- Series: Forgotten Realms Anthology
- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (January 8, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786949341
- ISBN-13: 978-0786949342
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,557,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Realms Of War (Forgotten Realms Anthology) Mass Market Paperback – January 8, 2008
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Instead of reviewing each story individually, which would take entirely too long. I will say a few words about each story and give my general impressions of it, and hope that will suffice.
#1 - Continuum by Paul S. Kemp - This story ties right into Mr. Kemp's Twilight War trilogy. While it doesn't answer many questions, it does provide some significant background into a couple of the characters as well as leaving the reader with at least two major questions. Fast pacing and solid writing here - just what we have come to expect from Mr. Kemp. 4 out of 5
#2 - Weasel's Run by Lisa Smedman - This is a quick little self contained tale. Nothing Realms shattering by any means, but the pacing and characters more than held my attention. After what I considered a disappointing second book in the Lady Penitent trilogy it is nice to see Ms. Smedmann return to form. Another solid story for this anthology. 4 out of 5.
#3 - The Last Paladin of Ilmater by Susan J. Morris - Editor Susan Morris tries her hand at the short story with this tale. High praises around. Very interesting story, solid characters, and enough action to keep me turning the pages. It already seems as though small things are happening in the Realms gearing up for something major. Yet another solid addition to this anthology. 4 out of 5.
#4 - Black Arrow by Bruce R. Cordell - A quaint story about a boy doing what his mom tells him not to. However, Mr. Cordell wraps this story in a very nice shell and the presentation is spot on. In fact, I would have liked to see this one as a novella, there was so much more I wanted to read about. Good plot, great characters, and equally solid pacing. A very good addition tot his anthology. 4 out of 5.
#5 - Too Many Princes by Ed Greenwood - This story had quite a bit of promise. A solid build up, an interesting plot and entertaining characters. Then, Mr. Greenwood does what he always does and brings in the ultra-strong characters that runs roughshod over everything and everyone totally destroying the plot and all the build up. Sometimes, you just have to leave those characters at home. A good start and disappointing finish. 2 out of 5.
#6 - The Siege of Zerith Hold by Jess Lebow - A solid tale detailing a battle at a fortress known as Zerith Hold. Mosltly all plot and action here. There are some interesting characters, but being that this is a short story there is not a lot of time for character development. Hopefully some of these characters appear in later short stories or a novel or two. Another good addition to this anthology. 4 out of 5.
#7 - Mercy's Reward by Mark Sehestedt - A tale about a lone man who's choices pays a great dividend in the end. The actual plot of this story is solid enough, the pacing is good and keeps the reader interested. However, the main character, seemed shallow to me. Maybe this is because there were so many additional characters added to the story. This isn't the best story of this anthology but it's not too bad either. 3 out of 5.
#8 - Redemption by Elaine Cunningham - A story about the renowned Elaith and delves a little into who he is and what some of his motives `might' be. A decent amount of action and a plot that leaves some questions, of which I assume will be answered later this year with the release of Reclamation by Ms. Cunningham. A solid story that held my interest and left me wanting more. 4 out of 5.
#9 - Changing Tides by Mel Odom - It's good to see Mr. Odem back in the Realms, and of course he jumps right up onto a ship and into the sea. A very engaging tale about a historian seeking answers, and a little cash. Very interesting plot, solid characters that I connected with right away. I was reminded again why I like Mr. Odem's writing. One of the best stories in this anthology and that says a lot. 5 out of 5.
#10 - Chase the Dark by Jaleigh Johnson - An interesting tale about an outcast of Amn trying to make a name for himself. An engaging story and very good characters, which is surprising since it's a short story. There is more depth in this story than most of the others in this anthology. It certainly held my interest and left me wanting to read more about the main character. Very good addition to this anthology 5 out of 5.
#11 - Bones and Stones by R.A. Salvatore - This was not the story I was expecting. No Drizzt or Artemis here. It's all Pwent. This story actually adds a great deal of substance to Pwent as a character. No longer is he the crazy dwarf bent on ravaging an opponent. He has depth, and a heart. It is all written around a Drizzt journal entry which makes it very poignant . A must read for such. 5 out of 5.
#12 - Second Chance by Richard Lee Byers - This short story ties into Mr. Byers The Haunted Land trilogy. Fans of the first book, Unclean, will see the story progression. This story was mildly entertaining. The plot was decent and the characters were adequate. However, I wasn't as interested in the events, or characters, of this story as I was with some of the other stories in this anthology. It's not a bad story, but just seemed a little flat to me. 3 out of 5.
This may be one of the best anthologies I have read in quite some time. The overall quality of the stories is fantastic. There are some great stories in this collection such as Mel Odom's, Jaleigh Johnson's, and R.A. Salvatore's. The rest are entertaining in their own right and certainly add lore and depth to the various wars that they take place in. All in all this anthology is a must for any Forgotten Realms fan. Kudos to all the authors who have a story in this one.
In Paul S. Kemp's "Continuum", Rivalen was willing to do anything to serve his priestess. But was the cost worth it? Continuum is an entertaining albeit slightly confusing story to readers unfamiliar to the background. It took me a bit to get into the storyline and see where it was going and I wish it had answered more questions than it did. On the other hand, it makes me want to hunt down more stories by Paul S. Kemp just to see where all the events are leading to!
Lisa Smedman takes readers on a wild ride in "Weasel's Run". Weasel is trapped by The Beast and has a chance to live. Will he survive the Hunt? Lisa Smedman weaves together a clever tale that seamlessly flows back and forth in time as the pieces begin to fit together. Sometimes it isn't how big one is but rather how quick one can think that wins and the author shows this well.
"The Last Paladin of Ilmater" by Susan J. Morris features two women on a quest involving a child and the undead. The ending is both startling and brilliant. Susan J. Morris packs a lot of tension into such a short story as her characters are vibrantly alive in this fascinating tale.
"Black Arrow" by Bruce R. Cordell is perhaps my favorite story in the anthology. Jotharam Feor finds a way to get involved in the war despite his mother's wishes and his actions make him a hero. Who can't help but love the impetuousness of Jotharam? Bruce R. Cordell perfectly captures the heart of this brave and daring adolescent in this heartbreaking story? "Black Arrow" shows how heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and yes, even ages as Jotharam is a hero to remember.
In "Too Many Princes" by Ed Greenwood, Mirt the Merciless is faced with a dilemma. The vizier has created doubles of numerous people including Mirt and the trap is about to be sprung. Ed Greenwood's tale is more than a bit confusing as no one is ever sure if the person before them is really that person. Perhaps if I'd been more familiar with the world itself, this would have been an easier read. The ending was a bit of a disappointment, too, as it seemed like the author took the easy way out.
"The Siege of Zerith Hold" by Jess Lebow is a story of war. Goblins are attacking and it is up to two men to inspire their men as the odds seem hopeless. "The Siege of Zerith Hold" is pure action as the story details an intense and sometimes heartbreaking battle. Fans of the Forgotten Realms world will probably appreciate this one more than readers new to the world.
"Mercy's Reward" by Mark Sehestedt features Gethred showing mercy and freeing a wolf ensnared in a trap. Sometimes doing the right thing can pay off in a big way. "Mercy's Reward" was initially a bit difficult to follow for a newcomer to the storyline with all the various intrigues and characters but it quickly begins to all come together. The ending isn't necessarily unexpected but is still satisfying.
In "Redemption" by Elaine Cunningham, the elf Elaith Craulnober finds his purpose as his legacy is revealed when he aids other elves. Elaine Cunningham is actually one of the two authors I've previously read and her story did not disappoint. Her characters are always multidimensional and Elaith is an excellent example of her skill in crafting characters one cares about.
"Changing Tides" by Mel Odom is the strongest stand alone story in the anthology and the most entertaining to someone new to the realm. Rytagir Volak is on an underseas salvage operation when things go awry. "Changing Tides" shows exactly why Mel Odom is an author I regularly read. The prose is clear and concise while the characterizations are sharp. The action draws the reader in as "Changing Tides" makes me want to read more of the Forgotten Realms books.
Jaleigh Johnson's "Chase the Dark" is the story of Devlen Torthil. Devlen is a man who has found solace in being a charlatan... but how will he handle an opportunity to shine as a hero? The relationship between Devlen and Morla intrigued me in this story as I found I wanted to know more. The twists in "Chase the Dark" are quite well done as Jaleigh Johnson throws in a few surprises for the reader.
"Bones and Stones" by R.A. Salvatore is a story I was eagerly anticipating as I've heard so much about this author. Thibbledorf Pwent and G'nurk are enemies in a war, but sometimes even enemies have something in common. R.A. Salvatore not only writes a fantastic story, he also makes a powerful statement with "Bones and Stones". While Pwent and G'nurk are very different on the surface, underneath it all they have the same hopes, dreams, and emotions.
Richard Lee Byers concludes this anthology with "Second Chance". Kemas deserted his temple and has been captured. Will he get a "Second Chance" at defending his beliefs or will he be forever branded a traitor? Richard Lee Byers writes a very smooth story in which Kemas is forced to mature quickly or die. The growth of the main character is well done as Richard Lee Byers will have readers cheering for Kemas as the story unfolds.
REALMS OF WAR is an entertaining fantasy anthology. Even readers unfamiliar with the Forgotten Realms world will find something to pique their curiosity. Very enjoyable!
COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES