I just finished reading the Sundering series for the Forgotten Realms. I’ve reviewed them all Here:
Now that it’s done, what do I think? Let’s answer a few yes/new questions to keep thing simple (somewhat…):
Will I read more Forgotten Realms Books: yes*
Am I happy with what the Sundering did to the Realms: no**
Do I think the Sundering is a good way to bring new people into FR: yes***
Did you think the Sundering novels had a formula: yes
If you thought the Sundering novels had a formula, did you like it: no****
Are you still a Forgotten Realms fan: yes
Will you run Forgotten Realms games in the future: yes
Was the number of novels appropriate for the setting: no****
Are you glad you read these novels: yes
How about you? Have you read the Sundering? What did you think? Fill out my survey above and tell me what you thought!
*-I was invested in the Realms before. It was the first real fantasy setting I was part of, so its got a place in my heart. Some of the books really made me happy to be reading them. Others….I more suffered through. I still don’t really like Drizzit, but for some of the new characters, I would like to learn more about them.
**-The Sundering, to a large extent, treated the fourth edition Forgotten Realms as a mistake. I LOVED the fourth edition Forgotten Realms! But, then again, I loved fourth edition. For the most part, anything that was novel (pun intended) about the Realms was washed away by the Sundering. I can deal with that, but since I spent a lot of time and energy to learn and loved that material, it felt like a small slap in the face.
***-This really varied book by book. Some books did an excellent job introducing established people and the Forgotten Realms as a whole. Some books made even me, who has read 20 to 30 of these novels, not know who the author was talking about.
****-The formula to me was: 1)introduce some established people/make some people, 2) introduce the setting 3)introduce a problem for the people in the setting 4)change the setting back to 3.5 Forgotten Realms to fix the problem . I didn’t think FR was broken, so I don’t like some solutions. Seeing everything you’ve learned about and cared about changed to move things back to where they were was somewhat saddening. I have the same problem with comics. Comics are a sine wave. If you pick any point on a sine wave, and draw a parallel line to the horizon, you will eventually hit a point exactly as far from zero on the wave again. To you the wave never changed if you have those two points as your reference. Comics are the same way: Spider-Man is married-single-then married, Wolverine is alive-dead-alive, People are on a team-kicked off-back on. Nothing changes. You don’t want to rock the formula that works for the comics. Fourth edition changed things. Now, it’s back to where it was again. I don’t want things to change if the change doesn’t matter. Why bother making things different if they can’t stay different? No one grows or evolves if everything goes right back to where it started.
*****-What I would have loved to see at the end of the sundering was a setting guide. I’ve heard this complaint repeated several times. I want to know how things are in the world. I have a few points of light at best as to what is going on, but for the most of the realms, I don’t have a clue. I want to jump back into the realms with both feet! Let’s start gaming!