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 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