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

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
So, I really didn't like it- and it took me an age to get to the end, reduced to reading in 20-page bursts because I was so fed up with it. Which is odd because I read Paul Kidd way back when with Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, White Plume Mountain and Queen of the Demonweb Pits- and I seem to remember being so enthused about these locations- and the others featured in the Greyhawk series that I made it my mission to DM these books immediately. Although in truth I had DMed most of them already- remember I'm old skool. Obviously I don't remember how good Mr Kidd's novels actually were (it was all a very long time ago) but they were certainly enough to get my motor running.

Not having read this particular book, his Greyhawk trilogy (consisting of White Plume Mountain, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, and Queen of the Demonweb Pits) is where I know Paul Kidd from as well. I too found them to be very enjoyable (fun fact: there are two short stories involving those characters in Dragon magazine: "By the Job" in issue #271 is set prior to the first book, while "Keoland Blues" in issue #278 is set between the first and second books), even though they played fast and loose with a lot of the finer points of Greyhawk's history. Being the sort of person who's a stickler for setting canon, I like to think that my enjoying those books anyway is a major endorsement, because I'm humble that way.

The main reason for those books being so good (in my opinion) is that Kidd is very talented at writing characters who seem, while not what I would call well-rounded, extremely vivid in their depictions. The characters do what they do so intensely that they seem to pop off the pages when they do it. What makes this different from, say, Ed Greenwood's characters, is that Kidd's don't take this to the point of having it overshadow everyone and everything around them. When they run up against opposition, leaning into their character archetypes isn't enough to carry the day; they have to actually make an effort to win.

Of course, Kidd does have a tendency to let humor in by way of anachronism, but while I can't speak to the book under review here, in the Greyhawk books he at least kept it limited to personality quirks for a few characters. Having Escalla and Lolth (!) come across as pseudo-Valley girls was funny largely because he didn't take it too far. For this book, it sounds like he abandoned all sense of restraint. The result, according to some other reviews that I glanced at on this book's Amazon page, makes it sound like this is a decent fantasy novel, but not a very good Forgotten Realms novel.
 
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Although, I have actually purchased all but one of the Greyhawk novels, and the Ravenloft novels (a few left to find), and Mystara novels (two missing), and the Planescape novels (one left to find), and the Spelljammer novels. I'm going to do these after I've done with the FR stuff.

Not tempted by Dark Sun?

And of course there's Dragonlance, but novel-wise that's almost as deep a rabbit hole to start down as FR is...
 

Mirtek

Hero
#079 The Council of Blades by Paul Kidd (Nobles 5)
Read 22/6/20 to 28/6/20


View attachment 123263
That's the one with the princess who is so proud of her princess-like pointy hat and her magical(?) ostrich-like bird firend who likes to hide stuff in his gullet (which the princess retrieved by just stuffing her arm down his throat?

I remember that as the most silly FR novel I have ever read. I was looking forward to your reaction to it as soon as I saw you starting with the Nobles series :)
 


Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Not tempted by Dark Sun?

And of course there's Dragonlance, but novel-wise that's almost as deep a rabbit hole to start down as FR is...

So, the list of other fantasy/TSR I'm going to read looks like this-

TH Lain/Iconics- ready to roll, got the lot.
Dark Sun- same again (I just missed them off the list above).
Ravenloft- some of these buggers are hard to track down, maybe five left to get.
Mystara- two left to get hold of.
Planescape- one left to get.
Spelljammer- got them all.
Greyhawk- oddly can't find the Barrier Peaks, last one- got the rest.
Eberron- about 10-12 still to get, they're last on the list to get read atm.
Birthright- got them all.

Although, in truth, in a few cases I've had to get hold of either PDFs or drat it- audio versions, just here and there- few enough for me to be relaxed about.

I much prefer books, but needs must etc.

Also, let's be honest- it's going to take me another few years to get through FR, I'm slowing down after the first 365 days- reading a proper book between each FR series, or every other book- if they're frustrating me. Going to be easier on myself, mainly because my other books to read pile now stretches to two six foot wide, six foot high (five shelves each) bookcases- so, a few to get through.

Stay safe.

Cheers goonalan
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
That's the one with the princess who is so proud of her princess-like pointy hat and her magical(?) ostrich-like bird firend who likes to hide stuff in his gullet (which the princess retrieved by just stuffing her arm down his throat?

I remember that as the most silly FR novel I have ever read. I was looking forward to your reaction to it as soon as I saw you starting with the Nobles series :)

That's the one.

In a different place the fire bird would be fun, the issue for me was that it started off really good- I liked all the Machiavellian style scheming, the fascist in black riding a winged horse- it could have got deep and dark. The old vs the new, the nobles vs the nobles vs the people- a princess who wants to be a person (and a sorcerer/wizard). The city states, the formal battles- all good, historically as well realmsian.

Then, the fire bird, and Leonardo/Lorenzo- the nixie princess, a snail on a horse, the sun cannon, ceramic tanks... and call for Mr. Pratchett, someone's been leafing through your early drafts.

Less good.

Stay safe.

Cheers Paul
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Just wanted to mention how much I am enjoying your posts on this. Thank you!

Thank you for taking the time to say so.

Just for info I'm a DM as well, the stories from my game groups can be found here-


And the lockdown FG game-


Stay safe.

Cheers Paul
 


Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
Although, in truth, in a few cases I've had to get hold of either PDFs or drat it- audio versions, just here and there- few enough for me to be relaxed about.

I much prefer books, but needs must etc.
I used to hate the idea of audiobooks, but for the past two years I have listened to them while I drive to work. An hour a day approximately. I get through a book in about one month. And as I rarely found time to read anymore, that’s a lot more reading than I got through in the past decade.
 


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