D&D General I'm reading the Forgotten Realms Novels- #202 The Howling Delve by Jaleigh Johnson (Dungeons 2)


Expert Long Rester
Compared to Wulfgar's PTSD from his time in the abyss, his failed relationships, his hitting rock bottom, coming back from it, finding a family, and losing it again I just couldn't find Drizzt's own struggles to be that interesting.

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Compared to Wulfgar's PTSD from his time in the abyss, his failed relationships, his hitting rock bottom, coming back from it, finding a family, and losing it again I just couldn't find Drizzt's own struggles to be that interesting.

I still have PTSD from reading Once Around the Realms. There's more fun things to do like drop concrete blocks on your foot.
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#034 The Ogre's Pact by Troy Denning (Twilight Giants 1)
Read 5/12/19 to 9/12/19

Forgotten Realms The Ogres Pact (Twilight Giants 1) a 30.jpg

That's better, much better than the last one.

So, Tavis the Firbolg tells no lies and always flies straight as an arrow, and he loves/adores Princess Brianna- he even looks after the orphans- the tough guy with a heart of gold. Princess Brianna (nearly seven foot tall and 18(00) Str) also loves the orphans, and Tavis, of course. But the course of true love never runs smooth.

Here's the first criticism, although I feel slightly churlish pointing this out because without the conceit the novel falls apart, here goes- twenty pages in (less) we know that Tavis has a heart of gold, Princess Brianna who knows Tavis better than anyone else in the novel still however has her doubts about the Firbolg. As stated- without her doubts then the rest of the novel kinda just falls apart, she has to doubt- so, suspend belief, and go on with it.

The rest just works- Brianna gets snatched by the Ogres and their leader/Shaman (is this guy a precursor to the Ogre Magi, he has the skills to pay the bills?) Goboka who has plans for the Princess- the rut? Then it's a chase to the finish with Tavis, Morten (a brutish Firbolg), Avner (12 year old male orphan/12th level Rogue), and my favourite Basil the (Socialist- all property is theft) Verbeeg Runecaster, and a red shirt earl at first go in pursuit of Brianna. Then after the rescue get chased (right back at yer) by Goboka and his Ogre-squad.

Oh, but they're not the Ogres I know and love- nasty, brutish and thick with it; so last season- these Ogres are bow specialists that hide in trees and go for the ambush. Odd- but hey, it kinda works.

The Hill Giants however, well... they're the same guys that squashed in to G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, it's a wonder any of them survive to adulthood so dangerous is their day-to-day existence. We meet three Hill Giant guards as our guys, lead by Brianna, flee to the Hill Giant chiefs secret hideout- three pages later and one of the Hill Giants has pushed the other two off a cliff (to their deaths) and the presumption is they're mates. Brutal.

The fighting is great, the action is great, Goboka is great, Basil is great, Tavis is great- and more or less everything Brianna believes is wrong. Oh, and everything that Travis says is either true, correct or just plain smart.

Basil is too cool for school.

That's it really- you want there to be a happy ending, but I figure it can't come too soon- there's three books in this series, so medal, marriage and... majesty! At least not just yet.


Oh, and don't read anything in to the fact that it took me five days to read this (a long time for me) I managed to mislay the book for 36 hours- it fell out of my bag in the car and some how made its way to under the driver's seat. There followed a day and a bit of frantic searching every room in the house before, finally- the next morning, thinking to check in the car. Bingo!
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#035 The Giant Among Us by Troy Denning (Twilight Giants 2)
Read 10/12/19 to 13/12/19

Forgotten Realms The Giant Among Us (Twilight Giants 2) a 30.jpg

Book 2- and more of the same, the middle book of the trilogy and so while plenty happens there's not much in the way of change, at the end of the novel we're pretty much in the same place for the start of the third novel. The bad Giants (the Frost Giants including Shaman, and 'the Ettin') et al get thwarted, and the good guys (and Giant-kin) are still in the game.

Tavis the Firbolg First Scout is some mad cross between Chuck Norris and the guy from the TV Series Kung Fu (David Carradine played him, that right?). Reading the trilogy through you could play a satisfying (although possibly slow-paced, dependent on your reading speed) drinking game downing a shot every time Tavis get beaten to a pulp, and then gets up again. That's some powerful healing Brianna (and others) have going on.

There are issues, of course, the biggest of which is Prince Arlien of Gilthwit, to begin with about 10 pages after first reading the word 'Gilthwit' some part of brain came up with the fact that Gilthwit wasn't as I first suspected a small village on the Yorkshire/Lancashire (in the UK) county border, but was in fact an anagram of Twilight.

The last novel had Brianna being captured and transported to the Twilight Vale, the series is called the Twilight Giants trilogy, the last book of which is called 'The Titan of Twilight'. So, Prince Arlien is something to do with the Twilight (Giants) but that may not be an easy/obvious connection to make. The real problem is Arlien is downright suspicious from the get go- the reader learns to instantly dislike/distrust him, so unless he's a red herring (he's not- that's Cuthbert) then the cat's out of the bag (continuing the metaphor).

The real stars of the novel however are Avner (and a tiny bit of Basil) and Graytusk, the Mammoth. Avner has grown up a little- he's now a 12th Level Rogue 3rd Level Assassin with a fatal sneak attack- with sling, dagger, spoon, whatever... The lad still gets in to trouble and needs rescuing every now and then but then again so does our hero Tavis, and Avner (and sometimes Basil, the Runecaster Verbeeg) are always on hand to leap in to the fray.

Does Avner get his own trilogy?

Imagine the Avner & Graytusk, like Fafrhd & the Grey Mouser only with a trunk.

So, I liked it- because there's lots of action and some nice insights in to this and that, but it didn't grab me- it wasn't remarkable, the villains were less than compelling and in the end (mostly) easy enough to deal with.

Also, Brianna- she says she loves our soon to be Lord Scout (Tavis) and yet she still doesn't get that her man doesn't lie (and values... well, values). I get that Gilthwit/Twilight puts the charm in, but even before then she's saying one thing (to Tavis) while at the same time doing/saying/thinking other things which are clearly contrary to her self-professed feelings of love for the runt Firbolg. Or else are going to potentially break the poor saps heart- why can't she figure this, they've been a couple (seemingly) for a good long while now.

The problem in some of these books that have romantic entwined male/female leads, or pairings, is that generally neither of the duo actually knows (or understands) anything much about their partner- beyond a bit of history (maybe) the rest is mostly surface.

Actually, scratch that- Cadderly & Danica in the Cleric series (Salvatore again) are probably the exceptions to this rule, the rest are ciphers, or else place-holders for romantic couples. That said Tavis (of course, he's a bloke) is better at being a considerate (thinking) partner than Brianna by a mile (she's a woman- and subject to her emotional state- phew, that's tired).

Bring back Azure & Dragonbait, whatever they have there's love in it.


Dire Bare

The Spine of the World is where Drizzt novels really started trending downward IMHO. Last two I read were semi awful. Something about Gauntlgrym and a vampire Dwarf (Pwent?).

Reading Salavtore's "Dark Elf" novels are an exercise in mental confusion for me. I have genuinely enjoyed the entire series (haven't read the last two yet), but there are so many things RAS does in these novels that I find irritating and stupid. Vampire Pwent, and his treatment of dwarves in general, among them.

I do really enjoy the story arcs for Drizzt and Wulfgar throughout the series, and even though I find the
idea stupid, I enjoyed the struggles Cattie-brie, Wulfgar, and Bruenor went through as they tried to reconcile their
multiple lives

It's so easy to bag on these novels for all sorts of ridiculous stuff RAS puts into them . . . but he keeps writing them, and I keep reading and enjoying them.

Reminds me of Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series. So many irritating details. Read and enjoyed the entire series. Really looking forward to the new TV show in the works.

Reminds me of Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series. So many irritating details. Read and enjoyed the entire series. Really looking forward to the new TV show in the works.

Yeah, but at least the Wheel of Time wasn't as obnoxious as RAS.

My friends and I had a drinking game going. Take a drink any time Jordan described clothing or any time Nynaeve tugged her braid.

We decided to nix the game, though...we were at risk of dying of alcohol poisoning.


#036 The Titan of Twilight by Troy Denning (Twilight Giants 3)
Read 13/12/19 to 14/12/19

Forgotten Realms The Titan of Twilight (Twilight Giants 3) a 30.jpg

Book 3- and probably the best of the trilogy, the usual suspects- of course, and Brianna is still doing her Tavis is bad thing, and Avner is still a 12th Level Rogue 3rd Level Assassin, and... well, it's more of the same really, only with a climactic conclusion.

It gets EPIC towards the end, and I don't usually like that but this time (for whatever reason) it just works, but just let me take a moment to explain. The craziness in this novel comes about because Tavis and Brianna have gone the parenthood route- however there's something spooky (ugly) about their child, the rumour is 'the Ettin' from the last novel has had his evil way (ways- plural?) with Lady B.

The Giant-kin (Firbolg's, Verbeeg & Fomorian) are out to do serious harm to the Lord & Lady's new born sprog- at first convinced that Brianna has had twins (1x Good, 1x Evil- natch) and stuck in the middle of it all is Tavis.

Is the child possessed of twin spirits- good and evil?

Read on...

Matters get a little more fraught when the Titan of Twilight (T of T) tips up and starts smashing to pieces the already besieged castle in which Lady B, Tavis et al are sojourning. Soon after the big guy (T of T) grabs up the keep that Brianna and child (and Avner, and a few red shirts) are hiding in, and then stomps off across the kingdom back to the Vale of Twilight (V of T).

There's a wonderful moment when the aforementioned T of T puts the keep down (to rest) and then calls forth a clutch of Storm Giants to guard the tower. Boy, them Storm Giants have got the weight of the world on their shoulders- dour buggers, and I love the swarms of birds that accompany them wherever they go- I'm having that in my game.

Eventually the T of T makes it to the V of T- Brianna is on nursemaid duties, keeping the 100lb (or thereabouts) child weaned. Tavis and co (but no Avner- SPOILER, Avner's dead now- and a heroic death at that, worthy of a central character) follow the T of T to the T of V, after picking up Skysplitter (the impractical SUPER-AXE) en route. Then... well, lots of stuff goes down- a mountain/tor gets cleft in twain (can you guess who by, and what with) and the V of T gets exposed to the real.

Then it kinda kicks off, but the ending is suitably- clever, rather than just bloody, the T of T even has a happyish ever-after.

Well done. Not shout it from the roof tops great but there are some really fine moments here, and some nice insights in to the ways and means of various D&D-style monsters/NPCs.


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