Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Calling by David Gaider - review

(Aside: That cover makes it look like the guy's head is bursting out of his chest. It's weird.)

Anyway. The Calling is the second novel set in the world of Dragon Age, the fantasy RPG game from BioWare.

After reclaiming the throne of Fereldan from the Orlesian Empire, King Maric has allowed the Grey Wardens - an elite and secretive group who can sense darkspawn (the little, medium and Big Bad of the series) - back into the kingdom after a 200-year exile.

Of course, nothing is that simple. And when a small group of Wardens tell the King that one of their number has booked it for the Deep Roads (where the little, medium and Big Bads live and the  source of MANY GAMING FRUSTRATIONS) and has aligned himself with the darkspawn. Which is bad, because well, darkspawn, but also the Warden - Bregan - knows the location of an Old God. If an Old God comes to the surface, it becomes an Archdemon and a Blight is unleashed.

So, no one is having a good day. Maric, against the advice of his closest associate Loghain Mac Tir, decides to go into the Deep Roads with the Wardens, as he's one of two people who can find one of the entrances. (The other one is Loghain, who thinks it's a fool's errand.)

The Calling (for me) felt like a prequel to the DLC, Awakenings. The Architect (a highly-evolved darkspawn, somewhere between a medium bad and a Big Bad) is in it, as is Utha, who is at the Architect's side in Awakenings, and who is one of the Grey Wardens in The Calling.

It's set about ... 20? 30? years before the events of Origins, which I'm 100 per cent basing on Duncan being about 18-20 in the novel. He's a young rogue, plucked from the streets of Val Royeaux in Orlais to join the Wardens.

I'm getting off-track.

I really enjoyed The Calling, I have to say. It felt familiar and comfortable - in the best way. It referenced events from The Stolen Throne, which I haven't read, but I was never confused (though having played Origins and Awakenings did help).

It's an easy fantasy novel to read, and it was nice - for me - to get lost in the Dragon Age world in a different medium.

Also, it made me cry.

Twice.

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