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
Previous Page | Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 21

TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1458 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2016 :  14:56:59  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I also had a bit of a problem with Sir Gareth, and fallen paladins in general. How does his fall from grace go undiscovered for so many years when he's active in his order? Ok, so maybe it would be considered "rude" for a fellow paladin to use his aura sight on a companion, especially one who has held a position of high esteem for so many years,
[...]
And as for Gareth himself, how delusional does he have to be to not realize he's given himself over to an evil cause?

It's "Detect", not Aura Sight. Except for Dragonbait who came from a very different tradition (which also does not involve special mounts, for one).
Other than that, yes - one have to take an active effort to detect. Gareth worked at their base, and the level of self-righteousness (measured as the average depth to which individual paladins' heads are submerged in their own arses) is directly proportional to factorial of the number of paladins from the same order present at a given location minus one. I believe Danilo Thann mentioned this law once.
quote:
Originally posted by Mirtek

Has been years since I read this novel, but wasn't he shielded by Cyric? I am pretty sure that Cyric has replaced Tyr as his patron and was actively shielding him

Aye, and IIRC it repeatedly said that Cyric greatly enjoys the irony in this sort of delusions and likes to string such people along.

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

But no one tried to stop him, and the elves were completely unaware until the dragon spotted the ships that ANYTHING was happening. An army being mobilized and built up with a huge navy like that would NOT BE A SECRET from anyone;

quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I agree it stretches credibility, but on the other hand, never underestimate the power of racial "superiority" complex.

Yeah. It would be much harder if the Elves didn't habitually replace competence with arrogance.
And we know it's used to be this bad and worse when they had reasons for overconfidence - see Battle of the Gods' Theater. And most elves on Evermeet seem to have reverted to this state, because out of sight - out of mind.

quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I would venture that not a single of those gold elf seditionists would describe themselves as evil. They almost undoubtedly believe they are going to restore order to Evermeet and bring about a "golden age" (pardon the pun) by putting those most capable (gold elves) in their rightful position of rulership. I'm certain they view themselves as heroic liberators, not evil invaders.

Aye. Already answered here about Kymil, and the outsiders, obviously, started with his spin on what's going on.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
Go to Top of Page

Sunderstone
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2016 :  03:30:57  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone



I liked the novel very much but I had a few gripes. Piergeiron's characterization seemed off. In every other book he appears, he seems far less calculating and for more ready to see the good in an individual, than the bad. Much as he did with Mrelder in City of Splendors. He seemed to easily swayed by Sir Gareth's proclamations on Bronwyn, Danillo Thann, and Alice Tinker.


Keep in mind that Gareth was able to live among paladins without them realizing he'd turned to evil. When a trusted paladin speaks with another paladin, of course the former's word will carry more weight with the latter.



I guess I didn't look at it from that angle. In FR1, Waterdeep and the North, Ed paints such a poignant picture of Piergeiron as being so able in his administration and so just to be completely beyond reproach.

I kind of feel that characterization from his parts in City of Splendors which is chronologically later than Thornhold. In Thornhold he just doesn't feel like the paragon that Mirt, Khelban, Laeral and so many others protect such as in Who's Killing the Lords of Waterdeep from Elminster in Hell.

I would be interested to know which parts of City of Splendors were written by Ed or Elaine.

Don't get me wrong, I love Elaine's writing. In fact, I don't know many characters who have so leaped off the page for me in anything I've read more than Danillo, Arilyn and Elaith. I guess Ed just writes Piergeiron better.

Edited by - Sunderstone on 02 Oct 2016 04:08:38
Go to Top of Page

Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2016 :  01:07:20  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I didn't really enjoy that Gareth was able to live among paladins and NONE of them realized he had fallen for decades or however long it was. It just struck me as nonsense that none of them would ever realize he no longer had any paladin abilities nor could they detect his evil acts and betrayal. I didn't enjoy Thornhold nearly as much as I did the Song and Swords books, probably for the same reason I didn't enjoy Evermeet...I had a problem with a contrivance and couldn't see past it to enjoy the great story being told around it.
To me, a paladin who has fallen would incur a huge wrath from his fellow paladins and his God; and would not be able to hide among them...the God would give signs to make his followers aware of the evil in their midst, even if it would show that he could no longer do any of the things other paladins can do--lay of hands, detect evil, cure disease, cast priest spells, etc.
Go to Top of Page

Sunderstone
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2016 :  03:59:17  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

I didn't really enjoy that Gareth was able to live among paladins and NONE of them realized he had fallen for decades or however long it was. It just struck me as nonsense that none of them would ever realize he no longer had any paladin abilities nor could they detect his evil acts and betrayal. I didn't enjoy Thornhold nearly as much as I did the Song and Swords books, probably for the same reason I didn't enjoy Evermeet...I had a problem with a contrivance and couldn't see past it to enjoy the great story being told around it.
To me, a paladin who has fallen would incur a huge wrath from his fellow paladins and his God; and would not be able to hide among them...the God would give signs to make his followers aware of the evil in their midst, even if it would show that he could no longer do any of the things other paladins can do--lay of hands, detect evil, cure disease, cast priest spells, etc.



Even though he had the Veil of Cyric feat in game mechanics he wasn't sufficient in level to have prevented his detection from higher level paladins. Piergeiron, Hronulf, the high priest in the Halls of Justice and other heads of his Order likely could have detected his nature with their aura sight if so inclined. Algorind's hero worship was obvious, Hronulf still considered him his best friend, and he likely was perceived similar by his fellow knights. He was hiding in plain sight because people saw what they expected to see.

Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30212 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2016 :  10:07:18  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

I didn't really enjoy that Gareth was able to live among paladins and NONE of them realized he had fallen for decades or however long it was. It just struck me as nonsense that none of them would ever realize he no longer had any paladin abilities nor could they detect his evil acts and betrayal. I didn't enjoy Thornhold nearly as much as I did the Song and Swords books, probably for the same reason I didn't enjoy Evermeet...I had a problem with a contrivance and couldn't see past it to enjoy the great story being told around it.
To me, a paladin who has fallen would incur a huge wrath from his fellow paladins and his God; and would not be able to hide among them...the God would give signs to make his followers aware of the evil in their midst, even if it would show that he could no longer do any of the things other paladins can do--lay of hands, detect evil, cure disease, cast priest spells, etc.



Even though he had the Veil of Cyric feat in game mechanics he wasn't sufficient in level to have prevented his detection from higher level paladins. Piergeiron, Hronulf, the high priest in the Halls of Justice and other heads of his Order likely could have detected his nature with their aura sight if so inclined. Algorind's hero worship was obvious, Hronulf still considered him his best friend, and he likely was perceived similar by his fellow knights. He was hiding in plain sight because people saw what they expected to see.





Exactly. They knew he was a paladin, he acted paladin-ish, and lived among paladins. They had no reason to think he was evil and thus no reason to look.

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

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
272 Posts

Posted - 04 Oct 2016 :  15:44:15  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, that Gareth thing spurred on a pretty good conversation. I was just throwing it out there, not realizing it would be such a talking point. Feel free to keep discussing, but in the meantime I finished The Shadow Stone a few days ago.

I really enjoyed this book. Baker's descriptions of the Weave, shadow magic, and the general underlying mechanics of arcane casting were superb. The characters were interesting and well developed. There was a brief moment, when Aeron first went to the magical university, that I got a bit of an uncomfortable Harry Potter vibe. I've never read any of those books (I think I saw the first movie) but I know enough about them to draw some parallels. Anyway, that quickly passed and I was back to enjoying the story. As a result of reading this book I'd like to delve into Chessenta a bit more. About the only thing I didn't like was the scope of the Shadow Stone's influence. It was implied (but never outright stated) that the stone's corruption of the Weave might not be localized to the region, but might reach all across Faerun or even all of Toril. If that were happening, there's no way Elminster, Blackstaff, The Simbul, even Manshoon and others wouldn't have gotten involved and the story would've been taken away from the local kid. Not every evil plot has to be world-spanning/shattering, sometimes the best and most interesting ones are on a smaller scale. But again, it was never outright stated that the magical malaise had spread beyond the region, just implied - so maybe I'm grasping here.

Really good book overall though. I believe it's the first I've read from this author, and I'm very much looking forward to more in the future. I see from his wiki page he also wrote the Last Mythal trilogy. I'm excited to read that, although it will be quite some time before I get to it.

I've since started in on The Silent Blade and expect to finish it tonight.
Go to Top of Page

Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 04 Oct 2016 :  22:45:01  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

I didn't really enjoy that Gareth was able to live among paladins and NONE of them realized he had fallen for decades or however long it was. It just struck me as nonsense that none of them would ever realize he no longer had any paladin abilities nor could they detect his evil acts and betrayal. I didn't enjoy Thornhold nearly as much as I did the Song and Swords books, probably for the same reason I didn't enjoy Evermeet...I had a problem with a contrivance and couldn't see past it to enjoy the great story being told around it.
To me, a paladin who has fallen would incur a huge wrath from his fellow paladins and his God; and would not be able to hide among them...the God would give signs to make his followers aware of the evil in their midst, even if it would show that he could no longer do any of the things other paladins can do--lay of hands, detect evil, cure disease, cast priest spells, etc.



Even though he had the Veil of Cyric feat in game mechanics he wasn't sufficient in level to have prevented his detection from higher level paladins. Piergeiron, Hronulf, the high priest in the Halls of Justice and other heads of his Order likely could have detected his nature with their aura sight if so inclined. Algorind's hero worship was obvious, Hronulf still considered him his best friend, and he likely was perceived similar by his fellow knights. He was hiding in plain sight because people saw what they expected to see.





Exactly. They knew he was a paladin, he acted paladin-ish, and lived among paladins. They had no reason to think he was evil and thus no reason to look.



I guess to me, a fallen paladin is a big deal and not just something that happens silently and without fallout. Especially for a paladin TRYING TO FOOL EVERYONE AROUND HIM THAT HE'S STILL HOLY WHILE LIVING IN A HOLY TEMPLE.

Sorry for the caps but you get my point. Why would the god not get pissed and tip off his followers for the betrayal? I don't get why gods in one book are ALL up in your face talking to people directly, giving visions out like candy, etc and in others like this just don't do anything at all when their most loyal followers are being duped by Cyric!

This is a huge blasphemy to any lawful god to pretend to be a paladin and live in a holy place among paladins. I would think it would warrant at least a minor tip to the leader of that order "pssst hey go look at Sir Gareth he's not what he seems" in a dream or something? No? Just me?

I get it if a paladin suffered something horrible and moved off to become a hermit (didn't Priam Agrivar become a drunk and go off in anonymity in the comics or what not) but a fallen paladin in my logic is not someone who can just hide out among fellow paladins like nothing happened.

Paladins exude virtue and holiness and goodness and detect evil and can't be around evil without getting a headache at least in other novels like Holly in the Grubb novels...so it's stupid to me that someone would be able to hide it in plain sight. I don't buy it. Others are fine with it. I hold good writers up to higher standards than most, and Elaine is among the best there is.

Edited by - Seravin on 04 Oct 2016 22:53:41
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30212 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2016 :  03:15:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How many cases, in published Realmslore, do we have of deities making it publicly known that a particular person no longer serves them? We've got a lot more cases of false priests operating within temples than we do of deificly-denounced fallen priests or paladins.

We also have the case of a god of lies being involved, here. And again, not the first time that a god has shielded a mortal from the attention of another god.

Also, we have canon heresies in the Realms -- proving that even for their priests, sometimes the gods just sit back and let the mortals sort it all out.

You could also make the argument that aside from letting people think he was a paladin, Gareth really didn't do anything evil while around real paladins.

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

Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14027 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2016 :  08:38:31  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the one hand, it could just be chalked up to, "The gods work in mysterious ways" (and you could substitute 'gods' with 'MacGuffins' in novels).

But I'd rather look a little deeper. If I were a god, I'd want competent followers, especially ones like Paladins. Being the jerk I am, I would sit back and see how long it took that pack of idiots to figure out one of them wasn't what he seemed.

And I've seen this type of behavior in the business world, where someone in charge is aware of a problem, but ignores it to see if anyone else is going to do something about it. Thats how you find out who the good workers really are.

In other words, if your paladins aren't smart enough to do random evil-sweeps every so often on their environment, maybe its time to 'clean house'.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

Go to Top of Page

Sunderstone
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2016 :  08:38:32  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

How many cases, in published Realmslore, do we have of deities making it publicly known that a particular person no longer serves them? We've got a lot more cases of false priests operating within temples than we do of deificly-denounced fallen priests or paladins.

We also have the case of a god of lies being involved, here. And again, not the first time that a god has shielded a mortal from the attention of another god.

Also, we have canon heresies in the Realms -- proving that even for their priests, sometimes the gods just sit back and let the mortals sort it all out.

You could also make the argument that aside from letting people think he was a paladin, Gareth really didn't do anything evil while around real paladins.




Another point if I remember the Veil of Cyric feat, the person may now be evil but they think they are still serving their god. In fact, I think for that feat to work you can't worship an evil god, even though you have become evil yourself.

Gareth believed he was still serving Tyr.

Edited by - Sunderstone on 05 Oct 2016 08:39:24
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
272 Posts

Posted - 07 Oct 2016 :  19:12:05  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm with Seravin 100% on this one. I simply don't buy that Tyr would refrain from making it known that Gareth fell as a test to see if his followers can ferret out the traitor. Think of a faith as a corporation, where the god is the CEO and the high priests are his upper management. If I'm the big cheese in charge of a billion dollar company and I know one of my high ranking employees is a rat, I'm just going to sit back and see who can figure it out? In the meantime this corrupt employee is siphoning money, selling trade secrets to our rivals, mismanaging funds, etc. No chance.

I get that Cyric has Lies in his portfolio, and I'm fine with this Veil of Cyric being powerful enough to fool mortals, but it simply could not work with a god and here's why: Tyr is the one who "fell" Gareth. Ok, I'm sure that's not a verb, but godsdammit, I'm using it anyway. Tyr is the one who determines an underling's conviction is not pure enough and cuts off contact in the form of communion, spells granted, prayers answered, etc. If Cyric acted first and placed this veil over Gareth, sensing he might be a good candidate for corruption, Tyr isn't going to notice? If the veil simply acts as a blocker for true intent, and Tyr was indeed fooled by it, then he and Gareth would still be communing freely and Tyr would be granting him his divine powers. So it has to be one or the other - either Cyric's veil is so powerful it can fool gods, and Gareth and Tyr would still be BFFs with all the attendant clerical benefits, or Gareth is truly fallen and there's simply no way Tyr isn't aware of this. Again, I don't buy that he would sit on his hands and let Gareth corrupt his church.

As far as the "gods move in mysterious ways" angle - no, in the Realms they really don't. They're actually quite accessible, even predictable in their dedication to advancing their specific portfolios/spheres of interest. And if one buys into some author's works, they aren't really all that high and mighty, but really quite buffoonish - tripping over housecats and so on.

Anyway, I've since finished The Silent Blade. In the last RAS review (Passage to Dawn) I mentioned it was probably my least enjoyed installment of the Drizzt and Friends tales. This one got me firmly back on the bandwagon. He did an excellent job of really taking some of the characters apart and showing us what makes them tick - particularly Wulfgar and Artemis. It's funny, in my teen years I would've ranked this among the more boring books in the series, but at 40 I found it to be one of the most engaging and introspective.

Without going into any detail, 2016 has been the crappiest year of my life and there isn't a remotely close 2nd place. I say that not to garner sympathy, just as a context for my point. Reading about Artemis and Wulfgar's life crises was very powerful and resonating. Especially Wulfgar, who pushes those who are trying to help him the most away out of feelings of shame, anger, embarrassment, etc. This book did an amazing job getting into his head and showing the process of him dealing with his pain. There were several times I just put the book down and thought things over for a bit. Ok, so maybe I didn't get my chest caved in by a yochlol and dragged to the Abyss to be tortured by a demon lord for several years, but still I think anyone who's gone through a rough patch can identify with Wulfgar's journey. This was a very strong book overall.

I've since started in on Troy Denning's Faces of Deception.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 07 Oct 2016 19:14:41
Go to Top of Page

Sunderstone
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 07 Oct 2016 :  20:46:52  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think you have to account for the fact that Gareth actually thought he was still finding favor from Tyr and any abilities were a manifestation of his continued oaths. He was unaware that Cyric was now his benefactor instead of Tyr. He was so caught up in his own self deceit and self denial he fully believed he was acting in full support of his god and oaths. It seemed to me from the book he was repulsed by Malchior and Dag and would have been equally repulsed by the notion he served Cyric.

Any behavior he may have been engaged in that was duplicitous he rationalized as necessary and Cyric was leading him to believe it was condoned by Tyr. Through the relationship with Cyric he had become adroit at presenting a false image and self-rationalized and probably never overthought it because he believed he was serving the interests of Tyr.

In that capacity and because of his once esteemed reputation he was able to act in ways that presented the image that others expected to see.

My only gripe was not in that he was able to do this, because it seemed consistent with his actions and the way in which he had fallen to be able to present this facade. It was how other wiser Paladins accepted his advice or counsel.

Piergeiron may have believed Gareth to be earnest in presenting an opinion on Bronwyn, Danillo, and Alice but in other stories he has been shown as a much more thoughtful and considerate in his view of individuals. I believe he would have accepted Gareth's counsel for what it was but still would have reserved his own judgements and equally or more highly weighed Khelban's. After all he had a many decade relationship protecting Waterdeep and sharing in her guardianship with Khelban.

Edited by - Sunderstone on 07 Oct 2016 20:48:52
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
272 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2016 :  16:43:49  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished a couple books since my last visit to this site, I'll start with Faces of Deception. While reading this story I remember thinking at times I was going to blast it in my review, while other times thinking I would give a generally favorable review - so I guess the reading experience was very up-and-down - every point I make will have a corresponding counterpoint.

On the downside: the setting of The Utter East. Yuck. In my chronological (mostly) by publish date reading order, I've had quite a bit of recent exposure to this region - from the mostly bad Double Diamond saga, to a short story in one of the recent anthologies, and now this book, I feel like they really made a strong push to develop this area. I'm not sure what the decision makers were feeling in late 1998, maybe it was determined that Faerun and other areas of Toril were already a bit oversaturated at the time? I really don't dig the Utter East, the lore, the regions, the whole bloodforge angle, none of it does much for me. On the other hand, this specific region of the Utter East felt nothing like the rest of it, in fact the story could've just as easily been set in the Hordelands/Tabot and made as much sense.

The first 150 pages read like a car chase scene. Only the "cars" (yaks) were limited to about 10mph. Oh and the "scenery" was a bleak, featureless bog with nothing remotely interesting. No trucks filled with produce or those huge refillable water cooler jugs. No guys carrying a huge pane of glass across the street. No explosions - just an incredibly dull "chase" that persisted for half of the book.

As for characters - I applaud Denning for going with a very unusual protagonist. He's hideously ugly, and more than a bit rough around the edges due to his upbringing among ogrekind. His fighting style was fun to read too, brutal, almost wrestler-like moves (head butts, body-slams, etc.) made for rough-n-tumble fight scenes as opposed to the deadly precise swordsmen we see so frequently. His bodyguard, Yago, was also a lot of fun. Rishi was.... well a bit of a caricature of the stereotypical sneaky, conniving foreigner.. Throw me the idol, I throw you the whip... but he was also entertaining at times.

However, Seema, the pacifist monk, I simply couldn't stand. Her stance that murder is a taint on the soul is fair enough. But when she goes out of her way to save the devil Tarch, going so far as to warn him when her companions tumbled boulders down the mountain to crash into him, was just absurd. I get it, she wants a clear conscience - but when I said Tarch is a devil I mean just that - an actual baatezu. Evil incarnate. Not just evil, but Evil made flesh. Allowing this slaver to live is going to bring untold misery down on how many more families? He may live 500, 1000+ years. His specialty is abducting beautiful young girls, often requiring the slaughter of their parents in the process, and then bringing said girls to the Nine Hells to sell off to the highest bidding devil princes and lords, who will then use the girls in whatever fashion they choose. Seema is apparently ok with this, as long as her personal honor isn't dirtied. I would argue that standing pat, doing nothing while Evil flourishes, is the greater sin. And it's not like anyone was asking Seema to fight Tarch, simply to stop aiding him when the heroes had him down for the count. But... Seema is a healer by nature, so she has to keep assisting Tarch, even though he is monstrous and irredeemable and causes nothing but pain and suffering. Seems selfish to me, but at least Seema will sleep better knowing she hasn't betrayed her code, so good for her.

This book had a shockingly abrupt ending. I guess there was only one way it could end, so good job by Denning to not pull any punches and have some Deus-Ex-Machina swoop in at the last second to deliver the happy Disney ending. On the other hand, no real progress was made anywhere. I generally favor bleak and grim, but in this case it made me think "What was the point?"

So there it is - a very up and down experience. Some good stuff, some bad. They all just sort of canceled each other out and made for an average story that I wouldn't necessarily recommend, nor would I condemn.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 24 Oct 2016 16:53:25
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
272 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2016 :  17:26:35  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm guessing not a lot of folks have read Faces of Deception and it won't engender a lot of (if any) conversation, so I'll just skip ahead to the other book I finished last week: The Temptation of Elminster. The last Greenwood book I did a write up for, I mentioned I have enjoyed his last several offerings and thought I'd turned a corner with him. This book felt like a backwards step, as I didn't much care for it.

The best parts of it were some of the lore on the fall of Myth Drannor, but even those were teasingly sparse.

The rest read as less a coherent novel and more a series of vignettes to illustrate just how awesome Elminster is - outwitting everyone, saving all the oppressed, toppling every tyrant, and mandatorily sleeping with every pretty young maiden in Faerun. Even with out of practice swordsmanship he is still easily able to take out multiple heavily armed guardsmen.

So... Dasumia was Mystra all along and was merely testing El? I think that's what happened, though to be honest I was in skim mode at that point and not carefully reading everything. They sure do have an odd relationship. She likes to throw strange tests at him - like telling him to try to get by with as little magic as possible. I get it, not being over-reliant on a spell to get him by when conventional means would work will make him stronger in the end. But then 10 pages later he's involved in a gigantic spell-duel with this stag-headed beast where every high-level spell in the PHB is launched back and forth. I still don't know what that thing was, how it got there, why it attacked Elminster, etc.

There was also a strange "magic-vampire" like creature that had Elminster on the ropes. Ilbryn Starym, who wants nothing in all the world more than Elminster's demise, comes across the scene and does what? Saves Elminster by plunging a blade into the creature from behind. Of course the argument is he wants the satisfaction of ending El's life with his own hands, but man was that an epic backfire on his part.

The priests of Shar read more like Loviatar worshippers to me. All their rituals seemed to involve whips and chains and flagellation (both self inflicted and on others). Admittedly, I don't know a whole lot about Shar's clergy, but this depiction seemed a bit off. Then again, this is the creator of the Realms, so I guess his word is the final say.

This book wasn't without some good moments, they were just a bit too few and far between for me, so overall it was a miss. Up next is Rising Tide which I've gotten quite a ways through and should finish in the next night or two.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 24 Oct 2016 17:29:13
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
272 Posts

Posted - 03 Nov 2016 :  21:04:48  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Rising Tide several nights ago and enjoyed it quite a bit. The story was solid, the characters were very interesting and well developed. I was particularly fond of Jherek. He has this kind of easy, humble likeability to him, he's skilled but not arrogant, principled but not righteous or holier-than-thou. If any of you have read the Odd Thomas novels, Jherek reminds me quite a bit of him.

There's a really epic battle on the docks of Waterdeep, an old bard with a destiny unfolding in front of him, and some solid intrigue brewing in the underwater sahuagin kingdom to look forward to in the next book. About the only misstep for me was the author naming one of the ship commanders Captain Tynnel (ugghh, say it ain't so!) Other than that bit of silliness, it was an extremely well done story and I hope it continues in the rest of the trilogy. I thought about skipping ahead to continue this story, but instead stuck to my publishing date reading order and am now reading The Star of Cursrah.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
272 Posts

Posted - 06 Nov 2016 :  16:11:52  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Finished Star of Cursrah last night. I was a little wary going into this one, after the disappointing Netheril Trilogy. The author continues his bizarre oddities - strange verb usage, an infatuation with butts, and the strange rhyme schemes that pop up in nearly every chapter, just a few examples of which:

- the gold coins chinged and pinged
- pebbles clittered and sandals skittered
- the companions sneezed and wheezed
- the friends were tattered and battered

Those are just the ones I retained. He does this every ten pages or so, to the point of distraction.

On the plus side, the story itself was way better than the Netheril plotline, so despite the author's peculiarities, I did enjoy the book overall. The book was actually two different tales, set ~7,000 years apart, with sets of characters that are counterparts of each other, the latter ones being reincarnated versions of the former. It jumped back and forth each chapter, so you get to follow the progress of both groups throughout. I'm not saying it's a totally original concept or anything, but it worked really well for this story.

There's a funny Indiana Jones parallel to be drawn from this book, but I'll only elaborate on that if this post sparks any conversation. I'm guessing not many people read this book, so I'm mainly talking to myself.

Up next is Monte Cook's The Glass Prison.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 06 Nov 2016 16:15:05
Go to Top of Page

MaskedOne
Seeker

42 Posts

Posted - 08 Nov 2016 :  16:16:46  Show Profile Send MaskedOne a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Wow, that Gareth thing spurred on a pretty good conversation. I was just throwing it out there, not realizing it would be such a talking point. Feel free to keep discussing, but in the meantime I finished The Shadow Stone a few days ago.

I really enjoyed this book. Baker's descriptions of the Weave, shadow magic, and the general underlying mechanics of arcane casting were superb. The characters were interesting and well developed. There was a brief moment, when Aeron first went to the magical university, that I got a bit of an uncomfortable Harry Potter vibe. I've never read any of those books (I think I saw the first movie) but I know enough about them to draw some parallels. Anyway, that quickly passed and I was back to enjoying the story. As a result of reading this book I'd like to delve into Chessenta a bit more. About the only thing I didn't like was the scope of the Shadow Stone's influence. It was implied (but never outright stated) that the stone's corruption of the Weave might not be localized to the region, but might reach all across Faerun or even all of Toril. If that were happening, there's no way Elminster, Blackstaff, The Simbul, even Manshoon and others wouldn't have gotten involved and the story would've been taken away from the local kid. Not every evil plot has to be world-spanning/shattering, sometimes the best and most interesting ones are on a smaller scale. But again, it was never outright stated that the magical malaise had spread beyond the region, just implied - so maybe I'm grasping here.

Really good book overall though. I believe it's the first I've read from this author, and I'm very much looking forward to more in the future. I see from his wiki page he also wrote the Last Mythal trilogy. I'm excited to read that, although it will be quite some time before I get to it.

I've since started in on The Silent Blade and expect to finish it tonight.



The major players may have had difficulty figuring out what was happening and how in a timely fashion even if the effect had reached them. Shadow Stone was the first introduction of that type of magic and Madryoch had been around long enough to potentially be good at hiding his work. I'm sure Mystra knew but if she already had a counter in play with Aeran (he made a good tool for the divination master whose name escapes me, Mystra may have come to the same conclusion as that professor) then she may not have deployed any of her larger weapons. This is especially possible given that while El could probably flatten Madryoch any day of the week and twice on Sunday, none of the Chosen had exposure to Shadow Magic so all of them would be at a disadvatage dealing with the stone.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
272 Posts

Posted - 13 Nov 2016 :  22:45:03  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished The Glass Prison a couple nights ago. It was an ok story, not particularly good or bad. I think Cook was really trying to make the next superstar/franchise/Drizzt character. Vheod's struggle to gain acceptance with a world that fears and distrusts him is one that has worked very successfully before. Vheod has all the prerequisite Rule of Cool boxes checked - dark origin (tanar'ri bloodline), spiked armour, odd coloration, a sentient tattoo, lethal swordsmanship *and* spellcasting ability, etc. But for whatever reason, it just didn't all come together. The plot of the demonic grandfather maneuvering all the pieces around to free himself was pretty good. The supporting characters were fairly bland and unmemorable. It all summed up to an average read, entertaining enough while it lasted, but not one that will leave a long impression.

I've since started in on The Dream Spheres. I could tell by page 4 I was going to like this one. Not to denigrate the other authors in TSR/WotC's stable, but Elaine's writing just seems to be on a different plane.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 13 Nov 2016 22:45:50
Go to Top of Page

Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
799 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2016 :  13:23:00  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished The Glass Prison a couple nights ago. It was an ok story, not particularly good or bad. I think Cook was really trying to make the next superstar/franchise/Drizzt character. Vheod's struggle to gain acceptance with a world that fears and distrusts him is one that has worked very successfully before. Vheod has all the prerequisite Rule of Cool boxes checked - dark origin (tanar'ri bloodline), spiked armour, odd coloration, a sentient tattoo, lethal swordsmanship *and* spellcasting ability, etc. But for whatever reason, it just didn't all come together. The plot of the demonic grandfather maneuvering all the pieces around to free himself was pretty good. The supporting characters were fairly bland and unmemorable. It all summed up to an average read, entertaining enough while it lasted, but not one that will leave a long impression.

I've since started in on The Dream Spheres. I could tell by page 4 I was going to like this one. Not to denigrate the other authors in TSR/WotC's stable, but Elaine's writing just seems to be on a different plane.



Have you read Evermeet: Island of the elves yet?

I need to skip back and read this whole thread :)

yes, Dream Spheres is a goodie and sadly, the last book in the series she put out, although she gave us some teaser chapters of "The serpents daughter". For reasons we know, reclamation was cancelled and for reasons we do not know, the Serpents daughter was cancelled.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
272 Posts

Posted - 19 Nov 2016 :  07:25:48  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm


Have you read Evermeet: Island of the elves yet?

I need to skip back and read this whole thread :)

yes, Dream Spheres is a goodie and sadly, the last book in the series she put out, although she gave us some teaser chapters of "The serpents daughter". For reasons we know, reclamation was cancelled and for reasons we do not know, the Serpents daughter was cancelled.



Yes! I read Evermeet just a little while ago. It sparked some very good conversation, starting on page 10 of this scroll. Elaine herself joined the fray to discuss a few items, so it's been one of the more engaging portions thus far.

That said, I've finished two more books, the first of which was The Dream Spheres. I liked this book a lot, but didn't love it as much as I thought I was going to. The plot meandered just a bit for me - The Marakuru....Kobiyashi Maru... whatever crystal thing seemed to come out of nowhere - though that could very well be chalked up to distracted reading - as I tend to do the bulk of my reading while at work. Also, I try to adhere to a breakneck pace of 1 book every 5 days or so. Someday, when this vast project is completed, I can see myself going back and cherry-picking certain books for a more careful re-read. Elaine's works, in order, would certainly make that list.

Her dialogue is just so masterful at times. Danillo and Arilyn's quips back and forth are just wonderful. I really like how Elaine has built up this formidable stable of characters over several books, and now has them intersecting. She's really carved out a nice little corner of the Realms to call her own. And speaking of characters, she does an amazing job of breathing life and believability into even the most minor roles. Peg, the barmaid friend of Lilly, had about 10 seconds of relative screen time, but I still really felt for her when her friend was murdered. How does Mrs. Cunningham do that?

The Thann family has a lot more dirt and intrigue to them than I thought. Dan had some serious growing up to do in this book. I liked the anti-elf racism of the Waterdeep nobility. We always see elves as the haughty, superior types, so it was interesting to see the table turned, with humans looking down on the "pointy-eared scum". I'm not condoning xenophobia or anything :) Just thought it was an interesting take.

I liked Bronwyn's... well it was a little too big a part to call a cameo, but not really big enough to call a co-starring role. I was worried that her and Craulnober were going to have some kind of cheesy and meaningless one-night-stand, I was glad to see that didn't happen. In a related note, I just found out tonight that Elaith is a Greenwood creation. I figured it a slam dunk that Elaine created him, as their names are so similar. You learn something new every day I guess.

Ok, I'm just rambling now. Good book. Not her greatest, but still head and shoulders above the typical fare.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 19 Nov 2016 07:44:31
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
272 Posts

Posted - 19 Nov 2016 :  07:43:49  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mirtek

quote:
Originally posted by Iahn Qoyllor

I'm trying to read all the Forgotten Realms books still - now read 253. Unfortunately Seravin, in my view Once Around The Realms is the worst by quite a way...

Guess you haven't read the novelization of the baldurs gate games yet ;)



Well... Baldur's Gate is the other book I finished this week. I have no idea what I just read. There were words like Gorion, Sarevok, and Jaheira that gave me a flash of nostalgiac pleasure, as I recalled the excellent video game of the late 90s. But that was the only joy to be found in this book. Abdel was neither interesting nor sympathetic. Introducing a character named Xan just pages after losing one named Xzar was annoying. The dialogue was abysmal, Jaheira would spend entire combat scenes just standing there, shouting "Abdel!" every 10 lines or so, and doing nothing else. Sarevok, the big bad, diabolical, ultra-powerful fighter/mage, was dispatched with almost comical ease. Very little about this book made any sense.

The farting half-orc, about midway through, made me check out completely. I pretty much just skim-read from that point on.

This book still wasn't even half as awful as Once Around the Realms. So, it's got that going for it.
Go to Top of Page

KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
742 Posts

Posted - 19 Nov 2016 :  09:17:08  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just thought I'd pitch in here and say I really enjoy reading your reviews. I look forward to the next one and I'm sure a lot of others on here do too - so don't ever think you're just talking to yourself!

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North
Go to Top of Page

Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 21 Nov 2016 :  01:33:52  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh god, I haven't read Baldur's Gate in forever. I remember it was horrible though. I guess I should. There's a half=orc that does THAT in the book? Okay I don't know if I could get through it either.

For Dreamspheres, I should have probably liked it the most of all the books, as it takes Danilo and Arilyn as a mature couple and has them adventuring together after we've grown to know them separately in Elfsong and Silver Shadows...and YET...I don't know why, I just feel fatigued reading it relative to Elfshadow and Elfsong. It's maybe too dense or has too many subplots or characters or something; but I just don't take to it the way I did with her other books. I think I agree with your review...good book, way ahead of most, but not my fave :) That would be Elfshadow.
Go to Top of Page

Iahn Qoyllor
Seeker

United Kingdom
39 Posts

Posted - 21 Nov 2016 :  09:39:35  Show Profile Send Iahn Qoyllor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I must say too VikingLegion that I too very much look forward to your posts.

I'm still aiming to read all 291 (I think) Forgotten Realms novels and I've just finished my 270th. I've just started reading the Sapphire Crescent which is the first of the Scions of Arrabar trilogy and enjoying it so far.

Also, must agree completely that out of the 270 FR novels I've read so far, Once Around The Realms is the worst by a country mile.
Go to Top of Page

ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2269 Posts

Posted - 21 Nov 2016 :  13:45:40  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Peg, the barmaid friend of Lilly, had about 10 seconds of relative screen time, but I still really felt for her when her friend was murdered. How does Mrs. Cunningham do that?




I'm going to assume (always a dangerous practice...) that this is NOT a rhetorical question, and try to give at least a partial answer.

Everyone has a story. Whenever a character walks onstage, they bring the totality of their experience, personality, and character. What they do or say during that short time doesn't tell their whole story. It might not even be a representative slice of that person's life. They might be a good person having a bad day, or a selfish person in a rare moment of altruism. I think writers need to have a sense of this tip-of-the-iceburg complexity when dealing with any character. I'm not claiming that every incidental character should have a complete backstory and detailed character sheet, but you do need to take the time to envision them as real people.

Visualization is extremely important. It's easy to throw adjectives on a page, but you need to take time to SEE the character. How do they move, and what small actions do they automatically do? This tells you something about their habits, and people are, by and large, the sum of their habits.

You also have to be able to HEAR them. What do they notice and comment upon? That tells you a lot about their values and personalities.How do they express themselves? That tells you a great deal about their personal history, outlook, personality, character, and class/education/occupation.

In short, you can do a lot in a few words if you spend a great deal of time thinking about fictitious people--even the people readers might see for only a few seconds.
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 21 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page | 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