Book Review – NPCs by Drew Hayes

NPCs by Drew Hayes

NPCs by Drew Hayes

The blurb role plays:

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.

The majority of what makes this book interesting is the concept of the non-player characters of a role playing game having their own lives and agency separate from the player characters.  To be honest it’s probably not the most original idea ever, since anyone who’s ever played a role playing game probably thought of it, but the difference is that nobody else actually wrote a book based on it.

The other cool thing about the book is that it reverses a lot of the RPG stereotypes – none of the NPCs end up being what they immediately appear.  RPGs tend to be pretty traditional when it comes to stereotyped roles, so it’s nice that the book plays with that.  It’s a bit “opposite day” simple, but it’s a nice thought.

Apart from that there isn’t much to the book other than a larger mystery about what exactly is going on, but that’s not resolved and is obviously a hook to get you to read the rest of the books in the series.

All in all it’s a good effort for a self-published author.