Thanks for stopping by! I have something a little different on my blog today. It is still a review but one that is written by my husband, Peter. So let’s see what he has to say…
ABOUT THE BOOK
KeyForge: Tales From the Crucible
A KeyForge Anthology by David Guymer; Robbie MacNiven; Tristan Palmgren; M K Hutchins; M Darusha Wehm; Cath Lauria; Thomas Parrott; C L Werner
Take a whirlwind tour to the incredible planet of a million fantasy races, the Crucible, in this wild science fantasy anthology from the hit new game, KeyForge.
Welcome to the Crucible – an artificial planet larger than our sun – an ever-growing patchwork of countless other worlds, filled with creatures, sentient beings and societies stolen from across the universe by the mythical Architects. Across this dizzying juxtaposition of alien biospheres, the enigmatic and godlike Archons seek to unlock the secrets at the heart of the Crucible. Everyone else is just trying to survive… Explore ten tales of adventure in a realm where science and magic team up, of discovery and culture clash, featuring mad Martian scientists, cybernetic surgeons, battle reenactors, elven thieves, private investigators, goblins, saurian monsters, and the newly arrived human Star Alliance.
The book is (for KeyForge fans anyway), an anticipated anthology of nine stories set within the realm of the Crucible, the setting of the game KeyForge, from which these stories draw their inspiration.
What is KeyForge? If you already know the answer feel free to pass the next paragraph and this. However those who do not, here’s a brief. It’s a fantasy card game where players use a unique composition of cards found only in the deck they bought. Each deck contains 36 cards with 12 cards from each house (or suite – think hearts, spades etc). From there players compete to reach the win condition as quickly as possible in the two player head to head game.
The setting of the game is the crucible where various beings and cultures from civilizations across the universe have been “stolen”. A fantastical realm of science, magic and wonders ‘where anything is possible”.
I am absolutely the target demographic of the book. I have been playing KeyForge both casually and competitively since April 2019 (around 6 months after it’s original release). I’ve played at many venues in the North of England with team mates the Steel City Snufflegators. I’ve been awaiting the book’s arrival for some time.
The Stories are:
This is a perfect opening to the book. Why? Because it is pretty much the story of a game of KeyForge! It’s told in first person from the perspective of a Svarr Elf attempting to assassinate one of the Archons during a “Vault Battle”. A pulsating, high-octane start to the anthology that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The second tale is in the third person where we learn about a human called Roz and her robot TRIS. TRIS hasn’t quite functioned correctly since it saved Roz from a radioactive booby trap while she was a child. She is desperate to repair the droid. In her efforts to do so, she’ll find herself in a tense and claustrophobic adventure against the clock.
In the third story we get to know Nal’ai a Krxix & Kolli her roomate and “party elf”. Both students of Martian Studies Hub University. We’ll join them on their fieldwork trip to the Borreal enclave where we’ll all learn a lot about house Mars. With both laughs and unexpected turns I found this entertaining.
The Librarians Duel
What parent wouldn’t do whatever they could to protect their child? Library owner Arash is certainly no exception. On her way to Hub Central in the process of doing this she encounters Chief Goldenbeard and his Brobnar clan who make a nuisance of themselves. Despite her human shoulder only being level with his knee, she doesn’t back down from them. The most heart warming of the bunch. A tale of family and friendship across species.
To Catch a Thief
Nalea Wysasandoral is a “purple skinned” elf who loves luxury. We meet her in the process of enjoying the “hospitality” of a High Councillor by taking raw æmber. A tale of daring recounts her pursuit of the items that will secure the life of luxury she so desires. Trying to prevent her, the forces of law do their upmost to catch “the slip” and bring to an end her infamous deeds.
A more serene affair. We meet Taryx who lives in the “Lesser Uncanny Forest” spending his time healing and helping the wounded. One day he finds an injured entity he goes on to call Burble. Burble proves to be both an impressive and helpful assistant, along with very familiar for players. For a short story, it’s no mean feat that this is both pensive and thought-provoking.
The Perfect Organism
Briilip is like most good Martians – devoted to the needs of Mars. He is endeavoring to create to create the titular “Perfect Organism” and will test in in combat against the dweller of Anomaly Epsilon 54 – Tyrant. We discover that Martians are note very forgiving when it comes to failure so only the utter destruction of Tyrant will be deemed a success. In victory or defeat; “Mars Lives On”. Will Briilip’s creation?
Wibble and Pplimz. Investigators For Hire
If you have a problem, if no-one else can help – You will be able to find them. Then you can hire Wibble and Pplimz. An odd (or maybe not for the Crucible) duo of Private investigators. They take on the case of Margie our narrator whose sister Kristina is missing. Equal measures comedy and thriller. I found the title duo and their interactions the most engaging in the anthology.
Just as I thought the opener was the perfect start, this is a raucous and fitting conclusion. We’ll follow Battle Re-enactors playing the parts of famous “Vault Warriors” of the past, like Raymon D’arco. These characters are just as geeky as we are and their devotion to their favourite Archon and Vault Battle are unfaltering and highly appealing to the reader a likely fan of the game. A swashbuckling escapade that was a joy to finish despite it signaling the end of the collection.
I really enjoyed the book. From its fast-paced, action-packed opener to its frolicking and fun ending. I was engaged throughout. There are multiple references to cards from the game. There’s a lot of variety in the stories and there are so many things we discover about the crucible. Location names. Its social media. Its popular spectator sports and most surprisingly of all; QUITE POSSIBLY THE NAME OF A NEW HOUSE! I may be wrong about that final statement, only time will tell. However you can see if you agree or not when Tales From The Crucible releases on the following dates:
Worldwide Ebook: 5 May 2020
US Trade Paperback: 5 May 2020
UK Paperback: 11 June 2020