Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb

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Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb was an actual book read.  It is the first in the Guild Wars 2 series of novels associated with the game.  You can fully enjoy the book without playing the game or knowing anything about the Guild Wars franchise.

The various races that comprise the world of Tyria are all represented in this adventure:  the humans (yes, they are just your typical humans), the Norn (nine-foot tall humans from frozen Northern climes), the Charr (the feline warrior race that has been at war with the humans for centuries), the Asura (diminutive race of magical genius humanoids that surfaced from deep underground when the dragons came roaring back into existence), and the Slyvari (the most recent race to emerge, they are born from the Pale Tree and emerge full formed humanoid looking trees).  That confusion you yet?  The various races and their racial characteristics and personalities are very well explained in the book.

The one thing that is glaringly different from the book as opposed to the game, is the racial tension and simmering hostilities that exist between the races of Tyria.  The game world there is almost no tension between the races, it is not even something I realized was missing from the game until I picked up the book.  Racial tension and long simmering grievances are very much a part of the world and how characters react to others.  Charr and humans are still fighting a war over territory after hundreds of years, the uneasiness and tension is very evident in the book.

The actual story is very well written and flows nicely from the beginning.  I do think the ending was a little abrupt but it left the imagination of the reader.  Personally I would love to know what happens to the object so many characters died for, I’m hoping it will be covered later in the game lore itself.

The actual story was intriguing and kept me involved, especially important since I haven’t been in the mood to read for months.  Admittedly there wasn’t anything that wasn’t expected, but it was still enjoyable.  It was perfect for setting the mood and providing context for the game. 

A solid four stars out of five for being well written and a good old fashioned fantasy novel.

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