I began reading this book only after weeks of coaxing from my wife.
The protaganist is fairly well developed, but everything else seems superficial. In...moreI began reading this book only after weeks of coaxing from my wife.
The protaganist is fairly well developed, but everything else seems superficial. In hindsight, I guess the real villian of the story is "fear". True, the capitol is initially brought to the reader's attention as a significant threat, but since that threat isn't diffused in any way, this reader feels cheated. This story isn't about the capitol; It's about some girl timidly struggling to live against 23 other competitors.
I'm quick to ask myself the question, "Does a bunch of kids having to play a game really merit 380+ pages?". Scholastic Inc. apparently thinks so.
The only solace that I get is knowing that it's female teenage writing for female teenage readers.(less)
I had difficulty empathizing with any characters in this novel. They all seemed overly superficial, and sometimes acted in a manner that I thought to...moreI had difficulty empathizing with any characters in this novel. They all seemed overly superficial, and sometimes acted in a manner that I thought to be out of character. It may sound harsh, but I wouldn't be surprised if the author just came up with the novel by converting one of his previous gaming sessions, where all the party members have to scramble to come up with some kind of backstory, and all they can come up with is some superficial reason for being in a dungeon. This approach typically makes material that is not novel-worthy.
Fun fact: Through this book, goliaths (the race) are introduced to the forgotten realms. People concerned with continuity may question how the goliath was identified by his peers without precedent, but the author admits that including them in the novel was his idea, not demanded upon him by WoTC. I personally would have preferred that their inclusion be qualified by some explaination within the novel.
Patience may come to those who wait and this book is no exception. It isn't until about two thirds through the story where the reader is given hints about the location of the dungeon that they're trying to escape from.
One thing I heavily begrdge Eriks editor for, however, is the frequent context shifts in paragraphs. The writer will start a paragraph from the perspective of one character, and end the paragraph from the perspective of a different character. This causes the reader to either halt their progress through the book and reevaluate the meaning behind the ambiguously phrased passages, or pass by them with only partial understanding of what ideas the author was trying to convey.
Moreover, the transition from chapter 25 to chapter 26 was unacceptably abrupt. On page 262 the characters are doing battle in the underdark, and on page 263 they are in the middle of a desert with absolutely no explaination. The reader may be tempted to re-read chapter 26 because it doesn't seem to follow the previous chapter. Perhaps a few chapters were cut from the book for the sake of brevity after it was written?
In summary, though the plot of this novel does have some redeeming value, there are plenty of things that a reader can use as an excuse for not liking it, especially if they are a long time realms fan concerned with realms continuity, or a fastidious reader.(less)
This book was one of those books that I had difficulty putting down. The author clearly spent just as much time on the protagonists as she did the ant...moreThis book was one of those books that I had difficulty putting down. The author clearly spent just as much time on the protagonists as she did the antagonists. Not only that, but there are a few characters that appear to be playing both sides in the struggle, and the author unfolds the story brilliantly. The ending was absolutely fantastic, as it's perfectly set up for it's sequel.
What's more, this book holds answers to questions that you might have with regard to pantheon changes in forgotten realms. If you enjoy Forgotten Realms literature, this is truly a must-read.
Once I reached about page 170, I couldn't put it down until I finished...(less)
Why cant R.A.Salvatore let any of his protagonists die an uncerimoneous death? A lack of grit really is what keeps me from expecting a good novel when...moreWhy cant R.A.Salvatore let any of his protagonists die an uncerimoneous death? A lack of grit really is what keeps me from expecting a good novel whenever I pick up one of his.(less)
This is the second book written by Bruce R. Cordell that I have read, the first one being Darkvision. It turned out to be a satisfying sequel.
Bruce wr...moreThis is the second book written by Bruce R. Cordell that I have read, the first one being Darkvision. It turned out to be a satisfying sequel.
Bruce writes using a technique that requires a level of concentration that is higher than most other books in the genre. The vocabulary level is quite high, and because of the books structure, the reader must rely upon context quite frequently to determine which character is being alluded to in each chapter.
Overall, that's both a good thing and a bad thing, but I expect that probably leaves most readers with a love'em or hate'em attitude toward Bruce. People who are looking for a book to relax and not get too involved with would probalby be better off reading something with fewer polysyllabic words.
Abstracted from the author's style, this book gets better at holding the readers attention the further into the book you get. While reading the first few chapters, I was tempted to put the book down and find another because every new chapter heralded a new slew of characters that needed to be introduced, dispite the fact that this book is a sequel. However, Bruce is a good enough storyteller that once the reader becomes acquainted with the characters, it becomes hard to put the book down.
Ultimately I think it's a book worth reading, but a few characters spill over from Darkvision, so I encourage you to read its prequel before you proceed with this book. The main protagonist shows a different side of herself in this Stardeep than in Darkvision.(less)