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The Book of Atrus (Myst #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  4,774 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
Based on the best-selling CD-ROM game, a fantasy novel fills out the lives of the game's characters, tracing the strange apprenticeship of Atrus to his father, Gehn, who wields the power to create worlds.
Mass Market Paperback, 422 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 1995)
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Alexandra First of all, you can get a version of the game that will work on today's PCs very inexpensively at www.gog.com. It was $5 there when I bought mine.…moreFirst of all, you can get a version of the game that will work on today's PCs very inexpensively at www.gog.com. It was $5 there when I bought mine. There are also iPhone and iPad versions, and I'm pretty sure there's an Android version too.

To answer your question, the worlds described in the book are not present in the games, with the exception of the Cleft and the D'ni Cavern, and those places are not in Myst, but visited later in Uru.

The author of this book, Rand Miller, is the creator and writer of the Myst game, along with his brother Robyn.

I've read all these books and they are mainly backstory for the Myst franchise games. I enjoyed them, but think they wouldn't really stand up well as stories themselves for those unfamiliar with the games. These books fill in more story regarding Atrus, and the history of the D'ni for fans of the games.

There is www.mystonline.com but that is mainly about the multiplayer online Uru game, which comes after Myst, Riven, and the other Myst sequels.

If you can't tell, I'm a fan :D Feel free to message me if I can help further. I highly recommend the games for the story they tell. Particularly Myst, Riven and Uru.

If you'd like to enjoy the Myst story without having to play the game, you could watch "Let's Play" videos on YouTube and enjoy the game while someone else plays it for you. This is the guy I think does the best job: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhakW...(less)

Community Reviews

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Lily
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those curious about the geology of Mount Doom
3.5 stars, but I'm happy to round up for this obscure little book that's been mostly forgotten.



Readers and writers of sci-fi and fantasy will often mention "worldbuilding": the process of developing a world that is different from the one we live in. It's less common to see fictional characters grappling with those issues themselves, but that's exactly what this novel is about.

Atrus was raised by his grandmother, in an isolated dwelling in the desert. He spends his time studying the environment
...more
Kathryn
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love this book not only for the story behind it but for the splendid moral integrity of two of the characters. The book is essentially about Atrus--about what it means to grow up, to be a man, and to be a responsible and good person. One of my favorite passages (and quotes, really) is this poignant moment where Anna sends her grandson into the unknown with his unstable (and ultimately sociopathic) father:

"You must remember what you have learned here, Atrus. I have tried to teach you the mechan
...more
Taylor Kinnicutt
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Once again I find myself drawn to the series of Myst. Its lore, its wonder and the shear, mind bending thought of how someone thought of this in the first place. The book opens in the sandy deserts and the life of a young Atrus, still a boy and far from the happenings of the first Myst game. After a loving, peaceful life in the desert presided over by his grandmother, Anna, a strange figure appears at their quiet desert home. A tall, pale man who claims to be Atrus's father, Gehn. After 14 years ...more
Zack Jackson
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I think this is one of the most underrated science fiction books out there. The computer game that inspired the books was hugely successful, but the books never really caught on despite the deep characters and fascinating world. I go back to this book when I want to feel inspired by a world of limitless creativity and possibility.
Andrew
Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
1 book in myst series. awsome, awsome, awsome. i just checked it out from the onterio library because the cover looked good but wow did it ever turn out to be good. the imagination that went into this is simply amazing i recomend it to anybody!
Josh
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQKQv...

What sparks an interest in a book? It’s different for everyone. I love it when a story that begins one way morphs into something completely different and unexpected. This is not to say I like a story that’s unbelievable or has leaps in logic. No, I’m talking about characters who do something that make your eyes pop out of your head or the author that takes a hard right turn and destroys all your expectations, but in a good way.

Myst: The Book
...more
Juan Valera
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
There are fantasies that contain entire worlds; geography, character backgrounds, and invented language syntax are all accounted for and invented in regards to the story. All are meticulously crafted and engineered by Rand Miller. Myst is one such story; the sheer depth of the story and the characters is astonishing; this is a case of the iceberg principle where the vast majority of the interactions between the characters involve aspects of them that the reader doesn't even know. Miller has fles ...more
Kristen
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I feel like this book will only make sense to those that have played both the Myst and Riven computer games. If you liked the games, you'll love the books. If you've never played the games, you'll probably feel very under-whelmed.

Now after re-reading this I feel that I need to dig out my cd-rom of Myst. Some of the timelines don't seem to make sense in this trilogy, especially in relation to the plot of the videogames. (Wasn't the plot of Myst based on Atrus' two sons? And you play as Catherine
...more
Julie Marr
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2016
A bit slow, but picked up pace towards the end. I haven't actually played the game, and I'm sure I would have gotten a lot more out of it if I had. Wasn't sure I would persist with the other two in the series, but I think I'll give them a go.
Joe Donley
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I read this book as a kid and I barely remember the gist of the story. I'm glad I re-read it, because the story is great. The antagonist is delightfully bad and well crafted. Wonderful read. I will be reading the other books in the series soon.
Adam
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It really seems only fitting that a video game about books would have a series of books published in its name. For some reason when such books were first coming out I was sort of skeptical about their quality. I truly am glad I overcame this and decided to pick up the Myst books. I was an early enough adopter to be able to get all the hardcover texts and they are all beautifully designed. It's strange that a lot of books don't adopt this kind of method, because it really is eye catching and I'm ...more
Kathi
May 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I bought this book because I enjoyed the Myst computer game and thought it might be fun to read more about the world. Unfortunately, several years passed between playing the game and reading the book, so the connections are a bit fuzzy.

I enjoyed the book enough to want to play the game again, and to want to read the other books in the Myst series.

However, as a fantasy book on its own, there are too many unanswered questions and too many gaps in the story for it to really succeed.

I found Anna and
...more
Scott Pate
Sep 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading The Book of Atrus and am moving right along to the Book of Ti'ana. The Book of Atrus was a little slow moving, but I think that's what the entire world of Myst is: explore, experiment, discover. The book really on ever involved two characters at one time which I think contributed to the slowness: Atrus and Anna; Atrus and Ghen; Atrus and Catherine.

I love the world of Myst and so was determined to get through the book. I don't' think that people who are not familiar with Myst an
...more
Sierra Peterson
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this! It took a while to get going, but once it did, it was incredible! Atrus and his father are two of the last few D'Ni people. They have the ability to travel to other worlds as well as create them through writing books in an ancient language. But with the ability to create other worlds, they also have the ability destroy them. The world building in this book is absolutely astounding and really captures the imagination. Atrus grows throughout the story and really found myself rooting ...more
Noah
May 30, 2011 rated it liked it

I read this book as a kid and went back to see how it held up.

The first half was intriguing enough, especially if you're a fan of the games, but the last half felt very rushed. Nonetheless, it was fun reading the origin of Atrus as well as his relationship with Gehn.

If you're a Myst fan, I'd say it's worth it (and a very easy read). If not, you're not really missing out.
DNF with Jack Mack
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
The game looked cool so I grabbed this book from the free box. Well, you know how those free books can be: in need of an editor. Might be okay, but I wasn't willing to risk it. Looked like the work of an amateur.
Dina
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
Relectura perfecta. Sigue siendo tan original y diferente como la primera vez. El mundo q describen y los que creen son realmente impresionantes en cuanto a la narración y los personajes están muy bien traídos.
Distopía juvenil altamente recomendable que nadie lee (no sé por qué)
Joey
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
As exciting to read as it was to play.
Jenelle
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
my dad & I read this together and still quote it to each other. I suspect it's really as good as I remember.
David Elkins
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Love love love this story!
Angela
Rating: 4 1/2 stars (an extra half for the illustrations).
I'd never heard of this book or the game it ties into when it was recommended. I really liked the premise of the plot - that you can create real worlds by the stories you write.
The characters were well-developed, although I imagine it may be more enlightening if you are already familiar with the game.
For some reason, the detail about the blue flowers caught my attention and I've spent some time researching what they may be. Obviously, it'
...more
Drema Deoraich
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Anna is the only person young Atrus has ever known. His mother died in childbirth. His father, Gehn, abandoned Atrus immediately after, leaving him to his grandmother to raise or bury. Gehn didn’t really care which. Anna chooses the former, making a home with her grandson in a dormant volcano in the midst of the desert. Together they tease a garden from the reluctant earth, ration their precious water, and scavenge the surrounding area for anything they might sell to traders in exchange for salt ...more
Malcolm Little
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, sf-gems
I’ll admit, I was a big Myst fan in my teens and early twenties. The original was one of the first games I played on a Pentium PC, and I somehow managed to solve it on my own without the aid of the pitiful internet of the mid-90s. That said, I certainly understand that nostalgia might bias my view of Myst: The Book of Atrus. Quite frankly, whether that bias subconsciously improved my review of the novel or not, I don’t care. This was a tight, excellent read, and I wish I had read it before delvi ...more
Matt Matash
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I jumped on the Myst bandwagon a bit late. I played Myst, Riven, & Exile in 2012. I really enjoyed the style of the games and the characters, so I decided recently to give this book a read.
First off, before even getting into my thoughts on the book, the hardcover version of this book is beautiful! The cover looks like an old tome, the pages have a weathered look, and every so many pages we're shown a drawing Atrus made of his surroundings and inventions. It makes the plot so much more engr
...more
Devon H
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Date Completed: 12/23/2015

Rating: 6.5/10

I've had this book sitting on my book shelf and was in no rush to get around to it, but when I came home for break I was drawn to it. Maybe I thought it would be an easy read, maybe I wanted to laugh at how poorly written it was, but I was pleasantly surprised because this book was not poorly written at all. A sci-fi novel written as a prequel to the popular 90's Myst computer game, which I'm sure some of you have played (I played it with my parents), this
...more
Marty
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember playing the Myst games and feeling the thrill at how immersive the world was. It was so rich with history and detail. It isn't an exaggeration to say that the entire experience of the Myst world is lush. It was wonderfully fun. When I got the books, I had my hopes high it would be a similar enjoyment.

So after sitting them on the back of my to-read list for such a long time, I decided to make them a priority. I went in with the most positive outlook for all three books. I think they a
...more
Devin
Jun 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who played the Myst games; other than that, you may be a little lost
I actually feel torn about giving a star rating to Myst: The Book of Artus, not because I didn't enjoy it, but because I feel like it doesn't do justice to the book or to people looking to read it.

If you grew up in the 90s, there's a chance that you dappled around the CD-ROM game of Myst at least once. It was a groundbreaking game for PC gaming at the time, beautifully rendered, and, perhaps the biggest allure of all, no one knew what it was freakin' about. At the time I played I had no patienc
...more
Ryan Hopkins
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Book Of Atrus was a splendid mix of lore, adventure, character growth, and creativity. I was very surprised when I heard that this fantasy sci-fi novel was written based on an old series of video games that were very popular awhile back. I checked out the video games prior to finishing the book and fell in love with it. The book's characters don't play a role in the video game, but the world depicted in both book and game are both the same and beautiful.
I have read many fantasy and sci-fi b
...more
sarah
May 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Linking books, the Art of writing, creating Ages with only pen and paper. These comprise the labyrinthine world of Myst—a book undoubtedly compelling as its CD-ROM predecessor. Rand and Robyn Miller, whose genius and imagination brought the vivid world of Myst to life, have successfully written a complex yet beautiful prequel to their hit game series in the form of this relatively short book.

Myst describes the humble beginnings of the games’ protagonist Atrus and his journey to discovering all
...more
Toni Serrano Martínez
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Un libro orientado al público juvenil, pero que gustará a los más adultos, quienes quizá degusten mejor ciertas experiencias profundas que el libro nos plantea.
No es un libro de aventuras trepidantes, ni con mucha acción, pero derrocha imaginación en cada escenario y en sus personajes cuya madurez se nos irá narrando conforme avance el libro y los veamos enfrentarse a sus miedos y a su destino.
Es un libro de lenguaje sencillo, pero que conviene leer despacio para saborear sus matices, pues alber
...more
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Rand Miller (born January 17, 1959 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.) co-founded Cyan (now Cyan Worlds) with brother Robyn Miller and became famous from the unexpected success of their computer game Myst, which remained the number one-selling game for the remainder of the 1990s. Rand also worked on the game's sequel, Riven, and later Myst III: Exile, Myst IV: Revelation, Myst V: End of Ages, rea ...more
More about Rand Miller

Other Books in the Series

Myst (4 books)
  • The Book of Ti'ana (Myst, #2)
  • The Book of D'ni (Myst, #3)
  • The Book of Marrim (Myst, #4)

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“If you act for self-gain then no good can come of it. If you act selflessly, then you act well for all and you must not be afraid.” 8 likes
“Catherine smiled then; opening the Linking Book, she placed her hand against it. "We could fall into the night and be cradled by stars and still return to the place where we began…"

The last word was an echo as she vanished.”
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