Underpowered Howard꞉ A Litrpg Adventure

Underpowered Howard

Read Time: 2 Minutes

Underpowered Howard, written by John L. Monk, is a fun, engaging story inside a virtual world. Set in a game called Heroes of Mythian, a game world where retirees exchange their physical bodies for an eternity of adventure (to quote the blurb), our hero, Howard, discovers an awful truth about the game. The game promises a second chance at life if you can win, but therein lies the problem. Bad coding or deliberate? Anyone who gets to the final boss dies.

Unlike other books set in virtual worlds (Ripple System, I’m looking at you), it is possible to die permanently in this game. Sure, the noob zone is safe, but other zones have real risks and finite lives. When Howard finds out the truth, he sets out to break the game. For honourable reasons – to get the attention of the developers so they can get it fixed.

We follow Howard after he restarts his game as a necromance. Considered a “broken” class by most, so not often played. But Howard has a plan… and a god is on his side. If he can keep his karma in check and stop having blue whales lobbed at him from hurricanes.

There’s a lot to like about this story. Not stat heavy, though you do get the occasional glimpse at numbers and readouts. Nothing that bogs down the story. Fleshed-out, interesting support characters that I wouldn’t mind getting a book about – the “delectomancer” and his wife (both of who I’m spacing on their names right now) could be interesting. Food-based magic could be an interesting one-off book.

This probably could have been a solid five stars, but the ending left me a little wanting. The book can stand easily by itself as a one-shot, but thinking back over the end, I can see leaving wiggle room for a sequel in a vague sort of way. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll definitely be listening to this one again, but I’m not sure if I’d want a second book or would enjoy leaving it by itself.

The narration by Neil Hellegers was, of course, excellent, like everything else I have heard him do. Great pacing, excellent production, and is easy to listen to. Plenty of vocal range and voices to help keep everyone separate and unique.

Definitely worth the credit. I’ll be going through the author’s back catalogue and seeing what else he has done. If they’re similar quality to this, I’d say I’ll be throwing more credits his way soon enough.


Humorous, Sword & Sorcery
Scroll to Top