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Sword Play (Forgotten Realms: Netheril, #1)
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Chonological Forgotten Realms > Sword Play (Netheril Book 1 - CFR Book 1)

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message 1: by Nigel (last edited May 15, 2018 10:46AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nigel (anhonorableleech) | 9 comments The first book in my reading through all of the Forgotten Realms novels:

At its purest, Sword Play is a tale of maturation and love. At its worst, it's a mess of events strung together to form a "story". I can't help but think of the potential in this tale. There IS a story somewhere in here, but it's muddled by bad characterization, an aimless plot that just... keeps going, and really, really bad names.
First let's, talk about some of these names: Sunbright Steelshanks, Candlemas, Greenwillow, Harvester of Blood. They all sound just a bit too much like over-the-top 80s insanity; like I almost expected the lich to be named Skeletor. Now there are some perfectly fine names like Dorlas, Ruellana, and Sysquemalyn (despite being unpronounceable). Honestly if Emery had just changed Sunbright to something more Shinegar or Sonnebrand, that would have made everything a little more palatable.

Oh did I mention a lich? Yea, there's a lich, and that's not even the biggest challenge for Sunbright! Too bad all the challenges but the final fight seem just so underwhelming due to the fact that Emery wants to fill this book with more bigger, badder threats that leave them just strung along with all of them feeling flat. Like Michael Bay with explosions, Emery heaps way too many in way to little space. Let alone the way that Sunbright seems to almost Mr Magoo his way through all of the threats presented him; which is even further exacerbated by the fact that the central plot point is that two wizards are leading him like a rat through a maze experiment. There's just no sense of pacing. The book lurches forward at parts and then comes to a crawl at others. I honestly thought the lich was the end of the book and the confrontation would take the entire second half of the novel. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! Emery seems to say...

Lastly, the character development needs work. Neither of the wizards go through any character development, one staying petulant and the other an anxious mess. Greenwillow has the vague outline of an arc in her relationship to Sunbright, but not in the most gracious steps does this happen. Just like the pacing of the book the pacing of this character development lurches and stops and lurches again. Sunbright has the most compelling character development (given that he's the main character of the book, I should sure as well hope so). He finds himself torn between two characters and realizes by the end of the book which is the right choice, but he pays a price for his slowness. I genuinely felt for the guy at the end of the book, and there is a moment halfway through when he and Greenwillow leave the tavern that Emery actually paints incredibly well. The tension felt between the characters felt real, and I wish more of the book was like that moment. That said, Sunbright has plenty of moments where he seems to backpedal on his character development having learned a lesson and then pays no heed to what he learned (and not just where Ruellana is concerned). It makes Sunbright seem incredibly thickheaded, but then Emery paints Sunbright as someone of great wit in other places. So Sunbright at times just seems out of character with himself.

At the end of the day, I can say I don't ENTIRELY regret reading this book. Then again, my life wouldn't have been much dimmer without it... If I were Emery's editor, I would have told him to focus more on the relationships of the characters, because that's where this book could have really shined. Also, pick a threat. They're gonna fight that? Cool. They're gonna fight these five other things? Not so cool. Maybe just stick with one of those and call it a day. FOCUS. That's all this books needs. FOCUS.

What do y'all think?


message 2: by Taylor (new) - added it

Taylor | 4 comments This comment is a test:

Great work, keep it up, I agree with your review and tried to not get turned off of the writing. Excited to learn more about the history of FR.


message 3: by Taylor (new) - added it

Taylor | 4 comments Test


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