Overall I found this book surprisingly enjoyable It captured the feel of the Dark Sun setting a brutal post apocalyptic fantasy world in which unchecked magic has left most of the alient planet Athas a barren wasteland and sorceror od kings rule the few remnants of cilization with an iron fist admirably the plot was legitimately interesting and the writing was unobtrusive ie I noticed the story and characters than the author trying to impress his readers I especially liked the way Denning approaches the complex moral issue of magic use In the Dark Sun world all magic is fueled by ripping the life energy out of a nearby living thing usually plants this is why the planet is a wasteland as reckless sorcerors kept using the planet s life to fuel their conuests and internecine suabbles There s a middle round using only enough magic to fuel the desired effect but leaving the living things enough energy to recover and flourish this middle round is less powerful however and magic use in eneral is highly addictive sort of like potato chips or peanuts It seems as though the middle round would be the The GI Bride good option but Denning puts the characters in several situations in which their lives are spared by complete indulgence in unchecked sorcery and others in which the weakness of the middleround imperils the characters The three approaches to magic non use reckless use and uarded use are presented as little than amoral approaches to a natural phenomenon their morality ultimately mediated by the morality of the individual using them However the author s style and characterization are also incredibly uneven There were several points at which it felt like he was so desperate to move the plot along that he skipped important narrative points and I found myself flipping back through to see if I d missed a chapter the escape from UnderTyr and the journey to the Forest Ridge are effectively ignored mentioned only in dismissive references This is unfortunate as the first 23 of the book moved along at a much healthier pace and i suspect either Denning was in a hurry to et to the parts he liked or he was under pressure to make the book shorterwrite it faster The prologue involving the templar Tithian and sorceror king Kalak was ripping introducing us to the bloody slave driven theocracy of the city state of Tyr and characters who are at once compelling and contemptible these characters are fascinating and well written throughout especially Tithian Denning does an excellent job of juxtaposing Kalak s seeming frailty and age with his terrible power and cunning but Tithian is one of the most well drawn characters i ve encountered in literature He s a priest to a od king not because he truly believes in Kalak s divinity but because lacking the discipline and drive to pursue the ascetic path of psionics he found that the ranks of the templars promised easier access to power wealth and influence once a member of the sorceror king s theocracy he comes to realize how truly powerful and truly vicious his Ratscalibur god is and ultimately regrets the favor he finds in Kalak s eyes He is loyal to his old friend Agis but only insofar as it does not inconvenience or imperil himself he himself admits freely that he always does what he believes to be in his own best interests Agis by contrast is a naive idealist a man who possessed the discipline and strength of will to pursue asceiticism but who lacks the savvy and understanding of human nature which his childhood friend Tithian posseses Agis truly believes that he can effect change in a theocracy through senatorial votes and truly believes that by treating his slaves well he is doing better by them than he would be if he were to free them Indeed his failure to understand the value of freedom to a slave costs him dearly He fancied himself a champion of slaves and the downtrodden but it is only after he finally becomes affiliated with an anti slavery antiovernment terrorist cell called the Veiled Alliance that he realizes how hypocritical and naive he has really been The slaves The Million Dollar Goal (The Million Dollar Series, gladiators Rikus and Neeva and their friends are written with attention to their different life experiences when compared to the nobility and templar s lives and the fact that they have been raised to kill or be killed Oh and theaj THE GAJ One of the best and most interestingly alien characters I have ever encountered it lacks all humanity yet learns to communicate like a human and there is something delicious about the way in which when caught in a lie it responds by simply stating that deception is usefulSadira howeverevery time Sadira and her mentor appeared or the focus shifted to them it felt like I was reading a different book by a different author Those pages were HORENDOUSLY cliched and full of needless flavorless exposition Indeed once Sadira and the other characters start traveling together the book s overall uality dips drastically It s clearly not that he can t write female characters there are at least three other better written far interesting female characters It almost seems like he felt he HAD to include her or saved her portions of the book for last and then just hurried through them without an editor or feedback Arguably the only interesting thing about her is Sadira s approach to sexromance she trained from a young age to use sex against men and for the sake of espionage she was not allowed to develop her monogamous instincts As such she annoys and offends and dismays many characters with her polyandrous desires But even that is only mentioned a few times It really does feel like Denning forgot to develop the character and just stuck with a vague outline he d created This book could have been one two or three hundred pages longer and would likely have benefited from it I understand that there are four books in the series but the second half of this volume suffers dramatically for the rush. A new creed kindled from despairKalak an immortal sorcerer king whose evil magic has reduced the majestic city of Tyr to a desolate place of dust blood and fearHi.
D teach readers how to be better The Selected Poems gamers Sure this means that as literature these books aren t amazing serving a supplemental function than lit people might want But they beat reading dry technical manuals and tutorials It s a different way of showing rather than telling splitting the difference between creative writing and tech manual So the character descriptions are overdone The mechanics of the world character relationships and such are all overwrought But they re making sure that readers of all ranges can see exactly how worlds are built what aspects of character scenario politics magic etc to consider when developing your own worlds characters and campaignsFurther I would apply this exact same criticism to authors like Robert Jordan Brandon Sanderson and George RR Martin they overshare how their worlds work through lengthy exposition that bogs down narrative propulsion and demystifies the world It becomes world building for world building s sake where the author is amazed at their own attention to world building detail which they desperately want us to notice It s essentially boringutting the worlds of mystery and discovery The imaginative creative mystery A Shark Never Sleeps: Wheeling and Dealing with the NFL's Most Ruthless Agent goes out of the thing and it often feels like an extended technical manual suited to scientists business majors and politicians than creative artists Instead of revealing a world through narrative and character action showing they offer reams of pages of exposition telling They might be better writers than Denning and other DD authors and their scenarios complex though also often overly convoluted too youotta make the thing a ten thousand page series after all but the payoff is also often not much better And they don t have the excuse of creating tutorials for readers to become skilled Dungeon Masters and players Their oversharing is just bad writing where despite their many skills and talents they never figured out how to merge world and character development with narrative action something Mad Max Fury Road does masterfully and Stephen King s The Gunslinger does uite well And despite the excessive descriptions The Verdant Passage is refreshingly stripped down and direct The entire Prism Pentad clocks in at fewer pages than two Robert Jordan books So some of the criticisms directed at these DD books should be eually applied to some of the heavy hitters in fantasy literatureSpeaking of story this one is still a fun yarn It s pretty classic DD pulp fantasy but with an added edge that I always liked about the Dark Sun world It s harsher post apocalyptic and savagely cruel than Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance The class structures while clearly indebted to ancient Greek Roman civilizations also feel relevant to contemporary class warfare and authoritarian politics of our modern age The differences are in the particulars but the broad parallels still resonate And I appreciate how magic is connected to the natural world in a way that feels uncomfortably relevant in our current moment of environmental degradation and climate crisis We see lots of implications and room for further learning but this single volume is not interested in creating some sprawling My Jihad: The True Story of An American Mujahid's Amazing Journey from Usama Bin Laden's Training Camps to Counterterrorism with the FBI and CIA global epic It s instead rather focused people are oppressed the leader is bad news and planning something even worse so a plucky band of misfit companions tries disposing of said leader End of story Norand cosmic stakes No Saving The Whole World Just straight forward adventure in one city among many Not bad I like it Certainly there will be to this story it s part of a series and a world after all but it s not trying to do too much And the structure of future entries in the series maintains a pretty The Book of Leviathan good focus that is a breath of fresh air when compared to other series with casts of hundreds and thirty different narrative strands all interwoven and bouncing around All that convolution is exhausting and the payoff far less than we really think Such works are the all you can eat buffet of fantasy lit and I m rarely impressed by it The Verdant Passage however is solid fun Satisfying pulp escapism but the book suffers for the constraints imposed by the fantasyenre and DD tie inThe plot is predictable establish tyrants heroes escape persecution and form a party side uest to prepare for the end boss fight the end boss The characters are mostly fantasy stereotypes idealistic noble psion stoic half dwarf Nine Ghosts gladiator stoic humanladiator seductive half elf sorcerer To be fair DD tropes make this kind of stereotyping mostly inevitable The Las Maravillosas Obras de Dios: Historias B�blicas Para La Familia gaj is interesting as a minor villain that is legitimately alien and menacingThe writing isenerally شرح جامع مثنوى معنوى good but uneven The action scenes in the beginning and the climax are well rendered The underground chase scene is clunky and hard to follow and seems irrelevant to the story except maybe to introduce that location for use in the seuels The prove your worthiness trials are hackneyed and don t add much The characters repeatedly negotiate over marching order which is another DD trope The world of Athas is vibrant but doesn t seem particularly brutal the characters are unconcerned with the scarcity of water food and serviceableear which is a big part of the Dark Sun The New Song: For the Sunday School, Societies of Christian Endeavor, and Other Religious Exercises (Classic Reprint) game The political intrigue is a pleasant surprise I would ve liked to see that developed further I ve finallyotten around to this after years spent wanting to know about the blasted post apocalyptic wasteland of Athas A ruined world destroyed by the wanton overuse and abuse of magic rather than technology is a reat idea and brought to life here really well at least as a setting The story itself however is fairly pedestrian and doesn t make nearly enough of the components it moves around through a pretty standard escape slavery find magic item kill overlord uest plotI intend to continue with the series but I do so in the hopes that the stories told are compelling than just four excuses to knock. Tor bred for the arenas But if the people are to be freed the mismatched trio of steadfast rebels must look into the face of terror and choose between love and li.
Ed pace and the temporal skips I enjoyed it but I hope the rest of the series will be even and that the author will better develop many of the elements he unfortunately neglects in this one Up front I m not a big fan of ame related fiction I hated the Dragonlance books for instance even when they first came out and I was heavily into Dungeons Dragons In Arabian Challenge general the only books related to aame that I ve really enjoyed have been Dan Abnett s books for the Warhammer 40k Universe particularly the Inuisitor Eisenhorn series On top of that I completely missed 2nd edition Dungeons Dragons which introduced the Dark Sun setting There are no fond memories for me of playing the ame or reading the books So I was predisposed to dislike this book and really only read it because my brother Jeff had taken the initiative to hand it to me the last time I saw himAnd there are plenty of issues with the book Characters are broadly drawn and their backgrounds and motivations thin The dialogue can be clumsy and stilted The action scenes are often chaotic and confusing and not in a ood way It was fine If I m being honest it was actually better than I expected a Dungeons and Dragons tie in novel from the 90s to be Plenty of action but not much soul Character development and the development of their relationships had some issues Mostly it just didn t make me feel anything but the action carried me through the story Fine Except for the cover art That is not at all what I expected Agis to look like And why is Sadira one of the main characters relegated to the background behind the two dudes And Neeva not included at all Sexism in cover design Re reading for my Dark Sun PF campaign Excellent as a setting supplement So bad that teenage me couldn t even finish itIt might be useful for learning about the setting which is awesome and original in concept However the writing is just so so bad that it s not enjoyable Every character sounds the same and most are cardboard as hell with a few exceptions The plot jerks and skips around with huge Der Verlorene Koffer: A Graded Reader for Beginning Students gaps and boring lazy hand waving Worst of all the author tries so so hard to be edgy that it came off as cheesy even to me at 13This book was written as a tie in to an RPG in an attempt to replicate the success of Dragonlance I enjoyed Dragonlance as a teenager though I m not sure if it holds up This is no Dragonlance The whole setting is under utilized besides some exposition the characters are forgettable archetypes with the exception of Tithian and sort of Agis and the adventures this was tied into were awful The ideas for the setting and monsters and tone were awesome but the adventures and novels couldn t follow throughHow little everyone involved in this book cared is evident in the editing Misspellings are rife This is worse than fanfiction I can t believe there are 4 in the series Denning really brings the Dark Sun world to life I have seen Brom s art for Dark Sun and I knew of the DD campaign setting but I really didn t know a lot about the overall background of the world This book acts as areat introduction to Athas and the city of Tyr I look forward to the other novels in the series 5 in all I however do not look forward to WotC refusal to use editors on their novels including ones that they have rerelased in a shiner expensive version Original published in the 1990 s the book suffers from some clear and at times ILLERAMMA Kathalu glaring errors In a section where a character is looking at a creature and describing it to the reader it talks about the nose eyes and the creature s month I believe this was meant to be mouth but perhaps it is a form of monster anatomy I am not familiar with There were several other instances of this throughout the book Barring those errors I would haveiven the book 4 stars for sure but some of them just took me right out of the moment which is a shame American Literature Student Text given Denning s talent as an exceptional action magic fighting writer I originally read this for background on aame world I DM d for At the time it was a refreshing read and twist on the normal ADD tales of the time I added storylines to our campaign based upon the writings of Troy Denning and when the next book module came out we had already played it mostly My players used to swear TSR was bugging our Cheyenne: A Sweet Historical Romance game sessions and I admit it was uncannyYears later after ourroup had split up never to be heard from again I re read the series It was just as The Battle of Maldon and Other Old English Poems good all over again Maybeood memories of our heroic deeds under the Athasian sun swayed my opinion but this series was a ood time Even the follow ons by Simon Hawke were pretty ood Tribe of One seriesMy favourite of all DS books was Rise and Fall of a Drogn King This book was probably the most challenging of all because of some of hte surprises the reader discovers about King Hamanu Some of us were left with that WTF look but then you figure if you life is measured by a Kings Age which is 175 years each somethings become boring Hadn t read this since I was maybe 15 Was fun to revisit I m sometimes nervous re reading beloved childhood reads as if the magic might dissipate and with horror and disappointment I realize the book isn t actually that Black Wings of Cthulhu good That does happen and I admit that The Verdant Passage is not nearly as well written as teenage me thought It s uite clunky sometimes even just bad It could use some proofreading as well plenty of typos that a professional outlet of this size should never allow But this remains a functionally efficient piece of fantasy literatureTypos and formatting errors aside the clumsiness and rather obvious and over explained world and characters serves a valuable function the book is meant as a creative teaching tool to aspiring DD DMs players Denning and many of the other DD authors are also DDamers and designers developing campaigns and tutorials for players So the novels are meant to flesh out and solidify the DD worlds an. S thousand year reign of death is about to endBanding together to spark a revolution are a maverick statesmen a winsome half elf slave Girl on the Verge girl and a man dwarfladia.
Also known as Richard AwlinsonSee