Book Title: Mogworld
Authors: Yahtzee Croshaw
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Fiction, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Page Count: 416
Reading time: 5 hours
Date Finished: 2/27/17
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In a word: Amusing.
My full impressions: Yahtzee Croshaw, for those who don’t know, is a video game creator and the force (and voice) behind the Zero Punctuation Reviews that take a humorous stab at popular video games. He’s also a novelist, and Mogworld is his first, a book that integrates his love of massively multiplayer online role-playing games with the Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett-style humor Yahtzee is known for.
The story is a fictional take on glitches like the infamous “Corrupted Blood” incident in World of Warcraft where player servers are infected with a condition that breaks the game and the virtual world has to be patched and reset to cure it. The distinction is that this story is told from the perspective of a computer-generated non-playing character (NPC), who is resurrected from the dead by a Necromancer and who finds himself unable to permanently die, despite his best efforts. He and his companions wander the world in search of a cure, only to find that they’re wrapped up in an intrigue that extends into a world outside their own.
This is a difficult style of story to write (and I can speak firsthand, since I’m currently working on a similarly-themed story of my own called Minus World), because it relies on the reader understanding that the character and virtual world that character inhabits isn’t real, but the character believing that everything is. The problem is that the reader needs to form an emotional connection to the character, and it’s hard to do so if you’re feeling like the character shouldn’t be able to break the rules of his or her reality in the first place. Yahtzee handled this story very well by establishing early on that it wasn’t the main character’s fault that he was in this condition and that his quest was to get out of it. By the time the character begins to understand what the nature of his reality is, things are in full swing and it’s much easier to turn the pages.
The problem for me was that the main characters had very little personality, and while that might have been by design, there were some characters later on in the story who were brimming with it, so it felt like a missed opportunity. There was also a half-baked love story I never really connected with and a quite annoying templar who was a little overwritten given his role in the story. But these are all small quibbles, since there was so much smart writing and wonderful humor to make up for these issues. While I wouldn’t describe this as a laugh-out-loud style of book, I did crack a few smiles and find myself dwelling on some lines that offered well-crafted stabs at the universe.
All in all, I enjoyed this novel and will definitely read Yahtzee’s follow-up (Jam) and his recently-released Will Save the Galaxy for Food. He’s an excellent writer with an excellent sensibility for comedy.