Review: The Secrets of Magic.

“‘One’s own life is to be savored. The lives of others are to be cultivated.'”

Magic: The Gathering: The Secrets of Magic Anthology” edited by Jess Lebow

The Secrets of Magic Anthology, edited by Jess Lebow, surprisingly revealed very few secrets, and I feel that my latest venture into the Magic: the Gathering world would have been more aptly titled M:tG: Origins. Especially in the first half of the book, most of the stories gathered in this collection seem to be origin stories of many characters previously met in other M:tG books (as well as some I have not yet met, but now feel a little more eager to discover). Overall, I felt this presentation of stories of Dominaria was much weaker than some of the previous ones, though it was certainly not without its own charms.

One of the best stories for me was Scott McGough’s “Family Man,” which set up the Blade Runner-esque “future” Magic world that was my first exposure to this world. He did such a brilliant job of painting this hyper-stylized world that the images he crafted stick with me still, much more so than any other story in the volume. I wanted to like J. Robert King’s “Behold, the Fish!” because it was just chock-full of great introspection on the artist during times of war, but I just couldn’t dig the overall story, even if I loved the theme. Jim Bishop’s “Goblin King” was particularly cool, too, and I loved how I was still captivated by Chris Pramas’s “Burning Vengeance,” even though I could see where it was going from a mile away. Many of the others, though, felt a little lackluster and formulaic, without the Magic I was looking for.

Not your best offering, Magic: the Gathering, and I hope there’s not an offering that’s worse…

Books read: 030/100.

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