Friday, April 20, 2012

Edge of Destiny by J Robert King

Guild Wars: Edge of Destiny, by J. Robert King, is the second book in the Guild Wars 2 series. If you're not anticipating the release of that game, worry not; it's still a great book for any fan of fantasy worlds. This story actually takes place before the first book in the series, but as the stories feature different characters that's okay. And getting to read about this particular group makes it even more special. 

It's a great book that introduces us to Destiny's Edge and sets up the world of Guild Wars 2. The main characters form Destiny's Edge, a group of heroes comprised of all the major races of Tyria: a human, a charr (charr are huge, vicious, lion-like creatures that have long been the enemies of humans), a norn and her dire wolf (a norn is kind of like an 8 foot tall Norseman), a sylvari (creatures born fully grown from plants), and two asura and their golems (asura are an arrogant, technologically advanced, diminutive gnome-like cratures, and their golem are kind of like magical mecha). We see how Destiny's Edge forms, how they become famous, and we see what breaks them up.

The book is a series of missions, each leading to a boss fight, with a massive end-game battle on two fronts - and while I used game-play terms to describe it there, it's not at all "just a game book". The reasons for each battle make sense, 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 some tearful moments. The relationships that form between the characters are moving and fun to watch, and seeing them fall apart is truly heart-breaking. The one thing I didn't like about the book is that there are some places where it feels very much like a video game.

Fans of fantasy fiction should find this a welcome addition to their reading list.

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