• Survival Quest

  • Way of the Shaman Series # 1
  • By: Vasily Mahanenko
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (5,283 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Barliona: a virtual world jam-packed with monsters, battles - and, predictably, players. Millions of them come to Barliona, looking forward to the things they can't get in real life: elves and magic, dragons and princesses, and unforgettable combat. The game has become so popular that players now choose to spend months online without returning home. In Barliona, anything goes: You can assault fellow players, level up, become a mythical hero, a wizard, or a legendary thief. The only rule that attempted to regulate the game demanded that no player be allowed to feel actual pain. But there's an exception to every rule. For a certain bunch of players, Barliona has become their personal hell. They are criminals sent to Barliona to serve their time. They aren't in it for the dragons' gold or the abundant loot. All they want is to survive the virtual inferno. They face the ultimate survival quest.

©2015 V. Mahanenko. English translation copyright 2015 by Natalia Nikitin (P)2016 Tantor

What listeners say about Survival Quest

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Guilty pleasure

I've been on a Litrpg binge lately, Read all of the Play to Live series, Awaken Online, Otherlife, The Land, and now This series.

I have to say it's probably my least favorite of them, not to say it is bad at all I actually really enjoy the premise of it, however I find many of the mechanics of the world hard to believe in. (I know how that sounds) I also think it's a bit simple minded overall and rarely walks it's own path.

I think this book targets the younger of the litrpg fans to be sure.


But if your like me and completely addicted to this Genre of book give it a listen, it's worth a credit and the voice performance from the reader is really well done.

41 people found this helpful

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IT'S EASIER TO BARTER WITH A WALL THAN A DWARF

Instruction Manual
I am one of those guys who only reads the directions, when something goes wrong in the putting together. Based on the 4.6 rating of this at this time, there are a lot of people who like reading instruction manuals.

Lots of Telling
The first hour of this book is a lecture on the building of this world. The rest of the book is like AMAZON CUSTOMER FROM SOUTHERN CA. says nothing but a bunch of stats. I loved PLAYER ONE which was exciting, had a plot with twists and did not bog you down with plus ten points for stamina or here is how you level up. I play F.O E. on line and it is lots of fun, but I don't think you want to hear how I level up a Lighthouse from Alexandria.

33 people found this helpful

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  • K
  • 06-18-16

Excellent with just one regret...

Loved this book. Anyone who's played RPG will enjoy and relate to this story. While listening to Survival Quest I mentioned it to my son and bought the Kindle version for him. He devoured it. He started reading it at 10PM and finished the book at 5AM in one reading.

My only regret is that there are currently only two books in the series and the second one will go by way too fast. I thoroughly enjoy reading more installments in this story line.

21 people found this helpful

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Great Narrator, Great book

So this book takes place in the fictional future with a very futuristic video game. The world outside of the game, the real world is not very important. So the majority of the book take place in a MMO VR game, and some of things that are different from the typical fantasy is that the adventure takes place in an MMO and these imitations are embraced. So if you are not much of a gamer this book might not be for you.,

The narrator elevates the story, and its very easy to picture what is going on, and you get the extra context of tone and such from the voice of the narrator. The narrator does an amazing job.

I really enjoyed listening to this novel, so would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Fantasy and Gaming (not necessarily videogames). This series looks to be a champion of the genre of LitRPG.

19 people found this helpful

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Liked it alright, but I'm a forgiving guy

If you are a big fan of the mechanics of MMORPGs you will probably like this book. The specifics are well described with lots of "level up" messages and how that effects the character. Basically, if you played WoW or its analogues and loved chasing stats and reading level up messages, you will also love this book. If you do not, or get bored easily with this stuff, you probably aren't even considering this book enough to read this review. Go with that feeling.

The story and characters are ok. It reads a lot like the early levels of a role playing game. So the characters are a bit contrived and not entirely human, but in the situation, it works ok. The reader does a pretty good job of making the individuals distinct. He's not world class, definitely does journeyman work.

All in all, a novel (or genre) like this is self-selecting. Like RPGs? Try it. If you are unfamiliar with them, or have no interest in them, you will be constantly asking yourself, "what am I reading?"

If you came from a similar genre novel like "Ready Player One," don't be fooled, this book is not that. That book could be read by general audiences. This is more for gamers.

12 people found this helpful

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Non Stop Stats and no story

If you don't play video games this book will not make any sense to you. I don't rate this negatively for that at all. I made it half way through the book, only because, as a gamer, it started off seeming to be fairly interesting. It didn't take long to realize that the majority of the book is nothing more than reading off stats. When this started it wasn't too bad but the farther I get into the book the worse it gets with the stats. It is exactly like reading your combat log in game. Hours of reading a combat log, but with almost no actual combat, just the stats gained from crafting. I wish this was an over exaggeration but it is not.

The other portion of the book takes the most boring parts of crafting and a tiny amount of questing and tries to make a story out of it. Speaking of stories...half way through the book and the closest thing to a story line is the main character increasing stats and rep to make it to a new zone. Mostly though, the book is nothing more than reading off stats.

The narrator reads this as though he is reading to young children. A kid who was really excited about all things games and just starting to read might find this book fun.

11 people found this helpful

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Great for fans of RPO

if you are someone who enjoys the game here and there or if you are a hard core gamer, you will love this book. One of mytop 5 books is Ready Player One and this is on the same lines.

11 people found this helpful

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just don't. author destroyed MC in later books

you will hate the MC, the author and your life after book 5. it's not just me. just read other reviews.

so just dont

book 1 is fantastic. 2 is good. 3 is OK. 4 is bad. 5 completely and utterly ruins the hero's life, spits on all he's accomplished takes everything away and has him betrayed by everybody.

it's such a crushing gut punch that I want to spare you the $ and the pain.

then the author does 2 more books because $$$. book 6 you get a few paragraphs of retconning what happened somehow and book 7 is just nonsense retreading and meandering for no reason.

it becomes clear that the author got tired of litrpg during book 3. and he turns the actually clever and resourceful hero into a gullible fool and loser from book 4 onwards.

it almost feels like the author wanted to punish people who liked book 1-3.


read Dan Sugralinov's Disgardium series. it gets better with each book and starts great. 6 books and the last one is my favorite so far.

9 people found this helpful

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Love the series 2nd time through

I really like this series. This is what got me to be a lit rpg fan. I was really torn on what to give this book between a 3 and a 4 but the dungeon part was a bit boring. I don’t play wow or games like that so some of the details were just blah. Overall I recommend the series though.

8 people found this helpful

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After finishing all six books...

Having now finished all six books, a good 70-80 hours worth of listening, I'm coming back here to review the first one as a warning to new readers. While I enjoyed each of the books, and the story once completed both makes sense and is clever enough, it isn't 80 hours worth of clever or good. While it might not seem obvious at first, all six books are connected. The story doesn't make complete sense until the final 30 minutes of book six, and that is a problem, because the story as a whole is not an 80 hour story. It is not one of those "it's not the destination, it's the journey itself" sort of situations; rather, the destination invalidates the journey in so many ways.

In short, I'm glad I'm done, enjoyed the series at each step, but sincerely wish I had never started it. That might not make sense, but please don't spend the 80 hours required to make it make sense.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-02-16

Excellent Sub-Genre

I liked the strategy, the technical aspects of the game and the humour. I recommend that you find somewhere comfy to sit as once you start you will want to keep on listening to the end.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Texnik
  • 10-21-19

Worst LitRPG I've listened to

If I say it's good, I'll have to say the likes of Awaken Online, The Land, and Towers of Heaven are amazing. And if those are a 5/5, this is barely a 3/5.

It's not a stupid story. There's occasional wit. But I'm pretty sure the author/narrator don't understand human behaviour or that they haven't met a human in years. The points of conflict are contrived and the dialogue can be pretty cringy. The voices are those of dumb sidekicks from the 90s, and it is annoying how they don't understand the obvious for comedic purposes. I struggle to find a character whose intelligence or social skills are at least average.

This is about a game where the players act with the skill of scripted NPCs. I'm used to the opposite.

There's no harem or base wish fulfillment like that, but prepare for a pretty unrealistic ride.

There could be any number of reasons why this sounds so unrealistic. Maybe it's the translator. It could be the performance. Or maybe it's a cultural difference. Whatever it is, if the dialogue and inner monologue had been redone, this would have been excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Neil Radley
  • 01-06-17

Utter rubbish

In a word.... Boring.

in two words.... Extremely Boring

The narrator is a typical American that can't pronounce the letter H or I which is very annoying.

Oh and did I mention how boring the story is?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dominic
  • 03-16-16

Survival quest

I love the book and now Dan out of prison camp were the story goes from here. Anyone who like rpg games mite like this book

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr.
  • 01-30-21

a great example of a LITRPG

a good story that kept me listening, looking forward to listening to the next book

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Harrison
  • 11-07-19

Just boring

Kind of a waste of time to listen to just takes so long to get in to the story or anything of interest

1 person found this helpful

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  • David Probyn
  • 02-16-17

Fantastic!

What made the experience of listening to Survival Quest the most enjoyable?

Jonathan Yen's voice acting was fantastic

What other book might you compare Survival Quest to, and why?

It's similar to Ready Player One where everyone plays within a full-body immersive MMO.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Marc74
  • 01-16-17

not bad but needed more

story wasn't too bad, idea was good and quite well told I just felt it needed more substance.
had to try and concentrate more, not good when stats read out

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-15-17

Waste of time!

Complete waste of time. imagine playing world of warcraft, but you can't get past level 1, that's how interesting this book is.... oh and the main character is brain dead stupid!

1 person found this helpful

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  • David
  • 01-07-17

New start - great background and story

This takes the entering of the game in a different way, and entertains as well.

Good character story, good world description. Some great game ideas and story points.

Really good read and I immediately bought the second book. Well worth a read

1 person found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 09-07-20

Another Russian litrpg

The mc is beyond stupid and seems to believe he is a genius.The mc will decide to craft an item, then immediately find the perfect material to make the item and even notice that the material is the right size to make a part of the crafting, but will go into 15 minutes of internal dialog before realising he can make the item he was just thinking of making.
All of the choices made by the mc are obvious but require endless thinking over.
Combat manages to have 5 minutes of dialog between swings (it’s not turn based combat).
The game rules are inconsistent and change to fit the mc’s needs at the time.
Maybe it’s the translation....

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 08-24-20

Slow, but good.

The start of the book is slow and took me some time to warm up to it.
But once it got into it I slowly captured my full attention.
Good strong finish, just about to start book 2.

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  • Vaskez777
  • 05-12-20

For a Lover of Quests!

I quite enjoyed this journey. It's not of epic proportions, it is a journey, what I imagine to be a real journey. Similar to a Journey in D&D at level 1. It was beautifully told and I enjoyed the status updates despite what others may think. if for everything else, it reminds of what Runescape was 20 years ago, before tutorial island and all kuffufle that has followed. the simple enjoyment I got from levelling skills and mining and fishing for hours with friends. I quit RS when it, like all other mmorpg became the same, about money. I am now buying book two for this story, as I want to know where it goes and what happens next. If you love an adventure and enjoy playing D&D for RP with fighting, then this is for you. My only downside is, the narrator, it took me an hour before I really started to like his voice, but it was worth the wait, some times certain sentences would falter, but if you manage to listen to this in one sitting like myself, you will barely notice anything as your mind will just imagine you are there and forget the foibles.

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  • thomas postlethwaite
  • 04-02-20

Too damn polite

wrongfully imprisoned and on the up and up, I love the story although I feel like it's all a bit too easy for Mayan, it seems like he gets opportunities the literally no one else could ever hope for even if they repeated the same actions
the writing is a little clunky and far too polite which makes it feel like a children's story and tbh disconnects it from reality even worse than the scifi fantasy aspects, I could honestly believe the VR immersion before I could believe that the characters were all so gentlemanly even when in conflict
my biggest peave with the book is the narrator, it might be a combination of the writing style but like I said it all just felt too polite, like I was being read a bed time story
Dont get me wrong I enjoyed this book but it was despite the writing style and narration bot because of it.

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  • David
  • 02-16-19

brilliant

Immersed me, I enjoyed the limitations of a prison upon the character, I found the story much easier to follow and more exciting because I had well defined boundaries to align my expectations rather than open world litrpgs that I can struggle with.

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  • John
  • 01-22-19

Survival Quest book 1

Vasily Mahanenko is a talented and skilled author I loved this book from start to finish the characters a well written and the world is very insightful the voice acting skills of Jonathan Yen make the characters and story come alive 12/10 stars....

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  • Mira
  • 05-16-18

Different and entertaining

This is an interesting take on the idea of playing MMOs and any MMO players would enjoy the story and challenges which the protagonist encounters. Looking forward to listening to the next book.

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