#021 The Druid Queen by Douglas Niles (Druidhome 3)
Read 27/10/19 to 31/10/19
Book 3- and worse. The novel, as always, swings bye- easy to read and no heavy thinking (at all). The New/bad gods (Talos (Malar) & Helm) are out to do in the Earthmother still. The bad guys line up with the Firbolgs (with leader & shaman type), Trolls (Baatlrap- nasty leader type), Parell Hyath (high Helm Inquisitor), mad and moody (Princess) Deidre Kendrick and the best of them all- Grond Peaksmasher (the Giant- and I mean, GIANT- god). The action is okay, although some bits are just plain dumb-
King Kendrick decides on a whim (or a spell- Geas?) to go and fight the Firbolg/Troll horde on his own... the rest of his family (well, (Princess) Alicia anyway) decide to go and help him- with the usual bunch of friends tagging along.
King Kendrick mucks about a bit- still ensorcelled?
The High Inquisitor is a smarmy git throughout, and we know he's going to be a/the bad guy- samey same for (Princess) Deidre of course; so there are literary no surprises here. You kinda just know how it's all going to fold-out. The cool guy on the bad kid block of course is Grond Peaksmasher, and he only makes his appearance in the last twenty pages.
There's also the Robyn problem, The Druid Queen of the title- she does a little recon at the start of the novel, frets a bit, and then disappears for a while to commune-commune at the Moonwell, and there she stays- for most of the book. At the finale the author sorta explains this away by having Robyn share her thoughts, she's been in a trance for absolutely ages and forgot to set her alarm clock, or something very similar.
Anyway, the final confrontation after the gang traipse around Gwynneth for a while is on the island of Oman- home to the aforementioned Peaksmasher, it all goes wrong- then it all goes right, as expected. There's a nice bit in which the Druid Queen becomes one with the earth- and shrugs her shoulders a bit- EARTHQUAKE! She gets lost in the mantle- oh no, she can't escape her doom- and then she escapes. The pay off for Robyn is convincing Mr. Peaksmasher to not lay waste to her family and friends (to not harm the Earthmother). That's it.
There's a very daft bit with some Hallucinatory Terrain, which even as I'm reading it I'm seeing straight through it- the fact that an entire army, including veterans and a bunch of high level PCs (the heroes- with all of their save bonuses) can't see through the veil for a good while. I'm not convinced.
Bits of the plot are barely hanging by a thread, and all of the good (bad) guys are under-used and under-played, at least I think so.
It's a book about the Earthmother (Robyn) versus the New Gods- Talos & Helm, only this pair barely lift a finger and their working guys are either all over the shop (and not at all enthralled by their godly masters) or else go at in a half-arsed way.
I want better enemies, more conniving, cleverer... I want them to steal the scenes and to chew at the scenery. That said some nice fights and another series ticked off.
Oh, Keane (Wizard/Tutor) finally gets it on with (Princess) Alicia, and the Elf (Brigit) dies, as does Knaff (and he was my favourite ten-line NPC in the whole book).
Double Oh, and what's Tavish for (except so that the author can have someone on the spot to describe the action) the Bard follows the Firbolgs to Oman and then her best tactical choice is to run and grab the magic axe- she's knocked out of the game by a Spiritual Weapon spell. What the? What level's Tavish- 3rd?
Read! You should probably give this series a miss though.