“The Land: Alliances” is the third book in the “Chaos Seeds” series which is quickly becoming a full-fledged LitRPG Saga with upwards of six total books planned; and four currently available on Audible. The series is written by Aleron Kong and the Audible narration is performed by Nick Podehl; who also narrated the previous two books. For those who are unfamiliar with this gene of book, LitRPG is a type of story where the listener is dropped into a virtual role-playing game environment; often a MMO RPG. These stories usually follow one or more characters as they complete quests, level up their stats, and often try to fulfill an ultimate challenge once they become powerful enough. If you have listened to the previous two books, picking up book three is not even a question. If you are at all excited to see where our hero goes, this book continues right where book two left off. Even if you are not a gamer, people often enjoy these types of book as it is more of a virtual biography when done.
I will say that not only have the characters in the book matured and grown due to their experiences, the author’s writing style and storytelling has also improved with each new book in the series. As with the second book, the third in the series lacks any detailed prequel which is often used to catch the listener up on any of the previous books activities. It is like the author has written a single book and released the various numbers in the series at chapter breaks. I’m sure that is not the case, however I would have like to have had more backstory even though I jumped right into this one after completing the second.
One of the main lessons our character learned in the second book was that actions have consequences, and this book it no different. I will say that the main character does often take additional time to think though the magnitude of his decisions and the impact they will have. Yet, we also see that delaying taking action can itself have negative results. I enjoy that book one spent time on the main character where book two focused mostly on development of the party. This book really sets the scene where we have a well-established community of people working towards a specific goal. We are also given a view into this utopia where even creatures of different races and classes can live in harmony; which is a very different story in the rest of the realm.
The characters and the creatures they meet during their journeys have grown along with their levels and skills. Many of the same characters are present in the third book, and we are also introduced to a few new one. It should be no surprise that there are darker, meaner, and more powerful monsters than the first two books. This makes sense when you understand of the genre of book. A good portion of this book takes place underground in the many caverns and caves found in the land. I felt this book had more surprises along with twists and turns than the first two books. As the characters develop and grow, we are also give some quite emotional and impactful events for the main character to face. There was a sense of weight and despair at times, much more than at other times.
We are introduced to an assassin who is sent to put an end to the leaders of this new and growing community to help maintain order in the land. Again, this book notches up the level of intensity from the previous books. However, this also helps to show the importance of friendship and a well skilled party for success. There was always a sense of vulnerability for the characters, which I have not often felt from other LitRPG books. At the same time, there was a feeling of the ever-present grinding to reach the next level for that one new skill or enhancement. Anyone who has played large MMORPG type games knows what I mean. The maturing of the main characters familiar was welcomed and exciting to see. I’m looking forward to seeing it in future books
Let me turn to the book’s narration by Nick Podehl. First off, I was excited to see that he has continued to be the voice of the Chaos Seed series and I look forward to him narrating future books in the series. The audio quality and narration was professionally done and I do not remember any issues with either while listening. The book was clear and the pace of reading was acceptable. If you enjoyed the previous two book’s narrations, you will know what to expect from this book also. Again, as with the first two books, the narrator added a few sound effects which I felt enhanced the audio and they were not overly used.
For parents and younger readers, although there is still vulgar language in this book, it seemed to be less than the previous two books. However, a few of the scenes are rather graphic and at there is a more vindictive or revengeful aspect, which involved a darker side of the main character. There is one rather graphic scene dealing with bodily mutilation involving the male genitalia, which may not be appropriate for younger readers. There are also a few more scenes including sexual references or romance. If these are at all offensive, I would recommend you find a different series to read.
In summary, if you liked the first two, go and get this book. You will enjoy the growth, journey, adventure, friendship, and love. The action is bigger, the monsters are badder, and the magic is more powerful than ever. I would recommend you pick up this book after reading the first two. It is that good.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.