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  Topic Next Topic
Page: of 32

VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
380 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2019 :  21:04:24  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gylippus,
That's a pretty interesting coincidence that we both recently finished books that take place in Chult, albeit they are like 140 or so years apart from each other. My writeup of Ring of Winter is back on page 4 if you're interested. I definitely got the same British explorer vibe as you (I think anyone would, it was laid on pretty thick). My thoughts on the wombats: "The talking wombats, complete with cockney accents, were particularly painful to read, and I tried my hardest to ignore them completely." It was also one of the first and only things Seravin and I have ever agreed on :)

I had forgotten about the paladins of Ubtao until I went back and re-read my writeup, especially the zombie lord dude who lives in a mansion on the back of a giant tortoise. I wonder whatever happened to that group, or if Ubtao is still even a deity in this new post-Spellplague Forgotten Realms.

Anyway, welcome aboard to this thread. On it's current page we are into the novels of 2009 or so. But if you're reading from the beginning and want to discuss any of the earlier stuff, absolutely feel free to quote an old post, even if it's way back on an early page. This thread is all about re-living the journey.



Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
380 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2019 :  21:37:27  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Last night I finished Downshadow. This was an up and down experience for me. I've had a hard time thus far getting into the works of Erik Scott De Bie, his style just doesn't suit me. But this book started off really dark and gritty, much more mature than his usual fare. It centers around a vigilante who prowls the streets at night, cleaning up the criminal element of Waterdeep while working a desk job by day among the Guard. It starts to get a little bit sillier with all the various newspapers acting like the Enquirer and other tabloid rags of their day, but I was still on board. Where it started to fall apart for me a bit was during the big Masquerade revel/ball held in the temple of Sune. The main character, Kalen, had no fewer than 8 female characters vying for his attention at one point, most of which were just typical fantasy-novel dumb, tropey sluts.

Araezra, the Captain of the Guard, was probably the most frustratingly written of them all. She is best known for two things - her almost unearthly beauty (of course) and the iron discipline that allowed her to become the youngest female ever to reach the rank of valabrar. Ok, so if she's this paragon of self-control, why is every other scene show her crying, pounding her fist into a wall, or showing some other form of hysterics because Kalen (the one man in Waterdeep she can't have) won't reciprocate her feelings?

The others followed various typical conventions - the damsel in distress, the uppity bitch, etc. The most interesting of them was Fayne, she had this manic "Harley Quinn" type quality to her that was exasperating at times, but interesting in a wicked kind of way for the most part.

Still, the story got almost completely lost for me for at least a third of the book and devolved into something that more resembled a cheesy teen drama on the CW channel. It got a little creepy when Kalen, who had taken in a young female waif with no memory, starts developing a budding romance with the girl who is like half his age. He seems to have a thing for saving helpless females (especially girls just budding into womanhood) who then of course have to express their gratitude in any way they can...

I thought this excerpt showed his pervy side the best:
"Kalen had seen Fayne nearly naked at the temple, but that had been different. A battle, when his blood was up. Now, her skin seemed smooth and soft.
She was so very vulnerable, deprived of clothing. She seemed younger and lighter - fragile.
Like Myrin."


But then, in the last 50 pages or so the book shifts gears back to being totally badass. The interactions between Kalen and Rath (a dwarven assassin who might've been the most compelling character) and also between Kalen and Fayne were terrific. Great writing, inspired dialogue and insight into their psyches, I couldn't believe it was the same book.

So again, a really uneven experience. The highs were very high, but the lows... well, you get the idea. Ed Greenwood absolutely gushes with praise for this story, both on the back of the book and again in the Intro. The silliness and.. well.. teenage-boy wish-fulfillment aspect of the revel (a banquet hall full of exotic, gorgeous women fighting over one man) read a lot like one of his novels, so I can see why he enjoyed it so much. It was worth reading for the good parts

Up next I go back to the Wilds series for the The Restless Shore.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 02 Feb 2019 21:44:07
Go to Top of Page

Madpig
Learned Scribe

Finland
135 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  06:24:57  Show Profile Send Madpig a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Last night I finished Downshadow. This was an up and down experience for me. I've had a hard time thus far getting into the works of Erik Scott De Bie, his style just doesn't suit me. But this book started off really dark and gritty, much more mature than his usual fare. It centers around a vigilante who prowls the streets at night, cleaning up the criminal element of Waterdeep while working a desk job by day among the Guard. It starts to get a little bit sillier with all the various newspapers acting like the Enquirer and other tabloid rags of their day, but I was still on board. Where it started to fall apart for me a bit was during the big Masquerade revel/ball held in the temple of Sune. The main character, Kalen, had no fewer than 8 female characters vying for his attention at one point, most of which were just typical fantasy-novel dumb, tropey sluts.

Araezra, the Captain of the Guard, was probably the most frustratingly written of them all. She is best known for two things - her almost unearthly beauty (of course) and the iron discipline that allowed her to become the youngest female ever to reach the rank of valabrar. Ok, so if she's this paragon of self-control, why is every other scene show her crying, pounding her fist into a wall, or showing some other form of hysterics because Kalen (the one man in Waterdeep she can't have) won't reciprocate her feelings?

The others followed various typical conventions - the damsel in distress, the uppity bitch, etc. The most interesting of them was Fayne, she had this manic "Harley Quinn" type quality to her that was exasperating at times, but interesting in a wicked kind of way for the most part.

Still, the story got almost completely lost for me for at least a third of the book and devolved into something that more resembled a cheesy teen drama on the CW channel. It got a little creepy when Kalen, who had taken in a young female waif with no memory, starts developing a budding romance with the girl who is like half his age. He seems to have a thing for saving helpless females (especially girls just budding into womanhood) who then of course have to express their gratitude in any way they can...

I thought this excerpt showed his pervy side the best:
"Kalen had seen Fayne nearly naked at the temple, but that had been different. A battle, when his blood was up. Now, her skin seemed smooth and soft.
She was so very vulnerable, deprived of clothing. She seemed younger and lighter - fragile.
Like Myrin."


But then, in the last 50 pages or so the book shifts gears back to being totally badass. The interactions between Kalen and Rath (a dwarven assassin who might've been the most compelling character) and also between Kalen and Fayne were terrific. Great writing, inspired dialogue and insight into their psyches, I couldn't believe it was the same book.

So again, a really uneven experience. The highs were very high, but the lows... well, you get the idea. Ed Greenwood absolutely gushes with praise for this story, both on the back of the book and again in the Intro. The silliness and.. well.. teenage-boy wish-fulfillment aspect of the revel (a banquet hall full of exotic, gorgeous women fighting over one man) read a lot like one of his novels, so I can see why he enjoyed it so much. It was worth reading for the good parts

Up next I go back to the Wilds series for the The Restless Shore.



My feelings of this novel were pretty much the same as yours. I have re-read it only once, and that means that the book was not too good. 2nd on the series I read again once too, but the 3rd was a really a struggle to go through even once.

I only liked the premise, really flawed hero on physical sense. As normally we have only superpeople as heroes.
Go to Top of Page

Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
872 Posts

Posted - 08 Feb 2019 :  14:15:13  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Gylippus,
That's a pretty interesting coincidence that we both recently finished books that take place in Chult, albeit they are like 140 or so years apart from each other. My writeup of Ring of Winter is back on page 4 if you're interested. I definitely got the same British explorer vibe as you (I think anyone would, it was laid on pretty thick). My thoughts on the wombats: "The talking wombats, complete with cockney accents, were particularly painful to read, and I tried my hardest to ignore them completely." It was also one of the first and only things Seravin and I have ever agreed on :)



Lies and slander! We agree on most things...just not on the awesome-sauce that is Azure Bonds!

I don't really enjoy Eric's novels either, but he's not the worst offender for writing like a WB-style teen drama in the Realms' library!
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
380 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2019 :  13:20:44  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished The Restless Shore a couple days ago. First off, I think James P. Davis is an underrated author. He does such a great job of conveying mood and a sort of creepy vibe I've found to be present in all 3 of the books I've read from him so far. He tends to write about out-of-the way, remote locations, never anything in the "mainstream". But I see he has a Waterdeep novel coming up, so that will be interesting for me to see if he changes up anything in his style.

I read this entire book not even knowing where the hell in the world it was set. I feared looking it up for spoilers, so I just researched it now. It's set in Akanul, which apparently is a transplant from Abeir that fused over to Toril as a result of the Spellplague. I still don't know all the ramifications of what happened during that event, the novels seem to just sort of nibble on the periphery without ever coming out and fully explaining things. I've always known there were "twin worlds" but still a bit more exposition on this end would be nice.

Genasi seem much different from anything I've known in my Planescape 2e experience. Now they can choose which element they belong to? Even more, they can alter it spontaneously? One of the main characters in this book favors her water aspect (much to the chagrin of her fire-loving family), but at several points in the heat of battle she goes all "Flame On!" I'm theorizing this is yet another 4e change, I know all the distinct elemental planes were merged into one dimension called the "Elemental Chaos" (yuck!) I don't know if that is supposed to be a wild maelstrom of all the elements swirling around, or if it's some kind of weird, undefined proto-matter that can take on the aspects of air, earth, fire, or water - and that's why these modern genasi can change on the fly. I guess it doesn't matter much, I'm just thinking out loud.

As for the story, we have a group of very broken adventurers trying to travel to an old town overrun by aboleth long ago in order to rescue a kidnapped sister of one of the protagonists. It was a really spooky, eerie tale (I really liked "The Choir") I know I'm guilty of using the term Lovecraftian far too much, but this story was just full of squirming, mutated, tentacled horrors, like a really twisted anime. For a long while I didn't really know who the main antagonist was, but once it became clear I thought it was such a cool and creepy idea. Davis's style is probably not for everyone (much like Ciencin and The Night Parade) but it worked for me.

Up next, I keep ping-ponging between The Wilds series and the EG Presents Waterdeep books. So, now I go back to the latter for the next installment: City of the Dead.
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31827 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2019 :  14:04:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, in 4E, the genasi went from "very rare, almost entirely human individuals with some slight elemental thing" to "dime-a-dozen humanoids with weird skintones, neon stripes, and KEWL elemental mashups and tricks never even hinted at before!"

It's one of the many reasons I did not embrace 4E.

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 09 Feb 2019 14:04:49
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
380 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2019 :  13:02:39  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Yeah, in 4E, the genasi went from "very rare, almost entirely human individuals with some slight elemental thing" to "dime-a-dozen humanoids with weird skintones, neon stripes, and KEWL elemental mashups and tricks never even hinted at before!"

It's one of the many reasons I did not embrace 4E.



4e Initial Concept Team:

"What if Michael Bay made a fantasy video game, and then we made a tabletop adaptation of said game?"
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
380 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2019 :  13:18:35  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished City of the Dead several days ago but couldn't get around to posting. This book was... strange but also very charming. Rosemary Jones definitely writes far differently from anyone else in the Realms group of authors. There are some who would read this novel and undoubtedly say "This doesn't feel like a Realms book!" and I might agree, although honestly, after all this time, I'm not sure I even know what that means anymore (if I ever did?)

This book is full of quirky but likeable characters. The violence is almost invariably non-lethal, just wrestling and bludgeoning type stuff. Jone's Waterdeep seems to be a more fey and whimsical place. I think this book was written with more of a YA sensibility in mind, which normally would turn me off, but I found it to be delightful. Many of the character names were ridiculous - like Leaplow and Cadriffle, but it didn't bother me. There was a small fey creature called a thorn named Briarsting who rode around on an animated topiary dragon who reminded me so much of Sir Didymus - the little terrier knight who rode on the back of a sheep dog in the movie Labyrinth. This book was practically screaming for Tony DiTerlizzi or Brian Froud to provide illustrations. In fact, if City of the Dead were made into a movie (obviously that would never happen), it would almost certainly require the Jim Henson studios to provide the visual look.

There were no high stakes here, no universe-threatening evil. Just a couple of feuding nobles and a haunting curse that caused the dead within Waterdeep's cemetery to get very restless. Normally this confluence of so many YA elements would turn me off from a story, but in this exception I found it to be a very fun and enjoyable read.

I've gone back to the Wilds and am about halfway through The Edge of Chaos.
Go to Top of Page

gylippus
Acolyte

4 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2019 :  02:38:26  Show Profile Send gylippus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Night Parade was a tough read for me, it feels the least "Realms" like of the Harper series; it's very HP Lovecraft to me. Interested to hear your thoughts. I liked Red Magic mostly because Thay under the Zulkirs representing all the schools of magic was such a cool idea (MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER THAN LICH-KING THAY! ugh don't get me started on that). I liked seeing how Thay manipulated weather to create orange groves and fertile lands, used zombies as slave labour, and how centaurs were part of daily life there. I would have liked to see more of the Simbul's Aglarond in the novel though.



Yeah, I really liked the school specialist magocracy, it made for a unique country with great originality and tons of political intrigue as each school believes itself to be the strongest. You raise an interesting point about zombie slave labor. Now, I wouldn't want a decomposing man to harvest my produce, but I could certainly see utilizing them as miners - a job with a terribly high mortality rate, exhausting work conditions, exposure to bad air - things a zombie wouldn't be even remotely affected by. I don't know anything about "Lich King Thay", as my FR knowledge only took me up to the mid/late 1990s, but I can only surmise the obvious and that Szass Tam must have eventually succeeded in supplanting his fellow zulkirs. I'll let you know how I feel about that once I've crossed that bridge, but I suspect I'll feel the same way you do, in that a "necropolis" theme has been done before, and Thay has become less special.

I've been on the graveyard shift this week, which means LOTS of time to read whiling away the hours, and have finished two books, the first of which is The Night Parade. It's funny Seravin, I'm not sure we'll ever see eye-to-eye on anything :) As you mentioned, this book had a Lovecraftian vibe to it. Maybe it's the HPL superfan in me talking, or perhaps it's just that we're in October when my mind switches into creepy/horror mode, but I thought this book was TERRIFIC. Definitely the best of the Harpers series thus far (only Elfshadow even comes close) and lands in my top ten overall (covering only 1987-1991 at this time).

I thought it curious when you said it "feels the least Realms" to you, and wouldn't mind hearing you expound on that statement. Is it because of the horror theme in general? Or specifically the concept of the Night Parade? I didn't have a whole lot of the FR sourcebooks, so I don't know if these creatures have any kind of established canon, or if Ciencin went a bit off the reservation and just freelanced this story. In that vein, I've often wondered just how much personal freedom any FR author had back in those days. Was there strong communication between the various writers, or did they more or less have free reign to set up shop in their own little corners and do their thing with little editorial oversight? Back to it being "Realms/Non-Realms", well I guess maybe I don't have a strong notion of what that is supposed to mean. As an open sandbox type of shared world, I see it as a massive patchwork quilt of various styles and sensibilities - from swashbuckling to grimdark, serious to campy, and various levels of low/high magic fantasy dependent on the author and region being written about.

Anyway, to somewhat get back on track, I very much enjoyed this novel. As a lover of horror, this book gave me a bit of a Hellraiser feel, I pictured the various forms of the Night Parade members to be something like the Cenobites. But then there was also the aspect of them coming to town like some demonic gypsy carnival, playing their music, enchanting the public - this gave me a bit of a "Something Wicked This Way Comes" feel. Lastly, this book had some pretty seriously overt sexuality to it, which surprised me in that many of the TSR/WotC books of this age were teen targeted, and while flirting with sexual themes, rarely crossed a certain line. Night Parade gleefully went right over this limitation several times, which made me enjoy it even more for pushing the boundaries.

Again, maybe it's just because Halloween is right around the corner, but this book pushed all the right buttons for me. Sure, maybe it's a less conventional Realms book, but that didn't hinder my enjoyment of it one bit.



So, I just read Night Parade and I wanted t put in my 2 cents worth. I totally agree with VikingLegion that it is one of the best books in FR, at least out of the ones I have read. The characters are written on a much deeper level than many other books and the author introduces us to many interesting characters and then kills off most of them. I appreciate the fact that he kills many of the characters because some authors seem to have issues with killing their creations. Plus, this book was written in the early 90s and has a very strong female lead character, which is refreshing. Ok, on to some details.

I especially liked Lucius the mage. I was really starting t enjoy his character when he was killed, but his death fit the story and he went out on a noble note. Towards the end of the book I appreciated the fact that the author made me feel for Imperator Zeal and Tamara. I would have liked to see them live, but yet again their deaths were written well. Plus, I was enjoying the budding romance between Krystin and Ord. I would have liked to see those two characters in another book. If they are, let me know. Lord Sixx was well written. He was one of those villains you just loved to hate. On the other hand, you almost feel a little sorry for the Night Parade because they lost their own world and need the apparatus to make more 'monsters'. You really understand their motivations, which helps the story.

Someone mentioned that the book felt like H.P. Lovecraft. Funny you should say that, I definitely got that vibe, but I don't think it took away from the story. It was certainly different than many FR novels, but that is what makes it interesting.

One point. At the end of the book they mention there are 2 million people in Calimport and my jaw hit the floor. I have read a decent amount of FR novels back in the day and I always got the idea the biggest cities had like 100 - 200k people. For some reason, I just couldn't get over that number. The historian in me started thinking about how big that was. Yes, I know ancient Rome had over 1 million people, and probably Constantinople, and cities in India and China, but those were the most massive and grand cities in the entire world at their time. I also thought about how much food you would need to feed that many people. Anyway, maybe someone could fill me in on population levels in FR.

Lastly, who the heck was the guy on the cover of the book? He didn't look like Lord Sixx at all. He looks like an ice genie or something. So, yea, the cover art is terrible.
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 32  Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2019 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000