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.

The Darksteel Eye
by Jess Lebow

When we last left our hero, Glissa, Sunseeker, she had triumphed in reaching the center of Mirrodin only to discover that it is in fact hollow and ruled by a maniacal guardian named Memnarch. Everything she had ever known had been turned upside-down. She managed to travel to the lands of the leonin, the nim, the goblins, and the vedalken, learning all she could before entering the core and learning the truth of her world.

Now Glissa is on the run as Memnarch hunts her down for reasons unknown. With the help of her friends Bosh, Slobad, and Bruenna she is able to return to her home in the Tangle and meet again with the trolls and learn her true destiny is to confront Memnarch. The elders give her the Helm of Kaldra and reveal that she already bears the Sword of Kaldra. Unfortunately the Shield of Kaldra is within the Mephidross and Glissa must travel there and confront Geth to retrieve it.

Thus begins the journey of the second chapter of our novel.

In the meantime we learn more about the vedalken society which is falling apart at the seams, and about Memnarch’s insanity. The latter is far more interesting as Memnarch absolutely reveres Karn, his creator. It is an interesting predicament to know exactly how you came to be and what your purpose is (to guard Mirrodin). But then Karn left, and Memnarch became lonely. He started experimenting on the Blinkmoths which is how he discovered the serum. He soon began trapping other creatures from other planes like the humans, elves, goblins, trolls, and so on.

And then came the plague. A virus that slowly began turning metal creatures into flesh. Memnarch remembered the story his creator had told him about how Karn had become a planeswalker. He was in the presence of another planeswalker, Urza, when Karn was just a construct, like Memnarch. Urza and Karn were destroyed in an incredibly powerful blast but Karn became a planeswalker instead of dying. Memnarch decided to do the same, and discovered that Glissa had the spark potential to become a planeswalker. He also decided that when Mirrodin’s Core ejected the green sun it would provide the destructive force needed to ascend. Good plan.

As the pieces fall into place and Glissa’s journey takes her back to the Mephidross and then deep into Mirrodin’s Core she learn’s more about herself and her friends and that’s part of what makes the Mirrodin stories so great. Bosh becomes infected with the same plague that has been turning Memnarch to flesh and he becomes part flesh. But as Bosh becomes fleshy he also learns what it means to be a person, not just a construct. It’s the kind of character depth we have really not seen in Magic novels in a very long time, certainly not throughout the Urza story-line.

Overall Rating: 4.0 — I was enamored with the story of Glissa, Slobad, and Bosh in Moons of Mirrodin and the sequel did not disappoint. In true trilogy fashion the story ends with a hollow victory as Glissa and Slobad survive the birth of the green sun/moon but at a great cost in the form of the lives of their friends. Once again we get another stellar cliffhanger ending wondering if it was all worth it, and what the coming of the green sun/moon means for the people of Mirrodin.

The Urza/Weatherlight saga lasted for more than a dozen books and it never had the depth of storytelling that the Mirrodin trilogy has. Memnarch is a way better villain than Yawgmoth. Glissa is a way better hero than Urza or Gerrard. Slobad and Bosh and Bruenna are just as entertaining as the crew of the Weatherlight. I really can’t wait to get on to the final chapter.

Next Week’s Book—The Fifth Dawn by Cory Herndon

The green sun has finally risen over the tangle completing the last component of Mirrodin’s five sun/moon collection. Did Memnarch survive the ejection from the core? Will Glissa finally get to rest? Will Karn come back and fix everything? With a full 300 page novel left to read I’m pretty sure the answers are yes, no, and hopefully not!

The Fifth Dawn will close out what I have to admit has been the most entertaining collection of Magic stories since the Jaya Ballard/Jodah tales from The Dark/Ice Age. Don’t miss out on the conclusion next week!

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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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