or an eyeroll. Plus her voice was spot on. The second I heard it, there was no doubt that there could be another voice for her. Vikas nailed it. Hanz was just.. Hanz! A somewhat highbrow trickster, funny and deadly! Wasnt afraid to get his hands dirty though. He's hard to explain and complex - though I feel that is through lack of information at the moment. The guy is a good guy and always good for a smile or laugh.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I cant say without spoiling. There a part near the end though, I was almost in tears and cheering for a group. I really wanted to see them succeed.

Any additional comments?

Its not a terribly long book. Which is the biggest down side! I wanted to hear more and I am so tempted to buy the next one rather than wait for the audio. Vikas's performance really takes it to the next level and I cant ruin that. Overall, this is probably one of my favorite books and listens of the past 2 or so years. I cant wait for the next one to come out.

TL;DR - The book is great. Story is exciting, Vikas has hiccups in the beginning it feels, but quickly smoothes out to being the perfect fit, characters all feel like real people. If you love fantasy. Buy it. If you ever were a game nerd and always wondered what a dungeon core was like, how things happened in the dungeon when you weren't there, buy it. Its not too long and well worth the listen.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Dan Wright
  • 05-05-17

loved it

great book. alittle daft but lots of fun. well worth a read. give it a go.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 03-31-17

Fantastic Book

Any additional comments?

Whilst, for my personal taste some of the voices felt off, I loved every moment of this book, and am eagerly awaiting book 2. Throughout the experience of listening to the novel, not once did I feel bored or had to force myself to continue; each and every chapter added to the book in an interesting way.I really did love listening to this. (Apart from some minor voice issues)

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ozzimmer
  • 04-04-18

Great Concept, Novice Writer

The best part of this book is the concept of an entire Dungeon being a kind of Mimic and forming a symbiosis with Dungeoneers for food while giving them loot.

The worst is that the author isnt that great at writing stories. Its not bad and has its moments which were quite amusing but he needs to learn more, refine his ability. Same goes for the voice actor used too.

Im giving no2 a shot as I did enjoy the ride.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • j o Huntington
  • 03-02-18

Brilliant idea let down by sloppy writing

I really wanted to enjoy this book. The idea is original and exciting with so much scope for bringing a wonderful genre to life in a fresh way, however the writing just isn't strong enough to carry the premise to its full potential. There are some truly awful moments with plagiarised jokes "don't call me Shirley" (Airplane) and really lazy moments, "it was dark, until it wasn't" (not exact quote) but there are several of these moments.
Vikas Adam is clearly a talented voice artist however here it is very much a case of trying to hard. Some voices are overdone to the point of being unbareably annoying and as a result any possibility for character nuances are entirely lost.
I would only recommend Dungeon Born to die hard fans of the fantasy genre or D&D games; give it a go and see if you are happy to overlook it's many shortcomings and make it to the second book, sadly not for me.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Morris
  • 11-25-18

dungeon born?

Well let's just say the book isn't the only dungeon born. after listening to this I feel as if I'm a dungeon born too! this book is a must read it is fun light hearted and has amazing characters. I love the authors way with words, it really captures you inside of the story

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joanna R.
  • 08-06-19

Great! ...but Dani's voice though

I have read all the books and I wanted to listen to it while doing other things but the vikas Adam's voice doesn't fit well with Dani and some others which can grate on my nerves so... Best book ever but not the narrator

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Meera
  • 03-29-19

Amazing

I could not put this book down! It was so full of descriptions that brought the images clearly to mind, a growth and magic system that made sense, a new concept and view on gaming dungeons from the view of the dungeon. I fell in love with this series and just can't wait to see how it grows. Danni and Cal are wonderful and the battles as well as the mechanisms just make so much sense to me. I introduced my other half to the series shortly after and am currently rereading them with him.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LexZ
  • 11-13-18

unique and great fun

In the fantasy genre this is, unique. I can't say I have ever read anything so totally original. Apart from being in the fantasy genre, it stands alone. I don't want to spoil it at all and suggest you read it to find out why it really is so good and original. Great fun and compelling read, loved it. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave M
  • 07-23-19

Funny, original and fast paced

Excellent book with very funny original story lines. Fun and tast paced, worth a read

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    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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  • AudiobookDevotee
  • 06-20-21

Nothing special

Compared to the Ritualist series I thought this was a bit weak. The main dungeon character gets maybe half the screentime compared to the guy who owns the land it's on. To be honest, it got a bit repetitive and while I normally like Hard Magic systems this one took a lot of exposition to explain. Good for background listening perhaps.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-04-19

Badly written

Unique concept but characters are not fully thought out and interactions make no sense with personal background i.e Dani is 2 dimensional as a major character with repetitive speech and limited growth as a character pretty much sums up all the characters, not worth the buy

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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  • connor
  • 11-30-17

Generic

Every dungeon book I have read had some feature which drew me in . this book is just a generic dungeon story there are several books in the audible library that are more interesting in the dungeon genre this book takes all the standards of the dungeon genre and tries to put a little twist on them but just come out more bland characters are interesting but that's about the best of it.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen Darragh
  • 05-16-19

Fairly awful

This is an unimaginative story written in a pedestrian and irritating way. There are little moments of drama, but they are buried in clouds of poor descriptive language and strained metaphors.

The narrator’s voicing of the wisp is just horrible. Aside from that, he did a workmanlike job, but doesn’t know how to correctly pronounce a great many words.

Don’t waste your money.

1 person 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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  • Lee Redwood. Gorin
  • 05-18-17

now I know

been reading random litrpg stories . n ok w I know what one they were ripping off or thinking they could do a better job. Hope there is more of this made.
doise a good job of showing a town grow. And epic quest of one location.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mistique65
  • 11-16-21

Slow to start but builds up.

The early chapters as a slog, but once the setup has been done it picks up quickly and becomes very enjoyable and fun.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • calgrove
  • 10-26-21

So many better examples of LitRPG around

Narration is painful and character development almost just as bad. Bone Dungeon is a much better example of this plot type.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mishn Impossible
  • 07-20-21

Fantastic

Really really good. love the detail of mana and essence being described. Highly recommend to any dungeon fans

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    5 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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  • Mitchell
  • 12-23-20

A lot of D&d fun

If you play D&D and are looking for an enjoyable read then give this a whirl!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ai
  • 05-16-20

Just read it

You HAVE TO READ THIS! I love all of Dakota Krout’s stuff! Not as good as the completionist chronicles but certainly close! I can’t wait for the next one to download!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 02-17-20

Dungeon Born

This book is bloody brilliant a must to listen to and owned. Written by Dakota Krout who did a wonderful job of with this book and series and with the voice acting talents and skills of Vilas Adam who makes the characters and world come alive with the narration of this book 12 /10 stars a must to listen to owned