I found The Mayor of Noobtown by Ryan Rimmel started rather slowly but built up the pace as it went along. Well, if you can ignore the frequent character sheet readouts, which, quite honestly, had me skipping ahead by about the third time. The main issue is that the character can multi-class into everything, so his sheet is absurdly long by the end.
Don’t let that put you off, though. As I said, the skip button is there for a reason, even if you’re skipping ahead a few minutes each time by the end. The rest of the story is rather enjoyable. I’d seen many people saying how funny the story was, but I didn’t find that many laughs. Yes, there were a few to be had but not as many as I’d been expecting.
Our hero, Jim, awakens in a “development” type area where some mysterious voices are rolling up a new character for him. Jim remembers everything about his previous life though, and decides he doesn’t want what they’re offering, so he sets about looking for a way to break out.
Forced to team up with a demon he calls “Shart”, he sets about exploring the new world he finds himself in. Stumbling across an abandoned village with its newbie protection still in place, he inherits the title of mayor and sets about getting things in order.
The village builder aspect is interesting, different from other litRPG books I’ve read. Jim still ventures out for experience, hunting (full-on goblin and wolf slaughtering for the most part) and accepting the system’s quests. So the travel aspect is local, but he needs to return to the village to keep his mayor status.
The narration by Johnathan McClain seemed awfully slow, and I had to flick the playback rate up a few notches just so I wouldn’t give up, which led to this feeling relatively short. Coupled with the fact a lot of time was spent re-reading character stats, this was a lot shorter than expected. I know I can’t have it both ways, but if speeding up the narration resulted in something that approximated normal speech, the length feels artificially long.
I also noticed a few dodgy edits here and there, where re-takes sounded different from the overall style, pulling me out of the flow now and then. It’s unusual for a book by Podium Audio, as I’ve generally found them to be top-notch.
Will I continue with the series? Yes. It was compelling enough to want to know what happens next. There are some larger story arcs to resolve in future books, but the shorter story arcs in the first were all wrapped up. I hope that in future books, the character sheets are less frequent.