Review: Dragon Age, The Silent Grove #1

Prior to a civil war brought on by the Fifth Blight that tore the nation of Ferelden in two, King Cailan sat the throne but then he took an arrow in the knee… Well something like that. But either way, he perished, and his brother Alistair Theririn took the crown, and saved his kingdom from the darkspawn, bringing peace to the land! Unfortunately, peace only lasts while someone else is planning a new war; which brings us to Dark Horses new digital exclusive title Dragon Age, The Silent Grove. Read on for the skinny…

da1cover WRITTEN BY: Alexander Freed, David Gaider
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Chad Hardin
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
RELEASE: Out Now!

“From the lead writer of BioWare’s Dragon Age games comes this original six-part story, available exclusively from the Dark Horse Digital Store!

It’s unusual for a king to embark on a dangerous quest himself rather than send an emissary, but King Alistair Therein has caught wind of a rumor big enough, and personal enough, that he is compelled to investigate—though not alone. With deadly, wisecracking mercenaries Isabella and Varric by his side, Alistair travels to a city of assassins to learn the truth about his kingdom and his own reign!”

King Alistair comes to Antiva, a city that is the playground for an elite assassin group known as Crows. Being a king, naturally, Alistair is not stupid enough to travel alone, and after some beautifully laid out sword play scenes we are introduced to his two faithful companions; a dwarf, Varric, and a dangerous pirate, Isabela. The trio find that someone has prepared for their arrival with deadly traps. Uh oh.

Right away I knew I would enjoy this story, being the fantasy buff that I am; swords, dwarven crossbows and conspiracy plots against a kingdom, yep, I’m sold! This story reminds me of my days reading the Dungeons and Dragons or Forgotten Realms novels, probably because The Silent Grove is based off the popular Dragon Age video game series. Alexander Freed infuses the script with sarcastic humor and it fits well within the context of the story. There’s a certain tendency in fantasy to take the subject matter a bit too seriously, however, Freed does a fantastic job of balancing action, fantasy, and comic relief.

As for Chard Hardin’s artwork, it’s a bit cartoony, but ain’t nothing wrong with that. It submerses the reader into the atmosphere fully and pops right off the page (or screen, considering it’s digital only).

All and all, anyone who is a fan of the fantasy genre should give this book a shot. It’s available exclusively at Dark Horse Digital and it’s only 99 coins! Besides, anything with “dragon” in the title is okay by me.

4/5 Skulls