Earlier this week, Del Rey just published the new Magic: The Gathering novel by Greg Weisman called War of the Spark: Forsaken, and just like the novel before it, War of the Spark: Ravnica, the sequel is getting a bunch of negative feedback on social media, and its early reviews are terrible with a current Amazon rating of one-star (War of the Spark: Ravnica's rating is 2.5 stars with 231 reviews on Amazon). Now, MTG fans are sharing their reactions online with some pointing out some cringe-worthy quotes from the new novel.
First of all, some people in the Magic community are pointing out how War of the Spark: Forsaken handles Chandra and Nissa's relationship. It was heavily teased as the novel where the two Planeswalkers will finally become a couple, but that never happens in the book, and snippets about their relationship found their way to Twitter:
"On Ravnica, in the wake of Gideon's death and Bolas', they had admitted to each other that they loved. But both of them knew deep down they were only speaking platonically."
Ouch! And here's the passage that really pissed fans of Chandra and Nissa's relationship:
"Chandra had never been into girls. Her crushes — and she'd had her fair share — were mostly the brawny (and decidedly male) types like Gids. But there had always been something about Nissa Revane specifically, something the two of them shared in that great chemical mix — arcing between them like one of Ral Zarek's lightning bolts — that had thrilled her. From the moment they first met.
Now everything's different.
It was over. Before it had ever had a chance to begin. Maybe, maybe they had missed their moment."
This takes one of the few queer relationships (the only girl/girl relationship) in the multiverse of Magic and ruins it. Fans were expecting lesbians or femme bisexuals would get the representation they deserve in MTG's lore, but it gets crushed before it could happen.
More importantly, this passage erases Chandra's bisexual personality. The red-hot planeswalker has always been bisexual. The way the book repaints Chandra as a straight girl who had a crush, that's over, and now she's just into "decidedly male" dudes is terrible.
Of course, Chandra and Nissa's subplot isn't the only thing in the novel fans are complaining about.
On Goodreads, Forsaken is currently rated 2 stars out of 5, and reviewer Ryan Crouch said, "I don't believe even a casual fanfic writer on a blog would be satisfied releasing something like this, let alone a serialized novel by a multi-million dollar company. It reeks of queerbaiting, bad prose, flat and inconsistent writing, and is very clearly written by a cis dude grossly unaware of people's existences and experiences outside his own. It's really sad to see fantasy novels like this perpetuate the 'big muscly dude gets all the babes attention because of his muscles' sort of toxic and boring writing."
Twitch streamer Amy the Amazonian pointed out another cringe-worthy quote from the novel:
Many on Twitter blamed Nic Kelman, head of Story and Entertainment, for ruining the story, retweeted A.E. Marling's article on Medium about WotC's decision to hire Kelman.
And here are more reactions from Twitter and Reddit:
Synopsis of War of the Spark: Forsaken:
The Planeswalkers have defeated Nicol Bolas and saved the Multiverse—though at grave cost. The living have been left to pick up the pieces and mourn the dead. But one loss is almost too great to bear: Gideon Jura, champion of justice and shield of the Gatewatch, is gone. As his former comrades Jace and Chandra struggle to rebuild from this tragedy, their future, like the future of the Gatewatch, remains uncertain.
War of the Spark: Forsaken by Greg Weisman is now available.