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

This week we’re taking a trip to the modern era. Thanks to shipping issue I wasn’t able to get the next book in the Ice Age cycle in time for this week’s review. So I perused the list of which books were available as eBooks and decided to revisit the Theros story this week. I had originally planned to review Theros and Journey Into Nyx as a two-part review at the end of this series, but instead I read both books for this week (they’re short). So take a break from the days of the Brothers War and Urza Planeswalker as we meet up with Elspeth and Xenagos for a tale of gods and planeswalkers.

by Jenna Helland

Godsend is a two-part eBook series which tells the story of Elspeth and Xenagos in Theros. As you know, Theros is the plane inspired by Greek mythology and features gods and myths bigger than reality. Our story begins with Elspeth arriving on Theros as a young girl, but already a planeswalker. She arrives in the midst of a battle between two of the gods. Heliod, the god of the sun, is battling Purphoros, the god of the forge. Purphoros has crafted a sword that can tear apart the fabric of the divine realm, and in the battle it falls to Theros where Elspeth finds it.

She takes the sword, and asks a young boy what this world is. He tells her it is Theros before Heliod comes down to them in mortal form. Elspeth planeswalks away from Theros and goes on to other adventures while the boy, Daxos, becomes an oracle of Heliod.

Elspeth is a woman of great conflict who is simply seeking peace and protection. After experiencing terrible suffering on Alara, Dominaria, and New Phyrexia, Elspeth travels to Theros to find out if having gods makes it any safer than the rest of the multiverse. She begins a quest to seek out the temples of each god and learn what they’re about and try to find an answer to her question. Her journey will bring her to Akros and Meletis, temples of many gods, face-to-face with an assassin-oracle of Phenax, face-to-face with the ten-headed Polukranos, and finally to the temple of Heliod in Meletis.

In the meantime, another planeswalker on Theros is hard at work figuring out this whole divinity thing. Xenagos, a satyr who is native to the plane, has decided that he wants to become a god and rule over the pantheon. In his home in the Skola Valley he has been laying the plans for his ascension for years. Slowly damaging Nyx piece by piece. His plans are complex, and deeply layered, and none of the gods or their oracles see it coming, while only Elspeth and her divine weapon can stop him.

A full cast of characters from Theros will join Elspeth on her ordeal including Anax and Cymede, Anthousa, Setessan Hero, Brimaz, King of Oreskos, Daxos of Meletis, Medomai the Ageless, and Elspeth’s dear friend Ajani.

Overall Rating: 4.0 — There are two strong points that make Godsend a worthwhile read. First, the book is full of Vorthos lore of Theros. While only two of the three major cities are featured, you get a real feel for what life in Akros is like, and a glimpse at life in Meletis and Setessa. At the same time you also get to learn much about many of the gods featured in the book including Heliod, Nylea, Purphoros, Thassa, Erebos, Athreos, Phenax, Kruphix, Mogis, and Iroas. The others are mentioned in passing as well.

There’s also a surprise cameo by Kiora!

The second point is that Jenna Helland does a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life. You get a deep look into the emotional motivations and the character qualities of Elspeth, Xenagos, and Daxos. The question about the nature of gods is one that takes a toll on everyone in the story in one way or another. Being able to see how it affects everyone differently, and how it affects Elspeth’s search for peace, is a very rewarding experience.

Next Week’s Book—The Eternal Ice by Jeff Grubb

After the darkness comes the ice.

That’s the catch line on the back cover of The Eternal Ice. This is the continuing story of the mage Jodah as we move from the Dark into the Ice Age chapter of Dominaria’s history. Yes, the Fallen Empires expansion came between those, but that was covered in another novel.

The Eternal Ice also features another name you may recognize from your Ice Age collection: Lim Dul the necromancer. Tune in next week to learn more!

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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