Welcome to our 2016 52 in 52 series. This year I will be reading 52 Magic: the Gathering novels spanning two decades of Vorthos lore. Each week I’ll share my review of the book along with a synopsis for those of you who are just interested in the core of the story.

52 in 52

I’m not going to beat around the bush here, this book was not enjoyable.

Song of Time
by Teri McLaren

This is the incredibly choppy and confusing story of an Argivian Archaeologist who sets out on a journey to find his true name, turns out to be some kind of prince (or something, it’s kind of confusing), falls in love with a commoner who turns out to be some kind of princess (or something, it’s also kind of confusing), and befriends a songmage, an orc, a selkie, and an elf along the way to destroying a basilisk that was summoned by Urza thousands of years prior in his war against Mishra.

Still with me?

When I describe it that way it doesn’t actually sound too bad. I was pretty excited to read this book after the flashback prologue. Unfortunately things go downhill pretty rapidly after the exciting scenes with Mishra and a basilisk.

Our main character, Cheyne, is a whiny millennial who, in his early twenties, is frustrated that his foster father Javin won’t tell him about his mysterious past. Cheyne has no last name, no recollection of anything from before he was in a caravan attack at 10 years old, and also can’t see his own reflection. Javin just keeps telling Cheyne that it’s for his own good and he’s not ready yet. As the reader we know it’s because Cheyne must be related to the events of the prologue but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TELL YOUR 20 YEAR OLD SON THE TRUTH.

Anyways, Cheyne predictably strikes out on his own and predictably almost gets himself killed repeatedly. The rest of the characters are a cast of caricatures. There’s the evil villain Riolla who has her slaves carry her around in a covered sedan and never goes out in the sun so that her complexion stays pure (think Cruella deVille with magic). There’s the elderly ex-mage who agrees to lead our hero and recover his past glory on the way. Finally there’s the love interest who (of course) turns out to be a bad-ass fighter in her own respect but is still completely dominated by her confusing feelings for our hero.


The worst part isn’t even the cast of unbelievably trope characters. No, the worst part is the barely follow-able action sequences which jump from place to place so quickly I would have thought the world in which this all happens could fit in a place roughly the size of Staten Island. One moment we’re in a massive double-walled city and then we’re near an oceanside orc temple made of bones. A few minutes later we’re deep in a forest-river-selkie-city and almost right after that we’re in the arctic circle home of a frost-queen. Luckily only a short hop, skip, and jump from there is the elven kingdom and then it’s a quick shuttle bus to “The Chimes” which is where our macguffin lies.

I was dizzy by the end of it.

Overall Rating: 1.0 — I’ll give this book one out of five because of the decent nods to Magic Vorthos lore and to the hilarious idea that the “doom” hidden inside an Armageddon Clock is a basilisk and the equally hilarious idea that three millennia later people all agree that “Armageddon” must mean great wealth and treasure and clearly it was named to try to scare people away. Otherwise this book was awful and you shouldn’t read it.

Next Week’s Book—And Peace Shall Sleep by Sonia Orin Lyris

This will hopefully be an improvement over last week but that’s a very low bar to set. However, Sonia Orin Lyris did write one of the more memorable stories from Distant Planes so I do have some higher hopes. Here’s the Amazon preview for next week:

“Hired by the elf community to stir up trouble along the Icatian-Goblin border, Reod Dai knows that dragon eggs are the ideal weapon in the situation, but when the elves cancel their contract with Dai he must find another use for the dragon eggs–before they hatch.”

Hopefully hilarity will ensue with plenty of flavor from Fallen Empires which was a hilarious set anyways. Maybe there will even be a Hymn to Tourach for good measure or someone will invoke the name of Baron Sengir. Fingers Crossed!

Full Disclosure: The images of books in this review will take you to Amazon.com where you can purchase these books (and many more items, so I’m told). If you do so, Hipsters of the Coast will receive a small percentage of your money which will be used to ensure columns like this and many others can continue to exist. Please note that if you click the link then anything you purchase from Amazon in the next 24 hours (even if it isn’t this book) will provide us with a small percentage, so if you want to help support Hipsters of the Coast and need to buy a new vacuum cleaner then click away!

52 in 52 is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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