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 Fifth Dawn
by Cory Herndon

And so we come to the final chapter of the Mirrodin story with the rising of the fifth sun over the maligned plane. Memnarch’s original plan for ascension has been ruined by Glissa and pals. Now everyone is on the hunt for her including her own kind.

Fifth Dawn follows pretty much the same plan as the other books, from the start at least. Glissa and Sloba are on the run from Memnarch and head to the Tangle where they’re apprehended by elves and put on trial for the murder of Glissa’s parents. It turns out Glissa’s sister Lyese actually survived the attack by the Levelers and blames Glissa for everything. A druid sees the farce in the trial however and Glissa escapes before everyone is attacked by the Vedalken.

Bruenna shows up to save the day but Slobad is captured by Memnarch. The two friends flee for the Leonin lands, with Glissa’s sister in tow. The Leonin welcome them with open arms but they’re being beaten badly in a war with the Nim. Glissa and Raksha head for the goblin shamans to try to form an alliance to fight the Nim. Bruenna, in the meantime, goes with the Leonin to fight the Nim.

Eventually though Bruenna is kidnapped and it turns out there is a new Nim leader who replaced Geth and is out to destroy the Leonin. This is conveyed to Glissa by the severed head that used to sit on Geth’s shoulders. Hilarity ensues. Glissa and a few Leonin leave for the Mephidross to save Bruenna.

At this point the action has been pretty nonstop and things seem on a pretty clear path until Glissa reaches Bruenna and triggers a trap and everything goes dark. She awakens to find Bruenna rousing her and informing her that five years have passed since Glissa found Bruenna in the Vault of Whispers.

So that’s exciting, but things quickly get back to action. There are a few more plot twists but I’ll leave you to find them for yourself. The character development in the series is pretty much completed by now and all that’s left is the action sequences with Glissa kicking the crap out of shiny, metal, robot ass.

Overall Rating: 3.5 — All in all I thought the Mirrodin story was enjoyable though I’m a bit disappointed in the ending. I will say this, I did not see the five-year jump in time coming. That’s some good storytelling. They didn’t use it to terribly good effect I suppose, but it did allow them to shake things up a little bit.

I wasn’t thrilled that the story has a happy ending. Glissa and Slobad defeat Memnarch. Mirrodin isn’t destroyed (yet, no spoilers). Karn returns to discover the mess Memnarch made in his absence. He gets a bit hand-wavey over why he couldn’t return earlier but it’s okay.

Glissa and Slobad’s friendship is a welcome reprieve from the usual garbage that gets put in fantasy stories. That level of character depth was refreshing and enjoyable. The supporting cast members such as Bruenna and Raksha also had a good level of interesting changes to them as the story progressed.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Mirrodin, which is unfortunate. And I think Memnarch’s continued spiral into depravity and insanity could have been better if he hadn’t just become a raving homicidal maniac. Still, the story was pretty good.

Next Week’s Book—Time Spiral by Scott McGough

Until Mirrodin, our stories were either entirely centered on Dominaria or peripherally related to it. We’ll be skipping the stories of Kamigawa and Ravnica block (they’re good but we have to get everything in under a limit) and jump ahead to Time Spiral, which tells the epic conclusion to the stories of Urza’s Legacy.

We join Teferi and Jhoira three centuries after the Phyrexian invasion as they return to post-Karona Dominaria to find it being literally torn apart at the seams thanks to millennium of planeswalker intervention. The multiverse is not happy, and the price will be very, very steep.

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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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