Ashes To Ashes

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Ashes of the Tyrant is the fifth book in the Brimestone Angels series featuring the tiefling twins Havilar and Faridah.

This kinda feels like a layover book. Not a lot really happens here I feel. The twins and Mehen make their way back to the city of Mehen’s birth and a lot of his past is revealed so that’s good. But then a shapeshifting demon is set loose in the city and most of the book is spent trying to track it down and take it out.

Lorcan finally admits he has a human heart despite his infernal nature and that he is in love with Farideh, Farideh is still searching for Dahl and is torn between the paladin and the cambion. Dahl is roped into working for the Zhentarim, Brin and Havilar are working on their relationship, and we learn more about the infamous Brimestone Angel, her origins, her motivations, and through that the parentage of Lorcan which I thought was pretty cool.

So don’t get me wrong, a lot happens here to help us piece together the endgame and I quiet enjoyed reading it. But it just had that feel of like a stop gap kind of measure. Eh, whatever. Like I said I still enjoyed it and cannot wait to get to The Devil You Know.

But before that we’re going to take a little break and check out something that has been sitting in my desk for ages. Chicken Soup For the Soul’s My Very Good Very Bad Cat.

Sometimes you can choose your family… by choosing to love a cat! But just because they’re animals it doesn’t mean they won’t be as complex and individual as anyone else around. Our cats can be so good, and then they can be not-so-good, but boy do they give us great stories! This collection of 101 funny, heartwarming, and sometimes mindboggling stories is all about all the very good, very bad, simply amazing things our cats do.


Drow and Gods and Demons Oh My!

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Archmage is the first in the Homecoming Saga by R.A. Salvatore, the beginning of the end of Drizz’t story and that of the Companions of the Hall.

After the events of Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf, the dwarves of the Silver Marches have…well…marched on over to Neverwinter and down into Gauntylgrym to reclaim their ancestral homeland. Just over four thousand strong, with three dwarf kings to lead them, the dwarves of the Marches roll into the ancient complex, clearing out drow, orcs, goblins and other who have taken up residence within their homeland and work to fortify every inch of ground that they reclaim.

That is the focus of this installment. The reclamation and fortification of the Delzoun home. The drow of course, are not happy with this and work their plans to reclaim what was lost.

But they are not the only ones hiding in the shadows and whispering of plots and counter plots.

For their patron goddess, Lady Loth, Queen of Spiders is far from done with meddling in the realm of mortals. With the rebirth of one of her favored children, Matron Mother Yvonnel the Eternal, Loth works to break down the barrier of magic in the Underdark. The veil that separates the Prim plane from the chaos of the Abyss, allowing demons and their Lords alike to run free.

We see the results of her plans by the end of Archmage, though of course we are still unsure as to her ultimate goal. Only the remaining books Maestro and Hero will reveal the truth to us.

I think what I liked most about this one is that I see ties to the D&D campaign Rage of Demons, just as with the Companions Codex I saw ties to the Tyranny of Dragons. I like that they are seeming to make an effort to tie the books into the campaigns.

Anywhoodle, we’re going to move on to the next Brimestone Angels book, Ashes of the Tyrant. Reeeeeally looking forward to this one.

In the wake of the war brought on by the Second Sundering, Farideh’s adopted father Mehen has been called back by the clan that cast him out, and Farideh and Havilar mean to go with him. Just as Mehen confronts the head of his former clan, a clutch of young dragonborn is found in the catacombs, brutally murdered, an infernal summoning circle that looks all-too-familiar to Farideh, nearby.

What Was Lost Shall Be Found

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Spellstorm is the second to last of the Elminster Saga by Ed Greenwood and it’s a bit different than the other works in the series to date.

This is very much a ‘who dunnit’ kind of story. Elminster has received word of the Lost Spell has been recovered in Cormyr, and in an attempt to keep the powerful from tearing the Realms apart in an attempt to reclaim it, he stages almost an auction in the home of the man who had discovered it.

The fact that the man in question is brain dead from malicious magics after a very public attack in order to wrest the spell from him is neither here nor there.

With the help of the newly-released-from-magical-stasis Mirt the Moneylender, a paramour of the dreaded Vanderghast, and the ghost of princess Alusair herself, Elminster whisks the spell off to safety and hosts the likes of Manshoon, The Serpent Queen, and other powerful and legendary weilders of the Art in an attempt to find the one who would hold the spell and not threaten the world with it’s ownership.

The only problem is that most of the guests are dying…violently…and Elminster must figure out why before the local authorities break down the doors in their own attempt to secure the spell.

Thankfully there is a magical miasma just outside that holds them off and locks the guests inside, giving Elminster plenty of time to figure things out.

No so bad once you put it down on paper, but it was a bit of a dredge for me to go through, mostly because I’m not big into murder mysteries.

But speaking of spells and mages, Archmage is next, first in the Homecoming saga by R.A. Salvatore.

The pall that had descended over the North is gone, and a new day has dawned on a victorious Mithral Hall, but no matter how bright things seem on the surface, Drizzt and his companions know that what lurks just under their feet remains steeped in evil and charged with unimaginable power.

The dark elves of Menzoberranzan, including the powerful Archmage Gromph, aren’t done with Drizzt yet. And consumed by their own power struggles, feeling backed into a corner, the drow may just be desperate enough to call on demonic forces from the deepest reaches of the Abyss, and unleash a disaster even the Underdark could never have prepared for.



Vengeance is Mine Sayeth the Dwarf

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Vendenace of the Iron Dwarf is the third and final of the Companions Codex trilogy, and fourth since the resurrection of the Companions of the Hall.

The Darkening is well under way across the Silver Marches, the drow of Menzobarranzan trying to both to finally take down the rogue Drizz’t Do’Urden, and facilitate the rise of their dark goddess Loth as the mistress of magic.

Armies of orcs, goblins, and giants swarm across the land.  The dwarves are trapped in their citadels. Nesme and Sundabar have fallen to the hordes.  Silverymoon is pressed, the Glimmerwood is surrounded.  Winter has fallen with no end of the kingdom wide siege in sight, so all wait with baited breathe to see what the spring will bring.

But not all are sitting idle. 

While Wulfar and Regis are trapped in the Upper Underdark, separated from their friends as the Companions made a break for Mithril Hall, Drizz’t, Cattie-Brie and Bruenor are simultaneously trying to convice the dwarves that Bruenor is who he claims to be, and keep the dwarves from starving in their homes.

At the Temple of the Yellow Rose, Ambergris and Afrenefrere are called forth by a certain drow rogue who has also called the aid of a pair of bronze dragon sisters and have come forth to the Marches to stop the advent of Menzobarranzan.

The fate of Dahlia is still uncertain, and Aretmis Entreri is no where to be seen.  Quenthel Baenre becomes more like her mother each day with the aid of an insane Ilithis, Gromph Baenre is torn between admiration and fear of his sister the new Matron Mother, and Tiago Baenre risks everything the drow have worked for on the surface, all in an attempt to finally kill the infamous rogue Drizz’t Do’Urden.

Many wheels are in motion in the Silver Marches.  Will they spin to fruition or seize in failure?

While you ponder that question and perhaps seek out the answer for yourself, onwards and upwards to Spellstorm by Ed Greenwood next.

Rumors race around Cormyr regarding the mythical Lost Spell, a powerful enchantment designed centuries ago by the presumed dead god of spells—a spell long thought lost to the ages. Found by some magic-less merchant, rumor has it the Lost Spell is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

It is a powerful lure, and archwizards of every stripe descend upon the merchant, only to be trapped with him inside his manor by a vicious spellstorm—escape impossible, and their magic useless with the interference from the storm.

Moreover—they find themselves faced with the infamous Elminster of Shadowdale, who claims he’s just there to decide who gets the Lost Spell, but who clearly has an agenda of his own.

But before Elimster can put whatever plan he has in motion, archwizards start dying.



Choice and Consequence

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Fifth in the Brimestone Angels saga, Fire in the Blood is the continuation of Farideh and Havilar’s stories, it picks up a wee bit after the events of The Adversary, but before the end of the Sundering saga as Shade and the Netherese are still a threat.

Farideh and her family find themselves stuck in Cormyr, in the capital of Suzail no less, as Havilar’s sweetheart Brin attempts to get out of a royal marriage that he got himself into during the almost decade that the twins were held in stasis as per a bargain Farideh made to try and save them all.

It’s a difficult task navigating the twisting rules and regulations of Cormyr laws, more so when you are outsiders looking in and the Chosen of Asmodeus the god of sin himself.

But it’s kind of hard to worry about how long your sleeves need to be and what color is in fashion this season when you and your twin sister are constantly under attach because of who she is sleeping with.

Add to that a dead king, two missing princes, a Shadowvar spies in the castle as well as every noble house, and the Chosen of the supposedly dead god Azuth the Magistar of magic and is being driven slowly mad from the pain of his god…yeah.  I don’t think Farideh and company reeeeeally care about much else this time around.

Interesting tidbit though.  Farideh keeps having these visions os Asmodeus with a blue rune on his chest.  Turns out this rune is the symbol of Azuth himself and from the rambling of the mad Chosen it sounds like he’s the key to Asmodeus’ resurrection, and possibly his downfall.

I’m fuzzy on the details of Azuth’s death right now, but it sounds like he was badly injured by either another god or the collapse of the weave and was thrown down into the hells and to the feet of Asmodeaus.  And it sounds like the devil-prince-turned-god took matter into his own hands.  I want to say he killed Azuth, but if he did why is Azuth creating Chosen and why does the newly minted god of sin bear his mark?

Maybe the truth is that Azuth isn’t dead, but held captive by Asmodeus who is siphoning off Azuth’s godhood to maintain his own?

Ugh.  Too many thoughts and speculations running around in my brain right now.  I want to figure things out, but I think I’ll be better for waiting.  So let’s turn back to the Companion’s Codex and the final installment: Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf.

Bloody war rages across the Forgotten Realms world in the third book of the Companions Codex, the latest series in R.A. Salvatore’s New York Times best-selling saga of dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden.

In the evolving world of the Forgotten Realms setting, the Sundering has given way to months of cloud-cloaked darkness, and war rages under that oppressive sky. The orcs have broken a hard-fought treaty that’s held, however tentatively, for a hundred years, and the time to settle old scores has devolved into an all-out brawl for control of the ancient realms of the North.



Kim Harrison

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