Tag Archives: Books

Minecraft: The Island


I can’t remember when I learned about Minecraft: The Island. Furthermore, I’m not exactly sure when I made the connection that it was written by Max Brooks. Yes, Minecraft week is bleeding into a second week. I wanted to say “again” there. Because, it feels like the last time we did Minecraft, it took over two weeks. What can I say? We really like Minecraft around here. Okay, with that being said, let’s get to the introduction.

Max Brooks is the son of Mel Brooks. He is also the author of World War Z, one of my favorite takes on the zombie genre. In fact, I have started to write my own zombie short story in a similar fashion. Sorry, I know this isn’t self promotion time. I was just discussing on Facebook with a friend this particular story and I think that I should start writing it again. I’ve always wanted to release that particular collection around Halloween. That gives me 4 months.

Okay, now I’m done with the self promotion

Instead, I’m going to promote another guy’s book? Someone who probably doesn’t need my help? I guess that just goes to show what a great guy I am. Okay, seriously, though, let’s get on to the review.

The Great

It’s Minecraft: How much longer can I get away with this gimmick? Since only about maybe half a dozen people actually read this page, probably quite a while. Again, though, I have to add the caveat that it is as much like Minecraft as a book possibly can be. So, like the game, it is obviously limited. However, anyone who has ever played the game knows exactly what the book will be about even if it wasn’t titled as a Minecraft book.

It’s a good story: This should come as no surprise. Mel Brooks, even through the satire and stupid humor, has always been a good storyteller. Clearly, like Joe Hill, his son has inherited that particular talent. World War Z was an amazing story and this one is, too. If you’re anything like me, you will simultaneously want more of the story and want to play Minecraft after finishing this book.

The Good

Young Adult: The book is YA, which is a catch all these days for anything that they’re not entirely sure how to categorize. That’s not a bad thing mind you. I would love for my kids to read both this book and The Hunger Games even though you might think that both books are very different in content and themes.

Thankfully they’re not pictured here, but I don’t wish Twilight on anyone.

What I’ve learned from the world of Minecraft: This note at the end of the book hit particularly close to home. I resisted Minecraft for a while because I wrote it off as a silly or stupid game without much in the way of a story. While the last part is mostly correct, I’ve been able to craft my own stories as I’ve played, and Quinn has done the same. I’m not entirely sure about Aiden, but he has regaled me with stories of his adventures from time to time. The game has provided an outlet and a way to connect with my kids that is priceless. I appreciate that it has the same effect on others.

The Decent

Short: Minecraft: The Island a short book, but that’s to be expected from YA. Again, this isn’t a bad thing necessarily. However, as I mentioned earlier, I was thirsting for more by the end of the book. Oh well, I can just go play Minecraft and make my own stories.

My Idea!: Okay, that’s not entirely true. I’ve never had the idea to actually write a Minecraft story. But, I have had the idea to put together a video series of a guy who wakes up in the Minecraft world and follow him as he learns about this strange new world. Yeah, I know, piss or get off the pot. Well, I’ve been updating the web page for a good few months now. I think I’m ready to piss YouTube videos. Ugh, sorry for that visual.

There, now you can censor it and not have to look.

The Verdict

Minecraft: The Island is one heck of a book. It was a bit surprising that it was such a good story. No, not because I didn’t trust Max Brooks to tell a good story. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. I have seen other authors who venture into YA territory and you can tell that they’re not giving their best efforts. Max Brooks didn’t take that route. I’m glad that he didn’t. If you want to kill a day at the beach, you could do much worse than this book.

Children of the Nameless Review


Children of the Nameless? I remember when I first heard that Brandon Sanderson was writing a story for Magic the Gathering. It was during the height of my Brandon Sanderson hysteria. I was working as a custodian for two elementary schools nightly and looking for audio book entertainment that was lengthy to help kill time. Chris might have even mentioned Sanderson as one of his favorite fantasy authors.

I remember reading the beginning of the first Stormlight book. It didn’t grab my attention at the time. However, it went on sale on Audible. I had just listened to The Stand for the second time (after having read it multiple times as a teenager and young adult), so I was looking for something else to read. I listened to it. And, I loved it. I devoured the other book at the time. Desperate for more, I also listened to The Reckoners trilogy. It wasn’t as sharp because it was YA fiction, but I still loved the books.

Then, came book 3 in Stormlight. I liked that one so much, I bought Chris a hard copy for his birthday. And, finally, the Magic the Gathering story. I didn’t read it when it released for the first time, free if I remember correctly. Apparently WotC got wind that Sanderson could have sold the book, so they pulled the free version. I won’t say how I got a free copy, because it might be one of those questionably legal activities I get caught up in, but it rhymes with forgettit.

The Decent

Too Short – This is going to feel like a cop out. And, honestly, it is. But, it’s also true. I thought that 220 pages was going to be too long. Probably just my attention span affected by weeks of not being mentally stimulated. However, once I started reading, it went quickly and I wished for more by the end.

Cursed Twins – This is an old trope. However, Sanderson, because he is a great writer, breathes a bit of new life into the old trope. The twins are afflicted with an “opposite blind” curse, meaning that one is blind during the day and one is blind during the night. (Spoiler Alert: Relax, the book is like 2 years old and this is revealed quite early in the book.) There are other new touches, but I won’t reveal them because they might actually be spoilers.

I mean, when you think twins, you probably think these guys, but the story has been around since at least ancient Greek myths.

The Good

Davriel – One of the selling points of the story was that a new Planeswalker was going to be introduced. I didn’t know much (read: anything) about Davriel going into the story, but this was a nice introduction. It doesn’t make me want to play his terrible card, but the story was fun to read.

I think I played it in a draft deck once and went 0-2. I’m not saying those things are directly related, but I’m not taking the chance.

Good Horror – Brandon Sanderson is a hell of a writer. He’s shown, to me at least, that he can write fantasy, super hero fiction, and now horror. This isn’t the best horror that I’ve ever read, but it is certainly passable and has a good creep factor.

The Great

Innistrad – I’m not a huge fan of vampire fiction. I did enjoy Interview and Dracula as a teenager. There was also a time (probably the same time) that I played Ravenloft exclusively as my D&D setting. So, I’m not averse to the blood suckers. I’m just not one of these people who defines myself based on vampire fandom. I did like Innistrad, though.

I think that had more to do with double sided cards. Chris once said that he didn’t care for them, but I think they have a certain kitsch that makes them fun.

Brandon Sanderson – At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the reason this is any good is because of him. I’m not saying that there aren’t other good writers out there right now. I’m sure there are. I’ve just been inundated with crap like “50 Shades of Grey” for the last few years, that I cling to whatever good writing I can find. As mentioned earlier, he has shown range in what he can write, too.

Man, I just can’t wait for that next Stormlight book.

The Verdict (Children of the Nameless is a great story)

Even though I’ve been reviewing comics for a few months (maybe a couple of years), this is my first book review. It isn’t for lack of books on gaming topics. Especially recently, there seems to have been an explosion of those books. Once again, I missed the boat. Nevertheless, Children of the Nameless was a good read. I highly recommend it to MtG, Brandon Sanderson, or general fantasy/horror fans.