Critical Failures: Caverns and Creatures is a fun, fast-paced read that had me smiling at the characters and their actions throughout the novel.
The concept of gamers being transported into the role playing game they're involved in isn’t new. The Dungeons and Dragons cartoon from the early 1980s and the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg are prime examples. So, while Critical Failures is a fantasy novel, its real value/target audience is readers who’ve played role playing games or at least have some knowledge of them, and Robert Bevan’s novel is a solid addition to this particular fantasy sub-genre.
The characters and their interaction are this novel’s strong points, although if you’re a reader who doesn’t care for foul language in dialogue, then it might not be for you (see the novel's subtitle in the cover image to the right). It annoyed me at times , however, the language is in line with the characters and their actions.
I would have preferred more description of setting and situations. A line here or there would have helped me orient and understand the setting and action as I read, and at the beginning I had difficulty keeping characters straight, especially before they became integrated into the fantasy adventure world as their RPG characters.
I enjoyed the humorous references to the game and mechanics as it affected the characters as well as the characters’ various struggles to survive while helping their cohorts along.
The ending was interesting and well-set up (translate good foreshadowing), and I’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least one more novel in the potential series.