13th Mar2011

Book Review: Runescape – Return to Canifis

by Phil Wheat

Written by T.S. Church | Published by Titan Books


Runescape, the long-running free massive multiplayer online RPG, has recently broke free of the shackles of PC screens everywhere with a series of novels from author T.S. Church (the first of which we reviewed here) aimed squarely at the games many millions of players, and as such makes for hard reading for the uninitiated.

Return to Canifis picks up the story six months after the events of the first book and sees heroine Kara-Meir team with Gar’rth, Doric the dwarf, the wizard Castimir and the barbarian priestess Arisha in a quest to Morytania, the land of the dead, in order to save the city of Varrock.

“Varrock is the greatest human city in the world, yet it is filled with dangerous secrets. People are being taken by an inhuman abductor. Its victims are murdered… or worse, spirited away to Morytania, where vampires rule.

As unrest against the crown grows, the King chooses to send the now-famous Kara-Meir and her friends across the holy river into Morytania, the land of the dead.”

And that’s about as much as I garnered from this book before tedium set in. I’m sure players of Runescape would get a lot more out of these types of books, but from a newcomer standpoint this novel was a hard read – cliches abound, the plot is signposted from the get go and there is, at least for me, way too much exposition. It seems writer T.S. Church felt the need to fill in every small plot point and conversation, leaving zero to the imagination which, despite not being an MMORPG player, seems to be antithesis of the RPG experience. I really hate to criticise Return to Canifis too much as there’s obviously an audience for these novels, being written by a fan (as T.S. Church is) for fans (which I am not) – but for the uninitiated such as myself there’s sadly nothing much here to recommend.

Runescape: Return to Canifis is out now from Titan Books.


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