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The Brothers' War (Magic: The Gathering: Artifacts Cycle, #1)
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The Brothers' War

(Magic: The Gathering: Artifacts Cycle #1)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,489 ratings  ·  74 reviews
The Myth. The Magic.

Dominarian legends speak of a mighty conflict, obscured by the mists of history. Of a conflict between the brothers Urza and Mishra for supremacy on the continent of Terisiare. Of titantic engines that scarred and twisted the very planet. Of a final battle that sank continents and shook the skies.

The saga of the Brothers' War.

Linked to the Antiquities e
Paperback, 409 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Wizards of the Coast (first published 1998)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,489 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, not for its content, but because of the impact it had on me.
I read this book for the first time 15 years ago, when I got the entire Artifacts Cycle for Christmas. I have to admit, above all else, that it has not aged as well as I would have liked. My entire life I would have called this my favorite book, but now that I've got so many more stories under my belt and given this a critical look, I'm inclined to reconsider.

First of all, this story had to exist. If you know anything
E.M. Shelton
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
By far my favorite book from the Artifacts Cycle. The characters were well written and the world rich in imagery and invention. The Brothers War is a how-it-all-started piece, and while not all the information is given up-front, the twists at the end weave events together adequately.

The writing itself was a bit erratic and slow to start, but the story was captivating and the characters believable. The end seemed somewhat rushed, which I found forgivable since the loose ends were tied up without
Michael T Bradley
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
I recently started playing the card game Magic: The Gathering (again), and enjoying it immensely, so I thought I would give the book world a spin. I believe I'd tried it years ago, but gave up rather quickly.

Ostensibly "War and Peace," but in the Magic: The Gathering world, this book wends its way through four generations, though it mostly focuses on the one featuring Urza and Mishra, the two titular brothers, and their endless squabbling.

My biggest problem with this book is one I think Grubb s
Arjuna Perkins
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wanted to enjoy some good pulp fantasy, and I'd played Magic: The Gathering back in the day, so I was looking forward to this dramatization. With low expectations and good humor, I started into it. What a disappointment! Grubb has a flair for description (as any good fantasy author should) and decent characterization, and the setting hooked me at first. Dominaria is a world of commerce and rationality that dismisses artifice and magic as superstitious legends. One thing always leads to another ...more
Mar 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Not that great. Grubb's writing is poor. I did find myself enjoying it more and more towards the end, however, i do not recommend it, even to a fan of the card game.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I think this is probably the first book I've ever read that I absolutely loved. It's certainly the first book I've read that I'd give a 5 to, Harry Potter aside. Through and through, it's a very amazing book. Of course, you probably have to be a Magic fan to enjoy it to the utmost, but I think it might be good enough regardless.

The first time I read it was during the 7th grade. I read it as a project, and a rather big project it was. It even included a map of Dominaria. I immersed myself in this
Alex Richey
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I love this book for what it adds to the lore of Magic: the Gathering.

I wish they had invested in a good edit. There's a lot of mistakes, and also a lot of extraneous plot that doesn't need to be there. I also found myself looking up a lot of words I'd never seen before.

Read this one before bed most nights with Robert. <3
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a solid story, though the jumps in time between sections were a bit jarring. I also forgot who some of the characters were as time went on,very which to me says that the story was a bit longer than it needed to be. Overall a great kickoff to a great character in Urza. I look forward to reading more about him.
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Overall I enjoyed this book quite a bit, it wasn't the most well written book ever but it was ok for what it is. My attention was held throughout wanting to know what happened next.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the story and the creativity using MtG devices, and I loved the explanation of what mana is that came in at the end, but the writing quality was meh. If I read the next books in the series, it'll definitely be at a later date, though they are written by different authors and probably about different characters. We'll see.
Sep 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Of the 30-or-so magic books I own, this is probably my favorite. In a way it parallels the cold war. "Remember me as I tried to be, not as I was..."
Albert Meadows
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Book 3 for JALL

This is the first book in about 40 (I counted), for the Magic the Gathering canon, just before the timelines were reset by Sarkhan. As such, this is crucial to the story (even if you don't care to keep up with the 'Oldwalkers' storyline.)

The book stars Urza and his brother Mishra. They are the main protagonists throughout the book, and are both entwined with each other. This is also the first (and to my knowledge the only book), that stars Urza without his planeswalker spark.

Chip Hunter
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
'The Brothers' War' relates one of the most important (and well-known) events from the lore of MTG. The infamous brothers, Urza and Mishra, battle for dominance of Dominaria, creating enormous armies of extremely destructive artifacts and creatures, eventually leading to the cataclysmic final battle in which an entire continent of Terisiare is essentially destroyed. Jeff Grubb does an excellent job of relating this rather well-known story in a way that will keep you interested the whole time eve ...more
David Thomas
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has a special place in my heart, as it was the first Magic: The Gathering novelization that I read, around 20 years ago. It's essentially the origin story of probably the single most important character in MTG lore, Urza Planeswalker. The thing that surprised me is how much I'd forgotten, only remembering the main story beats. Despite being part of a franchise with the word "magic" in the title, there is almost no magic in the book. The main magical resource in the card game, mana, is ...more
Christopher Reed
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is essential for any Magic the Gathering fan wanting to delve into the story behind the game. The book is becoming dated from the game perspective but still helps to flush out the mythos and background of one of the biggest names in the game.

The book itself is a fine story of the dynamic struggle between two rival brothers (obviously). (view spoiler)
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest, if not THE greatest piece of written Magic the Gathering history. Story that defined past, present and future of Dominaria, most popular realm across the MtG multiverse. Reading this, almost 20 years after i started playing Magic, made me remember some of the best moments from my childhood, and once again my passion for MtG was fully reignited.
Those who play MtG and are at least somewhat interested in it's history should read this gem without second thought.
Story about Urz
Scott Johnson
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, mtg
It's messed up when what most consider to be a trashy pulp tie-in novel is infinitely better than the best-selling modern science fiction I just read. This really was way better than it had any right to be.

It was just solid....there were no mustache stroking villains, they were three-dimensional people with their own goals beyond defeating the protagonist. There were female characters who felt like actual human beings....not perfect, but the bar is pretty low to beat a lot of fantasy.

The ending
Sam Julian
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly good. Felt like a bible story, with its dramatic archetypes and larger-than-life characters. I appreciated the aesthetic, where 'Magic' as a concept is still being discovered.

That beings said, I was disappointed by the end, and I'll tell you why. (view spoiler)
Todd R
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
This started out good...but then gets really long winded and boring. Could have done with less of the kingdom to kingdom stuff and more of the brothers war.
Writing was fair for what it was...way to long winded and unnecessarily distanced from the theme of the book.

I was hoping to read the entire Artifacts series, but after this one I won't be returning to it.
Cavin Smith
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great introduction to the world of magic: the gathering. Tells the epic saga of the brothers Urza and Mishra and the subsequent rediscovery of mana, the source of all magic in the multiverse. I found this book to be very well written and informative to the early years of MTG. It helps to establish the original major characters who have been represented in multiple cards for the game.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the first half.
I kinda get the feeling the writer was far more interested in setting up the brothers backstory, than he was with how things wrapped up.
Overall I liked the book but felt the ending was a little disappointing.
If your really interested in the world of magic the gathering I could recommend this, otherwise you could probably skip this one.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not perfect as it drags at times and suffers from the "everything goes wrong for our heroes" syndrome. That said, this is definitely one of the best MTG tie-ins I've read, and critical to the entire Urza's Saga story line. Recommended for fans of MTG fiction, and rated as such.
Jason Dookeran
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
As an introduction to Magic, it's a very good overview of Dominaria at this point in time. It makes you want to read more, although it is a very good stand-alone read. It does tend to drag from time to time though, so pacing is off.
Brian Roberts
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exciting beginning to a classic universe

Easy read filled with plenty of action and lots of iconic names for anyone familiar with Magic the Gathering. Can’t wait to finish the trilogy!
Andrew Dirgo
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A nice nostalgia kick from my childhood. The writing isn’t great but I still love the story and I think Grubb does a fantastic job building the world and setting the foundation for all of the future MTG novels.
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great start into the long journey of the Planeswalker Urza. I enjoyed the structure where you read a capitel in the role of one person and the next in the role of another.

A great way to learn more about the relationship of the two brothers.
Davic Vielma
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really like it! the history is a little bit slow at the beginning, but then takes form and advance at huge steps, at the end times past by so fast that makes it a little weird... but it's very unpredictable and I did enjoy it!
Todd Finney
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Found my copy again. Bringing me back to my younger memory. Fantasy books should use this as the bar in story and plot.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mtg-owned
The best of the MtG books that I’ve read so far.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I must admit to being kind of disappointed with this book - I was really hoping for a story that is less about geopolitics and more about, well, magic.
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Other books in the series

Magic: The Gathering: Artifacts Cycle (5 books)
  • The Thran (Magic: The Gathering)
  • Planeswalker (Magic: The Gathering: Artifacts Cycle, #2)
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