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
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 20

Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
797 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2017 :  20:28:26  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Twilight falling is excellent and it keeps getting better.

No doubt you have been hearing for a long time how amazing Paul Kemp's books are and had a "it is ok" moment for his first book, Shadows witness. But he improved upon his first writing effort in spades and keeps doing it.
Go to Top of Page

Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3042 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2017 :  20:45:05  Show Profile  Visit Artemas Entreri's Homepage Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm

Twilight falling is excellent and it keeps getting better.

No doubt you have been hearing for a long time how amazing Paul Kemp's books are and had a "it is ok" moment for his first book, Shadows witness. But he improved upon his first writing effort in spades and keeps doing it.



... and hopefully will return one day with another addition to the Realms novel line.

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Check out my eBay store for great Realms/Dragonlance/Ravenloft/Dark Sun/etc series! http://stores.ebay.com/Remembered-Realms-and-Hobbies

Be my friend on Goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6751111-brian
Go to Top of Page

Madpig
Learned Scribe

Finland
124 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2017 :  07:18:12  Show Profile Send Madpig a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Artemas Entreri

quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm

Twilight falling is excellent and it keeps getting better.

No doubt you have been hearing for a long time how amazing Paul Kemp's books are and had a "it is ok" moment for his first book, Shadows witness. But he improved upon his first writing effort in spades and keeps doing it.



... and hopefully will return one day with another addition to the Realms novel line.



Even more impossible wish is to get Godborn as a trilogy, as originally was intended. While it was good, it was rushed because Wizbros actions. To me, Paul is THE BEST Realms author.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
266 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2017 :  07:45:39  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Taleras

I really need to finish up some other books and get started on the Erevis Cale trilogy...



Umm... yeah... you really do =)

I finished Twilight Dawning a couple nights ago. I think I had to take a day just to soak in its awesomeness before posting here. Wow, incredible stuff. Someday, when I'm all done with this, I may try to do a ranking just for fun. This book instantly vaulted into the top 10 without even contemplating what such a list might look to me at the roughly halfway point. I knew from the first chapter or so I was in for something special, and it really delivered.

Kemp's insight into the human psyche really adds another dimension to the book. Cale's internal struggles and even Riven's development were utterly fascinating. Speaking of Riven, I get a bit of an Artemis vibe in that I feel the author created what was originally intended to be a soulless killing machine - but then the character grew on them a bit and had to be explored/expanded a bit more. I really enjoyed how the two of them worked together; grudgingly at first, but then with ever more mutual respect as the story progressed. Jak Fleet is an important character as he acts as sort of an external conscious for Cale, keeping him from indulging too easily in his darker tendencies. But even Jak got a little dirty in this one, by necessity, so it will be *very* interesting to see if he can recover or if he continues a slow, downward spiral.

I bought all 3 of the "Cale Trilogy" in an omnibus format awhile back, and it also includes 2 short stories. I bought this book for convenience only, not even realizing it had those shorts in it, but now I'm glad for it, as the first one (and maybe the 2nd, haven't looked yet) was released only in Dragon Magazine, and I would've missed it. It was called All the Sinners, Saints and explored the first collaboration between Cale and Riven, so it was a good read before even starting the main story.

It was a tiny bit confusing to see an Oghman priest named Sephris in this story, right after reading the total badarse monk named Sefris in Byer's story, so that caused a little jarring for me. Also there were a handful of small nitpicks I could point out in this book, but won't bother, as it was of such high quality overall. Terrific work, Kemp instantly vaults up there with Cunningham and Salvatore as my FR heavy hitters.

Up next: I realize I goofed really bad last week and read The Best of the Realms II: The Stories of Ed Greenwood, which wasn't released until 2005 (I'm still working on 2003/2004). The book I was supposed to read was The Best of the Realms. D'oh!! So I pulled that one off the shelf and checked out the titles. They are all reprints from previous anthologies except for a RAS story at the very end. So I'll read that next and then jump into another book. I very badly want to continue on with the Erevis Cale trilogy, but I see (by publication date) another Uskevren book came out before then. It's a Tazi solo adventure called The Crimson Gold. I sort of feel compelled to read it next, just on the off chance it references anything Cale related. It was published in December of 2003, whereas Cale Book 2 wasn't until June of 2004. Damn... decisions, decisions...
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
266 Posts

Posted - 11 Aug 2017 :  23:26:10  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished the short story Empty Joys - the only original tale in The Best of the Realms anthology. It was a Jarlaxle/Entreri romp, I wouldn't say it was notably good or bad, just a story. I think RAS is just playing around with these two, trying to figure out which direction to take them in next. I can tell just by looking at the cover art of the books still to come that these two will feature heavily in at least one adventure together. This story had them infiltrate an out of the way band of highwaymen, then slaughter them on a whim (it seems) to save a couple of farmer's daughters from what assuredly would've been an awful night. It seems like Jarlaxle is trying to force Artemis into embracing some kind of "hero" lifestyle, though why is beyond me at this point. He reports in to Kimmuriel at the end, which surprised me. I thought he severed ties with Bregan D'arth, but apparently not. Furthermore, he semi-explained his plan of reforming Artemis, again, I don't know what the end game is here.

Up next: I've already started The Crimson Gold and am reading it with a vengeance, in order to get back to the Erevis Cale trilogy.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 11 Aug 2017 23:27:26
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
266 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2017 :  08:35:30  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished The Crimson Gold this morning. I mentioned reading it as fast as possible in order to get back to the Erevis Cale trilogy, but that's probably a bit unfair. I'm sure the author worked hard on this book, and I should give it its due. There was only one minor mention of Cale "leaving Stormweather Halls several months back", so I could've easily saved this book for later, but I don't regret the decision.

I think this is the 3rd or 4th offering from Whitney-Robinson (counting short stories) and I think maybe her most effective yet. I really dig Thay as one of the most interesting countries in the Realms, so I was engaged immediately. Doubly so once I realized the demon-lord Eltab would feature prominently. About 20... maybe 25 years ago I recall reading a small blurb about the city of Eltabbar and how its canal system is actually an elaborate binding rune for a demon that is held underground (Eltabbar = "bars" Eltab from returning). I distinctly remember it going on to say that maps of the city are ruthlessly forbidden, as each "copy" of the mystical rune drains a tiny portion of its potency, and if enough are made, Eltab would be able to escape. This really fired up my imagination, and I'd always wanted to make an adventure out of it for my players, but just never got around to it. So it's something that's just been sort of rattling around in my brain for at least two decades.

Tazi did a whole lot of maturing in this story. It's good to see her focus in a bit and find some purpose.

I was a bit unsure about Justikar, the gray dwarf. He possessed some minor psionic talent, mainly just a bit of low-grade telepathy, nothing too crazy. But his explanation of how he has it is that, due to their enslavement by illithid ages ago, most of his race has developed this talent to some extent. I'm no dwarf expert, but that immediately makes me think of derro, not duergar. I'll have to do a little digging around on that one, unless any of you learned scribes already know the answer.

On a downside, even though I was excited by the locale of Thay for this story, this Thay didn't quite measure up. A ton of the major players were featured, but in a crammed-in fashion that didn't really let any of them breathe much or display their character. I think I hold Lynn Abbey's The Simbul's Gift as the bar for Thay-based stories, and it's just not likely anyone else is going to write it as well.

It also got just a touch ridiculous at the end, what with Tam basically handing over the majority of the country's defenses to an outsider who really has no believable motivation to save them. Justikar controls the entire darkenbeast fleet, while Tazi (due to some bizarre and rushed rituals) becomes some kind of undead/orc-lord to control the split forces of the juju zombies and the alchemically altered "Blooded Ones". If you haven't read this book you probably are scratching your head at the last sentence. Basically, Szass Tam "marks" Tazi with his own arcane seal in the form of a magical tattoo that gives her full control over his undead horde. Then she is dipped in some kind of alchemical solution they use on baby orcs to give them greater strength and ferocity. It almost invariably kills all adults (of any race), but of course Thazienne is the exception and she survives the "Weapon X" process. This forces the orcs to see her as an equal, and thus they will follow her into battle. Both of these transformations take place in the span of about 2 pages, and had me bewildered.

So now how many of the Uskevrens have transformed into some kind of supernatural advanced-being?
- Talbot starts off as a werewolf in the very first story, so he gets a pass.
- Tamlin goes from ineffectual fop to some kind of Dream Sorcerer.
- Cale (while not an actual Uskevren, he just lives with them) takes on a bunch of shadow stuff and I'm guessing he is now a full shade, or at least shares many properties with them
- Thazienne goes from sneak-thief to some kind of Ghoul-Lord/Orc-Queen that might give Obould a run for his money. Though it appears she is scrubbed of both conditions before leaving Thay.
- I don't know if there's more to Larajin's arc, but it seems she's some kind of dual-Chosen of two deities.

It's like each author is trying to out-awesome the other. Dial it down a bit guys, it's starting to read like a comic book.

Ok, with that out of the way, this was an enjoyable book, warts and all. I don't know if the events in this book start the process of Thay's transformation or not. Seravin had mentioned quite a while back what's in store for this country and I'm not a fan at all of what it is going to turn into.

Up next: not sure, I have to do a quick scan to see if I can go back to the Erevis trilogy or if I need to read anything else in between.
Go to Top of Page

Lamora
Seeker

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2017 :  15:30:26  Show Profile Send Lamora a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Huh. I don't think I have ever even heard of this book. But I do really enjoy Thay, so I might look into getting it.

I am really enjoying your romp through the Realms. As someone who started with Salvatore and branched out into a few other series in the Realms, I missed most of the stand alones and older series. Its nice to see someone's perspective on them. Keep up the great work.
Go to Top of Page

Madpig
Learned Scribe

Finland
124 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2017 :  07:36:46  Show Profile Send Madpig a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lamora

Huh. I don't think I have ever even heard of this book. But I do really enjoy Thay, so I might look into getting it.

I am really enjoying your romp through the Realms. As someone who started with Salvatore and branched out into a few other series in the Realms, I missed most of the stand alones and older series. Its nice to see someone's perspective on them. Keep up the great work.



Same here. This also makes me sad to see how many novels we got way back then. Always something to wait for. Thats why its good that I have never read any Harpers, Rogues, etc. stories.
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5654 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2017 :  12:58:24  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion


It's like each author is trying to out-awesome the other. Dial it down a bit guys, it's starting to read like a comic book.



Lol, yeah, I remember reading that Uskevren series and thinking to myself how much it reminded me of the old Thieve's World series (though Thieve's World was better). I just loved reading the authors talking about another author's characters and putting them down while building up their own. I remember there was like a witch maybe and a vampiress who did not like each other that did this a good bit. You know, there's probably a good 30-40 years on those novels, but I may need to pick them backup up for a reread.... if I can ever get my current pile of to do's down.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
791 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2017 :  18:12:12  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Thay - yes sorry if I spoiled what's in store, but the Haunted Lands books I just couldn't get through that series, and it doesn't help that the books are so poorly written (to me, and The Simbul's Gift and Red Magic handled Thay very well setting the bar high). Haunted Lands was WAY too much of the RSE-style that ended what most of us grognards loved about the Realms and the OGB; rather than creating something interesting they destroyed Thay as it was and made it into something popular at the time by World of Warcraft.

And Haunted Lands ushered in with it the Spellplague and time skip and pretty much killed the Realms for me....

I digress.

Go to Top of Page

Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
791 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2017 :  18:14:53  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Cale stories did to Sembia what Haunted Lands did to Thay - utterly change something I loved and thought was neat, for the sake of changing things to fit some flash in the pan storyline. So I don't like it. I know it's well written, but I liked Sembia as it was and is again, a merchant ruled meritocracy where money talks (with a thin veil of racism lingering against elves). Not some shade empire. Ugh.
Go to Top of Page

idilippy
Senior Scribe

USA
393 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2017 :  23:58:40  Show Profile Send idilippy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Remember the second set of Cale stories were written when the transition to 4e was happening and the shades taking over was going to happen anyways. The Erevis Cale trilogy was the first trilogy, a different trilogy.

Edit: very cool to see this thread. I've got different opinions about a number of your book reviews, especially the Alias stuff and Moonshae stuff, but reading every single realms book is an enormous undertaking and it's fun to see someone else do it and have to read through all the stuff I've flat out forgotten.

Also, apologies in advance if you don't like the out awesome each other thing haha it seems like the stakes only keep getting higher and the frequency of major world altering evens gets more ridiculous as you go along.

Edited by - idilippy on 15 Aug 2017 00:03:24
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
266 Posts

Posted - 17 Aug 2017 :  17:31:17  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
@Lamora and Madpig - thanks for the comments, it's been a lot of fun to sort of document and share this journey through the Realms novel line. Also it's sparked some fascinating discussion and occasionally some really juicy morsels of inside information when some of the authors or guys like George Krashos chime in.

@Sleyvas - I actually had several of the Thieves' World books in hand awhile back at a used bookstore but put them back on the shelf (since I was already buying about 12 Realms and Greyhawk books). I may just have to go back to that shop and pick up a few. How "D&Dish" is their fantasy world? Is it magic saturated or more conservative? Lots of monsters like dragons, griffons, orcs, etc or more human-centric? Any insight on their casting systems?

@Seravin - yeah, I know there's a lot of changes that took place to dull your enthusiasm for the books, but as Idilippy said, this first Cale trilogy isn't changing Sembia.

@Idilippy - welcome aboard and well met! Glad you are enjoying the thread. It doesn't surprise me that we don't see eye-to-eye on some of the older series, I get that a lot :) The Moonshaes seem to be especially polarizing - there are a few who really dig it (myself included) and others who feel very strongly negatively towards it, not much in the way of middle ground. I'm guessing you fall in the latter camp. As for the Alias stuff, I'll reiterate that I think the ideas and concepts are terrific, it's just the dopey dialogue that drags down what could otherwise be amazing stuff. But I recognize I'm very heavily in the minority on that, as that trilogy appears to be one of the more beloved. We can pick that scab again if you wish, I'm always up for a lively debate, and I've found there are some cool cats on this site that can have a civil and interesting conversation even when we are miles apart in opinion.

Ok, that out of the way, I finished Dawn of Night and found it continued the excellence of the first book.

How terrific was Kemp's portrayal of Skullport?!?!? I've seen this cesspool described in several different works now, from several different authors, and Kemp's was my favorite thus far. It was so gritty, nasty, and foul, I could practically feel the grime on my fingers transferring from the book. I like that he takes a very adult approach, not afraid to talk very frankly about narcotics, slavery, prostitution, and all the various seedy elements of the city (also he's not afraid to sneak some curses in there, something not seen in the vast majority of TSR/WoTC books). His depiction of Skullport made me truly feel like I will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy on the face of Toril.

I found it amusing that Cale and Riven repeatedly stressed to Jak how awful Skullport is, and that nothing they can do can "fix" it. They went out of their way to tell Jak not to get involved trying to help anyone as it would jeopardize the mission. Then, after drilling this into Fleet's head, they are the first two to break their own rule. Cale starts a tavern brawl over the honor of a pretty, young barmaid, and Riven murders some pirates right out in the open streets to save an elderly dog from getting killed. Don't get me wrong, I was 100% on board with both their actions, I just found it amusing that they were so worried about Jak going "white knight", and they were the ones that let Skullport get under their skins.

Speaking of both of those events, I really liked Varra. We didn't get to see a whole lot of her, but I hope she makes an appearance in the third book. I guess that'll depend on the fate of Skullport, as all I know right now is that the magical mantle that powers the Skulls and supports the ceiling got sucked pretty much dry, and the whole dang cavern might be falling in. As for Riven and his rescue of the old hound with the broken leg - I felt like I held my breath for that entire section. At the logical level I know it's just a book and there is no real dog, but I was really invested in that scene and ready to be furious if the dog was killed.

The caravan ambush was also really well done. Kemp does such a masterful job of amping up the drama and anticipation - when all the various elements were coming together and Cale and Co. passed right by an invisible Azriim so close as to almost be touching, all the while being mindlinked through Magadon... That scene was intense. Many of these moments play out like a movie in my mind, and the suspense and tension were palpable.

I have a gut feeling Riven's betrayal at the end was a play. Even with Cale's preternatural resilience and regeneration, I feel like Riven would've been able to do enough damage to kill him permanently if that were his desire. Cale even noted that "the one-eyed assassin knew how to kill" as he was getting carved up. I feel like Riven's strikes were calculated to bring an excruciating amount of pain and damage, but stop just a hair short of being terminal. Hell, he probably even had fun doing it, based on some of their cantankerous exchanges throughout this book. I guess that's something we can revisit after I finish the trilogy.

Up next: [TBD]
I don't see anything in 2005 that would interfere with Midnight's Mask, so I'm just going to go ahead and finish this trilogy!

Edited by - VikingLegion on 17 Aug 2017 17:40:23
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 20 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Previous 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