Here are some of my favorite reviews from readers who’ve enjoyed my stories.
5 Stars – “Combining sci-fi and fantasy Cipher’s Quest drops you right into the action with Cullen as he discovers the Cipher and ‘the path of light’. After the first few chapters Cipher’s Quest really finds its pacing. Cullen, Ehli and Emmit spend the majority of the book trying to find a ‘key’ to defeat the Osuna Empire. Parts play out like an adventure book while others feel like an escort mission with big boss fights. Neither are wrong. Every chapter opens up and expands an already deep lore between good and evil, rebel factions, evil empires, ancient civilizations, telepaths, and alien worlds. It’s not virtual… it’s not apocalyptic… it’s ancient wonder brought back to life. The Cipher system itself is insanely unique and well thought out without taking too much from the story. The jungle dungeon and creatures are all well designed. The classes: ultras and bounty hunters were fun and interesting. The book also featured an interesting family dynamic in it I don’t want to give away. Overall Cipher’s Quest is a fun read and a great addition to sci-fi LitRPG.” – Stephen Landry, author of Star Divers and editor of Rise and Rescue: A Gamelit Anthology.
Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Breath of fresh air
In a genre very dependent upon its tropes this stands out for its unique take on litrpg. Will be excited to see more and find out what else the author has in store for us.
A. Lynnette 5.0 out of 5 stars My First LitRPG Read and I Am Thoroughly Entertained! Verified Purchase
As a new reader to the LitRPG genre, I must say that Cipher’s Quest made an addictive and entertaining read. We follow Cullen’s journey, with his mysterious past and the obstacles plaguing him, where he’s tasked with escorting Ehli and Emmit to a planet where they could find the key to defeating the Osuna (dominating empire)–or, if they’re not careful, their own destruction. Great pacing, characters, and a fun blend of sci-fi and fantasy that is well balanced and immerses you in this rich world. Definitely a recommended read.
Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Bounty Hunter Gamelit with an Expansive World
Fell in head first. The world is deep and kept building. Some readers in this genre light less world building, but I’m crazy for it. Had a Dune like feel to it, pushing sci fi and fantasy together. The LitRPG/Gamelit elements are light, but were essential to the story and added another level I appreciated. Will read book 2!
Chris Fried @ The Indie Athenaeum 5.0 out of 5 stars Resistance members risk their lives to find crucial secrets from the past in this fast-paced novel!
The Osuna empire has grabbed hold of the galaxy and dominates it with an iron fist. Resisting them is a ragtag group of people with different agendas, but united with a common goal and an audacious plan. A group of bounty hunters, led by Cullen, is contracted to help a family get to a mysterious jungle planet.
What’s on this planet? The secret to accomplishing their goal of defeating the empire! They’re accompanied by Ehli and her son Emmit, who were unwillingly given telepathic powers and became ultras. They gradually realize that their past is intertwined with the galaxy’s future. But there is a question as to whether they can survive the jungle of powerful predators that lurk between them and their goal.
This motley bunch is on a quest to unlock the Cipher, a mythical power thought lost long ago. Our heroes think that by doing so for the entire galaxy, they will bring about the defeat of the more technologically advanced Osuna empire.
Tasked with saving the ultras and bringing them to the planet Vijil, Cullen is with them on their hazardous adventure. He’s faced with the possibility that his potential failure will impact the entire resistance movement. As they all trek across the jungle, they start receiving messages from the Cipher in their mind.
This Cipher guides them on their journey as they unlock telepathic abilities and other special powers. As they do so, secrets are unearthed, lies are laid bare and lives are changed forever. Even with this extra assistance, do they even have a chance to succeed in their mission?
The ambitious plot is something out of space opera but keenly focused on these characters, as each of them is distinctive and interesting. Cullen is exiled from his home planet with a mysterious past that only begins to touch on what fate holds for him.
Ehli and her son Emmit lost a loved one to tragedy but he left them a hidden and enormous legacy to live up to. Coping with all of this while starting to explore their telepathic abilities which they never asked for, all their dilemmas and struggles throughout the novel make them real people whose fates you invest in.
This novel utilizes the Literary Role-Playing Game or LitRPG genre. That means that the quest they are on includes elements of these kinds of games as part of its narrative structure. The Cipher awards experience points when our characters successfully complete tasks. They also discover, practice, learn about, and improve upon these new skills over the course of the novel.
This includes finding specific keys to their mission, going on side quests, deciphering texts from the Ancients, and piecing together clues to solve difficult puzzles. Completing all these tasks helps them achieve their goals and enhance their abilities.
The mystery of the Cipher is gradually revealed and understood over the course of the novel. While remaining mysterious, it also helps each of the characters begin a journey to reach their full potential, for both themselves and their abilities. How much influence it wields and how important it is to the quest of our heroes cannot be understated. It also adds an extra layer of tension and intrigue to this story.
The jungle holds many surprises, especially with the allies (or is it enemies?) that they meet there. It is hard to tell whom to trust here, as Cullen, Ehli and their friends are being tested by sinister forces for a grand plan they are gradually becoming aware of.
These dangers that they encounter there are both animal and human. Those menaces include tigers who can emit electro-magnetic pulses and hawk snakes with quick-acting venom (!). But there are also telepathic humans roaming around, with killer instincts, alarming thoughts, and berserker tendencies that are side effects of failed experimentation that they endured.
The complexity of this plan, how it’s implemented and utilized was suspenseful and unpredictable, as I literally didn’t know where the story was going to go next with each devious twist and turn of its plot. It kept me guessing right up through to the end. And that ending promises an even grander escapade in the second book of this planned trilogy.
I really appreciated how this novel successfully blends the LitRPG genre with elements of both the science fiction and fantasy genres within its framework. It makes this novel unique and innovative, melding all these majestic ideas into one grand story that made for very enjoyable reading.
I read this novel when it was previously published as part of the “Dominion Rising” collection in August 2017. It has been rewritten since then and I received an updated version of this ebook for review purposes. It has only gotten better since I last read it and I look forward to seeing where the author takes the story next.
Rockriver 5.0 out of 5 stars Space bounty hunters!
I may or may not have a thing for space opera and space bounty hunters. This scratches that itch just enough while also being an awesome LitRPG.
Can’t wait for the next one.