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 21

Hyperion
Seeker

18 Posts

Posted - 20 Sep 2017 :  09:55:00  Show Profile Send Hyperion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The novel is The Emerald Scepter (http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/The_Emerald_Scepter) the Emerald Enclave is a druid faction instead (http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Emerald_Enclave).

About locations of the Realms novels it bothers me a bit the superficiality of the setting in some trilogies (and indeed the Scions of Arrabar was better than many others) because authors rarely highlight local customs and the environment in general.

Now our world is relatively uniformed by technology but only a few years ago just moving away to the next nation meant to meet very different customs and people. In the Realms however too many places seem just like a generic Renaissance European setting which by the way was never so generic itself. A little more effort in description would have made several novels much better.
Also now that I have read many, I am also bothered by how rare other intelligent races beside humans are in novels as meaningful character. When a non-human is present, too often is described just like a human with a different body, while the outlook of a long living race should be extremely different from a human one, for example. Humanoids and other intelligent creatures are even rarer even as meaningful opponent, and this too seem a waste to me. If you have a fantasy world to play with, you should highlight what makes it different from the real world.
Too many Realms novels are just human protagonists against human opponents, with a bit of magic. Obviously this is an extreme semplification, but the pattern is quite clear to me..
Go to Top of Page

Taleras
Seeker

49 Posts

Posted - 20 Sep 2017 :  16:08:50  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gotcha, thanks for the clarification! I was hoping it was a novel about the Emerald Enclave.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 22 Sep 2017 :  21:32:03  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Taleras

Is The Emerald Enclave the series or a novel? I can't find the novel anywhere...



Oops, it's a novel but it's called The Emerald Scepter, not Enclave. My bad. It's the third in a series called The Scions of Arrabar trilogy.

Book 1: The Sapphire Crescent
Book 2: The Ruby Guardian
Book 3: The Emerald Scepter

The Emerald Enclave does make more than a passing appearance in the book though. In fact, several members of the Enclave end up joining the protagonists. So if you want a book about the EE, this will be at least partially useful to you.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 22 Sep 2017 21:36:11
Go to Top of Page

Taleras
Seeker

49 Posts

Posted - 23 Sep 2017 :  13:29:31  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good to know, thank you!
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2017 :  21:45:01  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I feel like I haven't updated this thread in forever! I've gone from averaging ~50-75 pages a day to maybe 20 on a good day.

I finished The Yellow Silk last night. Some of you might infer that I struggled to get through it, but that was not the case. My lowered reading time is entirely due to other circumstances and this book was above average. It's the fourth and final entry of The Rogues series. This was the first I've read from this author (Don Bassingthwaite) and I thought he did a good job of creating interesting characters. There was a bit of a weird, Mason Verger vibe to the Halfling gangster that raises pigs, but I enjoyed his eccentricities. There was a nice twist near the end that fooled me completely. I thought I had the identity of a villain solved, but I fell for the easy bait. It's good to be surprised sometimes though, and I enjoyed this one.

2004 has a bunch of new trilogies for me to start, some of which I'm excited for, others I feel some trepidation. So, because I couldn't decide what to do, I simply grabbed the next stand-alone book in chronological order and will start that tonight - which is Elminster's Daughter.




Go to Top of Page

ReadingTheRealms
Acolyte

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2017 :  15:41:21  Show Profile Send ReadingTheRealms a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I feel like I haven't updated this thread in forever! I've gone from averaging ~50-75 pages a day to maybe 20 on a good day.

I finished The Yellow Silk last night. Some of you might infer that I struggled to get through it, but that was not the case. My lowered reading time is entirely due to other circumstances and this book was above average. It's the fourth and final entry of The Rogues series. This was the first I've read from this author (Don Bassingthwaite) and I thought he did a good job of creating interesting characters. There was a bit of a weird, Mason Verger vibe to the Halfling gangster that raises pigs, but I enjoyed his eccentricities. There was a nice twist near the end that fooled me completely. I thought I had the identity of a villain solved, but I fell for the easy bait. It's good to be surprised sometimes though, and I enjoyed this one.

2004 has a bunch of new trilogies for me to start, some of which I'm excited for, others I feel some trepidation. So, because I couldn't decide what to do, I simply grabbed the next stand-alone book in chronological order and will start that tonight - which is Elminster's Daughter.








Well met! Someone on The Piazza Realms forum sent me a link to your thread here. I host a podcast called Reading The Realms. We are a book club podcast that is reading all of the Realms novels in publication order. Our most recent release is Azure Bonds, so I'm sure you're quite beyond where we're at in the canon, but just wanted to connect with someone who is going on the same crazy journey. If you're interested in listening the show is on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud. I'll throw the link below.

I look forward to reading through all the past posts on the thread!

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235

Co-Host of Reading The Realms: A Forgotten Realms Book Club Podcast

Find us on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 19 Oct 2017 :  21:30:27  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ReadingTheRealms
Well met! Someone on The Piazza Realms forum sent me a link to your thread here. I host a podcast called Reading The Realms. We are a book club podcast that is reading all of the Realms novels in publication order. Our most recent release is Azure Bonds, so I'm sure you're quite beyond where we're at in the canon, but just wanted to connect with someone who is going on the same crazy journey. If you're interested in listening the show is on iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, and SoundCloud. I'll throw the link below.

I look forward to reading through all the past posts on the thread!

https://soundcloud.com/user-538023235



That's an interesting idea, I'll have to carve out some time to check that podcast! Azure Bonds eh? If you read through this thread you'll find I'm in the overwhelming minority in that I had some issues with that book. But even when we disagree heartily, there's still some very good discussion to be found. We even managed to get several authors/designers to pop in on occasion, which is always a thrill. I hope you enjoy the thread!
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 22 Oct 2017 :  19:02:18  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Last night I finished Elminster's Daughter. It displayed a lot of the Greenwood trademarks I usually struggle with, but they seemed a bit more toned down and reasonable in this book, at least that's what my perception was. The body counts weren't quite as ludicrous. The women were more than just a pair of legs to spread for whichever male protagonist was around at the time. Narnra is actually fairly homely, with her inherited beak-nose and gangly limbs. I got a huge kick when she acknowledged this fact, saying that she was one of the 2 or 3 women in Waterdeep that are not breathtakingly beautiful. I'm not sure if that was Ed taking a bit of a light, self-deprecating shot at his writing style or what, but I found it extremely amusing.

And.... just to contradict my second point about the women being more than a sex toy, he had to go and ruin things by making Myrmeen Lhal sleep with Vangerdahast with about 30 pages to go. It's like he couldn't resist throwing that in there. I guess it wouldn't be a Greenwood story if some fat, old, hairy, repulsive dude doesn't screw a huge-boobed, incalculably gorgeous sword-woman. Oh well.

Overall I liked this book though. Narnra's storyline was nicely done, and there were all kinds of other little intrigues going on. Vangy's ethical dilemma regarding the binding of sentient beings weighed against the security of his nation was satisfying. I really liked the song dragon as well and her gathering of fellow dragons. I know I have a "Rage of Dragons" event coming up in the near future, I thought this story was going to be the origin of that, but now I doubt it, as the wyrms seemed fairly satisfied by the conclusion. I think it was one of the better EG novels overall, although I didn't care for the reveal at the end when Laspeera confides in Narnra that Elminster is her sire as well. Then Filfaeril strolls on over and casually states "Oh yeah, hey me too." I'm not sure why that scene irked me a bit. I think it's because I feel like sometimes EVERYTHING has to revolve back around to Elminster, while I feel like the Realms is so much larger and grander than just one character. I don't know, it just bugged me a bit. I was half expecting for maybe 10 more characters to jump forward and claim Elminster lineage, like a Jerry Springer episode.

To end on a positive note, I very much enjoyed the conversation between El and Narnra in his tower, regarding the nature of his "meddling" and if he actually improves the world or is just another mage-tyrant full of self-justification. It was a great exchange where both sides made solid points and it sort of humanized Elminster a bit for me and made him more likable at the same time. Good stuff.

Up next... oh boy, I still don't want to start either of the trilogies that are next in order. I plan to take a brief respite to read a ~100 page book about a location I'm traveling to next week, but I'll come back strong after that with RAS's The Two Swords.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 22 Oct 2017 19:04:49
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 19 Nov 2017 :  20:41:55  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished The Two S-Words a few nights ago and found it satisfactory. I enjoy the Obould character for being more than the typical dumb orc. And if Mystra and other good deities can have mortal champions that far exceed the norm, why not Gruumsh as well?

I particularly enjoyed how Drizzt got in over his head on multiple occasions - both in Gerti's throne room in Shining White, and again on the cliff with his Obould showdown. It's refreshing to see him outmatched on occasion.

I was very surprised by Dellie Curtie's fate. Even though it was led up to very plainly, I still found it sudden and a bit shocking when it actually happened, as though I expected a quick rescue out of the blue at the last second, but it never came. I thought she was written a bit more annoying than usual in this book, I'm not sure if that was a conscious decision by the author to sour readers on her a bit to make her death more palatable?

Good book overall. I'm invested enough to want to see how Obould's kingdom is going to play out in the North. He seems too major a player to get ejected suddenly, so I'm thinking he's in it for the long haul.

Up next, I've already started in on one of "The Priests" standalone novels - Lady of Poison.
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30431 Posts

Posted - 20 Nov 2017 :  01:00:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished The Two S-Words a few nights ago and found it satisfactory.



The Two S-Words? Is that a book about bowel movements of the Realms?

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!
Go to Top of Page

Taleras
Seeker

49 Posts

Posted - 20 Nov 2017 :  04:31:44  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I was very surprised by Dellie Curtie's fate. Even though it was led up to very plainly, I still found it sudden and a bit shocking when it actually happened, as though I expected a quick rescue out of the blue at the last second, but it never came. I thought she was written a bit more annoying than usual in this book, I'm not sure if that was a conscious decision by the author to sour readers on her a bit to make her death more palatable?



I agree, her fate was unexpected for sure. I too felt that she was also a bit more annoying than usual. The only thing I didn't like was it just felt like a cheap way for Wulfgar to get out of a relationship that held him back from adventuring (to a certain extent), and that seemed like more of a way to show Wulfgar's redemption from being a thug on the streets of Luskan than a true loving, caring relationship. In short, it felt like a forced relationship and one that was written out too quickly.
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 05 Dec 2017 :  01:52:03  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Lady of Poison several days back, but didn't get a chance to write my thoughts here. This was book 2 (I think) of The Priests series, though that doesn't matter so much, as the tales are unrelated. This is the first book I've read from Cordell. After the first couple pages I thought I was in for an astounding read, but then it sort of tapered off. It was still an above-average FR book, but didn't reach the tantalizing heights I thought it would. His character introductions were interesting and well set-up, but then most of them hit a wall and didn't develop a whole lot further for me. The main character is a Unicorn Knight of a deity named Lurue, who I assume must be either an aspect of, or somehow related to Mielikki - I'll have to look into that further. Where the author really shined was in villain creation. They were fantastic; weirdly themed and super interesting.

Also I really enjoyed the detail on the region and culture(s). If I can tangent for a moment: I'm currently suffering from a supreme case of Sword Coast Fatigue (most likely due to some of the video games I've played of late), and eagerly look for stories set in other areas. I find myself continually drawn to the Unapproachable East; so this story, set primarly in Thesk and Narfell, and even with some Rashemen elements, really hit the spot nicely. If anyone wants to chime in on what they believe the best Unapproachable East sourcebook is - edition agnostic (I only care about the lore) - I'd appreciate it.

Up next, I decided to start the Year of Rogue Dragons trilogy, but it just so happened that I already finished the first book at work today. That review coming soon!

Edited by - VikingLegion on 05 Dec 2017 01:56:15
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2017 :  01:48:23  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, as I mentioned in the previous post - I finished The Rage yesterday. I really like Richard Lee Byers sense of style. He imparts this kind of swashbuckling feel and culture that is working very well for me. Granted, it wouldn't fit in every region, but so far it's been great in his earlier Sembia novels, and now here in Impiltur. I'm really enjoying the clash of cultures - with the upstart "maestros" and their fencing schools vs the somewhat stuffier, tradition-entrenched paladins who don't want the citizenry developing a rakish, irreverent attitude. I mentioned just in that last review that I'm really getting into this region of the world, so that makes this book even more satisfying.

But Taegan and his fencing school are only part of the story. This book is a "party" based adventure, and quite an odd group they are: a half-golem dragonslayer (with the origin story you'd expect), an avariel, an arctic dwarf, a song-dragon in human form, and then some more regular fare: a human cleric of Lathander and a halfling rogue who bicker back and forth hilariously. Usually when I see an author filling out his protagonist roster with a bunch of oddball options, I think they are intentionally going weird in order to cover for a lack of ability to make true, inherently, interesting characters. Because that is exactly what I would do. But this team isn't just a collection of one-trick ponies for show, they're all fairly interesting characters and I thought he pulled it off well.

The story itself is good. It involves Sammaster in lich form, back to continue his mad quest of dominating the world with undead dragons. He manipulates the cyclical Dragon Rage, this time using magical means to amplify it beyond the norm, and then pressuring chromatic dragons to swear fealty to his cause in order to avoid losing their sanity (mainly he's trying to strong-arm more of them into becoming dracoliches). The good guys, of course, have to figure out the plot, unearth ancient magics, and stop it all. They are opposed not only by the bads, but also a radical faction of metallic wyrms that have their own idea of how to deal with the problem, and enforce it in rather draconian (errmm.. sorry) fashion.

About the only thing I found iffy was the explanation for how the Rage initially came about. Elven mages created it back in the day in order to make dragons more careless and reckless in their assaults - therefore easier to defeat. Yeah, I just don't think riling up your enemies into a frothing, berserk fury is the way to go. Dragons are typically loners - I think I'd rather take a warband and try my chances hunting them down one at a time within their own caves, rather than inciting them to take wing in massive flights of 25+ members, and trying to fight them off as they do aerial bombardments. I don't know if that is the official canon explanation behind dragon rages (is that something Ed had originally?), or something Byers had to come up with for the purposes of this trilogy, but it felt a little bit flimsy to me.

Otherwise, pretty solid book and a good start to this trilogy. Rather than go right to book 2, I'm instead reading the anthology Realms of the Dragons, as it is written first and contains some characters/events relevant to the story.

Edited by - VikingLegion on 07 Dec 2017 01:52:07
Go to Top of Page

George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4949 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2017 :  04:08:23  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion
About the only thing I found iffy was the explanation for how the Rage initially came about. Elven mages created it back in the day in order to make dragons more careless and reckless in their assaults - therefore easier to defeat. Yeah, I just don't think riling up your enemies into a frothing, berserk fury is the way to go. Dragons are typically loners - I think I'd rather take a warband and try my chances hunting them down one at a time within their own caves, rather than inciting them to take wing in massive flights of 25+ members, and trying to fight them off as they do aerial bombardments. I don't know if that is the official canon explanation behind dragon rages (is that something Ed had originally?), or something Byers had to come up with for the purposes of this trilogy, but it felt a little bit flimsy to me.



Certainly not Ed's idea and I suspect not RLB's either. And it was clumsy. I would have preferred it to be a mythal that safeguarded elven lands/cities etc. that went awry with Karsus' Folly and was twisted into a thing that made wyrms near elven lands go mad. But hey, it's always easy from the cheap seats.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
Go to Top of Page

dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3602 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2017 :  07:08:56  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well i think this might be a first for me because i think the dracorage mythal is quite a good idea.

As always i dont think it was what the elves intended. Im imagining the elves thinking that it would be better to use dragons to destroy each other rather than elves having to die to bring down these massive almost invincible beasts. And remember that at this time the dragons were a united force not the individualists of today.

So the elves decide to create a mythal that will heighten the territorial aggression of dragons so that they seek out and kill one another. Unfortunately it goes awry when they discover that dragons consider all creatures as potential mates and competition which means the territorialism includes every living creature.

Another example of elven magic being twisted outside of its intent which i love doing to the fair folk

Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions Candlekeep Archive
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 1
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 2
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 3
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 4
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 5
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 6
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 7
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 8
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 9

Alternate Realms Site
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 08 Dec 2017 :  01:12:56  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting thoughts George and Dazler, but if the Rage was caused by a mythal that got all glitched out during Karsus' Folly or some other singular event - wouldn't that be a one-time thing? Why would it send out another "pulse" (for lack of a better term) every 80 or 150 or however many years there are between Dragon Rages?
Go to Top of Page

dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3602 Posts

Posted - 08 Dec 2017 :  08:11:50  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Im keeping the mythal as is. It is still linked to the king killer star and it was glitched from the start although that doesnt mean it didnt get worse over time.

The elves never wanted to destroy the dragons, that would upset the balance of things. Rather they wanted to keep their populations under control and prevent them from gaining supremacy over all (which a united force of dragons is more than capable of doing). So use the dragons to control their own population by having them kill each other is a fairly reasonable course. You wouldnt want the cull to occur too often because their population cannot recover quick enough. So the mythal gets tied to an irregular event centuries apart, the arrival of a comet.

Ironically the comet is a large chunk of zotha which is part of the dragon creation myth so the means of their creation also becomes the means of their destruction.

As always i intend to write the mediocre implementation of a good plot hook, and make the rage of dragons a playable adventure campaign. The twist is that the rage of dragons is not the big danger, the comet about to smack into the high forest is the big danger.

Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions Candlekeep Archive
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 1
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 2
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 3
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 4
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 5
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 6
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 7
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 8
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 9

Alternate Realms Site
Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 09 Dec 2017 :  15:09:56  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good call on the King Killer star - that works nicely as a trigger whenever it comes around. I hadn't known about that until I did a bit of reading on the Dragon Rage, and unfortunately accidentally spoiled the events of this trilogy for myself... oh well.

In the meantime, I've finished the anthology Realms of the Dragons. I can't recall a bad story among them, though certainly some stood out more than others:

Soulbound - Paul S. Kemp - I had already read this one as part of the Cale omnibus, but read it again anyway because I enjoy his work so much. Really dark and moody story that sets up some Kesson Rel lore.

First Flight - Edward Bolme - set during the decline of the Netheril Empire, this was a decent story about a wizard's encounter with the phaerimm that are destroying the land.

Gorlist's Dragon - Elaine Cunningham - a good story with background info on the drow warrior from the Liriel series. I had something very specific to talk about with this story as I was reading it, but for the life of me can't recall what it is now.... I may have to do a quick re-read. Old age, I guess...

The Keeper of Secrets - Ed Greenwood - really strong Mirt/Durnan yarn about the secret presence of dragons in Waterdeep, and their peace-keeping role. It really makes a lot of sense, with all the turmoil in the region, Skullport, Halastar/Undermountain, and so on - to think that Waterdeep is as stable as it is, even with the Khelben and the Lords, is a reach. To find out there are a whole host of polymorphed drakes sort of subtly nudging events this way or that, was both a "well of course they do" and "that's brilliant!" moment at the same time. I really liked this story.

Wickless in the Nether - RA Salvatore - I'm not sure Bob knows just what to do with Jarlaxle and Artemis. They seem to be roaming around, looking for a purpose. They have gained two copper dragons as patrons by the end of this story, so maybe that will give them some direction going forward. I know I have Promise of the Witch King coming up in the not too distant future. It's funny, RAS himself has stated he hates the format of short stories and that he struggles mightily with them. I would agree that this short, as well as his last several, have been fairly weak, and yet I credit him with hands-down the best short story in the entire FR line in Dark Mirror. It's like writing that story was similar to Bruenor crafting Aegis Fang - he poured every ounce of skill into it and now has trouble going back to the forge.

Serpestrillvyth - Richard Baker - wow, what a ruthless lizard! While I felt bad for the doomed adventuring party, it was fun (in a sadistic sort of way) to see a smaller, very clever dragon win utilizing wits and tactics. Brutal story, but fun in a sadistic sort of way I guess :P

An Icy Heart - Voronica Whitney-Robinson - a very short, but powerful tale of the treachery of man and how it affects a dragon-turtle community in a Thayan lake. It was sad even when you knew where it was going. A very effective tale, I think it was my favorite of the entire book.

Penitential Rites - Keith Francis Strohm - this one is about a half-dragon acolyte of Ilmater. I guess I never really thought about if the Rage would effect those who have dragon lineage, but are not 100% pureblood. This priest is a former warlord who reveled in battlefield carnage, until Ilmater appeared to him and brought about a change of heart. Now, after years of peaceful convent living, his aggression starts to stir. Good story overall.

How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth - Dave Gross - another installment of Talbot Uskevren. Decent story about a draconic family feud and how they play out their displeasure by utilizing Tal's theatre to tell their story.

The Prisoner of Hulburg - Richard Lee Byers - ok story, it centers around a trapped psionic gem dragon being used as a Zhent pawn. The characters are from the main "Rage" trilogy, so it's a good read if you are in the middle of that, as I currently am.


Also included - not specifically mentioned, but feel free to comment on:
The Topaz Dragon - Jess Lebow
Waylaid - Thomas M. Reid
Standard Delving Procedure - Lisa Smedman
Beer With a Fat Dragon - Don Bassingthwaite






Go to Top of Page

VikingLegion
Learned Scribe

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2017 :  15:58:30  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yesterday I finished The Rite. I feel like I'm getting my reading groove back a bit, apologies for the the lull in activity here for ~2 months or so. I hope some of the previous readers of this thread haven't checked out.

Anyway, another good installment, Byers books are a smooth read for me. That's not to imply they are simplistic or non-challenging, I just find they are clear, concise, and I tend to churn through them. The oddball collection of heroes continues to grow on me. As I mentioned in the book 1 post, they aren't just a freakshow for the sake of being weird, they're decently fleshed out characters in their own right. Sammaster is an interesting villain as well, in that he has all the arrogance one would expect of a BBEG, but yet he occasionally suffers from these crippling bouts of self-doubt and insecurity.

The heroes following in Sammaster's path to discover ancient teachings and so on to counter the Rage is a little bit of a strain on believability (I just don't think they could cover that much ground/material in the time frame presented), but that's about the only reach, otherwise this is a very solid story. The leader of the gold dragons, Lareth, sure went sour fast. For being the strongest, wisest leader of all metallic drakes, shouldn't he have been able to stave off the insanity a little better? I guess partly to blame was his refusal to sleep or polymorph into human form as much as his subjects. Maybe being the strongest of the dragons worked against him, he didn't respect the curse as much as he should've. Pride goeth before the fall, and all that.

There were some interesting twists on some of the chromatic dragons; Malazan (the big, red leader) was able to exude blood from her scales, sheathing herself in fluid that seemed to enhance her strength and ferocity. The green leader, Ishenalyr, was referred to as a "hidecarved" dragon, for he had various runes, glyphs, sigils and such engraved into his scales. These granted regeneration, magical resistance, and possibly other abilities. I wonder if Byers got these from an official product, like the 3e Draconomicon most likely?

I was also surprised to see the white, black, green, blue, and red abishai (devils) display elemental characteristics/attacks that matched up with chromatic dragons of the same color. I don't recall seeing that in any of the monster manuals, though most of my knowledge of outer-planar beasties comes from 2nd edition Planescape products. I did a quick wiki search on abishai and see that all 5 colors make a reappearance in a 3e product called Monsters of Faerun in 2000. I think I have that buried somewhere, I'll have to check that out to see if those powers are listed there. Of course, I could be remembering wrong and they've always been attributed these abilities. I guess, thematically, it's somewhat appropriate, as dragons and devils were used somewhat interchangeably (Saint George and the Dragon, for example), and since D&D is largely based on our own mythology, the connection makes sense.

Up next; the 2nd anthology Realms of the Dragons II (just in case there are more stories set before The Ruin), and then back to finish up this trilogy.


**EDIT** Found this blurb about Tiamat being involved in the creation of abishai, so that makes a lot of sense. Still need to figure out if this was a 3e retcon or the lore all along:

Abishai
Abishai[39][45] are a subgroup of Baatezu created through the joint efforts of Tiamat and Pearza of the Dark Eight. They are humanoid creatures that resemble gargoyles or humanoid dragons. There are five kinds, easily distinguishable by color (black, blue, green, red, and white). Most abishai are servitors of the dragon goddess Tiamat. They are the scouts, torturers, and wardens of the first two layers of Baator.
Ranked in power, the red abishai are the most powerful, followed by the blue, green, black, and white.


Edited by - VikingLegion on 16 Dec 2017 16:17:50
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 21  Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2017 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000