He Who Fights with Monsters, written by Shirtaloon – aka Travis Deverell – is one book I’ve been meaning to get to for some time, but the length kept putting me off a little. Not that I have anything against long stories, but I wasn’t in the mood for sitting through such a long stretch of story.
Of course, it turns out I’m now kicking myself for not jumping in sooner. Yes, it’s rather long at almost 29 hours, but interesting that it seemed to fly by as the story kept me hooked and wanting to keep listening hour after hour.
The story is of Jason, an ordinary Aussie bloke who wakes to find himself naked and alone inside a hedge maze. Things are quite obviously wrong since he’s got a graphical interface in his vision and has a quest to complete in order to earn some clothing.
Jason is an odd character. On the one hand, he’s easy to like with a fun sense of humour and can solve complex problems in unique and exciting ways. On the other hand, he can at times come across as smug, even self-righteous, with his anti-religion, anti-aristocracy rants he’s rather fond of going off on. It’s part of his character and overall charm, though.
His character progression comes pretty easy, seemingly falling into the right circumstances at the right time, with an inordinate amount of luck. The game mechanics aren’t too overpowering, though they can get a tiny bit annoying at times, in particular when we get a review of his character sheet. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen too often, and I learned to skip ahead a minute or so by the third time.
The world, its people, and its systems are well thought out, with the explanation of magic and how it works for the people explained well. Even with the odd interface, Jason has worked well in all of this, even though a lot of it is very different to what the normal people of that universe experience.
Narration by Heath Miller is top-notch. I’m immensely glad they picked an actual Australian to narrate this book (the MC being an Aussie and all), and his sense of timing works well. No issues at all with the narration or quality of this audiobook.
Overall, a series I wish I’d started earlier. I immediately spent a credit on book two, which isn’t quite as long, and I am quite excited to see book three is there too, and book four is due out after Christmas. Another 70 hours or so of this very Australian litRPG adventure are still in my future.