Book Review: Dragon Age: Asunder by David Gaider

Asunder (Dragon Age, #3)Asunder by David Gaider

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Series: Dragon Age #3

Publisher: Titan Publishing Company

Publication Date: 2011

Author Info: dgaider.tumblr.com


Wendy’s Rating 3 of 5: Despite the presence of three beloved characters from Dragon Age: Origins and a few amusing moments with them, the characters in Asunder fell flat for me – which is very unusual since I love Gaider’s characterization.

If you’re still clinging to the hope that your Warden and Darkspawn will show up in Dragon Age: Inquisition, this book should remove that silly notion. Darkspawn did make a brief appearance (though sadly, no random ogres) and the Hero of Ferelden is mentioned a few times, but otherwise, Asunder firmly establishes the Mage/Templar War as the new focus of this age.

Taking place a year after Anders blew up the Kirkwall Chantry, things are not particularly good for mages. Not that they were good before, but now a lot of the Circles have been put on lockdown by the templars, with some already sacrificed to the Right of Annulment. Asunder literally takes us deep into the heart of the White Spire, the Orlais Circle, and shows us just how poorly treated the mages are. Even without a war to fuel the templars, mages clearly don’t live a good life within the many of the Circles and we get some insight that was conspicuously missing from Dragon Age II.

First, we meet Cole, vaguely known as the Ghost of the Spire. He spends most of his time in the Pit, where mages are brought for punishment. He is also, apparently, a murderer, but since no one else can see him, blame for the murders falls on Enchanter Rhys, a spirit medium and the only one who can see Cole. Along with the murders, there is also the inconvenience of a mage’s attempted murder of the Divine, the leader of the Chantry. None of this works in Rhys’ favour, so it’s fortunate for him that Enchanter Wynne of Blight fame requests his accompaniment on a special mission ordained by the Divine herself. Wynne’s friend Pharamond, a Tranquil, has been possessed by a demon – something that isn’t supposed to be possible since Tranquils are cut off from their magic. Pharamond’s research may also imply that the Rite of Tranquility can be reversed, which the templars are none too happy about. Knight-Commander Evangeline is sent along with Wynne, Rhys and another mage, Adrian, to assess the situation and do whatever is necessary to protect the templars’ interests.

Wynne still won’t talk to me about griffons.

While the templars continue to be painted in a very poor light as they were in the game, Evangeline serves as a counter. She believes in her duty and in the templars, but she does not follow the orders of the Lord Seeker blindly and, most importantly, respects mages as human beings. With this in mind, the outcome of events is not particularly difficult to predict.

One of the things I’ve loved about Gaider’s writing is his characters. I’ve even been able to overlook weak plots just because the characters and their interactions were so well done. Yet despite the presence of three beloved characters from Dragon Age: Origins, the characters in Asunder fall flat. There are some amusing moments with Shale’s snark and Wynne revealing what she’d really been doing while I was busy in the Deep Roads, but otherwise, this was a rather dull journey. It provided some interesting information that I assume will have significant ramifications in the future game. We also get a few hints about what the Orlesian Empress Celene is up to, which I assume will be expanded upon in Dragon Age: The Masked Empire. But overall, I don’t think I would have lost much by just reading the wiki version.

6 Comments on “Book Review: Dragon Age: Asunder by David Gaider”

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