Novel Review: The Ghosts of Ascalon

I picked up this book on a whim after coming across the website for the upcoming PC game GuildWars2. I absolutely love some of the ideas presented on their website, how they took some classical RPG stereotypes and flipped them on their head. Gone are the classic archetypes of hobbit, dwarf, and gnome, the elf is gone as well (sort of) replaced with the Sylvari, a plant based race that are born seasonally from The Pale Tree. They are certainly one of the coolest fantasy races I have seen in a long time.

I have never played the Guild Wars game, but I was so impressed with the artwork for the game that I went out and purchased the novel minutes before Books-a-Million closed late one night a few weeks ago. I am happy to report that the trip was well worth it, the book was excellent.

I have a hard time with most fantasy novels out these days, they all seem to be the same thing. Most heroes in fantasy novels are divinely selected heirs to some kingdom or had some hidden power that they just had to believe in themselves to use. Here they were simple everyday men and women who are doing what they have to do to complete a mission. I have read some people in reviews complain about how the characters in the book seem to take too many breaks, but I see this in a different way. Most novels skip over these parts in exchange for combat, action, and mindless battles. GoA instead intersperses the action with these moments when they set up camp and use this time to develop characters. *gasp* What you end up with is a group of characters that you learn to love and care about as you learn about their past, all the good and the bad.

My only gripe with the book is that the end seems a bit rushed as they try to tie up the stories and resolve the major points in the book. Everything was resolved well, just seemed like it was a little rushed to me. Other than that, I highly recommend this book, it is a great read and an excellent addition to any fantasy library.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

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