Quest For Justice (The Elementia Chronicles #1), by Sean Fay Wolfe
Admittedly, my knowledge of Minecraft is small and I have never in fact played the game. How then did I come to read a published fanfiction book that is based on the series, if entirely without an endorsement by the makers of the game? In this case the answer is odd but perhaps typically Nathanish. I became familiar with the author’s music criticism, which I appreciate, and have heard him note several times about his writing and touring activities, and I was curious to see if my library had his books, and it turns out that it did have the trilogy in it, and so I decided to read them. And so we come to this, an example of game-based literature that I read from time to time . I found the book enjoyable. It was not a challenging read, despite its considerable length, but I do not assume that such a read as this is going to be immensely challenging in terms of its style. This book is certainly an example of genre literature, a game-based adventure that is aimed at teens and young adults who are fond of Minecraft and who can relate to the leveling up and attitudes of people who run servers.
This book is well-structured and takes about 500 pages to cover its material. There are three parts to the book, making it a classic three act structure. The first part takes up eight chapters where the main characters are noobs who happen to join a server that is becoming increasingly unfriendly to such players. They engage in their first fights, make a few friends and enemies, and make their way into the server’s capital. There, a shot made by one of the characters at the ruler and founder of the server starts an intense rebellion that drives our heroes on an epic quest to obtain power and gather the allies and resources needed to overthrow King Kevin and restore a measure of egalitarianism to the server. After the main character finds an enigmatic enlightenment, the last few chapters show the victorious battle for the server where many good and noble characters are killed and injured but where our heroes stand victorious and ready to bring their server into a glorious new day, the sort of ending that ought to remind readers that as the first novel in a trilogy, that there is a lot more that needs to be done.
To be sure, this novel is more than a little bit tropey, but the author is skilled enough to use his knowledge of tropes, and his knowledge that the audience is aware of these tropes, to good advantage. There is some character development as characters face their fears, a real degree of peril in what the characters are doing, and a few surprises that keep the novel from being dull and predictable. Obviously, the intended readers of this novel are those who play Minecraft or at least have enough interest in fantasy literature and literature based on video games to be able to enjoy its plot and general tone. The author is aware that he is not writing great literature, but he succeeds at writing a fun book with an enjoyable story and characters who have enough depth and complexity, even the NPCs, that we care about them. I could see someone adapting this into a made-for-tv or straight-to-dvd or streaming sort of movie, or using it as the basis for a Minecraft-based children’s television show, and that is no mean achievement indeed.
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