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Literature: Ravnica Cycle

The Ravnica Cycle is a trilogy of tie-in novels by Cory J. Herndon, set on the eponymous City Plane of Ravnica, that corresponds to Magic: The Gathering's Ravnica block.

Each of the three novels is mostly self-contained:

  • Ravnica: Agrus Kos, a wojek officer, is investigating the death of his partner, with the help of said partner, who's been Resurrected for a Job. Fonn is a rookie ledev in the Selesnya Conclave, escorting an important dignitary to the capital. Jarad is a devkarin elf who holds a high position in the Golgari Swarm. Their paths collide when they stumble upon a conspiracy that threatens all of Ravnica.
  • Guildpact: Agrus Kos is retired and living a quiet life in the wild, untamed Utvara district, which has recently come under the management of Orzhov heiress and advokist Teysa Karlov, who intends to shake the place up. Meanwhile, the Izzet courier Crix gets lost and is captured by a clan of Gruul barbarians. When a mad scientist threatens to destroy the world, they'll all have to work together to stop him.
  • Dissension: After mysteriously disappearing in the first book, the angels have returned...and they're all dead. Meanwhile, another conspiracy rears its head, and Agrus Kos is raised from the dead to investigate it. On top of all this, the city is being destroyed by giant monsters.


The Ravnica Cycle provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: Agrus Kos and Myczil Zunich investigate one at the beginning of the first book.
  • Alternative Calendar: The first chapter takes place on the 17th day of Griev in the year 9943 Z.C.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Rakdos Cultists.
  • Always Gets His Man: Kos
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Nephilim, who grow to Kaiju sizes after eating some dragon brains in the third book.
  • Becoming the Costume: Thanks to a faulty "performance enchantment", a troupe of actors wreaks a little accidental havoc in Chapter 2 of Ravnica when the guy playing a bloodthirsty Gruul chieftain gets a little too in-character.
  • Bigger Bad
    • In the first book, Szadek, to Savra's Big Bad.
    • Augustin IV becomes this to Szadek in Dissension.
  • Body Surf: Kos does a fair amount of jumping about in Dissension.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: In the final battle of the first book, Sunhome and the angels are nowhere to be found. They don't return until the end of the next book, and we don't find out what really happened until 'Dissension''.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Let's just say leadership in the Golgari Swarm has a high turnover rate.
  • City Planet
  • Dark Is Not Evil: While Savra followed Szadek's plan, most of the Golgari were outside of the conflict, and eventually another member of this guild, Jarad, becomes a protagonist.
  • Evil Gloating
    • Lampshaded with Hauc in Guildpact. When he starts gloating about his master plan, Agrus Kos thinks he sounds like a cliché storybook villain.
    • Momir Vig gets in on the action when he captures Kos in Dissension.
  • Fallen Angel: Well, more like "demoted". Feather has her wings bound and is made to serve as a wojek as a punishment.
    • Happens again sometime before Return to Ravnica. Feather became the Boros Guildmaster by virtue of being the only surviving original Angel, but was overthrown and imprisoned by another Angel, Aurelia.
  • The Hero Dies: Agrus Kos gets killed at the end of Guildpact. He's raised from the dead in Dissension.
  • Hive Mind: The Selesnya Conclave. All the members are connected by the song, which they can always hear in their heads.
  • Good Running Evil: Jarad becomes the new Golgari guildmaster and resolves to put a stop to their various pointless acts of evil, like human sacrifices.
  • Knight Templar: Augustin IV.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Szadek behind Savra.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Agrus Kos is sent to infiltrate the Simic Combine to discover how Momir Vig is involved with Szadek... so he's somewhat surprised and chagrined when Momir Vig begins Monologuing about his own, completely separate plot to Take Over the World.
  • Moral Sociopathy: The Azorius, who care more about laws and order than about the common people the laws are supposed to protect.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Myczil Zunich's approximate reaction when he discovers that he's just accidentally killed a little girl.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Dissension takes a chapter, or thereabouts, to explain that the reason why the plane of Ravnica is so horribly screwed up is because Agrus made it a point to arrest Szadek as a member of the Boros Legion. Minor problem with that, though: the Guildpact was designed to maintain the existence of all ten Guilds. Without House Dimir, the Guildpact was actively screwing up.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Feather, a.k.a. Pierakor Az Vinrenn D'rav. At least to most people; the other angels and officials like the Azorius tribunal use her real name.
  • Order Versus Chaos: The major conflict that led to the founding of the Guildpact.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: Nephilim, Kraj, and even Rakdos himself get a chance to trample the city in the third book.
  • Resurrected for a Job: Borca, and, later, Agrus Kos.
  • Secondhand Storytelling: In the first book, the founding of the Guildpact is told through an in-universe stage performance, complete with narration.
  • Take Over the World
  • Three Lines Some Waiting
  • Visionary Villain: Both Zomaj Hauc, Augustin IV and Momir Vig qualify.
  • When It All Began: We eventually learn that the events of Kos's flashback in the first book were important to almost all of the main characters.
  • The Worm That Walks: Lupul, the shapeshifting Dimir monstrosity.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Szadek's plan. Plan A: Get Savra initiated into the Conclave, then kill her, destroying the rest of the Conclave with her, thanks to the mind link. Without their power upholding it, the Guildpact will be shattered. Plan B: The Conclave recovers in time and the Guildpact is not destroyed, but Szadek's defeat and subsequent arrest breaks the balance of power in the Guildpact by removing the tenth guild, causing it to crumble anyway. Either way, the Guildpact is destroyed and Szadek wins.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One
    • In the first book, the heroes fail to thwart Savra's initiation into the Conclave, allowing Szadek's machinations to bear fruit. As a result, they have to stop the bad guys at the very last minute.
    • In the second book, the heroes fail to thwart Hauc's hatching the dragon eggs. As a result, they have to fight a dragon!


Kamigawa CycleRecap/Magic: The GatheringTime Spiral Cycle
Kamigawa CycleFantasy LiteratureTime Spiral Cycle

alternative title(s): Ravnica
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