I am a freelance writer (horror, fantasy, and some occasional sci-fi) married and living in the same house with a psychotic feline creature that most people mistake for a cat. I'm occasionally addicted to sudoku and cannot pass up a good riddle, logic puzzle, or mystery (my wife refuses to watch CSI with me and I play Clue with a vengeance). I play D&D as often as I can and like trying to kill my friends using dice, books, and math. I have an odd sense of humor.
Circle of Skulls by James P. Davis- This is the sixth and final book released in the Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep series of stand-alone novels. This series contains five other entries, which are all written by different authors. With all stand-alone novel series, any of the other entries can be read out-of-order. The series is set in the Forgotten Realm universe. The other novels in the series includes; Blackstaff Tower by Steven E. Schend,Mistshore by Jaleigh Johnson, Downshadow by Erik Scott de Bie, City of the Dead by Rosemary Jones, and The God Catcher by Erin M. Evans. Circle of Skulls was released in May 2010. This is James P. Davis fourth novel and he has contributed a short story titled "Possessions" to the Realms of the Dragons II anthology. His other full length novels are all set in the Forgotten Realms. These include; Bloodwalk (The Wizards series), The Shield of Weeping Ghosts (The Citadels series), and The Restless Shore (The Wilds series). Circle of Skulls starts off with a brief introduction by Ed Greenwood.
Jinnaoth is looking for revenge. An angel of Asmodeus (a former arch-devil who became an evil god) took Jinn's love, and he wants the angel, Sathariel, dead. The problem is, Jinn hasn't be able to get close enough to the angel. However, when a string of horrendous murders start happening in the city, it seems that Sathariel is connected. Having the angel connected to the murders, Jinn might finally get his chance. Enlisting the help of a night hag, Maranyuss, and an eladrin wizard named Quessahn, Jinn starts to track down the source of the murders and may be able to stop them.Read more ›
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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I should begin this by saying that I bought this for the teaser Elminster novel preview in the back, as horror fiction isn't something that I normally buy. I'm also not a fan of 4E Realms, where this is set, as I much preferred the earlier editions of the setting.
That said, I do think this was written well, better than many Forgotten Realms novels of the past, and it had a compelling story. It is very dark, and the author is very effective in writing creepy scenes with evil magic. I agree with reviewer Travis who commented that there was less exposition than I would also like, although nearly all of the concepts should be familiar to those who know the Realms. I don't think you have to know that much about the new Realms to get into this novel. I did feel that some of the "reveals" might have been spaced a little better throughout the novel, rather than coming in big expository chunks with few clues along the way (the book Mara obtains really felt this way). The only problem that I had with the pacing, though, is that it seemed to build up toward the middle of the novel, slowed dramatically until the end, and the conclusion didn't seem to carry quite as much "punch" as the middle. It was good, though.
I also agree that the main characters were hard to relate to, with the exception of Quess who I quite liked (and I would've liked more of her). Jinn and Mara were unique, and yet somewhat distant because of what they were. Davis absolutely nailed the Waterdeep officers (i.e. policemen of sorts), both on the honorable and the corrupt side, although being a horror novel it tended to focus far more on the darker side (as it should).Read more ›