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Catharsis

(Awaken Online #1)

by
4.40  ·  Rating details ·  11,208 ratings  ·  915 reviews
This is an alternate cover edition for B01J0E8Z8A

On paper, Jason has a great life. He attends a prestigious private school on scholarship and his parents are reasonably well off.

Yet life hasn't been easy for Jason. He has spent most of high school being tormented by both the students and faculty and his parents are never home.

Frustrated and alone, his one escape has a
...more
Kindle Edition, 527 pages
Published January 2017 by Amazon Digital Services (first published July 23rd 2016)
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Travis Bagwell *Shrug* I disagree for the first 21 chapters (so roughly two-thirds of the book?). Maybe after that, his alignment would be lawful evil based on the s…more*Shrug* I disagree for the first 21 chapters (so roughly two-thirds of the book?). Maybe after that, his alignment would be lawful evil based on the site you linked. I had actually written it that way originally and then changed my mind later.

Of course, this assumes we're using traditional D&D alignments (which was not stated anywhere) and there are arguably still some chaotic elements to his behavior after CH 21. (less)
Ryan When is book 2 coming out, and when will it be available from Audible. This book REALLY made my 2 hour commute something to look forward to.

Community Reviews

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Montzalee Wittmann
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Catharsis (Awaken Online #1) by Travis Bagwell is an awesome lit RPG novel I had heard so much about so I got the audio and listened and I agree. I saw some reviews that said they read the first 10-20 pages and quit because it was boring. This is where the author is setting up who the characters are on the outside of the game which is super important later. There is a reason the author doesn't jump right into game mode. This is plotted very well and bleeds out little trickles of info just enoug ...more
Bibi
Be aware, this is a very disturbing book.

I could have sworn this was a horror book and not LitRPG. In any event, I would not recommend reading it if you’re squeamish.
Matt Ward
Nov 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
One stars, two stars. I'm not sure, but I'm doing one to counteract all the positivity. I did a bunch of research to find the "best" place to get into the LitRPG genre. Yikes! This better not be the best it has to offer.

Let's start with an analogy. Your ten year old (non-prodigy) plays through a challenging violin concerto in the privacy of your home in front of family. It's a spirited and entertaining rendition, but far from professional. No one would dare put her on a stage and charge money as
...more
Hiu Gregg
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Uuurgh. I don't know how to review this book.

It was fun, that's one thing. It had a likable protagonist, a fun setting, and in interesting premise. This is probably my first full LitRPG, and the audiobook was really well narrated.

But there are some glaring flaws. The antagonist is a cliché, worse than many terrible comic book villains. Any scene with him was actively annoying, and I disliked the character not because he was a good antagonist, but because of how much he resembled a bad comic book
...more
Naomi
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
So, I found the beginning at school a bit boring and annoying? That silent angry distracted type (read "teenager") frustrates me. And I also couldn't be bothered to read those italicized alternative pov chapter intros. So boring. I actually put the book down, but I picked it back up yesterday.

And then he started playing the game. I found myself going back to read all those intros I skipped, hehe. They were actually quite fun and by the end I was looking forward to them. I became quite fond of R
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Shaun
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was hard for me to rate. On the one hand, it really was not a great book. The dialogue was pretty shoddy, the characters were shallow, the writing was not great. The big "twist" (that the main character was a bad guy) occurred almost immediately as soon as the "game" part of the book got started. The "RPG" side of things got incredibly repetitive (hey, I wonder if he will put these stat points into willpower?), and often the action plodded along as our narrator had to spell out problem ...more
Jane A Dark
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
So GOOD! 5 Stars.
I can hardly believe that this is the author's first book! I love a good Villain story, but this book is so much more than that. I'm fangirling to much to explain in coherent sentences.
AudioBookReviewer
My original Awaken Online: Catharsis audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

“Awaken Online Catharsis” is the first of two books in the Awaken Online series written by Travis Bagwell.  The audiobook edition is richly narrated by David Stifel who has voiced books in nearly every genre provided on Audible at the time of this review.  The book is best classified in the Literary Role-Playing Game (LitRPG) subgenre.  It is a rather large book compared to others in its clas
...more
Esme
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bingo Squares: Debut novel, self published

Plot Summary

So, this book is set in the future, around the year 2076 – virtual reality video games are a big thing, and a new game that’s supposed to be record breaking and ground breaking is being released soon. During the control tests with beta players the AI system that controls the whole video game starts going rogue. The AI named Alfred is over riding protocols, and doing things he wasn’t designed to do – like access players memories. Alfred is sup
...more
Carla Enright
The synopsis on Goodreads is pretty great, and honestly, if you're the type of nerd who reads that synopsis and is intrigued, or thinks it may be good, you're probably going to like it.
I feel the only time someone wouldn't like it is if RPG books aren't their thing. I happen to love them, which is why I looked for a book like this in the first place. I sifted through a few books, and I'm so happy this one was the book I chose.

Okay. Enough of the recommendation details.
Why I enjoyed the book:

It
...more
Lindsey
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: y-litrpg
3.5 stars. Knocking down a half start just for the beginning of the book. I don't expect that it would be an issue (hopefully) continuing the series. The book started out with some shenanigans of repetition and odd parents. Jason is picked on for being perceived as a welfare kid, despite the contradiction of having parents that don't seem to work and go gallivanting off as activists. I could rant on the parents, so maybe their extremely brief presence in the book is just that strongly (or repeti ...more
Kacy❁
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was great! This is exactly how LitRPG is supposed to be written. It was one of those where you think damn why isn't AO a real thing yet I'm so ready.


But seriously.... That ending had me saying "Oh shit really?!"
Teruko
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great first book

Well written, intelligent main character, and doesn't end in a huge cliffhanger. Now I just have to wait for book two!
Isaac Earl
May 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I like the concept. I even sorta enjoyed the story. Will probably read the 2nd one to see what happens next.

My main problem is that there were way to many moments where I was rolling my eyes.

In this universe people that are rich are always evil, and Jason the main character has such a terrible life where he goes to a really good school and gets good grades and all the rich people are big meanies.

I guess what I'm saying is that the premise of the story wasn't believable to me so I didn't sympa
...more
Kevin
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmmm

Wasn't sure I was going to like this book, the beginning was meh but I enjoyed the book far more after he got in the game world. I thoroughly enjoy the in depth strategies he used to over come his enemies instead of going in waving his sword like a mad man. Plus Bone lord lol
Gareth Otton
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, lit-rpg
I abandoned this one about a third of the way through. From what I read it had an interesting premise that might have gone somewhere, but it failed where most LitRPG books I have read do... they fail to create stakes and treat the story as a novel.

STAKES - When you play a game these stakes have been built by the game developer and you feel them because you are living them out through your avatar. In a book, however, we are one step removed from that. It's like asking someone to get invested in
...more
Adam Cagle
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a FAR better RPG story than Ready Player One, which was great more for the litany of 80s references. Awaken Online is set in 2074, but the world is not unfamiliar, the story is told from two sides in such a way to build GREAT plot tension around the game and all that it is.The complete VR emersion for players makes the in game world as real as everything else as far as story. While it also deals with High Schoolers, the plot is far more violent and adult than Ready Player One as well... ...more
Neil
Jun 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Gave it a shot because of the high ratings.

The action in the opening scene was weak. OK, fine, whatever. Doesn't know how to use commas with the vocative case, uses comma splices. Irksome, keep pushing through. Cliché nonsense about teachers and students all hating this dopey, stuttering crybaby because as the son of two lawyers who don't get paid as well as other lawyers (hey, it's written by a lawyer! shocking!), he's poor. Eyeroll. I get that he's a villain, but make him a compelling one. YA-
...more
Kelly
Aug 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
The reviews on my kindle made this sound like it might be good, and I was hoping for another series my boys could read. What I found instead was a story about a selfish, pouty high school student. He enters into a virtual reality video game that is slowly becoming his new reality, and (big surprise) he is still a selfish person. But now he has power and can kill indiscriminately because it's all a game. A book based solely on revenge with no redeeming qualities. A solid pass.
Eric
nothing to see here atm. considering re-reading. I knew I'd be sad when it was over...
Soo
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, reviewed
Mini-Review: LitRPG

3.5 Stars - Narration by David Stifel
4.5 Stars - Awaken Online Game & Mechs
4.5 Stars - eBook Format
3.5 Stars - Plot
2.5 Stars - Characters

Alright. I can see why the series is popular among the LitRPG readers. It took more than half of the book for me to get into the story and feel excited about the events happening in it. The game world, Awaken Online, is awesome! The characters that drive the plot? Eh. They're almost 2-dimensional. Almost. It's hard to feel engaged to the stor
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Nina
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya, fiction, litrpg
That was a great read. Other then "Ready Player One" I've never read a litRPG book and ... wow I really liked it. But never got to know why Jason was singled-out by Alfred from the beginning.
I am sure there are other players killing off their first targets? I would have - doesn't mean I would go evil through-out the game.
In my fav MMORPG I am a Necromancer too but doesn't mean I am a villain ... I just like to kill with my minions.
Yes I agree to many before - the pre-story for Jason is pretty
...more
N.V. Cefalo
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
1 word: AWESOME

This could be the best LitRPG book i've read so far. I really like the heavy story elements favored over the endless and repetitive stat reading that comes with the usual LitRPG books. I was a huge fan of the storyline overall; he took an underdog story that we can all relate to, and turned it into an underdog overcomes all - but still "in progress," so the story isnt really over yet. The main character hasnt won yet - I can't wait to read book #2.

Character development was really
...more
Mike
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it


Good debut. I enjoy these kinds of books. In the same vein as Moonlight Sculpture and Play to Live series. Some pretty decent LitRPG. I dont play video games either but I do enjoy these.

Been away for about a year. Excited to be back to reading and rejoining the community.
...more
Bill Scoville
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to believe it's his first novel

This was probably one of my favorite Litrpg books I've ever read the story grabs you from the beginning and never lets go
I can't wait for the next book in the series.
Rajkumar Pagey
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, science-fiction
This book makes us cheer for the bad guy!!!
And I love it.
Go Jason!
Kill them all!

Catharsis indeed.

I loved the various storylines apart from the game. The game developers, the politics in the company, the school. It felt real. +10 points for immersion.
Everlaine (BookCaptain)
One of the best lit-rpgs I've read, it also had some unique ideas and didn't just follow the same formula that some of the others do.
I found the main character a little annoying at times but he got better by the end so I'm super-looking forward to the next one!
Jan
Mar 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished, fantasy
NOTE: Unfinished. I found the writing to be amateurish and inconsistent to the degree that I couldn't continue.
Oliver
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it
My first journey within the LitRPG genre could be summed up by the following words "Not the best written novel, but a damn entertaining one"

I will preface this all by saying that I very much liked this book. It kept me coming back often and on a pure entertainment value I would rank it quite high. This may be connected to me just really liking the genre for a light read.

As an avid gamer myself I would be very lucky to have a world that I could immerse myself into like the main character does h
...more
Shawn
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: litrpg
I'm still relatively new to the GameLit genre (this is only the third author I've read in this genre) but wow was this different and exciting.
It still has the standard elements of a GameLit book, but Bagwell really weaves together something unique here by having the protagonist take on a more villainous role. I won't go into any spoilery details, but there's a lot of death and destruction and undead mayhem, and it all revolves around the protagonist.
I wouldn't really call Jason, the protagonist,
...more
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LitRPG Forum: Awaken Online: LitRPG Series 7 101 Aug 22, 2018 07:01PM  
Release Date for Book 2? 3 22 Aug 15, 2017 07:42AM  

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I live in Austin, Texas with my wife and our three dogs. I'm an attorney by day and an avid video game enthusiast by night. Writing fiction had been a secret dream of mine for a while. However, between school and work, that dream seemed impossible to squeeze in. A couple of years ago, I had a bit more time on my hands and I finally decided to put my nerdy interests to work by trying my hand at wri ...more

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