I'm reading the Forgotten Realms Novels- #24 Pools of Twilight (Heroes of Phlan 3)

Raunalyn

Adventurer
As much as I liked Azure Bonds, it felt a lot like a retread of the computer game, but with a different protagonist (even though, technically, it's a prequel novel--I played the game before I read the book). I don't have strong feelings about the second book, but man, did I love Song of the Saurials. I think I would rather have had saurials added as a core race to D&D than Dragonborn. Plus, thanks to Reaper Bones IV, I actually have quite selection of dino-folk minis (both fantasy and sci-fi).
In my head-canon, I have come to believe that Abeir was actually where the Sauriel were from. And when Abeir merged with Toril in 4e, the Dragonborn and a few of the Sauriel ended up on Toril.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Azure Bonds the pc game made me give up on RPG pc games for a few decades. If you killed the huge shambling mound from a distance, the game cheated. After you killed it, every three steps it would spawn vegypymies until you died. Now if you send a pc up and hit it twice in melee it would not do this.
 

Mirtek

Explorer
I haven't counted them all, but are you guys including the Gamebooks in that count?

I didn't in my count of the FR novels I own (as gamebooks are not technically novels), but that adds quite a number to the total.

However, for lore reasons (if one is reading FR for that) there are some gems among the gamebooks that should not be missed.

(edit - Admittedly, more of them [at least those I have] seem to deal with Greyhawk, but there are those like Knight of the Living Dead that have a wealth of information in them).
No game books, only novels.

There's a few that can be counted in different ways, the main suspects IMHO are:

Omnibuses
-> some people count those, while I do not count them (they are just collection former individual novels in a single big novel and I already counted the individual novels)

Double Diamond Triangle Saga
-> 9 "booklets" that could be counted as 1 novel, 9 individual novels or not counted at all (I count them as 9 novels, since each one has an individual title as opposed to the next example below)

Cold Steel and Secrets
-> released in 4 separate parts, but even taken together they are only app. half as long as the usual FR novel. People either count it as 4 novels or as 1 novel (I count it as one as it's parts do not have individual titles, being called part I - IV, and each only has around 30 pages)

Stone of Tymora Trilogy
-> WotC's ill fated attempt to launch a yound adult line of FR novels. Either count as 3 novels or do not count at all. They were the only novels that did not bear the FR logo on the spine, however characters and events appeared and were referenced in later Drizzt novels. (I count them as 3 novels)

The new Drizzt books that were recently released despite the FR novel line having been ended. These are either 2 more FR novels or do not count. Like the Stone of Tymora novels they do not bear the FR logo on their spine. (I counted them them)

So my 289 exclude any ominbuses and include the Double Diamond as 9 novels, Cold Steel and Secrets as 1 novel, the Stone of Tymora books as 3 novels and the two new Drizzt novels.
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
#010 Ironhelm by Douglas Niles (Maztica Trilogy Book 1)
Read 23/9/19 to 27/9/19


Forgotten Realms Ironhelm (Maztica 1) a 30.jpg

Well, for some reason I went in to this one prepared not to like it, and yet... it's the conquistador's versus the Maya/Aztec/Inca empire, with a bit of a Pocahontas side-salad thrown in for good measure, and... it just works. The foreign invaders are suitably heroic, and at the same time blood (actually gold) thirsty bastards come to forcibly take what they want from the poor unfortunate savages. The poor savages are of course in part blood-thirsty maniacs worshipping the depraved god- Zaltec, with queues of sacrificial victims snaking around their stone pyramids (it's heart-ripping out time). There's a lot of history here, of course, but there are also plenty of other shiny bits which push the story in to the FR mythos.

The living link to the will of Zaltec are the ancient ones- and they're... well, I didn't work it out until late in the day, I figured they were something very nasty but I had illithids racing around my mind, wrong- they're SPOILERS- the Drow.

Then there's a Couatl, and D&D-wise I've had to play a fair few Couatl (as a DM) and now I know how to do it better. There are warriors that turn in to panthers, and eagles; there's feather/plume magic, and in the middle there's Erix and Hal. The pair are our eyes and ears (and emotional guides) to this strange new world, and all of the terrible bloody violence in it. If only the two could somehow come together (in the end) to symbolise that hope exists- that the two sides could get rid of their more savage elements and learn to live together... if only.

Read!
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
I don't know how to do a signature for my posts here, or even if I can- I used to be able to. I'm not very IT-orientated.

So, this is a shameless plug for my story hour, we're playing D&D 5e and have gone through quite a few of the core modules, so far I have posted action from Lost Mines of Phandelver (complete), Hoard of the Dragon Queen (complete) and now we're on to The Rise of Tiamat.

If you are so inclined, check it out.

Some of it is semi-funny, and it's written from my perspective (the glorious DM) so there's a bit of story, a fat chunk of action (round by round- some of it) and a bit about the surly (and otherwise) players thrown in for good measure.

Cheers goonalan

Advertisement ends.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#011 Viperhand by Douglas Niles (Maztica Trilogy Book 2)
Read 27/9/19 to 30/9/19


Forgotten Realms Viperhand (Maztica 2) a 30.jpg

Book 2- the middle one, and it suffers a little because of it- it's not the rip-roaring start of the trilogy, likewise it's not the climactic conclusion, it is the middle bit, and it wanders.

Hal and Erix are on the run from the chaos brought about in the war for gold, people, hearts, souls and the gods of Maztica. The story is great, of course, but it just seems to be going places rather than arriving. The ancient ones (Drow) are still after Erix, Cordell and his mercenary company are finding things are not quite going to plan, and the giggling maniacs (on both sides) are at it big time- ripping out hearts and riding down children with their cavalry (actually, that night have been in the first book). Zaltec and his mob are really not nice at all, you get the feeling that 'civil'-isation is on hold until these bad boys are run out of town.

The best bit- the birth of the Driders.

Read!

Update- I don't think I did this one justice, I've had a think about it and there was a lot more cool stuff in here than I first remembered (I'm reading a lot of these books quickly, as you can see). There's a fantastic attempted break-out from the central city of Maztica (name escapes me). With Cordell (the mercenary commander) having taken hostage (sorta) the native's leader. The mercenary company's residence encircled by Zaltec fanatics, the good guys (not) have to fight their way through the streets, with all those captured by the Zaltecs- including the portly priest of Helm, being frogmarched to the temple for emergency open-heart surgery.

Meantime Hal, Erix, the Couatl and others are up the mountain paying their respect (not) to the ancient ones (Drow).

Then the mountain explodes.

Go plume magic.

Then... then the birth of the Orcs, Ogres, Trolls and... the Driders.

That's a bit better.

Cheers Goonalan
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
#012 Feathered Dragon by Douglas Niles (Maztica Trilogy Book 3)
Read 1/10/19 to 4/10/19


Forgotten Realms Feathered Dragon (Maztica 3) a 30.jpg

Book 3- the finale, and so the people of Maztica, and the remnants of the foreign invaders (Cordell and his mercenary company) are looking for the lost land, or else a place to stay- the volcano has destroyed the capital city, and worse still left in the ruins are the ex-Zaltec worshippers transformed in to Orcs, Ogres and Trolls. Leader of this wretched pack is Zaltec's former high priest, now in the form (I seem to remember) of a twenty foot tall Troll.

Later Zaltec shows up, or at least animates a massive pillar of stone (eighty feet tall, my memory could be playing tricks on me here), soon after all the Zaltec bad guys are chasing across the continent to get to Erix.

So, the promised land to the promised people- and Erix and Hal (and others) in the middle trying to find a way to bring the Feathered Dragon (God) back in to the world.

The good guys also gather a bunch of desert Dwarves to their cause, after all where there are Drow there should also always be Dwarves.

Also in the mix are the Driders, lead by the mercenary company's (Cordell's lover- the Drow SPOILER Wizard) traitor, it seems Lolth (Lloth) also has a part to play in this story. This gang are also gunning for Erix and our heroes.

And... my, there are a lot of pieces on the board- a second mercenary company has made its way to Maztica, a rival of Cordell- out to steal the gold (and get rid of Cordell and his men).

Like the other novels in this series there's plenty of action, and the central romance is much (much) less annoying than the mooning Moonshae pair. There's some nice D&D style magic from the Wizard, and the Drow- I always like to see how the various authors handle magic and spell-casting.

Read!
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
Are you reading these or just skimming through them?
Reading them!

I wouldn't even know how to skim a book, nor would I want to... I just read- lots of books., sometimes very quickly. See my previous (non-book review) posts- reading was pretty much my job, and for a decade or more I was very good at it.

Cheers goonalan
 

Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
I really love this thread and your synopsises of the books. This might inspire me to read something new if some of those really hit a right nerve.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#013 Horselords by David Cook (Empires Trilogy Book 1)
Read 5/10/19 to 8/10/19


Forgotten Realms Horselords (Empires 1) a 30.jpg

Another series I was prepared not to like- wrong! It started slow, or rather I'm reading along thinking this is just some sort of rehash of the exploits of Genghis Khan set in the Forgotten Realms, in or en route to Kara-Tur... which it is, but then my interest got well and truly piqued. Koja, a holy Lama, is sent to meet with Yamun Khahan (like Khan- with an extra 'ha' in the middle, for laughs) who has pacified the various Tuigan clans and now comes equipped with an army made to conquer. Anyway, Yamun likes our man Koja, and so gets ratted (on fermented/curdled horse's milk, that's some hard drinking) one night and shows the priest what he can do. He stomps out into the pouring rain with thunder and lightning all around (and remember we're in/on the steppes here- that's a lot of horizon- you get good value for your storm). Anyway the big man (Yamun) heads in to the fury, while all of the other horselords take fright, and then gives Teylas (God of Lightning) the verbal V-sign. The Khan, sorry... Khahan thereafter plays the part of lightning conductor, the big man's left glowing like one of the Windscale kids*

Next day, fully charged, Yamun is on it- Koja is hired, whether he likes it or not- as official Yamun Khahan historian- next stop to make some history.

Thereafter the trials and tribulations of conquest, with a pair of sneaky back-stabbing bastards in the camp- family, and best friend- natch. It's a rollicking tail, a little meh here and there but mostly your reading and watching waiting to see what the big feller gets up to next. As I said at the start, it's real world- a Forgotten Realms retelling of Mr. G. Khan esquires kill-and-tell romp through the middle part of nobody-much's empire.

I was hooked from the lightning bit- Khahan is suitably violent, arrogant (chosen of god, yer bound to get a little uppity), cool and even a little enigmatic. He's very likeable- a homicidal maniac that plays by the (his) rules. The bad guys are suitably nasty, and Koja sits in the middle and tells us what he thinks.

Oh, but in the background, the mighty empire of Shou Lung- keep an eye on those bad boys, Khahan does.

*Windscale kids refers to the Windscale nuclear reactor which 'went on fire' (a common phrase used in insurance claims, oddly) one day in 1957 and some fallout may (or may not) have got out and left its mark on the children of the area. I bet they got glowing marks at school.

Read!
 
#004 Darkwalker on Moonshae by Douglas Niles (Moonshae Trilogy Book 1)
Read 27/8/19 to 1/9/19


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Yeah, this is the one I should have read first- in some ways I'm glad I didn't. Set in the Moonshae Isles (obviously) which is home to the Celtic mythos style Ffolk and the marauding Viking-like Northmen. Our hero is a bit of a... I don't know, and neither does he, that might be the problem. The start of the novel gets my back up for a good long while, awfully contrived and a bit (whisper this) unbelievable- when Tristan meets Daryth (a bit Drizzt lite). Also, what's with the faithful side-kick cats/dogs (Guenhywvar vs Canthus) who had the hound/canine companion first Salvatore or Niles. Pawldo is very Halfling.

The above aside it's a cracking read- Kazgaroth (and his boss) versus the Earthmother, plenty of hot druid action (and even more in the later novels) and the Beast in his many forms. Oh, and you've got to shed a tear when the Leviathan goes under, although secretly I was rather rooting for the Northmen (who doesn't love a Viking?).

Still, I found myself rooting for the bad guys a little too often, the central character/s can be annoying (including Robyn) and this doesn't let up in the proceeding novels- just talk to each, tell him/her how you feel and stop bottling up your teenage style sexual frustration/angsty angst. Cut the moping and the self doubt and we'd have room in the novel for another hefty helping of combat action, and there are some supercool bad guys that'd love another scene.

Read?
This story is actually my candidate for a D&D movie. Not because it is particularly good, but because it covers most of the bases for the D&D archetypes in terms of classes, races, dungeons, magic swords, comic relief sidekicks, cute pets, and dragons (I would refluff Kazgaroth's natural form to be more dragonlike). And it also has the angsty "young adult" male and female protagonists that have been fashionable in movies of late. It also both stands alone and has sequels if successful.

A good scriptwriter and good acting could fix the characterisation problems easily enough.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Oh, don't worry... You haven't gotten to the second book, yet. The first book is the best of the lot, and the other two are written by different people and it shows.
I have, I've read them both already- I'm playing catch up here with my posts.

There's a list in the second post of this thread with all the books I have read so far (with dates), or bought and are next to be read.

Cheers goonalan
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#014 Dragonwall by Troy Denning (Empires Trilogy Book 2)
Read 9/10/19 to 10/10/19


Forgotten Realms Dragonwall (Empires 2) a 30.jpg

Book 2- and as Azzy posted above, it's not as good as the first. So, Yamun Khahan has got the bit between his teeth, blaming the Shou Lung emperor/empire for his attempted assassination. They're next on the Khahan's hit list... but this book follows Batu Min Ho, the young maverick Shou Lung general who is eventually entrusted with the defence of the empire (much to the chagrin of his elders and better). Batu is all very straight, hard and cool, but... well, there's something missing- you like him because he's the underdog, and he respects the Tuigan (being of the same ancestry), and he's not one of the other idiot generals, but it still doesn't quite fit. Personally I'd happily consume another novel with more about Yamun and his crazy horse-folk. So, it's okay- you'll note I read this one in two days, so it was no hardship.

There's an (unintentional) comedy moment when Batu returns home from his first battle (in the book) which has been a relative success, to his new house in the Imperial Palace. Only the place is dark and empty- his family missing (?), and he feels a presence- there's someone there! So, reading this I'm thinking- oh no, this isn't going to be his wife- leaping out at him with some chop-socky madness, in the style of Cato (Burt Kwok) from the Peter Sellers- Inspector Clouseau films. It is. She nearly murderises the poor lad.

The rest is politics, treachery- a spy (who better than the head of security), the slaughter of Batu's family, more battles, a very long trip on a boat, and eventually... well, a deal is done between Khahan and the Shou Lung Emperor, but Batu's honour has been besmirched and now he's a pop-up Ronin (popping up in the next book).

The trilogy is a good idea on paper- let's take a look at three Empires, and their rulers, and see what sort things they get up to. Yamun Kahahn and his Tuigan horde tie the whole thing together- they're the marauders the second two empires must defend themselves from. The first book then has ass-kicking and gum-chewing aplenty, this one- and the next, much more humdrum, but... still with a few nice bits here and there.

Read!
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#015 Crusade by James Lowder (Empires Trilogy Book 3)
Read 11/10/19 to 14/10/19


Forgotten Realms Crusade (Empires 3) a 30.jpg

Book 3- and more of the same, actually- probably a little less of the same. This time we're in Cormyr, and in the head-space of King Azoun, fretting about the Tuigan invasion (that's right- Yamun Khahan is off on his holibobs again, laying waste to various civilisation en route). So, King Azoun needs to put together an army, a confederation of nations which he will lead to blunt the Tuigan ravagers, there follows a bunch of political intrigues- a (v. poor) assassination attempt, a meeting with the Zhent (that's nice) and a few other royal engagements. We also get to see (and hear about) the lot of the common man, pledging their lives for their king and country.

The tale keeps on getting told, it's interesting, but not high-energy or exciting- although there are some fretful moments en route to the final showdown. With the bickering Dwarves, Dalelanders, and a Zhent Orc army- a few nice insights in to racial enmities, and also a fair amount of Dwarf-hating (the Dwarf leader is a right royal pain in the r's). King Azoun even gets back to bickering with his formerly missing (and estranged, a bit) daughter.

Odd bit, throughout Azoun calls his royal magician Vangerdahast (very high level Wizard) by the nickname 'Vangy', it just stuck in my craw a bit- particularly as the pair chatter like two old ladies at a bus stop. Again, it's the presence of everyday magic- a medieval realm with for those that can afford it with an extra magical helping of shazam.

So, we're 230 pages in (from 313) before the Tuigan actually appear- the battle, of course, is the best bit- slightly odd that 'Vangy' gets a sniffle just before the big off. I think a full effect Archmage (or whatever he is) may have swayed the encounter more than a little.

That's it really- the novel goes where you expect it to, it's pretty much happy ever-after in the end. It's not great but, if you want plenty of info on the day to day of royalty, the planning and the intrigue and the politics then... it fits.

Read!
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
In the first trilogy, Drizzt wasn't a bad character. It wasn't until after this that he became the Gary Stu of all Gary Stu's. No weakness...the best at everything.
But that's not the case. He is skilled but he is for sure not the best at everything, and he has a number of weaknesses.
 

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