After reading (and enjoying) the first Runescape book "Betrayal at Falador", I was really anxious to get my hands on "Return to Canifis". So, as soon as I got one, I put away other books I was reading at the time and dived into another "away from the computer" Runescape adventure. The promise to travel through vast evilness of Morytania was very alluring. And the author didn't disappoint me, at least not in that area. Both Canifis and Mort Myre swamp came out perfect - just the right mixture of fog, stench, dampness, evil, hope and despair. I do feel different now, when traveling through these parts of Gielinor after reading this book. So, if you are after this kind of experience, by all means, go ahead and get the book!
But if you are looking for something more, like engaging plot, likable new characters and great adventure, I am afraid, I'll have to disappoint you. Despite its many flaws "Betrayal at Falador" was better in this regard... "Return to Canifis" had so many illogical turns in the plot, that it never came out as a cohesive sequence, even at the end. Actually the end was missing altogether - which was another big disappointment for me, I do like books having a logical conclusion, even when they are parts of a series.
So what was the plot? In a nutshell, Kara, Gar'rth, Theodore and Co met in Varrock, spent half of the book there among half developed (and not finished even at the end of the book) court intrigues. There was a monster in the city as well, whose presence wasn't fully explained either. Then they went to Canifis as part of so called embassy, got in a few conflicts with werewolves, escaped, traveled through the swamp to Meiyerditch, got back to the swamp and made a dire escape back to Misthalin. Of course, they got separated and re-joined, met new characters and fought many battles along the way, one wouldn't expect less, there was even a hidden thing going on for Gar'rth, which I won't spoil here, but... Almost none of it made sense, if you just stop and think about it. It bothered me greatly.
- All those hints about Zamorakians at the court - didn't come anywhere. Groundwork for the next book?
- Pia's actions throughout the whole book were quite illogical too. What was she doing there in the first place, btw?
- The whole embassy stuff - it was only used to get our heroes to Canifis, it was never intended to be a real embassy.
- People from the swamp... they only wanted to get away and get away quickly. So how come they dared to make forays into Canifis or even Meiyerditch? Made no sense.
- Vampires, being so powerful, were not able to prevent people from going back an forth to/from Meiyerditch and actually let our valiant heroes to escape? Common.
Also add to it an overabundance of blood and gore (just like in the previous book) and considerably less humor. Ah, yes, and the jealousy! Quite frankly I was fed up with Kara's and Theodore's jealousy thing going on forever. There got to be something else about their relationship worth writing about.
Anything else? Actually there were several good things too:
- Fight scenes were very good throughout the whole book and none of them dragged out (like the main battle in "Betrayal at Falador"did). The fights were diverse, realistic and in general very well described. The supposedly climax fight on and around the balloon was quite awesome.
- Again, just like in the previous book, there were no completely "black" or "white" characters - everybody had something both good and bad going for them.
- And the scenery. But I already talked about it...
Following my summarization pattern from the previous review:
- Did I like "Return to Canifis"? - note as a whole, I only liked certain aspects of it.
- Would I recommend this book to others? - only if you are a Runescape player and would like to get a "feel" for Morytania to enhance your in-game experience.
- Should other Runescape books be written? - why not? But the next one should be considerably better. I don't want another "Return to Canifis".