Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw
Review by Anna Sheldrick
Mogworld has been on my reading list for sometime and the more I’ve looked at it the higher my expectations have been of it. Written by one of my favourite game critics Yahtzee Croshaw, I was expecting it to be a lot more pessimistic, in the style of his game reviews. How wrong could I be? If anything this book is a great mash up of traditional fantasy adventures with a hint of Terry Pratchett.
It has been about fifty years since anyone in Mogworld was able to die. Jim was one of those lucky enough to have a proper death, only to be resurrected some time later by a rather ambitious necromancer. The first thing he notices is that no one really truly stays dead. After several months in a cushy job or minding the rat pit he begins to notice that the adventurers who keep invading his master’s castle start to look the same.
Several catastrophic events later and Jim is on a mission to figure out why people don’t die properly and to get himself destroyed permanently. While on this mission he discovers towns that act strangely, a vicar with a vendetta against him and communes with the “gods” where he discovers words like NPC, PvP and game build.
Stories set within an MMORPG can be somewhat problematic and I have read books like this before and they haven’t worked. Mogworld works splendidly well with Croshaw making a very definite distinction between the sentient NPCs that the story is based on, and the adventuring heroes that just bumble their way through the world in impractical or overdramatic armour. Jim is a great little anti-hero who seems to unwittingly become the hero in his quest to have a permanent death. The characters he surrounds himself with seem rather annoying but as I continued to read through the book I found myself coming to love them as Jim grew fonder of them.
I think Mogworld is written exceptionally well. As I mentioned above, stories like this can be very hard to pull off and Croshaw’s experience in the video game industry has been a definite boon while writing this. The humour can be understood by anyone but those who have played MMORPGs, even for a short amount of time, will be able to see where Croshaw pokes fun at the games. It isn’t quite as epic as other novels I have read but how epic can you realistically make a novel about an MMORPG?
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. It is a little bit easier to read than Terry Pratchett but it has a very similar sense of humour and randomness about it that the Discworld novels also possess.
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