Reviews: Mogworld

Does Yahtzee's "First" Novel Float?

With every book there is a critical period, wherein the reader has to develop an investment in it. Without this investment, the reader will get bored and toss the book away. With it, they can finally start to care about the story. Some books are quicker than others at getting you to invest; Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas only required two pages for me to care. Mogworld took about two hundred.

Mogworld is built around a simple conceit: what if an NPC in a MMORPG was really alive? For the first two hundred pages or so, the gimmick serves as an excuse for funny, cheap humour at the expense of high-fantasy and 'World Of Warcraft'. It's that old satirical trick of applying real world logic to illogical subjects, and though I never really laughed out loud at the jokes, they were amusing enough to keep me engaged.

After a while of this, the book gets deeper. Instead of jokes about female breast plates, Mogworld becomes a surprisingly deft examination of bigger concepts, such as consciousness, creationism and the meaning of reality. Yahtzee manages to get a lot of mileage out of its central conceit, giving gravitas to what could have been little more than a silly parody. In the end, it feels less like a Terry Pratchett derivative, and more like a high concept sci-fi.

In conclusion, Mogworld will feel very familiar to anyone who has read Fog Juice or any of Yahtzee's other works. But far from being a repeat of these more amateurish stories, Mogworld stands on its own and makes for a more adult, satisfying read. I recommend it to gamers who like a bit of British humour. And yes, that includes those who have never touched World of Warcraft in their life.

It's a first novel from a game reviewer.

Okay, so you've already got the premise, that's great. What you should know on top of that is that this book is a delicious blend of non sequiter English wit, memorable characters and genuinely funny prose. It's so rare that a book can make anyone put it down and hold their head in their hands only to control their laughter in public. Sure, the dogs get a little shaggy and you can tell that Yahtzee's main idea of plotting and story is derived almost entirely from Na No Wri Mo—the only really meaningful character developments happening almost subliminally until the last hundred pages—but what do you want from a first novel? A handjob? It's a damn good novel, and I couldn't put it down for the 26 hours between purchase and completion. It's a ripping good sci-fi/fantasy yarn, and I wouldn't go in expecting any more or any less.