Agents of Artifice [A Planeswalker Novel] by Ari Marmell


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[Swoooosh…. magical]

“Jace Beleren is a planeswalker who has taken the path of least resistance. He is gifted and powerful, but chooses not to push himself. Part of an inter-planar consortium that deals in magical artifacts, Jace has some power and influence. He also has a certain amount of security. That’s all about to change. When Liliana, a dark temptress with demons of her own (quite literally), comes into his life, she brings with her more possibilities, but also more problems.  Under attack from external interests, a friend dies because of decisions Jace made. Upset with himself and fearing for his life, Jace sets out to find who is behind this new threat. What he uncovers along the way, an inter-planar chase filled with peril, will alter everything he knows.”



A front and forward note: This is a book from the Magic: The Gathering series. If you couldn’t tell already.

Go ahead. Get it out of your systems.
Good? Everyone good? Okay, thanks.


It was a really nice break away from the last few ‘horror’ novels and read a fantasy book. It’s not even just because it was fantasy, this was actually an impressive read. I have been told by multiple people that the MtG books aren’t to curl a lip at – they’re written really well. So, I put this theory to the test not just to read one of the books [which were given as a gift] but also to see if these newer novels are still just as good.

Since this is a Magic: The Gathering-oriented book, I do want to point out that while I suppose someone not familiar with the series could read it… I wouldn’t really suggest it. While you are introduced to a few of the current-standing Planeswalkers in the series [Jace, Liliana, Tezzeret, and Nicol Bolas] in a manner that describes them and gives you an idea of their characters… they’re still described in a familiar manner, you are given mentions of events that are described in some of the cards, and even references to some of the other current Planeswalkers in the current card release-arches. There are also references to creatures that you aren’t really given clues to what kind of species are, unless you’ve played that kind of card in the game.

As an actual fantasy novel, however, I really enjoyed this book as well. The author is amazing at painting scenes, character descriptions, even if you have the image of the character already in your head, their writing very nicely compliments it. I was emotionally connected to each character, whether feeling sorry for them, hating them, or even feeling their wariness for dangerous situations. Also the magic and fight scenes were impressive. I was left not wanting to put the book down until I finished the current ‘issue’ that I was reading over because I wanted to know what happened before I could set the book down and rest. There was one night I tried to stop in the middle of a said scene and rolled around in bed wondering what was going to happen before finally saying ‘fuck it’ and got up to finish the chapter.

There’s a pretty good array of stuff going on in the book despite thinking it’s all magical/fantasy stuff. There’s love interests [and even a love triangle ooooOOoooo], good vs evil, evil vs evil, all kinds of torture and general well-described scenes depicting death. There’s the death of an important character that honestly was really hard to swallow, since I quickly really liked the character. Overall, all the good stuff in a book.

In an interesting side note, I and others who are aware of when the Planeswalkers were few and far between [IE back in the day MtG Planeswalkers], and far more potent… in the newer story arches and cards, Planeswalkers are now really common and really just over-glorified magic users. But there’s a character that straight up explains that Planeswalkers were once Gods, and much more powerful, but that all these new Planeswalkers… not so much. I really liked that they actually made mention of that. [Though in a sense that’s a bit of a stab at players of MtG… since when you play, you’re technically supposed to be a Planeswalker…]

Also, it just solidifies my suspicions of some of the current Planeswalkers:

Jace: Whiney emo kid
Liliana: Sexy Necromancer, who is the back-stabbiest of back-stabby
Tezz: Arrogant Super Douche
Nicol Bolas: Super Awesome, and also the good kind of a super douche.

Overall, I was impressed with the book, really enjoyed reading it, and am pretty stoked to read the other Planeswalker novels, possibly even try to read some of the really old MtG novels.



I give Agents of Artifice  5/5  Blue Mana


“I’ve never cared for that expression. It makes me sound so pompous. I despise other people making me sound pompous. I prefer… to do it myself.”




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