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T O P I C    R E V I E W
VikingLegion Posted - 24 May 2015 : 07:34:09
Greetings fellow Realms enthusiasts,

Several years ago I made a goal to read *every* novel from the major D&D worlds/settings. After blasting through the smaller libraries of Darksun, Ravenloft, and Planescape, I decided to tackle Dragonlance. Just recently I finished my 166th and final Dragonlance book. And now I have my sights set on the Forgotten Realms, a no-doubt Herculean task that will make DL easy by comparison.

As I finish each book I plan make a post in this thread. Some may be quite lengthy, others only a sentence or three, all depending on how deeply the story resonated with me and/or its greater importance in Realms lore. This is not a "book club" attempt, in that I won't be holding to any set schedule or waiting for others to finish a particular book. My pace is roughly one 300 page book per week, though occasionally I go on a torrid streak and can sometimes double that. So I won't limit my reading so others can read along with. That being said, I heartily encourage fellow Candlekeepers to jump right in with their own commentary. This can be a fun, nostalgic for some, trip through the history of the novel line. My only rules are thus:

1. I will make no attempt to hide spoilers for books as I finish them, so reader beware. This shouldn't pose much of a problem, as the material (in the early going specifically) is close to 30 years old.
2. Please, please, please, when discussing a book I've read, do NOT divulge spoilers that may occur further down the line as a result of said book.
3. Keep it civil. There are some author's writing styles that turn me off a bit, and I won't be shy about saying so, but it will be done in a manner that isn't toxic bashing.

My order of reading is going to loosely follow publishing date. I say loosely, because I will (early and often) deviate from this order when it makes sense, such as finishing up a series, or staying within a certain theme/region/etc. With that said, I began this endeavor with 1987's Darkwalker on Moonshae.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
VikingLegion Posted - 13 Jan 2018 : 02:39:03
I finished Vanity's Brood today. I very much enjoyed this trilogy. The psion's "secondary displays" annoyed me more and more as the story went on, but that is an almost inconsequential element of the books, and one I more or less /handwaved away. There were times in this book when the plot became a bit convoluted, with so many mind readers all dominating/controlling multiple pawns, getting into each other's heads, creating mind-seeds, altering each other's memories, and so on. Also the end conflict felt a little... I don't know, anticlimactic to me? But overall it was a very good trilogy when viewed as a whole. I especially liked how Arvin was a very clever and capable protagonist, yet he got his butt handed to him on several occasions. I never had that feeling that he's always going to win, which can get boring after awhile. I would recommend this trilogy to anyone with some interest in the Vilhon Reach, yuan-ti, or psionics. I found it to be a fun and engaging changeup from standard archwizard and highpriests archetypes.

Up next: I'm tempted to start Richard Baker's Last Mythal trilogy. But instead I think I want to knock out one more of the Priest standalone stories before I delve into another multi-book series. So that'll be Gross and Basingthwaite's Mistress of the Night.
VikingLegion Posted - 09 Jan 2018 : 00:01:37
You're welcome Fwah, it's been quite a bit of fun.

Yesterday I finished Viper's Kiss. I'm really enjoying this trilogy so far. There's a fairly complex plot going that runs several layers deeper than I initially thought. I did get a tad confused at one point with some of the minor characters, but overall there's a nice level of intrigue. I think the main protagonist is a fairly inventive character, he doesn't read like a rehash of themes I've seen a thousand times. About the only thing I'm iffy about are his "secondary manifestations" when he fires up a psionic power - something we were talking about over in that other thread about the Vilhon Reach. I favor psionics to go off with little or no fanfare, they don't need to be full of flash and bang like wizardly or clerical spells. But that's an argument for a different time.

Marilith tanar'ri have always been among my favorite demonic type, so I was delighted to see one towards the end of this book. Also, that type just fit so perfectly with everything else going on in this story. I'm surprised (pleasantly so) how risqué Smedman is at times in this story, it's a tad more mature than standard FR fare, and that's what I tend to prefer. Good book overall, and good trilogy so far, let's see if she can bring it all together in the finale, which I started today: Vanity's Brood.
fwah Posted - 06 Jan 2018 : 04:53:09
I've been stalking this thread for a while but wanted to give you a big THANKS for doing this and posting your thoughts.
VikingLegion Posted - 01 Jan 2018 : 22:21:47
I finished Venom's Taste the other night. I was reluctant to start this trilogy due to the bad taste in my mouth from the author's portrayal of Eilistrae in the WOTSQ series. I'm happy to say my fears were unfounded, this was a really interesting book. Set in Hlondeth on the Vilhon Reach, this is a place I've always been keen on exploring more deeply into - I have to admit, a kingdom dominated by yuan-ti is really intriguing. With all the vast and overwhelming number of species in D&D in general, it's nice to see a city that is not completely humanocentric. And yuan-ti are just so iconically D&D for me; like beholders and mind flayers, that this city scratched an itch I wasn't even aware I had.

I really liked how Lisa Smedman portrayed psionics in this book. I enjoy watching how different authors try to explain it - she used what read to me as some kind of yoga background to explain the poses and whatnot used to rejuvenate their mental strength each day and also hone their concentration. When it came to psion v psion combat, she utilized the old school 5 attack and defense patterns I grew up with back in the '80s. Loved it. It's especially interesting to start this book at this particular time, being there was another scroll going with some pretty good debate on psionic flavor in general called Vilhon Reach and psionic development: http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=22032

I liked the main character (Arvin) and his magical gadgets. He's a clever guy that isn't going to win many toe-to-toe confrontations, but utilizes his wits to get by. I'm interested to see how far he can push his latent psionic talent, I'm hoping by the 3rd book we get to see something like the confident, bad-ass Luke going to Jabba's palace and making demands. The villains are interesting, as is the plotline, it's just a really solid book all around.

About the only thing I had some issue with is at one point it is mentioned that Zelia (a yuan-ti) likes to keep her psionic abilities secret because, and I'm paraphrasing here, "psionic talent is so rare among the yuan-ti." I think that was a big miss by Smedman. As far as I know, yuan-ti have always been strongly associated with psionics in the earlier editions (I haven't played past 3.0), maybe not to the point of illithids or anything, but it's been a large part of their lore. I just looked up the race on Wikipedia and the fourth sentence in states: "They have formidable psychic abilities." That small nitpick aside, this was a great start to a trilogy and I'm excited to dive into book 2: Viper's Kiss
VikingLegion Posted - 30 Dec 2017 : 00:15:30
I finished The Ruin a couple nights ago, thus ending the Rogue Dragons trilogy. This was a very strong book (and series). I've mentioned already, but will reiterate, how enjoyable Richard Lee Byers writing style is for me. I really felt like I knew this crew of characters quite well by the end. I don't have a whole lot more to add that I haven't already said about the first 2 books, other than to say this was a quality trilogy throughout.

I think my favorite moments were during the siege of The Monastery of the Yellow Rose, back in book 2. I first joined this forum at Candlekeep over 2.5 years ago asking about monasteries in Faerun, which led to a very fun thread that ended up featuring this particular edifice. It's intrigued me ever since and now I've finally gotten to see it in action, so to speak. I really need to get my hands on the Bloodstone Lands supplement for more info on this entire region. The whole trilogy had a lot of good Vaasa/Damara bits, along with a "cameo" of Zhengyi the Witch King (even though it wasn't him!)

Up next I decided to start the House of Serpents trilogy with book 1: Venom's Taste.
VikingLegion Posted - 29 Dec 2017 : 23:52:43
quote:
Originally posted by Veylandemar
Any chance of seeing your thoughts on 'The Woman who Drew Dragons' by Rosemary Jones?
It's one of my favourite Realms short stories and has inspired a few NPCs in my campaigns since.

~V



I had some notes on every story but 2, The Woman Who Drew Dragons being among the ones I had mentioned. I don't recall specifics, but I do remember thinking it was one of the better offerings. It somewhat reminded me of an old Dragonlance short story that I was very fond of. I liked how the "dragon experts" each tried to puff out their chests and outdo the others. It had a good amount of humor to it, but not so much as to become cheesy or slapstick.

I'm curious how you incorporated some of the characters (or did you just use them as a basis for your own original NPCs?) in your home campaign. That is, if you feel like sharing.
VikingLegion Posted - 29 Dec 2017 : 23:48:51
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham
Jaleigh is an exceptionally talented storyteller. I heartily recommend her first middle reader novel, Mark of the Dragonfly.



Thanks for the heads-up Elaine. I actually did a search on Jaleigh after reading that tale, so I guess it really did make a strong impression on me. I'll admit I was hoping she made another FR contribution, but alas that was not the case. **EDIT** I was mistaken, I didn't see any other FR credits to her name, but I was just in my library sorting a few things out and found at least 2 Jaleigh Johnson books without even looking specifically for them. **/EDIT** What exactly is a "middle reader"? At the risk of sounding like a huge snob, I tend to shy away from material that is not aimed, at the bare minimum, for late teens.
Veylandemar Posted - 25 Dec 2017 : 09:31:50
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished the second anthology, Realms of the Dragons II, yesterday. Wrote up a big post but it got swallowed by the internet, so I'm not doing that again... Abbreviated version:

All the stories were decent, no huge clunkers,




Any chance of seeing your thoughts on 'The Woman who Drew Dragons' by Rosemary Jones?
It's one of my favourite Realms short stories and has inspired a few NPCs in my campaigns since.

~V
ElaineCunningham Posted - 22 Dec 2017 : 21:28:38
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

All the stories were decent, no huge clunkers, but my favorite was Queen of the Mountain by Jaleigh Johnson. It's about an incredibly ancient amethyst dragon that used her psionic ability to gather a huge amount of secrets and dangerous knowledge over the ages. She senses her time of death is near and takes steps to keep her corpse/lair from being desecrated by those who would seek to plunder her secrets. It had a really unique and cool style to it, and stood out above the others to me.




Jaleigh is an exceptionally talented storyteller. I heartily recommend her first middle reader novel, Mark of the Dragonfly.
VikingLegion Posted - 22 Dec 2017 : 14:29:01
I finished the second anthology, Realms of the Dragons II, yesterday. Wrote up a big post but it got swallowed by the internet, so I'm not doing that again... Abbreviated version:

I didn't recognize the authors for this collection, it's like the first anthology had all the Cunningham/RAS/Kemp type headliners, and this one was more for discovering other talent?

All the stories were decent, no huge clunkers, but my favorite was Queen of the Mountain by Jaleigh Johnson. It's about an incredibly ancient amethyst dragon that used her psionic ability to gather a huge amount of secrets and dangerous knowledge over the ages. She senses her time of death is near and takes steps to keep her corpse/lair from being desecrated by those who would seek to plunder her secrets. It had a really unique and cool style to it, and stood out above the others to me.

Up next I finish the dragon trilogy with book 3: The Ruin.

VikingLegion Posted - 16 Dec 2017 : 15:58:30
Yesterday I finished The Rite. I feel like I'm getting my reading groove back a bit, apologies for the the lull in activity here for ~2 months or so. I hope some of the previous readers of this thread haven't checked out.

Anyway, another good installment, Byers books are a smooth read for me. That's not to imply they are simplistic or non-challenging, I just find they are clear, concise, and I tend to churn through them. The oddball collection of heroes continues to grow on me. As I mentioned in the book 1 post, they aren't just a freakshow for the sake of being weird, they're decently fleshed out characters in their own right. Sammaster is an interesting villain as well, in that he has all the arrogance one would expect of a BBEG, but yet he occasionally suffers from these crippling bouts of self-doubt and insecurity.

The heroes following in Sammaster's path to discover ancient teachings and so on to counter the Rage is a little bit of a strain on believability (I just don't think they could cover that much ground/material in the time frame presented), but that's about the only reach, otherwise this is a very solid story. The leader of the gold dragons, Lareth, sure went sour fast. For being the strongest, wisest leader of all metallic drakes, shouldn't he have been able to stave off the insanity a little better? I guess partly to blame was his refusal to sleep or polymorph into human form as much as his subjects. Maybe being the strongest of the dragons worked against him, he didn't respect the curse as much as he should've. Pride goeth before the fall, and all that.

There were some interesting twists on some of the chromatic dragons; Malazan (the big, red leader) was able to exude blood from her scales, sheathing herself in fluid that seemed to enhance her strength and ferocity. The green leader, Ishenalyr, was referred to as a "hidecarved" dragon, for he had various runes, glyphs, sigils and such engraved into his scales. These granted regeneration, magical resistance, and possibly other abilities. I wonder if Byers got these from an official product, like the 3e Draconomicon most likely?

I was also surprised to see the white, black, green, blue, and red abishai (devils) display elemental characteristics/attacks that matched up with chromatic dragons of the same color. I don't recall seeing that in any of the monster manuals, though most of my knowledge of outer-planar beasties comes from 2nd edition Planescape products. I did a quick wiki search on abishai and see that all 5 colors make a reappearance in a 3e product called Monsters of Faerun in 2000. I think I have that buried somewhere, I'll have to check that out to see if those powers are listed there. Of course, I could be remembering wrong and they've always been attributed these abilities. I guess, thematically, it's somewhat appropriate, as dragons and devils were used somewhat interchangeably (Saint George and the Dragon, for example), and since D&D is largely based on our own mythology, the connection makes sense.

Up next; the 2nd anthology Realms of the Dragons II (just in case there are more stories set before The Ruin), and then back to finish up this trilogy.


**EDIT** Found this blurb about Tiamat being involved in the creation of abishai, so that makes a lot of sense. Still need to figure out if this was a 3e retcon or the lore all along:

Abishai
Abishai[39][45] are a subgroup of Baatezu created through the joint efforts of Tiamat and Pearza of the Dark Eight. They are humanoid creatures that resemble gargoyles or humanoid dragons. There are five kinds, easily distinguishable by color (black, blue, green, red, and white). Most abishai are servitors of the dragon goddess Tiamat. They are the scouts, torturers, and wardens of the first two layers of Baator.
Ranked in power, the red abishai are the most powerful, followed by the blue, green, black, and white.

VikingLegion Posted - 09 Dec 2017 : 15:09:56
Good call on the King Killer star - that works nicely as a trigger whenever it comes around. I hadn't known about that until I did a bit of reading on the Dragon Rage, and unfortunately accidentally spoiled the events of this trilogy for myself... oh well.

In the meantime, I've finished the anthology Realms of the Dragons. I can't recall a bad story among them, though certainly some stood out more than others:

Soulbound - Paul S. Kemp - I had already read this one as part of the Cale omnibus, but read it again anyway because I enjoy his work so much. Really dark and moody story that sets up some Kesson Rel lore.

First Flight - Edward Bolme - set during the decline of the Netheril Empire, this was a decent story about a wizard's encounter with the phaerimm that are destroying the land.

Gorlist's Dragon - Elaine Cunningham - a good story with background info on the drow warrior from the Liriel series. I had something very specific to talk about with this story as I was reading it, but for the life of me can't recall what it is now.... I may have to do a quick re-read. Old age, I guess...

The Keeper of Secrets - Ed Greenwood - really strong Mirt/Durnan yarn about the secret presence of dragons in Waterdeep, and their peace-keeping role. It really makes a lot of sense, with all the turmoil in the region, Skullport, Halastar/Undermountain, and so on - to think that Waterdeep is as stable as it is, even with the Khelben and the Lords, is a reach. To find out there are a whole host of polymorphed drakes sort of subtly nudging events this way or that, was both a "well of course they do" and "that's brilliant!" moment at the same time. I really liked this story.

Wickless in the Nether - RA Salvatore - I'm not sure Bob knows just what to do with Jarlaxle and Artemis. They seem to be roaming around, looking for a purpose. They have gained two copper dragons as patrons by the end of this story, so maybe that will give them some direction going forward. I know I have Promise of the Witch King coming up in the not too distant future. It's funny, RAS himself has stated he hates the format of short stories and that he struggles mightily with them. I would agree that this short, as well as his last several, have been fairly weak, and yet I credit him with hands-down the best short story in the entire FR line in Dark Mirror. It's like writing that story was similar to Bruenor crafting Aegis Fang - he poured every ounce of skill into it and now has trouble going back to the forge.

Serpestrillvyth - Richard Baker - wow, what a ruthless lizard! While I felt bad for the doomed adventuring party, it was fun (in a sadistic sort of way) to see a smaller, very clever dragon win utilizing wits and tactics. Brutal story, but fun in a sadistic sort of way I guess :P

An Icy Heart - Voronica Whitney-Robinson - a very short, but powerful tale of the treachery of man and how it affects a dragon-turtle community in a Thayan lake. It was sad even when you knew where it was going. A very effective tale, I think it was my favorite of the entire book.

Penitential Rites - Keith Francis Strohm - this one is about a half-dragon acolyte of Ilmater. I guess I never really thought about if the Rage would effect those who have dragon lineage, but are not 100% pureblood. This priest is a former warlord who reveled in battlefield carnage, until Ilmater appeared to him and brought about a change of heart. Now, after years of peaceful convent living, his aggression starts to stir. Good story overall.

How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth - Dave Gross - another installment of Talbot Uskevren. Decent story about a draconic family feud and how they play out their displeasure by utilizing Tal's theatre to tell their story.

The Prisoner of Hulburg - Richard Lee Byers - ok story, it centers around a trapped psionic gem dragon being used as a Zhent pawn. The characters are from the main "Rage" trilogy, so it's a good read if you are in the middle of that, as I currently am.


Also included - not specifically mentioned, but feel free to comment on:
The Topaz Dragon - Jess Lebow
Waylaid - Thomas M. Reid
Standard Delving Procedure - Lisa Smedman
Beer With a Fat Dragon - Don Bassingthwaite






dazzlerdal Posted - 08 Dec 2017 : 08:11:50
Im keeping the mythal as is. It is still linked to the king killer star and it was glitched from the start although that doesnt mean it didnt get worse over time.

The elves never wanted to destroy the dragons, that would upset the balance of things. Rather they wanted to keep their populations under control and prevent them from gaining supremacy over all (which a united force of dragons is more than capable of doing). So use the dragons to control their own population by having them kill each other is a fairly reasonable course. You wouldnt want the cull to occur too often because their population cannot recover quick enough. So the mythal gets tied to an irregular event centuries apart, the arrival of a comet.

Ironically the comet is a large chunk of zotha which is part of the dragon creation myth so the means of their creation also becomes the means of their destruction.

As always i intend to write the mediocre implementation of a good plot hook, and make the rage of dragons a playable adventure campaign. The twist is that the rage of dragons is not the big danger, the comet about to smack into the high forest is the big danger.
VikingLegion Posted - 08 Dec 2017 : 01:12:56
Interesting thoughts George and Dazler, but if the Rage was caused by a mythal that got all glitched out during Karsus' Folly or some other singular event - wouldn't that be a one-time thing? Why would it send out another "pulse" (for lack of a better term) every 80 or 150 or however many years there are between Dragon Rages?
dazzlerdal Posted - 07 Dec 2017 : 07:08:56
Well i think this might be a first for me because i think the dracorage mythal is quite a good idea.

As always i dont think it was what the elves intended. Im imagining the elves thinking that it would be better to use dragons to destroy each other rather than elves having to die to bring down these massive almost invincible beasts. And remember that at this time the dragons were a united force not the individualists of today.

So the elves decide to create a mythal that will heighten the territorial aggression of dragons so that they seek out and kill one another. Unfortunately it goes awry when they discover that dragons consider all creatures as potential mates and competition which means the territorialism includes every living creature.

Another example of elven magic being twisted outside of its intent which i love doing to the fair folk
George Krashos Posted - 07 Dec 2017 : 04:08:23
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion
About the only thing I found iffy was the explanation for how the Rage initially came about. Elven mages created it back in the day in order to make dragons more careless and reckless in their assaults - therefore easier to defeat. Yeah, I just don't think riling up your enemies into a frothing, berserk fury is the way to go. Dragons are typically loners - I think I'd rather take a warband and try my chances hunting them down one at a time within their own caves, rather than inciting them to take wing in massive flights of 25+ members, and trying to fight them off as they do aerial bombardments. I don't know if that is the official canon explanation behind dragon rages (is that something Ed had originally?), or something Byers had to come up with for the purposes of this trilogy, but it felt a little bit flimsy to me.



Certainly not Ed's idea and I suspect not RLB's either. And it was clumsy. I would have preferred it to be a mythal that safeguarded elven lands/cities etc. that went awry with Karsus' Folly and was twisted into a thing that made wyrms near elven lands go mad. But hey, it's always easy from the cheap seats.

-- George Krashos
VikingLegion Posted - 07 Dec 2017 : 01:48:23
Well, as I mentioned in the previous post - I finished The Rage yesterday. I really like Richard Lee Byers sense of style. He imparts this kind of swashbuckling feel and culture that is working very well for me. Granted, it wouldn't fit in every region, but so far it's been great in his earlier Sembia novels, and now here in Impiltur. I'm really enjoying the clash of cultures - with the upstart "maestros" and their fencing schools vs the somewhat stuffier, tradition-entrenched paladins who don't want the citizenry developing a rakish, irreverent attitude. I mentioned just in that last review that I'm really getting into this region of the world, so that makes this book even more satisfying.

But Taegan and his fencing school are only part of the story. This book is a "party" based adventure, and quite an odd group they are: a half-golem dragonslayer (with the origin story you'd expect), an avariel, an arctic dwarf, a song-dragon in human form, and then some more regular fare: a human cleric of Lathander and a halfling rogue who bicker back and forth hilariously. Usually when I see an author filling out his protagonist roster with a bunch of oddball options, I think they are intentionally going weird in order to cover for a lack of ability to make true, inherently, interesting characters. Because that is exactly what I would do. But this team isn't just a collection of one-trick ponies for show, they're all fairly interesting characters and I thought he pulled it off well.

The story itself is good. It involves Sammaster in lich form, back to continue his mad quest of dominating the world with undead dragons. He manipulates the cyclical Dragon Rage, this time using magical means to amplify it beyond the norm, and then pressuring chromatic dragons to swear fealty to his cause in order to avoid losing their sanity (mainly he's trying to strong-arm more of them into becoming dracoliches). The good guys, of course, have to figure out the plot, unearth ancient magics, and stop it all. They are opposed not only by the bads, but also a radical faction of metallic wyrms that have their own idea of how to deal with the problem, and enforce it in rather draconian (errmm.. sorry) fashion.

About the only thing I found iffy was the explanation for how the Rage initially came about. Elven mages created it back in the day in order to make dragons more careless and reckless in their assaults - therefore easier to defeat. Yeah, I just don't think riling up your enemies into a frothing, berserk fury is the way to go. Dragons are typically loners - I think I'd rather take a warband and try my chances hunting them down one at a time within their own caves, rather than inciting them to take wing in massive flights of 25+ members, and trying to fight them off as they do aerial bombardments. I don't know if that is the official canon explanation behind dragon rages (is that something Ed had originally?), or something Byers had to come up with for the purposes of this trilogy, but it felt a little bit flimsy to me.

Otherwise, pretty solid book and a good start to this trilogy. Rather than go right to book 2, I'm instead reading the anthology Realms of the Dragons, as it is written first and contains some characters/events relevant to the story.
VikingLegion Posted - 05 Dec 2017 : 01:52:03
I finished Lady of Poison several days back, but didn't get a chance to write my thoughts here. This was book 2 (I think) of The Priests series, though that doesn't matter so much, as the tales are unrelated. This is the first book I've read from Cordell. After the first couple pages I thought I was in for an astounding read, but then it sort of tapered off. It was still an above-average FR book, but didn't reach the tantalizing heights I thought it would. His character introductions were interesting and well set-up, but then most of them hit a wall and didn't develop a whole lot further for me. The main character is a Unicorn Knight of a deity named Lurue, who I assume must be either an aspect of, or somehow related to Mielikki - I'll have to look into that further. Where the author really shined was in villain creation. They were fantastic; weirdly themed and super interesting.

Also I really enjoyed the detail on the region and culture(s). If I can tangent for a moment: I'm currently suffering from a supreme case of Sword Coast Fatigue (most likely due to some of the video games I've played of late), and eagerly look for stories set in other areas. I find myself continually drawn to the Unapproachable East; so this story, set primarly in Thesk and Narfell, and even with some Rashemen elements, really hit the spot nicely. If anyone wants to chime in on what they believe the best Unapproachable East sourcebook is - edition agnostic (I only care about the lore) - I'd appreciate it.

Up next, I decided to start the Year of Rogue Dragons trilogy, but it just so happened that I already finished the first book at work today. That review coming soon!
Taleras Posted - 20 Nov 2017 : 04:31:44
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I was very surprised by Dellie Curtie's fate. Even though it was led up to very plainly, I still found it sudden and a bit shocking when it actually happened, as though I expected a quick rescue out of the blue at the last second, but it never came. I thought she was written a bit more annoying than usual in this book, I'm not sure if that was a conscious decision by the author to sour readers on her a bit to make her death more palatable?



I agree, her fate was unexpected for sure. I too felt that she was also a bit more annoying than usual. The only thing I didn't like was it just felt like a cheap way for Wulfgar to get out of a relationship that held him back from adventuring (to a certain extent), and that seemed like more of a way to show Wulfgar's redemption from being a thug on the streets of Luskan than a true loving, caring relationship. In short, it felt like a forced relationship and one that was written out too quickly.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 20 Nov 2017 : 01:00:01
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished The Two S-Words a few nights ago and found it satisfactory.



The Two S-Words? Is that a book about bowel movements of the Realms?
VikingLegion Posted - 19 Nov 2017 : 20:41:55
I finished The Two S-Words a few nights ago and found it satisfactory. I enjoy the Obould character for being more than the typical dumb orc. And if Mystra and other good deities can have mortal champions that far exceed the norm, why not Gruumsh as well?

I particularly enjoyed how Drizzt got in over his head on multiple occasions - both in Gerti's throne room in Shining White, and again on the cliff with his Obould showdown. It's refreshing to see him outmatched on occasion.

I was very surprised by Dellie Curtie's fate. Even though it was led up to very plainly, I still found it sudden and a bit shocking when it actually happened, as though I expected a quick rescue out of the blue at the last second, but it never came. I thought she was written a bit more annoying than usual in this book, I'm not sure if that was a conscious decision by the author to sour readers on her a bit to make her death more palatable?

Good book overall. I'm invested enough to want to see how Obould's kingdom is going to play out in the North. He seems too major a player to get ejected suddenly, so I'm thinking he's in it for the long haul.

Up next, I've already started in on one of "The Priests" standalone novels - Lady of Poison.
VikingLegion Posted - 22 Oct 2017 : 19:02:18
Last night I finished Elminster's Daughter. It displayed a lot of the Greenwood trademarks I usually struggle with, but they seemed a bit more toned down and reasonable in this book, at least that's what my perception was. The body counts weren't quite as ludicrous. The women were more than just a pair of legs to spread for whichever male protagonist was around at the time. Narnra is actually fairly homely, with her inherited beak-nose and gangly limbs. I got a huge kick when she acknowledged this fact, saying that she was one of the 2 or 3 women in Waterdeep that are not breathtakingly beautiful. I'm not sure if that was Ed taking a bit of a light, self-deprecating shot at his writing style or what, but I found it extremely amusing.

And.... just to contradict my second point about the women being more than a sex toy, he had to go and ruin things by making Myrmeen Lhal sleep with Vangerdahast with about 30 pages to go. It's like he couldn't resist throwing that in there. I guess it wouldn't be a Greenwood story if some fat, old, hairy, repulsive dude doesn't screw a huge-boobed, incalculably gorgeous sword-woman. Oh well.

Overall I liked this book though. Narnra's storyline was nicely done, and there were all kinds of other little intrigues going on. Vangy's ethical dilemma regarding the binding of sentient beings weighed against the security of his nation was satisfying. I really liked the song dragon as well and her gathering of fellow dragons. I know I have a "Rage of Dragons" event coming up in the near future, I thought this story was going to be the origin of that, but now I doubt it, as the wyrms seemed fairly satisfied by the conclusion. I think it was one of the better EG novels overall, although I didn't care for the reveal at the end when Laspeera confides in Narnra that Elminster is her sire as well. Then Filfaeril strolls on over and casually states "Oh yeah, hey me too." I'm not sure why that scene irked me a bit. I think it's because I feel like sometimes EVERYTHING has to revolve back around to Elminster, while I feel like the Realms is so much larger and grander than just one character. I don't know, it just bugged me a bit. I was half expecting for maybe 10 more characters to jump forward and claim Elminster lineage, like a Jerry Springer episode.

To end on a positive note, I very much enjoyed the conversation between El and Narnra in his tower, regarding the nature of his "meddling" and if he actually improves the world or is just another mage-tyrant full of self-justification. It was a great exchange where both sides made solid points and it sort of humanized Elminster a bit for me and made him more likable at the same time. Good stuff.

Up next... oh boy, I still don't want to start either of the trilogies that are next in order. I plan to take a brief respite to read a ~100 page book about a location I'm traveling to next week, but I'll come back strong after that with RAS's The Two Swords.
VikingLegion Posted - 19 Oct 2017 : 21:30:27
quote:
Originally posted by ReadingTheRealms
Well met! Someone on The Piazza Realms forum sent me a link to your thread here. I host a podcast called Reading The Realms. We are a book club podcast that is reading all of the Realms novels in publication order. Our most recent release is Azure Bonds, so I'm sure you're quite beyond where we're at in the canon, but just wanted to connect with someone who is going on the same crazy journey. If you're interested in listening the show is on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud. I'll throw the link below.

I look forward to reading through all the past posts on the thread!

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235



That's an interesting idea, I'll have to carve out some time to check that podcast! Azure Bonds eh? If you read through this thread you'll find I'm in the overwhelming minority in that I had some issues with that book. But even when we disagree heartily, there's still some very good discussion to be found. We even managed to get several authors/designers to pop in on occasion, which is always a thrill. I hope you enjoy the thread!
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 17 Oct 2017 : 15:41:21
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I feel like I haven't updated this thread in forever! I've gone from averaging ~50-75 pages a day to maybe 20 on a good day.

I finished The Yellow Silk last night. Some of you might infer that I struggled to get through it, but that was not the case. My lowered reading time is entirely due to other circumstances and this book was above average. It's the fourth and final entry of The Rogues series. This was the first I've read from this author (Don Bassingthwaite) and I thought he did a good job of creating interesting characters. There was a bit of a weird, Mason Verger vibe to the Halfling gangster that raises pigs, but I enjoyed his eccentricities. There was a nice twist near the end that fooled me completely. I thought I had the identity of a villain solved, but I fell for the easy bait. It's good to be surprised sometimes though, and I enjoyed this one.

2004 has a bunch of new trilogies for me to start, some of which I'm excited for, others I feel some trepidation. So, because I couldn't decide what to do, I simply grabbed the next stand-alone book in chronological order and will start that tonight - which is Elminster's Daughter.








Well met! Someone on The Piazza Realms forum sent me a link to your thread here. I host a podcast called Reading The Realms. We are a book club podcast that is reading all of the Realms novels in publication order. Our most recent release is Azure Bonds, so I'm sure you're quite beyond where we're at in the canon, but just wanted to connect with someone who is going on the same crazy journey. If you're interested in listening the show is on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud. I'll throw the link below.

I look forward to reading through all the past posts on the thread!

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235
VikingLegion Posted - 05 Oct 2017 : 21:45:01
I feel like I haven't updated this thread in forever! I've gone from averaging ~50-75 pages a day to maybe 20 on a good day.

I finished The Yellow Silk last night. Some of you might infer that I struggled to get through it, but that was not the case. My lowered reading time is entirely due to other circumstances and this book was above average. It's the fourth and final entry of The Rogues series. This was the first I've read from this author (Don Bassingthwaite) and I thought he did a good job of creating interesting characters. There was a bit of a weird, Mason Verger vibe to the Halfling gangster that raises pigs, but I enjoyed his eccentricities. There was a nice twist near the end that fooled me completely. I thought I had the identity of a villain solved, but I fell for the easy bait. It's good to be surprised sometimes though, and I enjoyed this one.

2004 has a bunch of new trilogies for me to start, some of which I'm excited for, others I feel some trepidation. So, because I couldn't decide what to do, I simply grabbed the next stand-alone book in chronological order and will start that tonight - which is Elminster's Daughter.





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