B|t|B : Book Review – Mogword by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw

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Title: Mogworld
Author: Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw
Page count : 413 Pages
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release date: September 21st 2010

***Warning Review Contains Spoilers***

I assume I’m like most in that I stumbled into this book as a fan of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s hilarious video game review known as Zero Punctuation. When I found out he had written a book, naturally I thought  can he write something serious, humorous, and as epic as his video reviews.

                                         The Answer is : YES

The story  follows a character called Jim, a young battle mage in training – things are finally about to hotten up, and he finally gets a taste of the action to put his new skills to work, only one issue Jim gets killed in the book’s first chapter and taken to the heavenly otherworld. There, he resides for a brief and happy moment, he is finally happy, content and free!.. but it is short lived as he is pulled out of it against his will and back into his (now rotting) body.

“I had passed on from life, from the world of struggles and hardship and big fat women with annoying laughs, and entered a glorious new existence of utter peace, and joy, and love.
And then some git brought me back to life”
― 
Yahtzee Croshaw, Mogworld

Jim, is now a Zombie, You see  he and his fellow Zombie companions were wrongfully resurrected by evil Lord with the purpose of  being his undead servants, but for some reasons all the servants have free will, this would usually be a problem. However this issue was quickly quashed, because the Dark Lord appeals to the Zombies by promising pay, and a theatre production every month. Jim works for this dark lord for a few months, hating every minute of it, wishing only to be dead again, Jim attempts to kill himself several times to no avail, however every time he damages himself, there is no auto repair function, so he isn’t careful, he could live the rest of his life as just a head. This wouldn’t be an issue, if those pesky Adventurers stopped raiding the castle in order to kill them all and plunder the dark lords loot. Jim becomes one of the head torturers in order to help stop these invasions. This is when he discovers while torturing a guy he killed a few days previous that nothing in this world CAN die anymore, because for some reason, everything gets resurrected.

Upon this bombshell, the next raid ends in the dark lords castle.. suddenly being deleted..

But this is where the novel really comes into its own, our main character goes out on his own.. well I say his own Meryl zombie is never far behind, on his journey meets pirates, insane priests, an incompetent thief called Slippery John, a psychopath called Mr. Wonderful, knolls, and a preacher called Barry, who turns into the story’s main antagonist.

The main plot, as I mentioned previously is still Jim’s quest to die, however this is frequently interrupted by many smaller problems that must be sorted out first, as we progress through the story Jim begins to realise that these small issues seem to be adding up to something big and the reader learns this along with him, it is written in such a convoluted interesting way it’s very difficult for the reader to predict exactly what will come next, which is nice, since many books recently have foreshadowing so obvious that the author is telling you the twist chapters before it actually happens. Remarkably, almost all the characters that are even tangentially related to the plot are very well characterized, each with a unique personality and motivation, and a many even have secrets that are gradually revealed throughout the plot.

The big plot twist is highly predictable if the reader is familiar with gaming culture, but otherwise it might come as a complete shock. even though I knew it was coming, it still made me laugh out loud and appreciate the adventure the character went through to get there.

This book for me is Simon Peg/Nick Frost meets World of Warcraft, its chock full of British Humor, dry wit and stereotype subversion.  I thoroughly enjoyed this books quirks, and considering it was Yahtzee’s first attempt at a novel, I think it’s extremely well done. I particularly enjoyed the main characters breaking of the 4th wall, be saying something like Then Jim will say something along the lines of “I felt like I was hit by a truck” or “It looked like someone ran over a bag of jelly with a lawnmower” which although jarring from the setting, does play homage to the fact that this novel is based on a videogame.  I’d absolutely recommend this for fans of MMORPGs, or anyone who enjoys Fantasy / Gaming humor.

Until next time, read more books!…

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