In Critical Failures, Mr. Bevan introduces us to a humorous tale of a group of slackers who, for not taking Caverns and Creatures seriously enough, are sentenced by the Cavern Master to experience it for real. Unfortunately for the players, they have to live with the consequences of their actions from when it was just a game.
Why to buy this book: It’s well written and fast paced. It’s easy to become immersed in the world. Besides that, it’s laugh out loud funny. Literally. My wife had to tell me to quiet down a couple of times so as not to wake the little one. The best thing about the humor, though, is that it flows from the characters and the story instead of seeming contrived for the sake of a laugh.
Why not to buy the book: Though the plot contains quite a bit of adventure, one of its primary charms is its humor, and I’m not sure you’ll catch all of it if you’re not familiar with role-playing games. The most serious negative to me (with the caveat that I really enjoyed this book) is that I didn’t find the characters all that likeable. They fit the story well, and Mr. Bevan brought them to life. I could see these guys sitting around a pizza shop playing D&D (excuse me, C&C). The problem is that I wouldn’t enjoy being around them very much as they didn’t seem to have a lot of redeeming qualities.
Bottom Line: I try to save 5 stars for my favorite books of all time like Eye of the World and Name of the Wind, so I couldn’t stretch quite that high for this one. It’s a solid 4, maybe even 4.5 though. I do recommend giving it a read if you’ve ever done RPG’s.
Disclaimer: I purchased this book; I did not receive a promotional copy. However, Mr. Bevan is a member of a writer forum that I frequent. In exchange for this honest review, it is anticipated that he will provide an honest review of Power of the Mages when it is released.