An unnamed castaway from a world much like ours arrives in the world of Minecraft one day with little memory of their world and who they are, and no idea how to survive the first night.
With monsters lurking, the protagonist must not only survive, but thrive, using their courage, creativity, and bravery to try and find what the world is and why they were put there.
A sequel, Minecraft: The Mountain, was released in 2021, featuring the island castaway exploring a cold mountain and meeting another person like them, Summer.
This book contains examples of:
- An Aesop: Every chapter has one, as indicated by their titles, and some even have more than one. A list of all of the story's morals is presented at the end.
- And the Adventure Continues: After making the island safe, the protagonist leaves the island to see what else is out there.
- Arc Words: "Panic drowns thought," a self-motivating phrase used to keep cool under pressure.
- Audience Surrogate: The protagonist can't remember their gender, family, or what they look like, making it easier for the reader to imagine it were them.
- Based on a True Story: Several of the novel's events were inspired by things that happened when Max Brooks played Minecraft.
- Body Horror: Early on the protagonist is horrified at their square body, especially the fingerless hands.
- Broken Aesop: The protagonist learning survival skills and lamenting their life spent on the computer becomes broken since Minecraft itself is a computer game.
- Coming-of-Age Story: What little the protagonist remembers of their life is sedentary and without challenge, and they find great joy in doing things themselves instead of having someone to take care of them.
- Companion Cube: The protagonist uses a cow, and occasionally other mobs, for self-motivation, snark, and someone to talk to.
- Green Aesop: Early on, the protagonist accidentally makes apple trees go extinct and doesn't realize it until later. This galvanizes them into leaving half of the island exactly as-is while they'd freely mine the other half.
- How Do I Shot Web?: A major part of the early chapters is the protagonist learning how Minecraft works and what they can and can't do, especially what foods they can and can't eat.
- Idiot Ball: The protagonist makes apple trees go extinct... by burning all their oak tree saplings in a furnace because they thought they were worthless.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After senselessly slaughtering dozens of chickens for no good reason, the protagonist decides to become a vegetarian unless fish and meat are necessary for survival.
- Narrative Profanity Filter: Curses are sidestepped in the narrative, usually by saying they said a bad word but not saying which one.
- "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: The protagonist discovers books and the knowledge they give, noting that people either didn't read them, edited them, or burned them because they disagreed with their words, but every book can expand your horizons.
- Sequel Hook: Several things are unexplored by the novel's end, like the driving question of why the protagonist is there, setting up a sequel.
- Shown Their Work: Almost everything described in the book is something that can happen in-game, even if some events are unlikely to occur naturally.
- This Loser Is You: After recognizing a painting of Graham from King's Quest, the protagonist recalls a life spent looking at screens and realizes they spent so much time on the computer or playing games they had no survival skills at all.