Mogworld by Yahtzee Crowshaw
Review by Steve Caldwell
Length: 350 Pages/ 13 Hours, 18 minutes (Audio)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Narrator: Yahtzee Crowshaw
When a gaming industry insider like Yahtzee Crowshaw puts out a book directly poking some fun at the industry he has spent so much time in, it’s best to check it out. Mogworld is the fruit of that labor. You can tell he has deep roots in the gaming industry, as he details some of the backroom details someone on the outside wouldn’t be privy to, while creating a cracking good bit of hilarious fantasy GameLit that is basically what Monty Python would come up with if they wrote a GameLit book.
Jim has a dream. Graduate magic school and open up a magic shop, avoiding being a pig farmer like his parents. After a year in magic school, he has three spells and is ready to continue his studies. Unfortunately, the students from the warrior school down the road have other ideas, invading his school and killing Jim and the rest of the students. That should be the end, but life has a funny way of warping expectations, because 60 years later, Jim finds himself awoken in his previously alive, and now undead, body. Things are bound to get weird from here.
Being called back by a necromancer looking for an undead horde isn’t all bad. Since Dreadgrave the Necromancer forgot the part about unquestioning obedience in his spell, his horde has free will. Dreadgrave also provides a nice pay and benefits package, such as keeping the spoils of any looting and quality jobs in his dread fortress. Jim lands the plumb assignment as head of the giant rat pit, and takes a real shine to the destruction of all the heroes. He even gets to kill what is possibly the funniest rogue ever, Slippery John, a time or two as he raids the fortress. Unlife is goodish until a bunch of strange Angels show up and Delete the fortress, Dreadgrave and all the undead but Jim, his associate Meryl, and a loudmouth undead priest.
Now on the run, Jim and his companions discover things in the world are getting really strange. Another priestnamed Barry that they met in the first village they came to after the deleting is now traveling around with a bunch of adventurers, destroying whole towns, and he is exhibiting incredibly powerful Magic! He is also preaching the word of Simon, his new god. Who is this god Simon? And why is he trying to delete so much of the world? With a couple of crazy adventurer’s gulld goons chasing them as well, Jim, Meryl, the Priest and Slippery John must discover what is threatening their world. And Jim needs to find out why he is all of a sudden hearing voices in his head, possibly from another god. The answers will shock them, and their world will never be the same after they discover what is causing it all.
This book has so many good things going for it. Snappy dialogue, fun world building, a plot that mixes fantasy, game and real life seamlessly and some of the best characters you’re likely to find. The characters are all fully realized, and show depth you wouldn’t expect. The comedy is mixed throughout and is , and really fits well within the story. The entire group of Jim, Meryl and the Priest are so funny, and even the priest’s name is a hilarious joke. The GameLit elements fit seamlessly, and just make the book that much better.
The narration is handled quite ably by the author. This is not a bad thing, as anyone who has ever heard his podcast can attest. Acerbic, witty, snarky and droll are all words that can be used to describe his performance, and he does such a great job bringing his characters to life. His narrative pacing is excellent, and he has such a good grasp of what he wants to emphasize in the story! He is definitely my favorite narrating author.
All told, this is definitely in my top five favorite of this genre. I can’t think of anything I disliked, and it should apeal to a wide range of fans, from straight fantasy, grimdark, LitRPG and GameLit. There’s something in here for everyone.