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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Alaundo Posted - 06 Aug 2005 : 18:30:28
Well met

Over the past couple of years, there have been numerous new fans to the Realms who have entered Candlekeep and asked a simple and yet crucial question...."what is the best novel\series for me to read as a newcomer to the Forgotten Realms?".

Therefore, after much thought, i'd like to collate a list, with thy help of course, of essential novels to help get a new fan to the Realms started. Now this is no easy feat, and there are likely to be many conflicting opinions. What we're looking for, is a small list of novels which give a good broad overview of the setting, contain riveting tales, are packed with Realms flavor and also tales which are key to the setting to ensure major events are covered, if need be.

Again, I state, this won't be easy. Whilst some novels will spring instantly to mind, think over as to whether they are essential tales and give a good image of the Realms.

For starters, feel free to throw in your suggestions herein and reasons for nominating them. Ultimately, we will (hopefully) come to some sort of agreement on a shortlist and i'll create a definative locked topic to help those seeking advice on this subject.

Many thanks for thy help
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Mono Canalla Posted - 03 Apr 2018 : 03:40:35
I love Kimmuriel too, and psyonic powers rock. First, kinetic barrier didn’t pass the cut to 3E D&D for a reason. That’s too unrealistically powerful. Other than that, psyonic powers are powerful precisely because they are inferior to arcane magic only when it comes to actual damage. For mind reading, teleporting, or general spying, is way the best powers. However, in a world where everybody “forgets” to build protections against Payonic powers, mind control, mind intrusion, coming from a psyonic of such level as Kimmuriel are devastating. At least Kimmuriel doesn’t have a human (or Jarlaxe) materialistic ambition.

PS: The Pírate King is for the birds, honestly. I’m skipping to the last act.

EDIT: Actually the book is good at the end.
Seravin Posted - 03 Apr 2018 : 00:46:52
I think they use Kimmuriel as the deus ex machina more than anything now...Kim can teleport anyone anywhere at any time and can make anyone immune to magic attacks or phyiscal attacks (with the kinetic barrier)...Knillect (sorry the arch mage in the Sellsword trilogy) was easily defeated because of Kimmuriel, and then Jarlaxle and co took down a Shade prince in his own tower because Kimmuriel. Kim seems to be the real deus ex machina more than Jarlaxle's bag of magic tricks..but I still love Kimmuriel!
Mono Canalla Posted - 02 Apr 2018 : 19:58:57
Oh, yeah, that's another one. When other people sees Jarlaxe's item collection as a deus ex machina,I see a Sherlock Holmesque thinking on problem solving, finding the right magic item for the right problem. I value Jarlaxe's intelligence and at the same time I understand he has the equipment of an epic adventurer.

And yes, Jarlaxe's personality is as enchanting as an Arsene Lupin.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 02 Apr 2018 : 18:55:33
To me, the beauty of Jarlaxle is that he has style. Forget having a magic doodad for all occasions -- it's the hat, the clothes, the way he carries himself. Jarlaxle is intriguing because he goes so far out of his way to be distinct from his kin, without setting himself against them. He's a non-conformist who deliberately tries to stand out, and manages to thrive in a society that rewards conformity.

That's why Jarlaxle is interesting. Having a goody for every situation is boring. Making sure all eyes are on you, regardless of the situation, and giving them a show -- that's the fun of the character.
Mono Canalla Posted - 02 Apr 2018 : 17:11:24
Seravin, I really appreciate your recommendations. Totally interested in those books.

A lot of people doesn't get Jarlaxe (SPOILER alert). Everybody says he is overpowered and no matter the challenge, he always has a magic item to get trough it. But the beauty of Jarlaxe is that he is one (sorry to use RPG terms) epic level character with epic stats and epic items. His items are justified because of a job based on profit in environment of high challenge. Jarlaxe is not more powerful than many other FR characters, but Salvatore, as a best selling FR author, has the right to create some of the most powerful characters in the Realms. The beauty of Jarlaxe, which is the merit of the twist in "Servant of the Shard" is that the author puts an epic character doing stuff common adventurers does. And is really fun to see Jarlaxe being overpowered in a lower league. And sometimes he plans adventures way over his power, like opposing King Gareth, and fails and other times he calls Bregan D'Aerthe and screws the balance of power in the surface. And he is friends with Artemis Entreri, Kimmuriel or Athrogate, other two epic level characters.

Is like if Mourinho started a job coaching RCD Mallorca in La Liga, and he brought his friends Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo with himself, and he challanges Barcelona and Real Madrid. That is fun.
Seravin Posted - 02 Apr 2018 : 15:46:11
I don't care for Jarlaxle (he's okay- but infallible characters don't interest me particularly those that constantly pull McGuffins out of their arse).

Did you read Elf Song, the sequel to Elf Shadow? It's mostly Danilo's book, Arilyn is hardly in it and it has a lot of Craulnober who is like Jarlaxle in a way but more believable and flawed. Lots of Waterdeep in it as well.

I'm a big fan of the Finder's Stone trilogy, lots of FR color in them and mystery to solve.

The Simbul's Gift has a lot of spy story intrigue, some of the major players in the book are spy masters and it gives a lot of insight on pre-Smellplague Thay and how it is ruled.

Mono Canalla Posted - 02 Apr 2018 : 02:52:29
In my case, I appreciate a recommendation on what to read coming back to the Realms. I read a lot of novels of he FR during my teenage and college years, a lot of Dragonlance too. I stopped because I grow satiated of enough Drizzt, ho ever, I left great memory for the Servant of the Shard, I saw it as a great twist to the whole series, pertinent and smart, thrilling, and absolutely of my taste. I enjoyed also a lot Elfshadow, Danilo felt like a fair enough version of Lord Henry from Portrait of Dorian Gray, and Waterdeep is an amazing location, and this book is the only one I found showing the city wide enough; however, I didn’t enjoy the Liriel books. Elminster in Myth Drannor is another great memory for me, but not as much the Elmisnter origins book. And that’s about it. After Servant of the Shard, I had no interest in reading more Drizzt, his next book was supposed to be about uncountable fights with orcs after orcs. I left the Realsm as minor literature (sorry). However now, around 15 years later, I found myself reading the two other books from The Sellswords trilogy, maybe in consequence of playing the Beamdog video games. And well, those two books are amazing. Salvatore doesn’t bother making a smallest description, but he is good with the bad guys, all of his characters are interesting, and some of his dialogues are top notch too. And seeing Bregan D’Aerthe playing Black Ops is always a joy. Now I started The Pirate King just because I saw Jarlaxe is there and I decided to follow his trail in the books, but oh boy the book is bad. Zero descriptions (all the time, the scene can be anywhere while the characters talk, he doesn’t care), childish dialogue (back to bad habits), and good guys are boring. Will be patient for Jarlaxe.

I love FR politics as iif it where a spy story, I love the FR color. What should I read now? Also, is it worthy to follow Jarlaxe trough this books?
therodfather Posted - 17 Jun 2015 : 20:47:54
Newbie with a potentially silly question - What series worth reading were released in hardcover (or even better Anthology/Collection style) format?

I just caught up with Drizzt by collecting the "Collector's Editions" of the first few series and the single hardcovers of later books. Something about a hardcover in my hands feels right (and looks great on the shelf).

I realize aesthetics is unimportant to many but I'm silly that way. I just tracked down like new copies of the Daughter of the Drow trilogy on Thriftbooks (hoping they come in nice shape!) but I was curious what else is out there. Obviously Elminster is in hardcover - any others you guys would recommend?
Artemas Entreri Posted - 12 Mar 2015 : 16:55:23
quote:
Originally posted by HardKano

Yep ! i'm reading the harpers series now ! counting my total novels read to 67 ! :) hope i'll finish all the novels before 35 year old :P (i'll be 30 next month )



Keep up the good work! I just finished my 213th Realms novel.
Mirtek Posted - 16 Jul 2014 : 22:38:27
quote:
Originally posted by HardKano

Yep ! i'm reading the harpers series now ! counting my total novels read to 67 ! :) hope i'll finish all the novels before 35 year old :P (i'll be 30 next month )
Hm, then you need to reserve a lot of time for reading as you'll need a hell of a pace.

There's 277 novels released as of now, and two more in the pipeline.

So with 212 to go in 60 months (not counting anything that will be released within this time and is just not yet announced) you'll need to read 0.9 novels a week

With phases of heavy reading and phases of little reading and in the end even having to wait at the edge of the release schedule for Wotc to catch up to me instead of the other way round it took me 16 years to read every one.

But it's a worthy goal indead
HardKano Posted - 12 Jul 2014 : 14:50:51
I've read almost all books you suggested and i agree with the way you think to learn the lore.

The on i didn't already is Sembia series and Return of the Archwizards. Ho and i've just seen that i didn't read Starlight and Shadows series... weird i've read all other Realms books of Elaine. I think is that i switch on the Harpers in the meanwhile lol too much to read ! ;)
Neo2151 Posted - 25 May 2014 : 01:28:33
IMO, there really isn't any specific stories that are good "Introductory to the Realms" jumping off points.
For example, The Song and Swords series is a great set of books and I'd recommend them to anyone, but you learn nothing about the Northern, Eastern, or Southern, or Central areas of Faerun; It's all tied up in the Sword Coast for the most part.

The only way you're really going to "discover more" of the Realms is to want to. Which means that the best "jumping board" is going to be the strongest authors and most enjoyable series. Salvatore, Cunningham, some Greenwood, Grubb & Novak, etc.

For me? It was some friends saying, "Hey Sean, you really need to read this book Homeland because it's amazing." So I did. And before I knew it, I was 10 books in and waiting for Bob's next release. And then I said to myself, "I wonder what else there is to this world of Faerun? This Ed Greenwood guy created it, huh? Maybe I'll read his books now." And before I knew it, Cormyr and Waterdeep and the Dalelands and the Chosen and so much more became unfurled and suddenly I just had to keep delving into this world of Faerun.

So to tl;dr it a little bit, I'd say for a total beginner to the Realms:
•Icewind Dale and/or Dark Elf Trilogy
•Song and Swords series
•Sembia Series (probably my top pick for introductory novels)
•Starlight and Shadows
•Finder's Stone Trilogy

Then, later, when you've gotten your feet wet on the Realms and want to dig a little deeper? I'd recommend these as good intermediate choices (but definitely not "jumping board" choices!)...:
•Elminster Saga
•Shandril's Saga
•The Cormyr Saga and/or Evermeet: Island of Elves
•The Avatar Series
•The Shadow of the Avatar
•Return of the Archwizards

And now you'll have a much better appreciation for the Realms when you want to delve even deeper and pick up stories like The Last Mythal or Scions of Arrabar.
HardKano Posted - 11 Feb 2014 : 03:03:12
Yep ! i'm reading the harpers series now ! counting my total novels read to 67 ! :) hope i'll finish all the novels before 35 year old :P (i'll be 30 next month )
shorac Posted - 10 Feb 2014 : 22:55:55
Well I myslef just discovered the realms not more than 2 years ago and It was a bit daunting when I saw how many books there were , not to mention i started reading dragonlance and WoW books at the same time. All in all the finderstone trilogy was an excellent series and it gave me a real feel for the realms and the harpers series was great too..
HardKano Posted - 01 Mar 2013 : 04:26:23
Thanks for the info Beast ! old lore :)
ErinMEvans Posted - 28 Feb 2013 : 20:35:50
quote:
Originally posted by Ada

I have been searching around for a couple of days now and I cannot find any information on books or other types of reading outside of the Neverwinter series that expands or dives into the town itself or around the area. Can anyone help guide me on this journey of self-enlightenment into understanding more on the lore of Neverwinter?



Brimstone Angel is also set in 4E era Neverwinter. Specifically, it has more lore specific to the Ashmadai, other cults, and the rebuilding. Also contains the origin story (so to speak) of Rohini, who was picked up as an NPC in the NWCG and a villain in the upcoming MMO.

And if you've read the Neverwinter Saga, there's a small crossover involving Rohini's sister Arunika.

EDIT: Also, Brimstone Angels and its sequel, Lesser Evils, lead into my Sundering novel, The Adversary. So...you'll be ready!
BEAST Posted - 28 Feb 2013 : 20:17:46
Salvatore's earlier novel The Halfling's Gem also described an adventure with a banshee in the Neverwinter Wood, near the town of Conyberry.

There is the older lorebook The Savage Frontier.

The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier is also good. It ties in right around the same time as the earlier NWN PC games.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 28 Feb 2013 : 18:08:20
There's also several pages in Volo's Guide to the North.
9thChapter Posted - 28 Feb 2013 : 16:30:05
quote:
Originally posted by Ada

I have been searching around for a couple of days now and I cannot find any information on books or other types of reading outside of the Neverwinter series that expands or dives into the town itself or around the area. Can anyone help guide me on this journey of self-enlightenment into understanding more on the lore of Neverwinter?



4th edition D&D published a campaign setting in 2011/2012 on Neverwinter. While not a "story" per se, and despite the fact that it is post spellplgaue, there are nevertheless some interesting thematic elements and lore contained in it. One hardcover book.
HardKano Posted - 28 Feb 2013 : 12:57:49
Maybe there is few short stories that i don't know for now ... but somebody else could light this up for us ;)
HardKano Posted - 28 Feb 2013 : 12:56:37
quote:
Originally posted by Ada

I have been searching around for a couple of days now and I cannot find any information on books or other types of reading outside of the Neverwinter series that expands or dives into the town itself or around the area. Can anyone help guide me on this journey of self-enlightenment into understanding more on the lore of Neverwinter?



Sorry my friend but there is not lore around Neverwinter in the novels except the series of 4 books that Salvatore wrote. IF you look on o-love.net you'll find a cover from a never-published novel that was suposed to be on neverwinter, based on the game Neverwinter Nights i think.

If you want to learn about earlier neverwinter i think you'll need to play the games Neverwinter Nights ;)
Ada Posted - 27 Feb 2013 : 19:32:31
I have been searching around for a couple of days now and I cannot find any information on books or other types of reading outside of the Neverwinter series that expands or dives into the town itself or around the area. Can anyone help guide me on this journey of self-enlightenment into understanding more on the lore of Neverwinter?
Dennis Posted - 25 Oct 2012 : 07:07:53
quote:
Originally posted by Yoss

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


In a way, I can relate. Not the same book, but similar in the 'nostalgia' factor. I read Gary Paulsen's The River a long time ago and loved it then. I reread it fairly recently and remembered much of how it made me feel the very first time I read it.

I loved Paulsen's books when I was a kid, and I'd be afraid to go back as an adult out of fear of finding out they weren't as awesome as I remember them being.
Hehe. I can understand that. In grade school, I read some of Simon Hawke's fairly 'short' novels. I loved it then. Then in college I re-read it and asked myself, "Did I really read and love it then?" Some books are like that, but some are like The River too. So I don't really hesitate to re-read a couple of old favorites when the mood strikes me.
Yoss Posted - 24 Oct 2012 : 23:22:07
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


In a way, I can relate. Not the same book, but similar in the 'nostalgia' factor. I read Gary Paulsen's The River a long time ago and loved it then. I reread it fairly recently and remembered much of how it made me feel the very first time I read it.



I loved Paulsen's books when I was a kid, and I'd be afraid to go back as an adult out of fear of finding out they weren't as awesome as I remember them being.
IamWeasel Posted - 24 Oct 2012 : 00:43:19
quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

quote:
Originally posted by Euranna

quote:
Originally posted by eandersonwa

just about to finish the last book in the cleric quintet.I'm wondering if there are any other books primarily with Cadderly and his crew?


He does not have any more books that are about him primarily. But, the Ghost King by RAS does include Cadderly and his friends.
He is mentioned in a few of the Drizzt books, but I cannot think of them off the top of my head (except the above).



You also get to read about him in the Servant of the Shard, cadderly and his crew actually have a substantial part to play in this novel.



Ivan and Pikel Bouldershoulder appear in The 1000 Orcs.

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