Are you a 12-14 year old boy who loves sitting on Grandma’s old couch in Mom’s basement munching on Doritos, arguing about how to build the perfect dungeon? Have you ever thought, wow, this is so much fun, I should write a book about it? Not the adventures someone would have in the dungeon, at least not for at least 1/3 of the book. No, let’s write a book about the decision-making process for building the perfect dungeon. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s throw in lots of adverbs, because who doesn’t love adverbs describing exactly how someone says something. What could be more fun?
Root canals, root canals would be more fun.
I sat through this book while playing Skyrim for hours so you know I’m a fan of this kind of game. I haven’t ever done tabletop games like D&D but I’ve played plenty of RPGs and my time in a mud was legendary (literally.) If I hadn’t been distracted by the killing in Skyrim I probably would have quit this book about two chapters in when I realized nothing was going to happen for a while. The adverbs were just the cherry on the poop cake.
Then, about halfway through the book, it started to improve thanks to the introduction of actual adventurers into the story. Dale, specifically, was a good character to follow as he has the steepest hill to climb from murderer to land-owner. To be clear, I hated Dale at first and it was a long time before I didn’t, but he did mostly win me over eventually.
I sat through the entire book and moved onto the second one, so it did get better. I’m just not sure why we had to be subjected to chapter after chapter after chapter of exposition and dungeon building. That kind of discussion belongs in Mom’s basement, not in a published novel.
3 1/2 reluctant stars.