Spoiler Warning: This Ghosts of Ascalon review is spoiler free only up until the indicated point.
So I finished reading GoA today on my commute to work. And well…. I was disappointed.
First of all, I thought this book wasn’t terribly well written. I’ve never been a fan of Jeff G’s writing style, at least not in his fantasy based-on-a-game books, even keeping in mind that it’s probably dumbed down to cater to gamers, not heavy book readers.
The awkward use of certain writing and plot devices at random points with no real use annoyed me (that ridiculously misplaced run-on sentence describing the scribe in the dungeon…), his abuse of repetition (trapdoor used 5 times in 2 paragraphs, “he said…she said…they said..said said said”), and random and terrible grammar (“They reached the top. Dougal feeling like a supplicant in the great temple.”) was really distracting from the story.
I also have a hard time enjoying when major plot points are told to us through characters but not shown. I understand that the book series’ aims to bridge the two games, but something about having a character go on for 2 pages telling the stale of what happened to this timeless hero of the past is dull, especially since it happened about four times. The book fell in this awkward no-man’s-land between trying to tell us of this current adventure that had a lot of potential while simultaneously bridging 250 years of lore.
The movement of the plot was slow; by the time real action actually started happening, it was 30 pages from finishing, and then it just -ends- abruptly.
That said, the characterization for the most part was great, and really what saved the book from being a total disappointment. I got a good feel for all the characters and races, although I’d argue it was almost stereotypical. I’d give this a C rating overall – enjoyable as a veteran Guild Wars player and fan of lore in general and decent characterization made it worthwhile. But it falls short in pacing and conclusion that left me feeling unsatisfied.
*Warning: Spoiler heavy beyond the jump….