A Thrill in Any Medium- Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever Review
Dual wielding, bad-guy stomping, sharp-witted badass, Lara Croft is a tour de force in any medium – Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever Review
Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever
Authors: Dan Abnett & Nik Vincent
Publisher: Prima Games
Release Date: 9/13/2016
Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever is a stand-alone story of the renown Tomb Raider written in conjunction with the game developers at Crystal Dynamics and published by Prima Games. The story is penned by bestselling British novelist and comic book writer, Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent. The story features Lara Croft in an epic adventure under the streets of London. It begins with a double cross by a ruthless treasure hunter, ending with Lara barely escaping with her life. She returns home to reply to an old friend’s call for help and to track down the treasure hunter who believes she’s dead. While helping her friend, Lara makes a spectacular discovery that could rewrite the history of the British Isles – maybe even the world. As Lara digs deeper into her find, she stumbles into a shadow world of espionage, conspiracy, and black market trafficking. To save her reputation and, more importantly, her life, Lara embarks on a journey around the world to raid tombs and recover precious antiquity that could link the modern world to ancient myths.
If you are a fan of the Lara Croft games, or Tomb Raider, you will love this book. Abnett and Vincent really capture Lara’s character and delve deeper into it. You not only see -read- about her amazing physical feats, close call fights, and ridiculous firefights, you also get an inside look of the mind of a character capable of such acts. It is equally as satisfying as using the sticks to perform the actions. The best way to put it, it’s as if a master of words broke down your thought process of playing the game. So instead of “Where did he come from? Get behind that rock!” you get something more along the lines of “A gunman got the jump on Lara from the rear flank, narrowly missing a shot at her neck. Lara dives behind the nearest barricade so she can find to calculate her next move.” (For the record, that’s not an actual line from the story, just trying to give a like example). The writing really captures the feel of the games and in a lot of ways is faster paced. Maybe I’m just not that good at the games, or because all of the levelling up and material gathering is taken out, but the book is kind of like an epic speed run of the game.
My personal favorite part of the book is that Lara’s character is thoroughly fleshed out. Her badass-ness as an explorer, fighter, and adventurer is well captured in the games, but other than the cutscenes we normally don’t get too deep into her character. Not that she doesn’t have great wit and depth in the games, but Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever fleshes her character out like a 12-episode season. It may also seem that her character goes through more because when playing the game it feels more like I’m developing than the character. Either way, the book really expands on the character and also the lore in general. It does a great job of creating a big world within what is essentially the world we live in.
I am a huge fan of novels based on gaming franchises. I have read numerous Halo and Gears of War novels that greatly expand the franchise and create an even deeper level of appreciation. Novels, graphic novels, comics, etc. are amazing ways to enjoy these franchises with simply replaying the games. It’s also nice because these stories are usually canon and often have payoffs in the games themselves. Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever is a worthy and exceptional addition to the tradition of game franchises expanding into other mediums. It is a great story that stands as its own for action/adventure literature fans and of course for fans of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider. If you want all of the excitement, exhilaration, and adrenaline from playing the game, without having to play the game, I highly recommend you read this book.
Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever is available now.