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The Bookish Owl – War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

Next up is War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman.

As the name might suggest, this is a Magic: The Gathering tie-in novel. I have not played the trading card game, but lots of my friends are obsessed with it and some of them invited me to join a Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in the MTG world Ravnica.

Do you know how hard it is to make a good character backstory when you know nothing about the world said character lives in?

It’s pretty damn hard.

So I went into research mode after the first session. But the info dumps I got from watching YouTubers talk lore were a bit hard to keep straight in my head. But luckily for a bookworm like me, there’s also Magic: The Gathering novels! And it turns out that they (or at least the one I have read at the moment of writing this) are even quite good.

It was a bit hard to keep track of the large cast of characters in War of the Spark: Ravnica, but it’s written in such a way that even Magic noobs like myself can easily follow the story. And when I played D&D last Saturday, I recognized a name mentioned in passing by an NPC (Kaya, who had failed the mission we were about to be given) and immediately knew what that meant. Even better,  I got to explain character lore to one of my fellow players who plays a lot of MTG.

Yes, I’m a smug bastard when I suddenly know things.

Long story short: This is a good book, and I now know who all the people trying to kill me in my D&D campaign are.


War of the Spark: Ravnica
by Greg Weisman

Teyo Verada wants nothing more than to be a shieldmage, wielding arcane energies to protect his people from his world’s vicious diamondstorms. When he’s buried alive in the aftermath of his first real tempest, the young mage’s life is about to end before it can truly begin—until it doesn’t. In a flash, a power he didn’t know he had whisks him away from his home, to a world of stone, glass, and wonder: Ravnica. Teyo is a Planeswalker, one of many to be called to the world-spanning city—all lured by Nicol Bolas, the Elder Dragon. Bolas lays siege to the city of Ravnica, hungry for the ultimate prize: godhood itself. His unparalleled magic and unstoppable army appear poised to bring the city to utter ruin.

Among those who stand in the way of Bolas’s terrifying machinations are the Gatewatch, Planeswalkers sworn to defeat evil, no matter where it’s found. But as they work to unite the other mages and mount a defense of the city and its people, the terrifying truth of Bolas’s plan becomes clear. The Elder Dragon has prepared a trap to ensnare the most powerful mages from across the Multiverse—and it’s too late to escape.

As forces great and small converge on the city and the battle rages, the stakes could not be higher. If the Gatewatch falters and the Planeswalkers fail, the curtain will fall on the age of heroes—and rise on the infinite reign of Nicol Bolas.


War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

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The Bookish Owl – Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

Time to shoot some aliens, with Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett.

This is the first book in the Johnny Maxwell trilogy.

It might not have aged as well as Pratchett’s other books, but the overall message about how we’re numb to the horrors of war fits as well today as it must have done in the 90s. In the book it’s the Gulf War they’re referring to, but it might as well have been any of the wars over the last thirty years.

But despite the timeless morale, I think kids today would have a really hard time relating to this book, considering they have never known a time where space invader games were ‘cutting edge’…


Only You Can Save Mankind
by Terry Pratchett

It’s just a game . . . isn’t it?

The alien spaceship is in his sights. His finger is on the Fire button. Johnny Maxwell is about to set the new high score on the computer game Only You Can Save Mankind.

Suddenly, a message appears:
We wish to talk. We surrender.

But the aliens aren’t supposed to surrender—they’re supposed to die!


Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

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The Bookish Owl – The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

It’s time for The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo.

This is a collection of fairy tales set in the Grishaverse and they are all wonderfully dark. We’re talking far more Grimm than Disney here… and then a tad darker than that.

The book itself is absolutely gorgeous, both inside and out. It’s a beautiful hardcover book and each page inside is illustrated. At first I thought that every page in a specific story had the same illustration, but if you pay attention, you can see that it changes subtly for every page and the changes actually provides ominous hints to what’s to come later in the story. It’s genius.

As I said, the stories are set in the Grishaverse (which consists of books like the Shadow and Bone trilogy and King of Scars), but they can easily be read without having read any of the other books. I would recommend The Language of Thorns to anyone who enjoys dark fairy tales!


The Language of Thorns
by Leigh Bardugo

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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The Bookish Owl – Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne by David Gaider

Dragon Age The Stolen Throne

Here be dragons! Just in case the ‘dragon’ in Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne by David Gaider didn’t clue you in…

The Stolen Throne is the prequel to Dragon Age: Origins, the first game in one of my all-time favorite video game franchises. And it follows Prince Maric, the father of my all-time favorite character Alistair, during his rebellion against the Orlesian usurper of the Fereldan throne. You also get to see a lot of Loghain, Jackass Supreme in Origins, but very nearly likable in this book.

Though still a jackass.

While The Stolen Throne is a good and well-written book, I think I had expected a bit more from something written by David Gaider, who was the lead writer for Dragon Age: Origins. The thing about the Dragon Age games is that they have characters you can’t help falling in love with, but the characters in this book didn’t make much of an impact on me. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them well enough and I enjoyed the book… but it just didn’t have that special something I get from the games.


If you’re a fan of the Dragon Age games as well, check out my rambling post on my favorite DA companions! Or wait around for my future Bookish Owl post on Hard in Hightown by Varric Tethras…


Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne
by David Gaider

After his mother, the beloved Rebel Queen, is betrayed and murdered by her own faithless lords, young Maric becomes the leader of a rebel army attempting to free his nation from the control of a foreign tyrant.

His countrymen live in fear; his commanders consider him untested; and his only allies are Loghain, a brash young outlaw who saved his life, and Rowan, the beautiful warrior maiden promised to him since birth. Surrounded by spies and traitors, Maric must find a way to not only survive but achieve his ultimate destiny: Ferelden’s freedom and the return of his line to the stolen throne. 


Dragon Age The Stolen Throne

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The Bookish Owl – Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Lights! Camera! Action! It’s Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett.

This has always been my least favorite Discworld book, but I did like it a little better upon rereading it. I do, however, think it could have been vastly improved by more scenes with the wizards. Especially since this is the book that introduces Archchancellor Ridcully, my favorite wizard and nightmare boss. But then again, there’s only so many times the poor Bursar can be nearly shot by his new boss before he loses it, and he did deserve to keep his sanity, at least until the end of the book…

But the mental image of most of Unseen University’s faculty clinging to to Windle Poon’s racing wheelchair while screaming their heads off was amazing, and I could have used more of that. Compared to that, Victor just wasn’t that interesting a main character.


Moving Pictures
by Terry Pratchett

‘Holy wood is a different sort of place. People act differently here. Everywhere else the most important things are gods or money or cattle. Here, the most important thing is to be important.’

People might say that reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess weight. Sadly alchemists never really held with such a quaint notion. They think that they can change reality, shape it to their own purpose. Imagine then the damage that could be wrought if they get their hands on the ultimate alchemy: the invention of motion pictures, the greatest making of illusions. It may be a triumph of universe-shaking proportions. It’s either that or they’re about to unlock the dark terrible secret of the Holy Wood hills – by mistake…


Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett