Editor: Patrick Weekes
Authors: Patrick Weekes, Sylvia Feketekuty, John Epler, Lukas Kristhanson, Brianne Battye, Caitlin Sullivan Kelly,Courtney Woods, Ryan Cormier, Arone LaBray
Publisher: Tor Books
Released: March 10th, 2020
I received a copy of Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Have you been in desperate need of a Dragon Age fix? If so, then this short story anthology is one way to help ease that pain. It’s not the same as the games, of course, but that won’t stop it from being an entertaining read.
Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights is a collection of fifteen short stories, all of them set within the wider world of the Dragon Age franchise. Here you’ll find everything from bandits to heroes, and back again.
Stories included in this collection: Three Trees to Midnight by Patrick Weekes, Down Among the Dead Men by Sylvia Feketekuty, The Horror of Hormak by John Epler, Callback by Lukas Kristhanson, Luck in the Gardens by Sylvia Feketekuty, Hunger by Brianne Battye, Murder by Death Mages by Caitlin Sullivan Kelly, The Streets of Minrathous by Brianne Battye, The Wigmaker Job by Courtney Woods, Genitivi Dies in the End by Lukas Kristjanson, Herold Had the Plan by Ryan Cormier, An Old Crow’s Old Tricks by Arone LaBray, Eight Little Talons by Courtney Woods, Half Up Front by John Epler, and The Dread Wolf Take You by Patrick Weekes. All of which I’ll review individually down below.
Personally, I loved the variety found in this collection. It gave an even wider insight into the world, as well as providing a delightful trip back into a franchise I love so much. Then again, I’ve always been a fan of the novels and graphic novels, so perhaps my opinion isn’t so surprising.
Three Trees to Midnight by Patrick Weekes ★ ★ ★ ★
Three Trees to Midnight is the tale of two unlikely allies in the face of great danger. One elf, and one human mage. Not the most likely pair, but together they must face (and escape from) the Qunari and their prison camp.
“Myrion raised his hands. If the Veil was thin, it was time to see how much he could really do.”
I really enjoyed this short story. It was quick, fun, and yet wasn’t afraid to dive into the racism many characters carry, and how that can all be broken thanks to circumstance and perspective. Not to mention, I loved the insight into the lore of Arlathan. Much appreciated.
Down Among the Dead Men by Sylvia Feketekuty ★ ★ ★ ★
What happens when corpses take to the streets once again? Down Among the Dead Men is that tale. One corpse rose up in Nevarran, and in doing so dragged one guardsman and several Mortalitasi into the fray.
“Would not a guardsman who’s recited the history of every stone in every promenade we’ve passed regret passing up the chance to see the architecture of the Grand Necropolis?”
This was another short story that I found myself really enjoying, mostly thanks to the guardsmen perspective (and his love of architecture, history, and books…that might be my bias showing through, huh?). It was a unique story, though I wish that it had been further explained at points.
The Horror of Hormak by John Epler ★ ★ ★ ★
This is an aptly named short story. The Horror of Hormak is at it’s heart a horror story. Two Gray Wardens have gone off searching for missing comrades (an entire company, actually), only to find that something significantly darker than they could have hoped for was the cause of it all.
“For a moment, Ramesh forgot where he was. Black panic threatened to steal over him then, but he fought it down.”
Maybe it’s because of all the horror I’ve been reading lately, but I really enjoyed this short story. It was easy to get into, and exceptionally chilling. It is exactly how I pictured the horror side of Dragon Age to go.
Callback by Lukas Kristhanson ★ ★ ★ ★
Sutherland has been called to Skyhold. It has been abandoned, yes, but that has not stopped the need to investigate the most recent goings on. More accurately, the state of abandonment is quite the cause for concern. Bonus points for classic character appearances.
“The Inquisition wasn’t the first army it had hosted. The next might not be so charitably inspired.”
If you enjoyed Sutherland’s character, then odds are good that you’re going to appreciate this short story revolving around him. I also enjoyed the sense of suspense, as well as a brief glimpse into what has been going on here.
Luck in the Gardens by Sylvia Feketekuty ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Following a Riviana Lord of Fortune and a beloved character from the games, this is the tale of a great hunt. Well, mostly. Something dark is poaching within the city, and Dorian Pavus has amased a small sum of money to pay off a hero (or anyone, really) to put an end to the monster.
“Luck is twisting things to your own good, or noticing when they go well.”
Once again, if you love seeing characters from the games make an appearance, then you’re going to love Luck in the Gardens. I personally adore Dorian, so I was tickled to see his appearance here. I also loved the perspective from the Lord of Fortune, that made for a lot of fun. This was easily one of my favorites from this collection.
Hunger by Brianne Battye ★ ★ ★
Grey Wardens take to the forefront again for this short story, Hunger. One village has been plagued by nightly terrors, and while it isn’t their directive, two Grey Wardens have decided to step up and save the day.
“Are you hungry? It asked itself.”
I was intrigued by this story, though truth be told, I had a lot of trouble getting into it. I love the concept of two Grey Wardens trying to change the perspective of an entire town by saving them from the monsters. I think I just wish that it had been more detailed, though that probably would have required it to be a longer tale.
Murder by Death Mages by Caitlin Sullivan Kelly ★ ★ ★
A war is brewing in Nevarra (what a surprise), and one Inquisition agent has been assigned to dive into the political mess and hopefully divert it before it begins. Cassandra Penaghast makes a brief appearance, though mostly in reference.
“And none of the other Nevarrans would rather feed themselves to a wyvern than return to Nevarra City”
I really wanted to love Murder by Death Mages, and I swear that’s only partially because of Cassandra’s involvement. Truth be told, I simply struggled to get into this story. I feel like if we had gotten more time to appreciate and sympathize with the leading character this whole tale would have gone better. But perhaps that’s just me. On the bright side, there’s a whole lot of politicking in this novel, from the royalty right down to the people in their care.
The Streets of Minrathous by Brianne Battye ★ ★ ★
From one investigatation to another. The Streets of Minrathous follows a private detective (as opposed to the Inquisition) as they dig into the Venatori cult – one that is actively fighting for power within Minrathous.
“A bad night had turned into a bad morning, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when the templars turned up.”
I think I would have enjoyed this story a lot more, if not for placement. The last two short stories sort of bled together, but maybe that’s just me? I did have to stop and think for a minute, before sitting down and writing about these two. That being said, it was interesting to see a bit more about the cults (and how pervasive they are) in this world.
The Wigmaker Job by Courtney Woods ★ ★ ★ ★
Two Crows work in cohesion in order to take out their latest mark – a wigmaker of all people. The Wigmaker Job is a dark tale, following two descendants of the Talon as they hunt down a torturer you’d rather never hear about.
“Look at you-quivering over Antivan propaganda.”
I loved how dark and disturbing this story got. The more I read stories like these, the more I realize how well-suited it is to horror. Can we get more of this, please? The tone was perfection, as were the characters, whom I really enjoyed reading about. This is probably another one of my favorites from the collection.
Genitivi Dies in the End by Lukas Kristjanson ★ ★ ★ ★
Be careful how much you trust the word of others, be it written or spoken. Everything has a bias, even if that fact is not clear. That is the lesson Genitivi Dies in the End seeks to teach us. Or rather, it is one of many lessons. Together, a Bard, a Brother Genitivi, and a former Chantry Sister go off on a quest…and bite off more than expected in the process.
“A storied land of Blight and empire is ‘unimportant’ yet you linger on salacious personal details?”
This was a fascinating story – I loved the message behind it, as well as the combination of characters involved. I also appreciated the title, even though there’s an obvious spoiler in it. In a way, that warning was helpful. I would have happily read a longer story about these three.
Herold Had the Plan by Ryan Cormier ★ ★ ★ ★
Herold Had the Plan is another tale involving a Lord of Fortune. Bharv is a dwarf, and he’s been put on a job that comes with some unintended violence and dangers. All thanks to several subplots, all of which are revealed in time. Bonus points: Vaea makes an appearance near the end.
“My daughters think it’s important I eat right while running for my life.”
I was surprised by how emotional this short story made me. I think it’s because, despite the short amount of time available, it was easy to connect with and care about Bharv, the main perspective. More than that, he seemed to be in quite the bind, and yet was caring about the others on his team. Well, some of them, at any rate.
An Old Crow’s Old Tricks by Arone LaBray ★ ★ ★ ★
Never discount the Old Crow. An Old Crow’s Old Tricks is about one elderly Crow assassin who is far from retirement. For she’s on the hunt again, targeting Tevinter soldiers who did wrong by several elves long ago.
“I even made sure to save something specifically for you.”
I loved this concept. An old assassin still going off on her hunt, intentionally being underestimated due to her age. It’s actually quite brilliant. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to dive into this story.
Eight Little Talons by Courtney Woods ★ ★ ★
Looking for a murder mystery? Then Eight Little Talons is the short story for you to check out. The leaders of the Crow assassins have deemed it time to meet, despite all of the risks that come with having them all together. Naturally,t hings went off the rail from there.
“’We are not on holiday’ he hissed. ‘The other Talons will be judging our every move.’”
This short story kind of blends several genres together. It’s mainly a murder mystery, but it has a strong romantic plot as well, which actually surprised me quite a bit. There are a lot of interesting details to pick up over the course of this read. I think had it been a full novel, or even novella, mostly because I feel like taking more time to set the scene would have been appreciated.
Half Up Front by John Epler ★ ★ ★
A disgraced Altus has been given the opportunity for one final job. One job that will set her and her lover into a world of comfort. One chance to make everything right. It’ll be worth it. She’s been through worse before this, after all.
“One thing you should know about me-I don’t take kindly to intimidation.”
Half Up Front was a deeply personal story, one following a woman who has been through so much, and yet has a long way yet to go. There were some interesting points and choices made throughout this short story. Though sometimes that resulted in confusing scenes or moments (or even decisions). On the whole, I found it to be interesting, though there were times where it felt like I was waiting for something to happen.
The Dread Wolf Take You by Patrick Weekes ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is the story of Charter. She has been sent on another mission, this time to gather information about the Dread Wolf (aka, Solas). If you’re wondering why you recognize that name, she is one of Leliana’s spies, perhaps the one she trusts above all others. And it shows.
“We came because we possess a shared interest in the Wolf.”
The Dread Wolf Take You is probably the longest short story in this collection, but it’s also the anchor story. There is good reason why it’s so long, as there’s a lot going on here. Honestly? It was fantastic. If you love Leliana half as much as I do, then you’re going to love seeing how one of her spies works. The added bonus of the focus being on Silas is a nice touch, one of many throughout this story. I honestly would have happily kept reading this tale, had I been given half a chance.