Survival. Zombies. Action. This book has all the usual elements of a Max Brooks bestseller… except this one has blocks… lots of blocks. If you’re aware of the world of Minecraft, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, where have you been?
I was surprised at first when I saw Max Brooks’ name on the cover of this book, but as I delved in, I could see that it suited his style of writing well. The Island is a highly creative piece of writing, with Brooks turning the mechanics of the game into fiction, in a way that can only be admired. It’s paced perfectly, with the classic survival trope of being marooned on an island used as the book’s main plot. This, of course, just works for a book based on the game.
Minecraft: The Island is written in a perspective that reads as a personal account from a journal. The protagonist, the author of the journal, tells of his adventure from the moment he wakes up on the island. With no memories of his life before, he must learn the rules of the mysterious world he finds himself in.
What surprised me most was the amount of philosophy and the number life lessons that Max Brooks has managed to weave into this tale. Clearly aimed at a wide audience, I think this was a great choice, and clearly shows the skill of Brooks as a writer. It may not be the most technically written book out there, but it’s made to be read by the many fans of the franchise. There’s something in here for everyone.
I never thought that I’d be sharing philosophy from a work of fiction based on Minecraft, but my favourite life lessons that this book teaches:
- Be grateful for what you have.
- Take life in steps.
- Courage is a full-time job.
- It’s not failure that matters, it’s how you recover.
- Keep going, never give up.
Final thoughts: I loved this book. I can’t give it the same score as some of the other books I’ve rated on here, so for that reason, it gets 4/5. It’s fun. It’s well written. It’s highly creative. It’s an easy read for when you need to unwind. I would recommend Minecraft: The Island to any fan of the franchise, no matter the age. Read it if you’re a Minecraft pro or novice, it might inspire your next creation. Read it to your kids, they may pick up some valuable lessons for the future. Read it when you just need an escape, from a world not made of blocks.