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Summary

Jupter Tech's headquarters, Olympus, has been attacked. Lives have been lost in the real world. Alexander and friends must now thwart the servants of the Dark One both in and out of the game. With a few new allies, the Greystone Guild moves out of the noob zones to take on the challenges presented by the ruins of Dire Keep and its inhabitants. They must conquer, rebuild, and defend the Dire Lands against attacking forces.  

The players (and Fibble) must now overcome tougher dungeons, and more dangerous foes. Even betrayal by one of their own! Soundbooth Theater presents the long anticipated sequel to one of the most beloved LitRPG titles of the year! Jeff Hays has stepped up to take on the narration, and although Laurie Catherine Winkel has taken a back seat for this installment, she still reprises her roles of all the ladies of the Greystone Guild, and of course, Fibble! 

The Soundbooth Theater team for this production: 

  • Jeff Hays - Narration, sound design 
  • Laurie Catherine Winkel - Sasha, Fibble, and the rest of the female cast 
  • Dalton Lynne - Proofing and editing 
  • Griffin Malnar - Editing and mastering
©2017 Dave Willmarth (P)2018 Dave Willmarth

What listeners say about The Greystone Chronicles, Book Two: The Dire Lands

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    3 out of 5 stars
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It's getting worse.

I wasn't thrilled with the first one, and this one is even worse. Everything I disliked about book 1 was compounded in book 2. My issues with this book: 1. The players are richer than God and toss gold to the peasants like candy from a firetruck in a parade. They literally find piles of gold and gems in a mine just lying on the ground. 2. MC has godlike mastery over earth magic and can destroy any enemy and other players twice his level without breaking a sweat. 3. I have no idea what the character stats are and don't care. They aren't really part of the story and wouldn't matter if they were. 4. The tedium. Dear God, the tedium. MC spends hours just wandering around planning parties, engaging in random conversations that drag on and do nothing to advance the story. At least half the book is just filler. If the main story is a mile long, this book advanced it about 3 inches.

1 person found this helpful

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wow these narrated books get better everytime

brilliant narration these books no matter what format it in are brilliant and exciting

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Good fun story

The narration is excellent, which makes it an enjoyable experience.

Certainly recommend this to all.

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A Great 2nd Chapter

This was a great 2nd Chapter in the series and as expected Alexander and the Greystone Guild use their Midas Touch against high level mobs, PK players and Terrorists all while using a wry sense of humour and some ingenious uses of Magic and invention.
Narration is a change from the 1st audio as the Male and female roles are taken up by SBT narrators Jeff Hays and Laurie Winkel both well known in the LitRPG field and excellent at their jobs.
A great team up of writing and narration makes this an easy 5 stars all round with the only minus being that with the help of 2 top tier level friends and amazing loot it is hard to believe that there is any real danger as everything is easily dealt with.
If you can suspend your belief then this is an amazing audio and a great add to your collection.

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I really enjoyed the audio book.

I really enjoyed the audio book. A new spin on magic and the way the system works.. I highly recommended the book. I hope the author is a fast writer...

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  • Austin
  • 01-01-20

Loss of Potential

I have to say that this series is rather infuriating. I read the author Pathways first two books but this series seems like it was written by an entirely different person.

Alex, our MC, is a young adult of an indeterminate age who is the son of a CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation, he is a new immersion tester in their most popular MMO. His mother was unfortunately killed several years ago by a terrorist organization. His Father took it upon himself to enact vengeance and showed his son a recording of the execution of said criminals, as a teenager, and told his son "No Mercy". This seems to have shaped our MC into a man with a sick sense of justice.

In the first book our MC runs across a group with red-skulls over their heads, indicating they are Player Killers, immediately judges them as two-bit-scum, and decides to basically torture them by killing them over and over. No one in the party is particularly concerned except Lainey, but after she is brought aside and told about his mother, she is immediately okay with it. He adopts his fathers "No mercy policy". This theme of execution, complete mockery, and humiliation continues for every Player Killer member throughout both books. Almost all the npc's and players LAUGH at the torture and humiliation. This is in no way justified, even if they are later revealed to be terrorists.

Wrong is Wrong. No human, no kind elderly, no innocent child, NOT A SINGLE PERSON ever tells him he is wrong.

There are bound to be different people with differing viewpoints that, like most of us, see that the MC is sick in his sense of twisted justice. Everything is written as if it is black and white. The MC is "charismatic", charitable, intelligent, and forward thinking. The bad guys are all apparently idiots, who despite playing the game for years to support themselves, get their asses handed to them at every turn and can't help but spout profanity. There is no smart villian that gets the upper hand. There is no dumb, good guy who makes a mistake. The only character I really enjoy is Fibble. Pew Pew.

Other things that upset me is that all the Dwarves are cookie-cutter characters. They all sound the same, act the same, and talk the same. The BWAHAHAHA! that each dwarve makes is literally copied and pasted into each of their conversations. The King, The Dwarves King, A 6000 year old wizard, and a LITERAL DRAGON all love and help the MC and all hold the same dispositions. They all have the same personalities, lovable, kind, and just. The "Seee Ya" catchphrase is incredibly annoying. Everyone laughs when talking to Alex. The MC has the a literal god on his side. (Along with the rest of the pantheon)

Speeches. Speeches everywhere.

The MC reiterates information several times to separate party members or NPC's, such as the attack in the real world. An Author should never repeat information that the readers all ready know, definitely not in the same way. The MC hands out gold, money, jewels, and artifacts like they are candy. Everyone boggles at his "charitable" nature and initially refuse but don't take much convincing. It feels like he is buying them to me. (For all he doesn't want to be treated differently)

The STAT system and Litrpg elements don't matter. The MC can create new spells, enchant Epic level items and build an entire town in 4 days around level 20. When he is level 40 he still has 27 unused attribute points. What kind of gamer does that? An OP one. He wipes the floor with level 50's 70's and 80's. Mostly because the bad guys are stupid.

There are no real challenges, no near escapes or any real losses.

Also, the narrator switched from Laurie to Jeff Hays somewhere along the way. Personally I love Jeff Hays. Soundbooth Theatre is always great and I feel the need to give them a shout-out. Unfortunately, they couldn't save this series for me.

I feel the need to go on for so long because while most reviews I read either praise the book without any real mention of its content, or berate the book but don't go into enough detail. With this I hope that you can at least be informed with what you will be buying.

This book is a great example of writing and character development you should NOT do. I do not recommend this series. There are plenty of good LITRPG's on audible that you can listen to instead. I cannot understand why there are so many positive reviews. Maybe you will enjoy this book and love all the little quirks it has. But I have said my piece and will let you decide.

11 people found this helpful

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  • ben
  • 08-10-19

uh.. ok..

rich and powerful bully bullies other bullys.. traipsing through the vr world destroying the lives of most of the other people he encounters without a care or really a reason.. read like the author got spawn camped once when he was ten on a pvp server and never let go. now writing the self dialogue of what he wanted to do to them..

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  • Munte
  • 06-02-19

Just NO!!

I forced myself to buy and listen to this book even though reviews of it and already having read the first one did not leave me with much hope that it would be any kind of an improvement. A large reason for why I finally buckled under and got it was that the Soundbooth Theater team are the narrators for this story. They usually do a great jobb.. This one not so much.. tbh I was rather shocked at the poor quality of work they did. I found more then a few sentences being narrated in the wrong characters voice. On the whole it was not at all up to snuff. So I was even more disappointed then I thought possible. I will not be giving this so called author a third chance. For anyone reading this review I suggest that you browse the so called critical reviews on amazon for more in-depth information on the faults and inadequacies that this book and the series as a whole suffer from. My recommendation is: Do not get this one!!

6 people found this helpful

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  • BeauFLA
  • 10-12-18

Nice Followup to the first book.

Nice Followup to the first book. The change in primary narrator does not diminish the story.

5 people found this helpful

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  • David R
  • 15-05-19

Pity Party and then nothing happens...

One: So, Pity party.... not interested in it. I don't care that a child died because an evil person killed them. Two: Unlimited money solves the worlds problems?! No it doesn't commie bullshit 101. " Hi guys I have trillions of dollars and in fake world I have unlimted gold so I just throw it around and watch how those poor peasants are now happily ever after because I gave them a bunch of money/gold I am so benevolent!!!! Money solves all problems because I can pay for technology that solves everything!!!!!" Yeah no your not, you can't, and everything in this book is unrealistic and that is saying something because this book has magic and I still just have to shake my head NO. Three: Nothing happens story wise. 10 chapters in and they clear out a single dungeon. That's it. No real "game play" just bs pity party, throw my money around to support poor people, and fake diplomacy because every king, dragon, and god will just go along with you because???? no... they shouldn't. No they wouldn't and no just no. But they do!!!!! because there is no reason. So fake horrible story telling. I liked the first book. I am all for breaking the rules gaining power and destroying the bad guy. But This book, book two. Is so fake wrapped up in "justice! for the children and poor and less fortunate and crippled!!!" Barf. The DARK ONE IS COMMING yeah I don't care. Just bad bro. Cool story Bro. I won't be reading anything else from this author.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mr O
  • 29-09-19

outstanding book and author

keep them coming. I have only one more to listen too and I will be finished with all of Dave Willmarth's audio books. they rock, good natured litrpg. they have good action, the right amount of game mechanics without repeating stats to death. they have a story and plot that keeps your interest andparys that may choke you up and parts that make you laugh. Thanks Dave, after the next book I will be waiting for new releases. I highly recommend this author

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 09-12-18

come on you already know you're going get it

well can't wait for the next one damn that ending now I want more if you haven't decided to get this book after listening to the first one and I can't tell you anything else you're either a fan or not if you enjoy the series as much as I do make you want to go to the next book damn you cliffhangers

2 people found this helpful

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  • C. Curtis
  • 29-03-20

Like the book BUT....

The book is good but in order to enjoy it every time a female spoke I had to skip 30 seconds ahead. 90% of the time the women are basically annoying objects with nothing important to say or do. If the author would make the women like real people that didn’t act like teenagers the book would be a masterpiece.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Zeddicus Z'ul
  • 02-10-19

Zero challenge for Protagonists, lots for readers!

The first book in the series had this same issue. A very low leveled protagonist, Alex, is able to effortlessly take on an entire guild and wipe the floor with them. This includes the big bad guild leader of the PK guild, who was a very high level and should have been able to destroy Alex and his guild single handedly. The author attempts to address this by saying that the guild leader is just not smart, but it's a contradiction as the guild leader was smart enough to take over an entire guild and convert it adopt his ideology. Also, a dragon prince AND an eons old super powerful wizard happens to join the protagonists' guild for little to no reason....it's ridiculously naive writing. Where is the struggle and obstacles that the heroes are suppose to overcome, and win over the audience while doing it?? This book and its predecessor amount to very simplistic and naive writing that I'd expect to read in grade school. This includes that terrible humor that the author forcibly injects into every page regardless of whether or not it enhances the plot or propels the story forward.

It seems Willmarth creates very privileged protagonists who are never challenged in this novel or the one that precedes it. I fully plan on returning this crap and getting a novel in which the writer does not have this problem.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M.B.R.
  • 04-03-19

Such potential...*sigh*

Great story concept, neat world (if very very hand-waveish on the crunch/mechanics side if things), but ALL the bad guys are terminally stupid. All the bad guys act like 5th grade bully children, and it is made clear that nothing they do could ever even give the MC a challenge. Game/rpg side of things is laughable, without consistent or sensible rules or limits - it is all hand-waveish so the MC can do anything convenient that the "plot" requires for him to overcome the current obstacle.

Someone twice his level callenges the MC to a fight - MC defeats him two second in with a spell he learned at level 1. A spell with no defined or even implied limit. Everyone agrees with an loves MC, no matter what. Literally - everyone loves him but the 5th grade bullies who are literally too stupid to live.

It's worth listening to, especially with this voice cast, but don't expect any real conflict, game crunch, or character growth. It's just a "the hero is too awesome to be beaten" power fantasy type story to be consumed to be amused for the moment, and quickly forgotten.

1 person found this helpful