Homerooms and Hall Passes
October 08, 2019
In the mystical realm of Bríandalör, every day the brave and the bold delve into hidden temples or forgotten dungeons, battling vile monsters and evil wizards to loot their treasure hoards for sweet, sweet magic items.
But in their free time, our heroes—Thromdurr the mighty barbarian, Devis the shifty thief, Vela the noble paladin, Sorrowshade the Gloom Elf assassin, and Albiorix the (good!) wizard—need to relax and unwind.
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This made me laugh and laugh and laugh, and I really needed that after the summer of Serious Middle Grade Books with Serious but Trendy Problems. Oh, my... Thromdurr! Loved him SO MUCH! And when I say laugh, I mean snorted unbecomingly. Again and again. I have a small group of students who believe in their heart of hearts that I will be able to teach them to play Dungeons and Dragons, which is super sweet but not going to happen because it involves, as Albiorix knows, a huge background knowledge of the game, which I will never possess, and those students each need their own personal copy of this book! There is a deep understanding of middle school students and how they operate, and the group from Bríandalör is hysterical when they turn those expectations on their ears! Of COURSE Devis puts mustard on pizza. I'm just surprised he didn't suck the mustard packets.
The middle school setting is very realistic; as I was reading it, I was taken directly back to my own middle school; I could see exactly where they would store their weapons in the auditorium! The families with which the members lived were sketched briefly but convincingly as well. We get a brief glance of Briandalor, and I would not be averse to a sequel that was set mainly in that world.
This was hysterically funny, and my young D&D fans practically came to blows over the Advanced Reader Copy. If you have a young gamer who is in middle school, just trust me and buy it. Denis Markell's The Game Masters of Garden Place, Anderson's Dungeoneers, and Rylander's The Legend of Greg are somewhat similar.
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