Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Minecraft: Don't Fear the Creeper (Mob Squad #3)

Dawson, Delilah. Minecraft: Don't Fear the Creeper (Mob Squad #3)
November 1, 2022 by Random House World
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

After their adventures in Mob Squad and Never Say Nether, Lenna and her friends are still unhappy with the circumstances in their village of Cornucopia. Stu, one of the leaders, doesn't want anyone to venture beyond the village walls, and Lenna's brother is one of the guards trying to keep everyone in line. Some of the citizens have starts New Cornucopia because of this. Lenna and her friends Mal, Chug, and Tok also balk at the fact that the elders won't pass their skills on to th younger generation until the last minute, so it's hard to get an apprenticeship. Lenna has worked with Mal's grandmother on potions, but when Nan becomes ill, the goup decides to set out to locate an enchanted golden apple to help her get well. When it turns out there weren't just eight founders of the town, there were ten, this gives the group a hint about where to search. They undertake a quest that involes fighting creepers and underwater zombies, and eventually find one of the founders who left the town, Ephram, who was rumored to have the golden apple. Of course, he's already eaten it, so they have to continue on. They run into Krog, a bad guy who is stalking them and making their journey difficult. Will they be able to make it home safely, cure Nana, and deal with the evil elders of Cornucopia?
Strengths: This adventure, which is told from the viewpoints of various characters, reads rather like the author was taking notes while playing Minecraft. While this makes it harder for me to read, it is perfect for younger readers who do play the game. I don't understand watching someone else play a video game, but my students do, and reading about the Mob Squad's adventures had that feel. I was glad to see that the young adventurers wanted to gain skills from the elders, didn't complain about their hardships, and were fearless in the face of the adversaries that they faced. Dawson has an engaging writing style, as is evidenced in her popular horror book, Mine
Weaknesses: The characters are fairly flat, since more emphasis is placed on mundane tasks like getting food and weapons, and on the adventure. Chug is always hungry, and Lenna doesn't like rules, but the other characters blurred together for me. Young readers will not care. 
What I really think: My favorite of the series is The Haven Trials, with its Lagos, Nigeria setting and friend drama. I would definitely enjoy these more had I ever played Minecraft, but that is NOT going to happen. There are currently fifteen books in the series, and I have them all shelved under "F MIN" so they are easy for readers to find. Minecraft has been around for at least ten years, so these books are a solid investment for a school or public library. They will get enough use to justify the purchase, and by the time they are worn out, perhaps tweens will have moved on to other games and these will be an easy weed. 
 Ms. Yingling

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