Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Blackbeard: The Lost Journal (Book Review)
Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was easily one of the best-selling and most critically-acclaimed games of 2013, and deservedly so. The game follows Edward Kenway, a young British man who starts out privateering for the Royal Navy, but soon falls into piracy as the war between the major empires comes to an end. Set at the beginning of the 18th century, the game features some of the most infamous pirates in history, such as Charles Vane and Blackbeard (a.k.a. Edward Thatch). Now Insight Editions has released Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Blackbeard: The Lost Journal, a companion piece recounting important events in Blackbeard’s life – some historically accurate, some taken from the game’s more embellished, fictionalized canon.
Written by award-winning author Christie Golden, Blackbeard: The Lost Journal is a beautiful, interactive hardcover book, packed with interesting inserts such as maps, playing cards, wanted posters, and letters. Insight Editions has done a fantastic job manufacturing the book, as it looks very much like an aged logbook. Pages have the appearance of being torn, burnt, and waterlogged – it’s visually stunning and really helps sell the illusion.
Blackbeard: The Lost Journal recounts the events of the infamous pirate’s life as transcribed by one of his shipmates. For those who played Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, it gives an interesting, alternate viewpoint of the events of the game – though of course, there are plenty of pages dedicated to Edward Kenway. Readers will gain an in-depth look at Blackbeard’s deepest thoughts and feelings, on everything from his good friend Kenway to life at sea, slavery, his marriage, and more. There are plenty of exciting stories in the book’s 150 pages, as well as funny anecdotes about things like rats and maggots making pirate life miserable.
Christie Golden’s writing paints Thatch as a fascinating figure; not just a ruthless scoundrel but also an emotional, loyal friend weighted with regret. Everything from the writing to the drawings to the pull-out maps look quite authentic to the time period. The book features some great artwork throughout, with beautiful illustrations by Vance Kovacs and Ben Andrews. While the faux-handwritten text adds to the 18th-century feel of the book, it can be pretty hard to read at times – both the font and the sentence structure. You get used to it after a while, though.
Fans of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – or even just pirates in general – will definitely want to check out Insight Editions’ Blackbeard: The Lost Journal. The book stands on its own as a fascinating graphic novel, packed to the brim with interesting stories, stellar artwork, and fun pull-out inserts. Blackbeard: The Lost Journal can be purchased now at the Insight Editions website.