At last, it’s here – the anthology of Destiny lore I’ve been looking forward to, the one with the Exos in. When I created my first character way back at the start of the original Destiny, I made an Exo Titan and since that time I’ve been interested in the Exo and their backstory. Well, finally, I’ve had my questions answered with Titan Books’ Destiny Grimoire Anthology III: War Machines!
Now, War Machines is not just about the Exos, thankfully, it’s also about Rasputin – the last surviving Warmind – and about Cayde-6 in particular. Now, I may have mentioned a few times about how Cayde-6, brilliantly voiced by Nathan Fillion is my favourite character in Destiny, however while the Cayde we know in game was loud, brash, and very full of himself, this collection of lore reveals a softer, more vulnerable side. I hadn’t realised that Exos, when they were created, were made by downloading a living person’s personality, for want of a better word, into a robot body. As part of the process, the person’s memories were wiped, and we all know how well that usually works in sci-fi, yeah? So, it appears that quite a lot of Exos had issues with the suppressed memories resurfacing, making them almost mentally unstable.
The backstory of the Exos is very interesting, and starts, as so many other things in the Destiny universe do, with Clovis Bray, the man and the company. Not only does this volume of Destiny lore from Titan Books explain the relationship between Clovis Bray and Rasputin, but it details the early experiments in turning people into Exos. Now, minor spoilers here, but the granddaughter of Clovis Bray himself is not only an Exo, but a time travelling Mysterious Stranger, and so the lore here is related right the way back to the latest of the Destiny 2 expansions, Beyond Light. So, while it may be thought that Clovis Bray’s research may be unethical, maybe even illegal (if he wasn’t based on a moon, anyway) the end result is that the Exos do make a very good contribution to the efforts of Guardians as they try to hold back the Darkness. Playing through the expansion, as you continue beyond Beyond Light, even Clovis Bray himself puts in an appearance as a disembodied giant head, sending you off on missions. Being an Exo really is forever, it appears!
As the Destiny Anthology Volume III: War Machines experience goes on, there are further entries about the Sleeper Simulant – the linear Fusion rifle that I was so proud of in Destiny 1 – entries about the programming of Rasputin, and how he became what basically amounts to being self aware. There are also bits and bobs about the life stories of Clovis Bray employees.
However, the main part of the book, for me, is the life story of the Cayde Unit. As he was made, his memories were wiped, but he decided what he would do is leave himself notes about his past life, in order to help him remember two people – Ace and the Queen. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Ace was his son, although I don’t remember it ever being explicitly said that was the case. It’s just the way that he speaks about Ace; the way he always seems to be sad when he thinks about him; the way he says that Ace probably wouldn’t even recognise him. As to who the Queen was or is, all I know for sure is that it wasn’t Mara Sov, the Awoken Queen.
Anyway, this book gives a great insight into the backstory of Cayde, how he came to be in the Vanguard, and how that the story ties back to other parts of Destiny lore, such as his dealings with Taniks the Scarred, the Fallen assassin. I’m not going to go into too much detail, as the story and the background were pretty new to me, but it has certainly helped in rounding Cayde’s character out.
All in all, whilst Volume I and Volume II have been great reads, Volume III: War Machines has been my favourite book of the three that Titan Books have brought to the market in this Anthology. In large part this is Cayde’s story, but seeing the origin of the Exos also ensures enjoyment, especially in the way the lore has been put together. The different, disparate writing styles also help to make the book come alive, but in my head the Cayde sections are voiced by Nathan Fillion, and this elevates things above the others.
As a collection, I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the books, and congratulations to Titan Books for treating the source material so sensitively.
Huge thanks go out to Titan Books for providing us access to Destiny Grimoire Anthology Volume III: War Machines for review. You can pick up a copy for yourself by visiting Titan Books direct.