Even the greatest fighter-mages will learn to fear the one-eyed stranger. Festival will never be the same again. For even as the fighter-mages of the four great Houses prepare for their annual battle in the Arena, a stranger arrives for Festival. Who is Garth One-eye, and where did he get his powerful spells? What is his interest in the fifth House, destroyed a generation ago? And why is the Grand Master of the Arena so afraid of what Garth might do?
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Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Arena by William R. The introduction of the hottest new game in has spawned the hottest new book since Dragonlance was launched. Magic: The Gathering trading card role-playing game system inaugurates a new world of magic and mystery.
The book includes a coupon for two rare Magic trading cards that cannot be found anywhere else. Get A Copy. Mass Market Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Magic: The Gathering 1. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Arena , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Arena Magic: The Gathering. Apr 28, Matthew rated it really liked it Shelves: fantasy , own. Wow - I was just surprised by this book popping up on my Goodreads screen. Forstchen , I saw that he wrote Arena as well.
I haven't thought about this book in years. I had thousands of cards, played all the time, and bought several books in the series - which had just started coming out. While it has been years since I played and read this book, I rememb Wow - I was just surprised by this book popping up on my Goodreads screen. While it has been years since I played and read this book, I remember both the game and this book fondly. Very cool to be surprised by the same author writing a totally different kind of book years later.
View 2 comments. Jan 04, Alex rated it liked it. As a 12 year-old, when "Magic" was the center of my world, I was in love with this book. Re-reading it now, 20 years later, I cannot summon get it? The characters are paper-thin and the plot is pretty pulpy, inspired - as several reviews have pointed out - by the timeless tale of Yojimbo.
It might make a decent dumb movie. There is one thing it has going for it, though, which sets it apart from most game tie-in novels. Rather than simply explore the fictional world the gam As a 12 year-old, when "Magic" was the center of my world, I was in love with this book. Rather than simply explore the fictional world the game is set in with any old story, "Arena" actually tries to recreate the experience of playing "Magic" games as a big part of its setting.
The exhilaration of reading about characters actually fighting each other in much the same way the game was played in the early days - when it wasn't yet as specialized as today - is still incredibly strong.
I would love to hear the story of how Forstchen conceived of these magical fights one day. They are clearly based on actually studying the card mechanics of the basic set. Then again, Forstchen went on to write political thrillers, work with Newt Gingrich and these days is spewing hate against Muslims on Twitter. With that in mind, it's hard not to see the weird nihilistic bent of the novel, with a strange disdain for humanity and "the mob".
When the protagonist's plan is to incite everyone to slaughter each other in droves in order to revert things to "the old ways", it makes you wonder, what his creator's idea of world politics must look like. Feb 23, Engineous rated it liked it. The melodramatic emotional fireworks are very annoying, but fortunately the author partitioned most of them off into small one- to two-page segments.
Hammen somehow manages to be both out-of-character and cliched at the same time what was with him unconsciously transferring to calling Garth "Master"? Don't worry about Kirlen so much; women are pretty much nonexistent in this novel in any meaningful way. It's traditional high fantasy; Fortschen usually chooses to remain outside of the realm of flashbacks or the showing of inner emotional development, which is probably a blessing, since the few times he slips with this are quite jarring.
The way he avoids backstory or emotional reactions is similarly relieving, because he can't manage to be consistent with it, and it's annoying to have to think of the author as The Emotionally Retarded Man. This was apparently one of the first Magic: the Gathering series books, though, so it's not as bad as it seems. Again, it is readable. The major point that I kept getting perturbed about was Fortschen's lack of understanding, or talent, for logistics. Within the city this novel is set, there are no cars, and carriages are used rarely, with the first mention placed firmly in the middle of the book.
Presumably, they have old-style small streets and walkways. And yet, at some point during a battle scene, there is a mention of paraphrased "thousands tried to flee while thousands tried to push forward to watch the fun" and I don't think he actually understands that this would be literally impossible in the physical specifications he implies and puts forth. Another point that irritated me to the point of tics was his description of Benalian society.
Although I understand that Hammen is supposed to be a socially-inept, chauvinistic failure of a man and Turquoise member, the reveal of which was neither revealing nor surprising, but rather insulting , I wanted to leap into the pages and start beating the shit out of him for how he spoke to Norreen.
Aside from that, however, the Benalian societal dynamics were a farce described by an unimaginative capitalist man who doesn't know the definition of "privilege". That is to say, if women could do the same to men, women to women, men to men, etc. However, the most subtle annoyance was also the only one that could be considered in any way constant: Fortschen's use of "the mob". This "the mob" is everyone in the city that is not one of the named characters or fighters, and it serves as a thinly-veiled excuse for never - ever - characterizing or individuating a single blessed one of them.
Also, as the bit with Garth dogged by "the mob" when trying to get away from the Grand Master's army so he doesn't get fucking killed shows, "the mob" is merely a group of , hyperactive Downies with no care aids - or shotguns, because I sincerely wanted to jump in and force Garth to start frying the assholes - in sight.
So, in other words, William Fortschen doesn't know as much as he thinks he does. View all 4 comments. Sep 11, Ross rated it it was amazing. As mentioned elsewhere, this story is something like Yojimbo or the more recent Last Man Standing. I found this in my parents attic the other day, and I read the reviews here so I decided to read it. I had never read it, even though I bought it when it came out copyrighted The last page was cut where the coupon for the two free cards was, but I think I got the last line of the book.
This book was written not necessarily before Magic had a story line associated with it, but before they put As mentioned elsewhere, this story is something like Yojimbo or the more recent Last Man Standing.
This book was written not necessarily before Magic had a story line associated with it, but before they put so much of the story onto the flavor text of the cards and wrote the books to accompany each set as it is released. The way mana and spells and planeswalkers seemed a little inconsistent after having read a considerable amount of the more recent novels, and sometimes the description of the spells and mana felt a little cheesy, but all in all a very good read I thought.
My father read this book some time ago, and having never played Magic or understanding anything about it he said he enjoyed it and planned on reading it again. So I guess people who like fantasy but are not familiar with Magic might enjoy this. Jun 17, William Dalphin rated it it was amazing. Take Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo one man plays two rival groups against each other , now put it in a fantasy setting based off the Magic: The Gathering cards, turn the two rival groups into four or five , and you've got Arena.
It's a clever tale of one man's revenge against an entire city run by magical guilds that fight each other once a year in a spectacle called "Festival". I don't want to give away anything, but the treachery and twists make this a fun read. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. Mar 01, Josh rated it it was amazing. This is not imaginative, ground-breaking fantasy nor does it claim to be.
For me, this is a five star read because it knows what it is and the author indulges in every word of it. I don't always need or want to read nuanced, complicated novels with twists and turns that keep me guessing. This novel was an enjoyable, quick fantasy story that is well told and has plenty of action. This is just what I wanted from it. Sep 03, Yune rated it really liked it Shelves: fantasy.
I think one of these stars is for nostalgia, but I do still find the book reliably entertaining after over a decade and quite accessible even for someone who doesn't know anything about Magic: The Gathering that said, some quirks of the magic system will make more sense if you're familiar with the card game.
Magic - The Gathering: Arena
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William R. Forstchen - Magic the Gathering - Arena
T he stories of Magic are well known, as they are told on cards, in art, on the web, and in books! Most recently we had The Secretist by Doug Beyer, a three-part novella released in e-book form. Do you know what the first novel about Magic was? It's been a while, so it is likely many of you weren't playing when it came out. It was Arena by William R.