Throne of Eldraine: The Wildered Quest
Kate Elliot’s The Wildered Quest is a Magic: The Gathering tie-in ebook that reflects a dramatically different game from the last two I’ve reviewed on this blog.
Since I last looked at Planeswalker, a lot has changed in the lore of Magic: The Gathering. The Urza-vs-Phyrexia conflict concluded at the beginning of the 2000s, and then the wheels sort of spun until Wizards of the Coast made a massive change with the Great Mending, an event that reduced planeswalkers from near-divine immortal superbeings to considerably more “normal” people with the ability to teleport between dimensions.
Maybe this is just nostalgia, but I feel like the Mending has turned the setting from something offbeat and distinct into something more generic. It’s gone from two mad scientists-turned immortal monsters fighting a millenia-long war to superhero-wizards fighting some bland dragon-thingy. One effect of the Mending event was to actually make planeswalkers more prominent in spite of depowering by taking away third-party planar travel. So it’s either planeswalkers or having things take place entirely on one plane. Or, in this case, have planeswalkers drop in on what’s otherwise a one-dimension experience.
The Wildered Quest, taking place on the fairy-tale plane of Eldraine, has a lot going for it. It’s written by a successful author in her own right. It’s not too long. The prose is decent. The story of the Kenrith twins is interesting enough.
Yet it still feels like a merely adequate, phoned-in tie in. Of course, a lot of this might be my own biases-I tend to not be that into fantasy- but it still felt kind of just-good-enough. And that’s a type of book I’ve read a lot of. The glass-half-empty view is that it could have been better. The glass-half-full view is that MTG novels have had a sometimes-deserved reputation for being terrible and thus it could have been worse.