Ghosts of Ascalon - Matt Forbeck, Jeff Grubb Originally posted at The BiblioSanctum

I read [b:Edge of Destiny|8585524|Edge of Destiny (Guild Wars, #2)|J. Robert King||13454870] early in my Guild Wars 2 career and stepped into that book expecting to find incredible stories of the heroes that were mentoring my various characters. Instead I found a bunch of emotional teenagers whose failure to defeat an elder dragon in the book had turned them into bitter, whiny teenagers in the game. The events of Destiny’s Edge and the actions of the characters dropped my opinion of them and undoubtedly affected my appreciation of the overall story. I was willing to accept that my low rating of Edge of Destiny had a lot to do with my new found bias against the characters, but in reading Ghosts of Ascalon now, I have come to realize that Edge of Destiny really was not that impressive in its storytelling and certainly not in its characterization. Ghosts of Ascalon, similar to Edge of Destiny, features a group of unlikely companions working together towards a task for the greater good – in this case, finding the Claw of Khan-Ur in hopes of aiding the truce talks between centuries long enemies, humans and charr. The group consists of varied personalities, many of which do not get along, but their conflicts were not tedious and I appreciated the way the different characters so strongly represented the basic character traits of their respective races, while still developing unique personalities and growing as characters as the story progressed.

Further more, through these characters and their conflicts, the book did a very good job of bridging the gap between Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 by explaining a lot of the events of the past and present, without it reading like a condescending history lesson. Among many other details, the book tells about both sides of the war from the rival humans and charr. I started playing Guild Wars specifically to learn the lore of the series for myself, but this book serves as an acceptable background reader – at least for the Prophecies storyline.

Playing the game helped me easily visualize the descriptions of places, creatures and even the different fighting styles of the characters, but I think the author did a good job of making it all accessible to a new reader, as well.

The plotting was a bit weak in its purpose, but I really won’t fault the book itself for this. Guild Wars 2 has been disappointing, plotwise, especially in comparison to its predecessor. It has been disappointing characterwise, as well. However, Ghosts of Ascalon was far from disappointing with its characters and it is unfortunate that these characters, who played as large a role in history, are minor NPCs within the game itself, while less interesting and far more annoying characters like the members of Destiny’s Edge are so prominent.