“What else was there in any life–human or artifact, mortal or immortal–besides a useful existence?”


Magic: The Gathering – Bloodlines – Artifacts Cycle Book VI” by Loren L. Coleman

With the completion of Bloodlines, I have officially read through an entire Magic: the Gathering book cycle. Now, I’m not much of a player of the card game; I’m too much of a D&D girl and found it difficult to really get enthusiastic about M:tG, but I do have a good amount of the books from when my fiance passed away, and they’re pretty entertaining reads. Not exactly classic canon material, or anything, but still, they tend to be pretty intriguing in storyline and sometimes even surprisingly well-written.

Bloodlines is, alas, not among those M:tG books. It’s a solid, decent tome, to be sure, but it seemed like a poor end to a pretty strong cycle. I get the feeling that Artifacts was originally intended to be a trilogy, and that Bloodlines was added into the group as an afterthought. Which is a strange feeling considering that this book eventually leads to the culmination of the battle between Dominaria and Phyrexia that’s been building up the past two books…but there you have it.

Bloodlines is basically the tale of the program started by Urza Planeswalker to try to create the perfect species to help defeat the terrible machine demons of Phyrexia. Among the brilliant minds to help him there are those who are uncertain, those who fully support his ideas, and those who wish to branch off on their own to create yet another kind of superrace. Some wish the process to be natural; some wish to exacerbate it; some wish it to end. Either way, the tale spans several generations, and never quite really gets a good hold on any of them (unlike the preceding book, Timestreams, which handled the time pockets excellently). By the time you feel familiar with a generation, they completely disappear, and it’s several decades later into the next one. It creates a big disconnect with the story and the pacing. Each of the Artifacts books were written by a different author, and Coleman was, for me, the least impressive. He uses more epithets than a Homeric epic, and, while he does a better job of bringing the world of Dominaria to life through his descriptions than any of the previous authors, his attention seems to be on the wrong things. I do like to connect with a setting, but not at the sacrifice of connecting with the characters.

Either way, it’s a neat little book series with some really great ideas of blending fantasy with machinery (steampunk before it was cool!!). Worth a look, though the last book did seem a poor end to finish out the series.

Books read: 008/100.

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