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Literature / Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum

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The tie-in novel for Magic: The Gathering's Zendikar block is In the Teeth of Akoum, by Robert Wintermute. It follows Nissa Revane, Sorin Markov, and Anowon, the Ruin Sage as they quest to the Eye of Ugin to seal away once more the menace of the Eldrazi.

In the Teeth of Akoum provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alien Sky: Anywhere that the Eldrazi titans attack, the sky turns this gross burnt-out mix of orange and grey.
  • Anti-Hero: Sorin Markov, who is pretty much only interested in saving his ass. Thankfully, this means sealing the Eldrazi.
  • Black Speech: Eldrazi. Also Ancient Vampire. Especially in Sorin's case, he has a spell where he swears in Ancient Vampire and it causes anything that hears it to rot.
  • Call a Human a "Meatbag": Zendikar's vampires view the other sentient races as little more than blood banks.
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  • Dark Is Not Evil: Sorin, one of the few Black-aligned protagonists. He's still a jerkass, though.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sorin.
  • Evil Weapon: Sorin's sword, the Parasite Blade. It feeds on the lifeforce of anything it strikes. It's so evil, it doesn't reflect light.
  • Green Thumb: An elvish specialty.
  • Fantastic Racism: Boatloads. Of note: everyone in the world is prejudiced against vampires (not entirely unjustified) and the Joraga elves are prejudiced against everything that's not one of them.
  • Humans Are Ugly: There is a particularly humorous passage in the book where Nissa details how humans are, by and large, stupid, greedy savages with repulsively large noses.
  • Interspecies Romance: Mudheel, a goblin, is in love with Smara, a deeply unhinged Kor.
  • Large Ham: Brinelin, the Moon Kraken, who refers to himself in the third person (with the entire title) and constantly demands sacrifices.
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  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Nissa discovering that Sorin is a vampire is a major plot twist in the novel, and it might have actually worked were it not for the fact that all of the supplementary material released before the book, including Sorin's card make it very clear that he is a vampire. The back of the book itself includes the phrase "the ancient vampire planeswalker, Sorin Markov..."
  • Mathematician's Answer:
    Nissa: Are we being tracked by vampires, or is Anowon a good tracker?
    Sorin: Yes.
  • Mr. Exposition: Anowon, being the most learned archaeologist on the plane, tends to do this whenever the cast stumbles upon any sort of mysterious ancient ruins. Sorin, who was actually there, explains things about the original Eldrazi invasion whenever that particular subject matter comes up.
  • Nature Hero: Nissa.
  • Necromancer: Sorin dabbles in the art.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: At the end of the book, Nissa deliberately breaks the Eldrazi's seal, believing that Zendikar will be safer if the Eldrazi aren't around anymore. Unfortunately, they decide to stick around and kill everything before they leave.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Nissa backpedals furiously after talking about how terrible humans are in front of Sorin (she's not aware he's a vampire yet) because he saved her life. Humorously, he plays along.
    Sorin: Oh yes. Humans are great. Such large noses!
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Smara's level of lucidity seems to vary considerably from scene to scene.
  • Odd Friendship: Speaker Sutina and Brinelin the Moon Kraken.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Whenever Sorin stops snarking, it means things have gotten serious.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: A plot point. Nissa doesn't notice that Sorin is a vampire because, anatomically speaking, he doesn't look like the vampires of her home plane.
  • Red Shirt: Nissa keeps a group of elite Joraga warriors as her personal bodyguards and summons. They're all dead by the end of their introductory chapter.
  • Saying Too Much: Nissa thinks this when she lets slip about other planes to Anowon. Of course, being the most well-read archaeologist on the plane, he had come to that conclusion already.
  • Slave Race: The vampires were forced into this role by The Mortifier, better known as Sorin Markov.
  • Summon Magic: Nissa, being a green Planeswalker, naturally excels at this.
  • Tears of Blood: Zendikar's vampires do this when heavily injured or sufficiently stressed out.
  • Touch of Death: Sorin's sword, the Parasite Blade, has this, as do Eldrazi. The Eldrazi titans have an Aura of Death, so that anything that gets remotely close to them withers and dies as they drain it of its energy.


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