Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress

I would like to think that I was the target audience when Shelly Mazzanoble sat down to write Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: A Girl's Guide to the Dungeons and Dragons Game. Being so into video games and trading cards, I've always been told that D&D would be something I'd probably like as well, but with all of the stereotypes out there about the game's complexity and the people who play it, it's been easy to look the other way. That is, until now.

Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress does a superb job of breaking down every mental wall I may have had in place against Dungeons & Dragons. Granted, I always knew that the game wasn't reserved solely for pasty-faced 15-year-old boys who hide out in their parents' basements, but that's beside the point. After years of hearing about D&D and it's all-too-complex requirements, I was very happy to learn that the basics aren't that involved at all, and that anyone, as Mazzanoble says, even half-drunk girly-girls, can jump right into a game and have some fun.

By using tons of imagery and simple language, Mazzanoble makes the book accessible to anyone, no matter how much prior experience they may have had with the game. The use of imagery also makes the book an absolute blast to read, so much so that I had a very hard time putting it down.

In fact, once I picked it up, I didn't stop until the book did, which is actually a pretty big statement, since I normally despise reading anything with more than 20 pages.

Since the book is technically a guide, of course you can expect to find explanations concerning character development along with an overview of the game's rules.

However, instead of being bogged down in minute details, Mazzanoble makes a point of making each category relatable to the public, for instance, by comparing each alignment (chaotic good, neutral, etc.) with a category of Hollywood celebrity.

After separating the classes, races, etc., the author goes onto the bulk of the book, which contains stories from her first D&D play sessions, as she brought her 134-year-old Elf Sorceress Astrid into the world. These stories are filled with some of the most entertaining scenarios I have ever read about in terms of gaming. She tells us of her relentless love of shopping, and integrating things like Nordstrom's and the Cheesecake Factory into the Middle Ages, and how she has created sound effects for each of her elf's spells. On more than one occasion, I was in tears with laughter, as reading about these events was more like reading someone's blog rather than an in-depth handbook.

However, this isn't to say that the book is without details. I have learned more about D&D in the few hours that it took me to read Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress than I ever expected I would. It's this combination of rules, guides, and explanations with the hilarious true stories that make the book so darn fun to read. It's also what places this book at the very top of my list of current book recommendations.

No longer am I fearful of picking up a 20-sided die, and I actually find myself energetic about finding a group to play with. To any woman out there who has a boyfriend or son who plays D&D, or for any woman who just wants to know what the big hubbub is about, this is the perfect place to start.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a character to create...