Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck & Jeff Grubb – Book Review

This book review has been kindly provided by my friend Ross Phillips. Only recently have I discovered that my old school friend is also a complete fantasy and science fiction book worm and has a real talent for review writing. This book review is for ‘Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon which is based on the computer game Guild Wars. Ross is a self confessed Guild Wars nut, and so this review is from his perspective. I have never even heard of this game, never mind the book (sorry Ross!) but after this review I will be sure to seek it out and give you my comments on it as a ‘newbie’. Without further a do: 

Summary courtesy of Amazon250 years ago, Ascalon burned . . .Desperate to defend his land from advancing hordes of bestial charr, King Adelbern summoned the all-powerful Foefire to repel the invaders. But magic can be a double-edged sword—the Foefire burned both charr and human alike. While the charr corpses smoldered, the slain Ascalonians arose again, transformed by their king’s rage into ghostly protectors and charged with guarding the realm . . . forever. The once mighty kingdom became a haunted shadow of its former glory.
Centuries later, the descendants of Ascalon, exiled to the nation of Kryta, are besieged on all sides. To save humankind, Queen Jennah seeks to negotiate a treaty with the hated charr. But one obstacle remains. The charr legions won’t sign the truce until their most prized possession, the Claw of the Khan-Ur,is returned from the ruins of fallen Ascalon.
Now a mismatched band of adventurers, each plagued by ghosts of their own, sets forth into a haunted, war-torn land to retrieve the Claw. Without the artifact, there is no hope for peace between human and charr—but the undead king who rules Ascalon won’t give it up easily, and not everyone wants peace!



‘This is a book that was recommended to me a long time ago by a fellow Guild Wars nerd but I have been putting it off for a while, why? Because I have yet to read a single book based on the lore of this computer game that hasn’t been utter rubbish, and since I view Guild Wars lore as the best of them all (by a huge margin) I was loath to go and ruin it by reading a half baked attempt by a slightly broke author to make a quick buck out of its success.

But boy was in for a treat.

Now I should kick off by saying as a Guild Wars fan my review will be bias, as I already know a lot of the histories, places and cultures featured and therefore ‘get’ a lot of the references and little in-jokes but even with that considered I think a newcomer to the lore of Tyria would not find it much of a challenge to keep up as everything that you need to know is explained along the way in a concise and not too intrusive manner. This is helped by a few of the less well informed characters asking the questions themselves that the reader is may be asking, but whether any of this works or not is not really my place to say.

What I can say is this is possibly the most well rounded and enjoyable fantasy book that I have read this year at the very least. It is written from the 3rd person perspective but only from the point of view of the main character, while seeming quite a basic way of doing things at first it becomes more and more engaging throughout, as we truely see not only how he sees the rich and well fleshed world around him but more importantly his companions.

Not only is the world very rich but the supporting characters are as well. Each one having depth and true personality whole still retaining a cultural identity which means you find yourself getting increasingly attached to them as the book goes on.

But nothing is perfect, if I had to find faults with this book I would start with the fact that it is very short. While this means there are no real ‘boring segments’ it also means that all the history and character back story is a little crammed in. While I had no problems keeping up, a reader not so well aquainted with Guild Wars lore may find it difficult to digest (but as I’ve said, thats not something I can really judge on). Another thing which slightly irritates me is this book has rather an abrupt ending, at the end of the last chapter you turn the page expecting to find a epilogue but its just not there, which is a shame because it could really do with one.

So if I(as a Guild Wars fan) had to rate this book id give it a 8/10′

Thanks for reading,
Love Ross & Rie x

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