Book Review: Megatokyo Endgames: The Tower of Kartage

Tower

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So, for those of you that aren’t aware, Megatokyo is a webcomic/manga (depends on who you ask) that follows the adventures of Piro and Largo when they get stuck in Japan with no money to return (I swear, I’m not making that up). It was one of the first ‘big’ webcomics and it has since, for the most part, fallen in to obscurity. This is most likely due to the Artist/Writer, Fred Gallagher, updating at a glacial pace. I still strongly recommend the webcomic. The art is fantastic and the world he is working on in it is a lot of fun to visit – there are very few places that have zombie godzilla, magical girls, origami ninjas, and others all co-existing.

One of the key elements of the backstory, however, is the mystery of what happened in Endgames – an MMO that Fred has made up for his world. It is the WoW of the Megatokyo world and an event caused the entire game to shutdown. Piro, one of the main characters, and his character, Pirogoeth, were involved somehow in stopping it. So was Largo’s character. It has been hinted at and examined a few times, but we’ve never really gotten in to the nitty-gritty of the event.

The Endgames novels, however, are beginning to crack that nut.

Even if I were not familiar with the Megatokyo universe, I would still have enjoyed the story. The Tower of Kartage focuses on Pirogoeth – a young magic user from the Free Territories. She has been brought under the tutelage of Socrato ; a powerful magic user in his own right so that she can learn how to better harness her abilities. Through the course of the novel, we get to see Pirogoeth struggle with mastering her abilities as well as the flaws inherent in the system of government of the Endgames world.

At the same time, far out to sea (so far at least), the Void is creeping slowly towards the kingdom.Through the novel we learn that Socrato sees something in Pirogoeth that he believes will be able to help stop the Void from continuing forward and engulfing the world forever. We’re never really told what the Void is or why it is there, but we do know that, somehow, Pirogoeth is supposed to be helpful in stopping it.

Pirogoeth is…not the most likable protagonist I’ve ever read. She is extremely cold and she has social issues. She doesn’t react to things very well and, at times, can be downright mean. She has very little attachment to any of the other characters, and what little attachment she shows feels a bit forced. This is consistent with the way she is portrayed in the comic on which the Tower of Kartage is based, but it’s a difficult thing to become at all attached to or invested in her. She’s not fully developed and she does little to encourage a reader to come close.

I did like Socrato, for what we saw of him. He reminds me a lot of the Monitor from DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths; he is immensely powerful and is trying to find a way to stop untold destruction and has turned to finding others to help him. Unfortunately, we’re never really given any evidence that he really has a plan to stop the Void either, so the conflict feels hollow and misplaced. This knocks Socrato down a few pegs as well.

The pacing of the story is fine, and I enjoyed reading it as something to go with at night. It was nice to revist the Endgame world and play around in it a bit, but I can’t help feeling that there could have been more to the story. With the exception of solving one political issue, there aren’t really any victories to celebrate. Pirogoeth lacks the charm of Harry Potter at Wizard School , so that makes it harder to stick with than I eexpected I would still have read the book – the mystery was interesting – but I probably wouldn’t have been quite as devoted as I was without the Megatokyo label on it.

On the whole, for Fans of Megatokyo, this is a solid read. New folks, however, may find the chill of the main character a bit much to deal with and a challenge to justify the price of the book.

Characters: 3.5/5
Plot: 4/5
Action: 2.5/5
Word Count 5/5
Price: 4/5
Overall: 3.75/5

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