Given the high-tech world full of beeeps, chirps, clicks, RINNGG, ding-dong, come-here-girl noise distractions we live in, sitting down and enjoying a book from cover to cover is a luxury. Often we lose that wonderful feeling of letting your imagination build up a world that exists only in your brain. Details given on the page take on new meaning and life in your mind, which are different from your best friend’s, that guy who changes your oil to the old lady blocking the aisle at the grocery store. So when Editor Rachel Edidin and Katie Moody of Dark Horse sent a recent novel from their prose line, I took the time to read Mogworld.
Author, Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw, is known for his video game reviews called Zero Punctuation of the online Escapist Magazine. His humor and satire just ooze with every moment. In Mogworld, Croshaw creates a land of full questing heroes, righteous priests, crafty maidens and self-loathing mages. It’s not to fair off from real life if you like loincloths.
For anyone who enjoys the call of the oaf-tongued barker at the Renaissance faire and scoffing at the everyday mundane, you will find solace in Croshaw’s pages. The reluctant protagonist is the very dead and very apathetic college-age mage, Jim, who’s credo seems to be “die a hero, die a coward, same grave anyway.” Unfortunately for Jim, he is resurrected by an excellent necromancer, Dreadgrave, who posssesses “a hearty and insane laugh, about as far removed from polite after dinner laughter as you can get. That was the kind of insane laughter even the truly insane have to practive for years to get right.”
Dreadgrave’s unholy and undead horde, Jim included, find themselves among the last of planet who are able to die. Despite Jim’s many attempts to end it all, his hideous and soon noseless body is always put back together by the ever-optimistic Meryl. And as luck or Croshaw would have it, even this rhythmic way of life is burnt to the ground like a double-murder cover-up when an army of angel ‘Deleters’ descend upon Dreadgrave’s fortress of doom permanently erasing one zombie after another. Are these Deleters agents of a holy being or just video game programmers?
I’ll happily admit to reading this book more than once. Croshaw’s casual turns of phrase quickly turn into a paragraph of tangent making you gasp for air. Each character from the knife-happy Mr. Wonderful to the achingly-street-corner-pious Thaddeus leaves you fist-pumping the air and sometimes cackling maniacally, horrifying those other airline passengers around you.
The book appeals to me now the way Piers Anthony did when I was ten and first crossing into the threshold of fantasy and science fiction. It ignites curiosity and anyone who has read some fantasy, played an RPG (Role Playing Game) or MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online game), or used the Internet for the better part of an hour ever will enjoy Mogworld. Yahtzee Croshaw delivers in his first novel and I know that I am sitting on pins and needles and dull-pointed swords until his next book comes out. Check out the Dark Horse feature on the creation of the cover for more fun but buy the book first!