With their return to the plane of Ravnica, it’s no surprise that Wizards decided to undo their decision to drop the Magic novels and put out a story taking place on what seems to be everyone’s favorite plane. (…well, almost everyone’s. I’m a Mirrodin girl, personally, but I digress.) Fans are riding high on the chance to interact more with their favorite guilds, and this is certainly a great way to appease them…and get them to drop a few more bucks.
The Secretist, Part 1 was released November 27 as the first novella of a three part e-book, written by Doug Beyer, writer and creative designer on Magic’s R&D creative team. So the dude knows flavor, and it shows in this quick, 60-something page read.
A huge upgrade from the last novel they put out under the Magic name, The Secretist delivers a well-written, intriguing plot that doesn’t baby the reader or explain too much. I’d say that you do have to have a bit more knowledge about the multiverse going into this one than other titles in this line have required, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in my book. It kind of feels like they’ve realized that catering to the established fans for these rather than trying to draw in a general audience is the better choice. I guess we’ll see.
The Secretist starts by dropping us on Ravnica in brain of Jace Beleren, where he’s researching a code that he’s stumbled upon. In true Jace fashion, he finds out just a bit too much and lands himself in some trouble spanning the guilds, which are on the brink of their own implosion since the Guildpact dissolved. We’re reunited with his old friend Emmara, but are introduced to a myriad of new players; most notably, planeswalker Ral Zarek, an Izzet guildmage working closely with the dragon, Niv-Mizzet.
New planeswalker and a dragon? Clearly, I’m a fan of the story so far.
Jace is Jace, same as always, and as much as using him in-game kills me a little, I really do love his character in the novels. He’s brilliant, but he does such stupid things sometimes (I can relate, hah. *sigh*) and the way Beyer writes him really draws the reader in, making you feel pity for the blue mage.
In fact, Beyer did a great job of writing all the characters. And the settings. And the guilds. His level of description is just right – enough to draw you in and really feel part of the story, but not so much that you find yourself skimming over boring parts and skipping to the action. You get to jump between different points of view, not in a jarring, disjointed way, but in a well thought out, consistent way that maintains the flow and action. Simply put, there are no boring parts. I sped through this novella in under an hour and was disappointed only once – when I hit the end.
Part 2 will release just after Gatecrash, February 26, but you can get The Secretist, Part 1 now for only $1.99 at Amazon (for Kindle), Barnes & Noble (for Nook), or Google Play / Kobo (for desktops and basically everything else!). Want a sneak peek before dropping money on it? Check out a sample chapter on Wizards’ website.