Siege of Darkness: Needs more siege. Also more darkness.

Siege of Darkness by R.A. Salvatore

The major problem with Siege of Darkness is not, hopefully, R.A. Salvatore’s fault. The issue is that this is the point in THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT saga when a particularly noxious example of the “Shared Universe Event” decided to rear its ugly head, getting in everyone’s way and disrupting the meta-narrative. Its long-dreaded appearance does absolutely nothing aside from ticking a box on a checklist, so much so that I’m giving Salvatore the benefit of the doubt here and imagining that the material “had” to be there on the word of the mighty Wizards of the Coast, despotic lords of all Dungeons and Dragons tie-in novels. If that was indeed the case, we can sympathize with Salvatore’s plight… while still acknowledging that Siege of Darkness wasn’t all that great.

Our story begins with Lolth, goddess of the drow elves, paying a visit to Errtu, a demon w... Read More

Moonlight and Vines: What is real?

Moonlight and Vines by Charles de Lint

Moonlight and Vines is a well-written collection of stories, set in a modern city, intended to give the reader a sense of wonder, and make us believe that there is magic afoot, even in our most run-down urban slums.

Charles de Lint is wonderful at treading that line between fantasy and realism, where we wonder right along with the characters, "what is real?" That is his biggest talent; his biggest flaw is trying too hard to insert a moral into each of these stories. They all seem to be making a point. Sometimes this is annoying; sometimes the story is so good that I don't mind at all. The moralizing tends to place an artificial distance between the reader and the story.

My favorite story in the anthology is "Birds." It deals with two young women's search for peace of mind, and the rituals they use to find it. De Lint has captured the very essence of ma... Read More

Winter’s Heart: Plods along

Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan

The first six chapters of Winter's Heart follow Perrin and Faile after Faile is abducted by the Shaido Aiel. The next several chapters follow Elayne as she returns to Caemlyn and prepares to make a bid for her mother's crown. These two storylines are incredibly dull and I confess that I skimmed over a lot of it and read the excellent cross-referenced chapter summaries at Encyclopaedia WOT. I read Winter's Heart years ago and I just did not feel like once again sitting in on Elayne's steward's descriptions of the rats in the Caemlyn sewers or Perrin's angst about Faile (good riddance, I say!).

Mat's story, as usual, was entertaining, and we finally get to meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons (who turns out to be not nearly as exotic as her name suggests). Rand's storyline was side-tracked by his quest to hunt down the rogue Asha'man, so he doesn't really accomplish anything new (other than to acquire ... Read More