Book Review: ‘Rocks Fall. Everyone Dies.’ by Eddie Skelson

I found out about Rocks Fall through SPFBO 2019, and an interview with Corbett (the cranky wizard) convinced me to read. It’s an excellent, lighthearted fantasy adventure that fans of D&D and MMORPGs would adore, and make just about everyone with a funny-bone snort at the jokes.

What to expect

Expect a funny fantasy romp, with many jokes about tropes of the genre. The novel is reminiscent of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, where the different characters – all with their own slightly misanthropic, bloody destructive agendas – are all brought together in a twist of fate to combat evil. We get to follow in their steps as they are first drawn together, then brought together and shaped up as a fighting group.

Everything leads to the obligatory “boss fight” at the end (everything built up and foreshadowed expertly), and opens up for the coming adventure. While not exactly a cliff-hanger (there’s an epilogue), the book end on a note that invites more novels to come.

Skelson does an excellent job in both drawing great and engaging characters, while subverting and laughing at common genre tropes. One can’t help but identify (if not exactly like) each and every one of the varied cast, as they rise above themselves. One also can’t help but laugh loudly at some of the jokes, especially the ones that refer back to the genre.

What I liked

I liked the premise, the humorous tone, and the characters. All are very well executed. Skelson has a deft touch when it comes to building up events, with attention to plotting and foreshadowing that is never heavy handed but is always flowing and keeps the reader immersed in the narrative.

The world-building relies heavily on tropes (I wish there was a bit more to it), but it makes sense within the context of the story and is used for humorous effects.

What to be aware of

The book could have used another round of copy-editing. While it didn’t stop me from deeply enjoying the story, if you get an eye-twitch at misplaced punctuation or broken words you might want to check if the book has since been updated.

Summary

If you’ve ever played D&D (or other fantasy games) – or even if you hadn’t and just like good, funny fantasy – this is a book for you.

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