For those who aren’t in the know, LitRPG is a genre that merges fantasy and science fiction with the thrill and challenge of role-playing video games.
LitRPG books often feature protagonists who enter immersive virtual worlds, where they have to complete quests, fight enemies, level up their stats, and loot items. They can be set in futuristic, medieval, or even contemporary settings, as long as they have some game-like elements.
In this article, I will share with you some of the best LitRPG books that you can enjoy in 2023, whether you are an avid gamer or a curious reader.
Table of Contents
Here are 45+ must-read LitRPG books you can’t miss:
1. Ritualist by Dakota Krout.
A new life in a game world awaits Joe, but it comes with a price. He possesses a hidden and coveted class that makes him a target for many foes.
With his team, he embarks on quests, learns new abilities, and explores the secrets of the world. He must survive long enough to achieve his goals.
2. One More Last Time by Eric Ugland.
With a gun in his hand, Montana had given up on life. But his last friend made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: a new life in iNcarn8, a game where he could be a mighty tank warrior. He decided to give it a try and see if he could change his fate.
3. Survival Quest By Vasily Mahaneko.
In Barliona, a virtual world full of magic and adventure, players can do anything they want. Except for the criminals who are trapped there. They have to endure the game’s horrors without any pain relief.
This is their epic story of survival, fighting against enemies and dragons in a quest for freedom. If you’re in the mood for an amazing LitRPG book to read this weekend, this is a perfect pick.
4. Ready Player One By Ernest Cline.
OASIS is a virtual paradise where Wade Watts searches for a hidden treasure. But his life is in danger when he finds the first clue. He must beat ruthless enemies who want the treasure too, and confront the ugly truth of his real world in 2044.
5. Warrior Reborn by M.H. Johnson.
To beat his cancer, Alex accepts to be frozen and uploaded into a digital universe. He expects to enjoy many worlds until a cure is found.
But he lands on a perilous ship with raiders and poison, where he faces pirates, cultivators, and demigods in his quest to become a powerful cultivator.
6. Patch 17 by G. Akella and Mark Berelekhis.
The realm of Arkon becomes a realistic virtual world with Patch 17. But Roman Kozhevnikov is stuck in it. He lives as Krian, a fighter who wants revenge. He faces pain and peril in the game’s most dangerous zone.
7. Towers of Heaven by Cameron Milan.
When mysterious towers appear on Earth, they bring monsters, magic, and mayhem. Only one survivor remains after a desperate battle. He wishes to go back in time and save humanity from extinction.
8. Dodge Tank By Rick Scott.
Ryan is a disabled miner in a post-apocalyptic VR game, who finds a rare item that makes him a Dodge Tank, a powerful fighter who can avoid any attack.
He hopes to use his new skills to save his mom and escape his miserable life. But he soon learns that his actions have bigger consequences than he ever imagined.
9. The Monolith by Stephen Roark.
Blood Seekers is a gothic MMO that Clay and his best friend Rey enjoy playing. But a mysterious plague turns Rey and many others into hostile zombies in the game. Now, Clay wants to rescue Rey and discovers a black monolith that might hold the answer.
10. The Luckless by A.M. Sohma.
A glitch in Chronicles of Retha leaves Kit stranded in the game as an elf dancer, a useless character. She must team up with some low-level players and a secretive expert, Solus Miles, to beat the game’s ultimate villain and escape.
11. Rogue Dungeon by James Hunter & Eden Hudson.
In a world oppressed by a Tyrant King, Roark von Graf is one of the last Freedom fighters. A daring plan to dethrone him backfires, and Roark lands in Hearthworld, a fantasy video game where he turns into a Troll.
He has a magic artifact that could save his world, but he must escape Hearthworld first. This is a captivating LitRPG, dungeon-core adventure perfect if you want an immersive read.
12. The Reborn by Edward Brody.
In Eden’s Gate, the first immersive virtual MMORPG, Gunnar Long finds a new home full of magic and mystery. He enjoys his new life, but the outside world wants to end the game. How can he protect his new world and prove that Eden’s Gate is real?
13. The Land of the Undying by Dave Willmarth.
A horrific apocalypse wipes out most of humanity and turns the surface into a death trap. Shari and Mace escape to a virtual world where they can use their skills, but they belong to rival races.
14. The Mayor of Noobtown by Ryan Rimmel.
A game-like world is Jim’s new home after he dies. But it’s not easy. He’s alone in a zone full of hostile monsters. How will he cope and use his opportunity?
15. Equalize by Ryan DeBruyn.
When Ether, the creative energy of the universe, awakens Gaia, the planet goes crazy. Rocky, who just wanted a quiet trip, is thrown into a chaotic world. He has to follow strange messages to stay alive and find his purpose in this new era.
16. Dungeons of Strata by G.D. Penman.
In Strata Online, a virtual reality MMO, Martin and his guild explore a hundred-floor mega-dungeon full of monsters. They race against other guilds to reach the lowest depths, but they also face Sin, a feature that can turn their classes dark.
Martin chooses a rare and daring combination: a rat-man exorcist. In this game, he must be courageous and use his skill to overcome the darkness.
17. Shadow Sun Survival by Dave Willmarth.
When an ancient race of aliens conquers Earth and turns it into an RPG world, gamer geek Allistor becomes a leader of a band of human rebels.
Facing dragons, titans, and other deadly foes, he vows to avenge his slain family and overthrow the alien tyrants. From the master of LitRPG himself, this is one of the best LitRPG books out there that you absolutely do not want to miss.
18. The Trapped Mind Project By Michael Chatfield.
To find himself, Austin Zane leaves his CEO role and enters Emerilia, a virtual reality game. He soon learns that Earth is a lie and Emerilia is real.
He also uncovers the biggest secret of his life: the people of Earth are enslaved by a simulation.
19. Cataclysm by James Hunter.
An asteroid is about to wipe out humanity, and Jack Mitchel’s only escape is Viridian Gate Online, a VRMMORPG that will keep his mind alive. But the game is not a safe haven.
It hides a sinister scheme that could turn it into a feudal hell. Now, Jack must fight for his survival in both realities
20. Epic By Conor Kostick.
Erik wants to avenge his parents and free New Earth from the Committee’s oppression. He and his friends defy the rules of Epic, a fantasy game that decides everything.
But one wrong move could cost them their lives. Epic is one of the best of LitRPG, a genre that mixes computer RPGs with sci-fi and fantasy novels.
21. Respawn by Stuart Thaman.
In Agglor, Kadorax is an unbeatable assassin and the leader of the Blackened Blades. But when the jackals ambush him and his team, he loses everything and starts over at level one.
He embarks on a bloody quest to get revenge and slay the jackals’ god. This thrilling fantasy LitRPG saga will have you hooked!
22. Battle Master by Damian Boyle.
Valheim is a fantasy game world where Paul, an Aberrant gamer, is trapped by a secret program. He meets Mira, another Aberrant, and they join forces to survive the Wild.
Orcs, beasts, and a Blood Shaman threaten their lives. Will they ever escape Valheim and return to reality?
23. Life In The North By Tao Wong.
A weekend trip goes wrong when blue boxes, mutated animals, and deadly monsters invade the world.
John has to fight his way through the System Apocalypse, a LitRPG saga that mixes modern-day sci-fi and fantasy elements. Will he make it to civilization and stay sane?
24. Darkness Named by Riley S. Keene.
A loot hunt gone wrong lands Tanisha Richards, a wheelchair-bound engineer and gamer, in the False Lands, a reality controlled by dARkness: Online.
Now, she has to use her skills and knowledge to survive and escape this perilous world full of nods to her favorite games. This interesting LitRPG book is the first installment in a diverse and exciting LitRPG trilogy.
25. Level Up Or Die by Apollos Thorne.
Elorion is a gamer who gets kidnapped by a lich lord and a succubus.
They force him and nineteen other students to use magic and fight in the Underworld.
He faces deadly monsters and a cruel master, and his only chance is to level up and break free.
26. Advent By Xander Boyce.
Drew Michalik becomes a spellcaster with Xatherite crystals after the Advent disables all electronics.
Soon, he escapes a dark dungeon and faces the challenge of guiding humanity in the new world.
27. Unsouled By Will Wight.
In a world of sacred arts, Lindon is a powerless Unsouled. That is, he cannot use his soul to control nature like others.
But he refuses to accept his fate and defies his clan. Now, he seeks a new Path to power, one that he must forge himself.
28. The Dark Champion By Dmitry Bilik.
Earth is in peril as the horsemen of the Apocalypse break free. Sergei, a new demigod, must learn archery from a powerful giant and fight their evil forces.
His journey leads him back to his hometown, Sorrow, where the ultimate showdown awaits.
29. City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams.
In a future South Africa, teacher Renie Sulaweyo faces a network nightmare: her brother and other kids are trapped in a mysterious virtual realm called Otherland. Now, she must find a way to rescue them before they die.
30. More Than A Game by Andrey Vasilyev.
Harriton is a journalist who has to write about Fayroll, a virtual fantasy world.
He becomes immersed in the quests and challenges of his character, Hagen the Warrior.
But his virtual deeds have real impacts, drawing the attention of influential and dangerous people.
More Than a Game is an exciting tale of online gaming and epic fantasy, and this fascinating LitRPG book will have you glued to your reading device for hours.
31. Catharsis by Travis Bagwell.
In a world where he feels powerless and alone, Jason finds solace in a new virtual reality game.
But soon discovers that he is playing the role of the game’s villain and that something strange is going on behind the scenes.
32. Alterworld by D. Rus.
The perma effect is a pandemic that locks people in online games. Some of them, like Max, a gamer with cancer, prefer this to their real lives.
With his friends and lover, he enters AlterWorld, a sword and sorcery MMORPG where they can be immortal.
33. Dragon Seed by James Osiris Baldwin.
A deadly virus is wiping out humanity, and Hector Park has only three days left to live.
His brother, who he hasn’t spoken to in years, contacts him with an unbelievable offer: join him in Archemi, a virtual reality game where he can escape death.
Hector agrees and becomes a Dragon Knight, a rare and powerful class that can bond with dragons. But will he find his dream or his doom in this virtual world?
34. A Dark Path by Stuart Thaman.
Wonder is a game world where anything is possible, thanks to the most advanced AI ever created. Ben Hales and his daughter Ingrid have lifetime passes to enjoy it.
But when a terrible loss drives Ben mad, he becomes a necromancer and raises an army of the dead to destroy Wonder and everyone in it.
35. Welcome To Ludus by Blaise Corvin and Jeff Hay.
Two friends from Seattle, Henry and Jason, are into historical sword fighting. But their hobby becomes a matter of life and death when they are whisked away to a strange world by a whimsical god.
Armed with magic orbs and their own skills, they face dangers and adventures as they try to return home.
36. Crimson Alliance by James Hunter.
Viridian Gate Online is a VRMMORPG where Jack Mitchel escaped from a deadly asteroid. But inside the game, he faces a new danger: a tyrant emperor who wants to rule with an iron fist.
Jack must use his Shadowmancer skills and his rebel allies to take down the emperor’s regime by capturing one of his key cities.
37. Death March by Phil Tucker.
To save his brother from a fate worse than death, Chris enters Euphoria Online, a virtual game with real dangers. He has to last six months in a world of monsters and magic.
Now, he has nothing left to lose, except his life. The very definition of this LitRPG book is high stakes, so if you’re in the mood for a read that will push your brain, this is it.
38. SlUpload by Matthew Siege.
A terminal illness gives Adam Harris a rare ability: he can rewind time when he dies. He joins a secret government project that sends him to an alien realm for thirteen days.
There, he must learn new skills and weapons, but also face unknown threats and consequences.
39. Adventurer Academy by Daniel Prince.
Lugor’s dreams of becoming an Adventurer are threatened by his dangerous heritage. Forced to hide his secret, he seeks training at the Adventurer Academy after his village is attacked.
With allies and determination, Lugor sets out to prove that he can be a hero, defying expectations and overcoming challenges along the way.
40. Six Sacred Swords by Andrew Row.
In this light-hearted LitRPG fantasy adventure, Keras Selyrian is a swordsman who seeks new challenges in Kaldwyn. He sets his sights on the Six Sacred Swords, the only weapons that can slay the god-beasts.
But each sword has a champion’s test, and no one has ever passed them all. Will Keras succeed where others have failed?
41. Bunker Core by Andrew Seiple.
In a world of ruins, Wynne controls a nanomachine bunker core. He has no memory of his human life, but he faces many dangers.
Raiders, mutants, and a mysterious enemy await him. This is a dungeon-core adventure with a post-apocalyptic twist, that will thrill readers of LitRPG.
42. Battle Avatars by Ed White.
To save his life, David Grey must enter Lenscape Online, a virtual reality game where hackers threaten the players’ lives.
He has a week to track them down in an Ice Age fantasy world where he becomes a warrior. This book is a captivating mix of wuxia, xianxia, cultivation, RPG, humor, and strong female characters.
43. Death’s Mantle by Harmon Cooper.
Lucian North defies Death and becomes his successor. He enters a dangerous spiritual world where he uses his gamer skills to wield Death’s power.
But he faces a dilemma when his brother is doomed to die. Can he save him and be Death?
44. Deck of Souls: Fateseal by Bonnie L. Price.
When gamer Cerys Collins tries a new VRMMO, she is transported to a world of gods, demons, and heroes.
She must decide whether to save her friend who is trapped in this world, or to stop a war between a human empire and a demon kingdom.
A handsome incubus king complicates her mission with his romantic interest. This is one of the best LitRPG fantasy adventure novels with dark themes, humor, and romance.
45. Re-Start by Dan Sugralinov.
Phil is a broke and lonely gamer whose life changes when he gets a game interface in his brain.
He can now level up his real-life stats and skills, but will it help him win back his wife and find out who did this to him?
46. Mitigating Risk by Blaise Corvin.
When a shadowy organization targets Nora Hazard, a street gang member, she has to run for her life. She finds herself in Ludus, a brutal fantasy world where she develops superpowers.
Now, she must survive, adapt, and embrace her new fate. This book is for readers who love strong female MCs, gritty violence, and rough language in a LitRPG novel.
47. Life Reset Shemer Kuznits.
A rare spell transforms Oren, a high-level player, into a low-level Goblin. Now, he has to rely on his game world knowledge and immersion ability to stay alive and get revenge on his betrayers.
You’ll love this novel if you like game mechanics, fantasy, and adventure.
48. Initializing by K.T. Hanna.
In Somnia Online, Murmur wants to be a healer, but the game assigns her to the Enchanter class. She then joins a guild to compete for the #1 spot by finding twelve keys.
However, she faces old rivals and a mysterious AI that make the game more than it seems. Murmur must use her telepathy to survive and discover the truth.
I hope you liked this list of 45+ of the best litrpg books to read in 2023. I tried to include a variety of subgenres, styles, and themes to match different tastes.
So, whether you are a beginner or an expert in Litrpg, you will find something to enjoy in this list.