Novella Review: John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth by Django Wexler

Heroes of MazarothJohn Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth by Django Wexler

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Book 2 of John Golden

Publisher: Ragnarok (August 11, 2014)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s not too often I come across a unique and original concept in urban fantasy, but move over denizens of the world of the paranormal and say hello to a brand new breed of fae. The first book introduced us to John Golden, the protagonist of this clever, snappy series with an interesting mix of UF and techno-geek elements. He’s a “debugger”, an individual with special talents hired by corporate clients to go inside their computer systems in order to eliminate the gremlins, sprites and other faery creatures wreaking havoc on their networks. Needless to say, I loved this concept. It sure gives a whole new perspective on computer bugs, glitches and viruses.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, not long after I found out about John Golden, I heard author Django Wexler tease the next installment of this series. Not only was book two going to have a gamer angle, it was going to be satirizing the world’s most popular massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. That MMORPG is, of course, World of Warcraft.

In John Golden’s universe, it becomes “Heroes of Mazaroth”. On what was supposed to be a routine debugging mission for a financial company, our protagonist somehow finds himself trapped in the game’s fantasy realm, suckered into taking the place of a Dark Lord raid boss, doomed to be farmed by a never-ending army of player-adventurers forever and ever…unless John and his sister-in-a-Dell-Inspiron Sarah can change the story and find a way out of this epic mix-up.

Simply put, these John Golden books a whole lot of fun. You can tell the author had a good time writing these books. Wexler has been in IT and is a gamer, injecting his own sense of humor and perspective of these topics into this series in a way that he can’t in his epic fantasy. John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth is filled to the brim with all the right stuff which makes the urban fantasy genre such a blast to read. The pop culture jokes, and geek and gamer humor had me laughing out loud throughout.

“I’d seen some weird fairies in my time—driver-eating ogres, hydras made out of HR spreadsheets, a whole tribe of elves that worshipped the MS Word paperclip as a god…”

Sarah Golden is also delightfully hilarious, as always. She’s such a wonderful character. A distinguishing and highly entertaining feature of these books, her footnotes provide a running commentary on John’s adventures and misadventures, and let’s face it: there is no one more uniquely suited to give us insight into someone’s personality than his her own sibling, am I right? Sarah’s remarks often poke fun at John endearingly, and other times they give us more information about the world of the Wildernet and its fae. Either way, it’s great. The first book John Golden: Freelance Debugger has a bit of backstory about why she no longer has a physical body, her consciousness instead residing in a laptop, and it’s definitely not to be missed. I hope future books will continue building upon Sarah’s character, and the awesome dynamic between her and John in general.

What can I say? I just loved this book. You don’t need to be an IT person to get this book and you certainly don’t need to be an online gamer. But if you’re familiar with playing MMORPGs and World of Warcraft, there will be a lot of Easter eggs that will have you smiling. Gaming has been a long-time passion of mine, especially when it comes to MMOs, and WoW and I have a long and interesting history. I’ve played it for years and still work it into my gaming repertoire now and then despite the mountain of other MMO titles I play, so maybe I’m a little biased but I knew I was going to enjoy the hell out of John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth as soon as I learned its premise. But it really is a fantastically entertaining book.

Though Heroes of Mazaroth can absolutely be read as a standalone, I recommend reading both books in this series. John Golden is awesome and you’re going to get a lot of great background into the world. These are also quick, bite-sized adventures that can be enjoyed in a single sitting.

PandarenAnd now if you’ll excuse me, Warlords of Draenor is on the horizon and after this book I have a hankering to do me some LFRs.

 

6deec-5stars

A review copy of this book was provided to me by the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Django Wexler and Ragnarok Publications!

19 Comments on “Novella Review: John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth by Django Wexler

  1. Yoi’re right it’s so interesting to discover something unique in urban fantasy. It’s not often the case but this one sounds pretty good and fun! I didn’t know it but it’s nice to see it’s a good series! great review!

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  2. This sounds like a lot of fun. Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series has an installment kind of like this. A dryad’s forest was cut down, and a tech savvy fae somehow managed to install her in a computer network. It was pretty cool. I think Julie Kagawa did something to modernize the Fae in one of her YA series too. Fae creatures + tech is definitely an interesting concept 😉

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    • Oh, this is Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, I’m guessing? Wow, that’s pretty cool, I’ll have to look in to it. And that’s the first I’ve heard about Seanan McGuire’s series too, that sounds amazing!

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  3. FINE! SOLD! I’m definitely going to add this to my TBR pile. Hahahaha. Just the mention of MMORPG has my blood boiling already. This one reminded my Eye of Mind and Artemis Fowl.

    I am an MMORPG gamer too but never tried due to geographical location and even if I’m from the US or EU, the subscription fee would really deter me. I’m more of a free-to-play gamer but I think paid MMORPGs are better when it comes to gameplay, support, updates and that imbalances are immediately addressed.

    The publisher’s name is even inspired from the name of another MMORPG.

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    • Yes, Ragnarok Online! A classic. Regarding MMOs, I’m playing a couple sub games right now, but so many titles have gone to free to play in recent years, which is great because I can jump in any time now (and I like to game hop a lot!) It’s true, sometimes the customer experience and community suffers a bit once the switch to F2P happens, but I think the pros outweigh the cons.

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  4. I’m so happy to find out about these books. Not for me, but I think my 15 year old son would love them. He’s a BIG gamer (and it’s nearly impossible to get him off the computer!) and I really want him to read more. These books might do the trick! Thanks so much for highlighting them!

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  5. That quote made me laugh. Thank you, I needed it, after all, I actually work in HR. I will now look at my spreadsheets with some humor and view them as a hydra. They feel like a hydra some days lol!

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  6. So I finally catch up on his epic fantasy series and you want me to get sucked in to a new UF series by the same author? For shame Mogsy, for shame.

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