#146 Condemnation by Richard Baker (War Spider Queen 3)
Read 27/11/21 to 30/11/21
Not as good as the first two but that's because there's plenty of diluting with this one, there are lots of pieces on the board now and so we don't spend the same amount of quality time with our antiheroes/heroes/pleasurable-villains* (* delete as appropriate).
Also, we go places with this one, and travelling is often an issue, Baker does the right thing though, early on in the piece he was skipping the action, and I was fretting- where's all the good stuff, I like a good fight. But, he was right to, there's just so much to get in this one. It's pretty marvellous so far how the different authors have managed to get everything to line up, except... but we'll get to the exception.
So, Pharaun is too cool for skool, Ryld still a killing machine with a heart of something softer (but not gold), Valas similar but less well-defined, Quenthel still a tyrannical nutter (but in a really great way), same for Halisstra and Danifae; and Jeggred of course. The issue, as stated above, is we get less time to be with these folk. There's a whole heap of Halisstra in this one, captured by elves and subject to the (good) machinations of a priestess of Eilistraee, but do not fret- it all ends very badly for the good guys.
We skip about a a bit- Anauroch, Mantol Derith, Gracklstugh (with a bit of time on the Darklake) and then, at last, into the Demonweb Pits, where it gets all Q1 (remember the module), only... and again, we're in a race to get through this stuff. Everyone shines although perhaps not as brightly as they did in the first two.
Then there's the fact that we also get to spend time with some/more of the bad guys- the tanurrak legions and their cambion boss (and Aliisza, of course), then there's Horgar and the duergar, and then... phew, there really are a lot of factions in the game. Then there are the bad guy drow, with Grandfather and the despicable Lolth hating assassins of the Jaezrad Chausslin, you've got to love these folk.
Then there's Trilel Baenre, and Menzo- and a war, and Gromph has gone, and then there's the lich house master of house Dyrr, and a half-a-dozen other drow house and their matron mothers.
Truth be told if this was a 500 page novel then I would have read it as quickly and it would have been all the better for it, maybe even a seven novel series.
The point being some of these places- Gracklstugh, the Darklake & the Demonweb Pits, I'd really would have liked to have spent longer here, to take more of it in. Obviously that's as much about me and my game, but these are places that I have read a little about in other 5e sources and, I wanna know more.
Is there a novel out there that does for the duergar what Salvatore (and co) did for the drow?
That would be something I'd look forward to reading, a lot.
So, it's just sprawling, and because of this it has to dart about a lot. That's my major complaint about the Halisstra interlude, I guess it needs to stay in because there's a pay off coming somewhere along the line. But here, when every other section is moving so quickly, it seems to stand out and not for the right reasons, it just seems like marking time.
Again, there's something coming no doubt that makes the chunk of exposition here worthwhile.
The other error-
"Save your magic," Quenthel decided. "That strand will do. Jeggred, Ryld, carry Valas and Danifae."
The big lad is back guarding the physical bodies of the astral walking drow, Jeggred can't hear you Matron.
But that's not much to write home about.
It's another good to great novel, more of the same- too much more, as stated- I'd have turned this one into two, or else submitted a 500 page text and let the series bosses figure it all out (and would therefore never have get another writing gig again).
But you get what I'm saying.
It flies too fast at times, too much stuff- not enough time for a proper look around, but I get it- that's the load that this one has to carry.
Stay safe and well.