Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Products
 Forgotten Realms Novels
 Once More Unto the Breach!! *SPOILERS*
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Previous Page | Next Page
Author  Topic Next Topic
Page: of 21

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2734 Posts

Posted - 16 Jul 2017 :  15:30:22  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished Windwalker last night. I've got a lot of random points to make, so I'll just throw them out there in no particular order in a stream of consciousness fashion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




I agree with you that there were many side characters in this book, it reminded me a bit of Ed's books, but I honestly really enjoyed all of them. Maybe that's because I find myself able to grow attached even to minor characters (or that I create tons of NPCs when crafting D&D campaigns too), but IMO that all of them added their little part to the story, and that I would feel thier absence if the story didn't have them (I also felt awful for Ysolde, and Qilu as well. Lost her whole family within like an year). I would have been happy to see them receive more attention, but alas WotC's novel have a fixed page count.

Plus, 2 of those characters--Thorn and Sharlarra--will become Liriel's companions in her future travels. If you haven't yet, read this short story: http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19521 It's the last part of Liriel's tale (unless Elaine decides to write some more short stories about her and her friends: they're still alive in the current era/1491).

I also share your enjoyment of the direction where Liriel's character was headed in relation to accompanying spirits to their aferlife. You'll see something (kinda) related to it in the short story that I linked.

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

ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2291 Posts

Posted - 16 Jul 2017 :  18:20:31  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

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





Out of curiosity, did you read this in ebook? I suspect that many of the ebooks were scanned from a hard copy, but not proofed. Since scanning is never 100% accurate, errors are introduced.
Go to Top of Page

Veylandemar
Acolyte

9 Posts

Posted - 17 Jul 2017 :  04:33:57  Show Profile Send Veylandemar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Elaine!

As you've graced us, perchance you could answer a question we were rattling about a few pages back.

In the introduction to one of the WotSQ there was an acknowledgement of your assistance in untangling a plot point that the author was having trouble with.
Is that something you're able to bring to light?

~V
Go to Top of Page

ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2291 Posts

Posted - 17 Jul 2017 :  20:26:55  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Veylandemar
In the introduction to one of the WotSQ there was an acknowledgement of your assistance in untangling a plot point that the author was having trouble with.
Is that something you're able to bring to light?




I was working on Windwalker while WotSQ was being written, and since there was some overlap with Menzoberranzan drow, I asked for info and was given the story bible that outlined the series plot in broad strokes. The appearance of Quenthal Baenre surprised me, since she was killed a few years previously in one of Bob's books. I double checked, and sure enough: dead drow. So I called Phil Athans, the series editor, with this find. There was a moment of dead silence, followed by, and I quote, "Oh, shit...."

Since I was in the early stages of writing Windwalker, I suggested a fix: When Shakit went to the Abyss, she could bring Quenthal back. Windwalker takes place before the events of WotSQ, so this would create an in-story explanation that wouldn't disrupt the existing narrative flow of the series. The author could deal with Quenthal's return in a sentence or two, then hit the ground running. Any fans who wanted more detail could be referred to Windwalker. It was not only an easy solution, but also good cross-marketing. Phil liked the idea, so that's what we did.

I should probably mention, however, that a couple years back I read an article on Phil's blog that remembered this event quite differently. According to his recollection, he saw the problem and asked me to make the fix. And that's fine. According to all the psychology and neuroscience books I've been reading (for another project, not part of this discussion....), memories are not retrieved, so much as recreated. It's pretty normal for people to fashion different recollections of the same event. I'm pretty confident of mine, however, because it required a considerable amount of effort--reading the story bible, double checking Bob's novel, coming up with a solution, calling Phil. My surprise and amusement at his scatalogical response made the event more memorable than it might otherwise have been. My point is, you may hear different versions of this tale. This one is mine.

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 17 Jul 2017 20:27:31
Go to Top of Page

Hyperion
Seeker

18 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2017 :  09:03:52  Show Profile Send Hyperion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great story! I was wondering recently re-reading Salvatore's books why Quenthel was brought back and how exactly and this indeed the explanation :)
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
282 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2017 :  15:22:32  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
@Irennan - thanks for letting me know about that short story. I just pulled all the anthologies from my bookcases, and see that it appears in the Best of the Realms III: The Stories of Elaine Cunningham. That is a 2007 book, so one I won't get to for awhile, as I'm still in 2003/2004. Liriel looks like Whoopi Goldberg on the cover.

@Elaine - awesome Quenthel story. We had speculated what that acknowledgment could possibly be about a few pages back, thank you so much for sharing.

As for your other question: not an e-book. I'm not sure if it's the tactile feel, smell, or just the materialistic aspect of wanting to be able to put it up on the shelf with the rest of the collection after reading; but I always go with a physical book. E-books are a measure of last resort that I will only grudgingly go to when it is absolutely the only way I can consume a story. The version I read is not the 2003 hardcover, but the 2004 paperback edition. Many of the typos I referred to are things like incorrect pronouns, sentences where words like "the" or "a" were omitted, switching "loose" for "lose"; stuff of that nature that many would not notice. Hell, I probably make a dozen such mistakes in my own postings. But I have a keen eye for spotting them in other's works. Again, my mention of this was not a criticism of your work, I was just wondering about the process that TSR/WotC takes in the publication of these books, and how carefully they were edited, if indeed they were edited at all. I see that Phil Athans is credited as the editor on many projects of this era, but I don't know if that capacity included reading every book to spot mistakes, or was it more of an overarching supervisor role that steered the general direction of the novel line and tried to maintain continuity among the various authors and projects?



Edited by - VikingLegion on 18 Jul 2017 15:31:51
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
6180 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2017 :  17:47:13  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Veylandemar
In the introduction to one of the WotSQ there was an acknowledgement of your assistance in untangling a plot point that the author was having trouble with.
Is that something you're able to bring to light?




I was working on Windwalker while WotSQ was being written, and since there was some overlap with Menzoberranzan drow, I asked for info and was given the story bible that outlined the series plot in broad strokes. The appearance of Quenthal Baenre surprised me, since she was killed a few years previously in one of Bob's books. I double checked, and sure enough: dead drow. So I called Phil Athans, the series editor, with this find. There was a moment of dead silence, followed by, and I quote, "Oh, shit...."

Since I was in the early stages of writing Windwalker, I suggested a fix: When Shakit went to the Abyss, she could bring Quenthal back. Windwalker takes place before the events of WotSQ, so this would create an in-story explanation that wouldn't disrupt the existing narrative flow of the series. The author could deal with Quenthal's return in a sentence or two, then hit the ground running. Any fans who wanted more detail could be referred to Windwalker. It was not only an easy solution, but also good cross-marketing. Phil liked the idea, so that's what we did.

I should probably mention, however, that a couple years back I read an article on Phil's blog that remembered this event quite differently. According to his recollection, he saw the problem and asked me to make the fix. And that's fine. According to all the psychology and neuroscience books I've been reading (for another project, not part of this discussion....), memories are not retrieved, so much as recreated. It's pretty normal for people to fashion different recollections of the same event. I'm pretty confident of mine, however, because it required a considerable amount of effort--reading the story bible, double checking Bob's novel, coming up with a solution, calling Phil. My surprise and amusement at his scatalogical response made the event more memorable than it might otherwise have been. My point is, you may hear different versions of this tale. This one is mine.



That... is ... beautiful.. I had heard something along these lines (not that you were involved), but at that time not having been heavily into the Salvatore stories (I actually started getting caught up at the end of 4e... and I'm still behind on most of 4e and 5e Salvatore books).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2291 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2017 :  21:34:02  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion
As for your other question: not an e-book. I'm not sure if it's the tactile feel, smell, or just the materialistic aspect of wanting to be able to put it up on the shelf with the rest of the collection after reading; but I always go with a physical book. E-books are a measure of last resort that I will only grudgingly go to when it is absolutely the only way I can consume a story. The version I read is not the 2003 hardcover, but the 2004 paperback edition. Many of the typos I referred to are things like incorrect pronouns, sentences where words like "the" or "a" were omitted, switching "loose" for "lose"; stuff of that nature that many would not notice. Hell, I probably make a dozen such mistakes in my own postings. But I have a keen eye for spotting them in other's works. Again, my mention of this was not a criticism of your work, I was just wondering about the process that TSR/WotC takes in the publication of these books, and how carefully they were edited, if indeed they were edited at all. I see that Phil Athans is credited as the editor on many projects of this era, but I don't know if that capacity included reading every book to spot mistakes, or was it more of an overarching supervisor role that steered the general direction of the novel line and tried to maintain continuity among the various authors and projects?





Short answer: I don't remember what the editing process was on this particular book. It has been quite a while since Windwalker was published.

I usually read my books after they're released, but I don't recall reading the paperback. Since it was published a year after the hardcover, it seems unlikely that the book was scanned to create a new file. I'm curious now. If I had the time, I'd check out the hard cover and paperback to see what errors got through the editing process (whatever THAT may have been....) and whether there are differences between the two editions.
Go to Top of Page

ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2291 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2017 :  21:35:26  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

@Irennan - thanks for letting me know about that short story. I just pulled all the anthologies from my bookcases, and see that it appears in the Best of the Realms III: The Stories of Elaine Cunningham. That is a 2007 book, so one I won't get to for awhile, as I'm still in 2003/2004. Liriel looks like Whoopi Goldberg on the cover.




Yeah, the cover for that book is one of the worst in TSR/WotC history. It looks like a very rough draft, not something you'd put on an actual book. And seriously, LIME GREEN?
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2734 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2017 :  00:07:28  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Veylandemar
In the introduction to one of the WotSQ there was an acknowledgment of your assistance in untangling a plot point that the author was having trouble with.
Is that something you're able to bring to light?




I was working on Windwalker while WotSQ was being written, and since there was some overlap with Menzoberranzan drow, I asked for info and was given the story bible that outlined the series plot in broad strokes. The appearance of Quenthal Baenre surprised me, since she was killed a few years previously in one of Bob's books. I double checked, and sure enough: dead drow. So I called Phil Athans, the series editor, with this find. There was a moment of dead silence, followed by, and I quote, "Oh, shit...."

Since I was in the early stages of writing Windwalker, I suggested a fix: When Shakit went to the Abyss, she could bring Quenthal back. Windwalker takes place before the events of WotSQ, so this would create an in-story explanation that wouldn't disrupt the existing narrative flow of the series. The author could deal with Quenthal's return in a sentence or two, then hit the ground running. Any fans who wanted more detail could be referred to Windwalker. It was not only an easy solution, but also good cross-marketing. Phil liked the idea, so that's what we did.

I should probably mention, however, that a couple years back I read an article on Phil's blog that remembered this event quite differently. According to his recollection, he saw the problem and asked me to make the fix. And that's fine. According to all the psychology and neuroscience books I've been reading (for another project, not part of this discussion....), memories are not retrieved, so much as recreated. It's pretty normal for people to fashion different recollections of the same event. I'm pretty confident of mine, however, because it required a considerable amount of effort--reading the story bible, double checking Bob's novel, coming up with a solution, calling Phil. My surprise and amusement at his scatological response made the event more memorable than it might otherwise have been. My point is, you may hear different versions of this tale. This one is mine.



Thank you for the deep care that you put into your work set in the Realms, Elaine. It's a level of respect for the setting that sadly hasn't been common in the history of its publication. The Realms really miss your touch.

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

ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2291 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2017 :  15:29:57  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingsLegion

Or the fact that she seems to be insanely skillful - she's a better than average fighter, an accomplished mage, an ex-priestess, maybe a bit of a thief too, oh and she also happens to be one of the most beautiful drow in Menzoberranzan (of course). Just a bit too Mary Sue for me.



I'm not disputing your opinion--the line between a Mary Sue character and a character who's sufficiently powerful to appeal to a particular audience is a matter of perception and preference. The line is different for every reader. When you write sword and sorcery, you go in knowing that some readers will see a character as Mary Sue and some will dismiss the same character as being insufficiently powerful to be interesting. Fact of life, as all the "Who would win: X or Y?" threads that have popped up in every forum since the dawn of the internet would attest. I understand, expect, and respect individual readers' opinions on this matter. Mary Sue is, ultimately, in the eye of the beholder.

That said, here are a few thoughts on the matter.

Yes, Liriel is beautiful, but elves of all sort are renown for their beauty. She's not exceptional in this regard, except for the unusual color of her eyes; in fact, I don't see drow beauty as a particularly broad spectrum. There are a few outliers; for example, Shakti is regarded as plain because she tends to squint, has a slightly awkward gait, and doesn't give a damn about her appearance. She's considered plump by drow standards, which is like being a women's size 8 instead of a 2. A human male noted her curves, but didn't characterize her as being overweight. By human standards, she wasn't. Humans would consider both Liriel and Shakti to be beautiful, assuming they weren't completely distracted by the usual human response to drow, which involves a great deal of screaming and running and possibly wishing they had worn their brown pants that day.

Liriel is an accomplished spell caster, but then, she has had nearly unlimited resources to develop this skill. She started training when she was little more than a toddler, and for several decades she had excellent instructors, private tutors, and a level of wealth that gave her access to all the books and spell components she could want.

She's not particularly good with conventional melee weapons; in fact, her lack of attention to this vital drow skill was emphasized in her first book. She had a private instructor to try to bring her up to speed, and she wasn't all that interested in what he had to offer. She's better with thrown weapons because she took up knife throwing during one of her jaunts to the Menzoberranzan equivalent of a tavern. It was a social thing, like throwing darts, but with a more practical application. She's a highly social person, so she has lots of practice.

The priestess thing was forced upon her when she was sent to the academy. And it's such an integral part of drow culture that she didn't take long to adapt. She eventually gravitated toward the goddess of magic, which combined her two passions.

The thief thing? Not so much.

$.02,
ec

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 19 Jul 2017 15:41:25
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2734 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2017 :  15:39:15  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just noting that there's a mistake in the quote. That's Viking Legion's comment, not mine.

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

ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2291 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2017 :  15:40:07  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote


quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

Thank you for the deep care that you put into your work set in the Realms, Elaine. It's a level of respect for the setting that sadly hasn't been common in the history of its publication. The Realms really miss your touch.



Thanks for the kind thought! Having worked with many other writers and designers in the Realms, I can attest that many, if not most, of them put a similar level of care into their work.

In general, though, I do tend to spend (far too much) time obsessing over details. It's a personality quirk. Example: My one and only paranormal romance story opens with a man who has dreams about women who later turned up dead. The precise shade of underwear worn by one such woman took me ten minutes to decide, because it was the sort of detail that characterized not only her personality, but also the man who observed her. It was summer, and she'd just come back from vacation with a deep tan, so she was wearing bright colors. Red was out--too overtly sexual. Other bright shades are not commonly used, and would draw too much attention to the detail. I finally settled on fuchsia, but since no guy who isn't also a visual artist would ever use that term, it became "bright pink." Ten minutes for this. Now you know why I don't write faster.



Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 19 Jul 2017 15:42:22
Go to Top of Page

ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2291 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2017 :  15:40:54  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

Just noting that there's a mistake in the quote. That's Viking Legion's comment, not mine.



Oops! Sorry--will fix that.
Go to Top of Page

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2734 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2017 :  15:54:08  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham



quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

Thank you for the deep care that you put into your work set in the Realms, Elaine. It's a level of respect for the setting that sadly hasn't been common in the history of its publication. The Realms really miss your touch.



Thanks for the kind thought! Having worked with many other writers and designers in the Realms, I can attest that many, if not most, of them put a similar level of care into their work.


I'm sure that many do, but in the history of the FR novels, there were some portrayals or bits of lore being changed to the point where it could no longer be chalked up to interpretation, and that could have been fixed by a simple glance at sources that are easy to find. Especially during the years leading to the creation of 4e.

quote:
In general, though, I do tend to spend (far too much) time obsessing over details. It's a personality quirk. Example: My one and only paranormal romance story opens with a man who has dreams about women who later turned up dead. The precise shade of underwear worn by one such woman took me ten minutes to decide, because it was the sort of detail that characterized not only her personality, but also the man who observed her. It was summer, and she'd just come back from vacation with a deep tan, so she was wearing bright colors. Red was out--too overtly sexual. Other bright shades are not commonly used, and would draw too much attention to the detail. I finally settled on fuchsia, but since no guy who isn't also a visual artist would ever use that term, it became "bright pink." Ten minutes for this. Now you know why I don't write faster.






But the results show. You can really feel that motifs, actions, symbols are very carefully chosen to capture the character or situation that is being described. It makes your stories truly evocative.

I remember Ed's interview about you, and the words that he said perfectly reflect this (about how you could make the Realms come alive, as if you were in his mind).

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

Edited by - Irennan on 19 Jul 2017 15:55:50
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
282 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2017 :  01:17:24  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

I'm not disputing your opinion--the line between a Mary Sue character and a character who's sufficiently powerful to appeal to a particular audience is a matter of perception and preference. The line is different for every reader. When you write sword and sorcery, you go in knowing that some readers will see a character as Mary Sue and some will dismiss the same character as being insufficiently powerful to be interesting. Fact of life, as all the "Who would win: X or Y?" threads that have popped up in every forum since the dawn of the internet would attest. I understand, expect, and respect individual readers' opinions on this matter. Mary Sue is, ultimately, in the eye of the beholder.

That said, here are a few thoughts on the matter.

Yes, Liriel is beautiful, but elves of all sort are renown for their beauty. She's not exceptional in this regard, except for the unusual color of her eyes; in fact, I don't see drow beauty as a particularly broad spectrum. There are a few outliers; for example, Shakti is regarded as plain because she tends to squint, has a slightly awkward gait, and doesn't give a damn about her appearance. She's considered plump by drow standards, which is like being a women's size 8 instead of a 2. A human male noted her curves, but didn't characterize her as being overweight. By human standards, she wasn't. Humans would consider both Liriel and Shakti to be beautiful, assuming they weren't completely distracted by the usual human response to drow, which involves a great deal of screaming and running and possibly wishing they had worn their brown pants that day.

Liriel is an accomplished spell caster, but then, she has had nearly unlimited resources to develop this skill. She started training when she was little more than a toddler, and for several decades she had excellent instructors, private tutors, and a level of wealth that gave her access to all the books and spell components she could want.

She's not particularly good with conventional melee weapons; in fact, her lack of attention to this vital drow skill was emphasized in her first book. She had a private instructor to try to bring her up to speed, and she wasn't all that interested in what he had to offer. She's better with thrown weapons because she took up knife throwing during one of her jaunts to the Menzoberranzan equivalent of a tavern. It was a social thing, like throwing darts, but with a more practical application. She's a highly social person, so she has lots of practice.

The priestess thing was forced upon her when she was sent to the academy. And it's such an integral part of drow culture that she didn't take long to adapt. She eventually gravitated toward the goddess of magic, which combined her two passions.

The thief thing? Not so much.

$.02,
ec



I understand your point that drow are, by nature, generally fey and beautiful in their own dark sort of way. But there was a specific line in the book that stated Liriel is "one of the most beautiful drow in Menzoberranzan", so I think we're talking about more than just typical elven striking features. I mean, it makes sense; Gromph, despite being a lowly male, is one of the most powerful figures in the city, and therefore didn't have to settle for the Shakti types. I recall in the first book that Liriel's mother was uncommonly beautiful (as well as less vicious than a typical dark elf, thus explaining some of Liriel's tendencies), so surely Liriel has the genetic stock to back up being drop-dead gorgeous.

But the thing about Liriel the character, at least for me, is that breath-taking beauty was not only a completely unnecessary addition, but incongruous with how she was developing in *my* mind :) I sort of saw her as a bit of a tomboy, mixing it up in the pubs with the guys, throwing a round of darts (or knives in this case), drinking a brew - just one of the dudes. In our world that would be the girl in the jeans and t-shirt who doesn't spend an hour putting on makeup or doing her hair in the most stylish trends. She's attractive in her own way (mostly through self-assuredness), but she's not (nor does she want to be) super-model hot. So when I read that Liriel is among the top 1% in beauty amongst a race that is almost by default beautiful, I thought it was a bit much considering everything else she already has going on.

As for the lack of melee skills, yes you absolutely made a point of it in the early book, but here we see Liriel hold off Gorlist in one-on-one combat for no small amount of time. She was never going to win that fight, obviously. But given his martial skill, he would have cut her to ribbons faster than I typed this sentence. I'd have to re-read it, maybe he was just toying with her a bit to prolong and savor his vengeance?

Lastly, on the multi-class skill character: whenever I start to see that trend developing, all I can think is it's another Elminster - Fighter/Thief/Priest/Archmage uber-character coming about. So I apologize if I jumped the gun a bit early on that one. Your justifications for Liriel's widely diverse skill set is reasonable based on her upbringing. Also, I can understand the allure of wanting to write extremely effective characters, so perhaps I'm being a bit hypocritical on that count. I've made a few half-hearted attempts at writing over the years; I'll spare you the unbearably amateurish details, but my favorite creation was a hero that was specifically "engineered" to be something of an army of one - meaning he could cover all the routine bases (fighting, stealth/traps, magic, etc.) and not be reliant on the interdependency of a party of adventurers. So, in short, I get that you take pride in your creation and want her to kick a lot of butt.

Thank you as always for your contributions to this thread. I love hearing about some of the process that goes on behind the scenes - both for your books specifically, as well as the greater FR library as a whole.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
282 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2017 :  01:26:24  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished The Alabaster Staff last night. I'll be brief, as I'm guessing it won't engender a whole lot of conversation. When I see a new author I've never heard of in the FR stable, there's always a bit of nervous trepidation - is this going to be one of those rare gems, or a total clunker?

This book was neither extreme. I thought it was a solid effort and a decent read. The dialogue was a bit spotty at times - with Kehrsyn falling into a bit of valley girl slang, but it wasn't too distracting. The plot was full of intrigue, and while "the big reveal" wasn't a huge surprise as far as a trusted individual going bad, his true identity and ultimate plan was very well done. There were a TON of factions in this story - Red Wizards, Zhents, Tiamatans, Gilgeamans, Harpers, the local Thieves Guild - so much that it got a bit confusing to parse out at times (like a Greenwood Lite novel), but I think this first-time Realms author just wanted to jam pack it with as much flavor as he could - and it mostly worked.

Good story. Not groundbreaking or anything people probably went nuts over, but it got the job done. Up next I'll continue the Rogues series with: The Black Bouquet.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 24 Jul 2017 01:27:24
Go to Top of Page

ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2291 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2017 :  13:13:32  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

But the thing about Liriel the character, at least for me, is that breath-taking beauty was not only a completely unnecessary addition, but incongruous with how she was developing in *my* mind :) I sort of saw her as a bit of a tomboy, mixing it up in the pubs with the guys, throwing a round of darts (or knives in this case), drinking a brew - just one of the dudes. In our world that would be the girl in the jeans and t-shirt who doesn't spend an hour putting on makeup or doing her hair in the most stylish trends. She's attractive in her own way (mostly through self-assuredness), but she's not (nor does she want to be) super-model hot. So when I read that Liriel is among the top 1% in beauty amongst a race that is almost by default beautiful, I thought it was a bit much considering everything else she already has going on.


This is a valid point. It's one of those things writers consider when building a character, and reading your comment brought to mind a conversation I had with another writer several years ago. He'd considered depicting one of his female characters as plain, or just average in appearance, but concluded that this would significantly decrease reader interest. To some extent, the decision to lavish beauty on a character is a practical one. And perhaps, in some cases, it's even a little cynical.

I have a story in the upcoming anthology HATH NO FURY in which most of the characters are female and none of them are described as beautiful. The first-person narrator is veiled for most of the story. It was just lovely to spend time with strong women who were defined by their personalities, skills, and general badassery. There should be more of this. I will WRITE more of this.


quote:
As for the lack of melee skills, yes you absolutely made a point of it in the early book, but here we see Liriel hold off Gorlist in one-on-one combat for no small amount of time. She was never going to win that fight, obviously. But given his martial skill, he would have cut her to ribbons faster than I typed this sentence. I'd have to re-read it, maybe he was just toying with her a bit to prolong and savor his vengeance?


Yes he was. Also, Gorlist grew up in a gladitorial arena, and I would think the well-established habit of "giving a good show" would slow down his "go for the kill" reflex.

quote:
Lastly, on the multi-class skill character: whenever I start to see that trend developing, all I can think is it's another Elminster - Fighter/Thief/Priest/Archmage uber-character coming about. So I apologize if I jumped the gun a bit early on that one. Your justifications for Liriel's widely diverse skill set is reasonable based on her upbringing. Also, I can understand the allure of wanting to write extremely effective characters, so perhaps I'm being a bit hypocritical on that count. I've made a few half-hearted attempts at writing over the years; I'll spare you the unbearably amateurish details, but my favorite creation was a hero that was specifically "engineered" to be something of an army of one - meaning he could cover all the routine bases (fighting, stealth/traps, magic, etc.) and not be reliant on the interdependency of a party of adventurers. So, in short, I get that you take pride in your creation and want her to kick a lot of butt.


There's some element of that, sure, but there were practical reasons for multi-classing Liriel. At the time, drow magic wouldn't work on the surface, so she had to have a backup plan if she had any hope of surviving her dream of adventures in the surface world. The ability to fight reasonably well is a simple survival skill anywhere, but for a drow whose primary weapons are magical, it was vital. She wasn't much of a cleric, having only just begun her studies at the academy, but by personality, training, and inclination, she was sufficiently different from the other acolytes to draw the attention of a chaotic goddess. Liriel's attempt to bring drow magic to the surface was irresistable, and Lloth tried to hijack Liriel's plans for her own purposes. She saw Liriel as a potential tool and weapon. Liriel was not a powerful cleric, but turning away from the temptation of great power was a major part of her character arc.

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 24 Jul 2017 13:24:55
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
282 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2017 :  02:31:45  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham
This is a valid point. It's one of those things writers consider when building a character, and reading your comment brought to mind a conversation I had with another writer several years ago. He'd considered depicting one of his female characters as plain, or just average in appearance, but concluded that this would significantly decrease reader interest. To some extent, the decision to lavish beauty on a character is a practical one. And perhaps, in some cases, it's even a little cynical.

I have a story in the upcoming anthology HATH NO FURY in which most of the characters are female and none of them are described as beautiful. The first-person narrator is veiled for most of the story. It was just lovely to spend time with strong women who were defined by their personalities, skills, and general badassery. There should be more of this. I will WRITE more of this.



That's fascinating. I mean, I guess I knew all along on some level what the rationale is for not having unattractive people cast in the leading roles - but to hear you say that it's something that authors will sit down and discuss while character building is really interesting. And while it certainly applies to both sexes (there's always a dashing or ruggedly good looking male hero), I'm sure it applies even doubly so for female characters - for obvious, and obviously unfair, reasons.

I'm not sure if you've ever read any of the Dragonlance stories, but two less than attractive leads come to mind. The first is Lady Aline Caroel, who appears in a short story called Lost Causes by Nancy Varian Berberick (who I think is amazing and the best DL author - apologies to Weis/Hickman/Knaak/Pierson). This actually is one of her least effective stories IMO, but it did stick with me precisely because the main lead is a woman that is completely average looking, perhaps even a little on the homely side - tall and lanky/spindly, not much in the way of "womanly curves", a bit of a crooked nose, mousy brown hair, etc.

The other is a Weis/Hickman creation named Gerard uth Mondar (Margaret Weis is unabashedly one of my childhood heroes, btw). Gerard is a character with a face that is horribly scarred/pockmarked due to a childhood illness. His other features: "His nose grew askew after he broke it in a childhood fight. His straw yellow hair stuck up at all angles, refusing to be combed. His beard, when it grew in, was patchy and splotchy (though it did help to hide the scarring on his face). His astonishingly blue eyes were his one good feature, although even these sometimes repelled people because of the unsettling intensity with which he focused them on anything or anyone that caught his attention." I really liked Gerard as a character. He's a Solamnic Knight (until he resigns), and generally always tries to do the right thing, but at the same time he's a bit of a suspicious jerk. He's got this everyman quality to him - some days he's just not at his best and comes off as a grump - but he never really catches any breaks either, so his sour mood is understandable.

Both of these characters were introduced in the waning years of the Dragonlance line, so it wouldn't surprise me if nobody else has heard of them. But to me they are quite memorable, simply due to the lack of expected physical beauty. Then again, neither were ever intended to be headliners of major book, let alone a series, so that is probably something to consider as well.

Lastly, I've heard of that anthology you referenced - Hath No Fury. I can't recall where, did you or Ed tweet about it at one point maybe? (I follow both of you). It's on my radar to pick up - eventually I will reach the end of this Realms project and need more stuff to read!

Edited by - VikingLegion on 31 Jul 2017 02:48:37
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
282 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2017 :  03:05:41  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ok, so nothing on The Alabaster Staff, as expected. Several days ago I finished The Black Bouquet. My esteem for Richard Lee Byers grows with every story of his I read. His characters are extremely interesting - particularly his villains, his swordplay scenes have a lot of real-life experience behind them, and his overall knowledge of medieval life in general translates superbly to this setting.

I've stated before in this thread that I don't like thieves as a main character, and this book was no exception. Aeron did very little for me overall, but Miri the ranger was cool. But the show-stealer for me was the evil monk/sorceress of Shar - Sister Sefris! Wow was she an awesome villain, she made all the big underworld bosses of Oeble look like teddy bears by comparison.

Bonus points for including an arcanaloth in the story.

The only negative I can recall, and it was a fairly big one, was when Sefris passed herself off as a monk of Ilmater to Miri. Shortly after winning her over, she then suggests torturing a prisoner to extract information. Miri is (understandably) surprised that any follower of Ilmater would ever condone such a tactic, but Sefris waves it off with some lame excuse that her particular sect is allowed some leeway in that regard. WOW, that is like a battlepriest of Tempus suggesting a diplomatic course to solve a dispute between two warring nations. It's so completely anathema to every fiber of their doctrine, I don't know how Sefris could've even possibly tried that tact. The fact that Miri bought it was just stupefying. I had to pretty much erase that entire scene and come up with a different way they obtained the intel.

Other than that one, really nagging misstep, this book was very well done and leaves me really impressed with his overall writing ability. Up next is RAS's The Lone Drow.
Go to Top of Page

Veylandemar
Acolyte

9 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2017 :  04:32:06  Show Profile Send Veylandemar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, If you've found Richard Lee Byer's writing style to be enjoyable I've some good news for you - He's got a few interlinked series that start a few years ahead of where you're at now - The Year of Rogue Dragons, then the Haunted Lands Trilogy and finally the Brotherhood of the Griffon series. He hangs onto some of his characters across each series.

You've almost finished the Rogues stand-alones. Around that time WotC released a fair few stand-alone quartets based on iconic themes as a means of introducing new authors and approaching out-of-the-way areas of the setting without committing the 'bigger' authors to something that would pull them from their main works.

From memory, you've got 'The Fighters', ''The Priests', 'The Mages' 'The Dungeons' and 'The Wilds' ahead of you. Sadly, I can't honestly say there was an awful lot that stood out for me among them and I'd honestly struggle to recall the details of most of them without at least reading a catch-up chapter to refresh my memory.
They were rather hit-and-miss, with the stand-out ones being those that tied into larger plots - Which, at this time are mostly scheming Sharrans who culminate in Paul S. Kemp's works a while later.
I did enjoy Erik Scott DeBie's 'Depths of Madness' though, But we'll poke and prod at that one when you get to it in a few months.

As for your next book - The Lone Drow and its' trilogy take a few steps away from some stock-standard fantasy tropes. It has been quite a while since I read that particular trilogy but I recall by that point I was finding Drizzt's near-endless combat a bit lack-luster and found myself more interested in the other developments in the story. Brace yourself, though, there's a lot more introspective moping ahead for the Drow Ranger.

~V
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
282 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2017 :  21:37:56  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished The Lone Drow last night. I didn't find the combat to be too pervasive, mainly because it was a good blend of smaller scale and larger scale conflicts. I actually prefer the armies clashing over the one-on-one duels, the ebb and flow of mass combat - lines being broken and reinforced, charges being repelled (or not!), and other key moments that swing momentum are very interesting to me. This book had a good deal of that, but also plenty of Drizzt (as well as Tarathiel and Innovindil) engaging in smaller scale combats, so that worked for me.

Yes, Drizzt does get very introspective frequently. On my first go around with the RAS books many, many years ago, I ate that stuff up. What awkward, unsure teen wouldn't connect with an angst-filled character who never feels like he belongs? But re-reading them as an adult I don't find it too maudlin or overbearing. Backed by more life experience, I still feel like I can extract something from them, particularly the italicized "diary" like entries that begin some of the chapters.

My biggest gripe with this book was Nanfoodle's master plan of running the natural gas from the closed off wing of Mithral Hall up to the ridge the giants were using to bombard the dwarves. Not the plan itself, or the writing, I found them both clever enough. But the final result: this plan was talked up for about half of the book, but in the end I'm not sure it made a whole lot of difference. I figured it was going to come tearing up out of the ground and demolish a huge portion of the orc/giant army. But all it did was kill about 12? giants up on a ridgeline that were using that vantage to set up catapults. Ok, so that's no small tactical benefit - IF - the dwarves were going to hold their own ridgeline. But they did not and could not once Obould's army took the field. Urlgen (Obould's son) had more than enough force to eventually push those dwarves off the cliff - in fact the dwarves had already conceded just that - they merely wanted to stay out as long as possible and inflict as many casualties as they could before shimmying down their ropes and holing up in the Hall. Nothing Nanfoodle did would have changed that one bit. And once Obould's even bigger army started pouring in through Keeper's Dale to cut off said retreat, the dwarves just accelerated their plan a bit. The big explosion did little more than allow them to cut down a few more orc charges without being molested by artillery, but ultimately did not change much unless I'm missing something in the tactics/logistics of this conflict.

Now, eliminating double digit giants from the opposing force will surely pay some dividends down the road, I'm not saying it was a completely useless action. But for something that was being hyped up for perhaps 50% of the book or more, and was described as being a monumental blast like no dragon or mage could ever create - I guess I thought it was going to make a bigger difference in the immediate fight. I actually thought it was going to blow up the ridge entirely, plus also vent out throughout Keeper's Dale and inflict something like 75% casualties on Obould's 2nd force. And even though the dwarves would still have been pushed down the ropes by Urlgen's superior force, it would've been the definition of a Pyrrhic Victory for the orcs. Instead it was more of a delaying tactic that took out maybe 5-10%. Still no mean feat, but I felt a bit unimpressed.

Up next is The Best of the Realms II: The Stories of Ed Greenwood. This should be a fairly quick read, as I've already encountered most of the stories in other anthologies as part of this Complete-FR-Read-Through project. I'll only hit the (3?) original tales and/or ones that may have appeared in Dragon Magazine or other sources.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 02 Aug 2017 21:38:54
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
282 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2017 :  07:02:09  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished The Best of the Realms II: The Stories of Ed Greenwood last night. It took me a little longer than expected, simply because there were more stories unfamiliar to me than I thought there would be. I read on the back of the book that it contains three all-new tales, but what I didn't realize were how many stories from other sources outside the previous anthologies there were - I think I ended up reading 9 new tales. It's entirely possible I goofed and ended up re-reading a story or two and not realizing it. Skipping those stories that have already appeared in previous books that I was *certain* I've already read, here are some thoughts on the rest:

Not the Most Successful of Feasts - originally written as a prelude to Elminster: The Making of a Mage this was a pretty good story that laid some groundwork to the rising threat of the magelords of Athalantar. If I recall, that book was pretty long, so I can see why this was cut - but it was a good piece of info and a nice start to this anthology.

Dark Talons Forbear Thee - a story about Elminster and 3 of the sisters when they were still growing up. The girls yell at each other, they fight, they get naked (when aren't they?). It read a bit like a cheesy teen drama. Another disposable villain was created and discarded. This story didn't do too much for me.

One Comes, Unheralded, To Zirta - a simple tavern brawl that turns into a Who's Who in the Realms as several stars show up to contribute. It's a fun, whacky, improbable tale, but one I think I may have enjoyed the most out of them all. It had such an early D&D goodness to it. It's the kind of story that, way back when the Realms were just coming out and we were all scrounging for every detail we could get, I would've absolutely DEVOURED. When I first read that Ed penned this story before turning 8, I thought "No flarking way". While doing some research on the other stories to try to narrow down which I've read and which I haven't, I came across, quite by accident, an excerpt where Ed admitted to "touching it up" in 1984, which would've put him in his mid-twenties. That makes quite a bit more sense, and my guess is that "touch up" was a bit more extensive than he's letting on. I simply don't think that any 7 year old, no matter how precocious, would've thought this way or used this kind of language and phrasing. My biggest disappointment with this yarn was Alustriel. I touched on this in a previous post - but my first real exposure to the Lady of Silverymoon was in RAS's books, when she meets Drizzt. I thought she was such a classy, elegant leader, and every bit the "Lady" that is in her title. But here, in her "origin" story, we see she's just as big a slut as all her sisters. And it's not that I have a problem with women who have strong sexual appetites, in fact I ... well, I'll let it go at that - it's just that so many of Ed's female characters read so similarly. Bob's Alustriel gave her some nuance and something to set her apart. Ed's Alustriel is just another drop-dead gorgeous, silver-haired, sorcerous man-eater.

A Dance in Storm's Garden - yet another 2nd rate magician with more ambition than sense throws their life away uselessly on an ill-conceived assault against Elminster and Storm. You'd think that word would get out and they'd wise up a bit. Much like Dark Talons, this story wasn't bad, but also wasn't really noteworthy.

Bloodbound - a clever, well-written tale with some interesting characters. It centers around a young Thayan slave with dormant, untapped spellcasting ability and her master that wishes to exploit it. It works really well aside from the typical Greenwood body count. As a group we've talked before about how organizations like the Zhents would never be able to sustain after losing so many of their members, and this story made me think along similar lines with Thay. Mages just die in wave after wave, it makes me wonder how Ed envisions the demographics of the Realms and what percentage of people are touched with the gift of Art. Storm was the best part of this story, the way she handled the frightened young slave after her escape was nicely done. Also, during what was something of a communion with Azuth, it was good to see the effect such an encounter would have on mortals, as Storm and Tace cringed, developed headaches, etc. That was a nice change of pace from that awful scene so many books ago where Elminster is mouthing off and putting Ao - the Overgod of all the Realms - in his place. Man, that scene still rankles me.

How Wisdom Came to the Maimed Mage - it wasn't a bad story, I suppose. But my anti-Spellfire bias made me sort of tune out as soon as I saw it was a related tale.

Nothing But Trouble - a very short story involving Mirt and I guess an ex-flame (despite the author's notes to the contrary). Elminster gets to cross-dress again, Mirt gets to show us that grotesquely hirsute/morbidly obese men can still be sex symbols. Other than that it really wasn't substantial enough to amount to much. I'm not sure if this was a quick Dragon article or what.

Living Forever - this was a flavor piece on Myth Drannor more than an actual story, yet I really enjoyed it. There's something in the author's intro that really strikes a chord with me. Myth Drannor has this indefinable appeal - so much treasure and magical might lays hidden in the ruins, and even though adventuring party after adventuring party have laid down their lives trying to snatch just a scrap of that legendary hoard, it doesn't stop new groups of young bold-blades from trying the same. It's got this almost 1840's gold rush romanticism to it when you think of entire generations of explorers and treasure seekers being enthralled by that siren song of gold and gems and terrifyingly potent magical works. This story brought back some nostalgiac memories for me, as I recall a friend and I putting together a campaign centered around this city - basically to be run as more of a horror/survival game than a typical D&D campaign. The idea was to stress how small and outmatched the players are against the movers and shakers of this ruin. They would have to spend their daylight hours skulking about, trying to find anything of value that might possibly help them survive another 24 hours before skulking back to their bolt holes to try to endure another wave. Characters would be built more for escapability than toe-to-toe combat skills, as every round you spend fighting something is invariably drawing the attention of something bigger and nastier coming your way. It's really a shame that the computer game based on Myth Drannor was so terribly buggy, it's an area that is just begging for a brutally hard game where you have to fight and scrape for every little chunk of xp or item upgrade. Anyway, I've strayed a bit - I guess this story just lit a fire for me.

The Long Road Home - an excellent story of the aftermath of Azoun IV's death. There were some really touching moments that really made you feel the mood of the commoners after their beloved leader is no more. It also showed a really good grasp of how ignorance and groupthink works. The story mainly centered on Alusair's efforts to win over her people and gain a measure of respect in the wake of her country's political turmoil. What was stacking up to be a brilliant story took a slight ding at the very end when Alusair takes the dirty, nasty old stablemaster that is old enough to be her father to bed. She repeatedly refers to herself as a "wanton slut" throughout the story, and it seems she had to prove it at the end. I guess her plan is to win over all the grizzled vets and recruit them back to her banner by spreading her legs. Again, I find no flaw in the tactic, but... well... see my comments on Alustriel in the Zirta story. Greenwood's female characters all just sort of blend into one for me, to the point where I honestly confuse them at times. Other than that it was a really well-done tale, maybe tied with Zirta for the best of the book.

These are the stories I skipped, since I was positive I've read them in other anthologies already:
The Whispering Crown
So High a Price
A Slow Day in Skullport
The Eye of the Dragon
The Grinning Ghost of Taverton Hall
The Place Where Guards Snore at Their Posts


Up next I've started in on the Erevis Cale trilogy with Book 1: Twilight Falling. I don't normally comment when I've just started a book, but I'll make an exception here. I'm 62 pages in and it's already grabbed me by the throat and won't let go. I have the feeling of impending greatness here, it's just a gut vibe at the moment but I think this is going to be a terrific series.


Edited by - VikingLegion on 06 Aug 2017 07:58:05
Go to Top of Page

Taleras
Seeker

49 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2017 :  13:36:24  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I really need to finish up some other books and get started on the Erevis Cale trilogy...
Go to Top of Page

Thoth
Seeker

Canada
27 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2017 :  12:33:25  Show Profile Send Thoth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I actually enjoyed Twilight Falling as well, and look forward to your thoughts when you are done.

Enjoy!

:)
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 21  Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page | Next Page
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2017 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000