Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Products
 Forgotten Realms Novels
 Once More Unto the Breach!! *SPOILERS*

Note: You must be registered in order to post a reply.
To register, click here. Registration is FREE!

Screensize:
UserName:
Password:
Format Mode:
Format: BoldItalicizedUnderlineStrikethrough Align LeftCenteredAlign Right Horizontal Rule Insert HyperlinkInsert Email Insert CodeInsert QuoteInsert List
   
Message:

* HTML is OFF
* Forum Code is ON
Smilies
Smile [:)] Big Smile [:D] Cool [8D] Blush [:I]
Tongue [:P] Evil [):] Wink [;)] Clown [:o)]
Black Eye [B)] Eight Ball [8] Frown [:(] Shy [8)]
Shocked [:0] Angry [:(!] Dead [xx(] Sleepy [|)]
Kisses [:X] Approve [^] Disapprove [V] Question [?]
Rolling Eyes [8|] Confused [?!:] Help [?:] King [3|:]
Laughing [:OD] What [W] Oooohh [:H] Down [:E]

  Check here to include your profile signature.
Check here to subscribe to this topic.
    

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)
Wooly Rupert Posted - 24 Mar 2020 : 14:20:42
Sounds rather clumsy.
Mirtek Posted - 24 Mar 2020 : 11:02:05
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Re the Mordenkainen cameo in “Death Masks”: this appeared on account of WotC editorial directive.

— George Krashos



I wondered why he was in there.

...Now I wonder why they wanted him there. Was it just an odd tie-in to the book they slapped Mordy's name on?

It was a tie in the the Ravenloft Storyline, during which the players encounter a feebleminded Mordenkainen.

They basically had some sort of weak tie in to all current adventures while the novel line was still a thing.

That's why there was the otherwise out of place giant thing in Death Masks (I think it was death masks) to reming everyone that Storm King's Thunder is currenlty happening somewhere else in the Realms and some lines between the drow in the Drizzt novels about the dragons wanting to summong Tiamat to Toril to do the same for the two dragon related modules
VikingLegion Posted - 23 Mar 2020 : 13:02:22
quote:
Originally posted by Veylandemar

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

How come I can't see Viking's Reply? :(



It links to an edited post from 2017 for me, way back to his review of Elminster in Hell.
Shows that it was edited with a time stamp matching the latest post prior to your own when I was trying to find it last night. Clearly chronomancy is afoot!

-V



Yeah I decided I was going to read the entire 40 page thread before posting a summation reply. Some funny things happened on the earlier pages where sentences would just cut off in mid thought. I was wondering what was going on, so I hit "Edit" on the post, all the original text came back, so then I hit Save to complete it. Nothing has been altered, I think it was just a display issue. All the missing text comes back after Edit/Save, as though it just needed a refresh.

Currently on page 16/40 :)

*EDIT*
I'm now on 24/40 and I've seen the same thing happen a few more times. But again they were "fixed" in the same manner. Weird.
DenverJack Posted - 22 Mar 2020 : 18:31:37
VikingLegion-
I found this thread just a few days ago, and have enjoyed reading through your take on all of the books. Lots of good memories - thanks for sticking with it!
Veylandemar Posted - 21 Mar 2020 : 02:58:14
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

How come I can't see Viking's Reply? :(



It links to an edited post from 2017 for me, way back to his review of Elminster in Hell.
Shows that it was edited with a time stamp matching the latest post prior to your own when I was trying to find it last night. Clearly chronomancy is afoot!

-V
Seravin Posted - 20 Mar 2020 : 19:51:32
How come I can't see Viking's Reply? :(
Wooly Rupert Posted - 15 Mar 2020 : 15:20:13
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Wooly - I remember him hating the line "I don't think we're in the Realms anymore" when the group ends up in the prison plane at the end of Azure Bonds; it was too much of a riff on I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. I know there were donkey/ass jokes in The Wyvern's Spur. Song of Saurials didn't have much jokes (although Alias beating on her sister clone was to me, hilarious). Maybe it's just the tone of the books are too light and not dark/gritty enough for his tastes? Will let Viking answer, but I don't remember much specifics beyond the Wizard of Oz reference.

Grubb/Novak > all for me!





Yeah, the Oz thing did catch me -- though, at the same time, it was obvious that they were no longer in the Realms.

The donkey/little ass thing didn't strike me so much as an attempt at humor, but more of a way for the divine augury to be both very specific and quite vague.
Seravin Posted - 15 Mar 2020 : 14:56:26
Wooly - I remember him hating the line "I don't think we're in the Realms anymore" when the group ends up in the prison plane at the end of Azure Bonds; it was too much of a riff on I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. I know there were donkey/ass jokes in The Wyvern's Spur. Song of Saurials didn't have much jokes (although Alias beating on her sister clone was to me, hilarious). Maybe it's just the tone of the books are too light and not dark/gritty enough for his tastes? Will let Viking answer, but I don't remember much specifics beyond the Wizard of Oz reference.

Grubb/Novak > all for me!

Veylandemar Posted - 15 Mar 2020 : 14:44:47
[/quote]

May 24th, 2015 - just a couple months shy of the 5-year anniversary of this thread. It's been quite a voyage!
[/quote]

We could meet that anniversary if you felt inclined to snag the four or five eBook-only releases!

I'm not sure how they fared against their paperbound competitors or if they were adopted by the community - I'm a tactile reader myself and really prefer the physical feel, texture and sometimes even the smell of books, but then, I'm weird like that.

I believe the ebooks in question are (at least according to Wikipedia!):
Cold Steel and Secrets, a four part series by Rosemary Jones
Prince of Ravens by Richard Baker
Spider and Stone by Jaleigh Johnson

Also looking forward to reading your epilogue on the literary journey.
~V
Wooly Rupert Posted - 15 Mar 2020 : 14:27:07
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Viking - all this talk of devils/demons etc from Brimstone Angels, did you ever read Lord Toede by Jeff Grubb? Set in Dragonlance sort of, it is a crazy book that has a large connection to the Abyss and reads more like Planescape than Dragonlance.



Seravin, yes I did read that book. Before this FR project started 5 years ago I did a similar, complete read through of all (166?) Dragonlance novels. Unfortunately I can't remember one single detail of that particular book. Being a Jeff Grubb offering, I flushed it out of my head before closing the final page :P



I just don't get how anyone could dislike Grubb/Novak's books, they're so good for the genre of D&D novels! But it's all subjective and everyone has their own tastes. I know I get hung up on plot holes and contrivance way more than I should which keeps me from enjoying some popular books, so I can't judge you not liking the more popular authors either.

Looking forward to the summation.



It's 100% the terrible humor. Grubb has great ideas and is a terrific designer. It's the groan-worthy puns and super obvious, low-hanging-fruit, lame jokes that weigh his works down, they would otherwise be very good. I don't know how you guys can read them without being distracted constantly. I literally have to put the book down every few pages just to roll my eyes at the ceiling, sigh in frustration, shake my head, etc. I just can't stay immersed while he so flagrantly goofs off.



I'm re-reading the Finder's Stone books right now, partially because of this post... And I have to ask, what lame jokes? I'm up to Song of the Saurials now, and I'm not seeing the puns or jokes. There's a riff on Clyde Caldwell, but that's the only thing that I can immediately think of.
George Krashos Posted - 15 Mar 2020 : 06:29:27
Magnificent effort. And very insightful and useful. Kudos on your dedication.

-- Georg Krashos
Irennan Posted - 14 Mar 2020 : 15:54:56
I've been a lurker for the most part too, but I've thoroughly enjoyed your reviews and your well-articulated opinions. Thank you for this thread!
Demzer Posted - 13 Mar 2020 : 10:57:13
I've joined this thread late, mostly lurked and commented sparingly (and I think almost always to disagree on some interpretation - sorry! - or throw in some canon game-material information) but I enjoyed every line of your posts.

This thread helped keep the Realms novel line alive even for someone like me that only dipped into it (and I've followed or will follow some of your recommendations).

I bow to your dedication to the Realms (and to book-reading in general) for pulling this off.
Iahn Qoyllor Posted - 13 Mar 2020 : 09:25:55
Wow, mate, so sad to hear that this journey has essentially ended (Boundless aside), however I have looked forward to each and every one of your posts. It has been an absolute pleasure reading all your reviews and I have been so grateful for the time you've put in conveying your thoughts and feelings to us all here. Would be great to see summation if you get time!

I finished the Realms books a couple of years ago and have since dipped into Dragonlance, Ravenloft and Greyhawk as my next mission, however have stuck with the Dark Sun novels for now and am on number 7 out of 16. Nothing can replace the Realms though...
VikingLegion Posted - 12 Mar 2020 : 15:26:31
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

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.

*SNIP*



May 24th, 2015 - just a couple months shy of the 5-year anniversary of this thread. It's been quite a voyage!
VikingLegion Posted - 12 Mar 2020 : 15:18:57
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Re the Mordenkainen cameo in “Death Masks”: this appeared on account of WotC editorial directive.

— George Krashos



Yep, that tracks. I expected as much, but was hoping for something else.

I finished Timeless a few days ago. Bob's summation of the Underdark on page 19 gave me chills. I know a lot of people reading this will probably disagree. Maybe you have succumbed to "Drizzt oversaturation" like many have, myself included at times. Also there is always a subset in any fandom that rejects the most popular aspects just for the sake of being counter-culture. There's no doubt that after churning out some 30+ of these novels, RAS has become a victim of his own success and something of a critical whipping boy on this site for being a WoTC cash-cow. I get all that. But reading these few pages took me back to the magic and wonder I experienced in my teens reading Homeland for the very first time. A lot of you wax nostalgiac about the Alias books by Grubb/Novak for that old-fashioned Realmsian goodness it fills you with - for me it was the first 6 RAS novels (the Crystal Shard trilogy and the Dark Elf trilogy) that transformed the Forgotten Realms from a pretty cool medieval fantasy setting with some potential to something that really stood out from the pack that I could fall in love with. Anyway, that little 3 page intro leading into chapter 1 was like a time machine for me - erasing the years and transporting me to a time before we all got so cynical and weary of drow and the rule-of-cool taking over fantasy.

Briza's heritage, I loved it. I always wondered why she was so physically different from the other Do-Urdens, but I never made a connection to her and Uthegentel. Very early in this book I did start to connect those dots, but wasn't sure if the timelines worked out and if Uthegentle was old enough to be her sire. But it turned out to be true and I had to wonder if this was something RAS had plotted out over 30 years ago, or if he just came up with it for this novel?

I have mixed feelings about Zak's return. Too much of the last few books have been about resurrecting the past, and some dead things should remain so. On the other hand the sparring session with Drizzt was another one of those time capsule moments that gave me pure joy. I really disliked the fleshing out of Zak's friendship with Jarlaxle though - it really undermines the character of Zak as an utterly frustrated and hopeless soul that we got from the Dark Elf books. There he was portrayed as a prisoner of Menzoberranzan, no friends, no solace, nothing to break the everlasting siege of his existence aside from the savage joy he took in slaying Lolthite priestesses. Now that we see he palled around with Jarlaxle, left the city to visit Ched Nassad on a swashbuckling adventure, and even flirted with joining Bregan D'Arthe full time really seems at odds with what I knew about him.

Speaking of BD, a little while back I postulated on female members, and here we see Jeyrelle Fey, a non-Lolth priestess, as Irennan pointed out on the previous page. Yep, she showed up for a paragraph or three and then just poofed into thin air.

On page 278 there was a funny bit of political humor if you look closely at a certain spell incantation, but I won't share it here in case it offends anyone. If this were a Grubb novel I would be lambasting him for goofing off and sneaking real world stuff into an FR book, so it turns out I'm a bit of a hypocrite for chuckling at this inclusion. My bad, I guess :)

I think Jarlaxle and his toys are getting a bit overboard. I get that being ultra-prepared is his schtick, as well as being a hoarder of every magical doodad he can get his hands on, but at this point he's coming off as a cartoony Inspector Gadget. It's just a bit much.

Once again I loved the sort of Monk path Drizzt is starting down, but I'm not so sure about how quickly he is advancing. I get the physical aspect - he is an amazingly gifted natural athlete, so he will take to that quickly. Also he's been a warrior all his life so there is going to be lots of carryover between the martial disciplines. I'm fine with all that, if he wants to start incorporating circle kicks into his attack routines, or he surprisingly throws Zaknafein into an arm-bar during their match, that's great and I have no problem with it. But for him to be able to coax the marilith poison out of his calf after being stung simply by being so in tune with his body seemed like a discipline it would take years of aesthetic life and study to master, not the weeks or months he spent at the Yellow Rose Monastery. I'm too lazy to get out my PHB and look up at which level a PC monk gains poison immunity, but it is certainly no novice feat!

Ok, well that's all for now. There is another Drizzt book, Boundless, but I don't own it yet. I'm waiting for the paperback which I think comes out in April, simply because my bookcases are so filled at this point it's coming down to available space! And now we are so current that I think the purpose of this thread has pretty much been fulfilled - it was initially made for more of a nostalgia bit, as we relive the Realms throughout the ages. Anything I could add now would probably belong better in threads specifically for that book. So, I guess that's it? Feels like a very bittersweet ending. If I have some time this weekend I'll try to post that summation, but anyone else can feel free to do the same.

It's not really relevant here, but in case anyone is wondering I still have a smattering of D&D books to read from other settings. I have 5 or 6 Birthright novels, a whole bunch of Greyhawk/Mystara stuff I need to organize, and currently I've started the 6-part Cloakmaster series which starts off in the Dragonlance setting but is all about Spelljammer.
Irennan Posted - 09 Mar 2020 : 14:53:54
Yeah; Mord had also been in Ravenloft for their Ravenloft module; they wanted to a tie-in to both books. Same as the giant fortress cameo and the tie-in to SKT.
George Krashos Posted - 09 Mar 2020 : 13:43:41
I suspect so.

— George Krashos
Wooly Rupert Posted - 09 Mar 2020 : 03:04:31
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Re the Mordenkainen cameo in “Death Masks”: this appeared on account of WotC editorial directive.

— George Krashos



I wondered why he was in there.

...Now I wonder why they wanted him there. Was it just an odd tie-in to the book they slapped Mordy's name on?
George Krashos Posted - 09 Mar 2020 : 00:38:40
Re the Mordenkainen cameo in “Death Masks”: this appeared on account of WotC editorial directive.

— George Krashos
Renin Posted - 08 Mar 2020 : 18:43:12
Perhaps due to what I perceive are Ed's greatest strengths (spinning yarns, small stories and quick tales) I actually like all the memories of Elminster's from '-in Hell.':D The larger meta-plot made little difference to me, but that was a book where I really enjoyed seeing how crafty, cunning, and a bit of how much of bastard Elminster could be. So, THAT one I liked! lol

I cannot enjoy any bit of the Shandril Saga. There is nothing there for me. But, imperfect as it was as a collaboration, I did like City of Waterdeep with Elaine Cunningham. That said....I'm just like everyone else; immensely saddened and disappointed that the Realms novels are no more. Now, I just buy up whatever bit Ed is involved with on DMsguild, and follow his Twitter account to see whatever lore he dispenses there.

Seravin Posted - 08 Mar 2020 : 17:53:23
Hah Renin - I don't think anyone will disagree with you that Ed's writing style is not for everyone (nor anyone here would disagree he's one of the best world builders the planet Earth has ever seen! Honestly up there with Tolkien and Mr Martin).

I enjoy a few books of Ed's that I actually do read over and over; but by and large it's not my cup of tea either. I kind of enjoy his short stories, because they're contained and usually not too full of deus ex machina or plot holes. Elminster in Hell was basically a collection of short stories wrapped in a larger novel, and I like it. I actually enjoy Crown of Fire weirdly (though have too many issues with Spellfire and Hand of Fire to enjoy them, so go figure).

I tried to read the Elminster Enraged series, and just couldn't get into the new era + Ed's writing style. So Death Masks will never be a book I read, I suspect.
Renin Posted - 08 Mar 2020 : 17:32:55
Ugh. This book.

I read 'Hero' before Death Masks. Honestly a coin flip for which made me feel worst as the *last* ever Realms novel. I've unfortunately stopped liking most of Mr. Greenwood's novels a while ago (but would sit on the floor by his knee in front of a fireplace to hear him spin yarns of heroes and places of lore from times past forever. there's a difference there).

I know from the Mages & Sages that it's always brought up that the 'almighty editors' hatchet job his books...well then..rewrite it. I know I say that simply enough here at my computer, but, hey...if the company just chucks out chapters and doesn't do anything to fix the incongruencies, or if the writer doesn't adapt enough...then it's nonsense.

And this is nonsense, to me.
Irennan Posted - 08 Mar 2020 : 16:41:49
Oh, the commentray wasn't addressed specifically to you. I saw many people claiming that this development would be impossible, so I put that there preemptively.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 08 Mar 2020 : 16:28:16
I don't dislike the development, I was just looking for more info.

I'm not sure that I'd run with it, but then again, I'm unlikely to run anything in that era, so it's kinda moot.

Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2020 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000