WHAT WORKS: No Power Points as well as a TON of useful mechanical material and options that can be used even if you're not necessarily a fan of the setting. A swords and sworcery setting with a bit of a different feel to it than what you typically see. The art is some of the most gorgeous and evocative art, especially in a black and white book. Each piece helps drive home the "feel" of the world.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The split into two books hurts it...especially while the second half is yet to be released, with no bestiary present in the Player's Guide, no GM's section, no Savage Tales, etc. Some of the human cultures seem imbalanced among each other, with some gaining bonuses above and beyond the others without any harsher drawbacks than what is faced by the others...(for instance, two cultures being illiterate but one also gaining a skill bonus to boot).
CONCLUSION: While swords and sorcery has been done, Totems of the Dead does look at it through a different lens, as pre-Colonial Americas isn't the most used setting (or even setting inspiration), so it is nice to see a new approach to a classic genre. The layout is as eye pleasing as any black and white book I recall seeing, not a surprise given the company. It just really feels like it needs that "part 2" to make it complete (and I think I would feel that way even if I hadn't already seen at least most of the material). A fantastic offering by Gun Metal Games that shows they are capable of more than just Cyberpunk.
For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/09/tommys-take-on-totems-of-dead-players.html