Book reviews: The Stolen Throne, & The Calling, by David Gaider (Dragon Age)

Late last year I took a shine to the Dragon Age game, and since I enjoyed the story and the world so much I though I would -*gasp*- read the franchise books and learn more about it, starting with the Stolen Throne. Now both books are your average fantasy book, heavily stereotypical on the story, characters and their antics, and here even most of the plot... Still it ended up being quite an enjoyable backstory, that genuinely helps understand some of the characters in the game better; we follow Maric and Loghain as they meet and attempt to drive the Orlesians out of Ferelden.

There are a few things that didn't seem to make sense to me, however the author is the lead writer of the game so I must assume I didn't pay enough attention while playing (e.g. the Dalish elves speak a different language? If you play one in the game they keep saying how much of their past is lost, including the language.) In the end if you're able to overlook the lack of originality, you'll have a good read, particularly if you enjoyed the game's world.

I don't know if I had less patience when I got to reading The Calling but I found it a lot more disappointing. I may have come to it with the wrong expectations. The story occurs 15 years later and I was hoping it focused on Duncan like the first book focused on Maric and Loghain. Even taking into account that Duncan is much younger than when we meet him in the game, I didn't recognise him at all and didn't see either any evolution toward becoming the man we meet in DA. The character may as well have been named Bob the Grey Warden. (Then again, maybe I missed this side of him or misunderstood him in the game.........) Additionally, nearly all of the story occurs in one location -- the Deep Roads, which makes for a fairly repetitive scenery. The only bits I found interesting were echoes from the first book but they only carried the story so far, especially as Maric and his angsty angst started angstying on every other paragraph. Ah well. Time to go hunting for more trophies until it's time to play Dragon Age 2 ;)