The best LitPRG series to date.
Beoordeeld in het Verenigd Koninkrijk op 29 juni 2018
The LitRPG, and "Issekai" genres, whilst not an entirely new phenomena, are experiencing a massive boom in popularity of late; and, having read the work of dozens of indie authors in this field, I always find myself returning to Dr Aleron Kong's work. I've parsed my opinions of The Chaos Seeds series for readability.
Game Engine 9/10; Settlement Building 10/10
First of all, The Chaos Seeds series (and I am covering books 1-7 inclusively in this review) follows the life of Richter, as he is offered a journey to a new world, where game mechanics are the will of the Land. lt's important to note that the game engine is both complex, and interesting; and as a person who enjoys data, and tables (although the kindle version of tables is a little bit unwieldy), Aleron Kong's work deeply satisfies my love of numbers, although I will accept that this is not always to everyone's taste. Furthermore, as a fan of settlement building (as is clearly shown in my Steam library), Richter's Mist Village feels like a living, breathing, and thriving community; so much so that I wish that The Land was an actual computer game. Each upgrade to the village adds something new, and wonderous, and I find myself anticipating each new village development. Near perfect score in those regards, although the formatting of the data tables, which don't scroll very well in the Kindle version, loses a point.
The broad demographic of the authors who write LitRPG novels means that the quality of the characters, and the way they interact with one another, varies massively, even within a series. Such is not the case with the personality, and interaction between Aleron Kong's characters; each character is fleshed-out, and consistently sets the bar high, with humorous, intelligent, and sometimes sorrowful relationships. Richter feels like the personality of Dr Aleron, and despite my general dislike of self-insert stories, I empathise with his liberal character, outlook, and goals; this is in stark contrast to a lot of the translated Russian LitRPG works, in which the protagonists are often depicted as strongly misogynistic, and hyper-masculine, which comes across as crass.
Power-wise, Richter has two unique, and (potentially) over-powered, abilities, although the scale of OP-ness only becomes apparent in later books. It doesn't, however, instantly negate any story developments; instead it allows for the inclusion of antagonists with a similar power-level, which makes the later books more perilous, with later choices having more devastating consequences.
As an important note, there currently isn't any overt sex in this series, although I'm sure that Puritanical readers would easily find something to protest against. Richter is single, young, and clearly liberal in his attitudes; and is part of a happy, thriving, hedonistic community (not a Harem fantasy though). So, if you find yourself upset at a rude word, oppose sex outside of marriage, think anything other than missionary is sinful, or dislike the idea of implied bisexuality, then perhaps this series isn't for you.
Describing the strength of a series storyline is difficult without spoiling some details. An important aspect of The Chaos Seeds, much like RPGs in general, is that the difficulty scales with character level. In the first book, Richter isn't slaughtering goblins with a lazy smile, nor is he finding himself declared god-king by the time of the most recent book (Predators); whilst items he finds, or buys, become important only in later books, rather than appearing as deus ex machina. The story development pulls you along, and I, at least, find myself easily losing hours of my day eagerly devouring each chapter.
A weakness in this series, however, is to be found at the start of each book. Here, Dr Kong posts point of views of the malicious celestial beings, which clearly act as the ultimate antagonists of Richter. This weakens the story overall, as we ultimately know who Richter must oppose, and the scale of development that Richter must undergo in order to compete with their skill-set. Had Dr Kong not included these POVs, the story would develop with a far more daunting, and malevolent atmosphere, as the significance of the Land is revealed to both Richter, and us, the reader.
Overall 8.5/10 or 4.25/5 stars
Chaos Seeds is an excellent series, and a great addition to any fantasy library. Clearly not on the same level as 'classic fantasy', like Lord of the Rings, but it is still an impressive series with great re-readability. That I'm moved to write a review, having never written one for the hundreds of fantasy works I've read, can attest to my high opinion of this series. I can only hope that you find yourself enjoying this series as much as I do.
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