Wizards Have the Best Temper Tantrums…

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291520Ten years have passed since the events of Pool of Radiance. Tark, Ren, and Shal have remained friends throughout the years, although as is the want of such friendships time and distance has kept them from seeing each other for three of those years.

But bad dreams and worse nightmares compel Ren to return to the city of Phaln to check on his friends, only to find it gone from the plane of Toril.  Meanwhile, husband and wife team Tarl and Shal have their hands full trying to protect Phaln and its people from attacking fiends in the cavern where the city has been transported to.

Dark, evil gods with dreams of ruling the Realms won’t let a cleric, a sorceress and a ranger with a shady past stop their plans.

And of course we have some new players to the game: a pair of light hearted but deadly druids, another sorceress with a shape shifting jungle cat familiar, and -of all things- and undead paladin.

Something is off with the writing here again though.  The evil wizard antagonist just seems kinda plopped in there for the sake of having a bad guy.  He wasn’t really threatening or scary, more like a child having a prolonged temper tantrum.  The plan of the god he served and the pit fiend that was supposed to serve him seemed kinds tossed in there too, and I’m a little disappointed that the creature from the last book wasn’t there at all. We know it survived, you think it would be back for revenge or something…

Hopefully this trilogy finally takes an upswing in the last book Pool of Twilight…

62464The holy hammer of the Church of Tyr was captured by the evil god Bane two decades ago. When Bane was destroyed, the relic vanished. The legacy of recovering the lost item was granted to a paladin before his birth.

Now the young warrior must fulfill his destiny and return the enchanted hammer to the forces of good in the land of the Moonsea. Danger, deception, and loyal friends will accompany him on his fateful journey.

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Ties That Bind Much?

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291249A goddess’ sacred pool corrupted. A good dragon possessed and turned evil.  a sorceress, a priest, and a ranger turned thief are the highlights of the Pool of Radiance.

The port city of Phaln has seen much throughout the centuries.  Flights of raging dragons, attacks by orcs, goblins. and other humanoids, undead haunting the graveyards, and crazy assed wizards.  Phaln is no stranger to strife and battle.  But the dark mechanations of a corrupted bronze dragon and a greedy councilman might threaten to bring Phaln down on a tidal wave of innocent blood.

Shal is a fledgling sorceresses on a mission to avenge her master.  Tarl is a cleric weak on faith after losing a relic of his church, but finds new found strength in his feelings for Shal.  Ren is a ranger turned thief turned bar room server, running and hiding from the memory of his murdered love until he meets her physical twin in Shal and is drawn back into the world.

So here now we have three very different strangers from all corners of the Realms drawn together in one united goal: take down the Lord of the Ruins, supposed mastermind behind all their past hurts.  I like how all of their pasts are woven together, its done in such a way that it actually makes sense…

My only complaint is the writing.  Some of the language and slang the characters use seem too modern and out of place for the world setting.  But aside from that it was pretty good.

Second in the Pools Trilogy coming right up! Pools of Darkness is next

291520The entire city of Phlan has vanished, ripped from the surface of Toril by dire creatures and magical forces. While the minions of the evil god Bane bicker over the spoils, the brave citizens of Phlan mount a stubborn defense.

A ranger-thief named Ren seeks his missing friends, Shal and Tarl, spellcasters nonpareil. Ren must band together with a mysterious sorceress, Evaine, and her intrepid shapeshifter cat, as well as a couple of droll druids and a fearful knight who is absolutely, positively dead.

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I Am The Lizard King!

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362170Song of the Saurials closes out the Finder’s Stone trilogy quite nicely. Focusing mainly on the Nameless Bard -who we now know as Finder Wyvernspur- and his trial with the Harpers to determine his fate in light his recent actions during this series in the name of good.

All the friends are reunited of course. Alais, Olive, Nameless, Akash, and Dragonbait must join forces once more with new allies such as Elminster to defeat the returning god of decay Moriander the Darkbringer, and the Saurial tribe he has perverted to help him create a new body and a foothold in Faerun.

Bittersweet and confusing ending to this one.  I love the character growth that Finder goes through and the sacrifices that he -and everyone else- makes.  But we do lose two of the friends, and while one ending is bittersweet, we find the other life has ended only on Faerun but continues on another plane.

And I haven’t really touched on this throughout the series but the writing is pretty good. Well paced, descriptive, and the language was appropriate for the setting of the book. All in all the Finder’s Stone trilogy was a good read.

But onwards and upwards once more dear friends! Moving onto the Pools trilogy by James Ward and Jane Cooper, with Pool of Radiance leading the way.

291249The spellcaster, Shal, seeks to avenge the death of her wizard master.

The ranger thief, Ren, hunts the assassin who brutally murdered his beloved Tempest.

The cleric, Tarl, prepares for a confrontation with the undead.

A possessed dragon commands the undead armies of Valhingen Graveyard and the beasts from the ruins of Phlan. Desperate, Shal, Ren, and Tarl join forces to deliver Phlan and the entire Moonsea from the dark possession of evil reincarnate… Tyranthraxus.

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Building Momentum…

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201380Wyverns spur moved along quite nicely compared to Azure Bonds, mostly because of the lead characters Giogi and Cat. I recognized them from the Cormyr saga, so I know how bad assed they get.  And it was interesting to see how they got there.

Giogi is the scion of the infamous Wyvernspurs, a noble family hat has served the crown of Cormyr for generations. Only now their prized artifact and namesake is missing. And with that disappearance the continuance of the entire family is threatened.

But the Wyvernspurs have more relatives than they realize as they begin crawling woodwork: Nameless the Bard who we met in Azure Bonds, his first creation, and two copies of Alais that everyone thought destroyed just to name a few.

And Miss Olive Ruskettle, now a theiving Harper halfling bard, makies a reappearance and finds herself in the middle of a family squabble generations old.

Dreams of blood, undead minions, shadowy guardians, lycanthropes, minions of a moon goddess, and death upon intrigue within mystery I think best sums up Wyvern’s Spur.

I wonder what the last one, Song of the Saurials has in store for us?

362170When the Harpers judged the Nameless Bard responsible for the death of his apprentices, they sentenced him to exile and obscurity. Now the Harpers are reconsidering their decision, but with the arrival of the monster Grypht, Nameless’s new trial dissolves in a string of disappearances and murder. It is up to the bard’s friends, Alias the swordswoman, Akabar the mage, Dragonbait the paladin, and Ruskettle the thief, to prove one enemy is behind all the chaos-the ancient evil god, Moander the Darkbringer.

Unless Alias and her companions can find Nameless and convince him to sacrifice some of his precious power, Moander will return to claim the Realms.  

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What Do You Do When You Don’t Know Who You Are?

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291735Go on an adventure of course, and take out anyone who gets in your way. That’s pretty much Azure Bonds, first in the Finder’s Stone trilogy by Kate Novak.  It was a little bit hard to get into at first, most of the dialogue was the characters arguing over what to do and running about the cities without accomplishing much.  But once it got going, the story finally got interesting.

A prideful bard who wanted his name and music to live on forever pushed the boundaries of magic and sanity to create the perfect vessel for his songs.  After his experiments cost two wizards their lives, the bard was locked away and striped of his memories.  But such a successful attempt to create life cannot be buried forever.

Alais is a woman with no memory and no past, a tattoo on her arm the only clue to she is.  So the swords woman embarks on a quest with a wizard, a reptilian paladin, a thieving halfling bard and a vicious red dragon to defeat and ancient god and his human conspirators.

Well, two ancient gods really, plus a sorceress, a lich, and an organization of assassins.

Now how is that boring?  Alais even met up with Elminster in disguise and he aids her in the end of her quest.  But talking and walking can only be interesting for so long…

Ah well. Onward and upwards.  Wyern’s Spur, book two in the Finders Stone is next.

201380More than a hunk of junk, the Wyvern’s Spur has moldered in a crypt for fifteen generations until now. The Wyvernspur family’s powerful heirloom has been stolen, and grand wizard and patriarch Drone Wyvernspur is the first to fall to the ancient item’s curse.

The family fool, Giogi, is left to find it, but even recovering the spur cannot guarantee his clan’s safety. Fortunately, the famous halfling bard Olive Ruskettle and a mysterious and talented mage named Cat are determined to help. But when betrayal and enchantment threaten Giogi’s progress, he must invoke the spur’s awesome might . . . or become its next victim!

 

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