Chelsea's Reviews > The Erevis Cale Trilogy

The Erevis Cale Trilogy by Paul S. Kemp
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's review
Nov 22, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, assassins, wizards-and-mages, reviewed, awesome-author, favorites
Read from October 07 to November 21, 2011

I finished the first book out of this three-part omnibus yesterday. It was quite good! The depictions of the different towns and locales was especially good, and Kemp really pulls you into the environment his characters are in.

The short story at the beginning, All the Sinners, Saints, does a tidy job showing off Cale and Riven without getting long winded. It neatly shows Cale's powers as a cleric of Mask, his discomfort at Riven being brought into the fold, as it were, and shows off a bit of their backstory.

I also appreciate his character-building. Cale is dynamic, and you really get a good grip on what his thoughts are while he navigates this new moral ground he's found himself on. Riven is also nicely done. I like that he isn't all 100% pure bad-guy, he has a soft spot for dogs, and I found the scene where he says goodbye to "his girls" heart wrenching. And who says fantasy can't be sweet or emotional? I am not digging Fleet very much. So far, he is a very typical halfling character. He's facing some moral dilemmas like the rest of the cast, but he isn't really grabbing me yet.

The magic is great so far! It's nice to see some magic-slinging fighters that are well crafted.


Finished the second part, and the short story between the second and third parts. The second part of the omnibus isn't as strong as the first part. The action is still there, but it doesn't feel as strong as the first part. It seems easier to write an introduction to a world, and have fun describing the characters and the world. All the stuff with the Sojourner could have been better done, and his parts were dull. During the altercation with Cale and Assoc., you really see his epic powers come into play, so I wanted to know why you didn't get a sense of how powerful he was before that.

Mags is a great character, I think. The romance between Cale and the random serving wench is a little weird, though. It just shows up outta nowhere.

The part with the dragon was really well done, too. That scene was made even better by the intentional placement of the short story about Kesson Rel, I felt.

There is an uneasy truce between Riven and everyone else for the duration of the second story, and that adds a lot of tension to the plot. The author really keeps you guessing as to when or if he will betray the group. It seems like he could go off anytime Cale throws his weight around as being the First of Mask, or anytime he and Fleet have a disagreement.

If this was a standalone book, I would probably give it three of five stars, mostly because the parts with the slaad and the Sojourner killed the momentum any time they showed up.

The author keeps using the spells really creatively. As a D&D player it is really fun to see the spells and checks play out in an adventure.

On to part three!


There is a short story between parts 2 and 3 that recounts the betrayal of Kesson Rel, the First of Mask (before Cale) and lets the reader know how the dragon in the Plane of Shadows got dragged into this mess.

Right now, I've only read two series in the Forgotten Realms: this and books 1-4 of the Drizzt series. Kemp's writing is much better than Salvatore's, and lacks the melodrama and overwrought language characteristic of a lot of Bad Fantasy. As a D&D player, Kemp's use of spells and checks really lets me see how these functions "feel" like in an adventure setting. I hope that after reading this, it'll be easier to stay in character and really dig into the world, next time my group and I sit down to play.

I'll need to ruminate on part 3 before I type something up. In the mean time...

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Reading Progress

10/07/2011 page 37
11/21/2011 page 734
96.0% "Noooooooo Jak!"
11/21/2011 page 768
100.0% "Yaaay!"
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