A large anthology of four novellas set in four different worlds that shares a common theme - dragons.
The first is in the Forgotten Realms and deals wi...moreA large anthology of four novellas set in four different worlds that shares a common theme - dragons.
The first is in the Forgotten Realms and deals with the infamous duo of Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxle. I've already read this in another anthology and while I enjoyed it then, it was recent enough that I didn't reread it. It provides great backstory on how these two got entangled in Damara.
The second was not enjoyable at all. Weis and Hickman put Tas on the forefront of a comedic adventure... again. There's only so much kinder antics one can take in a lifetime I suppose. There's little here that hasn't been similarly done before, which made it rather boring.
The third is by Baker, set in the city of Sharn, in Eberron. This was an interesting read, and features rather engaging and likeable protagonists. And I got a little surprise by the plot, which was... well, a pleasant surprise.
The final novella is set in Dominaria, but the exact location is unknown (or at least, not to me). This one was rather enjoyable as well and features one of the more interesting antagonists in the myriad worlds of Magic: the Gathering. (less)
The second book was much better than the first, The City of Towers. It doesn't feel like watching a D&D play session anymore.
In terms of plot and...moreThe second book was much better than the first, The City of Towers. It doesn't feel like watching a D&D play session anymore.
In terms of plot and continuity, well, the why of Daine and his group going to Xen'drik felt like a plot hook that you'd get from an off-the-shelf adventure module. The story pretty much stands on its own - like an episode of an ongoing TV series. There's good pacing of action in this book; makes you want to keep reading. Not to mention the juicy bits of lore of that continent.
Note that there's a cliffhanger at the end with a lot of unanswered questions. I prefer good closures, but since I bought book 3 already, I can just continue.
As for the protagonists, they're getting developed more - possibly a bit too much. Every single one of them seems to have a powerful destiny or hidden background just teasing to be revealed. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I hope they make sense in book 3. The new villains though, are very intriguing; I hope book 3 keeps that up.
On the whole, this adventure was an enjoyable read. Time to pull out book 3.(less)
**spoiler alert** Of the trilogy, the third book is probably the best - a sign of improvement given that this is Keith Baker's first trilogy. It has g...more**spoiler alert** Of the trilogy, the third book is probably the best - a sign of improvement given that this is Keith Baker's first trilogy. It has good suspense, moral dilemmas, plot twists (although a little obvious) and a deeper study into the character's thoughts and motivations.
It nicely builds on the characters introduced and set up in the first two. Despite still not liking Daine at all (he gets annoying at times with his need to whine or complain about things not of his business), I found myself liking Jode and Pierce. And I got a little fond of Xu'sasar, especially the few parts where it was told from her perspective.
The character interactions and their journey itself on the other planes was filled with very good imagery and great storytelling. It was an adventure!
I'd have given it another star if not the ending - which was really abrupt and resolved nothing but the main plot. And the it did even that made the whole "save the world" trip feel totally inconsequential. The author either ran out of ideas or out of pages.
In short, the whole read from front all the way until the last chapter and the epilogue was a good read. Quite disappointed that the ending left a sour aftertaste with all those loose threads.
(One final note: The proofreading was again quite bad - with a lot of glaring errors).(less)
For the first book of a whole new D&D campaign setting, I'd say this book is pretty good. It's not spectacular... just nice. Obviously, being the...moreFor the first book of a whole new D&D campaign setting, I'd say this book is pretty good. It's not spectacular... just nice. Obviously, being the first book of a new setting, the book attempts to introduce the readers to the world of Eberron. For readers familiar with D&D, certain sections of the book felt like a campaign setting sourcebook. For readers unfamiliar with D&D, it may probably be too much irrelevant details. There's a nice glossary at the end containing history and setting details - might've have nicer to put footnotes throughout the pages pointing to the glossary - could've made the pace faster.
Anyway, as for the story, it's an action adventure book with some mystery thrown in. The protagonists were sent to locate a missing smuggler and a missing "shipment" of goods, but were inevitably drawn into something much bigger. The plot is quite good and very nicely laid out - not revealing too much too quickly. Certain parts of the action sequences had conflicting descriptions - minor, but you'd notice - like one of the protagonist healing from a dagger wound that should have been made by a chain.
The characters are believable and each has an interesting back story. But that's where it stopped. Not enough depth probably, or not enough characterisation perhaps? It's like watching player characters (RPG) go through a campaign. I can't "feel" for the characters.
So overall, the plot, the pace, and the characters are all pretty good - they just don't stand out. A pretty good effort for the first book of a whole new setting though, so it's still a good enough read. The ending picks up the pace and nicely sets the stage for the next 2 books.
One final point though - if you're easily irritated with bad proof-reading - be forewarned about this book. It's incredible that Wizards of the Coast, which published so many books, managed to publish a book with typos and grammatical errors abound - there's at least one for almost every chapter. I even noticed one when browsing the glossary!(less)