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


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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#062 The Veiled Dragon by Troy Denning (Harpers 12)
Read 22/3/20 to 26/3/20


Forgotten Realms The Veiled Dragon (Harpers 12)  a.JPG

Book 12- and we're in the Elversult region, and I'll be honest I don't remember having read anything about this area of the Forgotten Realms, inevitably I'll be mistaken and someone will point out that one of the other novels I have already read (here) was set in this region.

I've just looked it up- Eversult is down the road from Westgate, so I was wrong- we've been close to here previously.

So, we're doing Shou, Harpers and the Cult of the Dragon- and believe me the Harpers are less a secret organisation here, more an uppity bunch of bandits and outlaws (but y'know, in a good way- think the Alliance) that are out to keep the region free of tyrants, and in particular free from the Dragon Cultists.

I'm not sure how or why the Shou are here, did I miss it? Is it in the text and I skipped it- a trade mission, best guess/most likely. Anyway, our gal on the spot is Ruha the Bedine Witch/Wu-Jen and Harper extraordinaire- the deal is Lady Yanseldara has been poisoned and the local Harpers (lead by crazy warrior Vaerana) have called for a specialist- Ruha, to break in to the Shou compound and recover Lady Y's magical staff, which will somehow fix things. Ultimately she must find the poison and the poisoner that has incapacitated Lady Y.

The Shou are represented mostly by the arrogant Prince Tang (eventually he learns), a crazy chop-socky Princess (Abazm), a high level government minister (Hsieh) who is also chop-socky enabled and v. smart, and last but by no-means least Lady Feng (Tang's mother) who is a Wu-Jen of great power and being held prisoner by the Dracolich (see below).

In the opposition corner is Cypress, which is an odd name (I think) for a Dracolich that just wont die- of course, there's also a metric ton on off-screen (mostly) Dragon Cultists who spend a majority of their time sticking back together Cypress' repeatedly broken body.

So, political intrigue, a barking mad Harper that doesn't dig Ruha at all, a wandering Half-Orc, ship's Captain Fowler who is left sans ship, and an undercover mission which is twisty-turny as we go around the houses to get to the answer.

There's some great bits- I really enjoyed Prince Tang's expedition to Cypress' lair- that went well, SPOILER- Tang is the only one to survive, and he doesn't travel light. Lady Feng has got lots of nice lines, and is more than happy to backchat a Dracolich. But... it didn't set my world on fire- all good, nothing to complain about, but not a rip-roaring adventure (although in places).

Ruha, I also liked- she seems to me to be the voice of reason (backed by the author's desire to fill the role), the outsider looking in to this crazy state of affairs, seeing the third way- which doesn't involve one side massacring the other. Same goes for Minister Hsieh, the bottom line = money and position, is for him- the bottom line, if they can get there without killing everyone/risking all, then so much the better.

On reflection Ruha (like Danilo) seems to embody the Harper doctrine better then many of the other members of the secret organisation depicted in this series. She works with people, and with words, rather than just relying on her powers to vanquish all before her, I enjoyed that.

Read.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
In contrast to what I said before, my not having read this particular novel has less to do with not being too interested in the characters (though Ruha has never grabbed me; in contrast to how she's described as not just trying to vanquish all before her here, I found her to be unpleasantly aggressive in her self-righteousness in Crucible: The Trial of Cyric the Mad), than it does with simply never having gotten around to this one. I will point out that we actually do see Prince Tang again, in the aforementioned novel Crucible, though I'm honestly not certain if that takes place before or after this.
 


Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Is the list on the first post comprehensive? Because it's missing a number of Salvatore's Drizzt novels.

Nope, it's just where I have got up to in my buying schedule... there's plenty more to be added to it. I have a spreadsheet I work from and just add a chunk more as and when.

Stay safe and well.

Cheers goonalan
 

Mirtek

Hero
Here's a complete(*) list: FR Novels

(*)actually excluding the last two Drizzt novels that have been released outside of the discontinued FR novel line. These two are "Timeless" and "Boundless", a third one "Relentless" will be released in July.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Here's a complete(*) list: FR Novels

(*)actually excluding the last two Drizzt novels that have been released outside of the discontinued FR novel line. These two are "Timeless" and "Boundless", a third one "Relentless" will be released in July.

Got it- Thank You.

Stay safe and well.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#063 Silver Shadows by Elaine Cunningham (Harpers 13 + Songs & Swords 3)
Read 27/3/20 to 2/4/20


Forgotten Realms Silver Shadows  (Harpers 13) a.JPG

Book 13- and we're in to high level Elf politics (again) Arilyn Moonblade (the (only) Half-Elf wielder of a Moonblade) is out to save the Elves (and other Fey folk) who live in Tethyr Forest from the rapacious machinations of Bunlap the mercenary captain and his (seemingly) inexhaustible supply of sellswords. This, of course, is just what's going on at the time- we'll call it the story. Front and centre however is Arilyn's continued battle with her (much) enchanted & enhanced blade- and the Elfshadow(s) that dwells within the artefact.

So, there's plenty of action, and a lot of good insights in to the ways of the (Forest/Wood) Elves et al, and plenty of good guys to root for and bad guys to dislike. Likewise the many and varied powers of Arilyn's Moonblade are explained- a wonderful template of sorts for a DM to make use of in his or her game. Basically, each new wielder of the blade adds another power (and their spirit/soul- eventually) to the already terrifyingly overpowered (in game terms, but you be the judge) blade.

Circling above the main show there's a bit more semi-evil political machinations of Prince Hasheth (also a semi-Harper, of sorts) who is playing every side for and against each other. But the scion of the Pasha of Zazesspur's efforts are naught in comparison to those of his boss- Lord Huhne (who states, at the end) that he has everything under control.

It's well written, and a good story- not great, or else imho it didn't grip me in the way previous novels have, I liked it but it took a while for me to get happy with it, and get 'into' it. Still, this is the middle book of the Songs & Swords series, and so not the climactic conclusion- more a travelling book, to get us from point A to point B- plot-wise.

Last thought, the book was difficult to concentrate on not because of any failing, but rather because of the terrible story that is playing out in the real world at the moment.

Stay safe and well you lovely people- stay in, read books, take care of those around you, and remember in your thoughts and prayers all of the good folk that are helping to feed us and keep us safe from harm in these difficult times.

Read.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#064 Stormlight by Ed Greenwood (Harpers 14)
Read 3/4/20 to 6/4/20


Forgotten Realms Stormlight (Harpers 14) a.JPG

Book 14- and Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgghhhh!

I didn't like it, not one bit.

So, Storm Silverhand semi-naked Bard/Fighter/Wizard- Chosen of Mystra heads off to Firefall Keep, home of the Summerstar's (haughty and arrogant nobles- at least at first) to solve the mystery- who or what is killing folk. Vangey the Cormyr Archmage has also sent a batch of War Wizards to go and find out what's going on.

After a bit of nudie aerobics Storm arrives.

Everyone (the Summerstar's/Wizards) hates/dislikes/seeks to embarrass her- save a few of the more 'common' folk.

More deaths follow.

Storm et al discover that the killer is a shapeshifter (Malaugrym)- actually, much later on we discover the killer is and yet isn't a Malaugrym, I'll leave that surprise for you to discover- I dare you.

Storm puts up a barrier around the Keep- the Malaugrym cannot be allowed to escape, it will destroy all the Realms... a bit dramatic, but whatever.

There follows 150+ pages of too and fro, the bad guy haunting the halls and delivering tubs full of destruction, or else invading the mind and controlling Shayna Summerstar (the belle of the Summerstar ball). Shayna attempts to 'nail' every Wizard that walks her way- sexuality, as always, is a big deal here.

Particularly young beautiful ladies seeking to clamber on top of aged (powerful) Wizards- funny that.

While this is going on Storm and friends tell each other (and us) stories, stalk the halls seeking their foe, and die- they die in great numbers, Shayna kills (with a little help from the Hungry Man) twenty Purple Dragons in an afternoon.

Then... we finally get to the end of it.

Everyone except Storm and maybe a handful of others (all either Nobles or Wizards) are dead. Oh, and the head War Wizard gets the girl- Shayna.

So, here's the thing-

1) Why some of the nakedness, what does it enhance- I mean, if it were a film I'd forgive it more- because it'd be a way to sell it to a sexist world, but as it is... I don't get it. It just seems to be semi-exploitative (and very sexist), here you go teenage boy, your high level PC should wear something see-through, or else nothing at all. Oh, and by the way women get what they want not by being smart (et al) but by being good to look at.

2) WTF? Everyone below the rank of Summerstar/Wizard is infinitely expendable- they die in their droves. Didn't the Harpers/Nobles/Wizards/anyone think to clear the common folk out- before Storm puts the barrier down. Or else, after- just to save lives. Likewise scores of Purple Dragons meet their maker (Torm) and yet time and time again they prove ineffective against the enemy.

Why do so many common folk have to die or suffer (needlessly) so that a few nobles can finally learn to behave like grown ups (actually not even- they don't get that far).

3) 99% of the fighting/hunting of the big bad guy is done in the dark- five War Wizards and Storm and no-one has got, or else thinks to fill the castle with LIGHT spells (or similar). This place (Firefall Keep) has hidden panels concealing priceless treasures and magical artefacts (well, at least one- see the Red Dragon's arrival), but no-one can cast LIGHT (or similar).

4) The final shoot out is just a hoot (as in not good). X dies- but they're not dead, they just 'fall'. Then they get up again. Then they're knocked unconscious, or else the 'darkness takes them', or some such. Then they get back up again. Then they fall... Then they get back up again.

If you're a red shirt in this one (and 99% of the castle population have got their red shirts on) then you're a goner, if you're wearing some other colour shirt then you can get knocked down and out twenty times over but I guarantee you'll make it to the epilogue.

JUST GAH!

From page 247, a Purple Dragon talking about Storm-

"Aye," another agreed from beside him. "What odds that if she falls, Mystra reclaims her, and sets her back alive again to wiggle her hips at poor fools in some other realm? Mystra wont come down to succor the likes of us!"

This guy is the smartest person in the book.

How is Storm a hero of the people?

How are the Harpers defending the Realms against tyrants (et al)? This is just Wrestlemania (with, like spells, and that) and screw everybody else- their role is to die.

Once the barrier is up around the Keep, and the bad guy can't get out... well, leave the bastard there and call the Vangey-police, or Big E, or anybody else that specialises in this kind of nonsense.

In the epilogue various high level everythings- Big E, Storm and sisters including Sylune sit around and have scones- WTF? Is there no-way of getting the scone-eaters into the action earlier? Or else demonstrating to the reader that Storm is concerned with the fate of people (any and all people) rather than suffer her hubris.

I hated this one- it's trash. Sorry, that was strong- but there are just lots of odds and ends- the Red Dragon's arrival et al, Princesses love Wizards, Storm just stomping about doing... nothing much while lots of other folk die, everybody (EVERYBODY) learning to love and lust after the semi-naked Storm.

Read.

I lost a bit of hope here, and I'm really not looking forward to the Elminster books.
 

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