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 March 19, 2004

Review: Tales of the Masks
Mark: Published after Mask of Light but taking place immediately beforehand, Tales of the Masks, the fourth and final BIONICLE™ Chronicles novel, recounts the trials of the TOA NUVA as they sought the KANOHI NUVA masks to help defeat the BOHROK-KAL. This convoluted chronology actually holds the book together.

Tales of the Masks, Greg Farshtey's first BIONICLE™ novel, is hampered only slightly by its construction. The tales themselves are both well-constructed and welcome, harkening back to the days of DC Comics BIONICLE Issue #1 when KOPAKA and POHATU find their first mask of power. What makes this a novel, instead of a collection of short stories, is that the TURAGA are the ones telling these tales.

As the story begins, the TURAGA are trying to decide whether to reveal the mysteries of their past to the TOA NUVA. In a somewhat ironic twist, the TURAGA are arguing among themselves as to whether the TOA NUVA exhibit enough Unity to be trusted with this information. It is finally decided that each TURAGA will tell a tale of the TOA NUVA, after which they will decide whether or not it is the right time to reveal their past.

Much of the book foreshadows the revelations of Metru Nui. The foreshadowing loses all of its mystery if you have even a slight knowledge of the TURAGA's past, but it is still fun nonetheless. Farshtey's style is more talkative than C. A. Hapka's (the author of the other three Chronicles), focusing more on the interaction of the characters. There is still plenty of action however.

It should not be surprising that ultimately the TURAGA decide to share their past with the TOA NUVA. What is surprising is when … after the Ta-Koro Kolhii Tournament. A little thing called the Mask of Light gets in the way of that plan.

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