6227080I always find it amazing that even when you fall in love with a series of any kind, you read it and play it over and over again, you read and research and think you know everything about it and then something like this comes out and you’re shown just how much more you have yet to learn.

Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne is the first of three novels published to date, with a fourth one in the works coming out late 2013/early 2014, and the first of two prequel novels, all based on the video RPG game of the same name.

Here we are introduced to Maric, Loghain, and Rowan, three key characters in the video game, as young men and women fighting to free their lands from occupation from a neighboring, hostile country called Orlais.

Now when you play the game, Rowan is dead for many years, Maric is missing and presumed dead, his son Cailain sits on the throne but is killed by a general’s betrayal, and Loghain is the evil, power mad general of Fereldan, one of the boss characters you have to defeat to beat the game.  The Stolen Throne is that journey for all of them from young, untried and largely truly untested individuals with heads and hearts full of dreams and often leading them in the wrong direction, to reclaiming the land and the throne.

It provides a lot of insight to the motivations of these characters, especially Loghain.  I for one never really understood the reasoning for the depth of his hatred for the Orlesian empire, but this opened my eyes a great deal.  It also was able to bring to life a lot of characters that you only hear about in game as most of them had passed on by the game events, but are alive and well during the book.

I really, really, enjoyed this.  It brought me back to a world I love in an entirely new, different, and interesting way.  I don’t think I’ll wait so long till I pick up the next one.

But until then, we’re going to check out the Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn.

8577314A.D. 69. Nero is dead.

The Roman Empire is up for the taking. With bloodshed spilling out of the palace and into the streets of Rome, chaos has become the status quo. The Year of Four Emperors will change everything—especially the lives of two sisters with a very personal stake in the outcome….

Elegant and ambitious, Cornelia embodies the essence of the perfect Roman wife. She lives to one day see her loyal husband as Emperor. Her sister, Marcella, is more withdrawn, content to witness history rather than make it. Even so, Marcella has her share of distinguished suitors, from a cutthroat contender for the throne to a politician’s son who swears that someday he will be Emperor.

But when a bloody coup turns their world upside down, Cornelia and Marcella—along with their cousins, one a collector of husbands and lovers, the other a horse-mad beauty with no interest in romance—must maneuver carefully just to stay alive. As Cornelia tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams, Marcella discovers a hidden talent for influencing the most powerful men in Rome. In the end, though, there can only be one Emperor … and one Empress.