Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
on 23 November 2010
As a hard core player of RuneScape, I have spent many many hours in front of the computer traveling the realm of Geilinor, sword in one hand, fishing rod or cooking pans in the other. I have to say from the very outset I was surprised at the quality of the novel. As a first time author I think Church has to be commended in bringing to life a world a player only ever partially inhabits. For example, he has altered the distances it takes to get from Falador to the Black Knights (or Kinshra) fortress: now it is a few days, in the game of course it is only scant minutes. However, it is this adjustment that adds a realistic aspect to the events and makes it a workable novel - if he had written it without this consideration, direct from the game, then any realism would have been lost in trying to mirror the game too closely.
The plot itself is intriguing and fast-moving. It starts as a riddle. Who is this near-dead girl who is teleported to our castle? What does this mean? Tasked with finding out, we follow the young Squire Theodore on an adventure to see the druids of Taverley, meeting on the adventure Doric (a dwarf), Ebenezer, a scientist/alchemist, the wizard Castimir, and the mysterious Gar'rth. Their journey all roll into one when they are reunited at the barbarian village, and from then on the onslaught of the Kinshra and the war that follows consumes the rest of the tale. The characters themselves are all well-drawn and I particularly liked Kara, the mysterious heroine who was realistically vulnerable under her hard edge. Without that, I think anyway, she would have been very unlikable.
I suppose it is a war story at heart, so I should say that action is part and parcel of the story, and the choices that each of the main characters must make under pressure are quite realistic which brings you closer to them. (I like the part when Theodore first kills someone in a battle and then immediately feels shocked about it - it's a welcome difference from other fantasy books where the heroes wade through ranks of the enemy without a thought or care for their actions). However, I did feel the action was at times too much. I would like to have seen more of the many skills that are available to players in game (although I suppose fishing does get a scene - and a very good one to be honest. Fire making to a less of a degree and magic of course.)
I am very glad I have read this and it has enlivened my sense of adventure when I play the game. Now, a trek that I once took for granted, say from Varrock to Falador, has been made far more interesting, one where my imagination is always at play, wondering, just what is over the horizon?