Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Audible Review, "NPC's"

            I am unquestionably the target demographic for Drew Hayes' book, “NPC’s”.  I have played Dungeons and Dragons for more than 15 years and have played with dozens of people, even trying to teach people about the game and meeting with lots of success.  I have even been writing a near weekly blog about DnD on here for a couple months, go ahead and look at some of those if you are so inclined.
            Needless to say, I feel that having some experience playing DnD or similar games is sort of a requirement to get into the book.  I do wonder how someone without experience in gaming but having read lots of conventional fantasy would enjoy it.  Anyway, Let me smash cut to the review.
The term N.P.C. stands for "Non-Player Character".
That is to say any character not controlled by a player, be they shopkeeper, villain, or random monster.

The Plot Goes Like This
            A group of adventurers die due to poor game decisions and several characters in the world of the game (the titular NPC's) have to do their best to complete the PC's mission so as to save their town from ruin. The first chapter feels a lot sillier than the rest of the book, and once you are past it (as it feels mildly contrived) the rest of the book has great action, strong dialogue, and potent characterization (which is the theme).

Would you listen to NPCs again? Why?
            Probably not in the foreseeable future, as it has sequels and the author has other series that I can dip into. I have already recommended it to others though.

What other book might you compare NPCs to and why?
            "Off to be the Wizard" which has either much more or far less meta commentary as this book about the nature of fantasy books, gaming, and the nerdy culture that surrounds each.  I have recently started “Redshirts” by John Scalzi and it also leans into the winds of meta-humor so I am guessing it too will be seen as blood in the same vein.

Have you listened to any of Roger Wayne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
            I haven't heard any of the voice actor's performances before but judging him against the numerous performances I have heard on Audible, Roger is obviously talented.  He gave distinct voices to each of the main characters and read with the speed and energy necessary to keep the action lively and the humor punchy.

Any additional comments?
            I actually bought and finished the second book in the series before writing this review and plan to listen to other titles/series by the author.
            If I do have any complaint it is that the first few chapters do feel contrived. There is a sort of hump that you get past in the story, I would say the first attack by demons is when the story becomes breezy.  This makes sense, as most fantasy stories tend to be a little slow to get going, this is to acclimate the readers to the world and rules of the story.  As the narrative progresses the encounters escalate in danger and intensity so that you never feel like you are getting too much at once but feel like progress is being made.

            This is a perfect story for anyone who plays Dungeons and Dragons or other tabletop games.  EVERYONE has had a game with the bad/jerk/asshole type players present in this game... Or have been one (myself included).

This is the second book in the series.
I have already listened to it and liked it more than the first.
            If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

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