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Dragon Age novels by David Gaider

If you've had it up to here with my game tie-in book reviews, fear not, as I am almost finished with the ones I care to read.

Dragon Age is a fantasy game that features, oddly, very few dragons.  Why they called it that is explained in the first book of the series, but the excuse is frankly weak, but never mind (someone sees a dragon, therefore, it's the Dragon Age!).  Dealing in the usual fantasy tropes of swordplay, magic and mages, elves, dwarves, castle, etc., it also features a religion awfully similar to Christianity, but with women instead of men in all the usual roles.

Set in a Renaissance Europe analogue in the world of Thedas (a sort of acronym for "THE Dragon Age Setting".  See what they did there?), specifically the country of Fereldan, the first two Dragon Age novels are direct prequels to the games. All of the novels feature some characters and locations from the games, with progressively more references being made in the second and third books.

The Stolen Throne tells the story of Prince Maric, the rightful heir to the throne of Fereldan, which has been usurped by invaders from the neighbouring country of Orlais.  The pretender is a vicious, vindictive man who dominates and abuses the people of his host country.  A rebellion is underway, and the Rebel Queen, Maric's mother, is killed.  Maric escapes a similar fate and is rescued by Loghain, a displaced farmer and member of a roving band of refugees also running from the authorities.  Maric reluctantly rejoins and eventually leads the rebellion with the help of an equally reluctant Loghain.

The Calling continues Maric's story.  Maric is now a restless leader, his beloved wife having died, leaving him heartbroken.  When a band of Grey Wardens come with a quest to prevent a Blight of demons, he elects to join them through the abandoned underground roads of the dwarves.

Asunder is distinct from the first two titles and ties more directly to the game series with more characters and references to events of the games.  The story is still good, but isn't quite as engaging as the first two if the reader hasn't played the source material.  That said, I think it was the best of the three if you have played the games, serving more as a murder mystery and less of a grand quest as the other two books.

I liked these books more than I expected.  Because they were written by the lead writer of the games, he was familiar with the world and could play in it without feeling forced.  These are good adventures, though some experience with the game would certainly help.  These are best suited to older teens, or at least teens who are reading adult material already.
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1 comments:

  1. I really want to read these! Might have to actually cough up some interlibrary loan money to get them....

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