Sea of Sorrows: Live Blog Part 2

June 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 7 Comments
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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.

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Sea of Sorrows: Live Blog

June 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | Comments Off on Sea of Sorrows: Live Blog
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soscoverart

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.

Sea of Tomorrows

January 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 5 Comments
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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!

Scourge By Jeff Grubb

June 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2 | 2 Comments
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The cover is actually a bit different from the usual Star Wars novel.

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.

Imprint Change

May 29, 2012 at 9:46 am | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 2 Comments
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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?

Quick Note On Sea Of Sorrows

March 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 14 Comments
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I was all set to live blog too.

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.

Knight Errant

June 8, 2011 at 3:54 am | Posted in Books | 6 Comments
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I really liked the cover too.

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.

Edge Of Destiny Review

December 31, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 15 Comments
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Eir and Garm

It must be particularly difficult to write something creative, innovative, and interesting while dogged on all sides by limitations, guidelines, and blocked paths. Nor would I want to follow a strong book like Ghosts of Ascalon. Surely writing in a universe that has been touched by many hands is much more difficult than creating your own.

Those who triumph while writing stories in the worlds of others must have tremendous ability to harness the ideas of others for their own use. After reading Edge Of Destiny, I feel as though I’ve learned a lot about what to do and what not to do.

Spoilers, of course. I mean that too. Huge spoilers, virtually the whole book spoiled. Don’t read if you don’t want spoilers.

Heavy Spoilers.

One of the things I found I liked that King does immediately is dive into the lore, not stay away from it, not avoid it. I could have used more depth here and there but overall a good use of history. Guild Wars fans immediately know the strength and ferocity of the Destroyers. The sylvari conflict between dream and nightmare comes immediately into play. You get a sense of what sylvari are, their wonderment at the world, and yet their obvious non-humanity. That’s just in the prologue.

Where he integrates and utilizes the lore though, I find he ignores the development and creation of the characters. Eir gets the fairest treatment. Her soulful artistry is portrayed well and the frustration at seeing her people slowly worn down by an adversary they can not comprehend wears on her. The statues she created to glorify the men who go off to fight, only serve to torment her as a constant reminder. Especially the statue of her father.

It’s her drive alone that sets the stage for the story. Without her the two asura, Snaff and Zojja would continue on in their blissful little one note lives. Snaff the wiser than he seems asura, Zojja, the head strong apprentice who doesn’t appreciate her master as much as she should. A cliched dynamic, it does border on heart-warming at times. You can tell Zojja has some affection for her master and that Snaff knows how she truly feels and that she will miss him when he’s gone. However it’s touched upon too little to truly pull the heart strings.

Part of the problem is surely the large cast, of course. 6 sentient beings working in a team, 7 if you count Garm, and all of them have stories to tell. Not everything can be an original masterpiece, but at times I feel the story is simplistic. Perhaps I’m just too old and too experienced a reader to appreciate a straight up adventure.

Take for instance the first time we meet Logan and Rytlock. Logan causes an avalanche that crushes many charr, cuts off the main force from their objective, and a chase ensues. Rytlock and his men catch up with Logan and his, only to have the tables turned on them by a band of ogres who want them both dead. They must unite or die.

Sounds like a good adventure, but to me, it’s done to death. The phrase “oldest one in the book” certainly comes to mind. The banter between them makes the simplicity of the plot less grating, but I always felt throughout the book, that the barbs and wit could have used improvement.

“I suppose we have to kill each other now” Logan said.
“Yeah” Rytlock replied dully.
“You’re going to die like a dog.”
“I’m more like a cat” Rytlock pointed out.
Logan shook his head. “You can’t die like a cat. They have nine lives.”
Rytlock spread clawed arms. “That’s what it’s going to take!”
A new voice – a woman’s voice – broke in and said “You two have the strangest conversations.”

Couldn’t agree more Caithe. There are clever moments in the banter but when interspersed evenly with somewhat awkward conversation like that it, it sullies the rest. Far too stilted for my taste. Who says “you’re going to die like a dog” to a giant cat creature? Talk about leaving the door open.

Logan is wearing seraph armour, so it's post Snaff, but why no love for the little dude

Overall I didn’t mind the banter too much and things move fairly smoothly up until about halfway through the book when a few things started nagging at me.

For one, the vast majority of the book is fighting. It seems as though the novel is a number of fight sequences interrupted by short and composed entirely of exposition instead of character building. Setting up the next fight instead of setting up emotional investment.

At the same time the arena fights are quite repetitive but when they finally end, they move into fighting dragon champions. Fight after fight after fight. Not a scene can pass without some mention of what they’ll be fighting next. This drags on for the entire middle of the book. There is deep lore and history in this universe and I’ve been sucked into a gladiatorial novel.

The ease with which they defeat their enemies at times is very disappointing. Their first match up against an undefeated team in the arena is a joke. I suppose I could be convinced that that’s the nature of arena combat. Quick, brutal assaults that end matches before they’ve begun. King never really makes the case for it in my mind. They’re just amazing warriors, no further details needed.

You could argue that Eir, Snaff, and Zojja lose out the first time to Jormag’s champion, and another notable loss at one point, but Primordus’ champion goes down with one arrow. Morgus Lethe is struck perhaps 3 or 4 times in total. It just seems like some of their enemies should have been more of a challenge.

The final thing I had a large problem with were some of the relationships. While Garm and Eir are hardly explored but still interesting, and while Zojja and Snaff verge on having a touching relationship, I was confused by most of the other relationships. Why does Faolain poison Caithe only to release her later? What is so bad about Logan’s relationship with his brother that he much prefers Rytlock? Why in the name of Balthazar does Logan run to Jennah at the moment he does?

This last is truly excruciatingly painfully done. There is no justification. Their meetings and letters between them are stiff, and stilted. They make bold proclamations of how they care for one another without any tangible reason. I suppose it’s meant to reflect chivalry and courtly love, but it just comes off as awkward. Even if she has seen his whole life via her mesmer powers, and even if he just fell in love at first sight, it’s still unreasonable for him to run off when he is on the verge of defeating an elder dragon. My god. What an ass.

Another Dragon Champion lay slain at your feet. The Destroyer of Life and his thousand minions. Well done!

Yeah that’s how lovers congratulate each other. Right? Good job on that dragon dude, thanks a lot!

That said, what better reason for the guild to break. It sets the stage for Guild Wars 2 nicely. I expect I’ll have choice words when I finally run into Logan of course.

I’ve been pretty critical of the book but there are plenty of things to like as well. The final action sequences are well done, I couldn’t put the book down. I had been sort of waiting for Snaff to be killed off all along, so knowing it was coming in those last few pages had me on the edge of my seat.

I criticized the banter before but it saves the book in places as well. Rytlock and Logan are fine entertainment but add in Caithe’s plain spoken words and Rytlock, Logan and Caithe turn into the 3 stooges.

I really love Caithe too. She’s got the cat-like moves and reflexes, keen mind, a sense of wonderment. She doesn’t get as much time as I’d like but by the end of the book I empathize heavily with her. She loves someone she can’t save, her friends have cracked and gone their separate ways, she’s left to pick up the pieces (literally) and hope that one day she can fix things.

I completely understand Rytlock’s reaction to Logan’s behaviour. Nothing more to be said there. I just wish his loyalty to his other guild mates meant something more to him.

The world of Tyria is truly further fleshed out in Edge Of Destiny. It definitely gives the sense that this is not just a game world but a living breathing universe with it’s own characters, it’s own villains, things going on outside the periphery of the main characters. I think King is given a directive to accomplish a lot with this book. He has to build characters, build a team, build a legend and then break them up. All in one book. Hard to do by any standard. Overall much of the plot is predictable, the writing a little plain and repetitive, but the world itself is bigger than those two qualities and I think that shines through.

You can check out the Kill Ten Rats review for a cheerier outlook, or my live blog impressions part 1 and part 2.

Edge Of Destiny: Live Blog!

December 29, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 3 Comments
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Soundtrack to Edge of Destiny provided by: Moneen - Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now

Oh for I have heard the clamouring masses. The outcries and pleas for a live blogging of Edge of Destiny, the 2nd novel in the Guild Wars novel trilogy. And behold! I have come.

After a couple of failed attempts to pick up the book yesterday, I made a thorough examination of the Chapters website and discovered that the big box store across town, and only the big box store across town, had several copies. 22 in fact.

Well now they have 21.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of Matt Forbeck’s writing and Jeff Grubb’s lore and background in the first book, and have been anticipating Edge Of Destiny for some time.

J. Robert King is pretty unknown to me, although many have suspected his involvement in the series from early days when he made a comment on Matt Forbeck’s blog about writing in the Guild Wars 2 universe.

That said I never really ventured to check out his work.

Anyway, enough foreplay. Onwards.

5:59 – They keep mentioning that his kid named his hamster Rytlock. Not sure why they find that so adorable. I named my PC Grimlock, do I get any credit for that? Noooooo.

6:05 – Only difference in timeline is forming of the guild. Yes it took me 7 minutes to do that.

6:06 – Map appears to be the same. I was hoping for more hints.

6:09 – Ahhh Destroyers. Awesome. Those without access to Eye of the North may miss out on the reference *wink*

6:13 – Great introduction to the Nightmare Court, the sylvari villains in Guild Wars 2. All in all a good prologue, introduces characters in a clean, decisive manner, introduces concepts without nattering on. Good start.

6:17 – Not a fan of the personification of animals. That may have something to do with my deep seated hatred for pets. Like the Alpha angle though.

6:23 – Anyone else think “here comes Gullik” when Sjord walked in?

6:25 – Ursan Blessing to carve a wooden statue of a fool. Seems like a misuse of the bear spirits power.

6:31 – Due to concept art, these frozen over foes are not much of a surprise. But I do like the concept. Instead of undead rotting corpses, frozen over ice husks of former comrads.

6:36 – Sort of telegraphed the Silas thing. Not a fan of chisels being a part of the battle. I know they’re crafters, but even crafters should probably have a nice battle axe in this world.

6:42 – If you’ve got regular shipments coming via Asura Gate, do you need supply caravans that travel over land? Surely that’s inefficient. Maybe in GoA the gate is new. Can’t recall.

6:46 – Oh uhhh, I guess that answers that then.

6:50 – Really? A rockslide ambush? I don’t mind cliche’s done right. Not a fan of this cliche. The charr conflict seems a bit forced as well. It’s a trap!

6:53 – Damn Sohothin. I knew Rytlock had a Fiery Dragon Sword, didn’t know it was Rurik’s.

6:59 – I can’t wait for the Logan/Rytlock slash fic.

7:02 – Puffed up posers. Suddenly I recall high school.

7:06 – Think I like Zojja already.

7:11 – Loving the description of Rata Sum, visions of the races trailer going through my head.

7:13 – The forums will be a twitter about airships now. I’m on page 44 or so, just for the record.

7:14 – Is it me or does “lass” sound utterly wrong coming from a genius asura.

7:17 – I hope Zojja doesn’t go and get a big head because of the statue. Oh yes, there will be lame puns in this live blog as well!

7:21 – Sohothin is sort of reminding me of a lightsaber, but then I am a huge Star Wars nerd.

7:26 – Ogre battle! Anyone remember that game? Knowing rytlock and logan guild up, I suppose it had to be this way.

7:32 – Anyone want to put money down on some quest tied to this battle at some point?

7:39 – Red Alert? Danger? Sirens? Nope. Anomaly!

7:42 – lol, threw up in his mouth. cute little asura!

7:46 – What do you think. Rytlock, Logan, and Caithe as the 3 stooges, or the Marx brothers?

7:52 – Having had so many fights with devourers myself, it’s actually quite interesting to see it described in detail.

7:54 – Wow Ogres age at least 240 years?

7:59 – Ogres that aren’t half-wits. Don’t see that very often. I have to say, the ogres catch up to the 3 of them after how long? That is some fast, fast, fast running. Even for giant ogres.

8:06 – I think I’m enjoying the whole youthful arrogance vs the reality of mortality storyline. Obvious where it heads, but mostly due to absence later on.

8:16 – The women return not at all. That’s foreboding.

8:21 – For some reason I’m a big fan of finding abandoned cities. Also: Coitenly! nyuck nyuck nyuck! whoop whoop whoop!

8:32 – I think they could use a little Stout-Hearted right about now.

8:42 – That would make for a pretty good boss fight. Something that freezes you every so often unless you turn away from it.

8:46 – Guardian aura eh? Name of the spell or the blue mace people? We’ve also seen that Logan’s magic protects and snares. support and control.

8:51 – Geez it’s kind of like an advertisement for Guild Wars 2’s trinity of control, support, and dps. Kind of.

8:55 – Don’t know why I know this but rabbit is terrible for nutrition.

9:10 – An officious norn bureaucrat. At least he’s not drunk.

9:12 – Come to think of it why does an independent, pirate infested, free city need reasons from them to enter? not very piratey.

9:14 – Everything’s for sale in Lion’s Arch. Meaning it’s the main location for the auction house.

9:22 – Touches of Indiana Jones, sherlock holmes. Last thing I expected to read about in this book was bear baiting.

9:29 – Ah the old “everybody gets thrown in jail” trope. I wonder what tvtropes calls that. Let’s hope Magnus is in the game. It’d be awesome if he, like Dhuum, appeared and banned botters/spammers/cheaters in LA in gw2.

9:34 – There’s an idea. If norn ships are built to norn specs, what do asura, charr, and sylvari ships look like. Can’t wait to see the LA harbour. Maybe we’ll even see some canthan and istani/kournan ships?

9:43 – Morgus Lethe eh. I got dibs on his head.

9:50 – Herding undead for fights in the arena. That’s something you don’t read every day.

9:59 – Hah, two-legs. Classic centaur insults. I need more bookah references though.

10:01 – Have to admit, a little confused by the chirurgeon term. Not familiar with it inside or outside gw lore. Haven’t figured out the etymology of the word yet either.

10:04 – Unnecessary brutality. Could be a good guild name.

10:11 – Gotta say, Caithe is not matching up to the idea I had of her after the races trailer. I suppose time passes between that and this book, but in the trailer her voice and attitude were knowing and intelligent, and wise. Philophical. Here she’s wide eyed, innocent, eager. Not at all the haughty intellectual.

10:21 – The use of mesmer magic to display an image, kind of like a jumbotron, in an arena. Just thought i’d comment.

10:31 – A flying harpy destroyer. Okay. I just don’t get flying stone, even if it is magic.

10:40 – Not really feeling the romance angle, if that’s whats going on, between the queen and logan. Surely it’s a red herring. we’ll see.

10:53 – That is some extensive mesmer magic, day tripping through logan’s head.

10:54 – Clearly if Eir is a strategic genius, she’s going to win this next battle.

Okay I’m exhausted. Been reading for hours. Sorry To end this live blog before, you know, the end of the book, but I’m on page 200 and that’s only half way. Tune in tomorrow for part 2.

Approaching The Edge Of Destiny

December 23, 2010 at 2:08 am | Posted in Books, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , ,

The first book was solid, making reading this book a no brainer.

Arenanet released a new blog post today concerning the 2nd book in the Guild Wars 2 series. Edge Of Destiny. Where Ghosts Of Ascalon took place a year before the game, EoD takes place a full 5 years in the past. Here’s Amazon’s synopsis.

Destiny Called – They Answered

In the dark recesses of Tyria, elder dragons have awoken from millennial slumbers. First came Primordus, which stirred in the Depths forcing the asura to flee to the surface. Half a century later, Jormag awoke and drove the norn from the frozen climes of the Northern Shiverpeaks, corrupting sons and brothers along the way. A generation later, Zhaitan arose in a cataclysmic event that reshaped a continent and flooded the capital of the human nation of Kryta.

The races of Tyria stand on the edge of destiny. Heroes have battled against dragon minions, only to be corrupted into service of the enemy. Armies have marched on the dragons and been swept aside. The dwarves sacrificed their entire race to defeat a single dragon champion. The age of mortals may soon be over.

This is a time for heroes. While the races of Tyria stand apart, six heroic individuals will come together to fight for their people: Eir, the norn huntress with the soul of an artist; Snaff, the asuran ge­nius, and his ambitious assistant Zojja; Rytlock, the ferocious charr warrior in exile; Caithe, a deadly sylvari with deep secrets; and Logan, the valiant human guardian dealing with divided loyalties. Together they become Destiny’s Edge. Together they answer the call. But will it be enough?

Overall that’s a fairly good description for people interested in the game, let alone the novel.

I guess if you’re interested in buying the book, Amazon is interesting in selling it to you, although to my knowledge the release date was the 28th.

On a personal note I won’t be buying the ebook, mostly because the kindle or ipad are too expensive to make it worth it. So I’ll end up going into the book store on Tuesday, not being able to find it, waiting a week, and finally picking it up sometime around the 4th. At which point I’ll be live blogging it. Live blogging something a week if not weeks after it comes out is so fail, but I’m doing it anyway!

The blog post has a PDF of the first chapter (god I hate PDFs) and you can download that here.

My suspicion is that if a profession is detailed extensively in the book, for instance, say Logan Thackeray’s profession just as an example, that’s the profession we’ll be seeing in January. I do end up having a lot of suspicions of course.

I have yet to see any further clues about the author of the 3rd book. Not that there are any clues to begin with, but I have done some speculation on the subject and thought I’d link that. Anyone seen forum threads or detective work on the subject? I’d love to know.

Finally, Ghosts of Ascalon, if you haven’t seen what I’ve said about it, was a solid book, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the Guild Wars universe, especially as concerning Guild Wars 2.

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