Book Review – Myst: The Book of Atrus by Rand and Robyn Miller with David Wingrove

Title: Myst: The Book of Atrus
Rand and Robyn Miller with David Wingrove
William Cone

This computer game tie-in novel gives part of the backstory to the popular (in the 90s) computer game Myst.  Young Atrus is abandoned at birth to be raised by his grandmother Anna.  Fourteen years later Atrus’s father returns to claim him but more as a research assistant than a son.  And his research?  The writing of worlds.

I bought the novels for my brother over a decade ago and have only now gotten a chance to read them for myself.  I’m happy to say that this first of three Myst books pleased me.  The world(s) are inventive, and the characters very human yet larger than life at the same time.

I now have a desire to hunt down the game trilogy and play through.

The story is both mythic and domestic, neither element outweighing the other.  Atrus is a likable if sometimes passive protagonist, but he steps up and acts when the situation calls for it.  This is a fairly clean story, yet with a strong chord of dramatic tension and sophistication of ideas running throughout.

The Myst games themselves were popular in part because they were beautiful with a surreal yet intriguing storyline, and this continues with the book.

I’m not sure it rates with our greatest literary epics, but for a media tie-in, I don’t feel I couldn’t ask much more of it.  It had an appropriate amount of depth without growing heavy handed.  There are perhaps a couple of points where I would like further clarification, but perhaps the other two books in this set will provide the answers I seek.

My rating is a 4.5 which you might round up to a 5, depending on how it fits in and sets up for the next two Myst books.

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