First of all – it’s quite average book. In its heart it’s a very generic fantasy adventure. Small team of heroes gathers up and goes on a mission to retrieve a very important artifact. The characters are flat and they’re constantly falling into various cliches. For instance, If you see the norn he/she will be boasting and swinging the axe. The asura will tell everyone around how smart he is and then toss some fancy gadgets… You got the idea.
Also the characters quarrel with each other like a small kids – and that’s just annoying. Strange to see such type of behavior from seasoned veterans. It’s a pity that there are no tries to create a character with thinking outside of the box. And that’s why heroes’ actions are very predictable.
The story has some unpredictable twists, though. Several time I was surprised by unexpected things suddenly happening all around the main team. I think that’s saved the book from being poor reading and keeps it at so-so level.
Close similarity between the charr military order and modern human armies also disturbed me. Standard “Sir, yes, sir!” answer – that’s not what I expect to hear from harsh feline soldiers.
However, despite my criticism I’ve enjoyed the novel. I picked it up hoping to read lore-wise introduction to Guild Wars 2. This book does very well. Actually, it’s more like brief lore guide tied with fantasy adventure rather than pure fantasy fiction.
Every new character, place and history event mentioned on the novel pages leads to small story and tells you something about the Guild Wars 2 setting. There are short introduction for every race (with emphasis on charrs and humans), two versions of Foefire legend (from human and charr perspective), brief tourists guides to Lion’s Arch, Divinity’s Reach and Ebonhawke, etc. And of course there is a dead city of Ascalon filled with ghosts.
To be honest, there is nothing in this book that you cannot dig from official Guild Wars 2 wiki. Actually, the wiki is more comprehensive than three or five novels like this combined. But I found that learning game lore by reading adventure story is much convenient than reading the cold formal wiki entries.
So, if you want to know more about the Guild Wars 2 setting and learn some information about the events of original Guild Wars: Prophecies campaign – I can recommend this book. Not as thrilling fiction but as good newbie lore guide.
But if you already know a lot about the Tyria – skip it.