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T O P I C    R E V I E W
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 05 Oct 2017 : 14:21:01
Well met, everyone! I am the host of a relatively new podcast called Reading the Realms. We are a book club podcast that is reading the novels in publication order and then discussing them on the show. Our most recent episode covers Azure Bonds and I will provide a link below to the SoundCloud page so that you can have a listen. We are also available on iTunes/apple podcasts and google play podcasts.

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-5-azure-bonds

We are by no means experts when it comes to realmslore, just longtime fans of the books and the setting, So please forgive our less than comprehensive knowledge of characters and history.

The goal with this monthly show is to create a book club style format with listeners reading along and sending in their thoughts, opinions, and any fun lore so that we can read it out and discuss it on the show in talkback episodes. You can email us at readingtherealms@gmail.com and we are also on twitter: @ReadingFR

So I hope you will listen, enjoy, and join us on our journey!
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Seravin Posted - 12 Nov 2019 : 08:39:35
Yay Dragonwall is up. I really hated this book after loving Horselords (as much as you guys did). I will listen to your review shortly and see if we agreed or not.. :)
Thanks both for your content, you have some real fans out there.
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 30 Sep 2019 : 19:58:34
We're back with Episode 15 - Horselords by David 'Zeb' Cook. We continue our journey far afield of the traditional Realms and begin the Empires Trilogy. It looks like we found quite the diamond in the rough with this one as we both enjoyed it quite a lot!

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-15-horselords

Thanks for listening and Happy Reading!
Seravin Posted - 30 Sep 2019 : 10:09:21
Listening to Horselords today! A very strong first book in the series. Unfortunately, Troy Denning's terrible writing made me hate the second book. I don't love the concept of authors handing off story and characters to another author that they went for in Avatar and this trilogy. Yuman was written completely differently in the 2nd book and caused massive inconsistencies in his character that took me out of the book completely. I've written up my massive problems with the second book after the first book drew me into the eastern wastes of the Realms. While not a perfect book, Horselords really did have a very well written atmosphere and setting with strong characters.

I'm not quite through your podcast yet. Sorry about Ironhelm, I just couldn't go back and re-read it as your podcast totally put me off. I just hate Doug Niles' writing generally.
Seravin Posted - 02 Sep 2019 : 00:06:41
Awesome! Thanks guys. Will post when I've listened to Ironhelm's cast. I haven't read it since I was young so should be interesting.
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 01 Sep 2019 : 15:43:31
Well would you look at that, Reading the Realms is back with our 14th episode (3 months in a row!) in which we cover Ironhelm by Doug Niles and boy do we have some thoughts on this one! With this book we begin our months-long exploration of the parts of the Realms that aren’t Faerun.

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-14-ironhelm

As always, you can find us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud.
Happy reading!
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 02 Aug 2019 : 20:52:45
We're back with a very special Reader's Circle episode featuring none other than Jeff Grubb! We read your responses to our last three books and then get to an hour long interview with Jeff where we talk TSR, working in shared worlds, and having your wife as a writing partner, among many other topics. This episode was a ton of fun to record and we hope you enjoy. We would like to thank Jeff for taking the time to talk with us and for sharing all of his stories and insight.

As always, you can find us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud, linked below.

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/readers-circle-4-feat-jeff-grubb

Stay tuned for our August book: Iron Helm by Doug Niles

Happy reading!
Seravin Posted - 24 Jul 2019 : 23:16:10
When's the next one coming out!! :)
Captain Grafalcon Posted - 24 Jul 2019 : 22:14:47
Just listened the podcast - the halfling’s gem. Excelent work and initiative! For unkown reasons, there are few podcasts dedicated to literature.
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 10 Jul 2019 : 17:22:21
We're back with our 13th episode in which we cover The Wyvern’s Spur by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb. This is a fun one and we strongly recommend you read (or re-read) the novel before listening! Our next episode will be a listener response where we read out your thoughts on The Halfling’s Gem, Pool of Radiance, and Wyvern’s Spur so drop them here or shoot us an email at readingtherealms@gmail.com! We love hearing how other readers feel about the books - especially when you disagree with our take.

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-13-the-wyverns-spur

As always you can find us on SoundCloud, Google Play Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.
Wenin Posted - 01 Jul 2019 : 19:20:34
Subscribed. Looking forward to going through the backlog.
Seravin Posted - 30 Jun 2019 : 09:44:26
Yay The Wyvern's Spur is up (finally :) ) !! Already downloaded and ready to listen. This is one of my all time faves so I hope you guys are nice to it...

Edit: Just to say in the original art you can see a lot of Giogi's infamous boots! They get truncated in the actual book cover.

https://clydecaldwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/wyverns_spur.jpg
Seravin Posted - 08 Apr 2019 : 11:40:16
Absolutely! Although maybe don't say I think you're idiotic for not getting the names right lol :) That sounds meaner than intended and I humbly apologize! I just don't feel the names in the book are a problem to the same extent, especially next to RA Salvatore names like Afafrenfre (sp?) and Thibbledorf Pwent and Pikel Bouldershoulder and Rai-guy Bondalek that don't exactly roll off the tongue :)

I listened to your review of the Halfling's Gem and loved it (the review that is, not the book so much). Good stuff on Drizzt's kiss on Cat coming out of no where and being a bit creepy. I always thought the turnaround in their relationship felt weird and off. I also like how you call out Drizzt for being a Mary Sue/Gary Stu of sorts, because..yes he is. He was just apparently born morally perfect despite being raised a Drow and we never really get to the why.

Although I think the character as written in The Crystal Shard was darker and certinaly more bloody thirsty..like a "less evil but still a killer/emotionless drow" version of Drizzt (for example when he goes murder-kill on the giants with Wulfgar) - to me that Drizzt was a better character than the Saintly Mr Perfect Moral Compass Drizzt that comes after.

You also pointed out the fake-out deaths that recur in the first trilogy, something I never picked up on..and you're right they are a bunch of d-words to eachother in that respect!
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 06 Apr 2019 : 18:58:55
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Pool of Radiance is one of those novels that isn't particularly well written (and very "young adult") but somehow is fun to read anyway. I can never separate the novel from the joy I had as a young kid playing Pool of Radiance on the C128/C64 (that theme music!) and the class Clyde Caldwell cover art; all of which means I get the feels when reading it and have heavy nostalgia glasses on. But objectively, the book has some faults.

I think you're right to point out how the book does break up into a series of mini-quests very nicely, the self contained trips to Sokal Keep or Denlor's Tower or the Cardona Textile house or wherever are as well done as any D&D book (and straight from the Ruins of Adventure module for the most part).

Glad you guys liked it so much. While there are 2 sequels, the plot from these books is not continued on sadly regarding Phlan and the pool and the villains from this book - I actually like the next books anyway because the new characters introduced are very fun to read about (3 of them in particular). But we won't hear from the 3 villains again in the series which is a bit of a wasted opportunity.

I disagree with you that the names in Pool of Radiance are confusing however - Ren, Tarl and Shal are short and distinctive enough and you sound quite idiotic complaining that you can't keep the names Tarl and Shal separate in your heads. The heroes introduced later in the series have distinct names though.

I never put much thought into Shal's ring of wish change from petite to muscular as being a metaphor for women's body image issues or the change women go through in puberty - I think the audience of this book was firmly 12-16 year old boys and maybe just plays on the "women are vain and weak"- but Shal magically becomes muscular like little boys dream of being and learns that this is a better thing than being small and thin - something boys will appreciate. That said, there were a lot of tough women in the book (Ren's love interest and her 2 brute friends at the bar, the half-orc female assassin who sounds kind of amazing to develop her own novel as she overcomes prejudice but is badass, Ren's former love interest Tempest who was built like Shal on roids, and of course Shal herself by the end of the novel is the strongest). In the next books there are females who are great in a feminine way so take heart!

Tarl to me was the best character, he seems to have doubts and flaws that Ren and Shal (at least after her initial few chapters) do not have - Tarl grows and arcs a bit more and truly fails in the beginning. I don't think Shal or Ren really fail. This makes Tarl more interesting. And he gets the girl!

Keep them coming guys!



I haven’t checked the forum in a while and missed your reply! Mind if we read part of it out during our next listener mail episode? I appreciate all the detail!
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 06 Apr 2019 : 18:57:15
We’re back with our 12th Episode, covering the third book of the Icewind Dale Trilogy, The Halfling’s Gem by R.A. Salvatore. We share some...controversial...opinions on the text, but it’s an energetic discussion! If you want to share YOUR thoughts on Pool of Radiance, Halfling’s Gem, or (our next book) Wyvern’s Spur you can leave it here or send us a message at readingtherealms@gmail.com and we’ll happily read it out on our next Reader’s Circle episode.

As always, you can find the podcast on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, SoundCloud, and most podcast aggregator apps. Also, on Soundcloud we have the episodes sorted into playlists for the various series, which can be a fun way to listen to them!

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-12-the-halflings-gem

Hope you enjoy and happy reading!
Seravin Posted - 21 Feb 2019 : 08:59:10
Pool of Radiance is one of those novels that isn't particularly well written (and very "young adult") but somehow is fun to read anyway. I can never separate the novel from the joy I had as a young kid playing Pool of Radiance on the C128/C64 (that theme music!) and the classic Clyde Caldwell cover art; all of which means I get the feels when reading it and have heavy nostalgia glasses on. But objectively, the book has some faults.

I think you're right to point out how the book does break up into a series of mini-quests very nicely, the self contained trips to Sokal Keep or Denlor's Tower or the Cardona Textile house or wherever are as well done as any D&D book (and straight from the Ruins of Adventure module for the most part).

Glad you guys liked it so much. While there are 2 sequels, the plot from these books is not continued on sadly regarding Phlan and the pool and the villains from this book - I actually like the next books anyway because the new characters introduced are very fun to read about (3 of them in particular). But we won't hear from the 3 villains again in the series which is a bit of a wasted opportunity.

I disagree with you that the names in Pool of Radiance are confusing however - Ren, Tarl and Shal are short and distinctive enough and you sound quite idiotic complaining that you can't keep the names Tarl and Shal separate in your heads. The heroes introduced later in the series have distinct names though.

I never put much thought into Shal's ring of wish change from petite to muscular as being a metaphor for women's body image issues or the change women go through in puberty - I think the audience of this book was firmly 12-16 year old boys and maybe just plays on the "women are vain and weak"- but Shal magically becomes muscular like little boys dream of being and learns that this is a better thing than being small and thin - something boys will appreciate. That said, there were a lot of tough women in the book (Ren's love interest and her 2 brute friends at the bar, the half-orc female assassin who sounds kind of amazing to develop her own novel as she overcomes prejudice but is badass, Ren's former love interest Tempest who was built like Shal on roids, and of course Shal herself by the end of the novel is the strongest). In the next books there are females who are great in a feminine way so take heart!

Tarl to me was the best character, he seems to have doubts and flaws that Ren and Shal (at least after her initial few chapters) do not have - Tarl grows and arcs a bit more and truly fails in the beginning. I don't think Shal or Ren really fail. This makes Tarl more interesting. And he gets the girl!

Keep them coming guys!
Seravin Posted - 12 Feb 2019 : 22:16:38
Yay!! glad you're back! Will follow and listen tomorrow. Please read lots in 2019 :)
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 12 Feb 2019 : 20:47:33
Reading the Realms is back with our first episode of 2019! We discuss Pool of Radiance by James M Ward and Jane Cooper Hong. After a brief hiatus we’re happy to be back and talking about this fan-favorite Realms novel. We also touch briefly on the famous Gold Box game that inspired the book. You can find the podcast on SoundCloud, Apple iTunes Podcasts, and Google Play Podcasts. Or just click the link below:

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-11-pool-of-radiance

As always, if there’s any interesting info we missed or if you just want to write in with your opinion on PoR, The Halfling’s Gem (our next book), or The Wyvern’s Spur (the one after) shoot us an email at readingtherealms@gmail.com and we’d love to read it out on the show. We’re also on Twitter @ReadingFR.

Thanks for listening and happy reading!
Seravin Posted - 04 Sep 2018 : 13:42:51
I think that was the retconned explanation of why she didn't do it at the end of Waterdeep, that trilogy was so bad I had no desire to read the 2 follow up novels at ALL. But in Waterdeep, as originally read, Kelemvor dies in the battle and there is no mention of Midnight going to get him...she only goes back for Sneakabout.
Drizztsmanchild Posted - 04 Sep 2018 : 04:49:13
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Just listened to a few of the pods including the Avatar trilogy recap and James Lowder (who seems very nice especially given how you guys rightfully tore the series a new one over the editing/plots). It really was a disaster of a series, written by committee and with the plot and end out come shoe horned in by the edition change. I believe as editor, he should have spent more time talking to Ed about how Ed's characters and gods are motivated and should act. The residents of Shadowdale, in particular, from Storm to Mourngrym to the townsfolk all behaved like a lynch mob over innocent people who tried to save them?

Am I the only one who read Waterdeep (in the original trilogy days) and wondered why the hell Midnight went back for Sneakabout and didn't go back for Kelemvor? Didn't even mention how she had the power to go back and save his soul the same way? Eventually Kelemvor becomes the god of the dead about half a decade in the series later, but that ending when I read it as a teenager made me lol at how terribly it was written and ended.

Glad you guys keep references Azure Bonds as the gold standard for the Realms books (at the early onsent before Elfshadow which was almost as good in my books). Pity about the long hiatus but I am enjoying your pod!

Other minor comments - isn't it funny how we all have head pronounciations of the Realms worlds and when I hear people say some words "wrong" to me on your pod cast it drives me crazy even though your pronounciation is probably just as good as mine. The other is, I take for granted how much Realms knowledge I have and when you guys are podcasting and get the names confused of other lands or rulers/etc; I have to remember how long some of us at the Keep have been reading and studying the sourcebooks (decades) so someone new to the early novels and brought in after 4th edition wouldn't necessarily know so much about the OGB era.


I thought it was because she couldnt find Kelemvor's soul because he was hidden by Mask in Godsbane? I could be mistaken about the part you are referencing,its been a looong time since I read that trilogy.
Seravin Posted - 03 Sep 2018 : 09:52:04
Just listened to a few of the pods including the Avatar trilogy recap and James Lowder (who seems very nice especially given how you guys rightfully tore the series a new one over the editing/plots). It really was a disaster of a series, written by committee and with the plot and end out come shoe horned in by the edition change. I believe as editor, he should have spent more time talking to Ed about how Ed's characters and gods are motivated and should act. The residents of Shadowdale, in particular, from Storm to Mourngrym to the townsfolk all behaved like a lynch mob over innocent people who tried to save them?

Am I the only one who read Waterdeep (in the original trilogy days) and wondered why the hell Midnight went back for Sneakabout and didn't go back for Kelemvor? Didn't even mention how she had the power to go back and save his soul the same way? Eventually Kelemvor becomes the god of the dead about half a decade in the series later, but that ending when I read it as a teenager made me lol at how terribly it was written and ended.

Glad you guys keep references Azure Bonds as the gold standard for the Realms books (at the early onsent before Elfshadow which was almost as good in my books). Pity about the long hiatus but I am enjoying your pod!

Other minor comments - isn't it funny how we all have head pronounciations of the Realms worlds and when I hear people say some words "wrong" to me on your pod cast it drives me crazy even though your pronounciation is probably just as good as mine. The other is, I take for granted how much Realms knowledge I have and when you guys are podcasting and get the names confused of other lands or rulers/etc; I have to remember how long some of us at the Keep have been reading and studying the sourcebooks (decades) so someone new to the early novels and brought in after 4th edition wouldn't necessarily know so much about the OGB era.
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 31 Aug 2018 : 19:30:39
Reading the Realms presents our third Reader's Circle episode of listener responses and feedback for The Avatar Trilogy. This is a book club, so we love to hear our listeners thoughts and opinions on the books as well! This episode also includes a very special guest interview with James Lowder, who talks about his time at TSR and discusses the behind-the-scenes work that went into Shadowdale, Tantras, and Waterdeep. (As I'm sure everyone here already knows) Jim is the nicest guy and he was very generous with his time and stories. This was definitely our favorite episode to record so far.

You can find the podcast on Apple iTunes Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud. If you have any feedback, shoot us an email at readingtherealms@gmail.com. We're also on Twitter: @ReadingFR

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/readers-circle-3-feat-james-lowder

Thanks for listening and happy reading!
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 30 Jul 2018 : 18:26:50
Reading the Realms is back with our tenth episode! We round out the original Avatar Trilogy with a discussion of Waterdeep by Richard Awlinson (aka Troy Denning). We've had a lot of fun tackling the Time of Troubles over the course of this summer and now we want to hear from fans about all three novels: Shadowdale, Tantras, and Waterdeep. Please send your thoughts and opinions to readingtherealms@gmail.com and we will read them out on our next episode in August! In particular, we'd love to hear from folks who like/love this series.

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-10-waterdeep

As always, you can find the show on Apple iTunes Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud. You can reach us any time via email or on Twitter: @ReadingFR

Happy Reading!
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 29 Jun 2018 : 22:29:12
Episode 9 of Reading the Realms is here and we continue our summer read through of The Avatar Series with an in-depth discussion of Tantras by Richard Awlinson aka Scott Ciencin. Language warning for those with sensitive ears, the discussion gets pretty "lively" at certain points. If you want to send in your thoughts on Tantras or any of the first three Avatar books which cover the Time of Troubles, please email us at readingtherealms@gmail.com. We want to hear your thoughts and opinions and we'll read them out during our next Reader's Circle episode! We're also on Twitter: @ReadingFR

You can find Reading the Realms on iTunes Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud, or just click the link below.

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235/episode-9-tantras

Happy Reading!
ReadingTheRealms Posted - 10 May 2018 : 19:54:08
quote:
Originally posted by goblins

I enjoyed your Azure Bonds episode, thanks.



Thanks for listening, glad you liked it!
goblins Posted - 06 May 2018 : 16:54:11
I enjoyed your Azure Bonds episode, thanks.

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