I didn't figure they were going to fight, but looking back on it I should have worked it out- I'm in the last 15 or so pages, everything from page 250 on has been great (except for the Pit Fiend's sudden summoning- plot oops!) and in particular the fight with the Abishai… very nice.
I'll wrap this book up in the morning and if I get the chance head in to Pool of Twilight, it's ready and waiting.
This is amazing. I've read all the Drizzt books, and the first of the Cleric Quintet. I just haven't been able to get in to the second one. I keep gainly getting, like, three chapters in and then losing interest.
But I've read through all the Drizzt books. I love Drizzt. I love his philosophical questioning. I get to disagreeing with him in certain places down the road on the question of morality and where it comes from, but it is still interesting.
They all go through so much. Just wait until the Spellplague, for the debut of 4e, I think. WOTC told its authors "We're fast forwarding 100 years, so you can write a trilogy that covers that." Most of Salvatore's characters were human! Or at least not a race that long lived!
I think he does a good job at the solution he found, and it actually revitalized the series for me. Before that, it was starting to get repetitive. There wasn't much growth. It was just "Here's a bad guy, he's doing things, and now Drizzt has to kill him."
Artimis Entrari and Jarlaxle are my favorite characters in the series. Just saying.
And that's all I have to say about that.
I will say that I'm getting rather tired of Menzobarrenzan. The Dark Elves are just. Always. Scheming. Oh my goodness, can you just let things die already. However, there is enough new happening down there that it does keep my interest. I just wish he wouldn't spend so much time following the scheming of bad guys in later books, and use that time to follow Drizzt instead.
#023 Pools of Darkness by James M Ward & Anne K Brown (Heroes of Phlan 2)
Read 4/11/19 to 8/11/19
Book 2- and praise be, it's better the first . Good, not great, but y'know- well worth the read, particularly as it went on.
The start of it all is Phlan (and a bunch of other cities around the Moonsea) are wrenched out of the ground and transferred to well, various places. Phlan's new home is in a large underground cavern beneath the abode of Marcus, the comedy central CRAY-ZEE Red Wizard of Thay, and his bad guy roster. All of this badness is down to BANE!
Anybody played Baldur's Gate Descent into Avernus yet? Just wondering- can't think why.
Shal (Wizard) & her husband, Tarl (Cleric of Tyr) are at home in Phlan for the sudden move- thereafter the pair fend off the various attacks by Marcus and his assorted naughty people, pick of the bunch for the villains is General Brittle, who is clearly unimpressed by Red Wizard- as is the Pit Fiend- Tanetal, Latenat! In truth he's not a very impressive specimen.
Meanwhile on the surface Ren wanders (for far far FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAr) too long, although he picks up a few cool cats along the way- Evaine (Ancient/young Wizard), Gamaliel (Panther-like/Barbarian familiar- hey, that's familiar), a pair of comedy Druids and best of all Miltiades, a skeletal Paladin of Tyr out to fulfil his final challenge.
The new good guys are great to watch and listen to (Shal, Tarl and Ren- less so, Ren is evening a bit boring for a while), a couple of the bad guys are likewise worth watching, the White Bard's failure just feels like a deus ex machina moment, which isn't good. But the action kicks in about page 260 with a trio of Abishai and it's rock and roll from thereon in- nice climax, liked it a lot. There's also some nice insight and intrigue in many parts but... big but, there's a fair amount of twaddle to get through until it really gets going.
Edit: Oh, and there's a pool of Darkness (and talk of others) we even get to see it at the end- it's crescent shaped!
#024 Pool of Twilight by James M Ward & Anne K Brown (Heroes of Phlan 3)
Read 8/11/19 to 12/11/19
Book 3- Well... there are some (fairly) good bits and there are some (very) bad bits- some of them clunky bad. To begin with I don't really get the main villain. Sirana the Erinyes (daughter of Mad Marcus from Book 2), at the start she allows her underling to outfit her Thieves' Guild narks in armour which severely restricts their ability to be, well.. sneaky backstabbing Rogues. She infiltrates the party and then behaves like the semi-villain before finally revealing herself way too soon, and in a much (much) contrived way (we'll get back to this). She conjures Shadows and then gets upset when the sun rises and slaughters her spawn, she creates illusionary nasty dark trees- which are put out of action by... wait for it, an illusion. Which is less of a surprise when you know that one of the good guys is an illusionary Illusionist (you're going to have to read the book to find out how that works), and Sirana knows this... Everything she does turns to rude word goes here. Even down to summoning Dusk, Faerun's greatest (most kick ass) Black Dragon, she orders Dusk to fix the meddling party- SPOILER Dusk puts the 'fix' on Sirana.
Then there's the good stuff- although looking back I'm struggling to remember the good stuff- Miltiades is great as always and surprise ending (RUINED!) he gets his life back, which may in fact have shattered my love for the skeletal avenging Paladin. There's another new Paladin- Trooper, who is a much better character than the drongo Kern (son of Tarl and Shal). There are also lots of good fights back in Phlan, which is now looking like something out of a WFRP campaign, I expect the Nurgle guys to book in soon. Evaine is Evaine (and good at it), Gamaliel is Gamaliel-lite (disappointing), Ren gets killed (good), Listle is comedy gold (the illusionary Illusionist), Ren's daughter- I can't even remember her name and I only finished the book yesterday- is like Ren, and has nothing much to do with anything... there are quite a lot of good guys it seems- too many. Even Tarl, Anton and a few other Priests of Tyr get speaking parts. Oh, Shal is mostly unconscious throughout (a blessing).
So, there's a lot going on, and all of the time- the final fight is a doozy, only- the beginning of the finale is just a massive cop-out, the good guys (all 42 of them) are fighting their way to the Pool of Twilight, which at this point is Sirana's new permanent abode. Then... are you ready for it... they all fall down a hole, and land in something squidgy- everyone is unconscious for a bit. Then Kern (Paladin/Moron Hero) awakes to discover all of his friends tied up and suspended above the Pool of Twilight- he has to save them.
What now- they all fall down and Sirana decides to restrain all of the PCs except MC Hammer (Kern).
If she's time to tie up (magically with the Staff of Twilight) 41 of the 42 party members then why not just kill the lot, or a select few... the entire finale is fairly lush- although massively predictable, the set up (as discussed above) is laughable. You may as well have the two comedy Thompson Twin Elven Wizards stroll on with a massive Intertitle card baring the legend- "the heroes are captured... except for MC Hammer..." cut to Kern mid-Hammer time! Can't touch this!
But I bloody read it didn't I!
Let us never speak of it again.
And joy everlasting- there's another Pool to dive in to.
I remember this being one of the earlier books that I nerd-raged on for game rule-related reasons. Like, Sirana isn't an erinyes; she's the daughter of the previous book's wizard villain and the erinyes he summoned. In other words half-devil (or half-baatezu, if you prefer). The problem is that there were no stats for such creatures in AD&D 2E at that time, the way there were for half-demon children (i.e. cambions and alu-fiends). It wouldn't be until the Guide to Hell came out that we got stats for those.
She conjures Shadows and then gets upset when the sun rises and slaughters her spawn
Jumped in this late, but man, you're taking me back, and wow on the ambitious schedule!
I read nearly all these and have kept most on my library shelf for nostalgia. Some were so bad, so bad, that I donated them. Glad to see Homeland on your re-read list, I've enjoyed that trilogy over and over, and you're right on the Moonshae books. I was never into the heroes.
I won't ruin anything but I had fun reading the Canticle series, and the Harpers series included most of those I donated away rather than keep.
There's a few of those Harper series I loved and wished to see more from those heroes (Ruha, Parched Desert!) And other books have been guilty pleasures. I know Pool of Radiance isn't great, but it checked off enough boxes to keep me turning pages quickly.