The Once King (FFO#3)

The Once King (FFO#3)


Rachel Aaron & Travis Bach


Leylia’s secret could unite them all or lead them to an eternity of undeath.

After the loss of Bastion, everyone who’s not a zombie has holed up in FFO’s sole remaining safe haven: the lowbie town of Windy Lake. But the undead armies never rest, and it’s only a matter of time before the Once King’s forces come to crush what’s left of life in this world.

But Tina, James, and the rest of the players are facing a crisis of their own. After so long in this world, their human bodies are dying on the other side. If they don’t find a way home soon, they may have nothing to go back to.

With time running out in two worlds, Tina and James face a horrible choice: do they spend their final days looking for a way to get back to their old bodies, or join the NPCs to fight for their new ones. But just when things look impossible, James learns a secret that might change everything. Only one catch: to pull it off, they’re going to have to fight one raid boss no one, not even Tina, has ever beaten.

The Once King.


The Once King is the climactic conclusion to the LitRPG Final Fantasy Online. It was definitely climactic. What’s more, I got the ending I was hoping for. I’m actually really happy about that. I wasn’t a huge fan of the “epilogue,” but the ending itself was everything I could have hoped it would be.

Tina isn’t as bloodthirsty in The Once King. Her two major conflicts are finally resolved, and all the rage she had bottled up towards people that loved her was finally defused. That went a long way to me not disliking her so much.

James got his moment to shin as well. Though, in my opinion, he’s shinned in this entire series. I would read more books with characters like him. Someone who comes in and appeals to people’s better natures and can convince them that death and destruction are not the only way. Love it.

I’m honestly not sure if I’d read another LitRPG. If anyone has a good one to recommend, I’ll check out the blurb and maybe read a sample; otherwise, I don’t know. My desire to write one is still there, but it’s dimmed a bit. Aaron and Bach put a LOT of work into lore and world-building, and I don’t have the time to do that with most of the books I write. I don’t know, we’ll see.


Last Bastion (FFO #2)

Last Bastion (FFO #2)


Rachel Aaron & Travis Bach


Bastion was supposed to mean safety. It was supposed to mean a break from fighting for their lives and a chance to talk to someone who might actually know what’s going on. Access to their gold and some beer would have been nice, too.

They got none of those things. When Tina and James arrive in the capital, they find a city on fire in more ways than one. Players and non-players hunt each other in the streets, while the king who controls the city’s all-powerful artifact cowers from the chaos in his castle. Desperate to warn somebody about the Once King’s coming invasion, James wants to try to talk to the king anyway, while Tina just wants to meet the royal portal keepers who might be able to send them home.

It shouldn’t be hard to get an army of the world’s best-geared players through one city, but when they discover that the captain of the Royal Knights has been massacring low-level players in revenge disguised as justice, James and Tina will have to decide what is more important: the lives of their fellow gamers, or the stability of this world’s last great city. Both choices deserve a champion, but with the Once King’s armies closing in, taking the wrong side may doom everyone to an eternity as slaves to the Ghostfire.


I’m still not sure how I feel about LitRPGs after reading Last Bastion. I can appreciate the amount of work Aaron and Bach put into the lore and world, but I’m not sure how I feel about everything else. I think what it boils down to is that I’m not a fan of the players. Their obsession with stats and levels and shit. It’s obviously a huge part of the genre, so I don’t think it’s for me.

Tina once again annoyed the shit out of me. Her first instinct is to protect her people, which is admirable, but the only way she knows how to do that is through violence. It’s frustrating and pissed me off to no end. The way she and her guild kept calling the native people NPCs made me angry. They’d been shown multiple times that these people were more than that, but they treated them like they weren’t real.

James, on the other hand, continued to fight for peace, and I enjoyed that. One of my big pet peeves with video games is that killing is the only option. Oh, you’ve just made first contact with an alien species? KILL IT! Come on, people, give me some diplomatic options that don’t always lead to killing. I hate it. So anyway, I liked James’s part of things.

All that being said, I still needed to know what was going to happen next. I’m invested at this point. I do like Aaron’s writing. It’s the genre and the one character I’m not sure about.