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Publisher's Summary

Corporate flameout Ned Altimer dreams of leaving his world behind. So, when Earthblood Online splashes onto the VRMMO scene, he dives in and never looks back.

His advantages are twofold: exclusive access to the game’s three-day Head Start period, and a ridiculously handsome talking axe named Frank who has knowledge of the game’s deepest secrets...if the magnificent Frank ever feels like sharing them.

But those advantages also make Ned a target. Once the Head Start period ends, his fellow players will stop at nothing to rip that suave, violent, yet disarmingly charismatic axe right out of his hands.

In 72 hours, the greatest manhunt in gaming history is set to begin.

It’s gonna be a lot of fun.

©2021 Kyle Kirrin (P)2021 Portal Books

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What listeners say about Shadeslinger

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

Great new author! Looking forward to the next book

I really enjoyed the book. I've taken a break from new authors after a truly abysmal string of bad books but this one caught my interest. Travis Baldree does an amazing job and was a big part in why I gave this book a listen.

All LitRPG books have some things you just need to accept and move on with to enjoy the story but those are pretty minimal for this book and were really easy to continue with the story.

The MC (Ned) isn't OP or a jack-of-all-trades. He gets a head start and a unique ax to help guide him and has some good advantages because of them but also doesn't complete everything perfectly. He has some setbacks and disadvantages as well. Ned gets (from what I can tell so far) a unique class but only because of his choices and some guidance from his ax. It could be done by any player and had it's own limitations.

Things that I liked.

- Game mechanics make sense and work well. The players are playing a game, they can use game logic but have the freedom to make choices we all wish we could in rpg games. The classes are limited by a few choices the player makes but there is still a lot of flexibility without having an MC that can do everything. There are limits and trade offs to each class/profession/skill and players can't just learn everything or grind stats up. Also how the pain in-game is handled is well done. It's believable that people would want to play.

- There isn't some end of the world, rouge AI, or game breaking mechanic in this book. It's just players in a game. I really found this refreshing.

- The snarky Ax is a well balanced companion. It's funny without being over the top and isn't some one dimensional character.

- Most new books I've read in this genre have some seriously cringe moments or over the top profanity that breaks the story for me. This book had ZERO cringe moments for me and any profanity was so naturally a part of the conversations that I can't remember if there was really much if any. I've stopped reading/listening to plenty of books do to those issues. It can just be to jarring for me.

- No romance of any kind. It's focused on the game play.

- No out-of-game drama to speak of. The motivation he is in game, is just one of those small things you accept and move on with. Small thing really.

- This book is mostly PvE which I love. I'm not big on the PvP rival that never goes away or big battles between players. He does quests and plays the game.

- Other elements as well but I don't want to spoil anything.

Things I didn't like. Very few and minor.

- The setup for the next book leaves a possibility of a PvP rival. I'm interested to see where this goes and how it is handled while still progressing with the game. It is expected as players will be hunting him for his ax but it is a minor concern for me. That's personal preference thought.

- His traveling companion (Not his ax) felt under used and I hope to see more from that character in the future. Lots of potential there I think.

- MINOR SPOILER!
Ned has a small change to his character that I'm not a fan of. It has trade offs like everything else and doesn't change his overall build but just isn't a favorite of mine.


In the end I really enjoyed this book and am anxious for the next in the series. Only time will tell what this author can do but I think this is a great start with a lot of potential. It was a very satisfying listen and I highly recommend picking it up.


93 people found this helpful

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The trifecta of litrpg

1. Great value for audio book at over 20 hours.
2. Excellent likable characters in an interesting story.
3. Travis Baldree performance.

52 people found this helpful

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hell yeah

I honestly have no complaints. not a one. several other authors should take note. no sleaze, does not bog down in the details, constantly engaging, and leaves you eager for more. excellent execution all around

27 people found this helpful

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Best of the Best!

I don't usually write reviews. Typically it is some stars and I'm done...but...this book was genuinely amazing. Well written character development, genuinely funny and kept the pace throughout. Well done Team!

21 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A new level for litrpg

I was predisposed to liking this book for many reasons. First, I was lucky enough to win a raffle on reddit to get the audiobook version for free! Also, I'm a huge Cradle fan and love Travis Baldree as a narrator. Third, there's a talking axe. That's a trifecta!

I enjoyed every bit of this story. There are rich characters, and a full blown evolving story. The ripple system is creative, compelling, and makes me wish I too could join in EBO.

This is a must buy. I'm hooked from now on, can't wait for book 2.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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I don't get all the 5 stars. (Updated: got better)

Update:
After the first 8 hrs, I actually quit listening to it, because I didn't understand all the hype and the MC and Frank were annoying me. A couple of days later I picked it up and gave it another try. I'm glad I did. The story, the MC, and the interaction with Frank th Axe got a lot better and understand everyone who says it is a more "realistic" betrayal of the MMO's we all play (or used to in my case). Kyle has a really good base for a strong series, and hope that the next book continues to build off the strength of the 2nd half of this book.

I am 8 hrs in and don't see what all the hype is about.

Guy buys his way to a 3 day head start in a new MMO game. He's not an elite gamer and has proven incompetence IRL and has no friends. Not even clan/guildies from previous games and thinks he's going to make changes in a new MMO world? Once MC gets in the game he shows he's not really a good gamer and makes stupid decisions without any thought.

At lvl 5 with 60cp in his pocket he thinks he's going to build an Inn in a desert town with an entire race trying to kill him. The back and forth between the MC and Frank, his axe, isn't entertaining or funny. It's kind of stupid actually. Frank doesn't add any real help or guidance. Plus he has to protect this magical axe from the entire population of EBO when they come online. In any real online game the MC will have this axe taken from him within 10-12 hours of the game opening to the public.

I just don't understand all the 5 star reviews and claims of this being one of the best books in this genre. It's mediocre at best.

14 people found this helpful

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Story time

I was interested in this book for many reasons. However I wasn't sure if I wanted to purchase or wait and see what happens. I spoke with the author via his Facebook group and ended up buying the book! I can't even begin to explain how good of a decision that was and I can't recommend this story enough. it's AMAZING! I'm also typically a picky person when it comes to the narrator but Travis killed it! Keep up the amazing work the two of you!

13 people found this helpful

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Totally worth it 5 stars

I loved this book and it’s even better because someone named Kyle wrote it. It is the best book I have listened to in a while and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. Travis Baldree is a fantastic narrator who makes listening as enjoyable as possible. I can’t wait for the next book to be released. Respect Kyle & Travis.

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Strong narration and story setup. Poor characters.

I loved the narration, and the story setup was fun.

Overall, I just didn't enjoy the characters themselves. The MC has some good traits, but overall he's kind of a moron, which just isn't something I enjoy. He spends most of his time whining with a "woe is me" attitude, and supporting characters have to hit him over the head with answers before he understands something that should be painfully obvious.

Overall, if you like rooting for the underdog with a heart of gold, even if that character isn't the sharpest tool, I think you'll enjoy this. However, if you're the type who rolls their eyes every time an MC does something moronic, you're eyes are going to hurt by the end.

To each their own!

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A good start but with faults

Kyle Kirrin is a good writer and his story outline is similar to others in this genre; although the MC's backstory is unique. Actually, while the character is written as a caring person, his real world reclusive backstory is unappealing and his means of entering the game makes him somewhat of an unlikable character. There is a inanimate object with similar knowledge to Skippy with a personality of a warrior. The relationship between him and the MC is one of snarky acceptance but overdone. The book also suffers from stat-bane at times which often seems like filler.

With that said, I liked the book and plan to purchase the next book in the series.

Travis Baldree.really adds to the listening experience, as would be expected.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Harry
  • 02-21-21

Incredible and immersive.

Hooked from start to end. The world building was fantastic, the character development and interaction were sublime and the plot fantastic.

The narration truly bitter everything together and portrayal of Frank frequently has me in stitches. I am new to this genre of books, but truly an amazing introduction. Can’t wait for the next instalment.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-18-21

Slow burner

Slow burner but when it gets going it’s thoroughly enjoyable!
Frank adds a light hearted comedic part to the story and gives it that little bit of a push to get to 5 stars across the board

3 people found this helpful

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  • Garry
  • 05-01-21

A class act!

I love the world Kyle has created and whilst I thought frank was a weird addition, and a bit of a duck at the start, he is absolutely core to the success of this book. The relationship between Ned and his talking axe shouldn't be a compelling one but it is brilliant. Can't wait fir book 2!!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-18-21

good solid entry into a new universe

I said, he said, said. those are the most common phrases and it will drive you nuts.

the world is a little convenient. but the
story has to progress of course.

not bad at all. I fully recommend spending a token if litrpg is your thing .

2 people found this helpful

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  • k godleman
  • 03-07-21

Good Read

These days I often have issues getting interested in litrpgs as after reading enough of a genre it all seems to blur together, but this book was surprisingly refreshing and enjoyable. My only quarrel with it is that there is only 1 out in the series and I want to be read the next installment already.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-21

One of the best litrpg audiobooks out there.

Great story that keeps you hooked and the author has created a world that feels alive.
the narrator is unbelievably good on creating atmosphere and character nuance with different voices in just the right amount.
I also appreciate that they haven't included any soundeffects I can't stand that, the point with a story is to keep you immersed and that sh*t just kicks you out of it.
Over-all a great audiobook!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter Szegedi
  • 10-20-21

Surprisingly good

I was definitely surprised by the quality of the writing. Also the narrator make it all come alive. Frank's voice is amazing. Highly recommended if you like a good litrpg

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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  • Heine
  • 10-12-21

Absolutely brilliant!!

By far one of the best LitRPGs out there! Its funny, and doesn't take itself too serious at all, I laughed and chuckled so much through out the story, while still keeping the story exciting. The encounters actually simulates raid, boss and mob encounters you'd find online in MMOs with strats, clever thinking and abusing the mechanics of mobs. It's brilliant! The only LitRPG I've read so far that remotely compares is "The Land"-series. Which I think says a lot, can absolutely recommend this series! Can't wait for more! Currently marathoning it for the 3rd time :D

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Luke Sidaway
  • 10-06-21

Just awesome

Awesome story line, Frank's personality is hilarious, I loved all of it. Cracking read

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 10-04-21

Well worth the credit

An enjoyable listen that comes together with the character development and plot progression.

So, if you enjoyed the Underworld litrpg series, you'll probably enjoy this journey too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nick Smith
  • 02-18-21

Solid and entertaining story

Great story telling with some good twists and turns. It's also nice in a litrpg to not have the main character building a harem as he goes. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt
  • 05-04-21

Great concept, I'm looking forward to the next.

I'm gonna try and be as fair as I can be, I really liked the overall story and character progression, the MC made realistic and well thought out decisions, and I found it very easy to become invested in the story. I'm especially looking forward to further developing the housing system setup in this book, and I appreciate the lack of sexuality in this book, I can't stand fantasy books that turn into power fantasy pornos, I very appreciative that this has none of that
But... my one big gripe that I have upon finishing the audiobook is the lack of adjectives used while writing character dialog, anytime someone said anything it finished with "so-and-so SAID". It's definitely nit-picking, but when two or three characters are having a conversation, it becomes very jarring when it's used over and over consecutively.
Other than that, I'll certainly be purchasing the next in the series when it comes out.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Adam
  • 04-27-21

Made it to 2 hours 30 minutes.

I'm a big fan of gamelit/rpglit but this didn't really feel like the genre.
There was no melting into the world, Immersing yourself until you forget it's not real.
The 3 supporting characters are interesting with uniqueness about them but the protagonist is empty. He doesn't make any strong decisions, doesn't have any intelligent plans and the story devolved into the stream of consciousness of a streamer beta testing a new MMO.
The secondary character has zero chemistry with the protagonist, they are polar opposites in every way that has been presented, they do not have a single point of commonality between them.
The main plot/goal feels ill defined and not a single character has expressed interest in furthering the plot.

It seems like some effort has gone into the worldbuilding but the protagonist doesn't care about it, The NPC's are not people with wants and needs but mindless characters with a script. When the plot devolves into kill X of Y quests... the only kind of quests presented. The npc's don't matter to the plot. It doesn't matter if he is killing bone flute making elven traders, they are just the Y he needs to kill X of.

I'm putting the book down, I may come back to it if I finish another book early but I don't recommend this book.

Narration was good.
Voices where distinct from one another, never wondered who was talking, solid performance.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tarcha
  • 04-25-21

Wow!

This is his first book on Amazon/audible and I can’t believe it!
Love love love it!
It was long, but it didn’t have unnecessary part there just to pad out the story and the pace was great, which often I find lacking in the second half of longer novels.
The author took an unlikeable guy with an unlikeable sidekick and made the weirdly likeable, and totally supportable.
Cant wait for the next instalment ... even if I know this one only just came out. 😅

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-14-21

very good

if u like mmorpg u will love this book can't wait until book 2 is out to continue the story

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-01-21

Good listen

Enjoyable, grabbing plot and development looking forward to the next one. Narrator did an excellent job also. The story mechanism are well done characters are interesting and sometimes there are lol moments

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rob
  • 03-19-21

Love it

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A talking axe with a bad attitude, a world out to get you, a hand full of loyal friends, a balanced story you win some you lose some, and great voices to boot. What else do you need.
I read the comments for this book and thought this could be interesting, and boy was I right. This book is worth the purchase.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • BRONWYN AUHL
  • 10-21-21

Starts average, strong finish.

The book stars off with a fairly standard litrpg affair with straight forward and basic combat, instead having an interesting story/world. It picks up later with the combat becoming far more exciting. Good character development too.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-10-21

so boring

Probably the most boring book I've ever tried to listen to.

I've listened to other LitRPG. I found the Life Reset series fairly interesting and engaging. But Shadeslinger is so boring I only made it two hours in and couldn't force myself to go on.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wedrifid
  • 04-03-21

Solid Premise and Characters

Tempted to stop reading several times when the game creator came in to arbitrarily nerf the player (who wasn't even particularly powerful). It breaks the whole litrpg progression premise.