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on April 8, 2014
If you are a D&D dork-LOTR fan, you will love this fantasy tale. Not overtly complicated with political or subversive messages, but still entertaining non-the-less.
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on March 2, 2010
After reading the first novel I expected a bit more. It is stil fast moving with a lot of action, but I miss the discovery element of the first novel. It is more of the same with little development of the characters. The endless swordfigths become boring as you know who always comes on top. The hero is no longer an underdog (slave) and in a hopeless position.
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on August 20, 2008
In the village of Orlkettle, Orivon Firefist works day and night at the forge because it gave him pleasure to be his own boss at a place where he can see the sky and the grass. When he was six years old, he was stolen from his parents in a Nilfghar (dark elves) raid and brought to the Dark Below where he was a slave for a decade and a half to a wealthy noble family, who tortured him in an attempt to break his spirit; they never did. The daughter helped him escape her parents' cruelty.

Now the dark elves have raided Orlkettle and kidnapped four children. Orivon knows first hand the fate that awaits these innocents and vows to rescue them or die trying. However, he is entering a world that has radically changed beyond recognition. The realm of Talonnorn that was the rival of Ouvahlor is in rapid decline from without and within; as nobles fight their peers and the Consecrated fight each other. As Orivon makes his way to Talonnorn he fights and kills beasts and dark elves, determined to free the city as he searches for the children.

DARK VENGEANCE is a dark quest fantasy that focuses on a culture that lives below the ground with its own peculiar values and customs (mindful of the Time Machine's Morlocks) different from humans who live in the Blinding Light. The hero knows torture first hand having lived through the brutal abuse almost daily for years; yet overall he is a well balanced person though he has some issues sleeping and prefers light to night. He loathes killing, but will do so to save the kids from what he faced. Obviously readers know but will not care that Orivon is out of his league as he is not a warrior. That is the beauty of Ed Greenwood's tale as he makes the blacksmith's never again obsession the impetus to turn an ordinary person into a superhero "willing to march into hell for that heavenly cause".

Harriet Klausner
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on September 25, 2008
Ed Greenwood is a remarkable author, able to populate his novels with interesting characters. "Dark Vengeance" is no exception to this fact.

It has been written that revenge is a dish best served cold...and lingering. For Orivon Firefist, kidnapped by the dark elves (Nilfghar) at age six, his 15 year journey from victim to powerful, fury filled, giant of a man was fraught with meniality. Moving furniture, and being trained under the beautiful Tsamarra, his rage could only be satiated by combat.

Cutting his literary teeth on 'Forgotten Realms', and 'Band of Four', Greenwood is a master of technique. Drawing on Norse legends to create a new series is a stroke of genius. This book has the potential to be a great book in a series that will probably inspire a new franchise.

Students of mythological fiction take note. This is the way fantasy is supposed to be done.

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on January 3, 2009
I read Dark Warrior first and thought that it was a very engaging novel, the first I have read by Ed Greenwood. It introduces the race of Niflghar as haughty, self centered, kniving beings who put little stock into the lives of others. This second book however goes a little berserk with the backstabbing.

It was hard for me to follow the jumps from story line to story line, trying to keep track of what seemed like a dozen or so main-ish characters, all the while finding very little story of Orivon who should be the main focus. Or so I thought.

I was hard pressed to find a single character in the book who did not slaughter anyone who stood in their way with no moral code that they seemed to follow at all. The sheer number of people and groups of people that were out to destroy Talonnorn and each other was truly overwhelming. That there were enough bodies to go around was baffling. The book was nearly one ongoing bloody battle from cover to cover, and it really didn't seem to matter which characters you were reading about at all. There was fighting, and deceit, and fighting, and contempt, and then more fighting. I felt absolutley no connection to any character in the story, and just began to hope that maybe the Niflghar would be eradicated completely. There was not a character in the book not completely out for themselves. (Save for Orivon who as I stated was extremely absent, and even at that he was out for bloody revenge) **Note I completely agree with him on this point however.

The climax of the book was short and left far too much unexplained. Not in the way that an author leaves things unspoken because we will find out in a forthcoming book, but more it seemed that the author just got sick of writing, and ended the story.

I hope that Ed Greenwood gets back to a bit more story, and less pointless battle in the next installment (which I am sure wll be coming) as this story had much more potential.
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on October 22, 2008
This book was okay it took Ed Greenwood a while to get this one started and even though it is faster paced compared to Dark Warrior it is not as good. In Dark Warrior you feel connected to the characters, whereas in this book Ed Greenwood drops a lot of the characters' personalities and replaces it with story line. This book was also very confusing because Ed Greenwood skipped around a lot and never completely comes out and says what is going on at that particular time and place. Overall it was ok but I would recommend Dark Warrior long before I would recommend Dark Vengeance.
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