A Gamer is Whisked to a Faraway World That Functions Like a Game: My Review of Apollos Thorne's LitRPG Book Level Up or Die

A young (and hungry) gamer named Elorion wraps up a virtual reality gaming sesssion. Yet as soon as he logs off and disconnects from the game, he sees a mystical creature - an imp - hovering in front of him. In the real world. In a matter of moments, the imp whisks Elorion from his home to an alternate faraway world that operates like a role-playing game.

Elorion soon realizes he is one of 20 students kidnapped and enslaved by a thousand year old succubus. Elorion's nightmarish adventure is set in an underground fantasy kingdom ruled by a ruthless succubus, who simply wants to feed off their energy.

Gifted with magic, Elorion is told he must...

Level Up or Die!

Underground - Level Up or Die is the first in a series that's part of the LitRPG or GameLit genre. Elorion battles monsters, levels up, develops new abilities and spells, and carefully pursues a min/max strategy to prepare for an upcoming battle he knows is coming. And hopefully to get strong enough that he can escape and get back home.

This is definitely on the "crunchy" side. Personally, I steer toward GameLit/LitRPG stories that are lighter on the stats and heavier on the plot and the characters. This one is definitely stat-heavy. And there's not much of a plot. It's basic and simple. In many ways, the story follows an 'slice of life' format, albeit an 'out-of-this-world' slice of life.

Most Christians confronted with a book featuring magic, a succubus, or violence might take a pass. But I would say two things to such a person...

  1. There's a difference -- a big difference -- between fictional magic and the kind of magic condemned in the Bible. For more on this, see my article "Christianity and Fantasy: Is it Wrong to Read Fantasy Literature?"
  2. Underworld - Level Up or Die is actually pretty clean. Yes, there's violence. But there's no sex (despite a succubus being the villain) and no cursing. 

There is plenty of action and adventure. And lots of strategy. Fans of this genre will be pleased. 

If you have the time, I recommend you give Underground - Level Up or Die a try. 


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