Review: The Book of Cain:
“The Book of Cain” is the latest tie-in book for Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo franchise, but it’s not like the others. “The Book of Cain” is not a novel; it has no plot in the traditional sense. It is, instead, a sort of encyclopedia of the entirety of Diablo lore, from Anu and the Dragon, to the creation of Sanctuary, to the Sin War, all the way up to the Dark Wanderer and the destruction of the Worldstone.
The book is presented as something out of the Diablo universe, a record created by the character Deckard Cain. In fact, Barnes and Noble’s website even lists the author as “Deckard Cain.”
The purpose of this book is obvious. It’s way for people like me, who have little or no prior knowledge of the Diablo universe, to get caught up before the upcoming release of Diablo III. It also offers some new details and insights for those who are familiar with Diablo lore.
For a video game lore geek like me, a book like this is nerdgasmic. I absolutely love learning the history and mythology of any fictional universe — it’s one of the main things that keeps me coming back to the fantasy genre — and Diablo turns out to be above average in the quality of its backstory.
One thing I found particularly interesting was the notion that humans are the children of both angels and demons, which explains why they are simultaneously capable of such love and such hate. I was also intrigued by the implication that the High Heavens and the Angiris Council may be just as much of a threat to humanity as the Hells and the seven Evils.
It’s not just the writing that makes “The Book of Cain” interesting, though. The book itself is a work of art, with an embossed cover and rough-cut pages made to resemble parchment. The book is filled with gorgeous artwork depicting all the various lands, monsters, and characters of the Diablo universe. It’s as much a tactile and visual experience as it is a book in the traditional sense.
About the only negative thing I have to say about this book is that it’s almost certainly doomed to have a very limited appeal. Unless you’re a giant Diablo lore geek, a collector, or an aficionado of sepia tone drawings, there’s very little reason for you to pick up “The Book of Cain.”
Overall rating: 8.5/10 “The Book of Cain” won’t appeal to many people, but it’s a must-have for those few who do fit into its targeted demographics.