“The Clan” is book number two in the “Play to Live” series written by D. Rus. Like with the previous book, this one is once again expertly narrated by Michael Goldstrom. The narration alone keeps me coming back to the series. If you liked the first book, I would recommend you continue the series, but be aware of some of the same issues from book one are found in this book also. Book two is a bit better than the first, but it still has a few blemishes that may keep others for continuing with future books or completing the entire series.
I’m not going to spend as much time providing details about the Play to Live series, all seven books, this was done in my previous reviews of book one. Because of this, the review will be shorter than most I usually write. It appears from the first two books and part way into book three that the series was written as one big story or trilogy that was cut up into the current seven books. It is unclear if this was more for monetary reasons or that was part of the translation process. Each of the books so far has had their own sub-plot lines, but not many, and the story continues down the main arc of how the characters continue to live and survive in their virtual world after becoming perma (permeant) players.
I’m a bit conflicted by the series already as I would have liked for each of the books to be able to stand on their own with the world and events flowing from book to book, but this does not seem to be the case. I also was hoping that some of the writing would have been improved, still understanding it was translated from a language other than English. The worst part is you are still inundated with the overly used phrase “my inner greedy pig.”, a phrase I grew tired of in the first book and it becomes like nails on a chalkboard in this one. The book is still in need of some editing, but if you can get over this (at times it was difficult for me) the book is overall enjoyable. I will say that I have the rest of the series set aside when I either get a craving for more, or I want to change up what I’m currently listening too. It is not a series I feel compelled to complete one after the other, and often found it refreshing to take a break between books.
Michael Goldstrom, as stated earlier and in my previous review, does a fantastic job of narration in this book. Often it can be difficult for a narrator to perform well based on the material given; however, I believe Mr. Goldstrom brings this book to life more than one simply reading the book themselves by way of his skilled narration. I will continue to include his books in my wishlist. There were no obvious issues with the audio, and his ability to voice the many characters was well done. Good job!
I am planning on continuing with the books of this series as I’m already invested, which I believe the author intends to happen. However, if book three does not correct some of the more annoying aspects around character development; including the weak treatment of romance, sex, and language, I may just hang up the others I own and chock it up as a loss. This would make me sad as I believe the premise and potential is great for this book series. It still has some rough edges that need to be worked out, and I’m not sure they can be because all seven books are completed at the time of this review.
Should you invest your time and credits on this book or the series? It really depends on if you are expecting something with a deep and compelling story, a well-written plot, solid character development, etc. If so, I do not think I can recommend this book. If you are one who can set aside the flaws of grammar, over used phrases, thin characters, but has wonderful narration, this may be the series to add to your wish list when credits are readily available and your library is getting low on unfinished books. It is hard to highly recommend the series as I have seen others in the same genre be better written and other worse. This, so far, seems to be more mediocre when compared to others that have bubbled to the top in the LitRPG genre.