In my record-keeping of what books I've read this year, I realized I forgot one I read over the summer. This past Saturday my husband and I closed up our cabin for the winter (it was hard. I wanted to stay there and live like a hermit and write all winter long) and, sitting lonely and forgotton on the endtable lay a book I actually enjoyed very much.
Some of you know I'm a Tokien geek, but did you also know I'm a Myst fan? I started with Myst shortly after the game came out and eventually even was lucky enough to be chosen as a beta-tester for Uru, a game intended to be an online community as well as a world (or Ages, to be exact) of exploration. Unfortunately, Uru had too short a life, but I'm still a Myst fan and am in the process of playing End of Ages again. For the third time.
So what what the book left Myst-like on the table? Myst, the Book of Artrus, of course! A novelization of some of the backstory to that wonderful parallel universe. Written by Rand Arthur and David Wingrove, it tells the story of the D'ni through the eyes of a young boy who learns his heritage as he grows up. Torn between a grandmother who taught him patience and a father who sees the Ages they visit as his own personal ego-trips, Atrus finds a middle ground that sets him on the path of destruction we discover in the Myst video game.
I hate using those words to describe Myst. It isn't really a video game. Video games are the Mario Brothers and PacMan and even World of Warcraft. Myst is a story couched inside a set of puzzles. It's a hyperlinked novel with incredible artwork and breathtaking discoveries. It's exploration, not gaming. The Book of Atrus is just another level of the exploration.
All that said, if you're not a Myst fan? You're going to find this book tedious and filled with references you don't understand. If you are a Myst fan? You're going to find this book a little slow, but you'll enjoy discovering Atrus as a boy, then as a young man before he meets Catherine, before his sons betray him, before life goes so very wrong for him.
That's all! I'll be out for a bit starting Wednesday as I'm having a bit of knee surgery done to remove the arthritis that's built up inside over the years (too many summers of skinned knees and falling off my clamp-on roller skates).
Play safe, everyone!
PS. Be sure to click on some of the links above to see the incredible artwork that is Myst!