Guest Review: Tower Climber (Tower Climber #1) by Jakob Tanner


We at FanFiAddict want to thank Steve Caldwell (aka The Bookwyrm Speaks) for his review of Tower Climber.

Make sure to give him a follow on Twitter, @Sandman_Slim101, or on his blog, The Bookwyrm Speaks.


Rating: 9.0/10

Synopsis

They say only fools enter the tower…

All Max wants is to become a climber and search for his long lost sister.

But citizens aren’t allowed to climb, they aren’t even allowed remotely in the vicinity of the mysterious and magical tower. Plus, even if citizens could enter, it didn’t change the fact that Max’s body is paralyzed from the waist down, confined to a wheelchair. No way would anyone let him enter the tower. Ever.

Yet one night everything changes and Max’s world is thrown upside down. He suddenly gains an ultra rare ability and the chance to train and climb the tower.

But being a climber isn’t as easy as it sounds. Each floor of the tower contains vast worlds and deadly magical monsters.

While Max may want to ascend to the top of the tower, there are plenty of others who want to as well, many who won’t blink an eye at removing anyone who stands in their way…

Review

I’m always on the lookout for something new to read or listen to, and when I was given the chance to review the audio book for The Tower Climber, I knew I was on to something. I expected it to be the usual: go in the game, do quests and missions to level up in a tower dungeon type scenario. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I had no idea just what kind of imaginative dystopian world I was about to be immersed in, or the characters whose lives I was about to read about.

I have to say that the author was very creative in mixing a few LitRPG /Progression elements into a story that could easily have been an urban fantasy or superhero prose.  Adding a ranking system and some basic stats to a profile they can pull up is an easy way to track their progression. The various powers and abilities certain people gain range from things like common slice to more uncommon abilities like elemental control and even rarer abilities. Its kind of what you expect from a world with game mechanics, but its surprisingly complex.

That complexity really shows in the world building. So much of the LitRPG mechanics are tied into the world of the tower, which is part of the real world but has worlds upon worlds of its own. This has created a very dystopian type society, with a caste system developing between the empowered and the powerless, which encourages some of the worst behavior from some the more powerful empowered. In fact, I was shocked how dark and grim some of the world got. It was seriously not something I expected.

The characters are definitely a strength. The main character, Max, goes though some serious trials in his life, pretty much beginning at the beginning of the book, and how he deals with these struggles and grows in both character and power is a really well thought out arc. The secondary characters are also perfect for the story, and get some real fleshing out and character growth. Heck, even the pet gerbil gets a character arc, and that takes some serious writing chops to pull off. The villains are something special. These villains are some of the best I have seen in recent years. Imagine the Malfoys from Harry Potter, only more psychotic that Bellatrix Lestrange. I was shocked at the level of depravity, but it fits so well into the story and serves to show how loathsome they are. Just a great way to handle the villains arcs.

The narration for the audio version is handled by Steve Campbell. He has rapidly grown into one of my favorite narrators. He just does such an amazing creating unique voices for each of the characters, really bringing them to life. You never have any problem telling which character is speaking. His narration is so well done, never monotone, just smoothly flowing the passages together. This is one of my favorites of his.

Summing it all up, this book should appeal to a wide range of fantasy and LitRPG fans. The characters are fully fleshed out, and reside in an interesting world with secrets, conspiracies and threats revealed throughout. I highly recommend checking it out.

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