This fantasy is a RPG-like delightful episode.
The world in which we’re invited is immediately engrossing, we’re in a rich setting with a familiar and yet original feeling. We have sages and priestesses, dark magic and technological contraptions, apothecaries who sell plants for spells, we have lords at their manor, and we have picturesque carriages, and scientific endeavors. We have power of magic and fear and disdain for it. The characters and the world are familiar, they share many elements with the collective imaginary of every well written fantasy story, but the writer adds unique bits: he brings steampunkish golems, creates a distinctive magic system, and a poignant plot, with carefully prepared twists.
The world feels like a role-playing game universe, where immersion is how you step in and stay in all the way.
There are many things done well, the plot matters, characters are believable and likeable, the bad guy will surprise, and the writing flows just right. Sometimes the writing feels almost musical, in its rhythm. Most of all, the world building is exquisitely done, to the point where immersion in the world (more than in the plot) is how the book reads.
This book feels like a RPG. One for which you don’t need instructions, you’re in the middle of it. I almost have on the tip of my fingers the need to type the next scene, move a character, re-enter the manor and reach for the moondrop dew in the sage’s cabinet. In case I’d need it for the spell I will – I mean, my character will, learn. From the spell book, you know. OK. Turn the corner. The two stupid and hilarious guardians are not here yet, psst, I know when I’ll hear them coming, because they never stop talking…
I’m a sucker for RPGs, and My Name is Michael Bishop is an episode set in RPGish world, a well written scenario set in a world I wish it didn’t end.
I recommend this book for any fantasy/steampunk fans, and anyone looking for a great book.
Note: I received a copy for free, for the purpose of an honest review.