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Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume 1 [Hardcover]

Various , David Gaider
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 43.99
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Book Description

April 16 2013
For Dragon Age newcomers, this comprehensive volume brings you up to speed on everything you need to know about the regions, religions, monsters, magic, and more! For dedicated fans, never before have the secrets of BioWare's epic fantasy been revealed so completely and so compellingly!

* Filled with never-before-seen art by the creators of the games!

* New Dragon Age game coming in 2013!

* From the writers and artists of the Dragon Age games.

The definitive guide!

Frequently Bought Together

Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume 1 + Dragon Age Volume 2: Those Who Speak + Dragon Age Volume 1: The Silent Grove
Price For All Three: CDN$ 52.10

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality with beautiful art! June 8 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm very happy with this purchase. The book arrived quickly (within a couple days) and was in perfect condition. The book itself is lovely, with high resolution and lots of information to really get you into the details of the world of Thedas. It includes a lot of things I'd never considered before about the different cultures, religions, races, characters, etc. It's a reasonable price too. I'd recommend this to any Dragon Age fans who are interested in learning more about the world or just love its art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have for Fans! May 29 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent illustrations and explanations of the historical and socio-political societies within the Dragon Age universe. I am a huge fan of the series and adore this book!
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As soon as I heard this book was coming out, I knew I had to have it, and I'm delighted to report that my faith was not misplaced. I've spent the last week reading it cover to cover, and have gleefully soaked up every word and image.

This isn't just an art book or game guide. This is an in-world encyclopedia that basically takes all of those codex entries you pick up during the course of game-play and organizes them around breathtaking concept art. There's a lot of new information as well, and an incredibly helpful timeline that spans the course of the book to help you put world events in order. They don't go into a /lot/ of detail about any one thing, but you get a good sampling of much of what makes up Thedas (the nations, the historical events, religions, races, the Blights, etc.). I imagine future volumes will be more focused, but this is just my prediction/hope.

Admittedly, I don't think this book is for someone who only has/had a passing interest in the games. I think this book is for the players who can't keep themselves from revisiting Thedas time and time again (I myself just finished my fifth play-through of Origins, have a healthy start on my fourth play-through of Awakening, and an itch to go through Dragon Age II again ASAP). If you didn't just like Dragon Age, but /loved/ it, this is definitely the book for you.

I can't wait to see what future volumes hold!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  57 reviews
63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars World of Thedas Kindle Edition - w/NO KINDLE FEATURES - What! May 1 2013
By Melysande - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The hardcover gets 5 stars - lets be very clear - this review refers ONLY to the Kindle Edition:
1. not searchable
2 can not enlarge type or enlarge the page - this makes the book unreadable even with Dalish eyes
3. can not highlight, make notes in the book, look up words, etc
4. only viewable as portrait
Bottom line: NO KINDLE FEATURES are available with this book - 0, zip, nada, none

There is way - even thought the magnifying glass doesn't work: When you first open the book - a pop up will instruct you on how to use Kindle Frame reader (for comics usually) - it does work. double tap the section you want enlarged (so you can read it) SHARPLY. Read or appreciate the art work. Double tap SHARPLY on the enlargement. Awkward, but better than nothing. Wimpy taps will not work, btw, or ones that are too long. Quick and sharp.

I bought this book on Kindle to use the features. I have the hard copy. I went through the Kindle entry and found nothing warning me that no Kindle features worked on this book. If I had been warned I wouldn't have purchased it. It did warn that it was only available on Kindle and not the PC reader, but I thought that's OK.

I feel quite scammed. If Kindle features will not be available on a book the entry should say so to allow the buyer to make an INFORMED decision. Shame on you Amazon. Shame.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Ruthlessly fact checked" is an overstatement but it's beautiful May 1 2013
By Valerie DeBill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Edited 5 Jun 2013 to add that there is a World of thedas errata sheet (written by Brother Genitivi, of course) available now on the BioWare blog. I can't put a clickable URL in the review but it is located at
blog DOT bioware DOT com /2013/06/05/world-of-thedas-volume-1-an-errata

I bought the Collector's Edition through Bioware as well as the regular hardcover from Amazon and both of those get four and a half out of five stars. Five for art and design, four for content and accuracy. The Kindle version gets one star, for reasons enumerated in the last paragraph.

For a book that Mike Laidlaw claims is "ruthlessly fact checked" it has a number of obvious errors, and John Green's review already covered many of them.

Examples of a few timeline inconsistencies that John didn't cover:

- Dragon Age: The Calling covers the events of King Maric's return to the Deep Roads in the company of some Orlesian Grey Wardens including Duncan. Someone editing the World of Thedas timeline got very confused and decided that the events at the end of The Calling took place in 9:10 and the ones that make up the bulk of the book took place in 9:14.

- The timeline claims that Empress Celene was born in 9:6, but the body of the text says she became Empress at age 16 in 9:20.

- Early in the timeline the Avvars split off from the Alamarri in -1815 Ancient and the Chasind split off and move into the Wilds in -1415. In 1:50 Divine they combine forces and Hafter holds them off, becoming the first teyrn in the Ferelden valley. In 5:42 Exalted, the timeline says that Calenhad united Ferelden. In the body of the text, on page 26, there's a description of human tribes that claims that Avvar and Chasind only split off because they resisted the unification of Ferelden under Calenhad.

On the plus side, the book is absolutely gorgeous and it is really nice to have all of the information in one place and so well-organized. The lore isn't all brand-new stuff we didn't already know, but some of it is a really interesting look at parts of the world we would never get to see in-game: there's an interesting bit about the sexual mores of different cultures, a bunch of sidebars by various Thedosian personalities, lots of notes and letters, and quite a lot of detailed information. The chapter on Thedosian races and the one on the various nations of Thedas are both excellent and do a great job of giving a more vibrant picture of life in Thedas.

The Kindle version is essentially a low-res scan of the books I already paid over $100 for. It doesn't work on my Mac, doesn't work on my actual Kindle device, and doesn't work on my iPhone. It only works on the Kindle app on my iPad. The text is not searchable or selectable, and navigating the book uses the comic book interface of the Kindle app much like Dark Horse's own comic reader. Unlike the Dark Horse reader, I can't view parts of the book in significantly better detail by zooming: you get the full-page and the frame nav, and that's it. Given the choice between it and any other available format, choose the other format.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Touring Thedas April 28 2013
By John Green - Published on Amazon.com
This is one of those books that's long overdue, given the success of the franchise. World of Thedas Vol 1 doesn't expand all that much on the Dragon Age universe and falls short in key areas.

Chapters include: Legend, Map of Thedas, Races, Nations, Magic, Religion, The Fade, The Blight, Bestiary and Glossary. It reads like an RPG sourcebook; granted it's derived from an RPG so that's hard to avoid, but I felt like I should have some dice handy while I was going through it. The layout is gorgeous- some stunning artwork from familiar names like Joy Ang, Fran Gaulin, Jae-Keum, Steve Klit, Caspar Konefal and Nick Thornborrow. Simply beautiful.

There's cameos from some old friends- Varric, Leliana, Morrigan, Anders, and even Flemeth and Corypheus. Brother Genitivi acts as the resident scholar, often supplying commentary on the entries as well.

Much of the information presented is not new, simply fleshed out. And that's where the problems come in: while there are some interesting nuggets and pearls, too many times you'll see either a contradiction to the established canon or something so lacking you wonder why they even bothered with it. And others just leave you scratching your head.

Here's a few examples:

Endrin Aeducan is stated to be mourning the loss of his eldest and youngest sons (it's supposed to be his eldest and middle child). Seems small but it's a huge error if you know the franchise... and how'd they miss it?

Noble ranks in Ferelden- the place we're all most familiar with- are also off, listing an arl as the equivalent of a mayor. Really? Isn't an arl supposed to be an earl or something? Heck, the Bioware chatrooms have better and more detailed info than this 'official' release.

New details about Wardens and the Calling are also confusing: the book states that they must first serve alongside dwarven troops for a year before going off on their own. Since when? And what's the point of it if they're not going to even last that long anyway? Also no new information about the Joining Ritual or how it was discovered.

The chapter on Religion is where it really drops the ball in my opinion. The section on the Old Gods is sketchy- no surprise there- but something about them would've been appreciated. Were they vessels for powerful extra-planar beings or just dragons with powers and abilities far beyond those of other flying serpents? The Elven Gods get a little better treatment- they're supposedly all trapped in the Black City. How? Why?

Humanity is the newest race on Thedas; apparently they all came from somewhere else... But as they make up nearly all of the Maker's worshipers, what was he doing all that time, let alone before Andraste showed up? Who were his followers?

Kossith (Qunari) are said to have migrated to Ferelden in ages past, giving rise to ogre darkspawn. But then why hasn't anyone ever seen any ogres before the Fifth Blight?

World of Thedas is nice enough to have; you get lots of data conveniently packaged for your enjoyment. But there's precious little new information provided in it so it's a toss up as to whether it's worth your while or not.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite definitive. Sept. 20 2013
By J. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Three stars for a book that has a number of positives and negatives.

First, the positives! The illustrations, as many have said, are quite beautiful. Be aware that they follow the concept art style of Dragon Age 2 and subsequent material (Silent Grove, etc) more than Dragon Age: Origins. Not unexpected, as that seems to be the overall art direction of the franchise. A little more vibrant, a little more stylized, but you lose that edge of realism if it's what you prefer. Either way, it's a personal preference issue, and the art in the book is plentiful, high quality, and much of it is brand new. The layout is excellent, reminiscent of a textbook with main sections and plentiful sidebars, the latter of which range from more detailed analysis of a topic briefly touched on in the main body of the text to humorous anecdotes, timelines, and more. While the layout is 'textbook,' the author's have done a good job of making sure the text itself never lingers on one topic long enough to become dry - this is intended as an entertaining reference to a fictional world, and it pulls that off nicely.

Unfortunately, there are negatives, as well. One is not rightly attributed to this book alone - canon issues within the greater Dragon Age universe. They are numerous at this point, and there is nothing this book could have done about them within it's pages, though it does introduce some inconsistencies that are all its own, as well, which have already been pointed out in other reviews. Be aware however that the information here should be taken with a grain of salt, especially if being used as a reference for a tabletop campaign, fan fiction, etc. Hopefully Bioware can sort out the canon issues and provide a definitive version; it would have been nice if something like that could have been done before releasing a reference guide, or perhaps they intend for the information here to be considered definitive. Also, very little of the information contained here is new, or even provides new details on old information. Careful reading of codex entries in DA:O / DA2 will give you most of the information in this book. For a new retail product, it's not entirely unfair to expect the author's might add further elucidation of important detail, or entirely new information, rather than just gathering what's already known.

While general canon issues within the universe reach beyond the scope of this single work and can't be held too much against it, the build quality certainly can. I've seen a few reviews say it has "excellent binding" or is "sturdy." Neither is true. The book uses a wax-chord binding - one of the cheaper binding methods available and one which results in your pages becoming loose due to the perforating effect if the book is referenced often. It also means that if laid open, the page edges will not line up, creasing some portions of the binding more than others. The pages are high gauge, quality paper, at least. The cover is decent but a bit flimsy, made of a fairly pliable cardboard. Overall, nowhere near the construction quality I would expect of a book retailing at 39.99 MSRP - it reminds me of those oversized coffee-table children's books more than anything.

Is it worth the money? Probably, to a die-hard Dragon Age fan, who are most likely the only people reading this anyhow. Just know that you might already know everything here, and that it probably won't stand up to constant use as a reference for a tabletop campaign or something of the sort. It's fun to read, though, and would like nice as a coffee-table piece in a collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book! Sept. 3 2013
By Maria Auxiliadora Fernandes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The World of Thedas is such a beautiful book! It has excelent materials for the pages and covers, then the concept arts for both games look even prettier, especially those of landscapes. There are very interesting points about the history of Thedas, although sometimes having less information than some codex entries on the games. The chronological line at the end of the pages through the entire book is very helpful.
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