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Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2015 :  22:48:06  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

Oh my those crossover novels were just horrible.


Tymora's luck was an awesome book
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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
533 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2015 :  02:12:23  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm

quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

Oh my those crossover novels were just horrible.


Tymora's luck was an awesome book



I'm glad you enjoyed it. I did not enjoy the characters and the story was cheesy. I am however, biased against cross over novels. I VERY much dislike it when authors write about characters that did not originate with said authors. I know it happens all the time (Elminster) but it's magnified when it's done across game settings.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29798 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2015 :  05:12:34  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm

quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

Oh my those crossover novels were just horrible.


Tymora's luck was an awesome book



I'm glad you enjoyed it. I did not enjoy the characters and the story was cheesy. I am however, biased against cross over novels. I VERY much dislike it when authors write about characters that did not originate with said authors. I know it happens all the time (Elminster) but it's magnified when it's done across game settings.





But most of those characters did originate with those authors... Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak came up with Finder, Holly, and Joel, and Jasmine originated in the Forgotten Realms comic -- which Jeff Grubb wrote.

Also, considering that Planescape was the planar structure the Realms were set in, and that the books deal with FR powers, it's easy enough to argue that the books don't cross game settings -- the Realms was part of Planescape.

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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 20 Aug 2015 :  20:13:26  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Pools of Radiance while on vacation last week. It felt very amateurish to me, more like the transcript of a gaming session than a novel. One could almost hear the d20s rolling around in the background. The dialogue didn't help - the dopey exchanges between Shal and her horse were particularly cringe worthy. And much like a Grubb/Novak novel, this book had several usages of modern day slang and jargon. Just a little bit of period writing from time to time would do wonders for enhancing the mood for these books, I'm hoping to see the quality increase once I get past the mid 90s and start to experience the new (well, new to me) crop of FR authors. Much like Grubb, I think Jim Ward is a strong game designer, but it doesn't translate all that well to being a novelist.

All that being said, it wasn't an awful book, just not a very good one. I've certainly read far worse, and I'm not dreading two more installments in the Pools series.

Well, that completely finished me up through 1989 in this little project, I've now started in on Horselords.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 20 Aug 2015 20:15:46
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Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 24 Aug 2015 :  00:37:10  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished Pools of Radiance while on vacation last week. It felt very amateurish to me, more like the transcript of a gaming session than a novel. One could almost hear the d20s rolling around in the background. The dialogue didn't help - the dopey exchanges between Shal and her horse were particularly cringe worthy. And much like a Grubb/Novak novel, this book had several usages of modern day slang and jargon. Just a little bit of period writing from time to time would do wonders for enhancing the mood for these books, I'm hoping to see the quality increase once I get past the mid 90s and start to experience the new (well, new to me) crop of FR authors. Much like Grubb, I think Jim Ward is a strong game designer, but it doesn't translate all that well to being a novelist.

All that being said, it wasn't an awful book, just not a very good one. I've certainly read far worse, and I'm not dreading two more installments in the Pools series.

Well, that completely finished me up through 1989 in this little project, I've now started in on Horselords.



If you like Mongolian lore and Genghis Khan, you will love this series.

I personally enjoyed it to death. I know a lot of people did not like it. I have a love hate relationship with the final book. Some things I loved. Some I hated.
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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
533 Posts

Posted - 25 Aug 2015 :  00:36:38  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm

quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

Oh my those crossover novels were just horrible.


Tymora's luck was an awesome book



I'm glad you enjoyed it. I did not enjoy the characters and the story was cheesy. I am however, biased against cross over novels. I VERY much dislike it when authors write about characters that did not originate with said authors. I know it happens all the time (Elminster) but it's magnified when it's done across game settings.





But most of those characters did originate with those authors... Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak came up with Finder, Holly, and Joel, and Jasmine originated in the Forgotten Realms comic -- which Jeff Grubb wrote.

Also, considering that Planescape was the planar structure the Realms were set in, and that the books deal with FR powers, it's easy enough to argue that the books don't cross game settings -- the Realms was part of Planescape.



I'm meaning more of the whole trying to tie it in with (for example) Fistandantilus and other garbage. I'm just biased against I will just come right out and say it. I hate when worlds collide and they try to tie in different authors characters from different settings. I UNDERSTAND the multi-verse. I still play Spelljammer. But just because worlds are connected doesn't mean they need to cross pollinate their major characters in novels.

It's just a personal preference thing, nothing against people that liked it. I know some people think it would be cool for Tasslehoff to show up in the Realms or Fizban to go to Greyhawk etc. I'm just not into that stuff.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29798 Posts

Posted - 25 Aug 2015 :  03:01:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, Ol' Fisty was only in the one book, and other than introducing the one character that didn't really need an introduction, the book did nothing for the trilogy. I'd not hold the failings of that one novel against the other two.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 26 Aug 2015 :  15:59:51  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm
If you like Mongolian lore and Genghis Khan, you will love this series.

I personally enjoyed it to death. I know a lot of people did not like it. I have a love hate relationship with the final book. Some things I loved. Some I hated.



I'm an eclectic history buff, enjoying many different cultures/regions/ages, so yes I definitely liked the Genghis vibe from this book.

If I can tangent for a bit, I once read an extremely derogatory post about the Forgotten Realms, dismissing it as nothing more than a world full of boring real Earth analogues. While I can certainly see the similarities of the various cultures, I don't see that as a weakness of FR, but rather a strength. It makes the Realms vastly mutable into whatever world you and your table prefer it to be. I have a friend who is very much into "Arabian Nights" type storytelling. He developed and ran his own Al-Qadim campaign. I have another friend who lived a few years in China and has always been enamored with Far East culture, so in the game I ran I made sure to have a several-months long arc that included traveling to Kara-Tur and Wa. My personal tastes are for Nordic/Scandanavian mythology, and I also like Greek/Roman stuff quite a bit as well (as you might surmise from my user handle). So for me, the Realms are far from a fantasy Earth knockoff, it is a wonderful palette that can become whatever style of adventure a group gravitates towards.

Ok, if you'll allow me to tangent from my tangent: I just got back from 8 days in Scotland, and I'm currently obsessed with Scottish culture/history, particularly the Highland clans and the "Jacobite Rebellions" against the British oppressors. Is there an area in the Realms that is somewhat analogous to the Scottish Highlanders? Some area that contains proud clans who are constantly beset by a stronger, more imperial neighbor that tries to erase their cultural identity by banning their language, their mode of dress, their songs and musical instruments?

Sorry, back on topic. I very much enjoyed Horselords. I've mentioned earlier in this thread how some authors (Grubb, Ward) are strong game designers but their novels don't work for me. In the case of David Cook, I loved his work on the Kara-Tur and Planescape settings, really top-notch stuff. I can see why this novel might have its detractors, it's a bit of a slow burn, with much of the book introducing us to Tuigan culture. In fact, some might say it's a game supplement turned into a novel, and while that might make it dry and boring for some, I was fascinated with learning their society and customs. I think Yamun Khahan is an interesting character - I vacillate between respecting him for being an uncompromising man who goes 100% after what he wants, and despising him for being a heartless monster. He contrasts well with the sheepish Koja, who is his polar opposite in nearly every way.

Excellent start to this series, and I will eagerly dive into book 2: Dragonwall tonight or tomorrow.
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
787 Posts

Posted - 26 Aug 2015 :  21:04:29  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Horselords was a great novel, very interesting and I felt it brought a lot of depth to the Realms sub-cultures. It made you feel what it was like to live among the Horde.

Dragonwall was NOT a good book for me, plot wise. I got very annoyed with a few things when I read it. I think Horselords is the best of the series.
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BenN
Learned Scribe

Japan
335 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2015 :  01:08:41  Show Profile Send BenN a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion
Is there an area in the Realms that is somewhat analogous to the Scottish Highlanders? Some area that contains proud clans who are constantly beset by a stronger, more imperial neighbor that tries to erase their cultural identity by banning their language, their mode of dress, their songs and musical instruments?


I'd say the area of the Realms closest to Scotland is Gwynneth in the Moonshae Isles, beset by Amn.
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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
533 Posts

Posted - 30 Aug 2015 :  02:24:32  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm
If you like Mongolian lore and Genghis Khan, you will love this series.

I personally enjoyed it to death. I know a lot of people did not like it. I have a love hate relationship with the final book. Some things I loved. Some I hated.




Ok, if you'll allow me to tangent from my tangent: I just got back from 8 days in Scotland, and I'm currently obsessed with Scottish culture/history, particularly the Highland clans and the "Jacobite Rebellions" against the British oppressors. Is there an area in the Realms that is somewhat analogous to the Scottish Highlanders? Some area that contains proud clans who are constantly beset by a stronger, more imperial neighbor that tries to erase their cultural identity by banning their language, their mode of dress, their songs and musical instruments?

Sorry, back on topic. I very much enjoyed Horselords. I've mentioned earlier in this thread how some authors (Grubb, Ward) are strong game designers but their novels don't work for me. In the case of David Cook, I loved his work on the Kara-Tur and Planescape settings, really top-notch stuff. I can see why this novel might have its detractors, it's a bit of a slow burn, with much of the book introducing us to Tuigan culture. In fact, some might say it's a game supplement turned into a novel, and while that might make it dry and boring for some, I was fascinated with learning their society and customs. I think Yamun Khahan is an interesting character - I vacillate between respecting him for being an uncompromising man who goes 100% after what he wants, and despising him for being a heartless monster. He contrasts well with the sheepish Koja, who is his polar opposite in nearly every way.

Excellent start to this series, and I will eagerly dive into book 2: Dragonwall tonight or tomorrow.



The Moonshaes are probably as close to Scotland as you'll be able to get. The 2nd trilogy set in the Moonshaes is better than the first if my memory serves.

I agree with your take on Horselords. It's a very slow read but the amazing detail and the dichotomy between Koja and Yamun and the various situations that are presented is more than sufficient to carry the reader providing they are half way interested in the events of the book.

As I've said in previous posts, DEEP well developed characters and good writing can cover up a multitude of problems, including a lack of action. Deep well developed characters are something that has been distinctly lacking in the vast majority of the novels you've read so far perhaps except for Azure Bonds.

It will be great when you get to the other Elaine Cunningham and Ed Greenwood books.
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 30 Aug 2015 :  05:02:32  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Dragonwall tonight and found it to be another strong showing in the Empires Trilogy. Whereas the first book gave us an extraordinary look into Tuigan culture, the follow-up shows us a good deal of life in Kara-Tur, albeit not in the same level of detail. Rather than day-to-day life of a common foot soldier, we see the high-stakes life of the nobles - complete with all the back-stabbing and political maneuvering one would expect. I thought the arrogance of the Shou was written well, as they seek to recreate the Celestial Bureaucracy in their own courts, but of course fall short due to typical human corruption and red-tape.

I also liked the dual story of Batu Min Ho out in the field and his family back in Tai Tung. I'm guessing some readers didn't care for the chapters concerning Wu and the children, but having been to the actual Summer Palace in Beijing, these chapters really came to life for me. I respect that the author made Wu a kung-fu expert but resisted the temptation to go overboard with it; she was a good fighter but nothing ridiculously over-the-top. I was saddened by her fate, but again I admired Denning for not pulling any punches here, particularly in not sparing the children. Gruesome? Yes, but also very believable.

I also thought Batu's decision to abandon Shou culture was well handled. From the very beginning of the story we could see his gradual disenchantment with the system, then of course there were some major events that pushed him over the edge. The only part I found to be a reach was in how he resigned his post. His outburst was a bit much. Yeah, you don't just talk to the Divine Emperor like that and walk away with your head attached to your shoulders.

Seravin, care to share what it was about this book that didn't sit well with you?

All in all I thought this was an excellent story, perhaps just a touch behind the first book. I hope to start in on Crusade by Monday.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 30 Aug 2015 05:03:26
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 30 Aug 2015 :  05:09:58  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cards77
It will be great when you get to the other Elaine Cunningham and Ed Greenwood books.



Should be about another month. After I wrap up Empires I plan to read the Maztica Trilogy, and then start in on the Harpers series. I believe there's a Cunningham very early on in there, maybe book 2.
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
787 Posts

Posted - 30 Aug 2015 :  14:22:08  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This scroll had my issues with Dragonwall. I never got a satisfactory answer to my issue either.

http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15398&SearchTerms=dragonwall
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 31 Aug 2015 :  06:23:27  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

This scroll had my issues with Dragonwall. I never got a satisfactory answer to my issue either.

http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15398&SearchTerms=dragonwall



Ok, I read that scroll and you raise some very valid points. I can't say that I have great answers to your questions, but I'll offer up my ill-conceived attempts anyway:

(1) You mentioned Yamun values honor above all else. I would contest that view and say he values conquest above all else. Yes, he has a certain code amongst his people, but (to borrow from Dragonlance) this is no Solamnic Knight that will salute an enemy on the battlefield and face him in chivalric combat. A great deal of the Tuigan battle strategy revolves around deception - false charges, followed by fake retreats, sucking an enemy into an area where their flanks get engulfed. Even the supposed brotherly code of his khans and the concept of anda is more of a tool for Yamun and his oversized ego to extend his domination over everyone else. The CEO of the last job I worked at prior to my present one was very Yamun-like in attitude. In fact, I found myself subbing in his name for Yamun from time to time as I was reading this series! He always preached things like teamwork, loyalty, and so on, but it was plain as day that increasing his "empire" was always the first, and only, priority. Yamun Khahan is a megalomaniac of the highest order, one need look only to his own self-absorbed titles. So no, I don't think he's above using a foreign spy to advance his own ambitions. He doesn't love the concept of spies, but that's probably in the context of one of his own betraying him is an unthinkable shot to his ego. Using outside spies is likely a bit distasteful for him, but not out of the question. He certainly had no problem bringing Koja into his ordu to enhance his power.

(2) Ting's motivation.... that's a tough one. She certainly has a pretty cushy life as a Shou mandarin. Why risk it? Maybe she has a wu-jen diviner in her pocket that warned her Yamun is a man of destiny and an up-and-comer out in the horse plains. On the off chance he may one day sack Shou-Lung, Ting reaches out to him first to feel him out, see if she can get in his good graces (the same wu-jen could've made the language barrier trivial). If he is as powerful as her wizard's omens have foretold, she's just trying to get on the winning side early in the game. If he turns out to be just another barbarian scum, no big deal, her involvement is kept secret and she loses nothing. By supporting both sides she simply hedged her bets so that she has friends on either side of the conflict.

Ok, but why actively help the Tuigans with stolen intel? Well, she has to give him something to prove she is an ally, otherwise why would Yamun spare her if/when his conquest is complete. Also, maybe Ting never felt Yamun could conquer Shou-Lung, but merely be a very disruptive force, allowing her a chance to eliminate some political rivals and secure more power for herself in all the chaos. Nothing is more profitable to an opportunist than wartime.
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
787 Posts

Posted - 31 Aug 2015 :  19:03:53  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ugh I wrote a big long response but it's not worth hashing out. I strongly disagree (the end goal for a Mandarin should never be the barbarians win, and Yamun from book 1 would never use/trust a foriegn spy) and that's why I didn't like Dragonwall but liked Horselords. I'm perplexed that you had such an issue with the spoken line "I don't think we're in the Realms anymore." because it is similar to the Wizard of Oz, but have very little problems with major plot issues/contrivance/hand-waving explanations in Dragonwall. To each his own :)

Edited by - Seravin on 31 Aug 2015 19:15:53
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 31 Aug 2015 :  21:25:22  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, because I don't see it as contrivance or hand-waving. If I can summarize your two biggest hang-ups in a simplified manner, would it be fair to say: Ting wouldn't betray her country, and Yamun wouldn't utilize a foreign spy. Agree?

Ting, from the very second she walked into Dragonwall was immediately described by her mentor Ju-Hai Chou as "deadly ambitious" above all else. I just don't ascribe the same degree of patriotism to her that you seem to. She saw a chance to work both sides of a conflict, and like any good opportunist she worked both leaders to make herself appear indispensable to both sides. She was trying to "solve" the problem of security in front of the Divine Emperor, while secretly funneling information to Yamun. Her end game was unclear, my (purely) conjecture is that she thought this scum could never fully conquer Shou Lung, but they could cause enough chaos and destruction in their wake for Ting to increase her own powerbase. Maybe she planned all along to double-cross Yamun once he neared the capital, making herself out to be the grandest hero of the land for saving it. I don't know for sure, all I can do is speculate. I just don't think it's as far-fetched as you do that she isn't in lockstep with the Shou government.

As for Yamun, how do you feel about him taking in Koja? Here is a foreigner, and a scrawny, bookish, non-warrior at that, sharing kumiss with the mighty warlord. Yamun had no qualms about absorbing Koja into his ordu, using his knowledge of the region, employing him as a scribe, a historian, and an ambassador, and finally utilizing his power over the spirit world to breach the Dragonwall. I don't have any problem whatsoever imagining him entertaining Ting as a means to help secure victory over a rich and immense country with more soldiers than his own. If you think Yamun would prefer defeat with honor intact over victory by any means necessary, we are reading two vastly different characters.

Lastly, if I agreed with you that there was much contrivance/hand-waving going on, at the worst we could accuse Denning of making some writing mistakes. Hey, nobody's perfect. But with Grubb's "Wizard of Oz" (only one of at least a dozen such silly quips), it is intentional. You can't possibly add lines like that and not know that you are screwing around and being a goofball. That's what I find distasteful, it's completely immersion breaking.
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2015 :  19:01:53  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm
I have a love hate relationship with the final book. Some things I loved. Some I hated.



I finished Crusade two nights ago and, like you, had an up-and-down experience. I'll preface this by saying that I understand it couldn't be a 300 page fight sequence, that there had to be some build up and other events before the big combat, but....

The first 100 pages, where Azoun wrestles with "Am I doing the right thing" and we see the opposition from the Trappers Guild, was fairly boring and felt like forced drama. This made the 1st third of the book a tedious slog for me. The 2nd third didn't improve much, as the travel scenes were not highly interesting. The boat encounter with Umberlee didn't do much for me, the centaur encounter seemed like so much filler (used only to get the magic bracelet and falcon to Alusair), and Torg was maddeningly obstinate, even for a dwarf.

The final third was much better. The battle scenes were well-handled, and the dramatic swings in momentum made it exciting. I can't decide how I feel about Azoun's personal growth. The whole "don't lie or it will come back to haunt you" thing felt a little bit preachy, all commanders bend the truth at times to keep team morale up, so I'm going back and forth with that aspect of the story. Also, I haven't seen much of Vangerdahast before, but he is written as very unlikeable in this story. I'm eager to see how other authors portray his personality, though I'm not sure what other Cormyr-centric novels, if any, are in my near future, so it might be awhile on that.

All in all it was an ok novel, definitely the weakest of the three in this series, but it rallied strong enough towards the end to give Empires a strong finish. Overall it was a terrific trilogy. I've since started in on the Maztica Trilogy, with book 1: Ironhelm
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1381 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2015 :  20:27:31  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Some would say that allowing a fleeing foe to live is taking the high road -- after all, if he's fleeing, he's not a threat to you. A fleeing foe is no longer a combatant, and killing non-combatants is frequently frowned upon by goodly folks.
Yup, assumption that a running enemy isn't going to come back too soon is an important part. (if not always true)
quote:
Additionally, allowing an enemy to live means they have a chance to repent and come back to the Light Side.
I'm not saying that it was or wasn't the right choice. I'm just saying it's easy to see the thinking that lead to that particular choice.

Or pride - corpses don't tell anyone how cool you are.
Or desire to fight that opponent again (q.v.: Batman).
Or a habit - which could be part of Drizzt's case, he used to invent excuses for not bumping off someone.
A lot of reasons, really.
Or the author mucking around and stretching a plot until it tears.

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
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2015 :  04:08:06  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Ironhelm a couple nights ago and was very pleased. In much the same manner I enjoyed learning the Tuigan(Mongol) culture, I'm fascinated by the Maztican(Aztec/Incan/Mayan) theme going on. I find it to be a breath of fresh air, as you almost never see Mesoamerican culture tapped for fantasy - it's almost always Western European, with occasional dashes of Middle East and Far East, because genies and ninja are cool. There was even a mention for the justification of Cordell seeking a sea passage to Kara-Tur, as the land routes through the Hordelands are currently inaccessible due to Tuigan interference - so the mention of the trilogy I just finished up was a nice bit of synergy there.

I particularly like the contrast between pluma (feather) and hishna (claw/fang/scale) magic, and their respective champions - the Eagle and Jaguar Knights. The entire region and culture seems nicely developed to me, I don't know if Niles came up with most of this stuff, or if there was already a sourcebook out for this region that he tapped. Either way, I'm loving it.

The true nature of the Ancient Ones was fairly easy to predict. Not that I'm some kind of super-sleuth, but the clues were plentiful. I'm starting to suspect Darien - the "albino surface elf" with the aversion to sunlight, as being a drow sleeper agent - she's just too mysterious and ruthless. Also she rescued Cordell years before the story started, and therefore was responsible for the formation of the Golden Legion, eventually leading to the invasion of Maztica from the "white man" - which seemed to be the Ancient One's plan all along.

At any rate, I'm really enjoying this solid start to the trilogy and will most likely begin Viperhand tomorrow.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 08 Sep 2015 04:13:44
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Duneth Despana
Learned Scribe

Belgium
243 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2015 :  11:39:53  Show Profile Send Duneth Despana a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Is there an area in the Realms that is somewhat analogous to the Scottish Highlanders?



in the quote at the beginning of book four of Elaine Cunningham's Evermeet: Island of Elves (p. 309) a certain Carreigh Macumail mentions his highland kinfolk. I don't think you'll get any closer to a scottish clone in the Realms.

« There is no overriding « epic » in the Realms, but rather a large number of stories, adventures, and encounters going on all the time. [...]. Each creative mind adds to the base, creating, defining, and making their contribution to the rich diversity of the Realms. [...]. But Ed built the stage upon which all the plays are presented. Thanks Ed. » -FR Comic no.1
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2015 :  06:23:50  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Viperhand tonight. I really liked the first book, and this one was more of the same, so another strong showing by my opinion. Ironhelm didn't seem to engender any discussion, I'm wondering if Viperhand will be the same. Were these books not well received? Do people find them boring? Or just plain not good? I have enjoyed this trilogy quite a bit up to this point, although there was a part very late in book 2 that irked me:

The big volcano blows up, demonstrating Lolth's wrath, and she punishes her wayward children by turning them into driders. That's pretty standard Lolth vengeance, so far so good. But then the acidic rain hits the followers of Zaltec and transforms them - the rank and file soldiers become orcs, the Jaguar and Eagle Knights become ogres, and the priests become trolls. Wait... what? What in the world do those savage humanoid races have to do with anything thus far in this story, or Lolth, or Zaltec, or Maztica, or... or anything? I know Niles needed to create a large opposing force to be the bad guys for the 3rd book, but this seemed completely whacky and out of left field. Lolth has never shown any kind of affinity whatsoever for orcs, ogres, or trolls. The drider form being reserved for the drow who turned from her worship is excellent. But the human Nexalans should've been turned into Chitines, with the priests among them turned into Choldriths. I'm going to face a major disconnect in book 3, in fact I'm probably going to just gloss over the combat scenes and picture the enemy humanoids as chitines instead.

That being said, I'll start in on the finale, The Feathered Dragon tomorrow.
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 22 Sep 2015 :  05:42:55  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ok, I had a misunderstanding in the previous post. From the way it was written I thought that Lolth had stolen the energies from the Darkfyre and used that to transform the Cult of the Viperhand. True, she did turn her own rebellious drow into driders, but it was actually Zaltec that turned his followers into orcs, ogres, and trolls. At first I thought this made more sense, but on second review, it actually makes *less*. While not having an affinity for those races, at least Lolth has come into contact with them. They have never appeared anywhere on Maztica, Zaltec would have no reason whatsoever for choosing those savage humanoids as the new forms of his cultists.

I had to do some serious hand-waving to get through The Feathered Dragon. Aside from that grievance, this book was just ok - not nearly as good as the first two. Another huge problem came at the very end, when Qotal - who had been worshipped as a peaceful, benevolent deity suddenly turned into a major.... well I won't type it because I'm not sure what the limits on language are here at Candlekeep. It was a perplexing change that appeared completely out of left field.

So while the finale of this trilogy was a disappointment, I still liked the series overall based on the strength of the first book and most of the second. Apparently I'm alone in that assessment or just not a lot of folks have read the Maztica books. At any rate, tonight I started in on the Harpers series, which I will read intermittently between other series. Sometimes it's nice to get away from the trilogies and just read a self-contained story in one book. To that end, I have begun The Parched Sea.
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VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
246 Posts

Posted - 25 Sep 2015 :  05:53:59  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished The Parched Sea tonight. This is one of those stories that moves along well, is fairly satisfying, but if you ask me about it a year from now I'll only remember the characters of Lander and Ruha. That's not a knock against the book or Denning, there's just nothing amazingly good or glaringly bad about this novel. It's just a story that effectively tells a tale without a whole lot of frills or extras. Being that I knew very little about this region (other than in the days of Netheril) this was a good book to give me some insight into Anauroch and the Bedine people.

The last ~10 pages felt very rushed, as though the author let the page count get a little bit away from him, and then realized he only had a small amount of time to wrap it all up. Other than that, no significant complaints. It was a good start to the Harpers series, one which I will continue on with for the meantime. Next up is book 2: Elfshadow by Elaine Cunningham - who I have heard nothing but tremendous praise for, so I'm fighting the tendency to get over-hyped for this book.
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
787 Posts

Posted - 25 Sep 2015 :  16:47:41  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Parched Sea I thought was a good book, told a fine story and explored a new part of the Realms for me with a new culture. It felt like Horselords to me in some ways with the real world culture adapted to the Realms (nomadic Bedine desert tribes versus nomadic Mongolian type steppes tribes). Unfortunately, the next Ruha book The Veiled Dragon was...one of the worst books in the Harper series if not the Forgotten Realms series. The last chapter of The Parched Sea was definitely rushed, I agree. I wish it ended with Ruha and Lander in Sembia and the next book with Ruha had them together fighting the Sembian Cult of the Dragon cells. Sigh.

Hope you like Elfshadow.
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