OLA FELLOW DESERT COMICS ENTHUSIASTS!!!! Desertgrrl is back again with the back end of the DARK SUN prequel tie-in novels!!!
First up is RUSTED RAIN. This one was basically crazy. It starts out with Trevia, he’s at the Lost Oasis, which apparently merits capitalization, out in the desert, and he wakes up after some kind of dream feeling compelled to go out into the middle of the desert on some kind of vision quest. He’s setting out to go when Aya shows up for some reason — apparently she came to find Trevia??? There’s some serrrrrious unresolved sexual tension between the two of them for srs guys. I think. It points to that “bone rod” he gave her in FLEEING ACROSS THE SANDS being just a bone rod and not a penis. So of course she chases him out into the desert and the two of them are going along, squabbling/flirting…. Trevia is the POV character for almost the whole book though.
Then they come across Cora!!! This is Cora!Tanza, because apparently Cora sometimes goes out into the desert to be a crocodile-headed minotaur (crocotaur? I thought minotaurs had to have bull-heads but not Cora!Tanza). Cora!Tanza says she’s a shaman like Trevia, but she lost her spirit buddies and her special spirit magic like Trevia has….
….btw, this setting is crazy inasmuch as there are psychic powers which I haven’t even gotten into, plus defiling-magic and preserving-magic AND spirit-magic which the books are all the time telling us ISN’T preserving-magic…. couldn’t we just have the two kinds of magic…… defile and preserve huh would that be so hard DARK SUN???….. anyway…….
ANYWAY. Trevia tries to use HIS spirit-magic to fix Cora!Tanza’s spirit-magic, but no luck (maybe because it’s really Cora and not Real!Tanza??? IS THERE EVEN A REAL!TANZA OR DID CORA TOTES MAKE HER UP??? There is no way to know!!!) and Cora!Tanza and Aya and Trevia all together go to this place that Trevia dreamed about, the Ruin of Storms, out in the desert. I don’t know why Thom wasn’t there.
So they get to the ruins, which are described as being pretty well-preserved actually, and then there’s this sandstorm and Cora!Tanza disappears out of the book. Aya is concerned, but Trevia doesn’t care because he’s all high on spirit magic, it’s a crazy spirit-magic-heavy place the Ruin of Storms is. And then Trevia has to free an imprisoned storm-elemental-spirit thing, which, you can see where this is going right? LUCKILY Aya is there to talk down Trevia when he gets all crazy with the storm spirit magic thing and decides to turn the whole Tyr region into a lake (NO NOT TYR THAT IS WHERE THOM IS!!!). There’s a hella big rainstorm (I hope Cora didn’t drown!!!) that floods the neighborhood but Trevia gets it under control before too much damage happens…. then he releases the storm spirit power where it flies off into the sky…. I bet this is a plot thread that comes up again in the comic early on, it’s clearly setup.
I think I was supposed to read THE PATH OF RECKONING before RUSTED RAIN but it’s hard to tell these things!!! RECKONING ends with Aya heading towards the Lost Oasis, is why I think that. It starts out with Aya separated from a trade caravan out in the desert, sunsick and trying to reconcile her defiling powers with her desire to not destroy the world. At first she’s going to flee Tyr and the cities and be a hermit, but she finds a watering hole that’s all choked with sand and dried up from neglect, and decides instead to be more active and so she heads back to the caravan. Cause she’s going to be a Secretly Good Templar, which is like being a corrupt cop but the opposite.
In the caravan we bump into Thom again!!! He and Aya have some kind of magic versus being huge and hitting things rivalry thing going on, and they fight off elf raiders (apparently elfs in DARK SUN are like marathon running desert bandits) using both pew-pew magic zappy and THOM SMASH so then Thom learns a valuable lesson???
ALSO the caravan boss is Cora!Caravaneer. We don’t get the Caravaneer’s name, just “the merchant queen” and “the caravaneer.” Maybe her name is Orm because someone says that to her once, but mostly I don’t know. Cora is pretending to be a former prisoner from Tyr, who is dray (they are dragonpeople remember) but who can’t breathe acid (which non-shapeshifty dray can do?). Cora doesn’t do very much (mainly this is a story about how Aya is trying to fit into the modern DARK SUN world) but there are a couple of scenes where she’s the POV character, and you get a better sense for how Cora!whatever knows that she isn’t whatever, but she pretends that she is whatever as much as she possibly can. Like method acting???
PATH OF RECKONING is a really quick read you guys, but then I got to AND BACK AGAIN. AND BACK AGAIN is kind of like FLEEING ACROSS THE SAND, because its chapters are basically separate stories??? But this time the main character in all of them is Thom! First there’s a story about Thom deciding to leave Tyr and go back to the gladiator camp he grew up in, because he doesn’t like how poorly slaves get treated in the city. Then there’s a story about him signing up to join a caravan (it’s not Cora!Caravaneer’s caravan, it’s a different one) but it doesn’t work out because he keeps getting harassed by people who recognize him from the arena, like, desert paparazzi!!! He has to deal with being famous in the third story too, because there’s this village that Cora!Caravaneer’s caravan stops on where everyone is dying of malnutrition and they think that because Thom is famous he can save them, but he doesn’t have anything for them because he spent all his money on not being a slave any more. Which is pretty grim!!! Then the rest of the book is stories that fit in between chapters of RUSTED RAIN, which is pretty cool. Thom is part of the caravan that Aya wanders away from, and then he goes looking for her when the caravan is passing by the Lost Oasis (apparently people know where it is I don’t even know why it’s called Lost) and he finds her and Trevia both, and you get a lot more of the story of Trevia blasting everywhere with rain magic and Aya (and Thom!) talking him down and stopping him.
The last prequel book is THE SUN ALSO RISES (funny I thought there was already a book called that DARK SUN people!!!) and it goes out of its way to say that it is set a couple of years after the whole thing with Trevia using rain-magic to melt part of the map…. mostly it is about Cora and Trevia. Cora!Mask-of-Jade gets this mission to infiltrate another city’s templars, which Cora!Mask-of-Jade doesn’t think Mask-of-Jade is capable of, so (in this hilarious sequence) Cora!Mask-of-Jade writes a note where ‘someone’ will find it according to ‘the will of the universe’ and then she becomes Cora!Sunlight and Cora!Sunlight finds the note and reads it and decides to carry out the mission.
Cora!Sunlight is a elf dancing girl, who joins a caravan headed for Gulg, which is the other city, to seduce its sorcerer-queen-goddess. On the way out of Tyr the caravan meets Trevia, who has been wandering around in the desert since the whole storm/rain/RUSTED RAIN thing, and he starts crushing on Cora!Sunlight because he has been SO ALONE and he’s bitter and guilty and stuff, and they go to Gulg and he melts some (see what i did there) and starts to lighten up. Trevia is the POV character for most of the book, I guess because they don’t like having Cora be the POV character, but we don’t ever see more than a little bit of Cora!Sunlight infiltrating and seducing, which is too bad.
The book ends kind of suddenly with Thom showing up to tell Trevia that he’s been recruited by the king of Tyr to go on an expedition under the mountains, which I guess is how the comic series starts??? It’s pretty abrupt you guys!!! I think maybe it was written in a hurry!!!
SO THAT IS THE PREQUELS IN A NUTSHELL.