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  Topic Next Topic
Page: of 19

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
258 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2017 :  19:07:02  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good responses, all. I think my reading experience of this series is mirroring pretty much exactly what you all are saying.

Last night I finished book 4: Extinction. It was a noticeable drop-off in quality - both in a general sense of overall writing as well as some specifics:

Quenthel turned into a complete buffoon overnight. Now, she's always been a bit of a blunt force instrument, but she wasn't a total lackwit. In this book she flails about (both physically and mentally) and needs to be bailed out a few times by telepathic conversation with her whip snakes.

Ryld and Halistra's conversion was a tough assignment, so I'll cut the author some slack here. Yes, the seeds were planted in earlier books, so it's not coming completely out of left field, but to transform them from typical drow into beings capable of empathy, caring, even love, all in one book, was a Herculean task. It's a little more believable for Ryld, as he was something of an atypical drow to begin with - he at least had some notions of honor and friendship (recall how stung he was when Pharaun left him to die), so his evolution I can get on board with. But for Halistra, to go from your standard Lolthite - utterly malicious and self-serving - to where she is at the end of this book, well... I wanted to believe, but I just couldn't buy what she was selling.

Lastly, I strongly disliked the depiction of the Eilistraee cult Halistra joined. I will be the first to admit I don't know a ton about the faith, but my general impression is they are supposed to be redeemers and all about rejoicing, dancing, a celebration of a drow returning to their elven/fey roots, etc.. This crew came off as expansionistic, xenophobic, militaristic, and not at all likeable. There were several lines like "We will take back our lands with sword and spell", hunting down and slaughtering any who oppose them. Also they have very much maintained the Lolthite tradition of gender discrimination - it was pointed out that Ryld, a lowly male, could've been stricken deaf, dumb, or even killed outright for spying on their moonlight dance ceremony. I guess you can take the drow out of the Underdark, but you can't take the Underdark out of the drow. I have to think this was a particularly angry sect or branch of the Eilistraee faith, as I've seen them portrayed much more free-spirited, joyful, and less mean in other products.

I did enjoy the recovery of the Crescent Blade much more than I thought I would, though. What I figured was a throwaway side-quest to fill some pages ended up being one of the more engaging points of the book. Also, I was intrigued by the Chaos Ship. About 20 years ago I DM'd a campaign wherein the players got a hold of one of these things quite by surprise. What I thought was going to be a diversion for a session or two ended up transforming into a kind of sky-pirate arc that lasted quite some time. It was utterly ridiculous, of course, and complete fan-service to my players, but they had a great time with it, and that's what matters in the end.



Ok, now on to book 5: Annihilation, which I sadly suspect will be the nadir of the series.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 23 Jun 2017 19:12:23
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2672 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2017 :  19:18:58  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Lastly, I strongly disliked the depiction of the Eilistraee cult Halistra joined. I will be the first to admit I don't know a ton about the faith, but my general impression is they are supposed to be redeemers and all about rejoicing, dancing, a celebration of a drow returning to their elven/fey roots, etc.. This crew came off as expansionistic, xenophobic, militaristic, and not at all likeable. There were several lines like "We will take back our lands with sword and spell", hunting down and slaughtering any who oppose them. Also they have very much maintained the Lolthite tradition of gender discrimination - it was pointed out that Ryld, a lowly male, could've been stricken deaf, dumb, or even killed outright for spying on their moonlight dance ceremony. I guess you can take the drow out of the Underdark, but you can't take the Underdark out of the drow. I have to think this was a particularly angry sect or branch of the Eilistraee faith, as I've seen them portrayed much more free-spirited, joyful, and less mean in other products.




They are, except in Smedman's portayal of the Eilistraeeans. She gets that and a lot of other traits of the faith completely wrong, she ignores and warps their lore and concept of redemption (examples without spoilers: that ritual you talk about doesn't exist, she just pulled it out of thin air--I mean, the males do join the rituals themselves. The werewolves they hunt down, kill on sight, and consider abominations? The fun part is that in Demihuman Deities it is said that the Eilistraeeans in that *very* region, Velarswood, regularly join the non evil Werewolves in sacred celebrations in honor of both Eilistraee and Selune. Talk about disrespecting a shared world...). She does that with other lore and faiths as well. It's almost like she couldn't be bothered to research the topics and made it everything up according to her vision.

Eilistraee's about teaching the drow the joy of life that they have forgotten, helping them flourish and prosper in a hostile world, about being a(n actual, unlike Lolth) mother to them, to the *whole* race. She is supposed to be positive, to spark enthusiasm and passion for all that wonderful there's in the world. She has always been about helping them forge their own path in life, and about acceptance of everyone for what they are (it's like one of her main beliefs).

When you'll get to read Lady Penitent, prepare to hate the hell out of them, because Smedman will portray *all* the Eilistraeeans like that (they literally have trap for males. Like, what the actual f***). Which is to me a really sad thing to say, since I *love* Eilistraee. Don't get me wrong, it's reasonable that they're jumpy, that they don't trust, and so on--they have grown under constant threat, they are still scarred, etc, but they're still about celebrating life and making it flourish. However Smedman's Eilistraeeans are reskinned Lolthites, their misandrism is really up there. It goes to the point that I have to think that it was intentionally aimed to make them not likeable, especially given their pretense to be good despite their BS.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 23 Jun 2017 20:12:33
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2672 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2017 :  20:11:44  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
But then, the whole WotSQ series completely missed the mark on Eilistaree.

During the silence, according to her character, her priority would have been to help the drow in cities which struggled due to Lolth's absence, send them food, aid, protection, show them what a united people can do and the strength that they can muster (example: cities like Maerimydra--dw, there aren't any spoilers here)--her followers do have presence in drow cities in her lore exactly because helping the drow in need in this way is one of their main goals.

Eilistraee herself is known to be at the side of the drow in their darkest moments, to let them know that they're not alone in a world that sees them as monster, and what it is to be loved (Elaine's scene when Eilistraee dances with Liriel as a protecting shadowy dark elf captures this far better than all of the WotSQ books combined IMO). She proves them that is much more value in their existence than Lolth's favor and status, by showing them all that they're missing on and that they naturally need. This is the only way the change that she wants for the drow may happen, and it is one of the main traits of her modus operandi in the lore: there needs to be understading, the choice needs to come from the drow first, Eilistraee can only open their hearts and help them in this.

Instead, both WotSQ and LP made Eilistraee *all/mostly* about killing Lolth, rather than doing all she can to help the drow in need (at this point you'll already know that, because of the Crescent Blade). I'm not saying that Eilistraee wouldn't get rid of Lolth, but that wouldn't be her #1 goal, nor her preferred way of action, precisely because--as I said--this choice needs to come from the drow. Killing Lolth isn't going to magically change the drow into her followers. If Lolth died, most drow would look for demonic patrons, rather than becoming good, the added bloodbath due to the factions struggling for power would only be a further blow to this goddess.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 23 Jun 2017 20:17:32
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30019 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2017 :  20:36:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm glad to see others who disliked the WotSQ books. They are very well-liked, in our halls, and I've often felt like I was the only one who thought the books were eminently unsatisfying, at best.

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

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2672 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2017 :  20:56:44  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I'm glad to see others who disliked the WotSQ books. They are very well-liked, in our halls, and I've often felt like I was the only one who thought the books were eminently unsatisfying, at best.



I truly have never understood what was so awesome about those books to make them "one of the best FR series ever written, if not the best", according to so many people. I usually judge a book from the feeling it leaves me with after I finish it (I know, it's a very biased way of judging a book). This series left me with absolutely nothing (except disappointment about the waste of a good plot hook, and about the sh**** portrayal of my fav. characters).

Idk, was it all the "intrigue"? Meh, it wasn't even that particular IMO, esepcially given that Lolth's plan was utter nonsense :/

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
258 Posts

Posted - 27 Jun 2017 :  23:35:14  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

They are, except in Smedman's portayal of the Eilistraeeans. She gets that and a lot of other traits of the faith completely wrong... *snip*


Thanks for all that info Irennan. I suspected something was way off with her version of Eilistraee's faith and am glad to get such well-thought out confirmation.

I finished Annihilation last night. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. Most of the things I would've disliked - the depiction of the Eilistraeens, several of the players acting so drastically out of character - were all things that got started in the previous book, so I think Athans was just following what was laid out before him. Ryld, however, took a strong downward turn. I always thought of him as a very atypical drow - with an almost Zaknafein stoicism in the face of his monstrous kin; a man with at least a fledgling sense of honor that can't be fully developed due to having nobody with similar values around him, but there nonetheless at his core. Someone who kills out of defense and practicality, not for sadistic pleasure. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying he feels bad about cutting down an opponent, but I didn't feel like he expressed the same kind of mad glee that most drow take in the act. Unfortunately, in this installment, he seemed to have lost that utterly and acted like every other dark elf. I wasn't sad to see him go, which is a shame, because he was my favorite character from books 1-3.

The dialogue was typical Athans style, with characters standing around and simply repeating each others names over and over:

"Pharaun!!"
"Quenthel?"
"Pharaun...."
"Jeggred!"
"Quenthel?"

That, and a few other odd stylistic choices made this book a bit painful at times, but much better than the Baldur's Gate stories. I have mixed feelings about Gromph's showdown with Dyrr/Nimor. On one hand, I thought it was super cool that Gromph had Nauzhor (sp?) and Prath telepathically linked to him and could benefit from them analyzing the battlefield, which spells his opponent(s) had in place and/or were about to cast. It was like having a supercomputer brain that could run multiple simulations and utilize the best options - Deep Blue vs. Kasparov. On the other hand, I just couldn't buy Gromph coming out of this fight at all. Even though he technically lost after getting petrified, I don't think he would've lasted that long against Dyrr alone, let alone Dyrr being aided by the Annointed Blade of the Jaezred Chaulssin. I think he would've gotten smoked in 30 seconds, even with his backup team providing him intel.

I had a few other points I wanted to make on this book, but they are eluding me at the moment....

Oh, one of them is in the acknowledgments in the very beginning. Athans thanks Elaine Cunningham for: "helping us with a particular continuity problem." Elaine has graced this very thread on a few occasions, I'd be thrilled if she could swoop in and shed some light on this, I'm always very curious about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into projects of this nature, so here's to hoping she can/will illuminate us a bit :)

Up next, as you might guess, is book 6: Resurrection

Edited by - VikingLegion on 01 Jul 2017 04:50:17
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2672 Posts

Posted - 27 Jun 2017 :  23:57:46  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

[quote]Originally posted by Irennan

I wasn't sad to see him go, which is a shame, because he was my favorite character from books 1-3.




I felt exactly the same. However, I was sad to see him go, becaue 1)it was cheap 2)in my mind, he still was the Ryld from the previous books, not this weird version. Between this change, and the warped portrayal of the Eilistraeeans starting since book 4, I honestly have a strong feeling that all of this was due to WotC planning to take the drow in "all of them are wicked evil, even the supposedly "good" one, or the less evil ones. No exception but Drizzt and the PCs." back then. An asnwer that I received from Perkins about 3 years ago kinda confirmed that it was indeed the goal (alongside a set of other changes that were in the works for the transition to 4e), although WotC's attitude towards the drow has taken a face-heel turn as of 5e.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 28 Jun 2017 00:00:30
Go to Top of Page

Veylandemar
Acolyte

7 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  16:58:34  Show Profile Send Veylandemar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion
Oh, one of them is in the acknowledgments in the very beginning. Athans thanks Elaine Cunningham for: "helping us with a particular continuity problem." Elaine has graced this very thread on a few occasions, I'd be thrilled if she could swoop in and shed some light on this, I'm always very curious about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into projects of this nature, so here's to hoping she can/will illuminate us a bit :)




I had the same thought when I saw that acknowledgement - I'd love to see Elaine fill us in on the inner-workings of the WotSQ series if she's so permitted.

I suspect that it might have been a throwaway line established back in Dissolution whereby the reader is told that Danifae can't venture too far from Halisstra without suffering from harmful effects of her binding. In which case I think the advice might have been 'Ignore it and tell a story or write a way of breaking the binding'.

Personally, I found the character shifts particularly jarring in this novel - Quenthel goes from being in charge and a force to be reckoned with to a being broken and incapable of making decisions.

Jeggred falls out of his role of snarling sycophant to traitorous attack-dog. While intelligence and cunning was never portrayed as his strong point, it just feels awkward that he moves away from the Baenre powerbase to support what is essentially a houseless slave.

Danifae makes some dramatic shifts, coming into her own as a player of influence within the group, but it only occurs because Quenthel is written to be powerless and Jeggred manipulated into abandoning her.
Essentially, It seems that the 'perfect storm' of character foibles strikes just so that Danifae can take the centre-stage and as a result that doesn't feel... earned.

Ryld, as you've mentioned, takes a bit of a detour from the 'dissatisfied with his station/Leanings of nobility' which made him likeable and relatable amidst the scheming and betrayals amidst the party and becomes something of a tag-along with Halisstra and seems to simply orbit her until they separate and his duel with Jeggred comes about. As a private point of amusement, I found it jarring again how his custom Dwarf-forged plate is always offering protection against everything until it doesn't. From memory Jeggred's claws pierced it long before Jeggred lucked out on the random-encounter loot-table and found a Sundering Drowbane War-axe + 5.

Halisstra's Eilistraeean arc is... As other posters have noted, awkward due to the portrayal of the Eilistraeean faith, which will continue even passed the end of this series and into one of it's two sequels. (The Lady Penitent trilogy and Empyrean Odyssey Trilogies both deal with characters from the WotSQ novels)

At the very least, Valas shows a self-preservation instinct and decides that he's fulfilled his contract. I believe as a result he showed up once or twice in future R.A. Salvatore novels.

Next up, you've got Ressurection by Paul S. Kemp who I find a very enjoyable author and from memory, you've enjoyed his Erevis Cale novels so far. Looking forward to seeing what you make of the conclusion.

~V
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30019 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  17:39:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You have nicely described the character shifts that so badly bothered me, reading the books. The one with Jeggred really, really bothered me.

Add in that the supposedly intelligent characters could barely manage to get along with each other long enough to accomplish a shared goal, the ridiculousness of a long trek in the Prime to determine what was happening in the planes, Lolth's illogical and bizarrely successful plot, the painfully drawn out spellbattle with Gromph, and the fact that most of the characters simply weren't likable, and you've got the perfect formula for a big steaming mess.

I will never understand the appeal others find in this series.

I truly believe the point was more about selling more books than it was about telling a story or advancing the setting, and I also believe WotC simply didn't care enough to put the time in to fix this series. I think a more cohesive plan* at the beginning and some serious editing after all the books were written could have made for a much better series -- and the lack of such is why I think that the only objective was sales.

*(Truly, I don't know how cohesive and comprehensive the original outline was, but I think the disjointed nature of the books shows that there was only the broadest outline at the beginning and little effort to coordinate)

Note: this is all personal opinion; I have no facts at all, other than the novels themselves, to back any of it up.

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!

Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 28 Jun 2017 17:40:11
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2672 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2017 :  20:46:07  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Veylandemar


Halisstra's Eilistraeean arc is... As other posters have noted, awkward due to the portrayal of the Eilistraeean faith, which will continue even passed the end of this series and into one of it's two sequels. (The Lady Penitent trilogy and Empyrean Odyssey Trilogies both deal with characters from the WotSQ novels)




Awkward is an euphemism, that portrayal was completely warped and only gets worse in LP, because it is extended to the whole faith. The mistakes even affect some trivial, really easily reaserchable things, such as Vhaeraun's mask, or Eilistraee's rituals (for example, an intimate ritual in which every follower lets out their emotions of the day in a worldless message to Eilistraee, which strengthens the bond between the goddess and her followers, all of sudden becomes a communal choir in those novels--female exclusive, ofc...).

I hope that Smedman never gets to touch anything drow without some serious editor correcting her mistakes. I also hope that, were Eilistraee and her followers get a more in-depth treatment in 5e (which is perhaps likely, given what Ed has hinted about the Promenade, and all the rumors about an upcoming Undermountain storyline), WotC would choose to focus once again on what they're actually about. From what little lore than we have about Eilistraee in 5e, and from her and her followers' (few) appearances, it seems that the Smedman-style portrayal of them (or everything else that LP "brought") is gone, luckily. I hope it stays that way if they were to be included in any eventual future novel.

As for the axe and other similar convenient events that directed the story in the intended direction, the 6 novels had their outcome already planned at the beginning. RAS and Athans and the others worked on the original outline (RAS mostly made sure that the drow remained where he wanted them, according to what he said), so the authors abundantly armored some characters and created weird events to kill others. They could have written a proper death, but that's what happens when you force stuff on authors (if you noticed (spoilers) by the end of the series, all the added named characters are dead, except Halisstra who will die later. At the end, WotSQ may as well have never happened)

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I truly believe the point was more about selling more books than it was about telling a story or advancing the setting,



In fact, it surely didn't advance anything.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 28 Jun 2017 20:57:00
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
258 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2017 :  05:42:18  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well then.... This turned from *crickets* to quite a rousing discussion! :)

Last night I finished Resurrection, thus concluding the tumultuous and controversial War of the Spider Queen. Obviously I wasn't present when it first landed, so any talk of "This is the greatest series in Realms history" is something I have no experience with; other than to chime in my opinion, which is: No, no it is not. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it to some extent. Even though I generally dislike stories centered around evil/ anti-heroes as the main protagonists, there were still some very entertaining moments. All the double crossing, plotting, and scheming made for satisfying intrigue. And the utter destruction of an entire filthy drow city (Ched Nasad) was just delightful for me. As far as not advancing the Realms, I'll give a slight and half-hearted disagree there. I'm guessing the powers that be wanted to turn Lolth from a Lesser to an Intermediate Power, or maybe even an Intermediate to a Greater (I don't have any of my rulebooks handy from that era) and this was an in-universe way of explaining her apotheosis. The reasoning is simple: what was a bigger commodity than Lolth/the drow at the time? WotC was just chasing what the fans were clamoring for, and I can hardly blame them for that. Also, the combination of a new-look Lolth as well as the lessons learned in Menzoberranzan might even cause a slight culture-shift going forward. Ched Nasad was warring amongst itself even as it was falling to outside forces, so maybe the last few months have taught all survivors that perhaps a little less internecine warfare could be a good thing?

It's an ugly and unfortunate reality, but when art and business cross paths you sometimes get decisions like this. A six part dark elf series with a RAS stamp of approval? That's going to sell like hotcakes! I touched on that after book 2 when I felt it was drawn out about 70 pages too long with super repetitive battles - why tell a story in a trilogy when you can extend it to a sextet and sell twice as much copy? There's no way to say this without it sounding mean, so I'll just blurt it out: this series allowed Lisa Smedman and Phil Athans to attach the title "NY Times Best Selling Author" to their resumes. Sure this was a cash grab, but sometimes you have to give the people what they want.

So while I agree with you guys that this wasn't some kind of Realmsian Masterpiece, I don't think it was a disaster either, warts and all. As far as book 6 specifically, I felt Kemp did an admirable job of rallying things a bit after the lows of books 4 and 5. I loved the inclusion of the yugoloth battalion. Yugoloths are my favorite fiendish race, and it's oh so rare to get any kind of mention of them, as all the screen time is taken up by the more well-known devils and demons. But if you know anything about their lore and how they operate, that's probably exactly how the 'loths would want it. I liked the planar descriptions, I liked how Quenthel seemed to somewhat get her mojo back after her disastrous depiction in the previous book. I liked the huge battle between the drow and the Black Horn Regiment, even if I was a bit miffed that Pharaun got the better of Inthracis.

Also, as dislikable as the Eilistraeens were, it was still hard not to feel a bit of pity as they blundered into an obvious trap. Oh Halistra, you complete disaster... I can't help but think about how badly she set the Dark Maiden's faith back. After murdering two priestesses on the surface, she then joins their ranks, only to lead two of their remaining highest ranking priestesses into slaughter. To top it off, she also recovered/destroyed one of the most powerful relics/weapons of their church. Eilistraee must rue the day she ever put an ounce of faith in the lost daughter of House Melarn. I figured Uluyara wouldn't win her duel with Quenthel, but she did get some good shots in. Poor Feliane didn't even have a chance against Jeggred, that was just gruesome. Halistra gets immobilized in the very opening of the fight by Pharaun's ice, once again showing how completely useless and detrimental she is, to whatever side she happens to be following on that particular day. Ughh, I can't stand her. So what is she now, some kind of... not avatar, but proxy? of Lolth? Something similar to what Malik is for Cyric? I can't tell you how unenthused I am to read the Lady Penitent series, I hope it's still a ways off.

Speaking of which, after skipping a ton of books to read this series consecutively, I now have to go back and restore order. Time to shift gears back to the Uskevren family, as tonight I started in on Lord of Stormweather, by Dave Gross.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 01 Jul 2017 05:43:18
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2672 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2017 :  10:03:33  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion
Also, as dislikable as the Eilistraeens were, it was still hard not to feel a bit of pity as they blundered into an obvious trap. Oh Halistra, you complete disaster... I can't help but think about how badly she set the Dark Maiden's faith back. After murdering two priestesses on the surface, she then joins their ranks, only to lead two of their remaining highest ranking priestesses into slaughter. To top it off, she also recovered/destroyed one of the most powerful relics/weapons of their church. Eilistraee must rue the day she ever put an ounce of faith in the lost daughter of House Melarn.


The worse part is that it made 0 sense of Eilistraee to task a new convert with a shaky faith with such a task, nor have only her and other two random priestesses go on that mission. The only logical thing would have been to task someone like Qilu and have her accompanied by an actual group of other priestesses and warriors. Given that Eilistraee herself can lash out in protection of her followers when they are harmed, it is very well possible that she herself would have tried to join the group, like Vhaeraun did.

quote:
Ughh, I can't stand her. So what is she now, some kind of... not avatar, but proxy? of Lolth? Something similar to what Malik is for Cyric? I can't tell you how unenthused I am to read the Lady Penitent series, I hope it's still a ways off.



She is just a tortured soul that acts as a chosen, whose duty is to kill followers of Eilistraee and Vhaeraun.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30019 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2017 :  14:00:49  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

As far as not advancing the Realms, I'll give a slight and half-hearted disagree there. I'm guessing the powers that be wanted to turn Lolth from a Lesser to an Intermediate Power, or maybe even an Intermediate to a Greater (I don't have any of my rulebooks handy from that era) and this was an in-universe way of explaining her apotheosis.


Even though Lolth got an inexplicable power up by literally eating herself while neglecting her followers, this (and the destruction of Ched Nasad) really had no impact at all on the wider Realms. Lolth being more powerful and there being one less drow city really doesn't even impact the drow that much (aside from a loss of trade from Ched Nasad). She's still granting the same spells and abilities, she's still their primary deity, and she's still acting the same -- no change.

That's why I consider it to have no impact in the Realms: the only places affected are pretty much isolated from the rest of the setting, and even in those places, the impact was minimal.

quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

The reasoning is simple: what was a bigger commodity than Lolth/the drow at the time? WotC was just chasing what the fans were clamoring for, and I can hardly blame them for that.


I don't blame them for that, either. I blame them for putting a fancy label on a pile of crap, in order to chase fans. To me, it shows a kind of disrespect for your fanbase when you pull a move like that.

WotC could have just as readily put some real effort into it -- like having an editor go over all six books, once complete, and iron out all those rough spots -- and given a better product. Instead, they just said "hey, let's just toss this out there, people will buy it regardless of quality, so why put any effort into it?"

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

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2672 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2017 :  14:15:15  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion
I'm guessing the powers that be wanted to turn Lolth from a Lesser to an Intermediate Power, or maybe even an Intermediate to a Greater (I don't have any of my rulebooks handy from that era) and this was an in-universe way of explaining her apotheosis.



The fun part is that, as Wooly explained, this explanation wouldn't work at all in-Universe. In the 3e deities book (faiths and pantheons) Lolth starts as a barely intermediate power; this change, aimed towards 4e, brings her to greater power. However, Ao had established that the power of the gods needed to be tied to the number of worshipers, and in the 6 books:

1)Lolth lost a huge amount of followers, between the drow who chose Eilistraee, Vhaeraun, and Kiaransalee, and the tens of thousands who died in Ched Nasad, Maerimydra, Eryndlyn. She was also going to lose Menzo, and that city lost a lot of people as well (so, and even greater body count).

2)Lolth spent a large quantity of power in order to rip her own plane from the Abyss, and procedeed to spend even more in order to sustain it, rather than already using the framework of a larger outer plane.

3)Supposedly, since Lolth relies on extreme censorship, control, and indoctrination in order to keep the drow on her leash, her absence (and the feeling of abndonment of the drow in the cities which suffered more from the Silence) should have allowed a lot of new ideas to spread, weakening the loyalty of the drow to Lolth as a whole. The difficult conditions should have led many drow to follow their repressed instinct to go claim back the surface and rediscover all that they had lost (instinct that nearly all of them have, according to Ed Greenwood), especially with other organization (Vhaeraunites and Eilistraeeans offering support with that). It was an opportunity to show growth in the drow as a race, but the premise of the novels was that all should have remained the same.

Despite all this, she not only didn't lose anything, but gained an *immense* amount of power (no less than 5 divine ranks, which would be the same, according to faiths and pantheons, as gaining hundreds of thousands of followers), for no reason at all

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 01 Jul 2017 14:23:57
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30019 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2017 :  19:23:49  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Indeed. And let's not forget that the formula for getting that divine boost was literally eating herself. She goes into this ritual with a specific amount of power, loses power by abandoning her worshippers, eats herself (actually less, since she shed her skin, first), and then somehow comes out much more powerful.

In mathematical terms, it was 100% Lolth minus 10% for the shed skin minus some other amount for lost worship = 200% Lolth.

Even if the rest of the series had been pure literary gold, wondrous enough to make Shakespeare weep at its majestic glory, it would still end poorly because of that goofy math.

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!

Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 01 Jul 2017 19:25:12
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
258 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2017 :  20:42:59  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hahaha, good points Irennan and Wooly. Allow me to play Lolth's Advocate for a bit. Not that I firmly stand by anything I'm about to type, this is just for gits and shiggles and to keep a good conversation going:

I don't view the number of followers as being quite so important as the quality of the faith being produced. If you are a deity, would you rather have 100,000 followers who kind of go through the motions each day, or 10,000 followers who are total zealots that will go to any length to carry out your will?

Think about this for a minute: when Lolth's Silence fell, what kind of religious fervor was the drow race immediately plunged into? Each individual priestess/House probably initially thought that they, and only they, lost her favor and were now vulnerable to attack. Dark elves live on the razor edge of all-pervasive paranoia. How many more prayers were chanted, how many more gems, gold, magical items destroyed, how many more sentient lives were snuffed out at the end of a sacrificial spider blade in the immediate days following her departure? Enough to supply an initial burst of energy to begin her metamorphosis?

How about the fall (literally) of Ched Nasad? They say there are no atheists in foxholes and that we turn to matters of faith most strongly when we sense our own impending doom. How many drow souls cried out for deliverance in that moment when an entire city plunged into the depths? Enough for her to reach some kind of theoretical Stage 2?

Later still we have the siege and near-fall of Menzoberranzan. During that prolonged event, when it looked as if the unthinkable might happen and they might lose to duergar and tannaruk scum, you have to assume the incense was burning 24/7 in every single chapel in the entire city. Was that enough to push her over the top and ready to assume her final form (pending the arrival of the Yor'Thae).

I have no idea what the entire population of drow/Lolthites are on a multiversal scale. Consequently I don't know how big a percentage of her faith would be made up by the entire citizenry of Ched Nasad plus the significant number of deaths in Menzoberranzan. Let's say it represents 3-4% of her complete faith base. In the same manner that Lolth demands sacrifice of sentient life, would it not be entirely appropriate for us to assume she has no qualms about sacrificing a small percentage of her own flock to increase her standing in the Outer Planes? I think the utter annihilation of Ched Nasad and the near destruction of Menzoberranzan were exactly the Mario mushroom that powered her up to Super Lolth. And that's just so Lolth to me; laughing at her doomed followers as she uses their energy to her own gain.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 03 Jul 2017 20:49:39
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2672 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2017 :  21:03:59  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The quality of faith surely contributes, but the number of followers is a determining factor as well (in fact, divine tiers have a minum treshold of followers that they must have). That said, the citizens of Menzo amount to a very small number of drow. Lolth's losses were in Ched Nasad, Maerimydra, Eryndlyn, and more, where she lost to her rivals, not to mention that for every person whose faith became more fervent, there were other people that instead were lured by the call of Eilistraee, or by the promises of Vhaeraun, or that turned to Kiaransalee or Ghaunadaur. The *many* disenfranchised drow who sought an alternative (in fact it is canon that all the Dark Seldarine made tremendous gains during the Silence)--and the disenfranchised drow, who are forced oppressed under Lolth's heel and that would embrace another life if they knew for sure that they could do it without risks, are the bulk of her followers (i.e. commoners, who only receive the many negative sides of the Lolthite society). Besides, the drow as a race are already religious by nature. They already have a strong bond with their deities, so, and it is my personal guess, there is only a marginal gain that Lolth could achieve with this scheme.

Now, compare the gain in faith in the city of Menzo (which was already full of zealots), with the loss of faith of many more than its population, and the deaths of even more (including many Menzoberranyr, which implies the loss of deeply faithful followers), plus the loss of power that came from tearing the Demonweb away from the Abyss, and starting sustaining it on her own, and her plan still is completely out of the wazoo.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 04 Jul 2017 07:31:49
Go to Top of Page

Madpig
Learned Scribe

Finland
122 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2017 :  07:27:40  Show Profile Send Madpig a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

The quality of faith surely contributes, but the number of followers is a determining factor as well (in fact, you divine tiers have a minum treshold of followers that they must have). That said, the citizens of Menzo amount to a very small number of drow. Lolth's losses were in Ched Nasad, Maerimydra, Eryndlyn, and more, where she lost to her rivals, not to mention that for every person whose faith became more fervent, there were a lot of other people that instead was finally struck by the call of Eilistraee, or by the promises of Vhaeraun, or that turned to Kiaransalee or Ghaunadaur. The *many* disenfranchised drow who sought an alternative (in fact it is canon that all the Dark Seldarine made tremendous gains during the Silence)--and the disenfranchised drow, who are forced oppressed under Lolth's heel and that would embrace another life if they knew for sure that they could do it without risks, are the bulk of her followers (i.e. commoners, who only receive the many negative sides of the Lolthite society). Besides, the drow as a race are already religious by nature. They already have a strong bond with their deities, so, and it is my personal guess, there is only a marginal gain that Lolth could achieve with this scheme.

Now, compare the gain in faith in the city of Menzo (which was already full of zealots), with the loss of faith of many more than its population, and the deaths of even more (including many Menzoberranyr, which implies the loss of deeply faithful followers), plus the loss of power that came from tearing the Demonweb away from the Abyss, and starting sustaining it on her own, and her plan still is completely out of the wazoo.



Also it has been discussed in the past, that level of worshippers is affecting the power it grants to a deity. And given that Drow are on average lot higher level than about any other race, they give a lot of power per individual.
Go to Top of Page

Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
796 Posts

Posted - 05 Jul 2017 :  01:51:01  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Madpig

quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished Condemnation a couple nights ago. My wife always asks me what book I'm reading, and when I replied with the title, she said "You're reading a book called Condom Nation?" *tap* *tap*, is this thing on?

No responses as yet for books 1 and 2 of this series, I'm not sure if it didn't go over well at the time, or maybe people were just at a drow oversaturation point. In any case, I thought it's been pretty good so far, and book 3 has been the best of the bunch. I really liked City of Ravens (also by Richard Baker), and after this book I'm eagerly looking forward to more of his work - particularly the Last Mythal trilogy.

As for this story, I liked that they really got out and about, rather than primarily hanging in one city. The Hlaungadath chapters were really cool, as were the Labyrinth and all the minotaur/Baphomet followers. The intrigue and strategy behind the Gracklstugh/Menzoberranzan conflict was nicely done as well. I'd like to learn a bit more about Araumycos, perhaps another time. But my favorite part of this book was the odyssey through the Astral Plane and into the Abyss. I know we talked earlier (during one of the Grubb/Novak books) that some posters don't much care for planar travels - as it turns a pure Forgotten Realms story into something of an FR/Planescape hybrid - but I don't mind it at all, when it's done well. I thought Baker did an excellent job of explaining, mechanically, what the characters were doing without it being too heavy-handed in exposition. Tzirik's plan was pretty sweet, I love how he duped the idiot spider kissers. But I guess they made up for it by planting Jeggred back home. The scene where he killed Tzirik's material body and caused his planar representation to be erased was super cool, like Cypher pulling the plug on his fellow crewman of the Nebuchadnezzar.

Lastly, I'll say I was very surprised by Halistra's capture by the surface elves/humans. I was sure the priestess of Eilistraee would convert her, but instead she played them for fools and made good on her escape. I still feel she is going to be a redemption character in the end, but it feels way more realistic for it not to have taken hold on the very first try. I felt bad for the two that she murdered in her escape, but c'mon, what can you expect when you extend that much trust to a Lolthite?

Up next is book 4: Extinction.




There have been may years since I have read that series. But I have really no recollection on books 3-5. I remember that books 1 and 6 were among my all time favorites. Also I think that style of having series of 6 books with 6 different authors is not the way to go. Because characters personalities are changing too much between the books.



I am with you on books 1 and 6 being the best.

But you have no recollection of book 5? The wizard war between Gromph and the lichdrow was the only thing that stood out for me in that book because i felt i was waiting for it for awhile
Go to Top of Page

Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
796 Posts

Posted - 05 Jul 2017 :  01:54:56  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Well then.... This turned from *crickets* to quite a rousing discussion! :)

Last night I finished Resurrection, thus concluding the tumultuous and controversial War of the Spider Queen. Obviously I wasn't present when it first landed, so any talk of "This is the greatest series in Realms history" is something I have no experience with; other than to chime in my opinion, which is: No, no it is not. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it to some extent. Even though I generally dislike stories centered around evil/ anti-heroes as the main protagonists, there were still some very entertaining moments. All the double crossing, plotting, and scheming made for satisfying intrigue. And the utter destruction of an entire filthy drow city (Ched Nasad) was just delightful for me. As far as not advancing the Realms, I'll give a slight and half-hearted disagree there. I'm guessing the powers that be wanted to turn Lolth from a Lesser to an Intermediate Power, or maybe even an Intermediate to a Greater (I don't have any of my rulebooks handy from that era) and this was an in-universe way of explaining her apotheosis. The reasoning is simple: what was a bigger commodity than Lolth/the drow at the time? WotC was just chasing what the fans were clamoring for, and I can hardly blame them for that. Also, the combination of a new-look Lolth as well as the lessons learned in Menzoberranzan might even cause a slight culture-shift going forward. Ched Nasad was warring amongst itself even as it was falling to outside forces, so maybe the last few months have taught all survivors that perhaps a little less internecine warfare could be a good thing?

It's an ugly and unfortunate reality, but when art and business cross paths you sometimes get decisions like this. A six part dark elf series with a RAS stamp of approval? That's going to sell like hotcakes! I touched on that after book 2 when I felt it was drawn out about 70 pages too long with super repetitive battles - why tell a story in a trilogy when you can extend it to a sextet and sell twice as much copy? There's no way to say this without it sounding mean, so I'll just blurt it out: this series allowed Lisa Smedman and Phil Athans to attach the title "NY Times Best Selling Author" to their resumes. Sure this was a cash grab, but sometimes you have to give the people what they want.

So while I agree with you guys that this wasn't some kind of Realmsian Masterpiece, I don't think it was a disaster either, warts and all. As far as book 6 specifically, I felt Kemp did an admirable job of rallying things a bit after the lows of books 4 and 5. I loved the inclusion of the yugoloth battalion. Yugoloths are my favorite fiendish race, and it's oh so rare to get any kind of mention of them, as all the screen time is taken up by the more well-known devils and demons. But if you know anything about their lore and how they operate, that's probably exactly how the 'loths would want it. I liked the planar descriptions, I liked how Quenthel seemed to somewhat get her mojo back after her disastrous depiction in the previous book. I liked the huge battle between the drow and the Black Horn Regiment, even if I was a bit miffed that Pharaun got the better of Inthracis.

Also, as dislikable as the Eilistraeens were, it was still hard not to feel a bit of pity as they blundered into an obvious trap. Oh Halistra, you complete disaster... I can't help but think about how badly she set the Dark Maiden's faith back. After murdering two priestesses on the surface, she then joins their ranks, only to lead two of their remaining highest ranking priestesses into slaughter. To top it off, she also recovered/destroyed one of the most powerful relics/weapons of their church. Eilistraee must rue the day she ever put an ounce of faith in the lost daughter of House Melarn. I figured Uluyara wouldn't win her duel with Quenthel, but she did get some good shots in. Poor Feliane didn't even have a chance against Jeggred, that was just gruesome. Halistra gets immobilized in the very opening of the fight by Pharaun's ice, once again showing how completely useless and detrimental she is, to whatever side she happens to be following on that particular day. Ughh, I can't stand her. So what is she now, some kind of... not avatar, but proxy? of Lolth? Something similar to what Malik is for Cyric? I can't tell you how unenthused I am to read the Lady Penitent series, I hope it's still a ways off.

Speaking of which, after skipping a ton of books to read this series consecutively, I now have to go back and restore order. Time to shift gears back to the Uskevren family, as tonight I started in on Lord of Stormweather, by Dave Gross.



My chief love of this book was Gromph searching for the Phylactery, breaking into the house and going about destroying it
Go to Top of Page

Madpig
Learned Scribe

Finland
122 Posts

Posted - 14 Jul 2017 :  08:51:47  Show Profile Send Madpig a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Where are new reviews? :D This scroll is really good enterntainment. Its sparks good discussions and brings back memories.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
258 Posts

Posted - 14 Jul 2017 :  14:22:38  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ask and ye shall receive!

I actually finished Lords of Stormweather several nights ago, but had a crazy schedule this week and couldn't find much time to post. This was a strange book. I really like Dave Gross's previous work, so this one was a bit of a letdown for me.

Let me state first as a disclaimer that I read this book while on the graveyard shift at work, so maybe I was too tired to fully understand what was going on. Did the magic painting suck the Uskevrens and Cale into some kind of alternate prime world, or was that place wholly a construct of Tamlin's childhood imagination gone bad? I know in this long thread other posters have used the phrase "didn't feel like a Realms book to me" on a few occasions - once for Night Parade, again for that bizarre story set in the Blade Kingdoms, and even for the Finder's Bane stories where it is mostly planar - but I'm going to go ahead and cash in that card for this one. Here we had this strange, Beyond the Looking Glass world with bombardier gas-mining dwarves, elves that live on the backs of giant floating jelly-fish creatures, all manner of strange flora and fauna... It just wasn't what I expected or wanted out of this book. It wasn't a bad story, and the quality of the writing was high, I just didn't care for the direction of it, I guess.

I'm not sure how many more Uskevren/Sembia books there are, but this one had some pretty big ramifications for the family. Thamalon "The Old Owl" is now either dead or some kind of presence that is stuck in the alternate world, and Tamlin is a badarse wizard. I guess he had the power all along, it was just being suppressed. Many of the details of this story went right over my head - I just couldn't get that into it, and therefore I was very sloppy and noncommittal in my reading of it. It sounds like I'm trashing it, but it really was not a bad book, but rather something I wasn't ready for.

That out of the way, I've been reading Elaine's Wind Walker for several nights now and am probably one or two more away from finishing it, I'm sure I'll have something to say about that on Sunday or Monday.
Go to Top of Page

Veylandemar
Acolyte

7 Posts

Posted - 15 Jul 2017 :  15:04:42  Show Profile Send Veylandemar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sadly you've reached the end of the Uskevren books, or at least the 'Sembia' series.
Paul S. Kemp's Erevis Cale and Shadow War trilogies will visit in on the Uskevrens, but their plots mostly focus around the titular character.

I might have to re-read the Sembia series again myself, I'm afraid that as much as I loved the setting and the Uskevrens, the initial anthology, Cale and Talbot's respective volumes are the only ones I can really remember much of.

Looking forward to your thoughts on the finale of Elaine's Starlight and Shadows trilogy - Should hopefully be a shift in perspective on Eilistraee after your recent delve into the WotSQ.

~V
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2672 Posts

Posted - 15 Jul 2017 :  15:36:52  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Veylandemar

Looking forward to your thoughts on the finale of Elaine's Starlight and Shadows trilogy - Should hopefully be a shift in perspective on Eilistraee after your recent delve into the WotSQ.

~V



Her followers are less friendly to Liriel than in the previous 2 books (where Elaine got them just right), but there are in-story reasons for that. As for Eilistraee herself, those few times she is involved, Liriel feels always accepted and welcomed by her (although the scene in book 2 where the Dark Maiden dances with her best captures what this goddess is to the drow).

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 15 Jul 2017 15:38:38
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
258 Posts

Posted - 16 Jul 2017 :  15:11:26  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Windwalker last night. I've got a lot of random points to make, so I'll just throw them out there in no particular order in a stream of consciousness fashion:

Characters who worship, or at least pay homage to, multiple deities seemed to be all the rage in 2003/2004 - Halistra and Liriel (Lolth/Eilistraee), Shakti (Lolth/Vhaeraun), Larajin (Hanali Celanil/Sune).

Are the wychlaren of Rashemen arcane or divine casters? When I hear "witch" I think of a female warlock type, but the witches of this country feel more shamanic/druidic to me, interacting with the spirits of the land and ancestors and so on.

I really loved a few of the small touches Elaine included in this book. The hut of Baba Yaga was awesome, as was the inclusion of the Woodman. I really like the primal spirits, and Rashemen is one of the more interesting locations on Faerun for me. I do, however, wish that final battle was expanded on a bit. You had all these great elements coming together - the Woodman, the lythari/spirit wolfpack, and so on, but it was glossed over way too quickly in a very Tolkeinesque "Battle of the Five Armies" in about a page. Woodman literally got one paragraph - he stepped out from the forest, crushed a bunch of zombie drow underfoot, and the rout was on. I know the majority of this battle was a spiritual one, but still it would've been excellent to get more of the armies clashing.

I've touched on this before, but I still think it's so dumb that Gromph - the archmage of Menzoberranzan - has to be the one to light Narbondel each day. Elaine's reasoning, that it "tethers" him to the city, is very fitting for the matriarchal society (and a slap in the face to the mightiest male), but at the same time, I feel it makes Gromph completely vulnerable. Everyone knows exactly where he'll be at a precise time each day. 2-5 warriors of a lower house with even moderate skill and armed with an antimagic field (like the stone one of the demons used in a previous RAS book) could lay an easy ambush, taking out the best wizard in the region. Bring him back to your House, dissolve the body in acid so there's nothing for the priestesses to use to contact his spirit, and you've tremendously weakened the top House. Is there anything more dangerous for a drow than to become predictable?

Out of all of Elaine's wonderful, deep, and interesting characters, Liriel is probably the one I have the hardest time getting into. Maybe it's as simple as drow oversaturation, I'm not really sure. Or the fact that she seems to be insanely skillful - she's a better than average fighter, an accomplished mage, an ex-priestess, maybe a bit of a thief too, oh and she also happens to be one of the most beautiful drow in Menzoberranzan (of course). Just a bit too Mary Sue for me. There are also some side characters in this story that made it feel a bit too crowded - Thorn, Qilue's daughter, Sharlarra, etc. I think Elaine is the best character builder in the FR stable, but in this book it felt (at least to me) like too many players fighting for screen time, and as a result, none of them were developed enough.

Even though Liriel isn't exactly my cup o' tea, Fyodor is terrific - and the main draw for me in the entire Starlight and Shadows series. It can't be simple to write a compelling berserker/barbarian type, as it's so easy to fall into the familiar tropes we all know and expect. But Fyodor has some excellent nuance to his character. He has this great natural wisdom to him, and just a touch of dry wit/sarcasm to keep Liriel's "spoiled princess" tendencies in check. He was the star of the show for me, and his final scene was very touching and well done.

One of my favorite scenes overall, and I'm not sure why, was when Liriel unraveled the tapestry of souls to free the elven spirits. I like the direction Liriel's character was taking - like she was meant to be some kind of psychopomp, which goes absolutely great with all the Raven imagery used throughout this series.

Lastly, there was an appalling number of typos in this book. I don't put that on the author, sometimes the brain is moving faster than the fingers can keep up. If this book had an editor, shame on them for absolutely dropping the ball. I don't think there are 3 consecutive pages in the entire book that don't have an error. After finishing the book, I went back and scanned through random pages just to confirm my observation - and sure enough I found 3 mistakes in just a 2 page sample. It was prevalent enough to be a distraction and a detraction from the story. Maybe WotC was too cheap to even assign an editor, I'm not sure.

Tonight I'll start on the Rogues series with Book 1: The Alabaster Staff.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 16 Jul 2017 15:15:01
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 19  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