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Publisher's Summary

A soldier's downfall becomes the chance of a life time. Luca will pay any price to uncover the lost art of cultivation and reveal a path to the heavens.

During his many years in the army, few men served Mindea as faithfully as Luca. Clawing his way into the elite ranks of Ballum's Fist, the man hoped to rouse his dormant core. After every Elixir of Awakening failed, however, he relinquished such dreams in the hopes of returning home.

Yet even that is torn away when he and his men collide with an unexpected fate. Facing a monk from distant Shuya, who wields not one but all of the elements, Luca is forced to question all he knows about cultivation.

Our exiled hero will find a new purpose. Luca must gather allies, battle Mana Beasts, and ascend his core as quickly as possible. For once he has taken this terrible power unto himself, enemies arise from the distant reaches of Andaya.

Through it all, Luca learns one undeniable fact:

Wielding the power of the gods is not for the weak of heart.

First Fist is a Progression Fantasy novel that contains the following elements:

  • Wuxia/Cultivation with an epic fantasy tone
  • Light/creamy LitRPG elements
  • Sect and base building with light crafting
  • Single POV in 3rd Person

(Note: Novel includes four short Interludes betweenparts). There is no sex or explicit content.

Warning: Audiobook contains cussing and graphic violence.

©2022 TJ Reynolds (P)2022 TJ Reynolds

What listeners say about First Fist

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

I'm torn...

First, I will say that I did indeed finish the book but I probably won't buy the next one, maybe it's just not for me. To be honest, I tried to return the book about 5 hours in but was denied. Here are my main gripes with this audio book:

1. The male narrator has this way of speaking where every. sentence. is. the end. of. a. phrase. and a Big Deal. This made the pacing awkward and reduced any emotional weight when things were actually intense. I improved this issue by listening at 1.10x speed. The first time I've ever changed listening speed in the ~180 audiobooks I have.
2. It was such a slow start. The writer has a tendency to explain everything in a very deliberate fashion that, for me, detracted from my investment in the characters and narrative as a whole. There was so much information given that ultimately seemed pointless in context for the actual narrative. Despite being nearly 30 hours of audio I felt like very little happened
3. There are a number of rather big plot points that seem to be 100 percent lifted from, or at the very least heavily inspired by, things in the Cradle series. There we're numerous times a "reveal" would happen that felt entirely expected and bland because either similar or identical things had already happened in other things I have read.
4. I never felt like there was any real danger for the main character or that he faced any genuine challenges. The story just plodded along until it ended.

I don't mean to be too harsh in this review but I wish these things had been told to me before I spent a credit on it. I am giving 4 stars because I know how important ratings are to authors success and livelihood and that many of these issues might be personal preference. In the end, I did finish it so not an actual waste.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic! The Gold Standard of Cultivation/LitRPG

There are so many great things to say about this book I don't know where to start, so I'll begin with the most obvious: the writing is fantastic. Mr. Reynolds is a master storyteller and a breath of fresh air in the crowded cultivation/LitRPG genres. Rarely do we get stories told this well.

First Fist combines amazing world-building, excellent characters (including the side ones) with believable motivations, an epic plot, and a cultivation system I just loved.

The military aspects felt real and I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Reynolds had a military background. It is just one more element that makes this book shine.

If you enjoy Progression, Cultivation, LitRPG, or Fantasy you will enjoy this book. I can't wait for the next one.

5 people found this helpful

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the narrator sucks

it's like he had one gimmick that worked in one book and stuck with it. zero range and the same inflection on everything.

4 people found this helpful

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TJ Reynolds did a fantastic job with First Fist!

TJ Reynolds did a fantastic job with First Fist! The MC is well developed and one you actually want to succeed. The supporting characters are well balanced and add to the story rather than be filler. The plot and progression development is well done and makes you want to continue reading until the candle snuffs out its own wick. I love me some cultivation and LitRPG. Audio Version: An exellent dual narration that worked well! 26+ hours too! How can you go wrong? 10/10 would recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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I love this series

We're gonna break this book into start, middle, end, because of how long it is.
Start. The start of this series is really good, the reason of that is because we get alot of backstory and most people might not like that but it's something most books like this lack, that meaning (I don't usually get books where the Mc is 30) usually in books where the Mc has already trained ect we don't get a backstory, so we're basically in the dark for the whole series on what the Mc can and can't do. But if the Mc is younger well you know what he can do and what he can't do. But this story takes it to another level with its backstory, characters, and world building, there's only one pov through out the whole story ( which i love). Another thing which is so good about this book is he gets a new start a clean slate, where he's not a warrior, or some cold hearted beast.

Middle. The middle of this book is probably the worst part (not as in bad) I feel like the middle got repetitive with how long the book was. The fighting was superb in the middle portion. The characters good.. plot was lacking but it picked up in the end. Also alot of character progression in the middle

The end is probably the best of the book. The fighting awesome. Book awesome. Ending awesome.

If you like litrpg fighting mcs or are "old" and use the spear this book is for you.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good, with caveats

First things first: the female narrator is tremendous. The male narrator, on the other hand, is a real problem. He reads every sentence in Epic Movie Trailer intonation, so every statement sounds like it ends in a dramatic ellipsis ("And he ate the FISH... Then he washed his HANDS...") as if some terrible dramatic twist is about to ENSUE... It's very distracting and made me want to throw the book away almost immediately.

The book itself is, well, okay. I would've said it's great, but if you've never bumped into litrpg it's going to be a shock. You get 20% into the book and suddenly it sounds like the main character is a idiotic, completely unselfaware lead in a video game complete with an "interface" and "points" for finishing his "quests." I get that there's a whole literary genre around this, and if that's your thing then fine--but from a simple story perspective it's absolute trash: a third-grade teacher would fail this assignment. A capable author could have pulled off the same story without the cop-out. This one clearly couldn't.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Why? Please tell me how this is in a LitRPG group

This book is listed in a LitRPG group and let me say it is not. It is also a lot of talking and not so much action, it starts off very, very slow and doesn't really get into it even all the way 15 chapters in. Some people might like this, but I don't. I think you can tell the story at the same time as having action and also advancing the story all around. This just wasn't my cup of tea and I like most action adventure books, but I couldn't abide this one with its nonsense and so much useless conversations.

2 people found this helpful

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outstanding

a slow burn cultivation adventure with awesome back storyline, character progression, and world building. the mc is broken at the beginning but sure to circumstances becomes a bad ass, however he does have to earn it. the companions he gathers along the way aren't side kicks and have their own trials and tribulations outside the MC's point of view. highly recommended and with such a long playtime will have you engrossed the entirety of your listening experience.

2 people found this helpful

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Masterful

This is TJ Reynolds breakthrough novel. I have liked his previous work, but my goodness I have fallen in love with this one.
For those of us who hope for novelty, depth and adventure; this book delivers in spades.
A well built world with solid male & female characters with hints of a developing romance. (The respectful mature kind of romance, not the incel version where every woman worships men as gods.)
Please, please chose this book. You will not be disappointed.

PS. To Reynolds, Wisniewski and Woods; bravo and thank you.

2 people found this helpful

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No this is NOT the gold standard.

I guess you can maybe call this cultivation, because you do have your typical misogynistic testosterone infused and penis measuring contests just about every damn chapter. Nothing is ever explained, like the world or even the skills. It's just, oh you talked back to me ( you must be seeking death BS ), I need to prove to everyone, so I must smash your head in, oh you dared to cross my path or breath the same air. I must smash your head in. Yeah, this is the typical cultivation from China that has brain washed most. Might makes right and you must obey those of your betters..

1 person found this helpful

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  • bri miller
  • 05-17-22

What a journey! Fantastic!

Loved the story when I first read it and the collaboration of Rebecca and Daniel takes it to the next level, truly top tier can't wait to see where the journey takes them and for the next performance in audible

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  • Mansoor786
  • 04-27-22

Absolutely brilliant

Definitely the best book by the author so far, amazing writing the story and plot were interesting and captivating. The characters were all unique and relatable in their problems and how they develope to get passed these issues. Fighting scenes were written well, I was able to know what was happening at any point without getting confused.
💯 💯 💯!!!!! RECOMMENDED!!!

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  • David
  • 04-23-22

review

ustomer is happy and they have no complaints.

This is the easiest kind of review. A simple thank you should do the trick.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-17-22

Enjoyable story and system

Well written battles and good sense of depth of detail. Some might feel the story progressing to slowly, but no detail seems to be wasted/fillers. The wuxia part so far is pretty uncommon making the story much less generic and much more intresting

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  • Luke Sidaway
  • 04-06-22

Just fantastic

Got the audiobook and couldn’t stop listening. Thoroughly enjoyed the story, the world building and the character progression.

I can’t wait for the next instalment!

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  • M. Paddon
  • 03-30-22

An excellent read throughout.

The book is an interesting mix of fantasy fiction, city/base building and LitRPG. It starts off with setting the background of the main character, his life in the military and an introduction to the magic system the author is using for this world, all of which is done in a traditional type of fantasy fiction style of storytelling. The characters in this are all excellent, three dimensional and with clearly distinct personas. A trait that continues with characters that come in the next three-quarters of the book. The story in this section is somewhat slow burning to begin with, but the pace does pick up and is well-worth sticking with.

After this it transitions into a base building and very light type of LirRPG/Fantasy story, which is really good, and I enjoyed very much. It's made better by the very good narration of the two narrators, though if I had one critic of it, it would be that the audio sound balance was a little sloppy due to the female narrator being louder than the males. It's not a big issue, but noticeable and in one sentence her voice suddenly drops to near zero volume oddly.

Overall it's a really good listen and one I highly recommend. Another hit for TJ Reynolds.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-29-22

Progression Fantasy At It's Finest!

Ok so this book came out of nowhere for me, I saw the author giving out free Audible codes and I'm not one to refuse a free book. Since it was free though, I felt obliged to listen to it and post a review as thanks for the author's generosity; now off with the review.

This book leans heavily of the fantasy part of progression fantasy which strangely enough is a breath of fresh air in this genre. I've read quite a few progression fantasies and litrpgs that simply go through the motions and feel more of a fanfic rather than a well constructed book with compelling characters and world.

The fact that the first third of this book was mainly world and character building made me infinitely more interested in the story in general.

Another thing that I loved is the main character, my usual experience with this genre is, most of the time, great world, shit or bland main character. Not with this one, I absolutely love Luca. He's as much of a rugged and experienced soldier as he is a caring person who genuinely cares about the people around and not just running for the next power-up.

Regarding the progression aspect, I'd say this book is fantasy first and progression second, all the bells and whistles are here but it feels more of a tool to move the plot rather than the end goal of the story, maybe that's why the book feels so well written.

In conclusion, I was really surprised with this book that came out of nowhere for me and how much I loved it, I absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes this genre or fantasy in general, this is progression fantasy at it's finest.

5/5

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  • Dhruv
  • 03-24-22

So Awesome!!

TJ Reynolds has done it again!! what a great book!! loved how Luca was portrayed. Amazing world building and wonderful power descriptions. awesome fight scenes. It did start off a bit slow, but picked up very well. I've read everything by TJ and his alter ego Atlas Kane, and I have to say he's definitely at the top of the list of my favorite authors. definitely gonna recommend this book. Loved it so much that I would have given it 6 stars if I could.

Also loved the narration. I doubt there was anyone better that Daniel and Rebecca to narrate this book. really liked the cover art too. TJ, if you happen to read this, consider this as me nagging you for the next book.

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  • Samuel
  • 05-17-22

Story here is great. Performance requires work.

Great example of the Hero's journey taken into the Cultivation/Litrpg genre.

Story follows a veteran soldier in a fantasy setting who falls on hard times and discovers through chance a way to improve his and his allies lives.

What is hard to follow is the shifts in narration perspective. Daniel's voice is easy to follow once you get used to it, but Rebecca's pacing is way too fast, causing me to feel like I'm trying to catch up with what she's saying.

It's not a problem when she narrates by herself, but in this context the dissonance between the two is very hard to follow.

Recommend to anyone who liked the story enough to re-listen to chapters multiple times.