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.

by J. Robert King

It’s impressive how much content there is in Planeshift. Unfortunately it’s not all that great. Like, not even half of it is that great, to be honest. The story follows the action on many fronts during the Phyrexian invasion, immediately following the Rathi overlay. You may recall, from the end of Invasion, that our heroes were victorious in the battle of Koilos. Tsabo Tavoc was defeated. The Gate to Phyrexia was sealed permanently. All seemed right in the world, until the Rathi overlay.

Things get a bit crazy as Urza, who has assembled his Planeswalker Titan squad, sends parts of the allied forces all over Dominaria to fight Phyrexians. Eladamri and Liin-Sivi are sent to Keld, where Skyshroud has been overlaid. Agnate and the Metathran are sent to Urborg, where Volrath’s Stronghold has been overlaid. Darigaaz and the dragon nations are sent to Shiv, where Teferi has removed the entire continent from existence. Gerrard and the Weatherlight remain at Koilos to help Urza deal with the threat there.

This guy eventually got his own card in Time Spiral but why does he even exist?

The next 250 pages or so are a fairly hard to follow romp through the battlefronts of the invasion. This wouldn’t be a bad thing, necessarily, except that our author decides to introduce a handful of brand new concepts to make our lives exceedingly difficult. I don’t want to spoil too much, but let’s be clear, this is the finale of a story that is almost a decade in the making. Maybe now isn’t the time to add new major characters and plot points.

Sigh. The characters of our story are already interesting. The story itself is already interesting. We don’t need to massively over-complicate things.

Could have been a bigger plot point. Wasn’t.

But, King doesn’t end there. In addition to completely over-complicating the story, he ends on what I believe is a wholly unbelievable plot twist. I won’t spoil it, but it’s confusing and hard to believe.

Overall Rating: 2.0 — I was very displeased with Planeshift for the two primary reasons above. This is supposed to be the climax of the epic conclusion to a story that began with Magic’s second expansion set: Antiquities. Almost ten years later we should get to see our main players at the peak of their glory. We shouldn’t be inundated with side-plots and elaborate Rube Goldberg machine-esque plot twists. This should have been an easy story to tell.

How did this reunion only get two paragraphs of text?

Next Week’s Book—Apocalypse by J. Robert King

Next week we finally get to wash our hands of Urza Planeswalker, Gerrard Capashen, and the rest of the crew of the Weatherlight (mostly). Hopefully King can dig himself back into a reasonable end for this story, otherwise it’s going to be a very disappointing conclusion to many, many years of combined storytelling.

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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