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The Companions: The Sundering, Book I
The Companions: The Sundering, Book I
by R. A. Salvatore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.40
84 used & new from $0.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only for FR fans, January 7, 2014
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Not to denigrate the opinions of fellow FR fans, but I am truly baffled why so many of you love this book. While I love the premise of the Sundering, which is to essentially reboot the franchise and antiquate all the asinine events of the Spellplague, this is most assuredly not R.A. Salvatore's finest work in terms of story and writing quality.

*VAGUE SPOILER ALERTS*
The decision to reincarnate the Companions of the Hall in this new age is an implausible perhaps shameless attempt to restock the coffers of WotC. There have been dozens of books penned for Drizzt and his Companions, with arguably the best being the first ones (Dark Elf Trilogy, Icewind Trilogy, Legacy of the Drow Tetralogy). In this latest book with Drizzt on the cover (misleading as there is very little of him), the characters are worn and played out; the different emotional struggles of the reborn Companions ring hollow and merely serve to increase the requisite word count of the novel. The physical struggles highlight how tired and repetitive Salvatore's writing style has become. Each battle seems CTRL-C & CTRL-V'ed from previous novels with a couple weapons swapped out. The characters inevitably acquire ever-more powerful artifacts in preparation for the greater conflict ahead in future Drizzt books. Overall, the story is incredibly predictable with no plot twists (there is one at the end but that one is cheap); even the reborn companions themselves couldn't wait to grow up (i.e. get to the end of the book), after going through their individual struggles, and reunite.

The Sundering as a whole is a welcome blast of fresh air for the franchise, but this inaugural novel is more of the musty, uninspired fan service that has become emblematic of Salvatore's more recent Drizzt novels.

This is still a must for FR fans as it details the advent of a new Realms-Shattering event. New curious readers should start with the early and very excellent Drizzt novels. That's when I fell in love with Drizzt and FR.


God of War: Collection - Playstation 3
God of War: Collection - Playstation 3
Offered by Galactics
Price: $13.95
241 used & new from $3.04

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, December 4, 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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In this busy gaming holiday season where it seems as if countless amazing games have come out, time is a precious commodity. I had Uncharted 2, Assassin's Creed II, Modern Warfare 2, Demon's Souls and Valkyria Chronicles lined up and awaiting my attention. So what have I been spending my time on these past few days? God of War: Collection is what! Having played the original ps2 releases, I was absolutely blown away at the HD remastery on the ps3 of the original source code. I can't commend enough the job that the original programmers did at creating clean and scalable code. This game now stacks up to many current games graphically and the epic scale and gameplay still cannot be beat. If you have never played the GoW series, please rush out, knock over any old ladies along the way if necessary, and start playing immediately. Old timers will also find this a worthy buy because the upgrade in picture and sound quality is startling.

Summing up, this is an awesome makeover of a legendary series, bundled up nicely in one BD disc, that is worth your priceless time.


Sony HTCT500 3.1 Speaker System with Complete Built-In A/V Receiver (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Sony HTCT500 3.1 Speaker System with Complete Built-In A/V Receiver (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressed yet Slightly Disappointed, October 26, 2009
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I was impressed by the construction quality, plethora of HDMI inputs, subwoofer/sound bar richness and power, and sleekness and compatibility of its components.

I was disappointed by the lack of surround sound.

Please do not buy this expecting an immersive surround sound experience. This is a sleek, compact, no clutter, high quality sound system that will do any non-audiophile home theater system proud.


The Gossamer Plain (Forgotten Realms: The Empryean Odyssey, Book 1)
The Gossamer Plain (Forgotten Realms: The Empryean Odyssey, Book 1)
by Thomas M. Reid
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
59 used & new from $0.01

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Bad, July 19, 2007
Reid's fancily titled book, The Gossamer Plain: The Empryean Odyssey, caught my eye while browsing for new books in the Forgotten Realms section. I was elated that a new series came out as an standalone offshoot from the latest Drizzt's book featuring the villain Kaanyr Vhok. 3 hours later, I finished the book, feeling significantly disappointed and unsatisfied.

The book is split into 2 main arcs, one follows the adventures of Kaanyr Vhok (a convincing and sometimes likable villain turned main protagonist) and the other trails Aliisza, Kaanyr's consort. Both arcs start off as seperate quests and eventually merge together at the end of the book.

The main reason for my initial dislike is that Aliisza's story is so poorly developed, utterly boring, and at times confounding (how she gets from point A to point B) that it is worth skipping over whenever Reid transitions to her. Kaanyr's story is infinitely more interesting yet still suffers from a lack of cohesion. The reader is left grasping at straws trying to understand why Kaanyr goes on this planes-spanning quest. Kaanyr himself comes off as too one-dimensional (always angry/annoyed). The battles in general were poorly conceived albeit thoroughly detailed. In addition, there were not enough supporting characters to flesh out the plot considering how insipid the main characters are at times. You just never get too excited about anything when reading this.

One of the mediocre books in the Forgotten Realms collection. I hope Book 2 can right the series.


Unclean (Forgotten Realms: The Haunted Lands, Book 1) (Bk. 1)
Unclean (Forgotten Realms: The Haunted Lands, Book 1) (Bk. 1)
by Richard Lee Byers
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.99
74 used & new from $0.01

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Get Immersed, May 23, 2007
The premise of Unclean is very interesting. Mr. Byers was given the surefire hit of shedding light on the previously untapped yet innately riveting Forgotten Realms setting of Thay. Unfortunately, the finished product can be a dull read at times.

The plot revolves around two protagonists, Aoth and Bareris, in the magic-rich land of Thay. Aoth is an honorable Griffon legionnaire of Thay and Bareris is a resilient bard in search of his kidnapped lover. When two zulkirs (ruling wizards of Thay) are murdered, Thay degenerates into civil war and the paths of Aoth and Bareris become entwined.

Byers gives little attention to character development -- Bareris is on a seemingly mindless quest to find his lover who has been kidnapped by Thay wizards. No background is given on this couple and I felt zero empathy for Bareris's noble quest. Aoth is a duty bound soldier who comes off as quite bland.

A couple other criticisms include lack of suspense (summarized by the disembodied feeling of being bored half the time) and some battle sequences being generic and lacking detail.

The saving grace is surely the overall plot arc of Thayan civil war between Szass Tam, the mightiest zulkir in Thay, and the 6 remaining zulkirs. There are truly grandiose events brewing, in turn heightening the anticipation for the rest of the trilogy.

This is average Realms fare bolstered by the strength of the legendary setting, the popularity of its existing characters, and the eagar expectation of exciting developments yet to come.


The Ruin (Forgotten Realms: Year of Rogue Dragons, Book 3)
The Ruin (Forgotten Realms: Year of Rogue Dragons, Book 3)
by Richard Lee Byers
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
43 used & new from $0.01

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two and a Half Stars Rounded Down, June 14, 2006
This conclusion to the Year of Rogue Dragons trilogy was hamstrung from the every beginning with the lackluster plot and tone set by its predecessors. As the first two books in the series didn't exactly blow us away, I cannot say that The Ruin singlehandedly ruined the series, but it definitely left MUCH more to be desired. The Ruin made me so disinterested that only my status as a hardcore Forgotten Realms fan enabled me to truck through this book after several weeks and several sittings. This once promising story is so devoid of any excitement, richness and character, I couldn't care less, with the exception of Pavel the priest, what happened to each and every personage. I could think of a lot of things, a rock for example, I could better empathize with. The author just seemed to randomly generate a band of 7 wildly dissimilar yet completely bland adventurers (a half-golem, song dragon, human priest, winged elf, halfing, ice dwarf, and a pseudodragon) and have them quest AND survive against humorously impossible odds. There is zero connection to them and the Forgotten Realms universe; the author might've well as written "abracadabra" and then have 7 adventurers appear out of nowhere to do battle with dragons. Cursory and transparent attempts were made at character development such as the love affair between the Dorn the half-golem and the Kara the song dragon (!?!?) but it is painfully obvious that this was nothing more than a page filler until the next gigantic battle. The redeeming qualities? It is a grandiose journey through a large breath of Faerun that includes Sammaster and Iyraclea and has plenty of varied and frenetic action albeit ill-conceived.

Needless to say, I expected more out of the talented Mr. Byers.


Farthest Reach: The Last Mythal, Book II
Farthest Reach: The Last Mythal, Book II
by Richard Baker
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
65 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devour this one, September 28, 2005
In my opinion, this is the best new Forgottem Realms trilogy (though the third one isn't out yet). The Last Mythal is an easy but by no means pedestrian read. A classic Good vs. Evil conflict, the story is simply a continuation of the glorified pitched battles between the Elves of Evermeet and the devils and demonspawn of House Dlardrageth. The reader is shuffled from one huge battle to another, with heroes and villains alike pausing to catch their breath in between. The setting revolves around the ruins of Myth Drannor. If someone has even a passing knowledge of Forgotten Realms, chances are he/she knows of this legendary city.

Overall, an incredibly entertaining and satisfying read. Pick this up, there's no way it disappoints.


The City of Splendors: The Cities
The City of Splendors: The Cities
by Ed Greenwood
Edition: Hardcover
53 used & new from $0.27

34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly mediocre, September 27, 2005
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Ed Greenwood, along with very capable co-author Elaine Cunningham, revisit The City of Splendors, Waterdeep. It was Waterdeep that Greenwood first imagined when creating the fantasy world that is the Forgotten Realms. Having read almost every novel and sourcebook ever since, I was, to say the least, eagerly anticipating the release of this book. Unfortunately, this hefty 456 page novel did not live up to those admittedly lofty expectations. I am not sure what the previous two reviewers were looking for in this book that they gave it 5 stars, but I was certainly disappointed and bogged down by the petty and disjointed dialogue that the two authors try to pass off as urban intrigue and plot development. They do a particularly poor job in developing the main villain(s). Some of the lesser protagonists are neither convincing nor endearing. On a brighter note, Forgotten Realms fans will be happy to find that Piergerion Paladinson, Mirt the Moneylender, Khelben Blackstaff, Elaith Craulnober and a couple other noteworthy Forgotten Realms personages make cameos/play significant roles in the story.

If you are not a Forgotten Realms fans, I would honestly stay away from this hardcover. If you are looking for an epic, well-written fantasy novel, THIS IS NOT IT. I am sorry to be so harsh in this review, but this book lacks the customary fast-paced, engrossing feel that I associate with some top-notch Forgotten Realms novels. If you are skeptical, feel free to pick it up and pass your own judgment on City of Splendors: A Waterdeep Novel.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 19, 2007 12:58 AM PDT


Empire of Blood: The Minotaur Wars, Volume Three
Empire of Blood: The Minotaur Wars, Volume Three
by Richard A. Knaak
Edition: Hardcover
48 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Conclusion that would make a Minotaur proud, August 23, 2005
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Knaak begins the end of this impressive trilogy around the time the Gods of Krynn come back to the world (coinciding with the end of the third book, Dragons of a Vanished Moon, in the Dragonlance War of Souls trilogy). Empire of Blood is epic in scope. Sargonnas, original patron god of the minotaur race, and Morgion, currently holding sway over the minotaurs in his aspect as the Lord of the Bronze Tower, both play an active role in the story. Their respective mortal champions, Faros and Ardnor, command mighty armies and wield great divine power. At stake is the fate of the whole minotaur race and the overall balance of power for most of Krynn. It is a very entertaining read and fans of the first two books will not be left disappointed with either the plot or the quality of writing. I have a few gripes pertaining to Knaak devoting little time to flesh out certain parts of the story. Without giving away any major spoilers, Knaak seems to abandon Bastion, warrior brother of Ardnor, towards the end of the novel without ever telling the reader of Bastion's fate. The same can be said of another major character in Lord Golgren, leader of the ogres. There are a couple other settings and events that could've been clarified with more detail. In addition, Knaak's attempt at salvaging any romance in the series is downright pathetic. These are somewhat minor concerns, but added up, I did not feel this was one of Knaak's best novels. It is certainly enjoyable and up to the standards of most Dragonlance fans. Knaak did a solid job of setting the table for new future adventures in the ever advancing Dragonlance timeline.


Old School (Widescreen Unrated Edition)
Old School (Widescreen Unrated Edition)
DVD ~ Phe Caplan
Offered by Web's Best Deals
Price: $6.49
406 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars School's in Session, August 12, 2003
Old School finds a sweet middle ground between sappy drama and low-budget comedy. It is entertaining and light-hearted in its own right while managing not to sink to the hellish pit that movies such as Freddie Got Fingered inhabit. It might not be the most original of comedies, but then again, what comedy in recent memory has been? I alternated from chuckling at embarassing situations to balling on the floor laughing at some points in the two hours I spent watching this film. The basics of the plot can be summed up as follows; three buddies finding marriage and adult responsibilities to be overly burdensome, decide to spice up their life by starting an eclectic "fraternity" at a local college. Something about seeing older guys trying to start a fraternity is highly amusing to me. With the motif of fraternal bonding at its core, I feel that Old School appeals mainly to guys. This is the type of movie where after finishing the movie, you can lay back, scratch yourself and reaffirm your manhood. That being said, this is not to say that only men can watch this; anyone can appreciate this movie's downright hilarity. An easy 5 stars.


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