There are so, so many video game tie in novels in the wild and I haven't really read many of them. So I thought it was about time I dived into some of the novels on my shelves that I haven't had time to go through before. Now I don't usually hold much hope for tie-in novels, they always seem rushed and badly written, but i'm always glad to be proven wrong.
First up was a novel I have had since its original release way back in 2010 that was released around the Fable III launch - Fable: The Balverine Order. Written by Peter David the story is set between the events of Fable II and Fable III.
The days of magic and myth are fading away, the days of industry and science are coming. As the aged last Hero sits upon the throne of Albion, two friends - the privileged Thomas and his loyal servant, James - set out for the East in search of a legendary beast: the vicious, rarely seen balverine. But their desire for adventure may be their ultimate undoing.
For although the age of Heroes is ending, dangers and darkness still abound in the wilds of Albion. And as they travel, they encounter both unlikely friends and unnerving allies who seek adventure of a different sort. Though Thomas and James seem on the verge of finding their quarry, they may not live to tell the tale. Because their quarry has just found them.
This wasn't the worst tie-in novel I have read, but it did have issues. It was an easy enough read, although I wasn't fond of how it was written in the earlier chapters - it did however grow on me and I was deep into the plot and the characters the further the story progressed. The charm and humour found in the games doesn't quite come across the same in the book, and at times the writing seems a little juvenile in how it uses crude language etc, but I assume that's because the novel is more aimed at teenagers/young adults.
The way the story is presented is split into two sections, one is from the perspective of an Unknown King of an unknown country who encounters a mysterious storyteller while walking in his garden. This storyteller recounts the tale of Thomas Kirkman and his friend James as they head out on an adventure to hunt balverines. I'm not one for stories that jump from person to person or from past to present but the way it's done here works well enough. It's just a shame that the balverines are in it for so little of the story after the book being titled about them. It's a slow build towards finally encountering them, which luckily features a selection of environments from the Fable series.
When the pace finally picks up there are only a handful of chapters left and it all seems to go at breakneck speed towards the conclusion, I enjoyed how some of the twists leading up to the finale were much less predictable than the plot in the earlier parts of the story. Unfortunately the novel comes to a crashing halt and leaves so many unanswered questions and what ifs. I wouldn't mind if these issues/plot points had been followed up in a sequel but the later Fable novels were separate stories that don't connect with this one.
What happened to the main characters? What happened to Heroes? How did their friendship end up being affected by what happened towards the end of the story? We need to know, and the vagueness to the ending leaves a sour taste in ones mouth.
TOTAL SCORE: 6.5/10
One benefit to owning this novel in physical printed form is that it also came with a code to unlock a unique weapon, the Sharborne in Fable III.