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Creeper Invasion, or in full, "Creeper Invasion: An Unofficial Minetrapped Adventure, #5" is a piece of unofficial Minecraft fanfiction, not authorized or sponsored by Microsoft Corp., Mojang AB, Notch Development AB, or Scholastic Inc., or any other person or entity owning or controlling rights in the Minecraft name, trademarks, or copyrights, although that might not be clear at first glance of the granulated pixel art on the cover, or by the books insistent and consistent use of Minecraft lingo in the book.

I bought this book at The Dollar Tree for kitschy purposes. Even at a dollar, it was too expensive. There is a sticker on the cover that says 15% off MSRP $6.74, and that is way, way too much. I am trying to think of what the target market for this is: a nervous suburban mother, worried about her children's computing habits in that weird blocky game, and wanting to "encouraging reading", and willing to shill out money to encourage little Brayden or Keleigh to read more (NB: are "Brayden and Keliegh" even acceptable middle-class fad names to mock anymore? I am a little behind the times, and there is a good chance Brayden and Keleigh are now well into graduate school), and who hurriedly picks this book up from a big box store or an Amazon recommendation, unaware that this is not official Minecraft merch, and the book is going to end up glanced at and thrown in the closet as suburban mom wrings her hands, worried about Brayden/Keleighs fate in a competitive global economy. But I digress. But I must digress, because this little domestic drama I've created in my mind is more interesting than "Creeper Invasion: An Unofficial Minetrapped Adventure, #5".

As I have been happy enough to explain lately, I have been yearning for the release of low-impact fiction. A story where my mind could drift. And to enjoy some kitsch. But "CI: AUMA, #5" went far, far beyond that. Without exaggeration, this book sounds like someone transcribed the stream of consciousness of an overly excited, socially unskilled middle school describing their Minecraft game. Let me give a quote:

"No!" Lily cried out and tried to run towards Mr. Anarchy but the orange griefer lunged at her with his diamond sword, while the blue griefer splashed a potion of weakness on her. Lily was losing hearts. She tried to fight back, but she didn't see the two skeletons that spawned behind her. They unleashed a sea of arrows that struck Lily's back and she was destroyed.
And the book kind of goes on like that for 90 pages. As far as I can tell, the book is about players that become trapped on a Minecraft server, and are trying to escape, and for 90 pages...they do...Minecraft things. Most series books involve some type of characterization, that, while very basic, lets you know which character is the jock, or the leader, or the funny one. But this book didn't even have that. It is just paragraphs describing action, most of which is the endless cycles of fighting and respawning. It became numbing after a while, as the words became empty phrases cycling in my brain. And I am not a newbie to the genre, as we can see from this review of a video game novelization from 15 years ago. This book passes beyond the bounds of simplistic and action oriented and lowest common denominator to...an abyss of disinterest. Some books for middle readers sound like they were written by ghost writers (because they were), or committee, but this book honestly sounds like it was written by AI.

Sorry, suburban moms, but even if they do make it through this book, Brayden and Keleigh aren't going to be able to interface with the interdepartmental group on knowledge leadership 10 years from now. I have enjoyed reading many bad books, but this book fell far below even my standards of light kitsch.

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