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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum - Chapter 22

Enter the Eldrazi.

Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum - Chapter 22

As the cavern shook, small jags of lightening snapped between the hedron halves. Nissa closed her eyes and squared her shoulders as she waited for the last moment. Zendikar would flourish once again and the Eldrazi would be gone forever.

Mudheel is distraught over the death of his mistress, but there's no time to do anything about it. A roar comes from deep within the mountain and the cavern continues to shake even wilder. So they run. The causeways crumble behind them as something begins to emerge from the deep and as they make it out the exit, and they watch the drakes flee from whatever is coming up after them.

They run for a distance more and when Nissa turns around to take a last look, an enormous Eldrazi breaks free, and all the plants and animals nearby wither and die. It's not the only one. A second Eldrazi emerges, and then a third .

All standing together, the titans moved down the canyon. The very light around them bent as a desert mirage might, and the rock they moved over cracked to dust. As they neared the edges of the canyon, great chunks or red rock broke off and desiccated to dust filtering down to the canyon floor.

As they move they make sounds Nissa could never have imagined, and she watches as the mountain crumbles to dust as all the nearby mana is drained.

Nissa's lost track of whatever happened to Mudheel, and when she looks at Anowon she wishes she wasn't alone with the vampire. Her thoughts go to the times when Sorin kept on warning her that Anonwon needed to be bound to keep from draining her, and she's not quite sure what to do.

Then Sorin appears. Nissa makes excuses saying that she didn't know her seeding spell would destroy the enchantment, but he doesn't care to listen. He tells them that what's done is done, and now that the Eldrazi are free he's going to be needed elsewhere.

With a sweeping gesture of his arm he tells them that Zendikar is the same as ever now that the Eldrazi are free. All they've done is set them loose, and they if they continue on their path, they'll eventually head straight for Nissa's home jungle. Anowon insists that Sorin come with him and face his trial for the crimes against the vampires, but Sorin has other plans and planeswalks away.

Nissa acts before Anowon can give in to his hunger and has a dagger point resting comfortably at the base of his neck before he can turn back around to face her.

Nissa yanked the vampire to his feet. "You will walk bound until Affa where we will part ways and I will travel to Bala Ged. My time trusting vampires has long since past," Nissa said, as she pushed Anowon before her along the trail. "I am going home."

* * *

Now What!?

This is it. This is the last chapter. There's only an epilogue left. This is a pretty terrible final chapter. This is where the big final confrontation is supposed to happen, the resolution of the great build up. The showdown of the protagonist and antagonist.

What do we get?

Nissa realizes she was wrong, Sorin rubs it in her face, and she takes Anowon prisoner. That's our big payoff? I must confess that I heard reports that this wouldn't a good ending, so I'm not actually as angry as I would be if I had come into this completely blind, but still it's pretty bad.

There are some books that end on a cliffhanger, but those books tend to be part of a larger story that we know is going to continue. If this was the first book of the block trilogy that would be one thing. But no, this is the Block Novel. There is no follow up for the foreseeable future.

Let's even ignore the Eldrazi part. They're pretend they're a non-factor. Let's pretend this is just a personal story of Nissa vs Sorin, Nissa vs Anowon, and Sorin vs Anowon.

Nissa vs Sorin

How did their story play out? Nissa comes across this mysterious "human" named Sorin who convinces her that her plane is in danger, and she decides to travel with him for the greater good. She hates vampires, yet pretty much befriend's a vampire. Then the "shock" when she discovers that Sorin is a vampire as well leads to absolutely nothing. It's not shocking for us because we knew it all along, and it doesn't amount to anything plotwise because all they did is just agree to drop the issue. It wasn't even used to help convince Nissa to oppose his idea! Instead the greater good logic that isn't logic is what makes her decide that Sorin's plan is selfish and she completely screws everything up.

Is that satisfying? Maybe it is because she's been written as a complete idiot throughout the book that maybe you want to see her fail and don't want her idiocy to be rewarded. Maybe she got what she deserves.

Nissa vs Anowon

Nissa has a hate for vampires and she insists that Anowon always travel bound when they first meet because she doesn't trust him. Over the course of the book they eventually become friends and defy the one man that can save their plane, first by forcing him to rescue the other rather than leave them behind, and then out right by turning on his plan to keep the Eldrazi trapped.  They both conspire to overthrow Sorin's plan not because Anowon has a hidden agenda like it seemed he might have throughout the whole book (With the aura of a hidden agenda and mystery about him), but because the great academic uses logic that isn't logic.

"Why would the Eldrazi stay? Sorin's dumb. Just because the Eldrazi eat mana and there's plenty of it here, they're not from here so of course they'll leave when they're freed. LOL!"

Then with the destruction of the world at hand with the Eldrazi free, all of a sudden he has an uncontrollable hunger and the "final showdown" between the two happens in a single paragraph.

Is that satisfying? No. If this was some dastardly plan to manipulate and twist Nissa's actions this whole time, that could possibly be satisfying. But it turns out is all just doesn't make any sense.

Sorin vs. Anowon

They two come across each other and Anowon bows to Sorin's commands for nearly the entire book. He seems to be quite subservient as if he's honor bound to obey one of his betters. Then all of a sudden in the final few chapters after we find out that the Mortifier betrayed his own kind, a hatred and contempt for Sorin appears in Anowon's actions and words that did no exist before we knew his backstory. It just comes out of nowhere. He's supposed to be a great scholar and comes to a conclusion that anyone can see makes no sense, and in the end he decides he's going to "bring in" Sorin to trial as if he hasn't been acting like he has absolutely no power over Sorin at all over the course of this whole book. (Which he doesn't.)

Is this satisfying? It's somewhat satisfying that Sorin is able to leave the two screwups who ruined everything, but as a final confrontation it's not satisfying at all. There was never any threat or doubt who was in command and who was going to win out, on top of it essentially coming out of nowhere because of the great disconnect in the build up. It's something that's hardly even worth mentioning.


If the relationships between our three travelers are the focus of the story, if they are to be the source of closure for the end of this book... they fail at their purpose. With no plot or character closure, all we're left with is an incomplete story. That's where we stand with just the epilogue to go. I seriously doubt Wintermute has the ability to drastically alter this failure of an ending in the last couple pages, but there's only one way to find out.

1 comment:

  1. *Applause* This book is just bad... I commend you for getting that far...