Earlier this week we announced the release of the third and final chapter in The Secretist, the Return to Ravnica e-book series starring blue planeswalker Jace Beleren. In there I told you to watch for a review of it later in the week. Well, it’s later and much like the second book, Gatecrash, I’ve got a Major Spoliers book Review waiting for you after the jump.
Very stong and likeable characters
A clever use of the Maze and Guilds
A very less than compelling primary villain
THE SECRETIST PART 3: DRAGON’S MAZE
Writer: Doug Beyer
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Previously in The Secretist: The dragon Niv-Mizzet, Leader of the Izzet League, has announced his discovery of the Implicit Maze and the cooperative race needed to unlock it’s power to all of the guilds and the guilds have started selecting champions. Meanwhile, Jace has been imprisoned in an inescapable prison with a pair of vampires and Emmara has been locked away by her own guild and branded a traitor by a man she thought was her love.
THE RACE IS ON
Again, the book, being a part of the planeswalker stories, focuses mostly on the planeswalker Jace Beleren. Again, he is still your prototypical mind-mage with a penchant for falling in love. This time around we have a greater focus on characters, with Jace and Emmara getting most of the book while a few others only getting small parts at the end of a chapter when specific information could only be found without Jace or Emmara, which I found to be a better choice as it were. Lavinia, the law-mage from the Azorius Senate, is vastly improved from the previous book in the small parts focused on her, and all the characters save Lazav are very well received and realized.
Lazav, though, is a bit of a let down as a villain. As the power of the maze is revealed, his goal becomes the failure of the guilds, which would cause the destruction of the entirety of the Tenth District and, as such, the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. This would be well and good, if some reasonable explanation for why he wanted this outcome were ever given, which it really wasn’t. As the leader of House Dimir, the guild of secrets, one would expect him to want more people. After all more people equals more secrets to obtain, right?
RAL ZAREK IS KIND OF A TOOL
Even before the race begins we see Jace and Emmara managing to get out of tight spots in clever and creative ways, and once the race starts this just amps up even farther as Jace learns the secret to a win is for all the guilds to finish and cooperate instead of destroying each other. Which means, while the other champions are all attempting to kill one another, Jace and Emmara have to fend them off while still making sure they are able to continue the race. This leads to some great moments for both characters as they overcome obstacles and combat in a less violent means than normal. The best confrontation comes from Ral Zarek who stops Jace and forces him to reveal his biggest secret to Emmara, the elven lady who was starting to fall for him as much as he had for her, that of his spark. The exchange is heartbreaking, and it leads to Jace losing out on love once more, but it cements Ral as a rather awful person and someone who could really cause problems for the other ‘walkers in the future.
BOTTOM LINE: Get Them, Get Them All
Despite a rather disappointing villain and Jace losing at love once more, I rather did enjoy the story and recommend the entirety of The Secretist wholeheartedly. Dragon’s Maze was certainly the best of the three, in my opinion, but the full story is rather good as it were. Jace did win out in the end, at least within the Implicit Maze, and with a rather good Chekhov’s Gun setup too, but I won’t spoil what that means as it was kind of a surprise and want to see how this is handled in future Jace story-lines and potential Jace cards. All in all, the Secretist Part 3: Dragon’s Maze has earned itself a solid 4 out of 5 stars.