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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)
Seravin Posted - 09 Sep 2019 : 10:53:03
Sorry I haven't been contributing much lately, the post 4th edition books were hardly my fave. I really hated what they did with the Simbul, in particular in these books so stopped reading even Ed's works. I did continue on with Bob's stuff through the Companions and the 5th edition Sundering stuff.

I just remember the Elminster Must Die/Enraged stuff being typical Ed in Cormyr writing that was so full of lore but very hard to follow plot and story wise; lots of characters introduced then taken away, lots of "sexy", and occasional brilliance. But the Simbul has always been my fave Chosen and to see the state of her in these books just wasn't appealing.
Madpig Posted - 09 Sep 2019 : 06:07:42
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished Elminster Enraged. I can't believe I read it so fast, I really just had to bear down and tell myself to read ~100 pages a day.

As per my usual, it was a very up-and-down experience:

Elminster, in a drow priestess form (does it seem at times like Elminster is obsessed with inhabiting female bodies?), finds himself beset by 20 drow warriors and with limited magic at his disposal. His swordsmanship is up to the task of course, and he dispatches several of them via the blade. So not is he only the greatest archmage of all time, he's also a better swordman than Drizzt…

There was a really fun scene when he is trying to come up from the Underdark and the only available path takes him through a black dragon's lair. As a distraction he casts a spell he calls The Awakening that activates every magical item in the hoard, causing various wands and rings and necklaces and whatever other bauble to discharge their spells and properties all at once. The ensuing chaos is impressive, as fireballs and lightning bolts go careening all around the cavern, knocking over stalactites and some hitting the dragon. El then casts a very advanced form of remote telekinesis on a chest of sapphires, flying it out of the cave and making the dragon give chase. He flies it all over the valley outside, zigzagging wildly to keep the dragon occupied like my cat chasing after the laser pointer.

Oops, have to run, but much more to say. I'll come back and edit this later.



I dont remember that much on Enraged, but I think it was said in Shadows of Avatar trilogys first outing, that El is really good swordsman. And also his statlines atleast in 3.X edition actually reflects this. El is actually only mage that it actually makes sense. As he has been limited to not using magic multiple times. And he even was ftr/rog/cle before being mage.
VikingLegion Posted - 07 Sep 2019 : 13:49:38
I finished Elminster Enraged. I can't believe I read it so fast, I really just had to bear down and tell myself to read ~100 pages a day.

As per my usual, it was a very up-and-down experience:

Elminster, in a drow priestess form (does it seem at times like Elminster is obsessed with inhabiting female bodies?), finds himself beset by 20 drow warriors and with limited magic at his disposal. His swordsmanship is up to the task of course, and he dispatches several of them via the blade. So not is he only the greatest archmage of all time, he's also a better swordman than Drizzt…

There was a really fun scene when he is trying to come up from the Underdark and the only available path takes him through a black dragon's lair. As a distraction he casts a spell he calls The Awakening that activates every magical item in the hoard, causing various wands and rings and necklaces and whatever other bauble to discharge their spells and properties all at once. The ensuing chaos is impressive, as fireballs and lightning bolts go careening all around the cavern, knocking over stalactites and some hitting the dragon. El then casts a very advanced form of remote telekinesis on a chest of sapphires, flying it out of the cave and making the dragon give chase. He flies it all over the valley outside, zigzagging wildly to keep the dragon occupied like my cat chasing after the laser pointer.

Oops, have to run, but much more to say. I'll come back and edit this later.
VikingLegion Posted - 07 Sep 2019 : 13:28:47
Addendum to previous post about Charon's Claw. I don't believe the sword is destroyed. When they tossed it over the edge into Mount Doom, err, I mean the primordial fire pit of Gauntlgrym, they all expected Artemis to die soon thereafter, as his lifeforce was tied up with the blade. This, of course, did not happen. They theorized perhaps now his unnatural lifespan is over and he will start aging again normally. But, shortly before the blade went in, the dwarf Ambergris turned traitor on her Shade cohorts and tossed one of the wizards down the shaft, Vader/Palpatine style. He said earlier that he had no flying magic available when she asked, but he could've well been lying to her. Or maybe he has a featherfall contingency charm on his person, or he got hung up on a rocky outcropping, or any number of things. I think maybe he was down there, laying low, pretending to be dead when the sword went flying over the edge. He then enacted a quick telekinesis spell to snatch it out of the air. I don't think Drizzt or any of the crew watched over the edge to see Claw fall into the lava.

Just my theory anyway, we'll see what happens.
VikingLegion Posted - 02 Sep 2019 : 20:15:02
I just finished Charon's Claw. I liked this one better than the last few RAS books. Dahlia is finally becoming more of a character to me. Don't get me wrong, I still don't like her, but I do feel as though she's developed a bit more. I also enjoy the sort of shiftless, rudderless Drizzt. It's definitely a different direction, he's always been so morally sure, it's interesting to see him flounder a bit, makes him less stuffy and also works well with this somewhat post-apocalyptic Realms I find myself currently in. I guess the Drizzt character did need a new angle, he went from very reckless and fun loving in the original Crystal Shard series, and slowly morphed into more of a beacon of goodness and proper behavior, sometimes to the point where it becomes tiresome.

There was a shadovar monk named Afafrenfere. C'mon... seriously? That's just a shade less dumb than the wizard Adaderbear or whatever it was from the short story in the ghost woods a little while back.

I really liked the possible budding romance between Entreri and Dahlia. I didn't see it coming at first, but as soon as it started to materialize I thought, "ahh, that makes so much sense" based on their similar "broken" backgrounds, mutual ruthlessness, and so on. I love how jealous Drizzt gets, knowing he just can't ever relate to her on the same level as Artemis. This is an interesting plot development that made for good reading and an exquisite degree of tension among their little group dynamic. As I already mentioned, Dahlia's character grew by leaps and bounds for me in this book, even her proclivity to take dangerous lovers (so they had a chance to kill her in their eventual duel, thus ending her pain), it all started to come together.

Charon's Claw, on the other hand, has grown tiresome for me. I just feel like we've seen all of this before in the form of Khazid'hea (Cutter).

I loved the Nojheim callback when Drizzt was seriously considering trading Claw away to have Guenhwyvar returned to him. Ultimately he couldn't consign another sentient creature to slavery, even one as vile as Artemis, because of his experience with the little goblin so many years ago. I've also started to like Effron quite a bit more. Yes, he's hideous, twisted, nasty, etc. But he hasn't exactly had an easy go of life, and his hatred for Dahlia is certainly justified and deserving of some sympathy. I feel about him much the way I do about Ephialtes from the 300 story - he's a miserable, detestable being, but he was the aggrieved party first, and I'm a big fan of vengeance.

Up next, I start Elminster Enraged. It has a hefty 391 page count, so this one might take a little while....
Demzer Posted - 26 Aug 2019 : 12:03:29
Well my initial thoughts on this exchange on the Thunder Blessing would be "Why the f#@k when the dwarves get something good you want it to turn into a curse? That's racist!" *cue internet memes*

... POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
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Anyway if I remember correctly about at the time of the Thunder Blessing (with "about at the time" meaning within a few years) we saw also the elves deciding to get back to mainland Faerun and find ways to prosper together with the other demihuman races, Tiamat and Bahamut (or all draconic gods) raining eggs down from the sky (after the end of the Rage) and the orcs trying to establish a permanent and stable kingdom.
All of this coming slightly after the Time of Troubles, when the power of gods was directly tied to the number and fervor of their worshipers, to me speaks of various non-human pantheons trying to carve their place again in wider Faerun to increase their power by boosting their powerbase.

Of course everything blew up after about 10 more years and we were back to scheduled tropes
Gary Dallison Posted - 25 Aug 2019 : 20:24:38
That is an awesome idea for dwarves and the thunder blessing, and if no one objects i will be stealing it.

My own take on souls is that they are just a piece of positive energy. They can be infinite because they grow as people accumulate experience, thus increasing the amount of energy. Splitting a soul does indeed split that energy but it can be replenished in the usual manner (learning, trying, self improvement).

I'm not going to have moradin do the thunder blessing as I don't do gods, but a suitably epic ritual involving rediscovered elder runes could do the job.
VikingLegion Posted - 25 Aug 2019 : 20:12:33
Veylandemar,

I actually like your hypothesis better than the book! :)

If Moradin can invoke the Thunder Blessing with no ramification, why doesn't every deity with a strong racial following not do the same in order to bolster their flock? I dig your explanation that the "dilution" of the soul essence causes some problems down the road.

On the contrary, not to get too philosophically deep or anything, but I once read (was it from this very book?) that souls are infinite things, so if it gets split, well... Infinity divided by two is still infity. But I don't like the idea of any commodity being endless or non-finite, so that's why I find your reasoning behind the Stoneplague to be more satisfying


*****************SPOILERS BELOW***************


than a plot cooked up by some underdark baddies that can actually kill a god - that was a bit of a reach for me. Anyway, like you I thought it was a decent read, even if the resolution fell a bit flat.
Veylandemar Posted - 24 Aug 2019 : 05:27:22
quote:

In other news, yesterday I finished The Gilded Rune. This was an ok book. It centers around Torrin, a human that is absolutely convinced he is really a dwarf that Moradin errantly cast into a human body. This is the same Torrin from one of the recent anthologies. The short story was a fun and interesting read, though I had some misgivings that this character's gimmick would be strong enough to carry an entire full-length novel. The story revolves around an affliction called the Stoneplague (there sure are a lot of plagues... Spellplague, Abyssal Plague, etc.) that slowly calcifies dwarves, turning their blood into mud and their flesh into rock. Torrin, by virtue of his human body, is immune to the Stoneplague and believes it is his gods-given destiny to solve the mystery, that this is the reason Moradin placed his "dwarven soul" into a human body.




I've been waiting for ages for you to get to this book, VL.
While I haven't read it since its' release back in 2012 there were quite a few things about the story that stuck with me - Mostly how I thought the story was going to play out.

Due to the little lore snippets around the Mordinsamman and the dwarven mythology, I thought that the Stoneplague was going to be something a bit more of a divine folly.
It felt to me as if it was building up towards a uniquely Dwarven crisis due to the events of the Thunder Blessing, whereby Moradin increased the dwarven population on Toril by splitting dwarven soul in two and increasing the frequency of twins among his people.

I thought that the direction things were going was that now, a few generations later, those split souls were seeing diminishing returns - Each generation saw the souls further split, leading to a point where this Divine Boon became the problem and the diminished souls now present amongst the Dwarven people was the cause of the Stoneplague - They literally didn't have strong enough fragments of their souls left to keep them from reverting to the stone and clay that Moradin forged the first dwarves from.

But then midway through it turned out to be Dueregar or Derro magic.

I do recall thinking early in the book that Torrin might be a bit flat and gimmicky due to being the 'human who wants to be a dwarf', but likewise I thought it a case of him being uniquely positioned to help his chosen society.

While it has been the better part of seven years, I do believe I enjoyed the book even if I was somewhat disappointed by the antagonist. But that's my own fault for reading too far into things!

~V
Wooly Rupert Posted - 22 Aug 2019 : 21:55:55
Hmm, I may have to give that one a try. It sounds interesting, and there might be some useful background for a dwarven NPC I created.
VikingLegion Posted - 22 Aug 2019 : 21:45:48
quote:
Originally posted by Iahn Qoyllor

VikingLegion - missing your posts mate! Did Rose of Sarifal break you or are you just taking a much needed break?



Nope, still here! To answer both you and 12swords - yes I had been averaging about a book a week, but my reading rate has taken a large hit of late. Nothing to do with any specific FR book. I generally try to read about 30 pages a day at work, and another 20 or so at night before bed. I have some larger, more valuable, non-D&D books I've been looking to read for some time, so I use my nighttime reading for those, not wanting to continually lug them back and forth from home to work to home, possibly damaging them and so on. So that's knocked out about 40% of my reading progress on the FR line.

As for Gary, The Rose of Sarifal had very little I can recall regarding any pre-1400s Moonshae lore, other than to say that the Kendrick line faltered heavily and was failing even before the Spellplague shattered human domination of these isles. I don't know if your Realms takes place after the events of the 2nd trilogy, but if so you are probably in the 1370s? As I'm sure you're aware, High King Keene dies in 1373 defending the realm against a red dragon, and Queen Alicia is left to fend off the incursion of Fae in the form of leShay and various fomorians and so on. Apparently whoever is the heir of Keene and Alicia sounds like they were very ineffective/incompetent, and the humans were being rapidly driven out and/or enslaved before the Spellplague came and pretty much put a nail in their coffin.

In other news, yesterday I finished The Gilded Rune. This was an ok book. It centers around Torrin, a human that is absolutely convinced he is really a dwarf that Moradin errantly cast into a human body. This is the same Torrin from one of the recent anthologies. The short story was a fun and interesting read, though I had some misgivings that this character's gimmick would be strong enough to carry an entire full-length novel. The story revolves around an affliction called the Stoneplague (there sure are a lot of plagues... Spellplague, Abyssal Plague, etc.) that slowly calcifies dwarves, turning their blood into mud and their flesh into rock. Torrin, by virtue of his human body, is immune to the Stoneplague and believes it is his gods-given destiny to solve the mystery, that this is the reason Moradin placed his "dwarven soul" into a human body.

Smedman did a really nice job bringing out some nuances of dwarven culture. The beginning of each chapter had quotes from a book called the Delver's Tome, little parables and nuggets of knowledge to help dwarves live a proper life. Similar to Ed Greenwood's snippets from various plays, treatises, and journals, I really enjoy the added life these things bring to the books. Smedman also made use of several proverbs, sayings, aphorisms, etc. to bring out more dwarven culture, particularly the outlook of members of the Delver's Guild. Like when Torrin decides he is investigating a dead end and wants to follow another lead, he calls it "digging in another direction." Or when he is considering a rash action, where you or I might use the phrase "rocking the boat", she instead goes with "tipping the ore cart." It's little nuances like this I very much enjoy and add quite a bit to the story in their own little way.

It was very late in the book (page 322 to be exact) when Torrin enters a large melee and it dawned on me that this was just the 2nd combat encounter in the entire book! That felt strange to me and made me wonder how many authors throw extraneous fights into their stories just to break up the pacing or because they feel they need to have lots of sword swinging and fireballs exploding to hold a reader's interest. This book focused much more on the mystery, a large conspiracy, and a few plot twists. All in all it was a decent whodunit. Nothing amazing you have to rush out and purchase, but a solid tale, particularly if you like dwarves.

Up next is Charon's Claw.
Iahn Qoyllor Posted - 22 Aug 2019 : 08:42:35
VikingLegion - missing your posts mate! Did Rose of Sarifal break you or are you just taking a much needed break?
Gary Dallison Posted - 06 Aug 2019 : 09:36:26
I'm fairly confident in claiming that I have located every published source on the moonshae isles and am gradually combing through them for lore to put into my website. The only ones I ignored up to now were the novels, but I recently admitted defeat and read the entire moonshae trilogy and druidhone trilogy in a 6 week, torturous slog. The only one left that I know of is this rose of sarifal, which I doubt will have any pre spellplague lore or anything I can derive to pre spellplague, which is why I'm being lazy and asking if anyone who has read it recently recalls anything that might prove useful - myths, legends, tales, long lived individuals, ruined locations, etc
12swords Posted - 06 Aug 2019 : 01:17:36
Hmm, would this help at all?
https://www.dmsguild.com/product/248303/Moonshae-Isles-Regional-Guide

Gary Dallison Posted - 05 Aug 2019 : 07:42:00
My interest in the spellplague is non existent, it is the moonshaes I am looking for lore on any places or people or detail that might have existed in the past (1360s or earlier) and any other older details like myths or legends that can be extrapolated.
12swords Posted - 05 Aug 2019 : 04:43:04
Sorry Gary, never read the book myself. Is there anything specific about pre-Spellplague lore you're looking for? I would think WOTC has a splatbook or two that covers at least some of it, without having to read entire novels.
Gary Dallison Posted - 02 Aug 2019 : 21:43:10
A shameless attempt at getting lore without having to slog through a novel myself, would anyone be able to say if there is any pre spellplague information in the Rose of Sarifal, or any information post spellplague that could possibly be devolved backwards in time (cause and effect in reverse) to liberate some pre spellplague lore.

I really dont want to have to read another bad novel (i've been spoiled by game of thrones, hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, and other literary gems)
12swords Posted - 02 Aug 2019 : 16:30:34
27 books left, and you're averaging about a book a week, maybe faster? So you'll probably be done sometime this winter...

I looked up the author's bio in the book and it sounds like an intentional parody:
HOME-SCHOOLED IN KANSAS BY CHINESE MISSIONARIES, Paulina Claiborne has eschewed all subsequent education. Between the prison terms that punctuate her life, she has worked as a cook, a hairdresser, a lifecoach, a toxicologist, a freelance letter-opener, and a private surgeon. She has won several prestigious literary awards, including the Warden’s Special Prize for Model Servitude. She enjoys quilt-making, knife-fighting, and alcohol. For the past few years she has had no fixed address.

Supposedly Paulina Claiborne is a pen name for Paul Claiborne Park, http://www.sfwa.org/members/park/Index.html
Seems like he's written some science fiction novels in the 80's to the 00's, and I guess WOTC gave him a novel to do.

The book seems like a crazy ride, really good at times and really bad at times, I might have to check it out and compare notes with you.
VikingLegion Posted - 02 Aug 2019 : 02:08:55
Glad you asked. Just last night I finished The Rose of Sarifal. I just counted the pile, and there are 27 books left to reach the [current] end of the FR novel line. I'm missing one book, so that has caused me to go just a bit out of order. Hopefully I can remedy that soon.

As for Rose, this was one of the craziest books I've read in quite some time. Just reading the author bio before starting had my head spinning, and I hadn't even cracked page 1 yet. It is set in the Moonshaes, ~100 years after the Spellplague. From what I could understand, some rift to the Feywild has torn open and eladrin, fomorians, and all sorts of fey creatures have come barreling in, overrunning the failing Kendrick line of humans, who are now an enslaved minority. Were creatures abound, but are often thought of as no better than animals by the ultra-elfy eladrin.

One of the protagonists is a "shifter", a race I thought existed only in the Eberron campaign. But I don't get too hung up on that, as I'm a fan of interlinking the various D&D settings. Also it is thought that shifters are humanoids with a touch of lycanthropy in their veins from past ancestors, so thematically it worked just fine.

Paulina Claiborne's writing style is like nothing I've come across. I alternated between thinking this is some of the best writing in the entire FR catalogue, to WTF moments where I had no idea what was happening. Her prose is utterly frenetic and so emotionally charged and visceral, like Lynn Abbey on Angel Dust. She's not afraid of more risqué content - lots of strange sexual relations, tons of cursing (actual curses, not stlarn and hrast), orcs running around with necklaces made out of the genitalia of male warriors they have vanquished in battle, etc. Zero punches were pulled.

There was a gnome named Suka with pink/spiky hair, tattoos, piercings, and so on. The more I think of it, the more I'm certain Suka is an author-insert into the story. She has a habit of speaking and/or thinking in very modern-day anachronistic phrases, like the following:

"She didn't know what Lord Mindarion was smoking, but she wanted some."

"Fine, thought Suka. Whatever - eladrin were wicked hot. Cold and hot. It was a well-known fact, part of what made them so creepy and grotesque and horrible and bad. They were slutty and sterile at the same time. Everybody wanted to have sex with them and nobody could."


Several of the characters could perform magic-like abilities, like misdirection/illusion spells without any reason or explanation as to why they could do this. I think Paulina has a general idea of D&D "rules" and such, and then takes a lot of liberties with them. Often this enhanced the story in my opinion. I can handwave a lot of that away if it makes for a better narrative.

How about the effect of the Spellplague on deities other than Mystra? It was mentioned that several of the Lords of Fury went missing or died during that time. Malar the Beastlord played prominently into the storyline of this book. But the big surprise was Chauntea wanted him to be returned to Faerun. Why would these terribly bitter enemies cooperate on any level? Restoring the balance? As for what the story was about... I couldn't tell you. It was wild and very hard to follow for the most part, other than the titular Rose of Sarifal is a half eladrin princess who is being hunted down by her decadent family that wishes to erase her claim to the throne (i.e. kill her) and preserve the status quo, something they do with almost religious zeal. Claiborne does a magnificent job describing the ennui that must set in for these all but immortal creatures who's life spans are so long they almost seem removed from Time. In fact, her treatment of several of the fey subraces was really unique and incredibly interesting.

The Rose acquires a ragtag group of adventurers that protect her for various reasons (greed, sense of adventure, political gain, etc.) and they end up roaming all over the Moonshaes. The end was bizarre, even by the standards of this exceedingly odd book. I've been thinking it over today and I still can't come to a satisfactory explanation as to what happened. This book was one of the wilder rides I've been on - it was frustrating and magical and confusing and thought-provoking all at once. One thing it never was, was boring. Read it if you dare, I'd love to see another perspective on it.

Up next, tomorrow I will most likely start Lisa Smedman's The Gilded Rune.
12swords Posted - 02 Aug 2019 : 00:45:34
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Welcome to the thread 12swords and congratulations, that's yet another pronunciation to add to my list!

#1 Drizzit with 2 syllables is the most common one I hear. RAS has made several jokes about this in his books wherein uneducated farm-types mis-pronounce him thusly.

#2 Drizzzzt with "sleepy z's" like the word buzzed, capped off with a hard "t" is probably the one I now use the most, though it sounds silly out loud.

#3 Drittst with hard t's flanking the hard s is one I've come across in rare instances. All one syllable, like Dritt followed quickly by the first 2 letters of "stay" for example. It sounds super cumbersome until you try it a few times in rapid succession.

#4 Drissed, you say? I can honestly say I've never heard that one before. Like pissed or missed or kissed but starting with DR.... I don't hate it...

But all this simply underscores my point. How can arguably the most popular fantasy character created in the last 30 years have such a clumsy spelling that you can't get a room full of fans to agree on how to say it. Luke Skywalker and Gandalf the Grey never had such issues. What's funny is I've met RAS twice - once at a large speaking engagement and once in a bizarre, totally random 1-on-1 chance encounter I could never duplicate - and neither time did it occur to me to simply ask this question. He did say it one time in the opening of his speech, but it was very quick and I couldn't quite pick out the nuance.

quote:

In Ed's defense though, the nap scene with Storm Silverhand in Bury Elminster Deep, El was in a different, younger body at the time, plus the raising of her like a daughter occurred 700 years ago.



Yeah that's gonna be a no for me, dog. If someone is your daughter (biological or otherwise), they are your daughter until the end of all time and maybe beyond. El and Storm's relationship is the single grossest aspect of the entire Forgotten Realms.

quote:

Tim Pratt wrote several novels for the Pathfinder line that I felt were better than Venom in her Veins, they showed off his sense of humor more. For RPG fantasy novels, they weren't bad at all, I found them quite entertaining.



Thanks for the heads-up. I own 2 Pathfinder novels I found on the cheap (one written by Elaine Cunningham, who's weekly grocery lists I would purchase if she decided to publish them) and am entertaining the idea of reading that world after I wrap up the Realms. And then I saw a cover for one with a giant robot shooting laser beams and that troubled me greatly.



I used to pronounce it Drizz-it for the longest time as well, until a few years ago someone on the 'internets' said RAS pronounces it as rhyming with pissed, but is it more of a -zz or -ss sound? I guess either way would sound very similar.
But ur right, one of RAS's weaknesses seems to be name generation. Muffinhead is something a 6 year old would name their first D&D character.
RAS does seem to acknowledge that the name is difficult to pronounce, as you mentioned in the books sometimes characters pronounce his name wrongly. And just in general you've made a really good point that the whole Drow naming convention of lots of Z's and X's and S's are used to make the names sound alien and sinister but are really hard to pronounce.

I hear you, I've never had children so I'm not an expert on the subject but obviously thinking sexual thoughts about family is pretty wack, although the Targaryens seem to get along with it. I was just thinking that 700 years is many times the lifespan of a human, and assuming normal aging until adulthood where it stops or is greatly slowed, then El has known Storm as a peer for many times longer than he knew her as a surrogate child (680 years to 20 years). But according to your reviews, it seems to be a common theme that El gets it on with just about any comely female he winks at. Pure fantasy nerd wish fulfillment there, but I understand where Ed is coming from. It's why so much of the D&D artwork from the 70's-90's were half naked females. TSR knew who their core audience was.

There are a lot fewer PF novels than D&D ones so it probably would take you much less than a year to finish them all. I think in general they're more consistent in quality than D&D novels because PF only contracted established novelists - you had to have been a published novelist before they hired you. The giant robot one is based on PF's version of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, where adventurers explore a crashed alien starship, so you'll see lasers and robots and such in that storyline. That was actually written by Pratt as well and IMO was an easy read, fairly interesting and humorous and well-paced.

What's next on your reading list? Venom in her Veins was published in 2012, so if you're all caught up you probably don't have more than 20 novels left. You might be done in a few months or so?
VikingLegion Posted - 01 Aug 2019 : 22:10:47
quote:
Originally posted by 12swords
I'm very much enjoying this thread, VL. I think you're doing a hero's work, reading so much (mostly bad) fantasy. I know it's something I probably wouldn't have the patience for.
Your thoughts on RAS pretty much mirror my own. I loved The Crystal Shard when it first came out, liked his other early books, but the majority of his stuff this century seems so workmanlike. Just churning out content, even if it repeats itself.
I agree with you on the fight scenes, part of me thinks RAS goes into such detailed descriptions of a fight so he can fluff up the word count. I can't even finish a scene most of the time, about 2 paragraphs into "he flipped his sword back and around to the left" my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders. Maybe it's just me but I have a hard time imagining what's actually happening even with the description.
BTW, I know what you mean about his names, but Drizzt rhymes with 'pissed'.



Welcome to the thread 12swords and congratulations, that's yet another pronunciation to add to my list!

#1 Drizzit with 2 syllables is the most common one I hear. RAS has made several jokes about this in his books wherein uneducated farm-types mis-pronounce him thusly.

#2 Drizzzzt with "sleepy z's" like the word buzzed, capped off with a hard "t" is probably the one I now use the most, though it sounds silly out loud.

#3 Drittst with hard t's flanking the hard s is one I've come across in rare instances. All one syllable, like Dritt followed quickly by the first 2 letters of "stay" for example. It sounds super cumbersome until you try it a few times in rapid succession.

#4 Drissed, you say? I can honestly say I've never heard that one before. Like pissed or missed or kissed but starting with DR.... I don't hate it...

But all this simply underscores my point. How can arguably the most popular fantasy character created in the last 30 years have such a clumsy spelling that you can't get a room full of fans to agree on how to say it. Luke Skywalker and Gandalf the Grey never had such issues. What's funny is I've met RAS twice - once at a large speaking engagement and once in a bizarre, totally random 1-on-1 chance encounter I could never duplicate - and neither time did it occur to me to simply ask this question. He did say it one time in the opening of his speech, but it was very quick and I couldn't quite pick out the nuance.

quote:

In Ed's defense though, the nap scene with Storm Silverhand in Bury Elminster Deep, El was in a different, younger body at the time, plus the raising of her like a daughter occurred 700 years ago.



Yeah that's gonna be a no for me, dog. If someone is your daughter (biological or otherwise), they are your daughter until the end of all time and maybe beyond. El and Storm's relationship is the single grossest aspect of the entire Forgotten Realms.

quote:

Tim Pratt wrote several novels for the Pathfinder line that I felt were better than Venom in her Veins, they showed off his sense of humor more. For RPG fantasy novels, they weren't bad at all, I found them quite entertaining.



Thanks for the heads-up. I own 2 Pathfinder novels I found on the cheap (one written by Elaine Cunningham, who's weekly grocery lists I would purchase if she decided to publish them) and am entertaining the idea of reading that world after I wrap up the Realms. And then I saw a cover for one with a giant robot shooting laser beams and that troubled me greatly.
12swords Posted - 28 Jul 2019 : 16:20:23
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished Gauntlgrym a couple days ago. RAS was absolutely my favorite author for many of the early FR years, but it seems as though his last several novels have been books in search of a story.

Personally I think Kozah's Needle was made just so RAS could go even more overboard with his in-depth fighting descriptions. I used to be all-in on the fight scenes, perfectly recreating in my mind the exact positions of each combatant, almost down to the point of using figurines to represent them. Nowadays, it's all I can do to hold my attention firm as I scan over the action, trying to sort out if anything of major importance happens. I just don't care that her rear plant foot was offset at a 30 degree angle instead of her traditional 45 degrees while she used her off-hand to reach under the 2nd flail bar and flip it's position while flaring her left hip out into a spinning.... bleh.... ok, so she just smacked an orc in the face and knocked him out, great, moving on... As for the rest of Dahlia, well there's just not much there to evaluate. I think she's a really shallow, undeveloped character. What little development we see sort of played false to me anyhow - she goes from being an utterly ruthless, completely self-assured and confident villain, to a bit of a milksop patsy of the Red Wizardess Sylora Salm, to an energetic, smiling, fun-loving companion-in-arms to Drizzt that is going to rekindle his elven spirit and push him out of his current grim demeanor. She's just not working for me, although some of her lightning attacks and post-enemy-defeat poses did score pretty high on the coolness factor, even if they were a bit forced.

This story helps me understand that weird short story in the previous anthology a little bit better - the one about the mystical forest on the outskirts of Ten Towns. I still can't get past the wizard named Addadearber though. I think RAS should give a close friend or family member (his son, perhaps?) a one-time VETO power per book, on any character name, because man, Bob has come out with some atrocious ones over the years - I'm looking at you Cordio Muffinhead. I mean, his main character, the iconic dark elf that is amongst the most popular of all fantasy creations, has such a clumsy name that you will hear at least 3 or 4 different pronunciations when talking to other fans. Imagine if he spent just a little more time coming up with something a little smoother there. We still don't know the official story that is going to be used in the FR movie in development, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that the goofiness of this name may be an impediment as to whether that earns the final nod or not. Imagine a trailer for a film and you hear that guy with the iconic "In A World voice. Now picture him getting to the end and saying something like, "Homeland: The Legend of Drizzt Do'Urden" and thinking how badly that will test in a focus group. It sounds like you have marbles in your mouth. Hey, what did that guy say? Drizzle Dundee? Jerzit Durden? The hell is that? The film would probably have to be named "The Legend of the Dark Elf" or something, but you can only avoid that name for so long before it has to come up.

Lastly, the entire Gauntlgrym storyline bugs me, simply because... well, didn't we already do this with Mithral Hall? Bruenor faked an illness way back in, I think the very end of the Crystal Shard series, no? He tricks Drizzt into helping him find this near mythical ancient stronghold that will help him reclaim the glory of his people. So he bails on his kingdom up in Icewind Dale to go chasing after a legend that will help him rekindle dwarfdom in the North. Now, many years later, it seems like he's bored with being the king of Mithral Hall, so he starts it all over again with an even MOAR LEGENDARY homeland of the original Delzoun dwarves. The whole thing seems a bit clunky and ill-conceived to me.



I'm very much enjoying this thread, VL. I think you're doing a hero's work, reading so much (mostly bad) fantasy. I know it's something I probably wouldn't have the patience for.
Your thoughts on RAS pretty much mirror my own. I loved The Crystal Shard when it first came out, liked his other early books, but the majority of his stuff this century seems so workmanlike. Just churning out content, even if it repeats itself.
I agree with you on the fight scenes, part of me thinks RAS goes into such detailed descriptions of a fight so he can fluff up the word count. I can't even finish a scene most of the time, about 2 paragraphs into "he flipped his sword back and around to the left" my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders. Maybe it's just me but I have a hard time imagining what's actually happening even with the description.
BTW, I know what you mean about his names, but Drizzt rhymes with 'pissed'.

You also make a great point about the repetition of plots. Finding lost dwarven homelands, wars between dwarves and orcs/giants/drow, we've done those plots twice already. And the fact that almost half of every book is taken up with scenes from Menzoberranzan is just tiresome to me. The endless plotting of the 9th House struggling to rise to the 6th House, etc etc, just bores me to tears most of the time. Who cares? We all know House Baenre will always be on top and Bregan D'aerthe will always be profiting on the fringes, that's as much as I really care about Menzoberranzan.

Anyway, rant over about RAS. And he's actually one of the GOOD writers of Realms novels. I can't bring myself to read one of Greenwood's books, although I did enjoy his Elminster articles in Dragon magazine. He does have a great imagination though, even if it doesn't always translate well to novels.
In Ed's defense though, the nap scene with Storm Silverhand in Bury Elminster Deep, El was in a different, younger body at the time, plus the raising of her like a daughter occurred 700 years ago.

Tim Pratt wrote several novels for the Pathfinder line that I felt were better than Venom in her Veins, they showed off his sense of humor more. For RPG fantasy novels, they weren't bad at all, I found them quite entertaining.
VikingLegion Posted - 20 Jul 2019 : 21:31:46
I finished Venom in Her Veins yesterday. New author for me (Tim Pratt), so I wasn't sure what to expect. This book felt a bit like a D&D session at times, but was still a fun read overall. It's set in a jungle but ends up leading into the Underdark. At first I thought it was just going to be more drow and duergar, but the author resisted this easy lure and built the story around much lesser-used races. The yuan-ti feature very prominently in the jungle portions, as well as being very involved with the main protagonist. But once we go underground we see all manner of cool and underutilized races like grell, derro, quaggoths, etc. I particularly enjoyed the manic insanity of the derro, I have a fondness for those guys going back decades to an old D&D campaign wherein a human wildmage decided to set himself up as their supreme ruler during the "Night Below" boxed-set adventure.

The presentation was a bit off. The author tends to write enormous paragraphs, some taking up almost an entire page, so it ends up looking like a gigantic wall of text. Added in were some obvious printing press issues, where certain letters would get squashed up funny. It was distracting.

Pratt really went for it as far as including a wide and diverse cast of characters to take advantage of the current edition. A tiefling psion, an eladrin sorceress, a shaman, a dragonborn fighter, etc. And while none of the characters were so memorable as to leave an indelible print on my mind, they were interesting enough for the time being. Where this book really shined was in the extremely cool descriptions of spell effects and magical weapons/items utilized. I have a feeling Pratt would be a very fun DM to run a gaming group, as he seems to enjoy creating some imaginative scenarios and details. So while this book will probably never get confused with serious literature, it was an enjoyable romp and a satisfying story.

Up next... TBD
Zeromaru X Posted - 07 Jul 2019 : 18:12:15
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion


I don't love the 4th edition ending of the iconic Blood War between devils and demons, and the transformation of succubi from the tanar'ri side to the baatezu.



You should read the whole series, then. Though, to be fair, 4e didn't actually ended it. It put in a cold war phase. I don't know why they said it was ended in the FRCG, but the Brimstone Angels series makes this a good plot to explore.
Arannis Posted - 07 Jul 2019 : 16:42:08
I have to say that the Brimstone Angels books are one of my favorites. I believe the reason the brimstone angels books are so expensive, correct me if I am wrong, is because her series came towards then end of WotC publishing new novels, so there are fewer copies of the books out there. The whole supply and demand thing. That's what I have heard anyway.

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