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The Rage (Forgotten Realms: The Year of the Rogue Dragons, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – April 6, 2004
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First, this novel, the first one of the trilogy, does have a grand story behind it, although the author doesn't delve into reasons of the Rage in this novel, you can see it is a beginning of something epic. The characters of this book are a mixed bunch. Two main characters Dorn and Taegan (a very interesting, memorable character), get pretty much space and that naturally leads to depth and good character development. Other characters, however, get very limited space for their introspections and points-of-view. I hope we will see more of their characterizations in following two books. Besides that, Byers shows once again that he is a master of the flow, and he reminds you of some important characters or events throughout the book, without being repetitive or boring.
I'll quote one of the characters in the book. "Illmater's Tears, will this fight ever end?" Oh man, is he right. There is so much fighting in this book, that it is simply unbearable. I knew Byers is an action-oriented author, but this is too much even from him. He could've given up on full 50 pages of battles, and still make it a fighting-heavy novel. That is my biggest complaint. Otherwise, maybe he could have made protagonists of the book a less eccentric bunch (but I understand WotC have to sell their Monster Manual XVIII somehow), and could have given the villains some space. As it is, they appear and disappear at the point of a sword.
I hope to see an improvement in the following books.
What I love about Byers the most is the how he can incorporate reality into his characters. Most often AD&D novels have just a few shades of gray between black and white, but he expands the spectrum immeasurably.
The characters and situations are all well written. I even found myself emphasizing with the antagonist! Almost a "tragic villain" if you will.
I also really like how he keeps the reader chronologically engaged through dates in the chapter headings.
I highly recommend buying the set all at the same time. They're so good that you'll not want to wait for the next book to arrive.
Then you heroes, you got the typical human, human, dwarf, Halfling. You did mix it up, you made the main human the bionic man. Nice touch that's why I continued to read past the first dragon slaughter from a spell on a scroll. But alas the hero apparently had a iron head because he was sure dull.
The fight scenes were bad as well, all the potions of full healing. I felt I was watching a game with the cheat codes turned on.
I am an old school D&D er from the 80's. I love reading the FR books because I enjoy them. This one I did not. I don't know the story behind the book, I don't know if some MAGIC card flipper at WOC gave Mr Byers an outline and said make it happen but the story doesn't work for me. I have 2 other books of Mr. Byers from the Rogues and Priests so I will see how those go. If you have any fondness of Dragons then steer clear because its very disappointing.