The Secret of the Dark Forest | The Way of the Shaman Book 3

The Secret of the Dark Forest is the third novel in The Way of the Shaman series by Vasily Mahanenko. The entertainment world of Barliona is a survival arena for Daniel Mahan after being sentenced to 8 years in prison. Mahan experienced many jobs such as: breaking work in the mines, betraying other prisoners, he brought into the common world of Barliona. He became the clan leader, sending the top 50 to the dark forest secrets.

Here are the top 3 reviews and comments that readers love about this fascinating book.

Review 1: The Secret of the Dark Forest audiobook by Don Gilbert

Best LITRPG

So far the first three Audio books of “The way of the Shaman” series are the best LITRPG I’ve heard. I’ve enjoyed others’ in the genre like “Ready Player One,” and the “Phantom Server,” and the “Play to Live” series; although the follow up to RPO stunk and the last few books of the “Play to Live,” series had lost some of the excitement, but “The Way of the Shaman” just keeps getting better and this third book, “The secret of the dark forest,” is the best so far; I didn’t want it to end.

From the start of this series I liked the premise; a future society sending its prisoners to a virtual world called Barliona, where they must endure hard labor, digital style, in order to earn their way into the general gaming population. Daniel Mahan is one such prisoner, an engineer and hacker sentenced to eight years in the game. Mahan soon learns that he has a natural talent to survive in this world and becomes the Shaman that this series is centered on.

Barliona is a place of magic and special abilities with many unique and complex quests; some that have expanded through the entire series and have yet to come to fruition; the Emperor’s chess set, for instance, and we still don’t know the entire story behind Mahan’s incarceration. Then there is the exceptional and surprising character leveling and I really like the relationship with the NPC characters; they are not simply passive gaming props but integral parts of the story line.

About the narrator; at first I wasn’t sure about Jonathan Yens performance, but have now found it works perfectly with Vasily Mahanenko writing.
Hurry up with the next book, please!!

Review 2: The Secret of the Dark Forest audiobook by Matthew Nilsen

Enjoyable, but treading a dangerous path.

I’m a little disappointed with the path this series is taking. In the first two books, there seemed to be a focus on the character developing his avatar, using wit to get ahead, and there was also a relaxed pace to things. In the most recent installment, the speed and pacing has become frantic. The main character seems to rapidly be given god level items/quests/abilities and massive level jumps every hour. Each as a natural consequence of the one he got before, rather than any real ingenuity on his own part. In fact he rarely does anything himself anymore. Most of the action is done by other characters, then the main character receives a superior reward to them because he’s the chosen one of fate/luck for the most part. This seems to be a trope in this genre, and the first book had given me some hope that this series wasn’t going to fall that way. I have to say I’m hesitant to continue anymore.

Review 3: The Secret of the Dark Forest audiobook by Antispiral

Anastaria is killing this story.

The Anastaria plot is literally killing this story. I find myself nearly skipping whole chapters to avoid their asinine interactions.

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