Thursday, 10 September 2015

Escape from the Overworld

Escape from the Overworld by Danica Davidson (NewSouth Books)
PB RRP $9.99
ISBN 978-1-634501-03-3

Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Eleven-year-old Stevie doesn’t feel like he belongs in the Minecraft world.  He’s very good at building or fighting – even though his father is great at these things -- a legend, in fact.  Then one day, Stevie discovers a strange portal.  Stepping through, he finds himself in a new and weird world, our world.  He meets Maison, a bullied girl his own age who loves to build and create.  Stevie wants to learn all about this new world but when Maison takes him to school they discover that the portal has allowed more than just Stevie to come through.  The school is getting attacked by zombies, creepers and giant spiders from the Minecraft world. Together they must save the school and this world from the monsters that have been unleashed.

Escape from the Overworld is an unofficial Minecraft adventure by American author Danica Davidson. It’s a fun, fast-paced chapter book that leverages off the hugely successful computer game.

The characters are likeable and easy to relate to, both dealing with feelings of rejection, inadequacy and a sense of loneliness.  This, in part, is what helps them to bridge the obvious gap between them, become friends and work together when danger presents itself.  It is this friendship that also what helps them confront and deal with their own individual problems and become stronger.

While enjoyable just on its surface there are several sub-plots around bullying, friendship and acceptance.  Although not explored to their fullest extent, they do provide authenticity and some depth to the story. 

There is a lot of explanation throughout the book to reduce the need for an intimate understanding of Minecraft, but it would certainly be an advantage if the reader was familiar with the game.  On the other hand, for the young enthusiast, this is a successful blend of the game and an exciting adventure story that also touches on important issues facing kids today.

Danica Davidson is a professional writer from the US who has written for about fifty different magazines, newspapers and websites. Escape from the Overworld is her first unofficial Minecraft book with a sequel, Attack on the Overworld, currently available for pre-order.  She can be found online at:

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