No I haven’t made some hilarious typo, this really is a book review, but the book in question is based in the world of ‘Runescape’ – one of the biggest free to play online RPGs.
Starting off in the city of Falador, in the Kingdom of Asgarnia, the story revolves around six key characters that are forced together by fate to unite against common enemies. Theodore is a Squire who is aiming to become one of the Knights of Falador; a noble order intent on upholding the ideals of their God ‘Saradomin’. Kara-Meir is a mysterious blonde girl, magically transported to Falador, half dead but with vengeance burning in her eyes.
Castimir is a young but gifted Wizard, and lifelong friend of Theodore, although he worries about the path Theodore has chosen. Ebenezer is an old, yet resourceful Alchemist, with a scientific mind that puts Theodore’s religious beliefs to the test. Gar’rth is a feral boy who was found in the wilderness. He has an affliction that Ebenezer is trying to cure, but it could put everyone in danger – is Gar’rth even human? Finally there is the Master Dwarf Doric, who is old and wise, and after the monster responsible for scaring the townsfolk into burning down his house.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began Betrayal at Falador, having never really paid much attention to Runescape, however I was pleasantly surprised. The book starts off with a bang (literally) with the puzzling appearance of a dying Kara-Meir, and this pace rarely lets up throughout the following 497 pages. It took a while for me to get into it properly, but once the introductions have been made and the story kicks off and gets going the book definitely has that ‘just one more page’ factor, to the point where I was up until 2am because I wanted to know how it all ended.
Character development is good and you end up genuinely concerned about this rag tag bunch of friends as bit by bit they form a close bond. The main enemy ‘Sulla’ does lack a bit of menace, but luckily that is more than made up for with the introduction of ‘the monster’; someone/thing that is hunting one of the six friends with an unrelenting hunger and fierce intelligence. There are also strong religious tones throughout as each warring faction is fighting in the belief that the God they worship has the correct ideals, be it Saradomin; or Zamorak the chaos God.
If I had one negative it would be that at points it feels very similar to Lord of the Rings. In fact, one of the battles played out much like Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. This didn’t spoil the experience in any way, but the thought does sit at the back of your head.
- Good story
- Interesting characters
- Leaves you wanting more
- Sometimes the pacing is too fast
- Overly familiar in places
Overall I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the fantasy genre, and I can’t wait for the follow up which has a planned release of February 2011.