Review: Spinner of Lies

Bruce Cordell‘s sequal to Sword of the Gods released on June 5th and those of us who already knew about Demascus, the deva and erstwhile Sword of the Gods, rejoiced and those who didn’t already know about Demascus hopefully found out and bought both books.  The Forgotten Realms is full of iconic characters, personalities that help define Toril and Dungeons and Dragons in general.  Names like Elminster, Drizzt Do’Urden and Erevis Cale evoke excitement in readers and help to define the way we think about The Realms in general.  With the introduction of Demascus in Sword of the Gods it looked as though we were being introduced to the newest star of the Realms.  Spinner of Lies securely confirms that Demascus is indeed a force to be reckoned with while pulling the reader along on an adventure as twisted and sticky as the Demonweb Pits. Continue reading “Review: Spinner of Lies”

Preview: Prince of Ravens by Richard Baker

Having not read the previous Jack Ravenwild book, City of Ravens, I was not sure what to expect from Prince of Ravens, but being a die-hard fantasy fiction fan, I was excited to embark on a new journey with the hopes of finding a story that would connect with me as a reader – that would spark emotions, and not allow me to stop reading until I found out what happened next.

To that point, Thank You, Richard Baker, for introducing me to the world of Jack Ravenwild!

Baker does an excellent job of connecting the reader with the main characters quickly, and giving those characters a sense of humanism that is difficult for all but true masters of their craft to portray. The storyline keeps the book interesting throughout, with just the right amount of detail here and there to make you feel as though you are part of Jack’s world.

My only complaint is that the book is so easy to read, that I found myself flying through the pages, and it almost felt as though it was over before it started. Seeing that it has been 12 years since the release of the previous Jack Ravenwild book, I truly hope Baker decides to continue this storyline sooner rather than later.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Preview: Dragon Age Volume 1: The Silent Grove

I would venture to say that anyone that comes to this site has played a Dragon Age game, and if you haven’t, you probably should.  I myself am an admitted serial non-finisher of video games.  It’s very rare that I can manage the combination of time, patience and desire to ever “finish” a video game and the Dragon Age games are no exception.  I have played them however and found them thoroughly enjoyable.

Volume 1 of this new Dragon Age comic from Dark Horse is written by David Gaider who was responsible for the majority of the story within the video games and will be released in print on August 7, 2012.  Previously this was a digital only six part comic which finished up in May. Continue reading “Preview: Dragon Age Volume 1: The Silent Grove”

Preview: Road Rage by Stephen King

Stephen King and his son Joe Hill collaborated for the first time for Throttle, a short story inspired by another classic short story, Duel, by Richard Matheson.  Now IDW is publishing a new comic series entitled Road Rage which includes both stories.  The series originally began publishing in February of this year and a hardback version of the entire story will be out July 31st.

Issue 1 starts with Throttle, the story of a gang of motorcycle riding outlaws that call themselves ‘The Tribe’.  A quick warning: this story is definitely not for children, themes and content make this a mature audiences only book.  Fans of Lock & Key will immediately get a similar ethereal feeling from Throttle.  As the story starts up ‘The Tribe’ is heading down the highway while attempting to cope a set of unfortunate and unsettling events that have recently taken place.  As the story within the present unfolds these recent events are slowly unveiled as well, adding depth and tension to the story. Continue reading “Preview: Road Rage by Stephen King”

D&D Essentials – Rules Compendium

DnD Rules Compendium
A Game Reference For All Players

 

Not all of us D&D players feel like carrying around our entire library of players guide books (aren’t there three of them now?) along with all the other base, core rule books.  This can get heavy and cumbersome and some of us just want things simple.  Enter this book.  The only real book you need as a beginner or even seasoned D&D player.  Let’s see what all this $20 book covers shall we?

Continue reading “D&D Essentials – Rules Compendium”

Review: IDW’s D&D Forgotten Realms #1

IDW and Wizards of the Coast have been working together lately to churn out a growing number of Dungeons and Dragons related comic books and the latest of these is a new Forgotten Realms series.  Avid readers will remember that I did a review of the trade paper-back version of the re-release of the original Forgotten Realms comics a while back.  Not long after that the announcement of this new series was made and I have been waiting ever since to get my hands on the first issue.   Thankfully the wait is now over, the comic read and the reviewing has begun.

First off, this book is actually written by Ed Greenwood.  If you don’t know who Ed is then I’m giving you a blank stare as you read this sentence.  Okay I’ll be nice, Ed is basically the real life Elminster and possibly an actual denizen of the Realms banished to our plane by some powerful magical spell.  In other words he’s kind of a big deal as far as the Forgotten Realms are concerned. Continue reading “Review: IDW’s D&D Forgotten Realms #1”

Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole

Stephen King is a wonderful writer. No doubt of that. He’s sold millions of novels over his long writing career. My personal favorite has been “The Dark Tower” series. I’ve spend many a good hour with Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last “Gunslinger” as he journeyed across his post apocalyptic World in search of the elusive Dark Tower and the final confrontation with the his nemesis the “Crimson King”

After this conflict, I thought that Roland would put his guns down forever and ride off into the sunset of literary fame, with Stephen King resting on the laurels of this huge and practically life long writing achievement. Then I heard about “The Wind Through the Keyhole”

As it turns out, this 8th book in the Dark Tower series is actual “sequentially” book IV.V since it takes place after Roland’s tet escapes the Green Palace at the end of Wizard and Glass, and before they reach Calla Bryn Sturgis, setting for Wolves of the Calla.

Using this technique of “pre-quelling” or back writing as I like to call it, King fills in some more of Roland’s childhood through another unique bit of writing…telling a story within a story…within ANOTHER story. And a delightful and delicious piece of writing!

Roland is stuck in a small town with his “Tet” of people during a “Starkblast” a huge and supremely dangerous ice storm which can freeze and kill anything in it’s path. It’s during this storm that King’s writing creativity kicks in and he unfolds his trifecta of stories in one book. Continue reading “Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole”

Dad Reviews: Red Dragon Codex

We have been going through a definite dinosaur/dragon fest at my house lately. My son recently brought home a book titled “Bronze Dragon Codex” from his school library and showed it to me.  I flipped the book over and started reading the back, mainly because you don’t hear much about bronze dragons outside of D&D, and quickly realized the setting of the book was Krynn, the world of Dragonlance.  I also soon found out that the first book in the series was Red Dragon Codex by Rebecca Shelley and R. D. Henham, so my son and I went to the library website to reserve it so we could start at the beginning.

First off, if you are an adult and have never read any Dragonlance books, I implore you to get a copy of the Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  Those novels are amazing and forged the world of Krynn into what it is in these Codex books.  If however you are or have a young adult or you have already read the Chronicles then go ahead and pick up this book.  It is completely enjoyable without any prior knowledge of Krynn and as such makes a great entry-point for new readers. Continue reading “Dad Reviews: Red Dragon Codex”

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins from an Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Reader’s Perspective

      The world that Suzanne Collins has created in her Hunger Games series consists of a ruthless, totalitarian government that after years of war has established 12 districts that are each subservient to a central capital.  Each of the suppressed districts is responsible for providing specialized resources for the all-powerful capital to enjoy.  And if that’s not enough to make you hate the mysterious tyrant that controls the capital, there is the Hunger Games.   Every year, as a show of the capital’s dominance, there is a competition in which children from each of the districts are selected by lottery to fight each other to the death in order to win food and medical resources for their district.  The action picks up as young Katniss Everdeen from the relatively poor and insignificant district 12 is placed into these Hunger Games.  

     One could go on about how Collins’ premise lacks in originality.  Mad Max anyone?  How about Running Man (gotta love Schwarzenegger)?  Should we even mention 1984 and Orwell?   So, as many hard-core sci-fi/fantasy fans maintain, Ms. Collins lacks originality, but does this shortcoming mark her as a hack?  Well that depends.  After all, we must remember that there is a precedent for every story.  In the fantasy realm, the likes of George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan admittedly draw heavily upon Tolkien, and Tolkien along with all popular fantasy writers draw heavily upon mythology (notably Norse mythology).  As for Science Fiction, even the likes of Asimov and Clarke use mathematics and science as a source for their inspiration. My point being that while some authors are more original than others, all writers are heavily influenced by previous writings and ideas. Continue reading “The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins from an Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Reader’s Perspective”

Understanding the Abyssal Plague

Over the past year or so I’m sure most of you, like me, have seen new D&D novels coming out marked as part of the Abyssal Plague series of books.  I’ve done a fairly decent job keeping up with reading all of these and have found them fairly enjoyable.  I have even been pleasantly surprised by some of the tangentially related off-shoot novels ( Sword of The Gods) but when I found out the last book in the core trilogy was coming out in April I realized I have no idea how many other books are in the series and in what order I would need to read them.  So, like any good engineer I sat down and made a diagram of the books in this series to help me wrap my head around it.

Continue reading “Understanding the Abyssal Plague”