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Shelly Mazzanoble – Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress

July 26, 2010

82. Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: A Girl’s Guide to the Dungeons & Dragons Game by Shelly Mazzanoble (2007)

Length: 182 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor

Started: 12 July 2010
Finished: 13 July 2010

Where did it come from? Handed to me by one of my friends who is constantly telling me how much I’d enjoy gaming. (Hi John!)
Why do I have it? See above.

How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 01 April 2010. (Actually somewhat before that, but April was when I realized that he was giving me the book rather than loaning me the book, and thus when it “officially” joined the pile.)

I’m not a gamer,
but if I were, I’d be a
sweet half-elf ranger.

Summary: Shelly Mazzanoble’s only knowledge of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons were the pervasive stereotypes: D&D is only played by overweight, pimply, Cheeto-dust-encrusted adolescent boys that live in their mother’s basements. So imagine her surprise when she was invited to play by a co-worker… and her shock when she found herself enjoying it. In this book, Shelly relives her fledgling days as a gamer as a means of introducing newcomers to the basics of D&D: everything from creating a character, supplying your character with weapons and magic, going on adventures, and engaging in battles with the baddies.

Review: I am, without question, a nerd. (Or a geek; I’m not going to argue the distinction here.) I like nerdy things. I hang out with other nerdy people, and we spend our time doing nerdy things and making nerdy jokes. However, one of the gaping holes in my nerd-dom is role-playing games. I have been aware of their existence at least since high school, but never in all of that time have I gotten into an RPG… nor have I even been tempted to do so, despite the fact that many of my friends are avid gamers. And, while Mazzanoble’s book didn’t immediately make me run out to buy my own set of dice, I am now at least entertaining the notion of joining a game.

Which is pretty impressive, given that I’m about as far from the target audience of this book as I think you can be and still have two X chromosomes. While I am without question a nerd, I am also without question NOT a girly-girl. I dislike shopping (unless it’s for books), my daily makeup routine consists of Chapstick, and I wouldn’t be able to identify a pair of Jimmy Choos if one of them kicked me in the face. So, all of Mazzanoble’s efforts to convince girly-girls that D&D is really all about teamwork and gossip and shopping was wasted effort, and a lot of her jokes really fell flat with me. (Also, her character Astrid struck me as kind of obnoxious, and I’m a little surprised only one of her fellow players was tempted to abandon her in a dungeon somewhere.)

On the other hand, the descriptions of her gaming group’s sessions seemed like a lot of fun, and something I could see myself participating in. Since I’ve never actually played, I can’t say how effective or complete it is as a guide to D&D, but now I at least have a basic sense of the way the game is structured and played. All in all, it was a quick and light read, and funny when it wasn’t trying too hard. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I think I would recommend this most for experienced gamers… to give to women they want to introduce to gaming.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Experiments in Reading
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: Let me just lay it out here: I am a girly girl.

© 2010 Fyrefly’s Book Blog. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Fyrefly’s Book Blog, be aware that this post has been stolen and is being used without permission.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2010 7:33 am

    I’d probably like gaming if I tried it but I never have.

    • August 3, 2010 9:27 am

      Ladytink – I bet you could find a gaming group in your area that would be willing to take on another member.

  2. July 26, 2010 8:03 am

    I’ve tried Dungeons & Dragons with some friends, but our DM is disorganized, so I’m going to try and join my school’s gaming club and see if those girls do it better. I can’t take sitting down for six hours at a time, I have to say. It’s fun, but all the math involved reminds me why we invented computing- so I could play Torchlight and fight baddies without a group!

    (Although it’s super-true that most MMORPGs boil down to shopping, making sure your armor matches, and trying to find some freaking pants for your female character. Ahem.)

  3. July 26, 2010 8:37 am

    I’m not part of the target audience either. I love the title and the cover, but don’t think the book is for me. I doubt many people my age play D & D!

    • August 3, 2010 9:29 am

      bermudaonion – I bet there are plenty of people your age who play. I know several of my favorite authors have talked about playing at one point or another.

  4. July 26, 2010 9:55 am

    Hi Fyrefly,
    Thank you so much for you review. I appreciate you taking the time to reading “Confessions.” How you ended up with it is all to familiar. We probably should have published it with gift tags. I hope someday your buddy can convince you to try D&D out. And for the record, yes, Astrid was kind of annoying. I know that now. But it wasn’t her– it was me. She wasn’t even that good of a sorceress because I was too scared to let her get into battle. I’m much more relaxed now. I think you’d like my tiefling wizard Tabitha much better. She could care less what shoes she wears (although she does wear armor made out of candy wrappers– again, my fault.)

    Bermudaonion, I have no idea how old you are but you look pretty young to me. People of all ages play D&D! My mom played and loved it because she wanted to roleplay a 6 foot blonde (but then she picked a dwarf fighter for some reason.)

    Literary Omnivore, it is all about finding the right group. And you don’t need 6 hours. You can play a single encounter in just one hour and that’s all some people need.

    Ladytink, give it a try!

    Thanks again!

    • August 3, 2010 9:31 am

      Shelly – Thanks so much for stopping by! And now you’ve got me wondering about the relative weapon and magic-repelling powers of various brands of candy wrappers. I would think Reese’s cups would be pretty good…

  5. July 26, 2010 5:45 pm

    I love your recommendation. I’ve never played D&D, but I’m not against the idea. I’m something of a geek myself.

    • August 3, 2010 9:33 am

      Trisha – Clearly we need to meet up and have a geeky book blogger (is that redundant?) gaming group! We can make Trish DM, since she’s already played. :)

  6. July 26, 2010 6:07 pm

    To introduce me to gaming (which I will never ever ever start doing because I already have plenty of things vying for the role of Thing That Takes Over My Life, like food and books and writing and trashy TLC reality shows), I would show me The Guild. Have you seen it? It’s this charming little webseries that Felicia Day (from Dr. Horrible) writes, because she is an ardent gamer herself.

    • August 3, 2010 9:35 am

      Jenny – Netflix keeps recommending me The Guild, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I didn’t realize that it was about gaming, though.

      which I will never ever ever start doing because I already have plenty of things vying for the role of Thing That Takes Over My Life, like food and books and writing and trashy TLC reality shows

      This pretty much sums up why I don’t have a twitter.

  7. July 29, 2010 12:38 am

    Interesting. I’ve had this book on my wishlist for a while, but I already play D&D, so I’m curious as to what I’d think of it. I seem to have had an impression of the book that isn’t accurate, after reading your review. The author seems quite nice, though, which makes me want to pick up the book. :)

    • August 3, 2010 9:36 am

      trish – I’d definitely be interested to see what you think of it as an experienced gamer, vs. my impressions as a complete and total newbie.

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