Diablo: Legacy Of Blood
by Richard A Knaak, fantasy (2001)
Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 0-671-04155-X

Diablo is a very addictive computer RPG/bash-everything-you-see game that people who want lives must never, ever even look at. Trust me. I thought my kids were no-life saddos when they got hooked on the game. Then one day I played Diablo II on a lark, and ten hours later my husband threatened to call the family doctor if I didn't stop. When I needed to take a toilet break at a crucial moment, I insisted he took over for a while. Big mistake. He refused to hand over the game when I got back, and our house almost went under out of neglect in the following weeks.

Set in some distant planet where moronic human beings keep repeating their ancestors' mistake when it comes to dealing with Evil, Diablo's main plot is how the three Greater Demons, Diablo, Baal, and Mephisto tried to return to Hell and regain their thrones after they were defeated by mortals. In Diablo I, I played a hero who kicked demonic ass only to stupidly fall under Diablo's evil at the end. Eh. Never mind, Diablo II is a much better kick-ass game, although this time around I play someone else who have to kill the silly fool I played in the first game. My Diablo II necromancer Thaede rules, I tell you. He can kick my hubby's barbarian anytime with his super cute and tough Blood Golem anyday. Uh... anyway, now they are making books out of the game. And like those crappy movies made out of computer games, this one, Legacy Of Blood is just not good.

Set mainly in Lut Gholein (that desert kingdom that Act II in Diablo II is set in), this story has our hero Nerrec Vizharan putting on the armor of Bartuc, the long dead Warlord of Blood. He gets mad and, corrupted by Baltuc's evil spirit, slays his buddies as a result. Oops. In a parallel to the plot of Diablo II, he decides to seek the help of the wise people "in the East" to break his curse. Ergo, Lut Gholein.

Meanwhile, evil General Malevolyn has the helm of Bartuk, and now he wants the armor. His scheming mistress Galeona and her demon buddy Xazak have other plans, however. To complete the cast, our good heroine Kara, a follower of Rathma, decides to seek out Norrec alone in a solo mission to save mankind. She will be aided by the two dead guys Norrec slayed in a plot development lifted right out of An American Werewolf In London.

And the showdown is right there outside the gates of Lut Gholein where war is about to start.

Hmm, I remember this author mainly from the only other book of his that I've read, that Dragonlance book The Legend Of Huma, memorable only in how ineptly written it was. Legacy Of Blood reminds me of something an online young adult fiction author friend said about the Rules of Writing TV Tie-In For Teenagers: "Always emphasize on the hair and the eyes and interesting physical traits". Hence, Norrec is forever "the veteran soldier", this phrase being popped in up to two times a page whenever the author gets bored of using "he". Likewise, Galeona is always the "dark-skinned, slender sorceress" and Kara is "slim but lithe woman". It's so silly and banal, this constant reiteration of the characters' traits. Then again, they are one-dimensional characters, and maybe the author is afraid that if he doesn't hammer it to me that Norrec is a "veteran soldier", I may just confuse him with the "slender and slim young woman" that is Kara.

The plot development is simplistic and just screams "For ten year-olds", were not for some PG-rated sensuality related to the "dark, seductive enchantress" villainess. When the prose is not irritating me silly with the constant reiteration of hair color, age, or body shape, it is clumsily lumbering towards a grand build-up that never came. I close the book with a "Huh? That's it?" and pitch it back to the UBS bag. Legacy Of Blood, with its one-dimensional characters and uninteresting, inept plot just fails to deliver. Now on to fire up my computer. My necromancer feels like kicking more demon butt today.

Rating: 48

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