Syp’s out of town this week and has turned the keys to Bio Break over to fellow bloggers. Today’s post is from Kevin of Sporadic Reviews.
Since the fine crew at ArenaNet finally announced the release date of Guild Wars 2 (one day after my birthday!), let’s revisit a couple of teases they gave the fans while we waited for-freaking-ever. These particular teases came in the form of novels based on the game world of Guild Wars 2.
Guild Wars 2: Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb, came out in 2010 and was the very first novel set in the Guild Wars multi-player game universe. It takes place more than 200 years after the original Guild Wars storyline, and shortly before the storyline of the finally soon-to-be released Guild Wars 2 MMORPG.
In it, Dougal Keane lives a threadbare existence selling his services as a guide and trap springer. After a brutal treasure hunt, an old friend springs him from jail demanding his services as a guide back to the one place he never wants to return: Ascalon City, the site of the infamous last battle between King Adelbern and the invading race known as charr. Keane was the only survivor of his last trip there. His mission this time will be to retrieve a sacred charr relic in an effort to foster a truce between the humans of Kryta and the charr.
If you’re not familiar with the Guild Wars story (of either game), this novel is still a fun fantasy adventure and easy to follow. If you are familiar with the Guild Wars games, Ghosts of Ascalon is an exciting romp through some familiar territory and some new places from the upcoming game. We meet new characters of all the major races, and old friends from the originally game are mentioned anecdotally. We learn the history of the world of Kryta since we last visited it: the rise of the elder dragons and their devastation of the world, the queen of Kryta and her relationship with the rest of the world, the birth of the sylvari race and some of their traits, and the struggling relationship between the major races: human, norn, sylvari, charr, and asura.
Then in 2011, we got another Guild Wars novel. Guild Wars: Edge of Destiny by J. Robert King. It takes place before the first book in the series, but as the novels feature different characters, and their stories aren’t related, that’s okay. And getting to read about this particular group makes it even more special.
The group in question is Destiny’s Edge, and this is a fun book that introduces us to them and and sets up the world of Guild Wars 2 for the game. The main characters meet through a series of misfortunes and form Destiny’s Edge, a group of heroes comprised of all the major races of Tyria: The human Logan, the charr Rytlock, the norn Eir and her dire wolf pet, the sylvari Caithe, and the two asura – Snaff and Zojja – and their golems (which are kind of like magical mecha or battle bots). We see how Destiny’s Edge forms, how they become famous heroes, and we see what sadly breaks them up and sends them each their own way… waiting for a new hero to bring them back together to defeat the Elder Dragons.
Edge of Destiny is a series of missions, each leading to a boss fight, with a massive end-game battle on two fronts – and while I use game-play terms to describe it, it’s not at all “just a game book”. The reasons for each battle make sense in context, it’s not just a raid to get loot. The characters aren’t, for the most part, doing it just to become well-known – they’re fighting because they want to save their world from the Elder Dragons. Becoming famous, earning your freedom, and showing up your brother in front of the queen is just a bonus.
There are some laugh-out-loud moments, and the relationships that form between the characters are moving and fun to watch. Seeing them fall apart is truly heart-breaking.
Fans of Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 should read these. Fans of fantasy in-general or game tie-ins should find them a welcome addition to their reading list.
These aren’t great, epic tomes of literature. In fact, they often feel like novelizations of actual game-play. The fun thing about them, is that they’re set in Tyria. And as a fan of Guild Wars, that’s enough for me.
These reviews originally appeared separately at SporadicReviews.com.