Have You Read “Dungeon Crawler Carl”? (My Thoughts)

Recently a friend recommended the book “Dungeon Crawler Carl” to me. I didn’t know what to expect (other than perhaps a humorous take on dungeon crawl games as a novel), and I ended up being pleasantly surprised.

I quickly understood why the book was recommended to me: One of the main characters is a cat. A talking cat, at that. She’s delightful.

The hook of the book is that aliens arrive on Earth, flatten every building and everyone inside every building, and host an intergalactically televisions dungeon crawl game underground for the 10 million or so surviving humans. They populate the dungeon with a variety of Tolkien-style fantasy creatures, along with an increasingly weird enemies inspired by Earth mythology combined with various alien species.

As predicted, the book has an interesting sense of humor (often via over-the-top descriptions of items and creatures). I like that it makes sense of D&D-style leveling up, something I haven’t seen in my limited exposure to other LitRPG novels–it’s explained here because everyone participating in the game is providing entertainment to the universe.

The books continue in an ongoing series, and I’ve heard that the game expands and the books improve deeper in the series. So far, the main hook for me are the meta-level questions Carl asks the further he gets in the dungeon: How do these creatures feel about being in this dungeon? Who is watching the game? Who is manipulating the game? I really like those elements, and I’ll read at least one more of the book to see if they continue.

Have you read Dungeon Crawler Carl? What did you think?

4 thoughts on “Have You Read “Dungeon Crawler Carl”? (My Thoughts)”

  1. I just finished this audiobook a few days ago! It was an excellent audiobook performance and I had so much fun with the story, as I just started playing D&d myself at age 47. I look forward to the next books in the series. The cat is awesome 😄

    • I love this series! I was looking for an audiobook for my husband and I to listen to on a road trip a couple of years ago, and I chose Project Hail Mary. He loved it so much that I was eager to pick another winner the next time. I did some research and kept seeing recommendations for this series, so I decided to give it a try.

      We were both instantly hooked. The narrator, Jeff Hayes, might be one of the most talented narrators I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard a lot!). He brings such a unique voice to every character and his range is incredible. We listened to 2.5 of the books on our various road trips last year and I got him hard copies of every book for Christmas. He tore through them and is eagerly awaiting the next book in the series!


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