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Opinion

Book Review: Runescape: Betrayal At Falador

It's magic.

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.

Pros

  • Good story
  • Interesting characters
  • Leaves you wanting more

Cons

  • 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.

Score: 8/10

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25 Comments
  1. XisTG
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    this might be the first book review in a gaming site. ever. :)

    Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:02.
    • Person678
      BOOM! Headshot!
      Since: Jan 2009

      They reviewed the God of War book :P

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:04.
    • Dan Lee
      Common like the rest of us.
      Since: Jun 2010

      we are all about the variety :oD

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:22.
    • rht992
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      first one i’ve seen and hey its always good to expand just so long as you don’t end up like tesco’s

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 16:35.
      • colossalblue
        Team TSA: Editor
        Since: Forever

        of course not… want to buy some carrots?

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 16:54.
  2. Nauraph
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Hmm… I’m totally not a fan of runescape.. but I do love fantasy books. Perhaps I’ll try this one out.
    Dan Lee, can you name some of the best fantasy books you’ve read?(those you would give a 10/10 or 9/10) Just for comparison.

    Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:06.
    • Dan Lee
      Common like the rest of us.
      Since: Jun 2010

      christ, my mind has gone blank. theres the LOTR trilogy, the hobbit, the one before that i cant spell (begins with S), His Dark Materials trilogy, the harry potter books. stuff like that

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:17.
      • Person678
        BOOM! Headshot!
        Since: Jan 2009

        His Dark Materials was fantastic! Bastards ruined the film though, cut off the bloody ending.

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:20.
      • Dan Lee
        Common like the rest of us.
        Since: Jun 2010

        agreed, i found the books to be fantastic

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:21.
      • jikomanzoku
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        yeah I loved them but found the third to be a bit like a first draft rather than a completed work. Daily Mail said Pullman was the most dangerous childrens author in britain after that series – bless their cotton socks.

        Comment posted on 25/10/2010 at 12:44.
    • Grey_Ghost13
      Member
      Since: Aug 2009

      One of my favourite heroic fantasy novelists was David Gemmel until he passed away. Legend is still regarded as a fantasy master piece. And the fatnasy movie with Tom Cruise is not based on it, before anyone asks. You should try some if his novels.

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:17.
      • Nauraph
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        I’ve read the Hawk Queen series from David Gemmel. Not the best thing I’ve read but it was certainly worth the time.

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:21.
      • Peco
        Member
        Since: Oct 2010

        I’m reading David Gemmell’s books now, they’re quite brilliant. Unfortunately the library here in Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a copy of Legend, I’m a bit gutted about that!

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 17:33.
    • Nauraph
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      Ah, alright. Thanks for the reply. ^^

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:18.
      • Grey_Ghost13
        Member
        Since: Aug 2009

        The Drenai tales are the better ones, there’s quite a few of them too.

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:29.
      • Nauraph
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        I’ll put them on my list. Thanks. =P

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:31.
      • Dan Lee
        Common like the rest of us.
        Since: Jun 2010

        you guys are gonna cost me money, i cant resist a good book.

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:32.
      • Nauraph
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        Than you should really try the books from George R. R. Martin.. best thing I ever read. Too bad that only 4/7 books are finished.
        And the Assassins Apprentice trilogy, from Robin Hobb, also some great stuff.

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:57.
      • Nauraph
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        Farseer Trilogy.. with Assassins Apprentice being the first book of the trilogy. I’ll stop spamming these comments now.

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:58.
    • TSBonyman
      Member
      Since: Dec 2009

      Robert Jordans Wheel of Time series was quite good and i believe there was some talk of a game based on it.
      Tad Williams Otherland books are also a great scifi fantasy read with particular interest to gamers.

      Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 15:41.
      • Liberi Fatali
        Member
        Since: Aug 2009

        Haha yeah Wheel of time… Blind Guardian sings about it I’m now interested in the book and to see how the game will out

        Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 19:36.
  3. dude90
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    Wanted to read this but went off the game 2 years ago, when knew I have a life.

    Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 16:40.
  4. Liberi Fatali
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    Wow Runescape… I tried to play it but it was so boring….

    Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 17:06.
  5. Kennykazey
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    Kingdom of Asgarnia… based on Åsgard, the home of the norse gods? LoTR was based on the Norse world known as Midgard (Middle-Earth), so it could certainly be possible. But let’s not get carried away by the details, I think I’ll pass this book as I don’t like the game.

    Comment posted on 22/10/2010 at 20:56.
  6. jikomanzoku
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    I’m not massively in to fantasy apart from Tolkien and Jordan but..

    Left Hand Of God by Paul Hoffman is great and was completely unexpected, as the authors first offering was Wisdom Of Crocodiles and predicted the financial crash – I’d recommend them both :)

    Comment posted on 25/10/2010 at 12:49.

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