Sunday, February 12, 2006

Diablo: Moon of the Spider Review

So I went on a reading binge yesterday and plowed through Blizzard Entertainment's new novel, Diablo: Moon of the Spider. Overall, it's a very good read and one you're sure to enjoy if you're a fan of the Diablo franchise or dark fantasy in general.

The novel is set after the events of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and follows the exploits of the young necromancer Zayl as he struggles to do his part to maintain the balance of the world. Zayl in turn is a returning character from the previous novel, Diablo: The Kingdom of Shadow.

In Diablo: Moon of the Spider, Zayl has traveled from his eastern home to the western kingdom of Westmarch for reasons he himself doesn't understand. Traveling with him is his companion, Humbart, or rather the reanimated skull of Humbart who bobs around in a sack attached to Zayl's belt.

As Zayl attempts to recentre himself in a tavern, he is approached by a wealthy young woman, the Lady Salene, who is requesting the aid of one of his dark calling. Believing Salene to be part of the reason he was drawn to Westmarch, and seeing no other alternative, Zayl agrees to accompany her. Shortly after, however, Zayl comes under both magical and physical assaults from multiple sources, human, demonic, and even another necromancer. Zayl, with the aid of Salene and Humbart, is ultimately put in the position of trying to prevent a noble and a group of cultists from fulfilling their nefarious plot of returning their demon lord to the world of Sanctuary.

The plot is a dark one with many twists, turns, and unexpected alliances and enemies as Zayl's aggressors are one step ahead of him and Salene attempts to keep the locals from persecuting Zayl for practicing his dark magiks.

The novel features many of the spells and creatures found in Diablo II, and Richard A. Knaak's writing style captures the essence of Blizzard's world as he always does. It is a pleasure to read another adventure entailing Zayl, who's strength and confidence is tempered by inner conflict between his duty and desires, and Humbart is as synical a voice a reason as he always is. Salene is a very interesting new character with some deeper surprises of her own, and acts as more than a potential romantic interest for our hero.

If you're looking for a well written, dark fantasy adventure, than go ahead and pick up a copy of Diablo: Moon of Spider. You may wish to read the previously mentioned Diablo: The Kingdom of Shadow first to get in all of Zayl's backstory, and seeing how that's another great novel, you won't be sorry that you did.

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