Tag Archives: series: forgotten realms

The Devil You Know by Erin M. Evans

The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know by Erin M. Evans

Series: Brimstone Angels, Book 6
Published by: Wizard’s of the Coast on October 4, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Things for Farideh seem to just get more and more tangled with every attempt to unravel the situations in which she’s found herself. The spirits of Brimstone Angels are back and they have an agenda all their own. Asmodeus is still working toward achieving the greatness he feels he so rightly deserves. And is Lorcan up to something that is in service to someone else…or does he have a path of his own to follow. What’s clear for everyone is that something needs to happen to put all of this business to an end. But in order to do that, Farideh may have to put herself, her friends, and her family in danger. And if this doesn’t work…well, let’s just say everyone really, really hopes it does.

Things have been building toward this finale for a while now. Every time Farideh felt she was getting a step closer to getting back to a normal life–or what passes for normal for her–it’s as though she’s instead taken a step back. And although she refuses to be a pawn for someone else, too often it seems like she has to give in if she wants to win. This time around, it appears there will be no exception.

I was a little disappointed with the ending. After such a long buildup, it felt a bit anticlimactic to me–which is why this is pulling a three-star rating. It’s still an enjoyable read, and fans of the series and character will enjoy getting some closure, even if it’s a more subdued closure than one might expect.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Maestro by R.A. Salvatore

Maestro

Maestro by R.A. Salvatore

Published by: Wizards of the Coast on April 5, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Drizzt Do’Urden may never have thought he’d return to Menzoberranzan. The the Drow city, his former home, is his destination. But this should be a quick in-and-out- visit. Traveling with unlikely companions, he must rescue Dahlia, a former love.

And his current (and forever) love, Cattie-brie, finds herself working with some unlikely allies as well. Her team, including Gromph Baenre, Archmage of Menzobarranzan, must work to rebuild the one thing that can keep the ancient primorial under Gauntlgrym in check.

So two unpleasant but important tasks lie before them. And both know that accomplishing their goals will come with challenges. But when a Drow force to be reckoned with–one thought long gone–reveals herself, it becomes clear that the challenge is just beginning.

I have been waiting for some action to return to this series for a couple of books now. Things have been moving slowly. But this one really bought things back into focus. There was an intensity here that I think both longtime and new Drizzt readers can appreciate.

I also enjoyed getting to see a bit more of some of the non-Companions characters. Jarlaxle and Gromph feature a bit more in this book. And readers are re-introduced to a character who could be the biggest game-changer since the Companions of the Hall returned.

I certainly look forward to the next book in this series. The game is truly on now. And I could see it ending in many different ways.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Ashes of the Tyrant by Erin M. Evans

Ashes of the Tyrant

Book Info

Title: Ashes of the Tyrant (Brimstone Angels, Book 5)
Author: Erin M. Evans
Published: December 29, 2015
Pages: 432
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

It seems like Farideh and her sister, Havilar, are constantly thrown more than their fair share of challenges. They’ve escaped demons, imprisonment, a mad wizard, the wrath of deities–the list goes on and on. But just as they thought they might get some calm, their adopted father, Mehen, has been called back by the clan from which he was exiled years ago. While some expect it’s just a formality to inform Mehen of the death of his father, he knows they wouldn’t go through the trouble to call him back without also wanting something more. And when several young dragonborn are found dead shortly after the group arrives, they are quickly enlisted to help find the person–or thing–responsible.

I’ve been enjoying this series by Erin M. Evans quite a bit since it launched out of The Sundering. There’s something about Farideh as a character that just draws me in, and the crowd that surrounds her are certainly very interesting, as well. In this installment, we get a bit more detail of Mehen’s history, which I found to be enlightening, though there’s not quite as much action here as there has been in previous books. Even though there wasn’t as much in the way of direct conflict for Farideh this time around, the forces that are moving against her are still lingering in the shadows, and I expect that will all be coming to a head soon, as well. Definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Archmage by R.A. Salvatore

Archmage by R.A. SalvatoreTitle: Archmage (Homecoming, Book 1)
Author: R.A. Salvatore
Published: September 1, 2015
Pages: 384
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★★★

The story of the returned Companions of the Hall continues in the start of a new series. Having been victorious in the war with the orcs, Bruenor Battlehammer is prepared to lead the dwarves back go Gauntlgrym to reclaim it for their people. But Drizzt and company cannot let their guard down. Even when further victories are in sight, there are forces in the Underdark that are still moving against him…and their plans don’t even seem anywhere close to finished.

I was totally pulled back into this storyline when I read the Companions story during The Sundering, and I have been continuing with the Drizzt books ever since. They are the type of high fantasy that got me reading the genre many years ago, and I enjoy being able to go back to my roots a bit with a fresh perspective.

This was a slow mover. Like really slow. Though that’s been the trend with the past couple of stories here. In part, I think it stands out because it’s in contrast to the books that came right before, which were full of action (interspersed with the various political maneuverings of the drow). But it’s still clear this is moving toward something. And I’m looking forward to whatever epic scene is yet to come.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf by R.A. Salvatore

22747919Title: Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf (Companions Codex, Book 3)
Author: R.A. Salvatore
Published: March 3, 2015
Pages: 352
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

The story of Dritzzt Do’Urden and the returned Companions of the Hall continues in this third installment of the Companions Codex miniseries. The war with the Orcs continues, with the Drow aiding and urging them on. The Dwarven and Elvish settlements are likely to fall under the continued pressure. And with two dragons on their side, how could the Orcs not win? But the Companions aren’t ones to give up easily. With a little strategy and some assistance from an unexpected ally, it might just be possible to hold them off and be victorious. But even if they think it’s possible, that doesn’t mean it’s probable–and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

I enjoyed this much more than the previous installment, which I think was mostly setup for this one. With all the players in their proper places on the board, we’re treated to some epic battles, some cunning and decisive moves, and more of the truth behind each entity’s involvement in this conflict. There’s are more going on here than it may have seemed in the beginning. And each of the characters really gets their moment to shine, making it all the more enjoyable to read. I’m definitely very curious how things will continue to resolve in the next book.

Title: Fire in the Blood
Author: Erin M. Evans
Publication Date: October 14, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: Farideh was probably one of my favorite characters that I was introduced to in The Sundering series and The Adversary was certainly one of my favorite books. So of course I simply jumped at the opportunity to do an advance read of Fire in the Blood, the next installment in Farideh’s story.

Blurb:

SCRIBE- award-winning author, Erin M. Evans, continues the riveting tale of her Sundering character, Farideh, as she becomes embroiled in a Forgotten Realms-flavored game of thrones.

In a direct follow-up to the third book in the Sundering series, The Adversary, young warlock Farideh falls into the midst of a battle for the throne of Cormyr. As the war brought on by the Sundering rages across Faerûn, princes and princesses, wizards and rogues scheme to capture the seat of power of the Land of the Purple Dragon—with Farideh and her allies caught squarely in the middle. 

Don’t be fooled by the scant details given in the book’s description. There is so much more here than one might see on the surface. Love, war, high fantasy, magic, demons, betrayal – it’s all part of Farideh’s story and more. What I think I particularly enjoyed about this installment is getting to see Farideh’s interactions with others. There was more of that in this book than in the previous one and it demonstrated the level of depth that Evans has created for these characters and this world. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more about Farideh in the future.

My one frustration was the way Farideh’s story turns, for a moment, to a focus on romantic relationships. Granted, they are a part of everyone’s existence, but the way a man can suddenly turn her off course and overwhelm her just seemed so contrary to the strong and independent personality that characterizes Farideh all throughout The Adversary. In the end, I think she comes back out on top, but it was surprising to see and had me worried for a few moments while I was reading.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Title: Rise of the King
Author: R.A. Salvatore
Publication Date: September 30, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I’ve very much been enjoying the story of the reincarnated Companions of the Hall, started in the first book of The Sundering and continued in The Companions Codex (of which this is book two). Drizzt and the Companions always makes for an epic story and what we have here seems largely no exception.

While I’ve been enjoying the story thus far (Night of the Hunter – Companions Codex, Book I was one of my favorite books so far this year), this one didn’t really seem to pull its weight. Much of this story seems to be set up. Instead of continuing along the lines of the epic showdowns that occurred in Gauntlegrym, there’s a lot of moving, talking, etc. here but no real major plot points. It’s clear to me that it’s all moving toward something major in the next book, but I was just struck by how little really seemed to happen in this installment overall.

I do plan to continue with the series – I really need to know what happens next. I just hope the next book brings us back to the type of story we saw in The Companions and The Night of the Hunter.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Title: The Herald
Author: Ed Greewood
Publication Date: June 3, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I’ve been picking up every book in The Sundering series as soon as it’s been available to me and have really enjoyed it as a reintroduction to Forgotten Realms. The characters that have been introduced (or built on) are ones that I’m excited to follow as they make their own way in Faerun.

That said, this one didn’t really hit me in the same way. I’m not sure if I was just expecting too much with this being the final book in the event series or it just really didn’t resonate, but I didn’t connect to this one or its characters. It was great to finally get a glimpse into what was going on in Cormyr, but the story just didn’t feel as ‘epic’ as many of the others. But when I think about it in the aggregate, I still have very much enjoyed The Sundering overall.

(egalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Title: The Sentinel
Author: Troy Denning
Publication Date: April 1, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I’ve been enjoying The Sundering, a series of books surrounding a major reshaping of the world of Forgotten Realms, so of course I requested the fifth installment, The Sentinel, as soon as it was available. And can’t say I was left particularly disappointed.

The Sentinel reads, to me, like a typical fantasy novel. We’re dropped into the action of the story and quickly introduced to the characters when they’re already fighting off the Shadovar. The truth of their quest/adventure is revealed shortly thereafter (though there might be some underlying motives not being spoken, we’ll have to wait and see). There are a few altercations between the ‘heroes’ and the ‘villains’ and they reach a point where it seems like victory is impossible, and the ‘heroes’ are put to the test.

Tory Denning’s writing stile is engaging, but I found much of the story predictable. The ‘twists’ that are thrown in were ones I expected before they were revealed and the ending just seemed a bit anti-climactic. That said, the story itself was enjoyable – especially in the context of the overall series – and I’d certainly recommend this to anyone who is interested in reading The Sundering from start to finish.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Title: Night of the Hunter
Author: R.A. Salvatore
Publication Date: March 4, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
The story of the Companions of Hall, returned and reunited, continues in Night of the Hunter. But why exactly did Mielikki send them back into new lives? Now that they’ve returned to Drizzt’s side, is their mission complete? Is there something greater that they need to accomplish?

Moving out of The Sundering, Salvatore masterfully builds the new world of Drizzt Do’Urden. While setting out to tie up loose ends from The Companions – finding rest for Pwent, helping the dwarves figure out what to do about the orcs – a whole new range of people (and problems) begins to emerge, setting the stage for an epic battle that will bring Drizzt up against his past and his people, perhaps for the final time?

I really enjoy Salvatore’s writing style. The world-building is easy to follow (except sometimes there are so many names when the drow are involved that it can be more difficult to follow in general) and you don’t need to have an extensive knowledge of Forgotten Realms to understand where things are coming from and where they might be going. Certainly recommend this for anyone interested in fantasy.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)