Top positive review
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"The" best dragon age novel to date
on 1 May 2014
This will be a preference thing for some, but for me, this novel was a best seller waiting to happen.
I wont spoil what happens for those looking for a spoiler free review, instead I will give a teaser synopsis of my own opinions of what exactly this book did right and why its the best of the dragon age novels to date:
The characters in this book are the most interesting since Maric's motley band of misfits in The Stolen Throne, it sets a similar pace with its main characters being very similar personality wise and feel wise to the crew of the book mentioned.
Celene, the main focus of the story, Empress of Orlais, is without a doubt one of Dragon Age's most developed figureheads throughout the course of this storyline, this tale tells her story, from start to finish, giving us a full perspective of what to expect of a character we have only had mention of up until this novel, and the upcoming DA: Inquisition.
In addition to Celene, there are three other major character perspectives:
Briala, an elven woman with complacent obedience to her empress, challenged by her patriotism to her people, and to define just who her people really are.
Ser Michel, Celene's personal Bodyguard and a knight devoted to his code of honor, who throughout the story is pressured to stand for it, while harboring a dark secret.
And Duke Gaspard, Celene's Cousin and the central antagonist of the story line, a Chevalier with a tactical cunning and a ruthless precision, who's sense of cruelty is matched only by his surprising sense of dignity. He is a man that takes honor, very seriously, and throughout his journey, may yet understand the meaning of the word better than he preaches.
There is also one secondary character in the form of Briala's Elven Companion, Felessian who is essentially a witty, dry humored apostate Dalish that may yet be more than he first appears to both Briala, and her comrades.
One might also consider Gaspards loyal companion the Duke of Lydes to be a secondary character, but his role is mostly one of an adviser that acts to reflect Gaspards own personal challenges and enhances them by being a test of his own character's morals personified.
However, the rest of the cast are while minor, still quite significant, and the story lacks nothing in its pacing and engaging scenes with all of them.
The Story Itself:
The story carries the political intrigue of Orlais day to day events while shifting later into the tensions of conflict, and the origins of the elves, its a very lore heavy book yet tells its story in a flowing, story driven pace that allows one to digest every moment of it with excitement and ease.
This near 400 page novel is a modest read for anyone looking for a good book to delve into in the Dragon Age lore, and its exciting enough that it pulled me into its depths all the way to the finish, I tended to it in less than a week of casual reading.
Simply put, some novels you cant put down, this one is the kind that will pull you in and make it hard to stop until you've finished. You really grow attached to everyone involved and this only increases the hype for every chapter leaving you hungry for every little taster of whats to come.
For some reviewers I noticed they didn't seem to share this sentiment, I find that difficult to fathom myself but perhaps its just not in everyone's tastes. This novel's strength is that it pulls a person into its story, not its description.
Those looking for novels with heavy description, long but rewarding reads with heavy interludes wont really be appeased by this adventure. Its designed for those interested in a modest yet rapidly paced set of events that chain together nicely and end on a beautiful crescendo.
I wont spoil the ending, but what I will say, is that it shouldn't have caught me off guard, but it did. Not only that, but it sets up enough cliffhanger hype that I am dying to know more, and longing to get my hands on DA: Inquisition sooner than later.
Over all, this entire book felt just right. It takes what The Stolen Throne did and perfects it, it almost feels like a unity of the previous three books concepts all unified into one, with just the right level of political intrigue, conflict, adventure, tragedy and triumph.
It balances itself better than any of its predecessors, taking what The Stolen Throne did well with its scaled battles, and perfecting it in little more than a few tense skirmishes.
It takes what the calling did with its adventure and journey into the realm of the fade, and perfects it by bringing us into mysteries of Thedas we previously did not know about, and now get to explore for the first time.
It takes what Asunder did with its political edge and perfects it with the tensions of who is fighting for who, and why? How loyal are their friends, their foes, their motives, their goals?
It also asks a question that no other Dragon Age novel has truly asked.
How long can love last?
Granted, things like this may feel nostalgic for those that read The Stolen Throne, the book feels very similar both pacing and destination wise, but its ultimate delivery is much more intriguing and to a degree, atmospherically darker than the former novel before.
Again, this is a must read for a Dragon Age Fan, it also features a minor Cameo from a certain Orlesian Bard though I am quite certain people will easily guess who 'she' might be.
Anyway, teasers aside, I really think this book deserves credit, as does the author for expanding existing material in an exciting new direction that sets the stage for Dragon Age Inquisition perfectly.
Hope to see more from this Author using this setting's expansive possibilities.