Tags: Books, fantasy, Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
So I read for about 4 or 5 hours yesterday and only got about 167 pages in. Whether or not I finish the book today I probably won’t do a live blog part 3.
Certainly plenty of interesting things in the live blog yesterday, but I don’t know if I’m attached to any of the characters but Macha who I think is being a bit too nice.
Anyway, on with the show.
4:00 – Isaye and Cobiah sure get chummy fast.
4:04 – Would also like to know where Port Noble is.
4:08 – Now predicting people requesting ackle-denth be added to Guild Wars 2 in some way.
4:13 – Surprised we haven’t heard more about Baede.
4:17 – The wreckage of the ring of fire islands? Why would there be wreckage, or am I overthinking that?
4:28 – Feels like they forgot about the capricorn real fast after that zombie attack.
4:32 – Verahd is a big shout out to the original Guild Wars I feel. What with the tattoos and sigils and what not.
4:40 – Finally, some norn. What took so long.
4:45 – Really liking the introduction of the guardian here. Kind of annoying that Macha is the only one that knows anything of any importance. Oh there’s a new type of magic? Macha knows. Oh there’s a secret transport of gold going on? Macha knows. There’s a way to determine lattitude? Macha knows.
4:52 – Ah Captain Moran, of Moran Memorial fame I presume.
4:52 – Which brings up a thought, are any of the names of these characters on the Moran Memorial?
5:01 – How does one make the sign of dwayna in the air. Should be an emote.
5:02 – Their sacrifice will be remembered in the halls of the Zaishen? That’s a thing apparently. I mean the Zaishen still exist, there are even some Zaishen NPCs in LA but I think the lore needs to be fleshed out around them more.
5:07 – Cobiah has raided the xunlai warehouses on Lake Bounty. Nie job. Wish I knew where any of this stuff was. edit: Genderren Fields.
5:22 – So the Harbinger doesn’t seem completely destroyed yet, I guess that explains why it’s sunk far closer to Malchor’s. Was beginning to wonder.
5:26 – You’d think someone would mention to the norn, members of the Priory researching the undead, something about Cobiah being there when Orr rose. Just saying. SoS is full of convenient silences and miraculous coincidences.
5:30 – Or maybe they did sink Harbinger? I guess I didn’t read closely enough.
5:35 – So Lion’s Arch is built on King Baede’s stolen gold.
5:43 – Interesting having 7 years pass and the town is essentially built, hearing about their problems.
5:45 – Recognized the name Brother Bilshan immediately, he’s in GW1. Can’t be accurate though, that would make him extremely old.
6:02 – I’ve been reading about the internal politics of Lion’s Arch. It has not been completely uninteresting, but there is little to comment on.
6:09 – One of my favourite insults is mouth-breather.
6:21 – Yomm gets a lot of focus here. Yomm’s Merchantile is a point of interest in LA.
6:29 – Cobiah is kind of a dirtbag at times. Pirates.
6:37 – Kind of picturing Verahd using the elementalist tornado skill.
6:40 – The gw2 wiki reminds me why the name blipp sounds familiar.
6:45 – Too many repeated asura names. First blipp, now flax.
6:49 – This isn’t really a criticism, but sometimes I just get a little tired of the unrelenting references to charr viciousness. Of course the charr’s ship name is Brutality.
6:57 – If mesmers can pull off this many illusions it makes me wonder why they don’t have as many stealth skills as thieves.
7:00 – Sonic screwdriver.
7:06 – I didn’t think Grimjaw was a genius or anything but attack Orr? For what purpose? I don’t get it.
7:26 – A fairly compelling, intrigue laden, run of pages. I like how the clues are there for anyone to find them.
7:34 – Cobiah bites charr ears! I was actually waiting for that.
7:41 – Hey everybody! Guess what? I found the bomb!
7:56 – A ranger pricess trained by the Tyrian Explorer’s Society. Glad to see that organization has slightly more to do than stalk me and send me letters.
8:00 – Good to see several mentions of attempts at peace by charr/humans only for those attempts to be squashed in some way. Builds up Ghosts of Ascalon.
8:11 – Always glad to read more about the lineage and get into who these people were. Edair sounds like quite the villain.
Okay I think that’s enough for today, if I choose to make more notes, I’ll add them to the bottom of this post. Thanks for reading.
Tags: Books, fantasy, Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
Oh for I have heard the clamouring masses. The outcries and pleas for a live blogging of Sea of Sorrows, the 3rd novel in the Guild Wars novel trilogy. And behold! I have come.
Yeah. Nobody is looking for me to do this.
It has been a long wait. Ghosts of Ascalon (which I reviewed here, and live blogged here and here) was released in the summer of 2010, 3 years ago. Edge of Destiny (which I reviewed here, and live blogged here and here) was released a mere 6 months later. We’ve had a bit of Guild Wars 2 lore here and there, what with the release of the game, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been waiting for this for a long time.
GoA was definitely my favourite of the previous two books. The characters were complex, Dougal Keane was actually somewhat of an anti-hero. Edge of Destiny was action packed but lacking in character development. Certainly I didn’t feel the climactic sequence was justified by the characterization.
So Ree Soesbee, Arenanet employee, and fairly well known fantasy writer has her work cut out for her.
A word on what to expect. I obviously won’t finish the book in one sitting, and I typically update every 5 or so minutes with thoughts. I’m on Atlantic Standard Time, 1 hour ahead of EST. Also, you should expect spoilers.
Time to Begin.
Pre notes – Looking through the preview page I begin to have a feeling I’m going to be looking up sailing terminology. Just what is a gunwale? The top edge of a side of a boat folks.
Pre notes – I can’t swim.
Pre notes – A quick look through the timeline to remind me of the era. The book supposedly takes place around the rising of orr, that’s about 1219 AE, Eir forms Destiny’s Edge in 1319, Guild Wars 2 starts 5 years after that. Cool.
4:00pm AST – I guess we’re starting with a little poem, oh wait, a sea shanty.
4:04 – Ah the introduction of the main character, important. Thorough here except that he’s still in adolescence. Suggesting of a years long story, or maybe just a brief visit to his childhood.
4:10 – Well I guess this is where that Polla doll comes in.
4:12 – I don’t think I’ve heard much of the royal descendants aside from Jennah. This era has a king.
4:14 – I’m really hoping that there isn’t some new call for a mermaid race.
4:19 – Gee I wonder if I’m not meant to like the mother.
4:26 – Well that was sad.
4:30 – Still weirds me out to read references to game terminology in a book. Call outs to dwayna or grenth for instance.
4:39 – Ah so they are going to Kaineng. Was wondering what was taking so long to get around to what port they were headed to. Still I would have preferred a port that added to lore instead of some place Guild Wars players have been to a million times.
4:43 – Not that I’m under the impression they’ll actually get there.
4:48 – As a reader I prefer less predictable interactions amongst characters. Some of these situations are a little cliche, but there is still plenty more book, hopefully I’m proven wrong.
4:51 – At least it’s written well. And I do love the idioms in the GW2 novels. By bear’s butt and I swear by Grenth’s knucklebones.
5:00 – You know, big teeth, claws, four ears, fuzzy killing machine.
5:03 – Wait, which war was Cobiah’s father in?
5:14 – So they get to Kaineng and there are only vague descriptions sigh. Now they’re headed to Orr, which will probably lead to the preview page. Maybe I shouldn’t have read it.
5:17 – Great description of looking over the rooftops of Orrian buildings while sailing along. Great to see the book touching on Malchor as well.
5:26 – Months of open ocean to cross to Cantha. Good idea of distance there I guess.
5:29 – Constellation names. The Vizier’s Tower, and Grenth’s Eye has 4 spokes. Reminds me of the telescope in the Jotun Arah path.
5:32 – I may have taken a brief moment to watch a video of a bulldog scared of its own farts.
5:34 – Lots of interesting astronomy tidbits. Dwayna’s Heart seems to be Tyria’s version of the Morning/Evening star. Which is actually Venus to us… a planet in the Tyrian universe?
5:52 – Never felt like I got a good image of the sea monster. Wondering if the battle with it is what awakened Zhaitan. Great imagery of the rise of Orr.
6:00 – Engineer, birth of a profession.
6:05 – Lots of me wondering just how this relationship is going to work out. Charr are still ostensibly at war with humans, or may as well be. At least they’re eating fish and not humans? And why on earth would the charr have a navy?
6:09 – Okay well that paragraph answered those questions.
6:10 – I’ve heard Port Stalwart mentioned before, not sure where.
6:14 – Over a hundred years is too long a time to go from an experimental iron-sides to still having wooden ships in GW2. You’d think the tech would have spread. Then again they do have airships so what do I know.
6:27 – A rotary paddle wheel. Makes sense but it amused me.
6:32 – Macha is my new favourite asura.
6:47 – I guess I expected something to be left of Lion’s Arch. Aside from one pirate ship.
6:58 – I was all set to criticize the logic of putting a bombard on a ship like that. Macha is doing it for me.
7:07 – Most of the time I don’t get how charr are so much more powerful than humans. If that’s true it doesn’t make sense to me that humans could have taken ascalon in the first place, or put up much of a fight even with the great wall. Certainly doesn’t make sense in light of Arenanet’s racial balance.
7:18 – To grenth’s realm of torment, is not the most fluid idiom I’ve ever heard.
7:26 – Reading kind of slowly today. Wonder how much more I’ll read. Into Act 2 now though, time shifted and has aged Cobiah at this point.
7:35 – Hope they explain just where Cobiah conjures his ship from.
7:37 – Ah the Capricorn. Pretty sure I read something about the ship recently in game. One of those new Marriner monuments or something.
7:38 – Freed an Istani djinn that bestowed enchantments on the Capricorn eh. Hoping it’s not Zommoros or whatever his name is.
7:43 – Still wondering where Port Stalwart actually is. I think Forgall Kernsson or maybe Tybalt comments on how the town is destroyed by an undead attack.
7:52 – Sykox shaking water from his fur is pretty cute.
7:56 – Future GW2 skin, the bosun pin.
7:58 – An elementalist standing on the surface of the water. Too bad we can’t do that in game. At least it makes more sense than Jesus doing it.
8:11 – Reading slower than usual. In any case, the whole Capricorn scenario has been pretty amusing so far.
8:26 – Saw the attack on the port coming, should have figured it would be the indomitable.
8:34 – Didn’t take long for recently killed guards to start rising.
8:47 – Harbinger can be found in the seas of Malchor’s Leap. Interesting to see it turn up here.
8:47 – Okay going to have to call it. Only made it 167 pages in. Thanks for reading. Or not reading if you want to avoid spoilers. Will have to finish this tomorrow… maybe. It’s a 400 page novel so we’ll see how far I get.
Tags: Books, fantasy, Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
I have not spoken of the upcoming 3rd Guild Wars 2 novel since May of last year. At that point the publication date, a placeholder, was set in February. Since then the placeholder date had moved to August, and at this point Simon & Schuster is listing July as a target, while Amazon lists June 25th. Okay. Not frustrating at all.
Now I haven’t been paying buttloads of attention to the book news for the past few months, other things have been going on, but when I dropped by the books page on Amazon/S&S I noticed the synopsis was available.
The lost kingdom of Orr lies beneath the ocean waves, an entire civilization swallowed by an ancient cataclysm. For centuries, the depths have lain dormant, those ancient secrets lost. Until now. The Elder Dragon Zhaitan has risen. In its wake, the drowned kingdom of Orr is reborn—and another destroyed. The city of Lion’s Arch, for generations a cornerstone of civilization in Tyria, is brutally swept beneath the waves, leaving nothing but ruins. Among the survivors is Cobiah Marriner, a human sailor shipwrecked by the tsunami and stranded at sea. When he is rescued by a ferocious charr, Cobiah knows that he’s been plunged into a world forever changed. Now, Zhaitan’s undead servants dominate the sea, destroying port after port and slaughtering anything in their path. In the midst of ruin, Cobiah vows to see Lion’s Arch rebuilt. Amid the storm of the dragon’s rising, Cobiah must become a hero to his crew and an admiral to the pirate fleet, and face the ghosts of his past. Only then will he master the Sea of Sorrows and crush the armada of Orr.
I suppose there isn’t a whole lot of new information here aside from the identity of our hero. We already know he was the man to unite the pirates and rebuild Lion’s Arch. You can find a couple references to Cobiah in game, his grandson is a commodore in Lion’s Arch in fact.
Aside from that the atmosphere is being set and it should make for quite the book. I can’t wait to live blog it. Yes, I am doing that again. I know it’s pointless. I know nobody gives a crap. Consider it liveblogged!
Tags: Books, fantasy, Guild Wars 2, star wars
I’ve read a lot of Star Wars novels in my time. You might call me a bit of a fan. So when I heard Guild Wars 2 writer and designer Jeff Grubb was authoring a Star Wars novel I immediately looked forward to it. He’s a well known fantasy author in his own right with a long history in the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms universes, so I was interested to see what he could do with Scourge.
I wasn’t disappointed. Scourge is a solid novel well written with likable characters. There’s a fair amount of humour and mystery. It delves into areas of the Star Wars universe that are often mentioned but rarely visited.
Mander Zuma’s former apprentice is murdered and while searching for a reason why, he’s pulled into the depths of the seedy underworld crossroads between Hutt space and the corporate sector.
Star Wars novels are typically very adventure based. There may be some element of mystery but the emphasis is on swashbuckling and battles. Duels can take the form of dogfighting starfighters and epic battles are complicated naval exercises. You’ll see a lot of novels that are fantasy adventures, spy thrillers, and military action and little else.
That’s where this novel comes in. I think it’s more of a crime noir. Certainly Grubb gets across that Mander isn’t much of the swashbuckling type. He’s not the best swordsman, and he spends most of his time as an archivist. He’s wracked with guilt about the death of his student, driven to know where his student failed and by proxy where he himself failed.
Any nerd can identify with a protagonist who is less an action hero and more a librarian and that makes Mander unique. It leaves me wondering why there aren’t more characters like him.
The mystery is well enough plotted out but there are a few places where I think Grubb telegraphs the eventual villain to the reader. People are presented as suspects but Grubb spends either too little time with them or doesn’t build up their possible motives. In one case in particular he downplays their possible motives and I think he virtually eliminates them as a suspect, which is a mistake.
And a couple of loopholes are left after the book closes out. The very basis for the book, the apprentice’s death, is never really explained to my satisfaction. Why he was set up is easy to understand, but how he let himself be lulled into such a position in the first place, not easy to understand at all.
Overall it’s a fun read. I thought it was superior in style to the Corscandti Nights series of Star Wars books, the other attempt at crime noir in the Star Wars universe. I may have figured out mystery long before the end but I was still compelled to continue reading and see how it all turned out. That’s definitely a good sign in my opinion.
Tags: Books, Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
The first two Guild Wars 2 novels were published by Pocket Star Books, a media tie in imprint of Pocket Books. Pocket Books in turn is owned by Simon & Schuster.
Earlier this month Pocket Books tweeted this about their imprint.
So I went back and checked the publisher information on the Amazon pages of the books, and sure enough Pocket Books itself seems to now be the publisher.
This change could certainly help explain the pushed back placeholder dates I wrote a short post about back in March. Sea of Sorrows had been set to be released at one point as early as March 2012, but according to Amazon the placeholder is now February 2013.
Publishers typically only have so much room in their schedule for each printing so I suppose the book ended up at the back of Pocket Books line.
Wish I’d picked up on that detail in the previous post.
Pocket Star seemed relatively successful as a publisher, I believe they also published World of Warcraft novels. That line seems to have moved to Pocket Books as well. I do wonder how successful the Guild Wars 2 books have been though. How about some sales numbers Arenanet?
Tags: Books, fantasy, Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
This post is going to be so short it may as well have been tweeted. I was curious as to whether the release date of Sea of Sorrows had changed and went to Simon & Schuster, which own the small publisher that put out Edge of Destiny and Ghosts of Ascalon and couldn’t find anything.
I found the link in the last post I wrote about ‘Sorrows’ and it leads nowhere.
I don’t draw any conclusions from that though since if you’re going to push the release date back to February 1st, 2013, you may as well stop listing it for the time being.
I wonder what’s going on with that.
Tags: fantasy, Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
In case you missed it a while back, Simon & Schuster had begun listing Ree Soesbee’s Sea of Sorrows, the next book in the Guild Wars 2 novel trilogy.
There has been talk here and there about the book, but aside from a speculative post, I’ve never talked about it.
At one point Steven Savile was pegged to write it, and the story was to involve The Inquest and Elder Dragons. Somewhere along the line Arenanet changed it’s mind and Soesbee stepped in.
Someone emailed him about it, and this is what he replied:
“I was indeed contacted about 3 years ago now by Will McDermott at ArenaNet to write the third Guild Wars novel – it was meant to be called The Crucible of Eternity, but about 10 months ago Arena decided they wanted to go a different direction and instead wanted a ‘zombies and pirates’ novel.”
We have since found out from Ree Soesbee herself the book is very much about the sinking of Lion’s Arch and the rise of Orr.
Anyway, I also noticed that the placeholder date is now June 26th, moved from the previous date in March of 2012. Likely, though, that this is still a placeholder, because during gamescom the author also stated she was about half way done with the novel.
I’m sure it could be published by then but we’ll see.
Check out what she has to say about it in this video, towards the end.
Tags: MMO, mmorpg, Star Wars: The Old Republic, swtor
It took me a while to read Fatal Alliance, it came out in July of last year, but I’m glad I got around to it. I am not quick to buy a hard cover, they are cumbersome, overpriced, and a storage issue. When it came out in paperback I picked it up relatively quickly.
I’m also usually hesitant to pick up game tie-in novels for relatively obvious reasons. Poor quality, dumbed down, and strict adherence to lore with little added imagination.
Fortunately the author, Sean Williams has worked in the Star Wars Extended Universe previously, and reading through Fatal Alliance quickly resembles the majority of Star Wars novels.
There are naval battles, jedi duels, firefights, mysticism, sci-fi ideas, and to top it all off as usual there is some form of grand non-sensical idea that mixes everything together and despite all effort doesn’t quite manage to ruin the entire book.
It goes from a mysterious auction to a heist story, then quickly into an action movie, then into space battles, a bit of a militaristic assault, into a fantastical finale that almost seems like more of a spectacle.
Most of the characterization is well done but I think you can tell which characters Williams likes. Despite her awful name Eldon Ax is deadly, smart, and powerful. She ingeniously makes her way inside a vault, outsmarts and overpowers a jedi, and stands toe to toe with the main villains.
I was pretty surprised that the book tries to incorporate every type of player class in the novel. It seems at first like an idea corporate headquarters sent down to Sean Williams. For the majority of the book I think he does an excellent job overall of tying everything together, making the characters work, showing (for the most part) their motivations, and why such a complex group might be thrown together.
However you are still left with a sense of confusion afterwards. Many of the actions and motivations of the characters are easy to comprehend, but there are 8 characters. I’m just left wondering why some of the characters do what they do. It just doesn’t feel natural at times. The bounty hunter presence, the imperial agent, or the smuggler, all move mysteriously and in the shadows. It fits the theme in some ways of those classes, but here it is just an excuse to cover up the fact that they don’t seem to have any real reason to be involved throughout.
There is a lot to like in the book. Characters, lore, action, and mystery. Essentially there are plot holes you could drive a truck through but altogether I did like reading it and wouldn’t have a problem suggesting it to Star Wars novel fans.
Tags: Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
Triggersad, over at TalkTyria posted some predictions about what he thinks the next Guild Wars novel will be about. I think they’re some good predictions, and I’m sure one of them may end up being true, or even, more than one.
However I have my own thoughts on the next novel which I’ve posted a few times here and there. Mostly thoughts on who the next author could be. In summary, since Jeff Grubb, Matt Forbeck and J. Robert King all belong to the same writers group, I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone from the same group as author, or someone else familiar to Guild Wars fans like Ree Soesbee.
The main thrust of Triggers post of course is the subject matter, what will it be about?
Ghosts of Ascalon takes place about 1 year before Guild Wars 2 and Edge of Destiny about 5 years. All three books are meant to be a bridge between the original game and the next. The third book then must take place even before Edge.
Here’s another thing I’ve always wondered about. This piece of concept art.
Speculation has it that the eye-patched individual is related to the Thackeray family, and the art has been around for a while. Somewhere along the way the image was titled Battle at Orr and it seems quite epic. I’ve always thought that if Patch is a specific character then the art must be for a specific purpose. Especially since the time frame seems to be before the Guild Wars 2 era.
The dwarf as well is out of place, as if to speak to a specific character. Concept art is usually vague and unspecific to allow for imaginations to run wild. I’ve always thought we’d see these two.
So I think the 3rd book will be about Zhaitan and attempts to kill him. A battle in Orr.
EDIT: Just by chance I searched Guild Wars at Simon & Schuster’s website. Sea of Sorrows by Ree Soesbee.
Further Edit: Cheiron from Guild Wars 2 Forum added a nice comment in the post. He searched for the ISBN and found a reference to Steven Savile as co-author, perhaps a Jeff Grubb/Matt Forbeck situation. There was also this.
“In the fantasy world of Tyria—a place torn by conflict, where human kingdoms are on the decline and all but destroyed, while other races are rising up and seizing control over large portions of territory—a champion must rise from the ruins of a once-proud land to lead refugees from the ashes and fulfill an ancient prophecy.”
Edit: Savile is no longer attached to the book apparently.
Tags: Books, star wars
I’ve got a long history with Star Wars novels. Everything from their premier line of books that feature the Skywalker extended family, to less reliable fare like Coruscant Nights. All in all, their more famous protagonists are usually kept to a minimum standard while other books tend to hit or miss.
Which is why I was a little apprehensive when I picked up Knight Errant. It’s a book set about 1000 years before A New Hope. Similar to the era of the Darth Bane trilogy (Darth Bane is 30 years later) where Sith forces control large parts of the galaxy. Not to be confused with the era in which Sith forces control large parts of the galaxy in the Great Galactic War, the setting of SWTOR.
It’s based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name, and in fact, has the same writer. You get a preview of the comic within the pages of the novel, art and all, but in all honesty comic books rarely move me anymore. Their depth can be shallow, dialogue stilted, details truncated, leaving little but the art to admire and I’ve always been more of a words person.
I haven’t read the comic series and normally that would annoy the hell out of me before reading a novel that follows up on a previous story.
There was something different about reading Knight Errant though. It is a well written, tightly plotted, adventure that reminds me of the feeling of watching those first Star Wars movies. Encountering countless problems that need to be overcome. Lead characters who find themselves thrown together but don’t necessarily get along. That desperate clinging to doing the right thing even though the odds are stacked against Kerra.
Kerra Holt, a Jedi Knight trapped in Sith space. With no way home she wages a one woman war, taking no prisoners. At first I was a little put off by her character. I thought her treatment of the bothan spy Narsk in the very first pages to be overly cruel.
Past that stumbling block you grow to like, if not love, many of the characters. They have their own moral codes and driving forces behind them. It’s always disappointing to read a book where all the characters are on the exact same page morally in a situation, where there are few arguments about a course of action, and where everyone gets along swimmingly.
One of the main things I liked about the book though were the strange politics. Sith Lords have divided up their territory into dozens of kingdoms. Information has become controlled and even travel is nearly impossible. People barely know who controls neighbouring planets, let alone know how to get there.
Beyond that there is a strong orwellian theme. The Sith dominate their citizenry in the extreme, often with a draconian police state. Work, sleep, conversation and sometimes their very thoughts are not of their own will.
There is the usual fantasy meets sci-fi tone as well, with lightsaber duels, the force, epic battles and mysterious cultures. Everything you might expect from a Star Wars novel.
I think the best part is probably that the novel introduces a setting that will no doubt be useful for the books to come. It is intriguing, complex, suggests depth and an extensive world beyond the immediate setting we find ourselves in. Knight Errant was a pleasant surprise in quality. I haven’t been as satisfied with a non-Skywalker related novel since, I think, the second Republic Commando novel Triple Zero.