Last year, at New York Comic Con, I happened upon Sky Horse Publishing’s booth and had the best conversation with the folks there. It turns out, Sky Pony – their younger readers’ imprint- was promoting their Minecraft novel series by Mark Cheverton, who wrote the series after griefers unleashed mayhem all over the world he and his son spent a lot of time creating. If you’re a Minecrafter, or have one in your life like I do, you know how much that stinks. It’s a form of bullying, and it’s just cruel. That said, I wanted to learn more, and Sky Pony graciously gave me copies of this first GAMEKNIGHT999 series, beginning with Invasion of the Overworld.
The story begins with a 12 year-old kid, going by the Minecraft name GameKnight999. He’s a griefer and kind of a creep in Minecraft, setting up traps to lure his teammates and friends, and then stealing their stuff. It’s his way of exercising power that he doesn’t have in real life, but it’s not doing him any favors. Through a crazy accident with one of his father’s invention, he ends up digitized and in the Minecraft world itself, where he discovers that things are more than a game: he can feel his victims’ pain, and he learns pretty quickly that his online actions have repercussions.
He also learns that all is not well in the world of Minecraft. The monsters that exist in the game are finding their way, server by server, to the Source, a source of power that will lead them to our world. That’s right, folks: Creepers and Endermen and Zombies IRL, and GameKnight is the one thing standing in their way. GameKnight’s on a voyage of personal discovery as he matures and takes on the responsibility not only of defending Minecraft, but his own world.
Naturally, the book is Minecraft-heavy, with detailed desriptions of settings, tools, and game vocabulary. Minecrafters will recognize and love this, and newbies to the game (like me) will appreciate Mark’s breakdowns. Parents will appreciate the discussions about cyberbullying and bullying in real life, and I’m hopeful that kids reading this series will see that every action brings with it some consequence, whether or not they hide behind the anonymity of being online.
I bought a set right off the bat for my library after seeing these last year, and I haven’t seen those books since the day I put them on the shelves. In fact, I should probably buy a second set, at the very least, because hello, Summer Reading. And while I’m at it, I’ll check out Cheverton’s newest Minecraft series, The Mystery of Herobrine.
Do yourself and your Minecrafters a favor, and check this series out. I saw a display devoted to the series in Barnes & Noble just last week, and they’re available online. Keep up with Mark Cheverton’s Minecraft novels at his website, where you can sign up for email updates. And check out the trailer Mark put together for the original GameKnight999 series right here.
INVASION OF THE OVERWORLD
Author: Mark Cheverton
Publisher: Sky Horse Publishing
Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014