• Top Hat Express

  • A LitRPG Adventure (Vaudevillain, Book 1)
  • By: Alex Wolf
  • Narrated by: Austin Rising
  • Length: 14 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (267 ratings)

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Top Hat Express  By  cover art

Top Hat Express

By: Alex Wolf
Narrated by: Austin Rising
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Publisher's Summary

Immortality is on the line. So are his foes! Choo-choo, heroes.

Dylan is an average nerdy worker. By day, he works for an architecture firm. When his shift ends, he consumes all manner of superhero fiction—comics, books, or games. When an up-and-coming gaming company, Vert, announces a new superhero game—a game that promises infinite choice—Dylan is immediately ready to dive in. He has the perfect role in mind for himself: the egotistical supervillain from cartoons.

Vert is more ambitious than anyone knew. As launch day for their new MMO World of Supers looms, they announce that if players do something really over-the-top, they can become a permanent raid boss inside the game. Now Dylan’s antics will be pitted against streamers bent on immortalizing themselves in the gaming world.

When everyone else takes the game seriously, it’s only the casuals who have fun.

©2022 Alex Wolf (P)2022 Mountaindale Press

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What listeners say about Top Hat Express

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Just fun, with no serious, overarching plot

Excellent narrator and engaging characters. The only thing that annoyed me is the writer's avoidance of gendered pronouns: everyone, male and female, was referred to as "they". This was a bit jarring on the ear, and intellectually jarring because it makes the author look like "they" are pushing a woke agenda, with its hostility towards gender distinctions. I'm docking "them" a star for that.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Promising premise, but disappointing execution

I wanted to like it; really, I did. I enjoy stories that focus around the villain character type, and the classical gentleman villain archetype is one of my favorites. That’s where this story excels.

It, however, falls short nearly everywhere else. There really is no overarching story and goal, and the plot feels haphazardly thrown together. It is very easy to become bored during the filler between missions.

The characters are absolutely unlikeable or exceedingly boring. Everyone is a one-dimensional trope and can be defined entirely by a single personality trait.

The protagonist himself has his moments, but overall I found him to be monotonously basic. He utilizes his power extremely poorly. What could be a game-breaking monster of a superpower is relegated to, what is essentially, a crafting job. “Mad Science” has the capability to alter the game on a fundamental level, and instead he uses it to make chocolate shooting water-guns.

The narrator is amazing. Really, this is some of the best narration I have ever heard.

Overall, if I had to sum up the entire book in one word, it would be disappointing.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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great story

really fun, funny story. please get an editor. there were name fuck ups all over the place.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Decent Superhero LitRPG

So first I’d like to say that of the superhero literature including LitRPG over read this is good but not great. I prefer Lucas Flint as well as Drew Hayes in the genre. Even Terry Schotts “Game is Life” series has more depth and interest.

However this book is super fun. It’s a great popcorn summer blockbuster read.

What prompted me to write a review is that I read another review saying that the author doesn’t use gendered pronouns which is completely untrue. The author does not use gendered pronouns for robots, minions etc. but any humanoid PC or NPC has gendered pronouns.

I don’t understand the sensitivity toward “wokeness,” but however you feel about the issue there is nothing to indicate any woke agenda hidden in the grammar of this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Hilarious fun

I'm only an hour in, but this is great fun! I'm finding myself laughing at my desk every few minutes.

1 person found this helpful

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All aboard!

Top Hat Express

Dylan has been a comic book/gaming guy for his entire life. When the press conference for World of Supers shows the demo, Dylan picks it up immediately. An open sandbox game where you can play as a hero or a villain? Absolutely perfect for Dylan! He decides to play the classic, mustache twirling mad scientist. There is a contest to work for the company, but Dylan would rather just play his character for fun. Dr Zlo will soon conquer the city, then, the world!

This is a really fun series! It’s great to see the different heroes and villains interact and how the game is set to operate. The very nature of the game sets PvP up as a forefront of the story. I am loving this story and really looking forward to book 2! Austin Rising does a great job with the narration!

Content warning: language

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A jolly good romp made better by…

First off, the story has everything: world building, character development, some really interesting/weird fighting:) but I think that the voice of Austin really brought this to life for me.

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Great lunacy

I think this story does a great job of playing with super heroes and villians in a light hearted way, it’s fun, and it pays homage to classic comics and modern ones.

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Better then I hoped.

A great story with wonderfully laid back protagonist. lots of classic gamer stereotypes but not overdone.

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villainous fun

this book is full of villainous hilarity. well written and hit all the right tropes for this genre ......amazing

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  • Helen
  • 09-30-22

Supervillains have the most fun!

This is a light hearted, fun story. Not deep or anything, but fun. It's nice to see a VR/full immersion gaming novel feature a player who is out to have fun, and not be a top ranker or make money (or revenge, or whatever). Dylan is an entertaining protagonist, and the fun that he has playing Dr Zlo comes across really well.

Audio: the narrator has an awesome evil laugh (very important in this story) and it's well read. The problem I had was following some of the recipes, stats changes and other bits and bobs. I picked up the kindle version and it seems I totally missed that the swearing was being censored in the audio version. Understandable, but I think this is one where it works better written than spoken

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  • Jack
  • 06-09-22

Good time, dips around the 28 chapter mark

Really good super litrpg with a more casual fun vibe rather than trying ‘to win some competition’ or play the game for some IRL threat, where the biggest threats are people trying to tryhard the game. There is a bit of a pointless issue near the end, typical third act conflict in the team where two characters just refuses to hear each other out and things build from there that makes a whole toxic friendship thing seem a little forced at first but gets more established later and nothing that ruins the book. A fun time that doesn’t take itself too seriously.