LitRPG is short for literary role-playing games. It is an immersive reading experience that combines computer role-playing games with standard literary genres like adventure and fantasy.
This genre is perfect for gamers that want to start reading more. It blends reading and gaming and the principal follows the protagonist who typically spends the story participating in a role-playing game.
This is a relatively new subgenre of fiction, only taking shape in 2013. It originated in Russia and has since been popular with authors and writers across the world.
LitRPG is a great way to get children and young adults interested in reading, which has become a chore instead of an entertainment form over the last decade. By blending literature with the digital age through science-fiction and gaming, LitRPG can be appealing to even the most uninterested of readers.
Because it is a new genre that hasn’t been around as much as the well-established genres, there are fewer books within this genre. However, it is an ever-growing genre and more and more authors have decided to write within this new sector of fiction.
The stories typically have a whacky premise and usually contain some fantastical elements. They can incorporate humor, horror, psychology, and thrill, making LitRPG not only one of the newest and most intriguing genres but also one of the most wide-ranging.
Dungeon Crawler Carl is a LitRPG or ‘Gamelit’ book by Matt Dinniman. It is set in an apocalyptic world orchestrated like a labyrinth and functioning like a brutal game show. It is filled with monsters and traps and the players must be creative and savage to survive.
Dinniman’s 5-book series has caught the attention of millions across the world and is now one of the staple works in the LitRPG genre.
If this intriguing genre sounds like something you’d enjoy, here are 20 additional LitRPG books that may become your new favorite.
God’s Eye by Aleron Kong
Aleron Kong is frequently referenced as the ‘king’ of LitRPG. His work is fantastic, insightful, and captivating and he has a real talent for merging literature, fantasy, and digital gaming.
God’s Eye is set in a unique world called Telos and is told from the perspective of a new god. It is based on myth and legend and incorporates power, moral corruption, faith, and worship. It tells of the relationships between mortals and deities and follows Remy’s journey of survival.
This is such a multifaceted book with so much going on – you won’t get bored with this one! Highly recommended as one of the greatest books in this genre, God’s Eye is not one to miss. If you enjoy this book, Aleron Kong has a wide repertoire of LitRPG novels for you to sink your teeth into afterward.
He Who Fights With Monsters by Shirtaloon
From a life of slow, boring, office work to an adventurous, fantastical journey that incorporates monsters, mystery, and magic – this is Jason’s story.
He Who Fights With Monsters is action-packed, intense, and humorous. It follows Jason’s intriguing journey as he encounters a plethora of new creatures and people. In a completely new world where he tries to navigate his new powers, Jason is almost destined for failure but as he integrates, he realizes he is so much more than the ordinary man who worked in an office.
Life in the North by Tao Wong
What was first supposed to be a relaxing getaway in Kluane National Park becomes a deadly, apocalyptic mess. John is forced to battle monsters he’s never seen and survive out-of-this-world events all in an effort to get back to his normal life without losing the plot in the meantime.
Life in the North is an apocalyptic, science-fiction, fantasy, navigated with game-like elements. It is a brilliant read and is perfect for the action-adventure lover.
Dungeon Lord by Hugo Huesca
The land of Ivalis offers no warm welcome for Edward. He is forced into the position of Dungeon Lord, destined to obey the Dark as a servant. But Edward will do anything to avoid fulfilling evil plans and must become powerful enough to overthrow his master.
Dungeon Lord is a highly-rated series incorporating themes of individuality, growth, battle, and honing in on the distinction between good and evil.
Iron Prince by Bryce O’Connor
Reidon was abandoned due to his weakness. Starting off on the back foot, he has had to fight to stay alive and fight harder for any opportunities.
But his perseverance has paid off. He gets recognized by one of the most developed and powerful artificial intelligence forms and is enrolled in a military academy, training for brilliance and destined to be a god.
Iron Prince is the excellent story of Reidon’s journey from weakling to powerful god. Perfect for YA audiences or anyone interested in the fantasy school subgenre.
Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe
This one is a little more light-hearted for those who are attracted to the genre description but aren’t keen on the intensity.
Sufficiently Advanced Magic follows Corin as he journeys into the Serpent Spire himself after his brother never returned. It’s said that those who reach the top, battling monsters, traps, and shape-shifters along the way, will meet the goddess and will obtain magical powers of their own.
Corin is determined to get his brother back and find out why so many people never make it back from the tower.
Defiance of the Fall by J.F. Brink
This is one of the most well-read and positively-reviewed LitRPG novels out there. Defiance of the Fall follows Zac who stumbles upon an alternate universe and gets trapped, alone, with only dangerous monsters and demons for company. With one aim in mind and his family at stake, Zac must escape before it’s too late.
This is a brilliant starter book for the LitRPG genre, providing a perfect insight into what LitRPG is like and how it reads but also supplying a fantastic, gripping story that will make you fall in love with the characters and keep you turning pages.
Orkonomics by J. Zachary Pike
Beasts, goblins, orcs, monsters, dwarves, goddesses, powers, elves, and quests are just a handful of the things you can expect from Orkonomics. Merging multiple fantasy themes and creatures, this story provides a brilliant, intense adventure that follows Gorm Ingerson on his recent quest.
Blending fantasy with real economic and social issues, this book can feel oddly realistic and relatable, despite all of the unrealistic elements that make it such a captivating read. This is an excellent read for any LitRPG and fantasy lover.
Life Reset by Shemer Kuznits
This is the first in the 6-book series that follows Oren, who mysteriously finds himself in the body of a goblin. He is a frequent player but has never before found himself on the side of the enemy. But Oren realizes that monsters aren’t all bad and uses his awkward situation to his advantage.
Life Reset follows the unusual switch from good to evil and interestingly dives into the reality of living in the digital world.
Awaken Online by Travis Bagwell
With a terminal cancer diagnosis, an economic crisis, and nothing to lose, Dominic immersed himself in a free video game that was advertised as ‘therapy’.
But as he gets more and more engrossed in the casino-type digital world, his luck seems to worsen and he’s left with one choice: all or nothing?
Awaken Online is a brilliant LitRPG novel that sheds light on emotional trauma, disease, the boundaries of human desperation, and digital reality.
Dungeon Born by Dakota Krout
Dakota Krout has produced some brilliant fantasy and LitRPG novels, so rest assured you’re in safe hands with this one.
Dungeon Born is weird and whacky, guaranteed to keep you on your toes, and follows Cal, a Dungeon Core whose soul is trapped in a magical stone after being brutally murdered.
But he has one power, he is able to reform his surroundings and creates a deadly dungeon around himself but there’s one twist…
The Trapped Mind Project by Michael Chatfield
The Trapped Mind Project is a fantastic book series that encompasses science-fiction, LitRPG, and fantasy. It follows Austin, the CEO of a powerful asteroid mining business, who gets far too invested in a video game.
Engrossed in the fantasy world, he pays little attention to the others around him but when he realizes the dark truth behind the game he has nowhere to turn and must warn other players of their fate. But who can he trust? And how much will he risk for the truth?
Ascend Online by Luke Chmilenko
Marcus and his friends dive headfirst into the newest video game, not thinking twice about escaping their realities or what this new world may contain.
But as soon as he starts, Marcus realizes he has been separated from his friends and is immediately forced into battle. As his virtual reality intensifies, he is taken on a long, dangerous adventure, not knowing when he’ll be reunited with his friends.
Ascend Online is a fascinating story that will warn gamers of the dangers of digital reality – as Marcus’s game dramatizes, he loses sight of what’s real and what’s not.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This one is not necessarily set out like a LitRPG novel but contains many of the same themes and incorporates the same gripping nature. Arguably dystopian, Ready Player One is also set within virtual reality and tells a futuristic adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
This story is brilliant and features romance, danger, murder, crime, and gaming. It is highly rated by most that have read it and is fully immersive for those craving a vivid reading experience.
One More Last Time by Eric Ugland
With his real life ruined and destined for failure, he decides to immerse himself in a video game, under a new identity.
iNcarn8 offers him a whole new life and allows him to explore the world as a warrior. This game may be the last time for him to get his life on track and provides a well-needed escape from reality.
One More Last Time is an intriguing book that toys with the blurred line between gaming and reality.
Temple of Sorrow by Carrie Summers
This is the first book in the Stonehaven League series and follows Devon as she dives into a virtual game called Relic Online. She is a very experienced gamer and has nothing in her real life worth pursuing.
But when she logs on, she finds herself way out of her depth. She is faced with a plethora of dangerous obstacles and her character is weaker than expected.
Temple of Sorrow is ideal for the avid gamer, jam-packed with gaming-related issues, delving into the gaming mentality, and offering a virtual fantastical escape.
Survival Quest by Vasily Mahanenko
Millions of users are registered with Barliona, the virtual world offering a fantastical escape filled with magic, battles, and mysterious creatures.
Barliona has taken over, with many people spending months online without engaging in their real lives and criminals being sent to the virtual setting to carry out months of service and isolation.
Survival Quest follows a certain group of criminals that must go on a survival journey.
AlterWorld by D. Rus
AlterWorld follows Max, as he clings to his last months of life, desperate to feel alive once more before cancer takes over his body.
Gaming offers him a new identity, immortality, kinship, and potentially romance, so what does he have to lose?
Sector Eight by Michael Atamanov
Without reading the contract properly, Ruslan signs into a game that is all-encompassing and inescapable until you’ve finished.
What began as a fun part-time hobby becomes a survival journey and this new world will require much more than Ruslan can offer. Will he survive the requirements of this new game or will he crumble under pressure?
Sector Eight is a great novel that nosedives straight into the struggles of a new gamer trying to navigate one of the most complex games ever created.
Dodge Tank by Rick Scott
With little remains of a family and a neurological disorder leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, Ryan has little to live for in his real life and instead relies on the virtual reality world online.
Dodge Tank merges reality with virtual reality and takes Ryan on a whirlwind adventure that will make him question everything he thought he knew and risk his real family for an online escape.
With any luck, this list will have provided some inspiration and perhaps an insight into the LitRPG genre if you’re a newbie. It is a truly immersive genre and is packed with intriguing themes that have rarely been tackled in literature. This genre will be perfect for any game-lover or avid reader craving a new reading experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is LitRPG?
LitRPG stands for literary role-playing games and is also known as Gamelit. This genre provides a game-like experience for readers and provides fully immersive thrilling and adventurous narratives. LitRPG is short for “literary role playing game” and is a super popular book genre combining the conventions of computer RPG gaming with science-fiction and fantasy book story lines.
LitRPG books often follow a character’s journey within a virtual reality world, where they must complete fun tasks, gain new levels and skills, and interact with other players in incredible settings.
Common LitRPG themes include adventure, discovery, and problem-solving – and some books may also include elements of romance. LitRPG books are often considered a subgenre of fantasy and science fiction.
How old is LitRPG?
It was formally established in 2013, so it has been around for 10 years.
Does LitRPG have to be apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic?
No, LitRPG can be more light-hearted or have a less dramatic, intense setting but a lot of writers choose apocalyptic settings to heighten the intensity and create a more twisted story.
How does LitRPG work?
It is a mixture of gaming and literature and usually follows a protagonist who participates in a virtual world or game show. They go on quests and journeys, so the narratives are usually adventure-driven.
Is LitRPG similar to Choose Your Own Adventure books?
Yes – it has a similar immersive style but the reader is less involved in the development of the plot line.