I've kept meaning to get back to the booklogging/video game write-ups, and so on, and then got reminded of this through another post. So here goes, while I'm actually a) here and b) thinking about it.
Okay, now to try to talk about the book without really spoiling things. The book takes place after the main events in Kirkwall, once Shit Has Gotten Real, but before the whole framing device takes place. In fact, in a way it chronicles some of the stuff that really goes chaotic, and helps to bring about that framing device in the first place. I mean, as a secondary cause, if you're going to consider Kirkwall as the spark that got things lit up. If Kirkwall was a spark, the stuff in this book is, maybe, an accellerant?
But even that's only a side thing. Really the story is mostly about a handful of characters, and a specific task (or few of them), in the context of the larger political shitstorm brewing around them. Sorta like Dragon Age 2 in that regard, really. I mean, overall that game is about the struggles of mage vs. templar in a way, but when you're playing the game itself it's more about Hawke and her/his merry band of misfits. This is similar, in that context.
Okay, now that I've blabbed about a general overview long enough, how about specifics? Well,I think it won't be spoily to say that the action takes place in Orlais, which, if it is the site of the next Dragon Age game as suspected, could make the book a bit of an appetizer in that regard. It follows a main character who is... strongly linked to one of the characters in Dragon Age: Origins, and in fact brings a few of those companions into the plot. We also get to view some mages and some templars close-up, and get even more of a grasp on the tension between the two factions, how they could work together, how they could pull apart.
Man, this is hard! I don't want to be all spoilypants and blab about who, and what, and what they're doing and what's going on, but at the same time I'm left not knowing what to say. It doesn't help that what the characters are doing isn't even so much what the book is ABOUT, if that makes sense. I mean, the book seems to be more about getting to know some new characters, possibly setting the stage for Dragon Age 3, and revisiting some old characters, and what they're doing along the way is just kind of... incidental.
So rather than try to dance around spoilers and continuing to be all vague and stuff, I'll just go on to my impressions/recommendations. On the one hand, the book isn't a masterpiece of literature or anything. I mean, even aside from it being a video game tie-in and thus not a contender for the Great Serious Classics, it's not extremely gripping in its own right. I mean, it's not *horrible*, I didn't feel like I was slogging through just to get it read, but I wasn't staying up til the wee hours of the morning unable to put it down, either.
That said though, I'm still glad I read it. Why? Because a) we get to see what happens to some of the characters from Origins, which is always good, b) we get to get some more insight of some of the aspects of the setting that is difficult in the games even with the Codex entries and such, and c) I have a strong suspicion that some of these characters are going to turn out to be important, or at least popping up, in the next game. Or at least the events of the book will help to get further perspective on the background of the game.
So, yeah. Not an OMG page-turner, but if you're a fan of the series, you could make worse choices of reading material.