So I’m doing a little wrap-up post for the Harper Prism books. As I only had read the first five of them, the later held a number of surprises for me about the series as a whole, which I wanted to quickly discuss. The second part of this post will be devoted to a discussion of how to place these stories on the timeline as it has been, rightly, noted that relying on that single reference in the Pocket Players’ Guide is a bit flimsy. I'll close this article with a list of all the Harper Prism stories, listing the evidence for where to place them on the timeline for each and every one. Thus this page can function as a reference sheet for the timeline.
HARPER PRISM OVERVIEW
Quality-wise there is little that can be said about the Harper Prism line as a whole, as the quality is all over the place. The first four books are decent, but not great, although the game of “spot the card reference” adds another layer of fun. Prodigal Sorcerer, Ashes of the Sun and Dark Legacy all pleasantly surprised me with strong characterization and good world building, but some of the short stories from Distant Planes were actively painful, and Cursed Land probably deserves a spot in my top 10 Worst Magic Novels.
A much more interesting thing to note is the abrupt disappearance of pretty much everything to do with Magic the Gathering after Final Sacrifice. Cursed Land and Song of Time only reference things unique to Magic in their pro- and epilogue. Prodigal Sorcerer only bases the clothing style of the Suder on the artwork of Prodigal Sorcerer, that’s it. It really makes it feel like those books were quick cash ins, existing manuscripts with one or two paragraphs quickly rewritten to ride the Magic bandwagon. Looking back on it, it feels really weird. Especially since the first four books are tied so directly to the card game that every spell, creature and artifact is recognizable.