Title: Myst: The Book of Atrus Series: followed by The Book of Ti'ana (a prequel) and The Book of D'ni based on the mythology of the Myst. cavosboig.site (so SL'ers can listen in-client), and a complimentary chat on Skype, see this post. For any of you who have attended my daily Myst book reading sessions (and programs: TeamSpeak for the voice portion and Skype for text chat. series will feature Myst: The Book of Atrus, the first of the three Myst novels.
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- Book Review: “Myst: The Book of Atrus” by Rand and Robyn Miller, with David Wingrove
- Interview With David Wingrove (Part 2)
For most of his young life, Atrus thought the stories his grandmother told him were just strange legends. Then his time came to explore the magnificent underground realm… The Book of Atrus is a tale of son against father; of truth versus evil; and of love and redemption. Second, I found it at a library book sale.
Third, the jacket is really cool! Reason for Finishing: Fast-paced story with lots of really fascinating and pretty original ideas. The sense of discovery was palpable—I genuinely could not predict how the story would play out, and that excited me.
Also, the characters, while few, are pretty mature and multifaceted. Story Re-readability: Even after knowing the end, I think it would be interesting to read the book again, to catch more details that may have slipped by the first time. Stylistically, the fast pace and pleasing narrative style should make rereading easy.
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Recommendation: Yes! While it falls short of being a masterpiece, this is still a very good story nicely written, with an original to me, at least! Going into Myst: The book of AtrusI knew nothing of its premise or its mythology. I even overlooked the synopsis copied above on the back cover. As a result, I had the joy of discovering its world and story wholly through page-by-page exploration, my mind alert for telling details and glimpses into its makeup.
His grandmother, Anna, raises him in a cleft in the side of a volcano, in the middle of a vast desert, where water gathers in a pool and allows them to grow enough food to survive in terrace gardens filled with fertile volcanic soil. They are periodically visited by traders from afar and with their surplus buy certain tools, foodstuffs, and few luxuries—enough to forge a comfortable existence.
We gather this information by watching events, by listening to brief conversations, and by being patient. How they started their life in the Cleft, we do not know, but we note the interesting fact that both Anna and Atrus always wear special goggles whose lenses can be adjusted for opacity—like sunglasses of varying strengths—or to magnify images like a telescope or microscope.
Nor do we know anything about the world beyond the desert, but that there is a market for the paintings Anna produces from the plant dyes she grows.
Gehn says their people were worshiped as gods, and rightly so, for they can create worlds and life from nothing but words and the powers of their imaginations! If the writer describes well—that is, precisely, accurately, with detailed knowledge of the elements, physics, wind patterns, tectonic movements, etcetera, and with perfect attention to cause and effect—the Age that comes into being will be stable and fertile, filled with a self-sustaining environment and possibly peopled with whole cities and kingdoms that regard him as a god.
But if he writes not well, if he makes mistakes, writes contradictions, if his writing does not have internal consistency, then his Age becomes unstable and eventually collapses into nonexistence. If any changes are made to the Book that describes an Age, those changes will become manifest in the Age itself—for better or for worse!
This part of the story, as you can imagine, holds the greatest interest for me. So much so that my thoughts on the matter grew so long that they better fit in a separate post, which you should be able to read shortly. The conflict comes from the polar opposite personalities of father and son.
Book Review: “Myst: The Book of Atrus” by Rand and Robyn Miller, with David Wingrove
I like characters like Atrus, who is a quiet, intelligent, and sensitive boy. His mind is scientific and romantic, and he works carefully on problems so as not to make mistakes, and with the intent of trying to understand the basic principles which the world runs on.
He wants to Write new Ages because of the beauty of the process and of how it may help him better understand his own world. His father, however, is ambitious and impatient. What if, Atrus wonders, all these worlds already exist, and we are simply able to link to them when we write? His father will tolerate no such thoughts, for, among other things, they would require a moral change in his behavior.
And yet Gehn is not a thoroughly despicable person, not fully fallen.
His joy at the beauty and complexity of the Art is genuine and not based on thoughts of selfish gain, and I believe he does truly admire his son. He is trying to do what he thinks is right, but he is stubborn, unwilling to consider the moral consequences of his actions, and possessed of the belief of his inherent superiority to pretty much everyone else. The story takes its time to develop, but there is always something interesting to discover just around the corner, sort of like intellectual cliffhangers.
I like the overall clarity and smoothness of the prose; it moves quickly but still has time for detailed observations along the way. Descriptions paint strong and often beautiful images without being too flowery. The book of Atrus is held back not by what is on the page, but by what is left off; certain story developments are terribly rushed and need more time and depth to have the weight they should.
Most egregious are the ending chapters concerning Age Five and the character of Katran, both of whom are extremely important but receive the bare minimum of page time. And ironically, the prose, while mostly very nice, often lacks quite the precision we need to form the needed mental image.
But the story, ultimately, is very neat. I would like more of my questions answered, especially pertaining to the origins and nature of the Art, but there are two other books and a few games in which the concept is still to be explored. Even the climax itself is satisfying, but that it was rushed so badly.
Everything that is present in the story, I like a lot—it just needs further development. Myst: The book of Atrus is not as extraordinary as I had hoped, but it is still beautiful, inspiring, and satisfying. It has probably been fifteen years or more since I read this book, but your thoughts on it seem in tune with my lingering impression.
I read the series because I was a fan of the games, so I guess I had a little more of an edge going into it than you did, but the books developed the mythology of the games with far more depth and feeling than the games themselves. It certainly has interested me in the games themselves. I played the game when I was growing up and they were loads of fun!
I have never read the books however and I really think I should. Thanks for the review! The Art sounds like an idea anyone with a good imagination ought to explore. It sounds fascinating. I want to read this series for that reason alone. The very idea of Myst and The Art was inspired by C.
At least it was when I was fourteen, fourteen years ago. I have a copy of that and the third book now, and Lon forward to reading them. Did you ever play the games? I played the first two games.
I was an impatient and easily-distracted sort then, so I never finished the second one. You are commenting using your WordPress.
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Interview With David Wingrove (Part 2)
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. The volcano and Cleft. Like this: Like Loading That certainly makes sense with what I read. Thanks for the info. Very late to this party. What are your thoughts? Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email Address never made public. Post to Cancel.