“The Abomination Vault” takes place eons prior to the Apocalyptic events portrayed in the games Darksiders and Darksiders II. The Horsemen’s abilities, weapons, magics, physical features — and, just perhaps, their true motivations — have changed and evolved, sometimes dramatically, during this time.
This is how the novel by Ari Marmell begins.
This notice, I felt, basically served as a “get out of jail for free card” to alter the Darksiders canon without upsetting the diehard fans too much. In fact, I think it’s a brilliant idea, as this gives the author a little more freedom to divert from the storyline, approach characters from a different perspective, without upsetting the very opinionated enthusiasts.
This Darksiders book is actually an enjoyable read. It’s certainly not Shakespeare, and it doesn’t top some of the best video game writing like Drew Karpyshyn’s Mass Effect novels, but it’s the kind of book that serves a simple purpose: to entertain.
While it takes its characters and the world seriously — they’re all massive bad-asses with even more massive and impressive weapons — I never felt that Marmell was trying to make this work of fiction into “a piece of English literature.” It’s obvious that a lot of work goes into writing a book — hell, sometimes I struggle with a feature or review for Brutal Gamer, as if I’m trying to write a college dissertation.
Marmell does an excellent job of painting a visual picture, especially during the book’s prologue, which takes place in Hell, but there were times when I felt that there didn’t need to be so many adjectives.
Everything was explained and described in such detail that it almost felt like overkill. I could almost imagine the author, as he wrote the book, surrounded by dozens of thesauruses, looking for different ways to describe the same aspect of Hell’s decor while trying to come up with other ways to say “oozing.” The overload on the descriptors was never a huge detractor, but sometimes I feel that less is more.
The Abomination Vault centers, appropriatly, around the protagonists from the first two Darksiders games: War and Death, two of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Their mission is to stop a force from reaching The Abomination Vault, which is something of a Pandoras Box, which holds powerful weapons, but will bring about total destruction of Heaven, Hell, and everything in-between.
Darksiders fans will likely appreciate the book, but should keep in mind the story itself has little to do with the two games. It seems appropriate that it’d be a story that bridges the two Darksiders games, as it features the main characters from the Darksiders games, and was released around the same time Darksiders II was, but takes place “eons” before the events in the games.
There is a lot of good action, the writing is good. For a lot of gamers, school and university is back, and I think Darksiders: The Abomination Vault is the perfect book to unwind after a busy day.
Darksiders: The Abomination Vault is published by Del Rey and weighs 368 pages. The suggested retail price for the paperback is $15, and digital versions for the Kindle and Nook are available for cheaper.
This review was done using both a Kindle Fire and an iPad running the Kindle app. The experience was flawless, and I never had a problem syncing my progress between the two devices. Technology is pretty awesome!
The author, Ari Marmell, is no stranger to fantasy and science fiction, having written supplements for the pencil-and-paper Dungeons and Dragons games for Wizards of the Coast, as well as novels based on the White Wolf Publishing role-playing games.