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gylippus
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2019 :  13:01:18  Show Profile Send gylippus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by gylippus

This is the first book I have read by Victor Milan snip



He wrote a couple of BattleTech novels, back in the day, before they destroyed the setting with the Jihad. His books -- like many shared setting books -- were better than some of the others in the setting, and not as good as others. The main thing I remember about the books is that something just didn't quite click for me. I had no real issues with them, but for some reason, when I read them, there was something about them that I couldn't put my finger on, but that was enough to keep me from truly enjoying them. It was like there was some necessary thing that was missing.



I felt about the same way. Rather than truly enjoying the last fifty pages I found myself reading them as fast as possible just to get the book done.
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gylippus
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 11 Aug 2019 :  11:47:28  Show Profile Send gylippus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Finished reading Escape from Undermountain by Mark Anthony

It is hard to believe this book was written by the same author as Curse of the Shadowmage. In all respects it is a huge step backward.

I knew I was in trouble when I picked it up and looked at the cover. The art looks like Glenn Danzig from the Misfits. I turned it over and read the back. So this entire book is in one dungeon? That does not sound promising and it isn't.

The plot is easy to sum up. A noble, Darien, hires Artek to go into a dungeon under Waterdeep called Undermountain to 'rescue' a lost lord named Corin. He has 48 hrs to rescue the lord or a magical tattoo on his arm will kill him.

The title and plot read like a themed ride from a roller coaster park and the book is about the same. It is one long dungeon crawl. That is it. Artek meets some people, they enter a room, stuff happens, they escape to the next room, repeat. That is the whole book.

Artek has a silly name and at no point does Mark Anthony really convince me of his character. Supposedley he is a famous rogue but he doesn't seem smart enough or ruthless enough. He meets up with a mage named ... wait, I already forgot her name ... wow ... I just finished reading the book last night and I forgot her name. That tells you something. Anyway, she seems just like Mari from Shadowmage. She isn't pretty but still interesting in a non-pretty way.

Stand out silliness: At one point they find a ship near an underground river. It is not just any ship, but a fully rigged schooner. They speculate pirates must have sailed the ship into a cave and up the river and then died. Okay, I am not an expert in sailing but the idea of sailing a ship underground with very little wind UP a river is ridiculous. They go down rapids many times so the ship had to come up the rapids.

Towards the end they get into a room by defeating a magical chess game. That is about the most tired trope you can imagine. J.K. Rowling used one also in the first Harry Potter book. Ugh. I remember playing online MUDS back in the 1990s and one of the stock zones was a giant chess board.

Anyway, the book might be the worst FR book I have read so far. It is pointless and dull. The characters never grow on you, and the plot is silly. If I put this book next to Azure Bonds it is like putting a paint by numbers picture on the wall near the Mona Lisa. Yes, I am exaggerating a bit but you get the idea. Avoid at all costs.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32223 Posts

Posted - 11 Aug 2019 :  16:08:10  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That was one I really didn't like, particularly because of the way Halaster was depicted running Undermountain.

I don't remember much else about it, honestly...

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 11 Aug 2019 16:09:06
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gylippus
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 16 Aug 2019 :  00:21:39  Show Profile Send gylippus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Finished reading The Mage in the Iron Mask by Brian Thomsen.

First impression: I read the title and looked at the cover and thought, "Hmmmm a book based on a moderately crappy movie inspired by Alexander Duma's characters and a french legend." But I thought that maybe, just maybe the author deviated from the movie a bit or had compelling characters that would make me care. Thus, I began reading.

The book turned out to be exactly what I thought it was. The book followed the film pretty close. The old king had twins, but he had to hide one, blah blah blah. Let me take this moment to complain. Forgotten Realms is a vast world with amazing settings and unlimited potential for characters and truly interesting plots. There are all sorts of magical items and intrigue. With that being said, why can't TSR write books with great plots? Someone in the editing office should have said, "Yea, that has been done before, come back with a better idea." To me, this just boils down to money. They decided to churn out books as fast as possible with little oversight and this is what we get.

The characters in the book are moderately annoying. Volo could have been a GREAT character. I like the idea of Volo and Passepout, but I don't like the result. First, do we have to refer to Volo as the Great Traveller constantly? Secondly, their antics never really hit the mark. It felt like the author was really trying to make them funny, but it didn't work. I never laughed out loud one time reading this book, which is odd, because it is written to be more humorous than most other FR books.

Chesslyn was a miss for me as well. A beautfiul and deadly Harper, fine, but why does she hook up with Volo?

The best character in the book is Honor. He was written well, but even he got tiring eventually.

The book also doesn't flow well. There are disjointed segments that don't fit together. At one point it says Passepout is kicked out of an Inn and walks down to the sea to find Rassendyll washed up on the shore and then faints. Awhile later Rickman reports to Selfaril and says Passepout was press ganged onto a ship and then pushed overboard. Wait? I didn't read that at all. Maybe I missed that part but I don't think so. Moving forward, Rassendyll escapes from the sewers and swims to the surface. He almost drowns but clings onto Passepout (who is unconscious) and makes it to shore. Whoever was editing that entire segment should have been fired. It makes no sense.

The book isn't as bad as Escape from Undermountain, but it was a big miss for me. Next up Crusade. Time to finish the Horselords trilogy.

Edited by - gylippus on 16 Aug 2019 00:23:57
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
938 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2019 :  11:12:41  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gylippus

Finished reading Escape from Undermountain by Mark Anthony

It is hard to believe this book was written by the same author as Curse of the Shadowmage. In all respects it is a huge step backward.

I knew I was in trouble when I picked it up and looked at the cover. The art looks like Glenn Danzig from the Misfits. I turned it over and read the back. So this entire book is in one dungeon? That does not sound promising and it isn't.

The plot is easy to sum up. A noble, Darien, hires Artek to go into a dungeon under Waterdeep called Undermountain to 'rescue' a lost lord named Corin. He has 48 hrs to rescue the lord or a magical tattoo on his arm will kill him.

The title and plot read like a themed ride from a roller coaster park and the book is about the same. It is one long dungeon crawl. That is it. Artek meets some people, they enter a room, stuff happens, they escape to the next room, repeat. That is the whole book.

Artek has a silly name and at no point does Mark Anthony really convince me of his character. Supposedley he is a famous rogue but he doesn't seem smart enough or ruthless enough. He meets up with a mage named ... wait, I already forgot her name ... wow ... I just finished reading the book last night and I forgot her name. That tells you something. Anyway, she seems just like Mari from Shadowmage. She isn't pretty but still interesting in a non-pretty way.

Stand out silliness: At one point they find a ship near an underground river. It is not just any ship, but a fully rigged schooner. They speculate pirates must have sailed the ship into a cave and up the river and then died. Okay, I am not an expert in sailing but the idea of sailing a ship underground with very little wind UP a river is ridiculous. They go down rapids many times so the ship had to come up the rapids.

Towards the end they get into a room by defeating a magical chess game. That is about the most tired trope you can imagine. J.K. Rowling used one also in the first Harry Potter book. Ugh. I remember playing online MUDS back in the 1990s and one of the stock zones was a giant chess board.

Anyway, the book might be the worst FR book I have read so far. It is pointless and dull. The characters never grow on you, and the plot is silly. If I put this book next to Azure Bonds it is like putting a paint by numbers picture on the wall near the Mona Lisa. Yes, I am exaggerating a bit but you get the idea. Avoid at all costs.



Haha I think this book isn't great, but it was far from the worst Realms book. I mean, you have read Once Around the Realms, right?!

The plot could have been epic, and the first scene is chilling with the new adventurers getting slaughtered and eaten alive by rats..while the lone survivor makes it back to the Portal only to be cut down because he doesn't pay the toll. Really an epic opening, and a massive dungeon crawl in Undermountain could have been a great book. But this was just very juvenile, and poorly done. The characters were just not so good, although for some reason I did like the skull and the gargoyle :)

It reminded me of a bad video game made into a novel, if that makes sense? Oh..that reminds me, the Baldur's Gate novels are also much worse than this book.

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gylippus
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2019 :  11:55:17  Show Profile Send gylippus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Seravin,

I haven't read Once Around the Realms yet. Escape from Undermountain is just the worst FR book I have read, and I have only read around 30 at this point, so I still have quite a ways to go!
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2316 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2019 :  16:52:38  Show Profile  Send CorellonsDevout an AOL message Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thankfully, there are plenty of good FR books out there, too lol.

Sweet water and light laughter
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
938 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2019 :  22:38:43  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gylippus

Seravin,

I haven't read Once Around the Realms yet. Escape from Undermountain is just the worst FR book I have read, and I have only read around 30 at this point, so I still have quite a ways to go!



Ahh gotcha! I very much recommend Once Around the Realms!! It will give your reviews a bottom level rating scale, and also stars your 2 faves Volo and Passeopout. It's the tale of how they meet!
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