The second book in the rogue series, which i'm reading out of order, is a pleasant and relatively quick read. As with the series, the protagonist is aThe second book in the rogue series, which i'm reading out of order, is a pleasant and relatively quick read. As with the series, the protagonist is a rogue, and he gets involved in something that puts him neck deep in trouble. It was kind of a mixed bag though.
The characters were interesting enough, although i can't help feeling they were a little underdeveloped and cliched. Aeron, the protagonist, was all right, trusting more in his brains than his brawn, but a not very deep character. Miri, a wilderness ranger, who is out of her element feels a little stuck up, and similarly felt could've been more. One of the villains, Sefris, was the best of the lot. A rather believeable take on a worshipper of a dark goddess. The other villain, a tanarruk, also felt wasted. His fiendish nature wasn't really taken advantaged and you could replace him with a human or orc brute and it would make little difference.
The setting itself felt generic. The city of Oeble in the Border Kingdoms; not a region i'm familiar with but i'm not so sure about a Faerunian surface city with goblinkind being part of the open population. But then again, they're not particularly noteworthy. You could replace them with humans with little effect.
It was kind of odd that the titular black bouquet is neither a dangerous relic from the past nor a powerfl magic item capable of affecting tremendous change. It's kind of refreshing that it's not, but also kind of disappointing on its mundaneness. The plot itself was fine, with the somewhat predictable twists here and there, but appropriate enough given the theme of the series.
On the whole, a likeable story, and an appropriate ending, where our protagonist turns a not quite a new leaf, as you might have expected....more
This is another time when I wish Goodreads had a rating system out of 10 instead of 5. I'm really torn between 3 or 4 stars, and 3.5 would've been jusThis is another time when I wish Goodreads had a rating system out of 10 instead of 5. I'm really torn between 3 or 4 stars, and 3.5 would've been just right. In the end, seeing as how this is the first novel for the author, I gave it 4.
Firstly, I'd like to say that the setting and tone of the entire story was very good - it was dark and bleak. You could almost feel the aura of doom descending. Tension exists, but unfortunately it got stretched by slow pacing. Parts of the story in the middle were slow to read, with a lot of repetitive descriptions regarding both the protagonist and villain. The plot itself has moments of horror (the beginning was especially good), lots of action, questions of faith, and even some romance thrown in.
The main protagonist is the classic good-guy-doing-bad-things - i.e. the good-aligned killer (D&D 3.5E) - in this case, a ghostwalker (prestige class). He's a reluctant hero with a strong personality, dealing with his own internal conflict of light and dark.
The villain, despite wielding the rarely mentioned (rare in novels) blood magic, was a little one-dimensional in her evil. She's just... evil. Her background and dominating personality was superbly crafted, how it led to her current state. Too bad her motivations were left a little weak; she could've been even more interesting.
Overall, this is a good read; a story about prophecies and the reluctant pieces that got tied up into it....more
I'd give it 2.5 stars, since I'm not really at "I liked it", but since it was a fresh approach, I'd up it 0.5 stars I guess.
As mentioned, the approachI'd give it 2.5 stars, since I'm not really at "I liked it", but since it was a fresh approach, I'd up it 0.5 stars I guess.
As mentioned, the approach was interesting, going back and forth between two timelines and two groups of protagonists. It didn't start off well with me as I got kind of annoyed by the protagonists; I just don't relate well. They do get fleshed out quite a bit, but I just didn't like them. The book becomes a better read towards the end, as the pace picks up a bit and more interesting things happen. It's a nice ending, if a bit too convenient, but at least it's a nice one.
This being a "Lost Empires" book, I can't say much about he lore part, since I'm not familiar enough with Calimshan. But there's enough bits of lore here to satisfy fans I suppose. Although I'm thinking it's probably not that accurate, considering how Selune and Shar seem to be portrayed much differently than what I'd expect (as one example of several).
Still, overlooking the nitpicking, and the somewhat uninteresting start, it's a pleasant enough and easy enough read....more
This book is set in the Utter East region of Faerun. It stars "Quasimodo" and his bodyguard, and along the way picks up a greedy rogue and a pacifistThis book is set in the Utter East region of Faerun. It stars "Quasimodo" and his bodyguard, and along the way picks up a greedy rogue and a pacifist healer. It has all the ingredients for a great adventure - a goddess-given quest, a legendary location, and odd companions. Too bad it seems to fall short.
The plot and the writing isn't bad at all; it's just not very exciting for me. The protagonist is hard to relate to; he's torn between being selfish and being noble. But kiddos to Troy Denning to actually being able to work in combat scenes with a pacifist along....more
This is the start of a new trilogy that follows Kaanyr Vhok and Aliisza, some time after the events that happened the multi-author War of the Spider QThis is the start of a new trilogy that follows Kaanyr Vhok and Aliisza, some time after the events that happened the multi-author War of the Spider Queen. Book one is basically a set up and a cliffhanger. Not much gets resolved by the end of it, just lots of twists, manipulations, and betrayals, somewhat typical of evil-oriented books - meaning, not much surprise there.
What I primarily didn't like was how slow it was. The pacing is really for the first half, which only picks up towards the end. I guess this set up was for the entire trilogy, and not just this book. It didn't help that I don't like Kaanyr Vhok here. In War of the Spider Queen, he's this warlord out to expand his territory and influence. But here, he doesn't strike me as particularly charismatic or intimidating enough to be a leader of a powerful, though relatively small, army. I just didn't find him impressive.
Comparatively, Aliisza's viewpoints were the most interesting. She's really coming into her own as a character and I look forward to seeing how that gets developed.
On the side of good, we have a deva who's responsible for Aliisza. And that's about all you can describe of him. Similar to Kaanyr, he's not quite fleshed out and remains one-dimensional.
Plot-wise, it reads like a set up to something big that's coming up, what with that cliffhanger at the end. And that's about what this book is. All the major and minor plot arcs in this book are unresolved. Couple that with the slow build-up, it only mildly piqued my interest. Well, onward to book two to see what happens next....more
I'd give this second book a 2.5 star. It's a little better than the first one, but not by much. It was entertaining enough at times, particularly in tI'd give this second book a 2.5 star. It's a little better than the first one, but not by much. It was entertaining enough at times, particularly in the handling of the final days of Netheril - except for one part - Karsus himself. Also I kinda enjoyed the fighting scenes; it takes away having to think about the weak plot. The book felt like an excuse for just 3 things to happen: (view spoiler)[just to show you what Karsus did, a rather lame and unjustified reason for Sunbright to "become a shaman", and to set up a love triangle for book three (I'm guessing). (hide spoiler)]
The whole spectacular event of the fall of Netheril and the sacrifice of the goddess Mystryl was really momentous in the Realms. So why oh why is Karsus just a (view spoiler)[ridiculous madman (hide spoiler)]? Disappointing really. I had always imagined that it was arrogance that brought the downfall of the Netherese Empire, not (view spoiler)[depravation and insanity. I'll give that the handling of a society on the verge of collapse is pretty well portrayed. I just find it really difficult to swallow to have an empire where all its archmages became high Int, low Wis characters within a span of just three and a half centuries. (hide spoiler)]
Sunbright and Candlemas has this odd chemistry. I don't really get why they'd get along. As usual, Sunbright just tears through any enemies thrown at him, but you'd think that given his experience in book 1, he really shouldn't be having so much trouble in book 2. And Candlemas... Is a pretty lousy excuse of a wizard. I think I counted him casting a total of 3 spells in the entire book... two of them in the first chapter!
In general, this book has a weak overarching plot and is filled with filler encounters - the whole romance thing was pretty weak and rather forced; and the cameo by Lady Polaris was inconsequential. It's essentially just to showcase Netheril in its end days and set up a few plot lines for the third book. But as I said, I did enjoy Sunbright's many fight scenes, especially the ones took place within the enclave.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I think reading books 2 and 3 so close to each other burned me out of any tolerance I have for a bad read. The plot wasn't bad per se, it's just reallI think reading books 2 and 3 so close to each other burned me out of any tolerance I have for a bad read. The plot wasn't bad per se, it's just really, really cliché. The book also suffers from a winding down from book 2 in terms of climax - book 3's plot is so very mundane compared to book 2.
The first half of the story starts off really slow, as it follows Sunbright and Knucklebones on their journey in trying to find his tribe. It meanders around and in between introduces us to how Sunbright made acquaintance with dwarves, and which sees Sunbright back on a floating enclave for a short stint.
The second half of the story shows how Sunbright rejoins his tribe and regains their acceptance, in a very roundabout and loopsy-do way. The portrayal of the barbarians were really poor - the Rengarth barbarians felt more like a bickering republic than a tribe of noble barbarians led by a shaman and elders.
Anyway, without nitpicking too much, the overall arc is about an old antagonist from back in book 1 making an appearance, and going about the vengeance plot is a rather ridiculous and unrealistic manner. And that's putting aside how the antagonist came back in the first place.
The three biggest flaws with the plot, that just destroys my enjoyment of this book was: 1. Netheril is not even the main focus on this story - in fact, the Netheril Empire here was extremely pathetic. 2. The really unnecessary "resolution" of what happened to Greenwillow and the ridiculous family reunion. 3. The stupid fight scenes that involve the antagonist - so overpowering and such overkill when against not-Sunbright, so pathetic against Sunbright.
The story is just full of holes and inconsistent power levels. It takes so much liberty with D&D rules that it's past the point of accepting it in humour. A very poor end to a mediocre series. ...more
Loved this one. It contains a wealth of details and flavor for the Forgotten Realms settings. There's extra information on post-Time of Troubles FaeruLoved this one. It contains a wealth of details and flavor for the Forgotten Realms settings. There's extra information on post-Time of Troubles Faerun, a long list of deities, lots of new spells, great details on major cities and settlements, a short bit on secret societies, and then a bit of extra stuff on treasure, particularly on gemstones and jewels in the Realms....more
If you're looking for a possible adventure involving a spellbook, try this book. It details dozens of spellbooks and the history behind them, providinIf you're looking for a possible adventure involving a spellbook, try this book. It details dozens of spellbooks and the history behind them, providing many adventure hooks that can be easily spun into an existing adventure. Lots of new spells and a smattering of new items and creatures. If nothing else fits your game, it's still a good read....more
Despite the fact that I'm already familiar with the Forgotten Realms settings, this intro book, presented in form of an adventure store, is still niceDespite the fact that I'm already familiar with the Forgotten Realms settings, this intro book, presented in form of an adventure store, is still nice to read as it provides bits and pieces of lore here and there....more