7934199Unbroken Chain is the first in a two part series written by Jaleigh Johnston.  At first I was fascinated by this book and read through the first half pretty quickly, but then it kinda slowed down.

Set in the Shadowfell and focusing on the Shadar-kai race that inhabits it, Unbroken Chain introduces us to the chain fighter Shadar-kai Ashok, on the run from his clan and picked up by ‘friendly’ Shadar-kai of a nearby city.

Ashok, like most Shadar-kai, is very feral.  His race is one step away from oblivion, all the time.  Their souls are constantly being tugged by the plane of shadows to come away from the body, so they are always seeking new experiences to keep their souls tied to their body and most times they don’t care what the experience is so long as they feel something from it.

But time in the city of Ikkemu changes Ashok,  where he realizes that not all other creatures of the Shadowfell are his enemies, and that some can be trusted.  He makes friends with other Shadar-kai warriors within the service of Tempus, and in time serves Tempus in his own way. 

 Alas, not all is peace and prosperity in Ikkemu.  Lead primarily by the church of Tempus and it’s servants, dwellers within the city feel slighted and that their gods are not allowed to be honored as well, and tensions between the factions are almost always seem to be simmering below the surface.

And when it is discovered that a party from Ikkemu has been taken captive by Ashok’s enclave, he leads the party into the dark cavern of his hellish past with some very unlikely allies to rescue them.

I don’t know what it was exactly, but midway through this really slowed down for me.  Plus there is a mystery about the cavern that Ikkemu was built in that is not really resolved and that bugs the hell out of me as I want to learn all I can about the Realms and this little tidbit of info will always be beyond me.

Interesting in that I learned more about the Shadar-kai race as I was fairly ignorant of them before this, but otherwise fairly blah.

Here’s hoping that The Gilded Rune by Lisa Smedman fairs better.

13152311A plague has ravaged the population of gold dwarves of the Great Rift. It starts slowly, but the progression is devastating. One dwarf has eyes that have become hard and glassy like marbles; a second dwarf has skin that flakes off in sharp, hardened scales; the skeleton of a third is petrified and fused in place; a fourth wastes away with blood that has turned dark and muddy.

Clerical magic doesn’t help. Neither do herbal remedies, nor spells meant to break curses. And in all cases, death is always the same–the heart blackens, hardens, and eventually stops beating, killing each victim with a heart attack and turning the bodies to stone.

It’s called the Stoneplague. It’s terrifying. And it’s spreading.