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Worlds Intertwine

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260073While not technically a Forgotten Realms book, Fistandantilus Reborn is a part of the Lost Gods trilogy, which is a crossover of the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms world.  And since book one and three of this trilogy are set in the Realms, might as well include this one with them.

Taking place soley on Kyrin, the world setting of Draognlance, we follow the kender Emilio HaversacK (whom we first met in book 3 Tymora’s Luck) as he wanders his world and fetched up against an unlikely duo: a young boy who lost his village to a dragon rage, and a historian who strives for neutrality in all things, even matters of life and death.

But the main focus in on an evil arch mage named Fistandantilus (hereby known as Fist hereafter for this review as his name is too bloody long…) who kept the ravages of time at bay by draining the life forces of his apprentices –of whom the Dragonlance character Raistlin Majere was one- and who was also able to conceive of a way to resurrect himself without turning to lichdom.  By sealing away his essence into his remains and an artifact, it was only a matter of time and patience to bring the two together and make him whole again.

 But when part of his essence is unknowlingly trapped withing the kender Emilio, a dwarf steals his artifact, and a dragon his skull, Fist but now wait and try to manipulate a trifecta of strong willed creatures in order to pull himself back together.  Which he does at the last, but not for long.

Finally going back to the Blades of the Moonsea trilogy by Richard Baker with the second installment of Corsair next.

7093274When pirates threaten his home, Geran is elected by the city council to track the blood-thirsty pirates to their hidden base, infiltrate them, and find a way to stop them before it’s too late. But the pirates are motivated by more than greed. Kin to his enemies, they seek a deeper revenge, one Geran only begins to glimpse when they kidnap the woman he loves.

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Death Comes to Us All

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49374It took me a long, long time to write this review, mostly because I didn’t know what to say about it.

 The story of a young thief attempted to steal from a wizard and was caught and Entered into indentured servitude for a year rather than get turned in to the authorities for his crime. So to say the least, the premise was interesting.  And for the most part the year goes by smoothly, until a ghost starts murdering people in the swamp near the sleepy little backwater Cormyrian town where the lad and his wizard master make his home.

With the wizard master being a former War Wizard of the Realm, the local authorities turn to him to help them solve the murders before a big merchant conclave starts in the town.  And the wizard in turn looks increasingly to our young thief to be his eyes and ears in the town to track the culprit down. Not that there is any shortage of those either…

Did I like it? Yes.  The story was interesting, and while it was a murder-mystery kind of thing, there was enough action to keep me reading.  But that’s really all I can say about it.  It wasn’t the best of the Realms books I have read, nor the worst.  There was nothing that made it stand out to me, which is what made it so hard to put something into words about it.

Anyways.  Moving on to something that is kinda sorta part of the Realms and kinda sorta not. Fistandantilus Reborn, second in the Lost Gods trilogy by Douglas Niles next.

260073Emilo Haversack is unusually worried for a kender — though he can’t for the life of him remember what his problem is. Still, he’s been wandering across Ansalon for quite some time, trying to remember what’s wrong. All he can recall is the name of a very evil, very dead wizard . . . Fistandantilus.

Joined by a young kendermaid, a human lad, and a devout, if somewhat naive priest, Emilo is drawn into a mysterious quest. As he draws closer to the secret of his past, he and his friends find themselves caught in an increasingly sinister web of intrigue.

And as the conclusion of the adventure approaches, the companions learn that their pourpose is one that could catapult them from Krynn — and forever change the destiny of the world they leave behind.

It’s Always What Lies Beneath

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291718“There wasn’t any time to wave goodbye”

What a way to end a book.  No matter how you feel about these characters, I doubt anyone would not feel a chill go down their spine at those words.  I know I did.

We follow the journey of a hunchback named Atreus and his ogre companion Yago as they undertake a seemingly impossible journey to make Atreus handsome.

Born a normal babe to wealthy parents, Atreus lost them in a civil revolt.  In order to save his life, the house wizard cast a disguise spell on the babe to pass him off as a baby ogre, and the spell warped his real form.  In a desperate attempt to fix what he perceived as wrong, he spends much of his family wealth trying to find a magical sure until at last he is directed to the church of Sune, goddess of beauty.  Sune seemingly charges Atreus to travel to a long lost valley and retrieve a vial of water for her from a magical spring located there.

So the companions go, suffer a long and arduous journey filled with the usual terrible dangers of slavers, demons, and dishonest men, to find the valley of Langdharma.  Atreus even finds love along the way, only to lose it all to the greed and avarice of another, to say nothing of his blind stubbornness to see what Sune truly meant by sending him on this quest.

 Sune I think set him to the task so he could see for himself that how he perceived himself could affect how others perceived him.  Feel ugly, look ugly essentially.  Ugh and he was so close to his breakthrough too.  But he was more willing to lose the love he had found than to believe that what people had told him all his life really was true: true beauty starts on the inside.

 And it all ends with him going over the ends of a waterfall, seeing his lady love safe in the lee of a riverbank, and there wasn’t even enough time to wave goodbye.

Still more classics coming! Murder in Cormyr by Chet Williamson, first in the Mysteries trilogy next.

49374Tired of the political machinations of his egotistical fellow wizards, Benelaius retires from the College of War Wizards to take up residency in Cormyr, where he lives peacefully until he and his legman, Jasper, are forced to investigate the murder of a messenger from King Azoun. 25,000 first printing.

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So Called City of the Gods

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62462Second in the loosely related Cities series, Temple Hill focuses on a down on his luck former mercenary soldier named Corin and the half elf thief Lhasha who befriends him.

A year before Temple Hill takes place, Corin was on a procetion job with his company when they were betrayed by one they were supposedly protecting.  In the ensuing battle Corin lost his arm and the rest of the company to an orog and his men.

Shamed for their failure on the job, no longer able bodied in the eyes of those who would otherwise hire him, and feeling utterly wretched in his fortunes, Corin is turned away from every side and spends most of his money trying to have his arm repaired by clerics.  When that fails, faith in all gods and their servants destroyed, he finally tries to drown himself for a pretty half elf give him a second chance by hiring him to protect her.

But nothing is ever that easy is it?

With the aid of the half elf’s foster father, a gnome priest of Gond, they uncover a darker ploy at large within the city and work to bring it down.  Unbeknownst to Corin, the journey will bring him face to face with old enemies, new friends, a chance at redemption, and possibly a new arm to make him whole again.

 I think my favorite part was how Corin and Lhasha don’t fall hopelessly in love at the end.  There are hints that it might happen, and for all we know it could in their future, but for now at the end of this they’re just good friends.  And while most times I root for the romantic couple, it is a nice change of pace when it doesn’t happen.

Another classic next: Faces of Deception by Troy Dennig, second in the Lost Empires series.

291718Hidden from his powerful family’s enemies behind the hideous mask of his own face. Sent by the goddess of beauty on an impossibe mission. Driven to find a way past his own flesh, into a soul torn between destiny and love.

Bout Dang Time

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362194FINALLY!  Finally I have completed the Forgotten Realms Harper Saga!

We are officially introduced to Joel, Holly, and Jasmine from Lost Gods #3 Tymora’s Luck here, with the full background of each laid out.

Joel is a newly appointed priest of Finder who doubts himself and travels on a pilgramiage to the Lost Vale as he was bidden by his god.  Along the way he saves a young woman Holly from a group of Zhentarim only to discover that despite her tender years she is actually a paladin of Lathander.

Seeking help, they are betrayed back into Zhentarim keeping where they cross paths with another prisoner, a winged woman named Jasmine who was caught in an attempt to reclaim her flying ship called a spelljammer from a group of Banites trying to resurrect their dead god.

But all doors lead to Sigil they say, as this trio quickly finds out.  Joined eventually by another ‘priest’ of Finder, they reluctantly form a working relationship with a Bane priestess and her baelnorn master in a quest with similar objectives to our heros but opposite goals: Find the Hand of Bane in Sigil. Go to the Astral Plane and locate Bane’s body. Destroy/resurrect Bane once and for all.

 Dunn dun dunnnnn….

 We kinda have an idea of how this ends since out three heroes were alive and well for Tymora’s Luck, but we have yet to meet their fourth companion from that book, an interesting little kender Emilio….

Sticking to the classics, we got Temple Hill, second in the loosely related Cities series by Drew Karpyshyn next.

62462Among the dark streets of the city move thieves and cutthroats. And they don’t like independent operators like Lhasha Moonsliver. But when she hires the town drunk as a bodyguard, she gets more than she bargained for. Together they’ll have to battle the thieves’ guild, the Cult of the Dragon, and other, darker foes. And a fallen man will have to remember the proud warrior he once was.

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The Nerd is Strong

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22219680Fucking. Loved. It.

 Again, one of these things that you don’t have to know/play/like D&D to use or enjoy this book.

 It is a wealth of information on many creatures familiar to fantasy readers as well as several that were unknown to this reader.

But not only that, it can serve a whole slew of people: writers, readers, players of any RPG game can find this useful in some way.

Beholders, unicorns, banshees, aboleths, humanoids of all shapes and sizes, along with their stat blocks and snippets of their species lore.

All in all a good read for most anyone with a fantasy bent

Going back to the Realms next with an older classic, Finder’s Bane by Kate Novak and Jeff Grub.

362194When Joel became a priest of the new god Finder, he knew it meant forfeiting the honor and security of his position as a master bard. Now his freedom and his very life are at stake as powers of evil embroil the priests of Finder in a struggle against a plot to resurrect the dead god Bane.
With his only allies the young freedom fighter Holly Harrowslough, the mysterious winged woman Jas, and the aging priest Jedidiah, Joel embarks on a mission to recover the Hand of Bane. His quest leads him from the Realms all the way to the extra-planar city of Sigil. There Joel must rely on all his courage, wisdom, and strength to thwart the return of Bane the Tyrant and rescue the god Finder from imminent death.

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Sword Swinging and Spell Slinging

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2892113So this is the second time reading Swordmage, and the first time I did not like it very much at all.  The preview on the back leads you to think that the whole thing is about this mysterious King in Copper and the undead in general, when really they just play a small role in this story.  First in the Blades of the Moonsea trilogy, Swordmage obviously has a bigger goal in mind, and neither The King in Copper or his undead minions seem to play a role in it.

I understand you need to get readers interested in the story, but it just felt very misleading as a whole.

And spare me love struck fools! UGH!  The main character Geran Hulmaster spends most of the book mooning over his lose elven love, whom he met in the city of Myth Drannor and was subsequently banished from when a duel over aforementioned love went bad. And all he can do is bitch and moan about it.  Blech.

Meanwhile Geran has bigger thing to worry about than a vapid, squeamish elf maiden who probably never really truly loved him to begin with.  Returning home to the port city of Hulberg, Geran finds is uncle ailing, one step cousin scheming, and the other trying to keep the city from falling apart, which is hard to do with greedy lavascious merchants crying out at the slightest offence and acting like they put their pants on eny different than anyone else.

 And a mysterious shadow group inciting –and successfully launching- a war between Hulberg and the local orcs, ogres, and other such gobin/humanoids should leave Geran little time to worry about anything other than saving the hides of his friends, his family, his town, and ultimately himself.

One more wee side track.  Been reading this in snips and snaps and finally got it done.  Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Monster Manual is next.

22219680The Monster Manual presents a horde of classic Dungeons & Dragons creatures, including dragons, giants, mind flayers, and beholders–a monstrous feast for Dungeon Masters ready to challenge their players and populate their adventures.

The monsters contained herein are culled from the D&D game’s illustrious history, with easy-to-use game statistics and thrilling stories to feed your imagination.

The leader in providing contemporary fantasy entertainment, Dungeons & Dragons is the wellspring for the entire modern game industry, digital as well as analog. This newest edition draws from every prior edition to create a universally compelling play experience, and exemplifies the true spirit of a game that holds captive the hearts and minds of millions of players worldwide.

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