Review: The Myths of Magic.

“There is no greater slavery than love, and Yawgmoth believed her his slave. She knew not love, though, but love’s twin–hate.”

Magic: the Gathering: The Myths of Magic Anthology” edited by Jess Lebow

There’s a term for Magic: the Gathering fans such as myself, though I’ll have to ask my boyfriend what it is. See, I’m a special breed. He’s the one that actually plays the game; it seems I’m drawn to M:tG fans romantically because he’s not the first of my beaus to do it. Which means he’s not the first to gently suggest that I try to play the game. But I have tried, back in college, and that was when I discovered I’m far more of a Dungeons & Dragons girl. I need the story. I need to improvisation. I need something a little more creative than numbers and strategy.

That’s where the books come in. Because, while the game tends to bore me a little in itself, the worlds created in Magic: the Gathering are kind of astounding. Back in the mid-ninties until about the mid-2000s (I think), Wizards of the Coast produced books to go along with the various different Card sets. Now these are something I can get more into, with a vast array of interesting characters and situations, histories and wars, spanning over all sorts of centuries and aeons and tying together in a pretty impressive magical universe that I keep coming back to again and again.

They stopped making the books eventually, which saddens me, especially since the new set, Theros, is truly inspired. I reassure myself with the reminder that I still have many books to go through, and perhaps I can just write those damn stories myself now.

The Myths of Magic is a great little compendium spanning the different “sets” of Magic, different characters and histories and authors from the universe, that focuses on some of the legends and legendary figures. As with most anthologies, there are some pretty strong stories and some pretty average, underwhelming ones, but, overall, I really loved getting so many different eras in such a short amount of space. It’s incredibly fun to read as these authors continue to flesh out this collective universe, not too dissimilar with how the Star Wars extended universe works, especially during this same time, late-ninties, early 2000s. It’s hard to remove myself from the lore I already know, but I’d like to think this would be a solid introduction to the world if you were a new reader coming in, while, if you’re already well acquainted with Dominaria and Phyrexia, there’s plenty to enjoy and add to your appreciation of these worlds.

If anything, The Myths of of Magic Anthology gets credit for having quite possibly one of the most bizarre stories I’ve ever read, and Phillip Athans’ “Leviathan” alone is a reason to read this book. It’s not every day that world myths are told to us via a crustacean sage, giving us a somewhat masterful blend of what I will boldly describe as Sebastian the crab telling us the tale of Moby Dick meets Jonah. Several other stories, such as Paul B. Thompson’s “Blue Moon” and Scott McGough’s “Keldon Fire,” continue to give a pleasantly well-written and insightful look into the Magical legends. A fantastic addition to the repertoire of any avid world-builder, as this volume provides several unique perspectives and some incredibly creative stuff.

Books read: 019/100.


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