Myst: The Book of Atrus

Rand and Robyn Miller with David Wingrove.

Hyperion. $22.95
(paper $5.99)

In the cabin of a sunken ship sits an empty table. You touch the table and a book -- the book of Myst -- appears, seemingly pulled from the table itself . . . .

Myst: The Book of Atrus is not a novelization of the popular computer game and will give away no hints or secrets. Instead, it is a history, a "prequel," of what comes before: the story of Atrus as he learns to make miniature worlds like Myst Island and its four ages. The novel ends with the very words that open the game.

Physically, the book is beautiful. The cover looks like scarred, embossed leather, and inside the pages are delicately stained. Sketches, like the ones from Atrus' library, are scattered throughout. If looks were all, this might be the book of Myst itself.

Although the world is richly conceived, the story is disappointingly weak. The beginning, dealing with Atrus' early life and education, is slow but starts to pick up after his father Ghen appears. The second half is much more engaging, with conflicts between father and son, world threatening disasters, romance, and the details that begin to explain, in a way, the world of Myst.

To its credit, the novel Myst does not rely heavily on the game. But without a strong plot, the book's best feature is the way it complements the game, answering questions and expanding the world of Myst even further. As the Millers say in the introduction,

"We hope it answers many questions and raises a few more."


This review originally appeared in the December 3, 1995 edition of The Roanoke Times.


More about the world of Myst:

Myst: The Book of Ti'ana. By Rand Miller with David Wingrove. Hyperion, 1996
Myst: The Book of D'Ni. By Rand Miller with David Wingrove. Hyperion, 1997

Myst web site

This review copyright 1995 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated March 22, 1998

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