Minecraft is the game that’s swept the world. Following in the traditional of MMORPG’s, Minecraft is one of those games where you have to build everything from scratch. There is no plot, no particular purpose- YOU create the kind of game experience you want, with only the program’s created elements at your disposal.
It should shock no one that Minecraft-related books are frequently at the top of the most popular kid’s book list, especially for boys. It should also shock no one that a bunch of writers want to cash in on the craze and write their Minecraft-inspired fanfic.
Today’s book is one such fanfic, by author Stone Marshall. The title is “Flynn’s Log 1: Rescue Island”. I read the first book in his series, which is the one being reviewed today.
Where I got it: Free from the Kindle Store off the Choosy Bookworm list.
Plot: In the true tradition of Minecraft, this book didn’t have much of a plot until about two-thirds of the way in. It was mainly about the main character named Flynn running around a Minecraft-inspired world, fighting giant spiders and zombies as he builds his fortress on Rescue Island, where the majority of the action takes place (here’s the map). Later in the book, he meets Zara, a zombie who has been deprogrammed and exists in the game to help the main character escape the digital world and return to the real one.
A true book lover would scoff at the lack of plot. However, in Minecraft fashion, the book doesn’t need one. The world IS the story. 1/2
Style: Another toughie. I abuse the ! more than 99.7% of authors on this planet. And yet, this got on my nerves. If I was eight, the constant shouting would be funny, which is why I’m scoring him for this book as if I was an eight-year-old kid. But every page had some type of shouting action as if this guy, living on a tiny island, was about to die. Otherwise, the style was fine. 1/2
Editing: The book was well-edited. Besides the frequent exclamation point use, I didn’t see sloppy errors or major problems. 2/2
Book Cover: It’s creative, like Minecraft. I will include the pictures he drew within the book for this as well. I’ll give him points for original fanfic drawings. 2/2
Intangibles: The “feel” of the book. I was torn. As a video game fan, I can now understand why kids and adults love Minecraft. If you have a lot of free time, don’t mind the endless world mechanism, and love to build things, this game looks fantastic. As is true of video games, Flynn’s Log shows the main character dealing with the Minecraft world. When he introduces Zara, the portals, and the underlying theme that Flynn must escape, he added an actual story to the Minecraft world.
As an older reader, this was tough. Forget about kids being the target audience- Even Pokemon has a purpose: To catch ’em all, to collect all eight gym badges, and to beat the Elite Four. My main complaint about a lot of games today is, they have no purpose other than filling in free time that ought to be spent reading or doing homework. They become addictive, like World of Warcraft, because you really can never win but if you stop playing, you lose. Reading this story makes it clear the Minecraft world scenario was prioritized over telling an actual story, which is what a novel is supposed to do. 1/2
Overall: 7/10 The book is solid, if not memorable. If you are a kid, or a parent with elementary school children who like or love Minecraft, I would recommend this book. It brings in all the excitement of Minecraft, in an easy to read style, with a lot of cool drawings rendered by the author. The author’s plot points were enough to intrigue me to want to buy the rest of the series, which I probably will now. In that sense, Stone did a great job.
From a literary standpoint, I have to image there is Minecraft-inspired fiction that’s just as good, if not better. Perhaps a fictitious scenario within the world, kind of like a scenario within Sid Meier’s Civilization games. If you or your children/grandchildren are not fans of Minecraft, you will probably not like this book.
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