Esmes Indie highlights/SPFBO: Valhalla Online by Kevin O McLaughlin

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This book was part of Fantasy Book Review’s grouping and has since been eliminated.

This will appeal to people who like LitRPG, and are looking for a female main character. I’ve delved pretty deep into LitRPG recently, and this is the first female POV I’ve read.


Samantha was in the military, she’s young, fit and healthy. She finds herself waking up into a video game set in a traditional fantasy world. She has no idea how she got there, because video games aren’t really her thing. She thinks it’s a prank that one of her friends pulled. She keeps asking the AI how to log out, and the AI has no answers for her.

She eventually finds out that she’s dead. This is a video game that people pay massive amounts of money to be logged into after death. It takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to reserve yourself a spot, and obviously, Samantha shouldn’t be there.

A lot of the plot has to do with her coming to grips with where she is, forming relationships with people who are there and trying to figure out how it is she got there.

There’s an assassin who uses a special bow, that when he kills you – your character is deleted. It’s a hacked and illegal weapon, and he’s hunting down the main character.

Samantha has learned that she can only send messages to the outside if she reaches the last level, and becomes one of the most powerful characters in the game. To do that, she needs to go through all the different levels of the game and reach the top. Each level has a different sort of feel to it, the first one is PVP, the second level is PVE – which is a safe zone for her – the assassin’s weapon won’t work in PVE.

Final Score: 8/10


Samantha is our main character, and it’s a single POV book. She’s determined to figure out what happened to her and is convinced that she’s still alive and she’s been illegally linked into this game through her body, not her death. Watching her form relationships with the people who have been in the game for a long time was neat to watch. She’s fairly easy to relate to, I can’t say I’d be doing anything different if I was in her position.

Final Score: 7.5/10

World Building:

This game is set in a traditional fantasy world, so there are magical creatures, fantasy races and all the standard things you’d expect to see in a game like Skyrim or WoW.

If you die, you reset, and not always with the belongings you had when you died, which sucks for Samantha.

You feel physical pain in this world, but the pain settings are mildly reduced. It’s also a surreal experience to die, Samantha doesn’t really get used to it.

Health, Stamina, and Magic are all abilities that Samantha is trying to level up to get to the next part of the game.

There are strong influences from Norse lore.

Final Score: 8/10


This was a pretty fast book, there was a lot of action going on, a lot of fight scenes and a lot of world building.

The tone was adventurous and lighter, it wasn’t a doom and gloom book despite the character dying from time to time.

The writing was pretty utilitarian, the prose got out of the way of the story, but it didn’t come off as an amateur writer.

Pacing Final Score: 8/10

Writing Final score: 7/10


This book really stood out from other LitRPG’s because it’s the first one based around the idea that everyone is dead and living a second life, also because as she levels up the gameplay totally changes keeping it fresh – and she’s the ONLY female POV in a litrpg I’ve read so far.

Final Score: 9/10 



  • For people who like lots of magic
  • For people who like video games and litrpg
  • For people who are looking for female litrpg characters
  • For people who like a twist on an online video game book
  • For people who like fast-paced action
  • For people who like traditional fantasy setting and races


Total Final Score: 47.5/60 or 7.91/10 or 4 stars on goodreads

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