Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Review Catchup

I've read a few books - good and bad - over the last few months but I've neglected to comment on them on the blog. I want to run through a few of them so these will be shorter than usual.

The Pirate King, R.A. Salvatore (Transitions Book II) - Different. This book has a much bleaker tone to it than past Drizzt books. Now this is part of the series that covers the transition of the Realms from the 3E version to the post-spellplague 4E version but the first book in the series, The Orc King, felt fairly run of the mill. This book is different. From the start there is a sense of decline, of things not being the same as the were and not getting better. Some old friends are encountered but the main part of the book is an expedition from Waterdeep to Luskan led by Captain Deudermont the pirate hunter. The goal is to break the power of the Hosttower of the Arcane and reduce piracy on the Sword Coast. It's portrayed as a tragically misguided adventure and it reads as a political or military allegory of some recent events in the world - a major evil power is broken and goes into hiding while criminal factions arise and a bloody internal conflict breaks out, wearing down the outnumbered invaders who only had good intentions, but find those intentions largely thwarted. It's a long downward spiral that gets ugly in the end. Some major characters die and lordy lordy Drizzt gets beaten in a fight! Yes, the token terrible new threat to Drizzt that comes out of nowhere in THIS book actually wins one. Satisfied now?

I don't know if I would call it a great read but it was interesting and definitely felt different from the prior books.If you read some of the earlier books then gave up on them try this one and see if you feel the same way.

Avenger, Richard Baker (Blades of the Moonsea Trilogy Book III) - Satisfying.I really liked the first two books in this series (reviewed here and here) so I was really looking forward to the big finale. It does tie up most of the loose ends of the story so far and the villain is dealt with satisfyingly, but I was a little let down.The first book focused on the town and countryside around Hulberg. The second book expanded to explore the Moonsea and far more exotic places. This book pretty much focuses back on Hulberg and environs and felt a little small or constrained as a result. In 4E terms if the first book felt like Heroic Tier, then the second felt like Paragon, but this third books feels like it drops back to Heroic for some reason. It's not a bad story, but it felt a little deflated in comparison. There's a little more karmic balance than I like too but that may not bother most people. It's just a little too close to elements of the Sacred Movie Trilogy for my taste.

Anyway, it's a good book. If you liked the first two then you should read it. There's clearly room for more stories of Geran Hulmaster and I would be happy to read them if and when they are written.

A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin - Awesome. You should get it and read it if you haven't already.

A Clash of Kings, also by George R.R. Martin - More Awesome. After you finish the first one go get this one. It's more of the same goodness.

That's about enough for now. I will post more when I've read more.

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