Summer Book Club Review: Gameknight999 Unofficial Minecrafter’s Adventure Series

Welcome to VGBlogger’s Summer Book Club! All summer long, we will be providing weekly book reviews across a wide range of geek favorite categories, including art, comics/graphic novels, fantasy, gaming, and sci-fi. So whether you’re heading out for a road trip, going on vacation, lounging beach/poolside on a nice sunny day, relaxing inside away from the summer heat, or simply searching for a good read to fill your free time, follow our Summer Book Club for our top picks of what you should be reading during these hot summertime doldrums.

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Inspired by his son’s experiences in Minecraft and his own personal trials and tribulations with childhood bullying, author Mark Cheverton’s Gameknight999 series of novels takes young readers and Minecraft fans of all ages inside Mojang’s blocky sandbox world for an adventure that serves up a whole lot of fun fantasy fiction while also teaching proper online gaming etiquette and raising awareness about the impact of cyber-bullying, a critical issue facing kids in this age of omnipresent online interaction and social networking.

Strangely enough, the story follows a similar trajectory as The Matrix, only it is far less confusing and wonky than Neo’s convoluted tale. Gameknight999, the avatar for a young boy who loves playing Minecraft, begins his epic journey as a griefer, the equivalent of a bully in multiplayer video games. More than anything else he enjoys trolling NPCs, ruining the games and creations of other players, and using hacks and cracks to cheat, until one day while playing on his dad’s more powerful PC he gets sucked into the game world and becomes voxelized as his avatar by one of his dad’s inventions, the Digitizer.

Inside the world of Minecraft, Gameknight999 feels real pain when he takes damage. He also discovers that all of the animals, monsters, and NPCs are sentient beings that feel emotions and have their own lives and families. As he soon learns, he is in fact the User-that-is-not-a-user, the chosen one prophecy says will fight to defend the Source–the place where all Minecraft code originates–from a monster invasion. If he fails, the creatures of Minecraft will move from server to server, annihilating NPC villages with the ultimate goal being to destroy the Source and spread their dominion to the human world.

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Cheverton does a wonderful job describing the world in Minecraft terminology and sticking to the rules and mechanics of the game, embellishing and taking liberties where needed to push the story beyond what is possible in the game. Gameknight’s battles with zombies, creepers, spiders, skeletons and many other creatures of the Overworld, Nether, and The End are the most fun, as those are the moments when the NPCs work together with the fabled User-that-is-not-a-user to plan out and craft elaborate defensive structures and traps. At the heart of the story, as mentioned earlier, is a moral about treating others how you want to be treated. The book also hits on themes such as the value of friendship, using teamwork to achieve goals, facing fears, and speaking up for yourself and for others, so there are many important lessons for children to take away.

The only complaint that I have is with how poorly edited and proofread the books are. I’ve read the first three books and half of the fourth, and every single one so far has contained an alarming number of spelling errors, missing prepositions and conjunctions, and words in the wrong tense. The third book in particular has stretches of full chapters with at least one misspelling per page. It’s quite shocking that so many fundamental mistakes were missed.

Mark Cheverton’s Unofficial Minecrafter’s Adventure series currently spans six books, with more yet to come. Invasion of the Overworld, Battle for the Nether, and Confronting the Dragon make up the Gameknight999 trilogy. And Trouble in Zombie-town, The Jungle Temple Oracle, and Last Stand on the Ocean Shore make up the Mystery of Herobrine trilogy, which continues directly from the events of the first three books, so you will want to read them in order.

Gameknight999’s novelized adventures in Minecrafting are written at a fifth or sixth grade reading level, so the primary audience is tweens and early teens. But that doesn’t mean older readers won’t be able to enjoy the ride. Even though the characterization is fairly one-dimensional, Cheverton’s portrayal of the Minecraft world captures the imagination in a way that players of the game, young and old alike, will be able to identify with and appreciate. I’m not a parent myself, but I can totally see these books being perfect for family reading, especially for parents and children that already build and play Minecraft together.

Disclosure: Copies of the Gameknight999 Minecraft novels were provided to VGBlogger.com for review by Sky Pony Press.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!