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4.3 out of 5 stars37
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2009
With the November release date of Dragon Age: Origins (PC) coming ever closer, the Bioware/EA hype machine has spun into overdrive and has spawned a second prequel novel in the form of Dragon Age: The Calling. Having been pleasantly surprised by the quality of The Stolen Throne (Dragon Age), I decided to try this novel with little hesitation.

After the events at the end of the previous outing, King Maric has become rather emo and longs for an escape from the humdrum of governing his kingdom. Lo and behold, a rag-tag band of mysterious Grey Wardens turns up in his throne room and presents him with the perfect opportunity for escape - a return to the death and decay filled Deep Roads he managed to navigate in the first novel. One of their own has fallen into the hands of The Darkspawn, and they must get him back before he can reveal to them the obligatory Terrible Secret. Thus begins another compelling journey into (or beneath as the case may be) the land of Ferelden.

Whereas the first novel was set against an epic backdrop of kingdoms at war, this time around we are treated to an intensely plotted dungeon crawl in the corrupt tunnels and ancient ruins of the Deep Roads. The rather nondescript Darkspawn of the first novel are explored indepth and brought to life much more successfully this time around, and now seem like a palpable, coordinated threat rather than stock monsters. Much of their history and motivation is fleshed out and forms the core of the novel, especially where the main antagonist of the novel, The Architect, is concerned. The "star" characters are well written and mostly likeable, with their inner conflicts and shifting motivations creating an interesting counterpoint to the more small-scale and fast paced battle scenes. The motivation and methodology of the Grey Wardens themselves is another interesting theme that runs through this novel, and the effect it has on the characters lives is a compelling part of the plot throughout.

However, it's not all positive with some of the characters coming across as rather generic and suffering from a lack of development (Utha, Nicolas & Julien in particular). In the latter stages of the novel some very questionable snap decisions are made by people that seem to go against everything we are told about them previously (Utha again and Genevieve). There is also very little closure at the end of the novel. The pre-requisite showdown in itself is well written and entertaining enough, but none of the threats and themes in the novel are actually concluded. The last quarter of the book seems to scream "play the game to find out what happens next!", which might be a cunning marketing ploy but doesn't make a particularly satisfying ending.

In conclusion, Dragon Age: The Calling gives us another competently written and genuinely engrossing portrait of life in the land of Ferelden, with only a few flaws not serious enough to mar the overall enjoyment of the novel. Lets hope they continue with this book series long after the release of the actual game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2010
I actually really enjoyed this book, maybe even more so than The Stolen Throne. There are the odd parts where it isn't wonderfully written and sentence structures can sometimes really lack, but at the end of the day I found that that just didn't really matter. I found I could easily get swept along in the story and it was a very fun read. I think this is a must for all fans of Dragon Age.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2009
Just like "The Stolen Throne", the previous book to this one, the Calling is set in the land of Dragon Age: Origins and focuses on a quest to try and rescue a captured Grey Warden. Full of action, conflict, and some very personal character conflicts and developments, the Calling is a great piece of drama in a fantasy setting.

If you've not read "The Stolen Throne", you will be able to read this one still, but I would recommend you read that book first, but you'll be filled in on all the revelent story points in the Calling. A recommendation for everyone who wants to read up on some of the backstory to Dragon Age Origins, or for fans of fantasy or action-drama in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2012
A good follow up to 'The Stolen Throne'. Explores some aspects of Thedas not seen in other material. With a compelling villain(?) in the Architect and a well crafted story arc. A rewarding experience if a little short.
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on 11 August 2013
"Calling" follows on well from "The Stolen Throne", exploring a bit of what happens after you have freed the kingdom and have to deal with the cost of your winning. It has the same well-written characters as the previous book but the writing of action scenes has improved quite a lot. Being set closer to the games more of the events were already known, but at the same time it was interesting to see some of the different characters from a different perspective and have those events fleshed out. Like "Stolen Throne" I would strongly recommend "Calling to fans of the Dragon Age games, probably even more strongly.
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The second title in the Dragon Age series and pretty much does what the first one did whilst presenting a great title, great story arc and characters that you really want to travel with. Beautifully written and an ideal companion for not only the game but readers on the road this title will thrill, amuse and above all deliver what every fantasy reader wants in their break from the real world. A cracking offering although personally I'd advise reading the first novel prior to this as it does contain spoilers.
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on 22 September 2011
one of the best books iv ever read, brang it on holiday and loved it, read it in 4 days and im a type of guy who doesnt like reading books normally but i would say you have to be a dragon age fan to like this book, but it is insanly good and i wish i could read it again or a book similar with such good writing in it. its a DEFO buy for me and its so cheap, if your looking for a good book to read this is for you! get it now!
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on 28 July 2012
This novel is an excellent read for anyone, even if you're not a fan of the Dragon Age video games. In fact, the book presents a great story to any reader, though one of the most interesting features of the book is the fact that the narrative presents the insight of almost every single main-character in the story, which completely fits with the reach storytelling characteristic of the Dragon Age series.
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on 24 August 2012
Although I'm long time Dragon Age fan I have no illusions towards this books potential. It's far from perfect and some elements seem forced, but it's worth the read for anyone. I would recommend reading "The Stolen Throne" beforehand, it adds a element of return. But be not hesitant to purchase it for it is interesting. At times it may seem a bit long but it has an surprising ending.
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on 29 June 2015
Both this and the Stolen Throne are much weaker than the later books, but I think it's forgivable, especially given just how good Masked Empire was. If you're going to read the Dragon Age novels, do yourself a favour and start with Stolen Throne, then this and you'll be pleasantly delighted when you reach the later books.
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