I'm reading the Forgotten Realms Novels- #33 Once Around the Realms... Gah!!!!

Raunalyn

Adventurer
My impression is that Drizzt is disliked because everyone wanted to play him as a PC, not so much as a judgement on the original character.
I actually think he's secretly evil. He arranged the death of one of his companions so that he could have the companion's girl to himself. Maybe he's in cahoots with Artemis Entreri...

I also think he was the second gunman on the Grassy Knoll.
 

Raunalyn

Adventurer
That’s what i hear most about Drizzt. Everyone loves to hate him, but almost always enjoy reading about him.
I stopped reading the series after Descent into Darkness (or Siege of Darkness...it really didn't leave that good of an impression on me). Could barely finish that book. My problem with Drizzt is that he's the best at everything

He's the best swordsman (let's not forget that corkscrew maneuver), he's the fastest, etc. He stopped being compelling to me after the 2nd book of the prequel trilogy. I liked him fine in the Icewind Dale trilogy.
 
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Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
I remember very little about the Cleric Quintet. Something about a white squirrel, something about building a cathedral... And then Pikel! That dwarf is truly unforgettable 😂
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I actually think he's secretly evil
While not quite the same, there are some drow of Menzoberranzan who think he is one of Lloth's chosen agents of chaos... it's hinted at in (spoiler for @Goonalan's sake)
the Hunter's Blade trilogy
and there is a great rundown on this Reddit thread

While probably not true, I enjoy the theory and think it's fun :)
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
I remember very little about the Cleric Quintet. Something about a white squirrel, something about building a cathedral... And then Pikel! That dwarf is truly unforgettable 😂
Percival, don't tell me he features further on in the series.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
While not quite the same, there are some drow of Menzoberranzan who think he is one of Lloth's chosen agents of chaos... it's hinted at in (spoiler for @Goonalan's sake)
the Hunter's Blade trilogy
and there is a great rundown on this Reddit thread

While probably not true, I enjoy the theory and think it's fun :)
I promise not to look, and I've not so far- and it has been nearly a minute...

Cheers goonalan

Bugger when I reply with quote it shows me what's in the Spoiler- damn, how crud am I at this forum/internet thing.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Also I've updated the to read list in Post #2 of this thread, if you get a chance (you lovely people with the knowledge) then have a glance and see if I have made any obvious mistakes in the running order.

Cheers goonalan
 

JLowder

Explorer
It's fairly self-evident, but most of those stories (I don't think all of them, though I'm not sure) are essentially spotlights for characters that appear in other novels. Christie Golden's short story, for example, is about Jander Sunstar, who's the main character of the first Ravenloft novel, Vampire of the Mists. Artus Cimber, from James Lowder's short story, is the main character from The Ring of Winter, etc.
The intent of both Realms of Valor and Realms of Infamy was indeed to give readers a chance to sample the different authors and different types of stories available in the Forgotten Realms line. Not all the stories tied to novels, but the books were intended to be showcases for many of the signature characters and settings and authors.

Cheers,
James Lowder
 
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Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
The intent of both Realms of Valor and Realms of Infamy was indeed to give readers a chance to sample the different authors and different types of stories available in the Forgotten Realms line. Not all the stories tied to other novels, but the books were intended to be showcases for many of the signature characters and settings.

Cheers,
James Lowder
Well that's fun :)

Artus and the Ring of Winter were always some of my favorite Realms Lore when I was growing up. I was excited to see him appear in Tomb of Annihilation!
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#028 In Sylvan Shadows by RA Salvatore (Cleric 2)
Read 20/11/19 to 23/11/19


Forgotten Realms In Sylvan Shadows (Cleric 2) a 30.jpg

Book 2- and more of the same, except this time the action switches to the elven forest kingdom of Shilmista, which is just down the road from the Edificant Library, home (perhaps, perhaps not) to the heroes from the last novel- and specifically Cadderly and his lady-love Danica, the Bouldershoulder brothers have already left the building.

It's back in the library that we meet, and initial learn to dislike Prince Elbereth, sent by the aforementioned (soon to be besieged) kingdom. Cadderly doesn't get Elbereth- and vice-versa, however it's clear from the start that the Elf does however appreciate Danica.

Meantime the bad guys (of Talona) have shuffled the pack, Ragnor the Ogrillon is the bad guy du jour- leading his Goblin, Orc, Orog, Ogre & Giant army against the Elves. Although Aballister's Imp Druzil, and his second in command- Dorigen (another Wizard) are also in the mix.

Soon after we all decamp to the Shilmista forest where things quickly start to go badly for the good guys- Ragnor's army may not be bright but there are a lot of them.

Oh, and Rufo is still with the good guys, and he's still the weakest link.

Oh, and then Ivan and Pikel Bouldershoulder tip up and it's full on Dwarf-fury.

And so it goes- more fighting, more risk, greater setbacks- there really is a lot of action in this one.

Anyway, Elbereth's dad (the Elf King) doesn't believe in his lad- he's for cutting and running... and in the middle of it all- while the Elves continue to die, and lose the battle, Cadderly continues to be revolted by death (and having to partake of it).

So, Cadderly is going to have to sort it all out- to use his great big brain to work out a way out of this mess for the Elves, for his friends, for himself.

Which, of course, he does.

It's all great, and yet somehow... not as good as the first one, perhaps there just isn't enough Cadderly for me here. This is Salvatore- Cadderly is a lot like Drizzt, in the way that all heroes possess similar talents/foibles et al. They both fret about who they are, what they are, and what they have to do to survive.

Oh, and at this point it's worth making mention of the fact that you dear reader know that Cadderly is the son of the very bad man- Aballister. Cadderly, of course, doesn't know this.

So, Cadderly continues to fret, seethe and get angsty about a variety of things. He is however blessed (as stated above) of a great big brain- which seems to be able to soak up every scrap of info that is thrown/shown to it. Thus our hero solves the problem- not with violence, that's what the vicious Elf Prince, his girlfriend- Danica, and the Bouldershoulder bros are for.

And that, possibly- for me, is the slight disconnect.

Cadderly solves the problems, thinks things through- says the right thing, the rest of the guys do 90% of the killing/fighting action. It must be tough to write this, knowing that your main guy has got to stand outside the spotlight for a good chunk of the action. The pay off being it's a five book series so you've got time on your hands.

It's good, but not as good as the desperate, but in control, Cadderly- forced to do bad things (to Undead- much easier) in the previous novel. Probably, I think, but still a cracking read.

Read.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
#028 In Sylvan Shadows by RA Salvatore (Cleric 2)
Read 20/11/19 to 23/11/19


View attachment 116022

Book 2- and more of the same, except this time the action switches to the elven forest kingdom of Shilmista, which is just down the road from the Edificant Library, home (perhaps, perhaps not) to the heroes from the last novel- and specifically Cadderly and his lady-love Danica, the Bouldershoulder brothers have already left the building.

It's back in the library that we meet, and initial learn to dislike Prince Elbereth, sent by the aforementioned (soon to be besieged) kingdom. Cadderly doesn't get Elbereth- and vice-versa, however it's clear from the start that the Elf does however appreciate Danica.

Meantime the bad guys (of Talona) have shuffled the pack, Ragnor the Ogrillon is the bad guy du jour- leading his Goblin, Orc, Orog, Ogre & Giant army against the Elves. Although Aballister's Imp Druzil, and his second in command- Dorigen (another Wizard) are also in the mix.

Soon after we all decamp to the Shilmista forest where things quickly start to go badly for the good guys- Ragnor's army may not be bright but there are a lot of them.

Oh, and Rufo is still with the good guys, and he's still the weakest link.

Oh, and then Ivan and Pikel Bouldershoulder tip up and it's full on Dwarf-fury.

And so it goes- more fighting, more risk, greater setbacks- there really is a lot of action in this one.

Anyway, Elbereth's dad (the Elf King) doesn't believe in his lad- he's for cutting and running... and in the middle of it all- while the Elves continue to die, and lose the battle, Cadderly continues to be revolted by death (and having to partake of it).

So, Cadderly is going to have to sort it all out- to use his great big brain to work out a way out of this mess for the Elves, for his friends, for himself.

Which, of course, he does.

It's all great, and yet somehow... not as good as the first one, perhaps there just isn't enough Cadderly for me here. This is Salvatore- Cadderly is a lot like Drizzt, in the way that all heroes possess similar talents/foibles et al. They both fret about who they are, what they are, and what they have to do to survive.

Oh, and at this point it's worth making mention of the fact that you dear reader know that Cadderly is the son of the very bad man- Aballister. Cadderly, of course, doesn't know this.

So, Cadderly continues to fret, seethe and get angsty about a variety of things. He is however blessed (as stated above) of a great big brain- which seems to be able to soak up every scrap of info that is thrown/shown to it. Thus our hero solves the problem- not with violence, that's what the vicious Elf Prince, his girlfriend- Danica, and the Bouldershoulder bros are for.

And that, possibly- for me, is the slight disconnect.

Cadderly solves the problems, thinks things through- says the right thing, the rest of the guys do 90% of the killing/fighting action. It must be tough to write this, knowing that your main guy has got to stand outside the spotlight for a good chunk of the action. The pay off being it's a five book series so you've got time on your hands.

It's good, but not as good as the desperate, but in control, Cadderly- forced to do bad things (to Undead- much easier) in the previous novel. Probably, I think, but still a cracking read.

Read.
I remember that it was somewhere in the course of this series that Salvatore seemed to basically give up on plotting and telling a story in favour of just having endless action scenes that dragged on interminably.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
anyone who's considering reading Homeland
Just to be clear since the link still just goes to the generic 3 for 2 page, but they mean the Drizzt novel Homeland, not Homeland: a novel published in 2019! :)

Not to say the second is a bad book or anything... it's just not part of the 3-for-2! :)
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#029 Night Masks by RA Salvatore (Cleric 3)
Read 23/11/19 to 26/11/19


Forgotten Realms Night Masks (Cleric 3) a 30.jpg

Book 3- and the weakest link, so far, of this quintet. So, Aballister sends the Night Masks after Cadderly and the crew who have moved to the city of Carradoon, which is also on Aballister (and the Talona gang's) hit list. So, Ivan and Pikel Bouldershoulder are, as always, a violent giggle, while Danica is frowny and concerned for her man (Cadderly), and chop-socky-tastic between times. Cadderly is in the meantime getting to grips with the fact he is the Kwisatz Haderach (from Dune), when he's not turning in to Percival the squirrel. Eh?

The bad guys are the real problem- there are twenty of the Night Mask assassins in-game and yet the body count in the various fights we read through, which are all a bit samey-same, is far-far higher, or at least it seems so to me. Kierkan Rufo the Priest of Deneir traitor is mostly cowed and meh! As is the Bogo Rath the Talona gang's man on the scene- this after everyone else at Castle Trinity refuses to go on the caper.

So, the ultimo bad guy is Ghost, and he's cool- with some nice magic items, and a great set of defences (I wasn't even there). But... there's only so far you can go with his various schemes (which are oft repeated) part of the problem being Cadderly (Muad'Dib) just keeps seeing through them. Or else the Ghost's (PC) intended victims somehow find a way to keep the assassin at bay.

Vander is the best of the bad folk- and he's not even bad, just oddly possessed (by Ghost).

There are some funny bits in here (mostly the Bouldershoulder's) but there's a nice bit at the start when Cadderly is trying to figure out what's happening to him, the mage he visits suggests it may be a nasty case of Psionics. There's fun to be had, in places- there's fighting aplenty (but...) I wasn't gripped, it wasn't twisty-turny, I didn't yearn for anything much.

Cadderly is jumbly-up (mixed up in his head), Danica is jumbly about Cadderly, Bogo Rath and Kierkan Rufo are jumbly-pushovers, the Night Masks are not all that... which just leaves Ghost carrying the story/threat, and he keeps screwing up right royally.

Read!
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#030 The Fallen Fortress by RA Salvatore (Cleric 4)
Read 26/11/19 to 27/11/19


Forgotten Realms The Fallen Fortress (Cleric 4) a 30.jpg

Book 4- and that was quick, I got through this one in just two days- tbh that was for two reasons, firstly because it was great (and a real easy read) and secondly because I was as sick as a dog (with man-flu) and so just got home from work, ate food- took meds, and then to my bed to read-sleep-read.

It's Cadderly versus Aballister time, and also time for the "I am your father (Luke)" scene- but we'll get to that. First up the gang's on the move again, and this time Shayleigh (Elf Bowkiller) and Vander (Firbolg Bigsword) are with the home team, and they're both great- normal, but great. The Bouldershoulder's are really starting to rack up the catchphrases, Danica is back to believing in her man, and Cadderly has got the bit between his teeth (the chosen of Deneir) and at the beginning of the tale suitably crazy-eyed (and crazy-talking) mad with it. Thumbs up.

I dare anyone to take a drink every time Shayleigh fires her bow, I've no idea what size her quivers are ("Oo Oi") but she's chain-smoking arrows throughout, and there are (as usual) some great fights in this one, and with much more variety. Nice insights in to the action of various beasties.

Here's a question- Was it a White Pudding in the snow when Aballister's Manticore and Chimera double act got stuck in to the guys halfway up the mountain?

But it's the bad guys that make this one- Aballister is suitably bug-eyed mad Wizard, heading out to his man-cave/shed/extra-dimensional-show-home to fetch another monster from his menagerie to fling at the fast approaching home team. The Ghost/Revenant of Ghost is great- in truth I wanted more of this guy, he's the Zombie-looking killer from your nightmares; and then there's Fyrentennimar, the ancient Red Dragon, he's a blast- "Humble Priest."

So, there's a trek to Castle Trinity, we're on the offensive, stopping en route to wake the Red Dragon and destroy Ghearufu (nasty artefact used by Ghost- last book) and in the process to put an end to the Ghost/Revenant of Ghost's wandering. Then in to the Talona fortress proper, and then pretty much a rolling maul of fights, scraps and melees for the last 100 or so pages.

It's a tiny bit samey-same but the guys always seem to be moving forward, and there's new things to discover around every corner in Castle Trinity- cool traps, billions of evil humanoids, self-harm/poisoning Talona Priests and a variety of other nice things to look at.

Dorigen, who has been hinting at things for a good long while, finally makes her decision to do the right thing.

Then there's Aballister versus Cadderly, and you should have figured out by now how the action is going to play out, but it's very satisfying- I hope the earth opens up and swallows him...

It all just works, and sings a lovely song while it's doing it, although that might have been the medication kicking in.

Read!
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#031 The Chaos Curse by RA Salvatore (Cleric 5)
Read 28/11/19 to 30/11/19


Forgotten Realms The Chaos Curse (Cleric 5) a 30.jpg

Book 5- and a bit of a surprise, a nice surprise mind you. We start with the usual crew of good guys doing their thing- tying up the loose ends after the last jolly in to Castle Trinity, Cadderly wants to recover the ancient Red Dragon's hoard- he has big plans for the Edificant Library it seems. Also tagging along is Dorigen (ex-Mage of Talona) who has latterly seen the light (although she's been mulling over her decision for the last two novels) the ex-evil Wizard is looking to serve her penance and (if possible) start again.

Then... then... we stop following Cadderly (and the Bouldershoulders) and instead get to meet and greet (again) Kierkan Rufo, who thanks to Druzil (and his own stupidity/arrogance) has made changes in his life, he has Feng Shui'd the heck out of his existence and reinvented himself as a Vampire. Nice! All this and more courtesy of the Most Fatal Horror, that works too.

Then there's Dean Thobicus, and the rest of the Den & Og boys- who are about to get their world turned upside down, and undead-out.

Then, surely a bit more Cadderly- after all, he's the hero of this story/quintology… but no!

Then Danica (my love, my love) and Dorigen pitch up at the Edificant Library and it all gets a little bit frantic, and glorious. Rufo at last grabs the nemesis mantle, and starts acting all dark and brooding- at bloody last, huzzah! I didn't guess that we would be going here, and that the annoying bastard Rufo- who I have been hissing at (as much for his lack of backbone) for the last four novels, would at last grab some power and turn out to be the End of Level Bad Guy.

I really enjoyed this.

Then, of course, in the last 100 or so pages its Cadderly (& Deneir) & the Bouldershoulders (joined by others) versus all of the undead Priests (= Vampires/Spawn, and Zombies), Druzil the Imp (easily outclassed, as usual) all in the thrall of the afore-praised Rufo.

As usual it's a corker- although with some samey-same here and there, the Dwarves are just plain indestructible, but hey... that's been the way for a good long while so I'm not going to start complaining now.

The Bouldershoulders, of course, get to steal the show- at least every now and then, their comedy double act has reached titanic proportions- they're giving it 110% on the slapstick, and now with even more one-liners- I'm waiting on their new Christmas DVD.

Spoilers- Pikel is a Doo-dad, Danica and Dorigen die, and Cadderly lives happily ever after- although the price he pays makes all of the other struggles he faces in the five novels pale in to insignificance.

Read!

A very good series of novels, you should probably read these too, there's certainly plenty that I'll keep in mind for my game.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#032 Realms of Infamy Anthology Ed. James Lowder
Read 30/11/19 to 3/12/19


Forgotten Realms Realms of Infamy a 30.jpg

Obviously another anthology, and the best of the worst this time- as in the villains you love to hate, Realms of Valor served to draw attention to the heroes, Realms of Infamy shines a light on some of the foremost villains.

There are sixteen different stories in here (each about twenty pages long), I'll have a go at whizzing through them, briefly-

So High A Price- Ed Greenwood, this one's in the top five- Manshoon, the Zhentarim, Zhentil Keep and one of the craziest debating chambers you will ever encounter. Politics is Beholder-eat-Beholder in this nest of vipers.

The More Things Change- Elaine Cunningham, Elaith Craulnober has got a funny name, particularly for an Elflord, he learns that he has want what he wants- and to fight for it, it adds value.

The Meaning of Lore- Barb Hendee, Master Chane Troiban, the Twilight Hall Priest who got lost in the Labyrinth of Bransuldyn Mirrortor. Lesson learned.

Raven's Egg- Elaine Bergstrom, Lord Sharven of Espar comes to learn the true nature of his worst enemy, and pays the ultimate price for the understanding; Raven picks up the pieces.

The Third Level- RA Salvatore, Artemis Entreri grows up quickly in Calimport, we learn more than we wanted to about the neophyte assassin's upbringing, certainly enough to make it hard to dislike him. He's a clever cold bastard- and now we know why. Probably the best story in the book.

Blood Sport- Christie Golden, the Shark is the ultimate predator, and without remorse.

Gallows Day- David Cook, another in the top five- a gang of thieves save their comrade from the long drop, and in the process uncover the traitor in their midst.

A Matter of Thorns- James M Ward, Castle Stone's new lord is smitten- a vegetable love (10 points, if you get the Marvell ref.) with blood offerings, a love of melon and a keen squire save the day.

Stolen Spells- Denise Vitola, a greedy merchant spends a lifetime learning that some thieves have honour, twisted- but honour of a sort.

The Greatest Hero Who Ever Died- J Robert King, a dark tale, for a dark night and about a dark knight- Sir Paramore.

Twilight- Troy Denning, murder and mayhem among the gods of the Giants, top five.

The Walls of Midnight- Mark Anthony, Ravendas wants so to join the Zhent, she will sacrifice anything (and everything) to the darkness.

And Wringing Of Hands- Jane Cooper Hong, even the good bad guys have to live with things they have done, the lives in their hands.

Thieves' Honor- Mary H Herbet, Teza the horse-thief meets a horse (which is not a horse), a lover (who is not a lover) and a Prince (who is not a Prince). Tricky.

Laughter in the Flames- James Lowder, a lying cowardly nobleman meets the Lord of Strife and is given the opportunity to change his ways, SPOILER- he doesn't. Top five.

Vision- Roger E Moore, oooh nasty. The Goblins get their strength back, this is a gory one- and all the better for it. Nearly as good as Salvatore.

So, easy to read and much more interesting (in places) than the Realms of Valor anthology, mainly due to the fact that the bad guys (with or without a shred of doubt/conscience) are infinitely more human (twisted and broken) than the good guys.

Some of the stories are about bad people who have come to the conclusion that they are 'bad people' and they want one last throw of the dice, to set things right, or wrong. More of the stories are about bad folk that are not all that bad- they have a conscience/line-in-the-sand they call their own, and so every now and then they do the right thing, sometimes even for the right reasons. Some of the other stories go the same route- but at the last moment veer off the road- the bad people do bad things, and then forgive themselves because they have good (to them) reasons. Lastly, a couple of the stories are about bad people (who are perhaps also broken) that have all the conscience anyone needs but their picture of the world is so off-kilter that all of the badness is just part of the landscape, and as long as they remain centre stage then nothing much can touch them.

The last lot make for the best stories.

Read!
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#033 Once Around the Realms Guidebook by Brian Thomsen
Read 3/12/19 to 4/12/19


Forgotten Realms Once Around the Realms a 30.jpg

Blimey! And don't get confused by the fact that I read this in just two days, only twenty pages in and I quickly worked out that if I didn't read this one quickly then I would just put it down somewhere and walk away, never to go back to it.

It's rubbish.

I appreciate that's possibly a nasty thing to say, but I promise you I have my reasons, but before we get in to them let me just qualify my 'rubbish' precis. If you want to read a book the premise of which is so flimsy, that darts from place to place having jolly japes with bumbling folk (except perhaps for the great Volo) that save their backsides again and again with a variety of implausible and/or grating last-minute million-to-one shots. Which furthermore revisits a myriad places in the Realms we have been before (in the other novels) and yet fails spectacularly to distinguish one place from another (mostly because it is moving so quickly), name-checks or else bumps in to a slew of Realmsian popular figures (mostly for no effect) and also seeks to replicate/pastiche the plots, lines, names of characters etc. from an equal number of modern (and older) fictions (films, books, TV characters et al). If you want all that- then this, my friend, is the book for you.

Oh, but I killed two birds with the one stone, I qualified my summary of the book and in the process pointed out the texts many (and various) failings.

It sucks.

Was it a Christmas novel/stocking filler?
Who's idea was it?
Why?

And.

WHY?

Is it just me?

Someone, anyone, please reply.

I mean Volo's okay, and its Around the World in 80 Days, so no surprises there, but the Amistad, Hannibal- who loves it when a plan comes together, Eli of the Wallachs- Halfling bandito, Khaerbaal/Kerbal airspace, The D. Niven airship, Reeta/Rita Hayworth, Mis Ta Rurks/Mister Kurt, and on... and on... and, bloody, on.

Read! I genuinely wish I hadn't.

That's five or so hours of my life that I am never getting back.
 

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