I’ve always had a problem with the way that the lore of the first Destiny was handled. When the game was launched, you could find fragments – bits and pieces of the backstory of the Destiny universe – but there was no way to actually read it in the game. No, in order to understand the very lore that you had spent time searching for, you had to quit out of the game, login to the Bungie website, and then and only then could you actually hope to find a clue about what was going on. The lore and universe that Bungie created has always seemed strong enough, to me at least, to support more in the way of surrounding stories. I mean, there are not a huge amount of novels that I have found, and I only have one Destiny action figure – a figure of the Titan dressed in the Vault of Glass armour set, carrying Gjallahorn. Anyway, enough waffling, let’s have a look at Titan Book’s offering of collected lore, because that’s exactly what the Destiny: Grimoire Anthology – Dark Mirror (Volume 1) covers.
Now, as you’d expect from Volume 1 of the Destiny Grimoire Anthology, what is on display here is the collected grimoire fragments that we painstakingly collected in the first game. This is brought together in roughly chronological order, and so it begins with Oryx’s origin story. Now, in the original The Taken King expansion, I remember having to hunt high and low all over the Leviathan to find enough bits and bobs in order to advance the “Touch of Malice” quest, and so it is nice to see a section of the Anthology is dedicated to this very weapon, and how it fits in with the whole of Oryx’s story. It follows the entire arc of the Hive storyline, from the first moments, when Oryx was known as Aurix – a weak and feeble being with a life span of only four years – right up to how the Hive were created, how they came into conflict with the Traveller, and so much more.
Now, being honest, I had read some of these bits before, but not in order and not completely. Doing so here has been a real pleasure, as the story of Oryx and his brother and sister is a very interesting one. It comes with many twists and turns too, including how Oryx came to find out that as long as he had a throne in the ascendant realm, he was effectively immortal, and this is where the basis of the whole King’s Fall raid came from. I can’t begin to count the number of times that my fireteam and I ran through the raid, looking for the weapons. Good times indeed.
One thing I had forgotten about was how Oryx came to utilise the power of the Darkness, using it to turn his enemies into his allies, The Taken. All in all, the whole Oryx/Taken/Hive/Vex story arc is very well-written indeed. I’ve always been a fan of the different styles of writing that were on display in the original game, from straightforward storytelling to almost poetic phrases; from Vex-style transmissions to discussions between the Worms and Oryx. The writing, when gathered into one place and read in order, makes a lot more sense than when you had to read what you could find, often with gaps in the middle.
The best part of the whole Grimoire Anthology – Dark Mirror (Volume 1), for me, is the whole Thorn/The Last Word section. It’s here that Destiny becomes almost a spaghetti western, with a small town being visited by a man, bearing the light, with a powerful hand cannon on his hip. This, of course, is The Last Word – one of my favourite hand cannons in the game – and the tale of how another drifter came to town, also bearing a powerful hand cannon. Sadly, this was Dredgen Yor, and the gun he carried was Thorn, infected by Darkness. What follows is a classic tale of horror, death, revenge and redemption, as the bearer of The Last Word, Jaren, was killed by Yor, and his weapon was given to a young boy who had been taken under his wing, then this young man grew and tracked Yor down, redeeming his master’s life by taking revenge. This is a very well-written passage of the lore, and was just as much fun to read now as it was all those years ago when I was hunting for the weapons in-game. And who can forget how broken Thorn was in the Crucible in those days, eh? Bitter? Me? Never!
Now, normally at this point I’d make some comment on how the book I’m reviewing looks, how it feels in the hand and so on and so forth. Because this is a review copy, however, the book was supplied as a PDF file, so I’ve had to read it on my laptop screen. I’m not one of these people who has whole-heartedly embraced the pleasures of the e-reader: I much prefer to hold a physical book, to feel the weight, to smell the pages. I realise in this day and age it makes me something of a dinosaur, but I don’t care. Anyway, I have to give a conclusion about this book based on what I’ve read, and to be honest, if you are a fan of Destiny and the wider stories around the game, Destiny: Grimoire Anthology – Dark Mirror (Volume 1) from Titan Books is an easy sell. The quality of the writing, carrying over from the lore fragments found in the game, is fantastic to read, and the sheer variety of writing styles on display is great. I have thoroughly enjoyed being reminded of the fun times I had in the game, the overarching narrative, the way that all the different races of the game were tied together – the Vex and Hive, for instance – and how they came to war upon the Earth.
Massive thanks go out to Titan Books for providing a copy of their Destiny: Grimoire Anthology – Dark Mirror (Volume 1). Keep an eye out for our thoughts surrounding Volume 2 and Volume 3 soon. If you wish to pick up a copy of the book for yourself, head on over to Titan Books direct.