A chapter book series about Minecraft!? I have to read this one! Especially when so many young people are obsessed with Minecraft. We can hardly keep our Minecraft handbooks on the shelves, so being aware of a chapter book series that takes place in Minecraft may be good for future reader’s advisory.
I was incredibly touched when I learned that the author of this book, Mark Cheverton, was inspired to write this series after his son had been bullied on Minecraft by what we call “griefers”, people who like to ruin the game online for other players by destroying what they create. Our protagonist starts off as a griefer, but over time begins to realize how much hurt is he causing, and sees the error of his ways. The message Mark Cheverton wanted to get through to the audience, that players on Minecraft should consider the consequences of their actions while playing the game, is crystal clear. I think kids who have experienced bullying online will certainly see this book as a reflection of those experiences.
Despite the strong messages presented in this book, it suffers from poor writing. Here is the sentence that bothered me the most as a reader; “…Gameknight pulled out flint and steel and started striking it. He wasn’t sure when he’d gotten the fire maker and didn’t care.” Are we sure it was Gameknight999 who didn’t care and not the writer? This was a crucial point in the plot! Without the flint and steel Gameknight would not have been able to set off the TNT and save the day. But instead of adding the flint and steel into the plot at any time before this, we opted to ignore it all together and acknowledge the fact that it was just thrown in there for the sake of convenience.
This book is intended to target young lovers of Minecraft, and it fulfills this niche. Those who aren’t familiar with Minecraft however, will be completely lost. I’ll admit that even I did not understand any of the references made towards popular YouTube stars and videos. (And I follow a lot of gamers online!) I would still recommend this book to Minecraft lovers who are ready to give this chapter book a shot.