Asunder by David Gaider

Let me tell y’all about Dragon Age and how I’m obsessed with those games. For better or for worse. I have played hundreds of hours on each of the three games, I love the characters, I’m a downright nerd about the lore, the culture, the geography. I solely write Dragon Age fanfiction. Need I go on?

Asunder is the third tie-in novel for the Dragon Age games, taking place between the events of Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. And if you don’t know anything about mage-templar politics and Thedas, I can’t really help you there. But anyway, it’s about Rhys, Evangeline, and Cole–a mage, a templar, and a ???–and the discovery that they make that the Rite of Tranquility, a ritual that severs a mage’s connection to the Fade, therefore rendering them dreamless and emotionless and desireless, can be reversed. This discovery is something the Seekers of Truth don’t want being common knowledge because it would further rile up the mages who are already riled up from the Kirkwall Chantry explosion.

So, this book was really fun. According to my housemate, these books are relatively unique in that the writers of the games actually write the books. David Gaider was the head writer for the Dragon Age games, and therefore his books fit really well into the canon. As opposed to, say, the Mass Effect novels, which I hear are dreadful. Gaider writes pretty well, and I loved how he described places and seeing how they differed in my head from in the game. I could hear Wynne’s and Shale’s voices in my heads as they spoke, and I of course loved the politics and finding out the context behind events and characters in Inquisition. Especially the vote for mages’ independence. I am staunchly pro-mage.

I think the books do a better job of exploring the facets of each gray issue than the games do. In Asunder, for instance, the Libertarians, the Aequitarians, and the Loyalists are all given a voice, and it doesn’t feel like the book is trying to tell you who you should side with. Too much, anyway. I feel like it acknowledges the abuses the templars can inflict on the mages a lot more clearly and sympathetically than the games can. Especially in Dragon Age 2, since there’s so much flavor text that you may not even stumble upon, therefore understand that yes, it really is that bad. By the end of the book, I actually found myself sympathetic toward Evangeline, simply because she was the only templar who seemed reasonable in the book. Will wonders never cease?

I think I wanted it to be darker, though.

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