NPCs: Spells, Swords, & Stealth #1
by Drew Hayes
narrated by Roger Wayne
(fantasy, some role playing humor)
Let me just say this right off: I LOVED THIS BOOK. I also really enjoyed the narration also, though I suspect I would have loved the book equally if I had read it instead of listened to the audio version.
I said in my Goodreads review that this is required reading for any D&D player, especially DMs. However, I realize that there are some D&D players or DMs who won’t enjoy it, and plenty of non D&D-ers who will also love it. (A lot of the D&D references also apply at least a little to RPG video games, for example.) In any case, it is a very fun book with great humor and lots of references to the real world which manage to be written completely in the character of the book. At no time was I thrown out of the story because the in-jokes became too meta or too obvious.
There were a few twists which I saw coming. (Nothing major, just little things.) This didn’t alter my enjoyment of the story, but it also didn’t feel like I’d made a major coup the way it can when you figure out whodunnit in a mystery before the big reveal. There were plenty of things left unexplained as well, which works fine because I know of at least two more books in the series. The book itself didn’t end on a cliffhanger, but instead the reader was shown which parts of the plot were novel-arc, and which were series-arc.
All in all, I think this book is one that would appeal to a large group of readers, though you have to have at least some enjoyment of fantasy novels. There is humor, but not too much; violence, but not too descriptive; and religion, but the kind which comes with most fantasy worlds instead of trying to mimic our society’s religions. Should you read it? Well, if the rest of this paragraph appeals to you, then yes. Definitely. I will certainly be picking up the next book in the series as well as gifting this book to at least one family member this holiday season, and that’s the best praise I can give to a book.
Rating: 5 stars