Book #22: NPCs by Drew Hayes

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What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters?

In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry. Once the dust settles, these four find themselves faced with an impossible choice: pretend to be adventurers undertaking a task of near-certain death or see their town and loved ones destroyed. Armed only with salvaged equipment, second-hand knowledge, and a secret that could get them killed, it will take all manner of miracles if they hope to pull off their charade.

And even if they succeed, the deadliest part of their journey may well be what awaits them at its end.

After reading the blurb for NPCs, it was hard for me not to grab it. First off, the main characters are the characters you never think about. They are the background characters that bring a world to life. They are NPCs, Non-Player Characters (in gaming terms).

I am a tabletop gamer and I actually have a healthy respect for these often unnamed personas of the fantasy worlds. They bring to life a game that is synonymous with dice, papers, and imagination. A series in homage to these characters just tickled my geek and after listening to the audio, I wasn’t disappointed.

The writing is hilarious. It is snarky and puts the characters in outrageous situations. Which is often seen in a gaming situation (one of my characters once bowled a Halfling). The story reminded me a bit of the Indie film, The Gamers. In that film there is your stereotypical adventuring party and then there are the people who are playing them.

In NPCs, there is that same dual world aspect. Only, in the book’s case, the main characters aren’t played by anyone. They just are.

The book is filled with action, adventure, and humor. I was laughing from the moment the group made their decision to the moment the group set off on a new adventure. I even bought the second book before finishing this one! I would have jumped right in if I didn’t already know that once I did, I would need the third and the fourth. And the fourth isn’t out yet in audio. That wouldn’t be good.

I’m not sure this is a series I want to end. It fills my geeky gamer need while I’m in between campaigns. Which reminds me, Crys and Hime (if you’re reading this . . .) we need a gaming night and you guys NEED to read this book.

I have other people I could call out to force them to read, but instead I’ll say this . . . READ!!!!

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