Thursday, December 27, 2018

Last Flight (Dragon Age #5) by Liane Merciel

I've been somewhat lukewarm about most of the Dragon Age spin-off fiction I've read so far, but Liane Merciel redeemed the franchise's fiction offerings for me in Last Flight. Also, I admit fully that I absolutely adore griffins, or griffons, as they are called in this novel.

The primary story is about the mage Valya, an elven mage who joins the Grey Wardens in their Weisshaupt fastness in the Anderfels more or less the time during the Dragon Age when Grey Wardens start going missing thanks to the evil machinations of the arch-villain Corypheus. (By my estimation, I may stand to be corrected.) She is tasked with researching the historical records of past Blights but in doing so, discovers the four-hundred-year-old journal of the elven Grey Warden mage Isseya, who with her twin brother Garahel were responsible for ending the fourth Blight. 

While the primary storyline isn't all that filled with drama – it's basically day-to-day life in Weisshaupt as Valya befriends a former Templar and kindles a friendship with another elf Warden Caronel, we do discover the story of Isseya's care of the last griffons that served as the winged mounts favoured by the Grey Wardens. And all that before they set off for a brief spell of adventuring near the end. Stock standard RPG stuff but fun nonetheless.

If you love Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern you'll get why I adored this bit of Thedosian history. By now if you've played through Dragon Age: Inquisition, you'll know that there's mention of Grey Wardens who discover griffon eggs... And this is the story of how this happens. It's straight-up questing and combat, featuring companions fighting against odds and making sacrifices. Which is what being a Grey Warden is all about.

Now I want to go write all the fanfiction about griffon riders... 

I digress...

Just a last note: Merciel's writing is lovely, and her characters spring to life off the pages. And if you're big on Dragon Age lore, especially when it comes to griffons, then don't miss out on Last Flight. I admit that I was a little choked up near the end.

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