5/5 Stars – A 3 for 1 review. If you played Dungeon Keeper as a kid you should love these books.
My experience with LitRPG has been somewhat hit-and-miss recently. However, following my review a little while ago of Shirtaloons, He Who Fights with Monsters (which I unashamedly enjoyed and found surprising depth and nuance in), I was recommended by a friend to try these books by Hugo Huesca.
Having read the first 3 books in this series I have to say that they did not disappoint. The fact I picked up the next book and then one afterwards is a testament to the writer. I think he is a real talent and I would love to see these made into a TV series. But I digress, to the books.
The main character was a likeable computer geek gamer and having played a few MMORPGs in my time one that resonated with me. It is the story of Edward Wright, who through wicked artifice by the dark god Murmur gets made an offer he can’t refuse. It is the title of the book so I give nothing away when I say it is to become a Dungeon Lord. Edward though is determined he will follow his own path rather than that of any god, let alone a dark one.
The story starts quite simply but soon expands like some form of mutated onion reverse layering itself so that the world we are introduced to becomes richer and more detailed the more time you spend in it. The cast of characters is eclectic and interesting and each is distinct and fully 3-dimensional. The world-building is well thought out, different and engaging.
There is so much that I liked about these books. I like that there are dark gods and light gods at play but that both are ambiguous. Neither is wholly evil or wholly good. The light indeed carries out as many atrocities in the name of good as the dark does. I really liked this blurring of lines and also that even when doing things his way, the ‘Wright’ way (please forgive my pun), Ed still somehow manages to promote Murmur’s interests and greater plan. It is deliciously bad (but in a good way or should that be the other way around?).
I like that even the little, insignificant creatures have a voice and can make a difference rather than just be throw-away characters.
I guess if I was being critical, it would be not in the storytelling or the writing quality, both are great, but more in an overarching way. It is a personal thing for me but I felt the Dungeon grew and progressed too quickly between books. I would like to have enjoyed a slower story or more detail and a few more ‘side’ adventures as Ed’s influence grows. But this is LitRPG not Lord of The Rings, it is fast-paced, always moving, the next trial or tribulation unfolding so that there is no time to stop and enjoy the scenery. As an old-school fantasy reader and writer, I like those pauses, that breath before the next ordeal or adventure. But, tis a small gripe if you can even call it that and as I said a personal one.
I am taking a break before book four only because I need to review some others on my list for review but I will be picking it up soon and I can hardly wait.
Are you tired? Is life tough at the moment? The job grinding you down? Worry taking over your every thought? Yes or no then I recommend this book. Why not escape for a bit in an easy reading, fast-actioned book with a great story and wonderful characters?