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*
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 20

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2015 :  07:34:09  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
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.

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2015 :  08:08:09  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Last night I finished Darkwalker on Moonshae. I first read this book way back when I was 11 or 12. As my introduction to Forgotten Realms it holds a dear place in my heart. I read this, along with Dragons of Autumn Twilight, and the Lord of the Rings books, all around the same time period - and I've been hopelessly hooked on fantasy ever since.

I've read a ton of Douglas Niles works, mostly in Dragonlance, and I can say unreservedly that his original Moonshae Trilogy is his finest work. I'm happy to report it withstood the test of time, and that I still highly enjoyed my re-read, now that I'm nearing 40 (unlike when I re-watched the pilot episode of Voltron a few years back and was shocked at how something so awesome from my childhood could be so hideously bad now). I think Niles writes large-scale warfare as good as anyone, particularly when incorporating fantasy units and the effects they would have on a battlefield.

As an avid recycler/conservationist, the theme of Nature vs. those who would despoil it is a powerful one for me, and a major thrust of this story. I won't hesitate to admit that when I first read this in 1989, I was in tears, or damn close, as Kazgaroth poisoned the Moonwells and killed or maimed the Earthmother's beautiful children (killing the leviathan, corrupting the Pack towards evil, and grievously injuring Kammerynn the unicorn.)

I know some people don't share my enthusiasm for his book, and often point towards the lead character of Tristan as extremely unlikeable. But this is obviously done to show him as an immature brat, in order to give him plenty of room to grow and develop. He did come off rather whiny and petulant at times, but I see the rationale, so I don't make too big a deal of it.

If I do have a nitpick, it's with the useage of Firbolgs as the giant enemies of the Ffolk. Every other source I've ever seen depicts this subrace of giants to be noble, courageous creatures, if a bit shy and reclusive - *not* the depraved and misshapen creatures we find in this story. I think the sinister Verbeeg may have filled this role a bit better. Or, going with Kazgaroth's themes of corruption and mutability, perhaps the deformed and hideous Fomorians could've made for a better fit. I think Niles simply saw the Irish connection - being that Firbolgs are a pseudo-historical tribe that settled in Ireland, eventually warring with, and losing to, the Tuatha de Danaan - and used them to enhance the Celtic feel. However, Fomorians also have a Celtic background, so again they may have fit this role better.

That aside, this book was a very strong read, even so many years later. Tonight I started in on the sequel: Black Wizards

Edited by - VikingLegion on 24 May 2015 08:12:06
Go to Top of Page

George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4883 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2015 :  12:00:26  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's been acknowledged that Niles confused verbeeg and firbolgs and intended to use the former.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
Go to Top of Page

BenN
Learned Scribe

Japan
338 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2015 :  12:22:20  Show Profile Send BenN a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Darkwalker on Moonshae is one of my favourite Realms novels, and I agree that it does withstand the test of time.

AFAIK, it was the very first Realms novel; some characters in it seem to follow the stereotypical fantasy tropes, but that is perhaps looking at it with hindsight.

The Moonshaes remains one of my favourite areas of the Realms, and I hope it gets properly updated for 5e.
Go to Top of Page

Tanthalas
Senior Scribe

Portugal
483 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2015 :  13:42:03  Show Profile Send Tanthalas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've only read the original Moonshaes trilogy around 2 years ago. As far as the classics go, I can't say that it's among my favorites.

I will say this though, if the objective of Douglas Niles was to make a main character that people would hate, he did a terrific job. >_>;

Sir Markham pointed out, drinking another brandy. "A chap who can point at you and say 'die' has the distinct advantage".
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30201 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2015 :  14:49:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've not read the original Moonshae trilogy in years... I did not care for it. It was one of those things that as I read it, I was very eager to finish the trilogy -- just because I wanted to move on to something else.

I don't hate or even dislike the books... It's just that they were, for me, barely interesting enough to keep reading, and just did not grab me.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

Caladan Brood
Senior Scribe

Norway
410 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2015 :  21:54:15  Show Profile  Visit Caladan Brood's Homepage Send Caladan Brood a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Two thumbs up for thread, will be interesting.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2015 :  07:34:32  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Last night I finished book 2 of the Moonshae Trilogy: Black Wizards. I thought this book was a little bit weaker than the first. After losing Kazgaroth I think Niles struggled to find a compelling adversary, the sinister council of wizards just didn't have the same punch. Then again, having Bhaal get more involved with this region really upped the ante. Speaking of which, I liked the efforts the author made to "name drop" other aspects of the Realms - like mentioning mercenaries from Amn and Waterdeep, magical gemstones from far-off Thay, etc. I imagine this must've been an extremely exciting and heady experience for Niles, to be tasked with penning the very first Realms series, and I like how he took some shots here and there to incorporate elements of the wider world, without being so heavy-handed as to distract from the story in this little corner of the Realms.

My least favorite part was the culmination of the big final battle. Here we have Tristan, Robyn, Darryth, and the rest of the crew arrayed against this "Coalition of Evil" including duergar, sahuagin, undead, ogre/human mercenaries, evil wizards, etc. And then the whole thing is abruptly ended by an earthquake that swallows up some of the enemy force, and/or causes rushing water to sweep the rest of them away. Archmage Cyndre - the diabolical mastermind behind the scenes - dies by falling into a chasm. Really? No featherfall spell, guy? I was a bit tired as I finished it, so I'm still not completely clear as to whether the entire thing was a spell from Robyn or one last, great expenditure of the Earthmother to protect her last disciple. Robyn seemed as caught off guard as the rest when it started, so I'm inclined to believe the latter. However, it was mentioned she had already used the wind/fire/earth portion of her runestick, leaving only water remaining (which she admitted to not knowing how to use), and she did throw the item into the chasm - so maybe the earthquake/titanic flood was a combination effect of both the Earthmother and Robyn. Either way, I found this to be a bit of a cop-out ending, having the entire Army of Darkness swept away in a heartbeat felt rather unsatisfying.

Also I was a little unsure about Queen Allisynn, the undead woman who keeps rising up out of bodies of water to give Tristan advice and return the Sword of Cymrych Hugh to him. Is this a not-so-subtle Lady of the Lake being inserted to inject a bit of Arthurian folklore to this predominantly Gaelic tale? I thought the entire ~30 or so pages devoted to Tristan, Darryth, and Lord Pontswain nearly drowning, entering the aquatic castle, and eventually making their way to Alaron didn't add much and could've been skipped with an implied uneventful sea journey. Although I suppose "The Prophecy" would have to be introduced in some other way.

Even with these gripes this was still an enjoyable book, just not as good as the first or (if my memory serves me) the excellent rebound of the third. And on that note, tomorrow I will start in on the finale of this series: The Darkwell.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 29 May 2015 07:41:35
Go to Top of Page

Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
549 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2015 :  16:41:29  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Viking, interesting as we're much the same here. I first read the Moonshaes trilogy when I was probably 14 or so, then I read it again a few weeks ago. I share much of your same opinions. The first book was "safe" starting point for the Realms, full of fantasy tropes and cliches but it was still enjoyable. In the 2nd book, several things were inconsistent and/or annoying. IE Tristan loses his sword, and it breaks then all the sudden he has it and is using it to arrest his fall. The other points you made regarding the story line rear their head several times. It's as if he writes himself into a corner then has to do alot of hand waving to get through to the end. It really felt like the novels had no real planned out path. At times he's forced to figure out a way to end the story, then at other times it drags out for pages and pages with seemingly nothing going on in the story, and many of the plot devices are contrived with no foreshadowing, or really any way to fit them into the story. Feels like random events.

I found the writing to be extremely distracting, with poor sentence structure and run on sentences...and the always fun starting with "And" and "so". Very strange for someone of Mr Niles writing experience. I also have read all his Dragonlance novels but not for many years.

He just feels like a fish out of water to me. I can say without spoilers that it doesn't get any better. I'm interested on your take on the 3rd book.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 06 Jun 2015 :  16:15:33  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the thread Cards. I finished Darkwell last night, and unlike you, I thought it was a very strong read and a great cap to this trilogy. Sure, Niles has some technical issues from time to time, but I attribute this to the prolific amount of material he cranks out. Not even counting his Dragonlance material, in the first few years of the Realms line he cranked out at least two full trilogies (Moonshae and Maztica). He's sort of the Stephen King of D&D fantasy - he will have his detractors for sure, and not everything he writes will go over well, but man can he churn it out.

A few of my favorite parts of Darkwell:

The creation of Bhaal's Children - Thorax, Shantu, and The Flock were brilliantly done as a counter to the Earthmother's own progeny. I love how he took typical animals (owl, bear, eagle, stag, snake, panther) and corrupted them into hideous amalgams - Thorax the Owlbear, the Peryton Flock, and Shantu the Displacer Beast. I will freely admit here, before the eyes of gods and men, to shamelessly ripping this off many, many years ago in a tabletop game I was running. While the party was away on a mission I tormented the ranger with 6 nights of dreams, each of a different animal being killed unnaturally in his woodland home. Upon returning, the party had to face these hybrid creatures. They were fairly arrogant at first, thinking "Hey it's just an owlbear, we know what kind of Hit Dice, Armor Class, Attack Bonus, etc it has." However, I had applied a "Creature of Legend" template to all of them, granted them greatly increased stats as well as some unique special abilities.

The Death of Darryth - I didn't like Darryth as a character for just about all of books 1 and 2, and even much of book 3 as he stalked off from the camp in a tantrum. But during his "night of hell" encounter with Shantu, I began to admire his tenacity. Even after suffering a grievous wound he refused to give in. He kept on the move, using his environment to his advantage, and vowing to defeat this vastly superior opponent. Niles did an excellent job of building the tension throughout that long, horrifying night, and when it came down to their final showdown I actually fooled myself into believing Darryth had a chance (not in the re-read, I knew what was coming). But just as one starts to think there is a glimmer of hope, Shantu mercilessly rips it away. The death was so incredibly abrupt and shocking, I recall once having to re-read it several times to make sure it actually happened. I thought this scene was masterfully done.

The Death of the Earthmother - If Darryth's death was a jolt, the Earthmother's was the polar opposite. I don't know what's sadder- to have a protagonist ripped away in a heartbeat, or to watch one slowly but inexorably wither away over several hundred pages. Her demise began with the poisoning of her Moonwell and the death of the Leviathan, her first and most powerful child, way back in Darkwalker. Her passing had the feeling of inevitability to it, and yet still I kept hoping things would turn around for her. Robyn's comment late in the book struck a particular chord with me - "The Moonshaes are a mundane land now, like any other place in the Realms." I hate the thought of any magical, mystical, spiritual place being steamrolled by [Evil/Industry/Progress] and losing what makes it special. We see this theme a lot in fantasy - Elves retreating to the expansionism of Man, the Entwood torn down to fuel Saruman's foundries, even the Tree of Souls being knocked down in Avatar - I know it's just fiction, but it affects me profoundly.

On a negative note, I still think Allisynn's castle/boat is a bit goofy. Thinking about it navigating around the ocean makes me think of those silly cartoon clips inserted between sketches in Monty Python's Flying Circus.

But all in all I still very much enjoyed this trilogy, even some 25+ years after my initial reading of it. Tonight I think I will start in on Spellfire.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 06 Jun 2015 16:18:30
Go to Top of Page

Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
549 Posts

Posted - 06 Jun 2015 :  23:26:04  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Certainly happy you enjoyed it. For me anyway getting from an Owl and a Bear to an Owlbear.....is like..."duh?". No major feats of creativity there, in fact the mundane manner of the "Children of Bane" felt lame and cheesy. I mean you have an Owlbear, standard. A pertyton, which not seen alot is basically just a skeletal vulture, not exactly anything that strikes fear in my heart...and then a displacer beast. Nothing unique, nothing special....a displaser beast. Then these standard fodder were passed off as some kind of special creations.

Also a druid, even a corrupted druid NEVER would have ordered Grunt to go lay in the corrupted moonwell. That was a terrible scene, not necessary, and didn't propel the story at all.

Though to be fair, the Earthmothers children weren't "special" creatures, but the author DID make them feel mystical nonetheless. Unicorns ARE special, and mystical.

The night with Darryth was good, and he took his time building the tension. The author basically used the Darryth scene as a major cop out to resolve the Robyn/Tristan/Darryth love triangle. It was weak, and felt as if there were a page count and he had no way to resolve it otherwise after the final battle.

I felt like the final battle was a major buzz kill and the weird dynamic of the Robyn/Tristan relationship just got more awkward.

She shuns him then all the sudden she kisses him and all is forgiven. Nothing is hashed out, it just happens just like that. Seemed very fake and I feel like that the reader DESERVED something more from that just a quick kiss and all is forgiven, after being strung along with the awkward and poorly written tension for 2+ books.

Just after reading some of the other Realms authors, and then going back to this after 20 years, the writing style really stood out as terrible. I love Mr. Niles especially his Dragonlance work. While overall the story is enjoyable, it's predictable, reeks of poor story construction, "filler" material, and full of tropes.

Edited by - Cards77 on 04 Jul 2015 23:37:21
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 12 Jun 2015 :  20:50:26  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Spellfire last night. Wow, do I have some mixed feelings on this one. I wasn't very clear in my initial post, but I meant to mention that I was an avid Realms reader in the late 80s through mid 90s, and then completely dropped off the map. So, most of the early books in this project (probably the first year or two) will be re-reads. That being said, of the 60 or so FR books I have read, I've somehow, bizarrely, managed to have never read a Greenwood-authored novel.

He definitely brings a unique style and flavor to his writing. He tries to channel an older, more Tolkenesque approach - sometimes it works wonderfully, other times it falls short. I LOVE how he starts each chapter with a snippet/quote from various bards, sages, and other notables across the Realms. This adds a terrific feel of the scope of the world, and makes it a more living, breathing place. The dialogue between the Knights of Myth Drannor alternates between brilliant to cringe-worthy, particularly during the comedic attempts.

Speaking of the Knights.... I'm sure this has been discussed in the past, but what do you call it when an author doesn't insert just one Mary Sue character into a book, but rather an entire team of them? These guys basically wake up and kill multiple dracoliches before breakfast. Every one of them is nearly a god among men, and all are armed to the teeth with magical weaponry, armour, rings, wands, necklaces, etc. In fact, the entire power scale in this novel is ramped up to a height I've rarely seen in any fiction. It seems you can't swing a dead cat over your head without it hitting 3 or 4 archmages.

Ed clearly wrote this book with the intention of utilizing most of the biggest movers and shakers in the Realms, there were cameos from just about every "big name". It moved along at a dizzying pace, and would be almost incomprehensible to anyone without a solid background in Realms lore - from geography, to organizations, to key figures. It actually could've been well-served by slowing down and adding a good deal more exposition, but at 382 pages I just don't think there was any room, unless large chunks of the story were cut out or it was split into a 2-part story. I will say this though, there certainly were very few, if any, dull moments. This book was a whirlwind that took some getting used to. I probably don't have another Greenwood anytime soon in the queue, but I'm curious to see if this style persists through all his works.

On that note, my list currently looks like this:

1987 (1)
Darkwalker on Moonshae


1988 (4)
The Crystal Shard
Black Wizards
Spellfire

Azure Bonds

My choice now is to start either the Finder's Stone or Icewind Dale Trilogies. I'm leaning towards IWD, simply because it wraps up by 1990, whereas Finder's Stone carries into 1991. Then again, if I'm going to read IWD, I would skip ahead and first read the original Dark Elf Trilogy to get Drizzt's origin and journey to the surface. Oh boy, decisions, decisions.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 12 Jun 2015 20:51:47
Go to Top of Page

Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
549 Posts

Posted - 14 Jun 2015 :  03:25:16  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'll just chime in to say Spellfire is not one of Mr. Greenwood's best efforts. He has a tendency to weave too many story elements and jump around too much until the reader pretty much can't keep track of what's going on. His Elminster books are much better reads IMO.

Having read the IWD and Dark Elf Trilogy many times, I would start with the origin story. It's so good and IMO is better appreciated in the order the events occurred rather than real life chronological order.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 16 Jun 2015 :  18:32:54  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I did end up going with that plan, and I finished Homeland the night before last. If my praise for the Moonshae Trilogy was effusive, than prepare to hear me absolutely gush over this story, as it is one of the treasures of my early teen years. If Darkwalker was a comforting introduction to the Realms with it's many tropes, Homeland was a huge leap forward. Salvatore's wonderful descriptions of the Underdark in general, and specifically Menzoberranzan - with it's sharp angles and leering statuary, all limned in the soft pink, purple, and blue hues of faerie fire - was sheer magic to my 14 year old imagination.

I've rarely, if ever, been as heavily invested in characters as much as I was with Zaknafein and the young Drizzt. I literally cheered during the scene where they are intent on killing each other in Zak's gym, until Drizzt explains how he didn't actually kill the elven child during the surface raid, but instead knocked her down and used her mother's blood to aid in the deception.

Reminiscing about that made me think about what my other favorite moments are: the initial attack on House DeVir on the night of Drizzt's birth, the "Two-Hands" moment where Zak argues he should be trained as a fighter instead of a wizard, losing the first Grand Melee at the Academy due to treachery and then annihilating everyone in the subsequent years, his initial meeting with Belwar Dissengulp while out on patrol, Zak's heroic sacrifice for his son, and of course Drizzt's final conversation with Matron Malice before making his fateful decision to leave Menzoberranzan - there are so many A+ scenes in this book it's hard to rank them. All I know is that opening this book is like visiting an old friend. I doubt the smile left my face for the entire time I was re-reading it.

I had a slow overnight work shift last night, and am actually already halfway through the next in the series: Exile

Edited by - VikingLegion on 16 Jun 2015 18:35:49
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2015 :  17:21:27  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Last night I finished Exile. This book was a slight step down from Homeland, but that's not a knock on it, but simply a statement on how impossibly high the bar was set with book 1. Exile had some amazing moments of its own - I particularly enjoyed Drizzt's alter ego of "The Hunter" and his constant struggles to keep it in check - especially when re-enacting his fight with the basilisk among the svirfnebli of Blindengstone. As an ex-Dexter watcher, I couldn't help but fill in the term "Dark Passenger" whenever he referred to his more primal side.

His friendship with Belwar was touching and inspiring, and it was impossible not to feel for the poor, doomed pech Clacker. The Zin-carla twist for Zaknafein was really interesting as well. All in all, while not *quite* as strong as its predecessor, Exile was still an excellent book. Tonight I'll start in on the finale: Sojourn
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2015 :  18:49:14  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Sojourn a few nights ago, concluding this terrific series. Before I talk specifically of Sojourn, I'll say that one of my favorite parts of this series (and later Drizzt novels) are the journal entries that preface several of the chapters. I find them to be incredibly well written and thought provoking pieces.

While reading Sojourn I was twice powerfully reminded of other books. The first time was when Drizzt first emerged from his cave and was spying on the farm family. I couldn't help but liken him to the "Monster" of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. They both observe a family from afar, going about their everyday chores and tasks, rejoicing in their easy camaraderie. Both "creatures" long to introduce themselves, but are hesitant, knowing they will likely face rejection.

The second example was the meeting of Drizzt and Hephaestus, the red dragon. This had such a Bilbo/Smaug feel to it, especially when Salvatore descriped the dragon's vision as a "twin lamplight gaze sweeping across the room." I don't know if any of you have seen the old Hobbit cartoon from the 70s, but Smaug did exactly the same thing. We all know dragons have extremely powerful senses, but I've never seen anything in official D&D lore to suggest they actually project beams of light from their eyeballs while searching for treasure seekers in their lair, so I wonder if this was Salvatore doing an ode to Tolkein.

Lastly, I just have to mention all the material with Montolio was brilliant. I loved everything about their relationship, Drizzt's progression as a ranger, the defense of the grove, it was all incredible.
Go to Top of Page

Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
549 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2015 :  21:40:29  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
interesting bit about the dragon and Tolkein. I somehow missed that. You'll see several other things in the IWD trilogy that appear to be lifted nearly straight from Tolkein novels.

Montolio was one of my favorite characters most heartily agreed on that being brilliant. That portion also does a great job of describing exactly what a "ranger" is and does. Rightfully blurring the line somewhat between druids and rangers. You can't help but want to build a ranger after reading that story.
Go to Top of Page

Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2015 :  03:59:16  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good thread! I liked Darkwalker on Moonshae then hated the rest of the books in that trilogy. I thought it was terrible.

I thought Crown of Fire was a much better book than Spellfire, but maybe it's because I like Mirt a lot? And the showdown with Elminster and Manshoon is great fun to read (as always!).

I really want to hear your thoughts on Azure Bonds, I think the Finder's Stone trilogy is the best of Realms Fiction (at least, old school Realms where it was still magical). Jeff Grubb was a master of bringing Ed's Realms to life. Giogi Wyvernspur remains my favorite character.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 29 Jun 2015 :  15:41:44  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
After the Dark Elf trilogy I went right on into The Crystal Shard. What really stood out to me was the differences in Drizzt's personality - in this book he's much more rakish, daring, and well... *fun* than the Drizzt we read in his origin story and in later novels. Don't get me wrong, I love the Drizzt character, but even his biggest supporters can admit he sometimes gets a bit bogged down in his own morality. It's almost like RAS didn't quite have the character down yet, and had to go back to his roots to really figure him out.

There were some other glaring inconsistencies with Drizzt, particularly his age. He was stated as spending "several centuries in the Underdark", but after reading the Dark Elf trilogy I place him around 40-45 years old. In IWD he mentions several times that he is a "ranger of Gwaeron Windstrom." Maybe some learned sage can fill me in on who that is? He follows the goddess Mielikki, and his mentor was Montolio DeBrouchee, so I'm not sure who Gwaeron is, perhaps it's an initial mentor concept Salvatore had in mind but then changed it around as he was writing the origin trilogy.

Re-reading this book now, some 25+ years after my first read of it, I appreciate the supporting cast a bit more, particularly Wulfgar. I was surprised at how much I hated most of the Ten Towns characters, I really didn't care if Akar Kessell's army overran the lot of them - they were so petty, scheming, and vindictive.

**EDIT** Nevermind, I just did a search on Gwaeron Windstrom and found out he was a mortal ranger/tracker that was elevated by Mielikki to demigod status.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 29 Jun 2015 15:44:40
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30201 Posts

Posted - 29 Jun 2015 :  16:20:31  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

After the Dark Elf trilogy I went right on into The Crystal Shard. What really stood out to me was the differences in Drizzt's personality - in this book he's much more rakish, daring, and well... *fun* than the Drizzt we read in his origin story and in later novels. Don't get me wrong, I love the Drizzt character, but even his biggest supporters can admit he sometimes gets a bit bogged down in his own morality. It's almost like RAS didn't quite have the character down yet, and had to go back to his roots to really figure him out.

There were some other glaring inconsistencies with Drizzt, particularly his age. He was stated as spending "several centuries in the Underdark", but after reading the Dark Elf trilogy I place him around 40-45 years old. In IWD he mentions several times that he is a "ranger of Gwaeron Windstrom." Maybe some learned sage can fill me in on who that is? He follows the goddess Mielikki, and his mentor was Montolio DeBrouchee, so I'm not sure who Gwaeron is, perhaps it's an initial mentor concept Salvatore had in mind but then changed it around as he was writing the origin trilogy.

Re-reading this book now, some 25+ years after my first read of it, I appreciate the supporting cast a bit more, particularly Wulfgar. I was surprised at how much I hated most of the Ten Towns characters, I really didn't care if Akar Kessell's army overran the lot of them - they were so petty, scheming, and vindictive.

**EDIT** Nevermind, I just did a search on Gwaeron Windstrom and found out he was a mortal ranger/tracker that was elevated by Mielikki to demigod status.




His age was retconned from the earlier books; the original printing of The Crystal Shard had him being over 200, but later printings went with the revised age as put forth in the Dark Elf trilogy. I don't know exactly why this happened; BEAST is our local RAS expert and may be able to offer more info.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
799 Posts

Posted - 06 Jul 2015 :  15:17:01  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Loving this thread.

Can't wait for you to get to Elaine Cunningham's Elfshadow and Jeff Grubb/Kate Novak's Azure bonds.

Those to me are some of the quintessential realms novels in terms of feel and enjoyment
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 13 Jul 2015 :  15:31:02  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I recently finished both Streams of Silver *and* The Halfling's Gem but I just didn't have time to compose my thoughts and post here, as it was a crazy week at work. I'll start off with Streams:

This is a worthy follow-up to Crystal Shard. Another poster earlier in the thread warned of several LoTR comparisons, and yes I saw plenty. But rather than dock RAS points for "stealing", I would rather attribute it to Tolkein's work being so all-pervasive and table-setting to the modern fantasy genre that it is extremely difficult to do anything that doesn't harken back to it in some way.

On the down side I thought the entire trek through the Troll Moors was overdone. I realize Salvatore was trying to create this epic struggle with hordes of unrelenting enemies over a long period of time, but the punishment the group took on that ordeal should've dropped them.

The best part of this book was the introduction of Artemis Entreri. I forgot just how masterfully he was written to be Drizzt's foil. I love how in the span of just a minute or two of fighting, Drizzt and Artemis instantly form this sort of unholy bond - a mutual and simultaneous respect/loathing for each other.

There was a chapter earlier wherein Drizzt, Wulfgar, and Bruenor visit a place called the Herald's Holdfast. I've never come across it, that I can recall, in any other game supplement or anything other than in this novel. I liked this chapter but found it left me craving more. Who built this edifice? For what purpose, other than the obvious to store history and lore of the main races of Faerun? Is the current caretaker - Old Night - immortal and has always been in that role, or does the mantle pass along to a new "Old Night" each generation? My curiosity is piqued and I'll have to search the FR Wiki for more information on this intriguing location.
Go to Top of Page

dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3463 Posts

Posted - 13 Jul 2015 :  15:39:31  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Code of the Harpers sourcebook pages 73-81 has some more details on the Heralds and Heralds Holdfast and One Night, but i dont know if it will give you the answers you seek.

Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions Candlekeep Archive
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 1
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 2
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 3
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 4
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 5
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 6
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 7
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 8
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 9

Alternate Realms Site
Go to Top of Page

Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
549 Posts

Posted - 14 Jul 2015 :  03:16:45  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I recently finished both Streams of Silver *and* The Halfling's Gem but I just didn't have time to compose my thoughts and post here, as it was a crazy week at work. I'll start off with Streams:

This is a worthy follow-up to Crystal Shard. Another poster earlier in the thread warned of several LoTR comparisons, and yes I saw plenty. But rather than dock RAS points for "stealing", I would rather attribute it to Tolkein's work being so all-pervasive and table-setting to the modern fantasy genre that it is extremely difficult to do anything that doesn't harken back to it in some way.



Except when the entire scene of entering Mithral Hall is identical to the Fellowship of the Ring entering the Mines of Moria...and I think you get my point.

I'm all for authors taking creative license with whatever idea/concept etc. However, a blatant repeat of the same scene is hard to ignore.

The more RAS I read, the more I realize he borrows far too heavily, sometimes literally, not just conceptually.

Edited by - Cards77 on 14 Jul 2015 03:18:21
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 14 Jul 2015 :  20:34:20  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not disagreeing with you Cards77, the entrance into Mithril Hall was.... uncomfortably close. Well, at least they didn't get attacked by some tentacled horror as they were going in and have to leave their trusty pack mule behind, so there is that... but yeah, I see what you're saying.

Anyway, on to The Halfling's Gem. I enjoyed seeing Wulfgar get better and craftier at dealing with the wide world around him. I didn't think much of him as a teen first reading this series, but I appreciate him much more reading it as an adult.

The chapter in Tarterus where the companions fought a horde of Demodands seemed a bit reminiscent of the Troll Moors scene from the previous book.

I really liked Rassiter and his band of wererats. There was some terrific imagery of them running the sewers underneath Calimport.

I'm a bit unsure what to think of one particular scene; Cattie-brie has an extremely wounded and fleeing Entreri all lined up and ready to finish off with Taulmaril, but Drizzt stops her from taking the shot that would've assuredly put him down for good. For someone so principled and moral as Drizzt, this seemed incongruous with his character. Doesn't he realize that any blood Artemis spills from this point on is at least partially on his hands? Was it written this way to show that even someone as noble as Drizzt can still fall prey to personal pride and a need to prove himself? Or was it simply a matter of a villain that is too cool to eliminate this early, and thus RAS sort of forced the escape? If that's the case, why not have Cattie take the shot just as Entreri climbs out of the ladder and misses him by a fraction of a second. Why put that decision on Drizzt? It makes all his talk of taking the high road somewhat hypocritical, as settling his personal vendetta is more important than removing a monster like Artemis, a soulless killer, from the world? It just didn't sit well with me. Anyone else have a different interpretation of what went down there?

After finishing this story I went back to the last of the 1988 books - Azure Bonds - which I'm nearly finished with.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 14 Jul 2015 20:36:11
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30201 Posts

Posted - 14 Jul 2015 :  20:46:09  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Some would say that allowing a fleeing foe to live is taking the high road -- after all, if he's fleeing, he's not a threat to you. A fleeing foe is no longer a combatant, and killing non-combatants is frequently frowned upon by goodly folks. Additionally, allowing an enemy to live means they have a chance to repent and come back to the Light Side.

I'm not saying that it was or wasn't the right choice. I'm just saying it's easy to see the thinking that lead to that particular choice.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 20 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2017 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000