Planeshift, by J. Robert King

pshiftAs Yawgmoth will let you know, Dominaria is no easy world to invade.  I couldn’t have laid waste to every continent and killed every hero without the help of many colleagues and friends….
…And of course, I want to thank the fans, every last one of whom is now a subject of the dread lord Yawgmoth.  It’s been nice conquering you.
(I know some of you hope Urza and Gerrard can pull this thing off in the next book, but don’t count on it.  Yawgmoth and I go way back.)
-Author’s acknowledgments

Imagine living through an invasion by the next best thing to demons.  Imagine the elation you’d feel knowing that you’d helped beat back the forces of evil.  Then imagine what you’d feel if you discovered that it was only beginning; that another world in another plane was suddenly overlaid upon everything you know.

That’s probably what happened to Gerrard Capashen and company at the beginning of the second book of the Invasion cycle, Planeshift.  When we last left our heroes, they’d just finished a great battle, and were recuperating from considerable tragedies (the nature of which I’ll leave quiet for now, since this review is coming out at the same time as Invasion).  Unfortunately for our heroes, it turns out that it was only the opening gambit.  The plane of Rath, currently ruled by the Evincar Crovax, has begun a dimensional shift onto the lands of Dominaria.  That in itself wouldn’t be so bad, if not for the fact that the overlay brings with it the hordes of Phyrexians living on Rath.  To make matters worse, Crovax’s Stronghold comes with the rest of Rath.

Fortunately, the heroes of our story aren’t exactly twiddling their thumbs.  Urza Planeswalker leads a team of other planeswalkers for a massive assault on Phyrexia itself, hoping to take out the being known as Yawgmoth directly.  The elf-lord Eladamri goes to the lands of Keld, where the warriors are firmly convinced that they are facing Twilight (their version of the end of the world).  Agnate, leader of the metathran soldiers, makes common cause with the lich-lord Dralnu.  The dragon Rhammidarigaaz finds himself attempting to awaken long slumbering powers that will reassert the might of the dragon nations.  And Gerrard and the crew of the Weatherlight help out where they can, but work towards their goal of dealing with Crovax and the Stronghold.

As this is the next to last book, expect some resolutions in some long-running subplots.  I’ll spare the details, but expect casualties on all fronts, both physical and mental (and both!).  Urza continues to demonstrate his obsessions, which includes a truly chilling moment which demonstrates that Urza’s not particularly nice in the effort to destroy Phyrexia.  Of course, it also doesn’t escape his notice how Phyrexia is close to his own ideas of paradise….!  There’s also a nice moment featuring Tahngarth the Talruum minotaur, as he steps into his own in not just one but two important sections.

The ending is appropriately horrifying as well, although hope is still offered (in spite of the author’s acknowledgments); just what you’d expect out of the penultimate chapter of the Invasion cycle.  Planeshift does a nice job of continuing the plot, probably the result of having the same author writing both Invasion and Planeshift (and the forthcoming Apocalypse).  I’m still wondering how they’re going to get all this wrapped up, but I’m willing to wait for the next book before rendering judgment on the Invasion cycle (and by extension, the entire Weatherlight Saga).

Categories: Invasion Cycle, Magic the Gathering | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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