Book Bout- Book Review of Night of the Hunter Companions Codex, I

Story-Night of the Hunter Companions Codex, I

Author– R. A. Salvatore

Buy It Herehttp://www.amazon.com/Night-Hunter-Companions-Codex-I/dp/0786965118/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403096780&sr=8-2&keywords=NIght+of+the+Hunter

 

TL; DR– Almost TL; DR! 57%

Audiobook Extra– Well done performance. 4/5

 

Basics– Drizzit’s back!  With all his friends back from the void, Drizzit embarks on an epic quest to save his one time friend turned vampire.  Along the way, drow scheme to take over the world and kill one another.  What are the drow up to now, can Drizzit stop it, and what is Drizzit’s place in the world?

 

Story- I suffered through this because I love the realms.  There is just way too much going on at any given time to make me really interested in one thing.  Too many plots with too many moving parts made me not care about any one in particular.  Unlike the Game of Thrones, I didn’t care about any one of the plots to make me want to see them juggled.  Also, since every main character is bad ass, I never was worried about any one character in particular.  Drizzit will survive and be as self absorbed as ever as he battles monsters but still wonders if HE is the monster…like every other Drizzit book.  Honestly, the most exciting thing will happen in the last moment of the book, and even that is pulling a punch.  1.5/5

 

Characters- No one here is consistent.  All the characters want to be the good guys, but they are acting pretty neutral to evil!  Also, all the work that the characters did before is being undone (no surprise), but the actions seem massively out of place for the characters.  Most of them worship a nature god of good, but all of them are moving toward an ork genocide.  (Don’t worry; events behind the scenes are making that genocide ok!)  I felt things were just off. But, Drizzit is as much a stable rock as ever, and he gets the most screen time, so it’s a wash. 3/5

 

Setting– This is the Forgotten Realms.  People, places, and things all feel like a FR DnD Game.  I was pretty happy living in this world, but then again, I’m also a veteran of the realms.  I think your average person will need a bit more introduction to know all the background the author is playing with though. 4/5

 

Summary– This was kind of painful.  I alternated between podcasts and this story to get through it.  Nothing hooked me and the characters seemed off, but I did like the setting.  To me it seems that the author is working to dismantle his own work piecewise, and given Mr. Salvatore thoughts on 4e DnD, I believe that’s what he’s doing right now.  Will I read the next book?  Yes, but keep in mind that I also will sit and play a boss battle for four hours straight to get to the end of a video game to the point where this is now a job and no longer fun.  I want to know what’s going on in the realms, so I’ll endure the next book.  If that’s not for you, then choose accordingly. 57%

 

Audiobook Extra– The reader of the audiobook does a good job.  I’d like a bit more emotion, but he does do a decent job of making the characters come to life. 4/5

Book Bout-Short Story Review of Sail Away, Sweet Sister

Story- Sail Away, Sweet Sister

Author- Patrick Goodman

TL;DR- Great Shadowrun story, but not a great introduction to Shadowrun story. 83%

 

Basics– Thomas McCallister is back!  This is a direct sequel to “Another Rainy Night”. In this story, a picture of Lenore, Thomas’ vampiric sister, is found as she is running across the fractured America of Shadowrun.  Can Thomas save his sister before she falls to the monster that lives insider her?  Who else is manipulating things behind the scenes….

 

Story-The story is pretty good.  It’s an ensemble cast with the story being told from the sister, Thomas, his friends, and several other’s points of view.  Each character has a different, well defined view of things, and, that variety makes the story come off the page.  Some of the story elements are kind of brushed over, but in a short fiction, that is a necessary evil. 4/5

 

Characters– The characters are also well defined.  Each one has their own goals and motivations, and that comes through in the story.  I felt the characters were real, not one dimensional caricatures.  You won’t get all the pieces as this is part of a trilogy, but where there were gaps, I felt that was mysteries for later, not poor writing. 4.5/5

 

Setting-Here things are interesting.  If you know Shadowrun, the story is an good story in the Shadowrun World.  Lots of locations and idea live and breathe as you know they should.  However, if you don’t know Shadowrun, you will be completely lost.  Terms are thrown around that your average read off the street won’t know.  A little bit of introduction to the more Shadowrun-esque element of the story would make things a bit better for all the readers out there. 4/5

 

Summary-This is a good short story.  It’s pretty long for the price you pay as it’s over 30 pages.  AND, you get some Shadowrun 5e/4a stats for your games.  That right there is worth the price alone for how starved for Shadowrun content I and most of the community are.  I haven’t read “Another Rainy Night”, but if the same writer wrote that one as well, I feel that I would be in good hands for that one.  Also, as soon as the sequel to this story comes out, I plan to buy it.  I like how this story turned out and I can’t wait for more! 83%

Book Bout-Book review of The Sentinel: The Sundering, Book V

Book– The Sentinel: The Sundering, Book V

Author – Troy Denning

Price- $8

TL;DR– Not bad, but Sundering formulaic 80%

Basics– How faithful are you?  Kleef stands as the last worshiper of Helm, the dead god of law and service in Toril.  As a watchman he is dragged into a struggle to save two chosen of two different gods have stolen a power artifact of a third god to inspire a divine love triangle with two other gods.  Along the way, a third chosen is dragged into service to try to save Toril.  Can Kleef stand firm in the Forgotten Realms as even his god has seemed to abandon him as he travels to world to save it?

Setting– This is a fairly standard Forgotten Realms story.  The world and story feel like it’s in the Realms as lots of the high notes that have been going through the world are mentioned.  The story does go to some specific Realms spots so it is a Realms story.  As this is primarily a traveling story, the pace makes set building a bit hard and that makes the setting and story suffers a little. 4.5/5

Characters– I felt that characters were a bit off.  Nothing horrible, but the seemed somewhat wishy-washy.  The most fleshed out and stable character was the chosen of the death god.  I felt sometimes the choices the characters made were not the real choice or action the characters should have made.   It’s not story ending, but it did affect my enjoyment a bit. 3.5 /5

Story– The story isn’t bad.  It’s basically the Lord of the Rings in a single book.  That’s not bad as most Dungeons and Dragons quests are like that, but having more time to build sets would help a traveling story.  This book is one of the shorter Sundering books which is good as some stories have dragged on a bit longer then they should.  But, it’s also bad as this book could have used a bit of padding in some places.  4/5

Summary– This isn’t a bad book.  If you’re reading the Sundering like me, then this is one of the better ones.  If you want an introduction to the Realms, then this might not be the best book for you.  The book follows the standard Sundering formula, but don’t let that distract you.  If you want to learn about the return of some of the more important Toril gods, then this is right up you alley.  80%

Book Bout-Book review of Raising Steam

Book– Raising Steam

Author – Terry Pratchett

Price- $18

TL;DR– More of a world advancement then a story 90%

Basics– Hit the open rails!  Steam power comes the Discworld (Much to the joys of cosplayers everywhere!).  A new engineer invents the first steam powered locomotive and brings the invention to THE big city.  Here, he beings to change the world.  Moist von Lipwig is put in charge of coordination this new invention across the world.  However, trouble comes as the dwarves splinter as conservative factions fight the future tooth and nail!  Can Moist get the job done in time?

Setting– It’s Terry Pratchett and his Discworld!  Of course it’s well done, he’s had over a quarter of a century to make this thing perfect.  We’re done here. 5/5

Characters– This is another Pratchett trade mark-well done characters.  If anything this book suffers from having to put EVERY character in from all the different Discworld story arcs.  The book is less about characters or story and mostly about the setting as a whole progressing.  Characters do change over the course of the story, but it’s mostly the people you love doing what you love. 4.5/5

Story– The book isn’t mostly about the story.  Sure, you get a good Pratchett story, but not his best here.  I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t say you come here for the story.  This book is about the world.  The world is changing.  The clacks forced some changes, but this book is about how the world really changes when steam pushes it along.  Every character gets a mention to show the reader that they are involved in some way, and sometimes that felt a little forced.  Nothing is bad here, but this isn’t my top Disckworld story. 4/5

Summary– I liked this one.  I didn’t love this one, and it’s not my favorite of his books.  Nothing is horrible in this, but I felt like the book was just a series of events that were related.  The book spans a lot of time as Moist runs around putting out fires as he goes.  That’s not bad.  But Pratchett has the lucky problem of having gone to the mountain top and even if he slips a little with one book, he’s till MILES above most of the other writers out there!  Give this one a chance; it’s a good book just not the one I’ll give to my friends first.  90%

Book Bout-Book Review of The Sundering Book IV: The Reaver

Book– The Sundering Book IV: The Reaver

Author – Richard Lee Byers

Price- $19

TL;DR– An Ok Realms story. 73%

Basics–  Set sail for adventure. The Reaver follows the story of Anton Marivaldi, former sailor turned pirate.  Anton and his crew kidnap a boy prophet of Lathander, a formally dead deity.  Anton is betrayed by his crew, and escapes with the boy.  The two have different goals with one trying to sell the other and the boy trying to make his way across the world on a quest he doesn’t understand, but they work together as they can’t survive alone.  Along the way they encounter the church of the evil sea god Umberlee, Thay wizards, a plan to save the Sea of Fallen Stars, and possibly redemption and rebirth.

Setting– The book does feel like it belongs in the Forgotten Realms.  I’ve always considered the Forgotten Realms to be the “God” setting with much of what’s going on having to do with evil gods making plans against the good people of the Realms.  This story is entirely motivated by a good god plans to help the world, an evil gods power grabs, and a lich trying to become a god. 5/5

Characters–  The book falters here a bit.  Anton is the “main” character even though the book is an ensemble cast.  He gets the most screen time, but he also tends to be the one I have the most problems with.  He’s a cold hearted pirate!  But, then he decides to give it all up and help the boy.  He says he’s this monster stating every horrible thing he’s did before the story starts, BUT, given the slightest provocation, he only does good, honorable things.  It felt a bit disingenuous as if he was merely boasting.  3/5

Story– The book falters a bit here too.  It runs a bit longer then it needs to.  When you get into the story, it’s not bad, but I found myself asking “Is this the end yet?” a few too many times.  Also, the book is a bit hard to get into.  You don’t really like the main character for the longest time, and since you spend a long time with him, it’s hard to get into the book.  Brevity and trimming a few of the scene might have helped this story.  That said, I also wanted a bit more in the end.  The book kind of ends abruptly with the character making some quick plans and the book just ending.  Everything is resolved, but I felt like it needed a bit more. 3/5

Summary– Of the Sundering books, this one is probably my least favorite so far.  I’m glad I read it, and anyone who loves the Realms should sit down and read this too.  But, if you want a good introduction to the world of the forgotten Realms, this might not be the best choice.  It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not the best book I’ve ever read.  73%%

Audiobook Bonus Round!-  I listened to this book as an audiobook.  That may have hurt my impression of this book.  Eugene H. Russell IV isn’t a bad narrator, but he has the habit of breaking into Shatner-esque diction.  Some passages were amazingly clear, but others sounded as if a computer had read the passage with awkward pauses inserted between words. 3/5

Book Bout-Book Review of The Sundering Book III: The Adversary

Book– The Sundering Book III: The Adversary

Author – Erin M. Evans

Price- $8

TL;DR– Another good addition to the Sundering lineup 80%

 

Basics–  Time to return to the Realms.  Erin M. Evans returns to the Forgotten Realms continuing the story of Farideh and Havilar.  Farideh makes a deal with a devil and ends up being teleported through time.  Now Ferideh is caught up in a plot involving Asmodeus’ continuing godhood, devils vying for power, Netheril, and trying to do the right thing.  Havilar has to face the realities of what seven years can do to a relationship with a crown prince in Cormyr.

 

Setting– This book feels like it’s in the realms.  Everything feels right.  Lots of realm lore comes into play and those of us who are read lots of Forgotten Realms books will feel right at home and get a knowing wink from the author.  New readers will get a good background to at least part of the world. 4/5

 

Characters– This is truly an ensemble book.  Heck, the author doesn’t just have a main character; she’s got twin sisters running around stirring up trouble.  Every character gets a bit of time to shine, and when I was finished, I didn’t have a standout character who was my favorite.  I rooted for everybody all the way through.  However with the number of character running around, I did get a little confused from time to time on who someone was. 4/5

 

Story– I’ve talked before about the Sundering, and this book follows the same formula.  It takes a good story, introduces major players and what they’ve done since the last realms books came out, and sets up the characters for another book trilogy.  I like the story that this book has while it does set up major events in the realms, and I most likely will pick up the following trilogy.  The story itself is a bit long for my taste, and I did take a few breaks while getting through it.  I might not been the greatest page turner, but I am glad I read it.  4/5

 

Summary– I liked this story, maybe not as much as other Sundering books, but I did like this.  I know more about the realms now than I did before and want to see where it goes from here.  I like the characters I read about, and am honestly interested in what happens to them.  I can easily recommend this book. 80 %

Book Bout- The Godborn (The Sundering Book 2)

Book– The Godborn (The Sundering Book 2)

Author-Paul S. Kemp

TL;DR–  New characters and not just a rehash of old ones! 86.7 %

 

Synopsis-This story focuses on Vasen, son of Kemp’s most renowned character Cale.  Vasen is the child of a chosen of a dark god and raised by clerics of a light god.  How and if Vasen can learn to walk these two paths, free his dead/sleeping father from the hells, and stop the apocalypse is to focus of this book.  Along the way Vasen will meet a strange cast of characters, see the Forgotten Realms Change around him, and most importanly, change who he once was.

 

Story– The story covers a lot of ground reintroducing a trilogy and all its characters as well as introducing a slew of new characters for Kemp’s next series.  It does feel like the purpose of the book is two fold: 1-set up a new book series 2-set up what happened to the Forgotten Realms.  It’s not bad, but you do feel like it has goals besides tell you a story.  However, this story does introduce new characters and it keeps them past the credits.  So, I feel that’s a win. 4.5/5

 

Characters– The Godborn brings back the characters from Kemp’s last three books, but also adds a few new characters.  Some of them didn’t get as much screen time, and it felt at times they were there because the fans would want them.  But, the book clocks in around 300 pages, so there isn’t space for everybody to get the spotlight the whole time.  I liked the characters as they felt well rounded.  This goes even for the characters I was supposed to hate.  However, this book does have a name problem.  Please don’t name two characters almost the same thing.  Especially if they share screen time!  4/5

 

Writing– This book is not for most of you out there.  Kemp loves to push the boundaries of what a DnD novel will get away with.  I was surprised to see what I read in the novel with lots of gore splattered throughout the novel.  This made me love this all the more.  This isn’t King, but it does do its job well. 4.5/5

 

Summary-I liked this book.  Again, don’t expect some George R.R. Martin levels of depth here, but George R.R. Martin wouldn’t write in the Forgotten Realms world.  Kemp delivers a good book that updates the Forgotten Realms and brings back some of his fan favorite characters. 86.7%