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"Chronicles of Ethan" by John L. Monk: an immersive novel in virtual and visceral ways! by carolkean

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· @carolkean · (edited)
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"Chronicles of Ethan" by John L. Monk: an immersive novel in virtual and visceral ways!
VR and immersive gaming are hot topics now in the sci-fi genre. One of the best I've seen is  [Chronicles of Ethan](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Z3VNLXV?ref_=dbs_r_series&storeType=ebooks) by John L. Monk:
<center>[![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmcDLWpfE5uCWdC8Y8TgZMCpLzuZvZMjSCLgMnpEVdJMFC/image.png)](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Z3VNLXV?ref_=dbs_r_series&storeType=ebooks)</center>
#### <center> NOTE: Books 2 and 3 are Pre-Order only</center>
***
(But as a beta reader, I have read all three books *bwa ha ha ha* while everyone else has to wait for the rest of the series.)

### Gaming is a pastime I've never experienced,
not even "Dungeons and Dragons," not even "Tetris." I kid you not. The offspring created families on our computer with "Sims2" but their characters kept starving to death, so that shows you how little gaming occupied them. Too busy playing musical instruments to find time for video games. Looking back, they may have missed out on more of that than they should have. At the time, I was just glad they weren't addicted like so many others their age who never seemed to get outside and do "real" things.

Then came all this literature about the real world working like the gaming world. "Matrix," for one, which I have yet to read or see on DVD (or streaming, these days).

As a book reviewer for Perihelion Science Fiction, I was asked to read and critique several gaming novels. Some were easy to follow from start to finish. Some, I just skimmed the battle scenes (which I do routinely when asked to read thrillers and military science fiction; fight scenes just don't do it for me). One thing was a constant in this genre: the idea that real life could start acting like a video game, and "players" would rack up points and buy skills and die but get resurrected again for Round Two, or Round Ten Thousand.

Now, I would love to "buy" vitality, longevity, strength, agility, and beauty enhancements. Thanks, authors, for tormenting us with new tech that will not become available in my lifetime. As "Perihelion" founder/editor Sam Bellotto Jr once blogged, I want to be a cyborg!

# John L. Monk 
is an author I discovered years ago when his debut novel "Kick"[1] was "Free Today" via Kindle Daily News. I snagged a copy, consumed it, loved it, bought the sequels when they came out, and read everything else this Indie Author ever published. I also followed and "Like" him on social media, which apparently causes Amazon to purge reviews due to "Friends and Family" policies, but I feel this is an unjust punishment for fans who discover (via Amazon!) a great author and buy all his books and maybe do some "fangirling" via social media.

<center>[![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmWvMM3qfrzHxwAorR71Sb48B4kcdGhfRbD4D3X3yokJUr/image.png)](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074BCF2YV?ref_=dbs_r_series&storeType=ebooks)</center>

<center>Below, the original cover of [Kick - The Jenkins Cycle Book 1](https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DSPPTA0/ref=cm_sw_su_dp)</center>
<center>[![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmU3FieycmXp2KB6vk9VaPLJwNjwZ7yRtUfaCe2u1fsQoe/image.png)](https://carolkean.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/kick-by-john-l-monk/)</center>


# "Chronicles of Ethan" 
is Monk's first gaming novel, and if anyone else had written, I'd have politely passed on an invitation to be a beta reader, but John L. Monk is a first-rate writer with flawlessly edited prose full of wit and irony, characters who are authentic and believable (to the point that you want to shout "You idiot!" at them like a kid brother), and epic adventures. I still love his debut novel "Kick" above all the others, but that's personal bias (enacting vigilante justice on criminals who'd otherwise get away with murder).

My Kindle is packed full of highlights--all of lines that I like/love/wish I'd written myself. I'm looking at the clock, thinking how long it would take me type out even a fraction of them, and wondering if anyone ever reads my reviews, anyway.

Unless I hear from anyone that they want me to share my Kindle Highlights, I'll stick with a summary for now.

Rita! Rita! Rita!

Ok, I can say more than that. Rita is a gamer, a "noob," who meets up with Ethan early in his adventures in gaming, none of which he ever would have signed up for if not for his devotion to Melody, the wife who doesn't seem to deserve his eternal devotion. Rita on the other hand is a fun-loving gal who laughs a lot and is no hapless heroine in need of a savior. In fact, she bails out Ethan more often than he comes to her rescue, not that I kept score. It could be 50/50.

Jaddow and Cipher are mysterious characters who kept me turning pages. Bertrand the bartender is endearing, and I love the grumpy Snoot who works at the bank and would be a miserable character forever if not for the way Ethan brings out his good side. (No spoiler here, but I'll just say it's hilarious.)

The gaming stats are sure to be entertaining for gamers. I just skimmed those parts and wished I could buy vitality points and all the other enhancements.

Book One ends on a cliffhanger, which seriously annoys a lot of book reviewers who are forced to buy two more books to get to the end. I'm old school, and I'd rather buy one big, fat book, and not have to wait for the next installment. So, while I will not punish an author with a 2-star review for that reason alone, I will add that I too would prefer one big book, but today's market shows that trilogies and series are selling well, standalones, not so much.

Ethan is an everyman, a reluctant hero, but a loyal and honorable man, with a sense of humor, and it just doesn't get any better than that. In real life. Maybe not in VR, either! You'll have to read and decide for yourself.

### [Mythian: A LitRPG and GameLit Fantasy Series](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YGXNSMF?notRedirectToSDP=1&ref_=dbs_mng_calw_0&storeType=ebooks) (Chronicles of Ethan Book 1)
[![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmNa9iP35HQbfFGNosFHZjKiSDtb3Lp549tDW8bQETUEgx/image.png)](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YGXNSMF?notRedirectToSDP=1&ref_=dbs_mng_calw_0&storeType=ebooks) 
> Running on the world's fastest quantum computer is a very special game: one where retirees leave their flesh-and-blood lives in search of endless adventure. Weapons, spells, gold, experience points… These are the marks by which life is now measured. Ethan Crane wants none of it. In fact, he never wanted to retire at all, let alone play a game for all eternity. But now he's on a mission to find his wife—a wife he just discovered is still alive and inside the game. 
Nothing will stop him from reaching her. Not even himself.

### [Hard Mode: A LitRPG and GameLit Fantasy Series](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YXB356J?notRedirectToSDP=1&ref_=dbs_mng_calw_1&storeType=ebooks) (Chronicles of Ethan Book 2)
> After setting the game's difficulty to Hard Mode, Ethan learns his wife is in terrible danger....a ruthless band of raiders are after her for their own reasons. One of them—Lord Beast—pursues a darker objective. Nothing in Mythian is what it seems, nowhere is safe, and every bargain has an expiration date. Even Ethan’s promise to himself.

[![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmYfxD2sstZySsUj2VHCmpjkfwExNUqq6y77SPfSMf6LvT/image.png)](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YXB356J?notRedirectToSDP=1&ref_=dbs_mng_calw_1&storeType=ebooks)

### [Karma's Touch: A LitRPG and GameLit Fantasy Series](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YXBZRGT?notRedirectToSDP=1&ref_=dbs_mng_calw_2&storeType=ebooks) (Chronicles of Ethan Book 3)
[![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmeJ2hAQSbdkMtS4tCiKcLiizUo4FMK2Z8suqQywNmUsaL/image.png)](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YXBZRGT?notRedirectToSDP=1&ref_=dbs_mng_calw_2&storeType=ebooks)
> In an act of desperation, Ethan takes a quest to free himself and his wife from Mythian forever. Melody only has one life, and nowhere is safe for her, not even the cities. To help keep Melody safe, Ethan travels alone, at least until an old ally joins him—one who could prove to be the key to his success… or the destruction of all he holds dear.

### Other VR novels I've reviewed:

### [Sidequest: In Realms Ungoogled by Frank J. Fleming #Keangarooview, 16-March-2018](https://steemit.com/writing/@carolkean/sidequest-in-realms-ungoogled-by-frank-j-fleming-keangrooview-16-march-2018)
![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmSMazsTpEfyPvBLJSGpCYLaiEK2ZTETtdGiBBscqQoTbg/image.png)

### [“CTRL-ALT Revolt!” by Nick Cole: HarperVoyager dodges political hot potato; Author goes Indie and thrives](https://steemit.com/fiction/@carolkean/ctrl-alt-revolt-by-nick-cole-harpervoyager-dodges-political-hot-potato-author-goes-indie-and-thrives)
[![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmav19qwyJiDg2tKXJ4EEFNpHLRzPKKjhcvWRfaYfHnZrd/image.png)](https://steemit.com/fiction/@carolkean/ctrl-alt-revolt-by-nick-cole-harpervoyager-dodges-political-hot-potato-author-goes-indie-and-thrives) 


### Haley Stone, ["Machinations"](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27876301-machinations)  
![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmUVVTWhf7SJ5ryVpyhKYKWyLZRYagiWf8HZsrHy1Xv7eC/image.png)


### [The Gamer Chronicles](https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N65WRPY/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_6JT0Db8C4033Y) 
by Samuel Peralta and a gazillion other Awesome Indie Authors, via @amazon
![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmdjuxZ5SYFNTyFdp58A7mGv4H5CgGVoxVFSzJk3EBvAPE/image.png)
*No review to be seen at Amazon: they reject all my reviews of all Samuel Peralta's "Chronicles" books, apparently because I'm Facebook-Friends with too many of the authors*
***
### Holly Jennings, [Arena](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25894059-arena)
![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmee7KbHQmGJRWReVpFr3EU7mSdGXJAJhChtWuiHLCQKg9/image.png)

I won't bother hyperlinking these to my past book reviews. Life is too short! Go, read the books, not the reviews!

#immersive #virtualreality #scifi #sciencefiction #book #trilogy #indieauthor #indieauthors #indie #gamingnovels
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@carolkean ·
Thank you!!
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