Review: Diablo: Legacy of Blood:
“Legacy of Blood” by Richard A. Knaak is the first novel in the “Diablo Archive” anthology, which was another of my prizes from Blizzard’s writing contest. With my mixed feelings on the Diablo franchise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Diablo literature.
While “Legacy of Blood” is far from terrible, I’m glad I kept my expectations low. This book is like having nothing to eat for dinner but bread. I like bread; there’s nothing wrong with it. But I want more in a meal.
The story follows an unfortunate tomb-robber named Norrec Vizharan. In search of easy riches, Norrec and his friends stumble across the tomb of Bartuc, the legendary Warlord of Blood, whose demon armies slaughtered countless innocents in the ancient past and who bathed his armor in their blood until it was permanently stained a grisly crimson.
It is Bartuc’s blood-stained armor that the story focuses on. A piece of the Warlord’s power remains in the armor, and it latches itself onto Norrec like a parasite, taking over his body and spelling doom for his little band of treasure-hunters.
The rest of the book mostly depicts the armor’s journey — with Norrec as its unwilling passenger — as it tries to resurrect the Warlord of Blood. At the same time, the armor is pursued by two other characters: General Augustus Malevolyn, who seeks the armor for his end wicked ends, and Kara Nightshadow, a necromancer who seeks to end the threat of the armor.
It’s not a bad story, certainly. There’s nothing about “Legacy of Blood” that I can point to and say, “This sucks.” As is usually the case with Richard Knaak, the prose is rather crude, but not intolerably so. But yet I found myself struggling to keep turning the pages.
Ultimately, the book does have one fatal flaw. For the vast majority of the book, Norrec has no control over his own actions. It’s simply not an interesting story when your nominal main character is just a bystander who can only watch as the suit goes around killing folks.
This is further compounded by the fact that the other protagonist, Kara, ends up in much the same situation. She’s not enslaved by a suit of armor, but she does spend much of the book as a prisoner or in the thrall of various nasty critters. So both our main characters are being led around by the nose most of the time, and it just robs the story of drama. A character needs to be able to take action and make decisions to be compelling.
I’m a relative newbie to the Diablo franchise, so I don’t know if I’m qualified to judge this, but this doesn’t really feel like a Diablo book to me, either. Aside from being a little more gory than a Warcraft novel and the places having different names, this could have been set in Azeroth for all the difference it would have made. Kara is so obsessed with the balance of nature that she seems more like a Night Elf druid than one of Rathma’s grizzly faithful.
It’s not an awful book. I didn’t hate it. But I wouldn’t recommend it, either.
Overall rating: 5/10 Just mediocre.
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I think you should write your own book – you already have Blizzard’s attention 😉
I’m not a big lore fan, but one of the most interesting aspects of Diablo 3 for me are the followers – especially the Templar. I get the impression there is a very interesting “story” there that might (or might not) be expanded upon at some point in the game.
It needs someone like you to write it.
Thank you, Cat, that’s very kind of you.
In all honesty, one of my nerdiest dreams is to write tie-in novels for Blizzard one day. Hopefully about Blood Elves. Unfortunately, it seems to be a case of them calling you and not the other way around, so I’ll focus on my original fiction for now.
I liked the companion’s stories in D3, as well. Well, the Templar and the Enchantress, anyway. In the inevitable expac, I hope they might expand (no pun intended) on their stories — and maybe include those class quests they initially promised, as well. I kept expecting that mage-slayer from the wizard short story to jump me, but it never happened…
Blizzard already “called” you by publicly recognizing your writing 😉 I would interpret that as a “green light” so sharpen up those pencils!
I’m really fascinated with the Templar and I would love to read his “story.” Heck, I’d write one myself just for my own amusement if I could write fiction. I can write a boring academic paper but fiction…nope, can’t write it all (except horribly bad fiction.)
Don’t know enough about the Enchantress to get an idea of her story yet. The Scoundrel is amusing but is too much like “every guy” you meet in a bar and just like in real life, it gets old really, really fast 😀
Well, I’ll certainly enter any future contests they hold.
I firmly believe writers are made and not born, so perhaps you should take a crack at the Templar’s story. I reckon anyone can write something decent with enough hard work — lord knows I sucked when I started.
I have somewhat mixed feelings on the enchantress. At times, she seems a little too ditzy and too much just there to be eye candy/fanboy service, but at the same time, I like how odd and otherworldly she is. And for all her girliness, she does come across as quite brave and heroic.
The Scoundrel, though… One of the things I like about Kormac the Templar is I reckon he’d knock the Scoundrel’s teeth out given half the chance.