18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2003
Elaine, Elaine, Elaine... What happened? This series started off so strong (Daughter of the Drow), then got a bit wobbly (Tangled Webs), now it's tipped completly over (Windwalker).
I love this character of hers, Liriel. The unusual drow with a taste for exploration and adventure. I like the fact that she's less diabolicly evil, more vitriolicly sarcastic with a soft heart for the lesser creatures. But Liriel seems to digress in this book.
At times during Windwalker Liriel seems to have forgotten what she's learn in her previous adventures. She forgets that she loves Fyodor (even though it scares her), that her killing people upsets Fyodor, that she really DOSEN'T love Lloth, and that another goddess has showed serious interest in recruting her. Meanwhile the maidens of the Promanade Temple seem to have forgotten the risks she took, the fighting she did for them, and the sacrifices she's made.
This book felt really rushed, 'jumpy' as someone else said. Too much story packed into too small a book equals somewhat shallow characters and a story that feels paper thin. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad read, just... I was hoping for so much more.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2005
The 3 stars I give this book is due the great story and exciting battles contained within it. That being said, the ending was disgraceful. I wasn't actually opposed to the ending Ms. Cunningham chose; I enjoy a sad ending, but it seemed as though the author rushed to a hasty conclusion to an otherwise superb series. What I loved about the Starlight and Shadows series, was the great attention to detail and depth of the characters that Elaine Cunnigham gave. I felt that the conclusion of this book was written by an entirely different person! The final battle is waged in a span of about 10 pages and then the fates of the main characters are told in the final 5 pages with almost nothing said about the secondary characters. It seems like about 40 pages are missing. I do recommend reading this book if you have read the first two (which are wonderful books) as it does complete the series and 360 of its 375 pages are among the best I've ever read. I just wish the author would have spent a lot more time on the ending.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2006
I wasn't overly disappointed in the plot or the characters, despite their inconsistency. It was the writing. This book reads like it was written in about a week. It was rushed, jumbled, and had no depth.
The main story really could have been told in about 150-200 pages. The rest seemed like it was just unnecessary, uninteresting filler. Too many pages were devoted to secondary characters doing nothing that advanced the story, or even helped develop the character or plot. It's as if it was all written on the fly with no forethought or, even worse, afterthought. It reads like it went right from rough draft to release. I really expected more from Elaine Cunningham.
This is a 3 of 3 book so people will naturally buy it, but don't expect to see the effort put forth you saw in book 1.
If you're a big Liriel fan go get it and get your fix. If you're looking for the layers and intrigue of a good drow book, move on. You're going to be sorely disappointed.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2003
Elaine Cunningham's third Liriel Baenre novel, the final in the Starlight and Shadows trilogy, is decent enough, albeit not one of her best work. It has a reasonable plot, adequate characterisation, and a fitting conclusion, but unfortunately Elaine's editors have let her down in a big way - I counted a fair number of spelling errors, grammatical inconsistencies and other editing mistakes. For this type of work to have names of major characters in the world of Faerun to be misspelled (eg Laerel for Laeral) or flat-out incorrect (Durham for Durnan - for goodness sakes!) is just unacceptable and detracts from the reader's enjoyment in a major way. Which is unfortunate since the Elaine magic glimmers on occasion only to be let down in this manner. Get a new editor, Elaine, please!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2003
After enjoying the first two books of this series, I was very excited about this one. But I was doomed to be disappointed. One of EC's strengths is her character development. Yet, she kills off all of the best characters, sometimes in completely random ways. (*cough* the sea elf *cough*) It's irritating to get attached to a cool character and then see them killed with little reason other than EC not wanting to have to deal with them anymore. Characters pop into and out of the storyline without explaination. What happens to Danilo? He just suddenly stops being in the story at all. And what about the big final battle? Again, it is too random to be good. Liriel doesn't even act like you would expect her to. Overall, I was very disappointed. Elaine Cunningham, rewrite this book!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2006
About 3/4 of the way through this book, I realized that the two main characters had barely been in it! Some new faces and old foes (plus a link to the War of the Spider Queen series) almost take the main stage. While it didn't feel like the stories of the secondary characters were tacked on, if the book had just featured Liriel and Fyodor it would have been much, much shorter. It wasn't bad, but as far as it being the last book in a trilogy, I would've expect more.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2007
This is the least satisfying conclusion of a trilogy I have ever read. Poorly written with a jumbled plot that was impossible to follow. New characters randomly introduced far too often and not enough development of the characters that I cared about. Many of the plot developments were completely unnecessary and very unsatisfying. I wish I hadn't read this book so that I could have imagined a more satisfying conclusion to the tale.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2009
Windwalker by Elaine Cunningham- This is the third and final book in the Starlight & Shadows trilogy. The first book is Daughter of the Drow and the second book is Tangled Webs. The events in this book take place directly after Tangled Webs.
The book continues the story of the drow wizard Liriel Baenre and her friend/ lover Fyodor on their travel back to Rashemen, which is Fyodor's homeland. Along the way, the duo encounter old and new friends along with old and new enemies. Upon arriving in Waterdeep, Liriel gets a summons to go meet with Qilué (who is the high priestess of Eilistraee, the drow goddess of good) in which Liriel inadvertently unleashed the power of Lloth (or Lolth, the Spider Queen, the goddess of the drow) causing her to be thrown out and forced to make Fyodor's and hers way to Rashemen. However, with the new friendships of Sharlarra Vindrith, an elf wizard and thief, and Thorn, a mysterious elf, they make it to Rashemen. But Liriel's past and Lloth isn't so content to let her go. Between Lloth, two old rivals, her father, and her aunt does Liriel and Fyodor have what it takes to live out their lives in Rashemen?
A Word Of Warning: I do have a few spoilers ahead. This are unavoidable in this circumstance. I apologize about that.
1) Rushed. The whole story, from start to finish, doesn't let you take a moment to reflect on what is going on. With the previous stories, there were some chapters of "down-time" in which you could sort things out and follow what was happening. But in this book, everything is just coming at you quickly and it just does not give you a moments rest. There are a few reasons as to why everything feels rushed. The first being a huge lack of character development from the new characters that were introduced. You barely get to understand why these characters are either helping or trying to stop Liriel from going to Rashemen. Take Sharlarra for example. You are introduced to her in a quick manner, not really thinking that she is going to be this big character in the story, but then suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, she becomes a somewhat main character. Their was no real motivation given or reason as to why this is. Heck, Danilo Thann (whom Liriel and Fyodor encountered in Daughter of the Drow) was more believable than Sharlarra to help them out. She never even met the duo. What I'm trying to get at is that the characters were just thrown at you, and you were expected to just go with it. Another reason why it felt rushed was the dialogue. In the previous books, the dialogue between characters seemed natural and believable. Here, however, it felt forced and at times really, really rushed. There were parts in which what was said didn't even matched up to what was happening and going on. It just made everything feel chaotic.
2) "Mysterious Backgrounds." This is something that, after a while, really got to me and severely annoyed me. You have two new characters; Sharlarra and Thorn. Two elves. Simple enough right? Wrong. What goes on is that they are some "sub-race" of elves (sort of like how there are moon elves, drow, sea elves, etc.). This isn't a problem really, but their mysterious backgrounds get strung out throughout the story and you soon feel very, very annoyed and just uninterested. With Thorn, nothing seems to really add up. *Warning Spoiler ahead* Thorn is portrayed as a champion of Eilistraee, a non-drow follower who has "tall, with moon-white skin and sleek ebony hair. ...Her eyes were a strange shade of golden green, and a streak of silver hair" (page 28). So you are thinking that she sounds like a fairly typical elf. While later there is this build up of mystery with Thorn, and how Liriel has to be unconscious when being transported into "her peoples land" to avoid Lloth corrupting it. This made me thing she was a star elf (a really rare and almost unheard of elf). But no. !!!SPOILER!!! She's a lythari, which are elves that can transform into wolves (they are not werewolves, however). Sort of is a let down really. She is built up as a huge mystery to what she is and it turns out she's just a lythari elf. With Sharlarra, it's pretty much the same case. However, you never really learn what kind of elf she is which is a HUGE let down. It's hard to explain why I think it's a let down but after the bigger build up with this character (more so then with Thorn), not finding out what she is just doesn't feel right. I don't even think she knows what she is. Oh wait, that's right. She doesn't know. So where is the fun in that mystery?
3) Anti-Climatic. The whole huge battle at the end was just a let down. Things happened to fast to understand what was going on. It was as though, one moment you were in a circle of people, the next you are for some reason calling ravens and Eilistraee followers, then some gigantic woodland creature is summoned. It just doesn't make sense and it really was a head ache inducing moment. Then you have the lackluster final battles, yet again. The biggest disappointment is with Brindlor, a deathsinger (More on him later), and what happens to him. I felt cheated. Especially when you thought that he was just there to observe. Basically, the whole ending just fell flat in my opinion.
1) Brindlor. Oh boy was he an interesting character. Now, a deathsinger is a drow bard that comprising songs upon a person's death. The Dragon Horde merchants, now under the command of Gorlist, have changed tactics in order to find and kill Liriel, which Gorlist is obsessed over. So Gorlist hires Brindlor to tell of their triumph and Liriel's death. However, the scenes he is in really reminds me of another famous drow, Jarlaxle. His personality is the main reason for this comparison. He is humorous and at the same time practical and pragmatic like Jarlaxle is. Brindlor really does steal the show early on and does so up until the "climax."
2) Fyodor. The story seemed to revolve more about Fyodor this time then anything else. You get more background as to way he was "cast out" of Rashemen and he really grows in this story more so than I felt he did in the previous books. You really got to see how much he cares, trusts, and respects Liriel and at times it was touching and wonderful. Then seeing how he acted upon returning to his family and friends was something special and unique as well. There were some deep moments concerning him. It really was nice to get more information and development concerning the other main character in the story.
3) The Ending. There are two things I liked about this ending. First, it was sad. You wouldn't have expected what happened to happen but at the same time you new it was going to happen. That's all I'm really going to say about it. That part was done wonderfully. The second is the closure between Liriel and Shakti. While, at times it didn't really make sense (at least I thought it didn't) it felt right and perfect in it's own way. I mean, I honestly thought Liriel would rip Shakti's eyes out and bash her skull in but no, it still worked.
1) Brindlor= homosexual?! It was eluded to Brindlor being a homosexual, seeing as it was mentioned that he didn't like being in the company of women. First, before anyone gets mad at me... I think this was wonderful. I would have never expected there to be a homosexual character in a Forgotten Realm novel and then bam,there is one. And it really worked. It made the character so much better in a way that I can't really explain.
2) The ghost horse. I have honestly no idea... Anyone care to enlighten me about this utterly crazy turn of the story?
3) The HORRIBLE image of Liriel on the cover. I mentioned this in the Tangled Webs review. It's awful. She looks... scary and just so very unattractive. Liriel is supposed to be one of the most beautiful drow around and this is the best Todd Lockwood could do? Before anyone says anything, I do like his work. He really does do a great job with his artwork, but here, it's just a failure. Why couldn't he just stick with the Tangled Webs version of Liriel?
The whole story was a huge drop off of how the first two in this series was told. The whole rushed feeling of the story and the utter confusion this caused made it hard for me to read the first time I read it. It was however, much easier to read it this time through, but still it was just confusing. It just didn't have the spirit and fun the first two had.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2003
Whereas the previous two books were light, funny and enlightened us on the inner-workings of Menzoberranzan and Skullport, Windwalker focusses on the intimacy between Liriel and Fyodor, Liriel coming to grips with human notions of honor and trust, and the consequences of Liriel's previous actions.
The story is intriging, with a constant sense of haste and frustration similar to the fifth Harry Potter book. The return of many characters, including a number of the 7 sisters, were expertly woven throughout. One new character, Sharlarra, an elven mage-thief, may in fact be poised for a series of her own. The ending to Windwalker is heartwrenching, but well written.
Windwalker is definitey the end the Starlight and Shadows series - there may be additional stories with Liriel in them, but they will be very different. I would recommend this book to any who have read the previous two, with the understanding that this well written book is darker in tone and different in its overall orientation and writing style.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2006
When I read the other reviews about this book, I realize that the ratings cover the whole range from one to five stars. I also realize why this is the case... But starting at the beginning:
I liked Windwalker very much. It took me some time to get my hands on the paperback version, so my reading of the first two parts was a few years back and I started out rereading Tangled Webs to get into the story again. And Mrs Cunningham picked up exactly where she left off, with fast paced action and the characters I've so grown to like, adding two more characters (Sharlarra and Thorn) who might merit novels of their own.
I also enjoyed the part of the story spent on examining the relationship between Liriel and her former patron godess Lolth. I think no other realms author has so far gone into this much detail about a priestess forsaking her godess.
The far reaching effects Liriel's carving of the rune had on all the drow were an interesting twist, though I'd have liked it even better if there had been some explanation as to why the change was so far reaching. Also I'd expect such a change to be taken up in other novels as well, though so far I haven't noticed anything in other novels (I haven't read the War of the Spider Queen series yet, though...)
I can see why some might be put off by the book though:
The ending is a bit unusual, both in the swiftness of the final battle and in the death of a main character. For my part, I found it refreshing to read a final battle where there isn't a Phyrrus victory at the end, but a clear and decisive one. Many FR authors seem to go on the basis, that if there haven't been dozens (or hundreds - depending on the scope of the novel) deaths, the enemies were not threatening enough. Also the death of Fyodor, though sad, was somehow fitting and a good conclusion to the series. Having recently read Hand of Fire - one of the worst FR-novels in my opinion - Windwalker was a breath of fresh air.
I didn't miss the final showdown between Liriel and Shakti. The way it went added a surprising twist to Shakti's character and anyway, a spellbattle would have been ridiculous considering that moments before Liriel had no spells left to fling at Gorlist.
All that said, I still have some peeves about this book. For one, the book could have done without some of the cameos Qilué, Laeral, Sylune and Khelben were part of the story, but putting in Dove, Alustriel and the other seven was in no way related to the story.
Even Danilo - much as I like him and enjoyed Sahrlarra's fight with his sword - didn't add much to the story.
Someone mentioned the misspellings of some canon names before (Laerel instead of Laeral). Suchlike simply should not happen!
Finally I think the death of Quilué's lover is a bit of a retcon, as I think he was alive at the end of DotD.
I'm looking forward to the next novel by Mrs Cunningham, though I strongly suspect it won't be about Liriel...