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Magic: The Gathering: Planes Of The Multiverse: A Visual History Book Review

“Magic The Gathering: Planes Of The Multiverse: A Visual History” provides a nice overview of the mythology.

Penned by Jay Annell, “Magic: The Gathering: Planes Of The Multiverse: A Visual History” is a hardcover book that explores the world of the mega popular “Magic: The Gathering” card game. Accompanied by stunning card art that has been blown up to a full page or pages (which is a treat in and out of itself), the book spotlights the fantasy worlds within this universe ala Dominaria, Mirrodin, New Phyrexia, Tarkir, Alara, Kaladesh, Amonkhet, Ixalan, Ravnica, Arcavios, Eldraine, Fiora, Ikoria, Kaldheim, Kylem, Theros, Zendikar, Innistrad and Kamigawa. Along with descriptions, history, and key events about each plane of existence, readers also get to learn about the legendary Planeswalkers (such as Chanda Nalaar, Jace Beleren and Nicol Bolas) in these places along with locations/landscapes, weapons and tech, and other inhabitants, clans, guilds, cults, warriors, Gods, and, of course, towering monsters.

One of the things I hear the most about those interested in “Magic: The Gathering” is how daunting it seems to get into if you haven’t played it before. I was even guilty of this when I first dabbled into the game. While there may be a lot to absorb in terms of the world and the game mechanics, the learning curve is surprisingly not that steep. The mythology behind the game is a little more complex, but thankfully, this new book release provides a very thorough look at the world within the game.

While some sections may be a bit on the short side, Jay Annell captures the essence of each world which itself is often based on Earth’s own cultures ala Kylem reminding one of Ancient Rome or Amonkhet resembling Egypt. Not only does the author detail the lay of the land as it were, but he also helps readers understand the culture, vibe and atmosphere of each place. Sure, the art helps tremendously (I’ll get to that in a second), but he also provides important context such as stories about The World Tree of Kaldheim. Naturally, the other key focus here is the Planeswalkers which are essentially powerful wizards who are able to travel across planes of existence.

Reading aside, this is, after all, a visual history book and there are plenty of wondrous images to gawk out from cover to cover. Whether it’s Nicol Bolas the Planeswalker dragon, the pirates of the Brazen Coalition, the apex monster Snapdax or the creepy Ashiok, every image is brimming with imagination thanks to the numerous artists who bring this world to life.

Note: The book lacks an index which is a little bit frustrating for those who might want to use this as a reference book to jump to a certain entry like The Vicious Swarm for example.

September 15, 2021 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , ,

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