It must be December because the WordPress snow is back (I love it when it snows on my blog 🙂 )! With Thanksgiving over, it’s time to think about the holidays. I have an awesome series to tell you about today that would make a great gift for the kids on your holiday list! What is even better, the series was penned by a kid who was just 16 at the time he wrote the first book!
The Elementia Chronicles: Quest For Justice [Book 1]
An Unofficial Minecraft-Fan Adventure
Written by Sean Fay Wolfe
512 pages – ages 8+
Published by HarperCollins on July 30th, 2015
Synopsis- From GoodReads: “Dark forces are at work on the Elementia server, and when new players Stan, Kat, and Charlie arrive on the scene, they quickly find themselves in peril. Targeted by more experienced players, the noobs must band together against the king, battle the natural forces of the game, and unravel the mysteries of Elementia in the name of justice.“
The Elementia Chronicles: The New Order [Book 2] An Unofficial Minecraft-Fan Adventure
Written by Sean Fay Wolfe
400 pages – ages 8+
Published by HarperCollins on November 5th, 2015
Synopsis- From GoodReads: “President Stan has led his people through an epic battle and brought peace to the Republic of Elementia. But dissent is rippling through the countryside. King Kev’s loyal followers are still at large and a new organization, the Noctem Alliance, is poised to strike terror throughout the land. With new threats on the horizon, and citizens of the Republic dividing between two loyalties, Stan must stop the Noctem Alliance before it destroys them all.“
What I Thought About the Series- A unique book series, The Elementia Chronicles makes a nice bridge between the popular videogame “Minecraft” and reading. It’s perfect for reluctant readers – Minecraft is the big videogame trend right now and a book tie-in is an awesome idea. The strength of these novels isn’t in the subject matter but the masterful writing and intriguing plot. It’s a great series for kids (and adults) wanting to read a good story. Sean has a distinct writing style, and makes you feel like you are there with the characters. I, myself, am not a big Minecraft player, and was a bit hesitant when asked if I wanted to review the first book. After reading the first, I quickly got my hands on the second – the story captured me. Wolfe wrote the books so that even if you have never played Minecraft, you wouldn’t be “lost” in the story. Also, the plot flows seamlessly from book one to book two in the series. The second book was not a disappointment. Wolfe kept the same enthusiastic writing style as I enjoyed in the first. He incorporates sub-plots that keep you involved, and twists and turns to keep you guessing. It’s a nice series, and I recommend it heartily.
I give this series five out of five bookworms!
Book #3 is coming out soon in January! It’s already on my TBR list.
About the Author:
Sean Fay Wolfe was sixteen when he wrote the first book in the series. Here is his official bio from his website:
Hi, I’m Sean Fay Wolfe, the author of the Elementia Chronicles and the head of my company Diamond Axe Studios. I recently graduated high school, and have just started college at the University of Rhode Island (USA).
I love story telling and have been writing most of my life. The three books of The Elementia Chronicles are my first published books. I have several other action-adventure books in the works and am anxious to share them!
I am also an avid gamer. It was my love of the Minecraft game and the platform that it provides for endless creativity that inspired me to create the tale that I tell in the Elementia Chronicles. The story stays true to the game while being packed with action and adventure. I was inspired by some of my favorite books, such as “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games”, as well as my favorite animated TV series “Avatar The Last Airbender” and it’s sequel “The Legend of Korra.”
In addition to playing games, I love to create them. I taught myself to program in the Scratch online programming environment when I was 13. The link to my Diamond Axe Studios page has some of my games including fan games of Fruit Ninja and Super Mario Elements, and original games such as From the Ground Up and Ninth Force. They are free and play right in your browser!
When I’m not going to school, writing, and/or programming, I have various other interests. I am an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America where I enjoy camping and High Adventure trips; I am an accomplished martial artist and musician; and like spending time with my family.
Now onto the interview!
Erik- When you had the concept of the book in your head, did you imagine it as a Minecraft story or did it develop into one?
Shawn- The concept of the Elementia Chronicles started as a Minecraft story, and it never strayed from that. The idea developed from my experience playing on online Minecraft servers. While the story is fictional, many characters are based on archetypes of those I experienced while playing on multiplayer servers (griefers, old and new players, redstone experts, etc). Similarly, the events are based on real types of events that happened to me while playing, specifically the discrimination against new players. One of my biggest inspirations wasMinecraft: The Noob Adventures, a web show about three new players who fight against a King on an abandoned server. While I loved the series, I thought about how the story would have played out if the server wasn’t abandoned, and if a server of thousands of players was divided between support of the newer and older players. These elements are where the basic ideas of Quest for Justice came from. As I wrote the first book, I started to realize that there was more than a single book’s worth of story that I could tell with these characters in this setting, so I decided to modify the story and expand it into a trilogy.
Erik- While I was reading your book, I enjoyed how it brought the Minecraft level down to a beginner experience to make it enjoyable to even those who aren’t into the game. Was it hard to “dumb down” playing Minecraft?
Shawn- I don’t think that “dumbing it down” is the proper term to use. Instead, I took inspiration from one of my favorite book series of all time,Harry Potter. In that series, the reader isn’t just dropped into a fantastic world of magic and fantasy where they’re surrounded by people who know what’s going on. Instead, the reader follows Harry, who is also new to the world, and needs things explained to him because he knows just as much about this magic world as the reader does. I tried to do something similar with Stan. I didn’t want to assume any knowledge of Minecraft on the part of the reader, as I wanted the book to have the broadest appeal possible. Instead, by having the story follow Stan, a new player, he can learn any information about Minecraft needed for the story along with the reader. This works as not only a way of introducing newcomers to the world of Minecraft, but also as an amusing tail of a noob learning how to play if you do know what’s going to happen.
Erik- I notice in your book it mentions another server, and even other places (mainly; Earth (the real world)). Why did you decide to write a book that mentions these, but places Elementia, the server, as the “real” world?
Shawn- The reason that I reference the real world, as well as other Minecraft servers, is because Elementia is just a Minecraft server, and isn’t supposed to be the real world. This is a stylistic choice that I borrowed from Minecraft: The Noob Adventures. In that series, as well as mine, the characters are aware that they’re playing a video game, but they’re so immersed in playing the game that it feels like real life to them, i.e. if somebody is killed and banned from the server, they treat it like a real death. In essence, the characters are so into the game that Elementia feels real to them, even though they’re aware that other Minecraft servers, as well as the real world, exist. In The New Order and Herobrine’s Message, these ideas are explored further, as certain characters start to work beyond the server of Elementia itself to try and solve their problems.
Erik- I’ve played Minecraft but I am not immersed in it like some of my friends. When I got your book to review, I was a bit hesitant because I figured it was going to be a story for fans. I was really wrong. The story was engaging and very interesting. Did you keep non-fans in mind when writing the book? Did you have some non-fan help (like beta readers) to make sure everyone enjoys the story?
Shawn- I did try to keep non-Minecraft-fans in mind while I was writing the book. I wanted The Elementia Chronicles to be a story set in Minecraft, and not a Minecraft story. What I mean by that is that I tried to use Minecraft as simply a setting to tell an interesting story, rather than having the fact that the book takes place in Minecraft as a gimmick which is the only reason that you would want to read the story. I did want the book series to stay true to Minecraft, because it’s a game that I love so much, and I wanted to do it justice, only using creative license where necessary to make the story more engaging (i.e. making fighting more complex, making the villagers talk, etc). However, I wanted the main draw of the Elementia Chronicles to be that it is an interesting story, rather than having the Minecraft setting be the main draw. One of the first people to read the book was my mother, who still hasn’t played Minecraft to this day. She told me that she was able to totally understand what was going on in the story, and urged me to keep writing because she wanted to know what would happen next. This reaction, along with similar reactions from other beta readers of varying degrees of familiarity with Minecraft, is what encouraged me to publish the book in the first place.
Erik- What advice would you give to other aspiring kid authors?
Shawn- My advice to other young authors would be to not be afraid to put your work out there. With the rise of the internet and social media, it’s become easier than ever not only to publish your work, but to get it noticed. You can do what I did, and self-publish your book at first, or you can share it to story-sharing or fan-fiction websites, whatever is appropriate. You’ll find that, in a lot of cases, your friends, family and teachers will want to help you, giving you feedback and criticisms that you can use to improve yourself. If you have an idea for a story and are willing to put the work in, you’ll find that it’s becoming easier and easier to share your ideas with the world.
Want to learn more??
Visit Sean on Facebook HERE
His official website HERE – on his website there are some great educator resources to incorporate Minecraft into the classroom!