- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 14 hours and 27 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: January 8, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00AY4URT6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Shadow Stone Audiobook – Unabridged
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The book sheds light on Aeron, a commoner out of Maerchlin, a town found within Akanax's sphere of influence, and his quest of fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a powerful wizard.
The plot as a whole is excellent. The book is very well written and the reader feels that they have been transported to another plane of existence and are actually present among the characters, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel, sensing what they sense. Richard Baker does a fairly good job of presenting the distinct culture and civilization of the peoples of Chessenta, though more research is needed in order to provide a fuller, more accurate and lucid description of the region's inhabitants. What it comes down to is that the book lacks that strong Ancient Greek style/flavor associated with Chessenta.
On the negative side, the book does have several significant flaws e.g. the king of Akanax is Hippartes (human male LN Fighter 19) not Gormantor.
Moreover, on page 284 Aeron says he will lose his invisibility if he tries to magically open a locked door. This is not true since only an offensive spell would dispel his invisibility; meaning an actual magical attack against a foe.
In addition, the deaths of both Crow/Samir and Fineghal took place as if both were novices, first level characters (!!!); one arrow (!!!) was enough to dispose of the Master of Invocation, while one thrown dagger (!!!) was enough to render the ancient elf helpless so as to be stabbed to death by commoners??? Hmmm... After a thousand years, and after serving as the Storm Walker, this was hardly the death this character deserved. Sacrificing himself against Oriseus or to seal a portal to the demi-plane of Shadow or to destroy to Shadow Stone itself would have been a much more likely and heroic death.
Furthermore, it would have been very helpful to know HOW the Sceptenar and Chessenta's champions were defeated by Oriseus as well as WHY other heroes did not intervene with such clear signs of trouble all about e.g. Elminster, the Seven Sisters, Khelben Blackstaff and the other heavyweights. With the merging of the demi-plane of Shadow onto Chessenta, one would expect help and assistance from the forces of Good from all over Fearun in the shape and form of knowledge/information or the arrival of powerful priests and/or wizards.
Keep in mind that this is a major event concerning the Realms as a whole and not just Chessenta. In the Third Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting there is mention of the events detailed in the Shadow Stone, and one can find gaming info concerning Aeron (half-elf male N Wiz13/Sha3) and Melisanda (human female LG Wiz 7).
Finally, it takes a while for the story to take off. The beginning is very slow and not that original. It is way too predictable and as Aeron makes all the wrong moves and takes all the wrong actions it becomes rather annoying.
Approximately 85 pages into the book, this major transformation occurs and all of a sudden you're captivated, to the point that you can't put the book down. In short the first third of the book should have been better written.
Richard Baker does a FANTASTIC job of conveying the sheer power and evil of the Immaskari and Shadow Magic, especially after reading: "Each chant was a litany of destruction, a hateful incantation of decay and foulness."
I was very excited that the setting for this book was that of the Old Empires. I wish more novels would be set in that area of Fearun, namely Chessenta, but also Threskel, Unther, and Mulhorand, as opposed to the usual, Waterdeep or Western Heartlands locations.
Hopefully, a sequel will be written shedding light as to what comes next, since the demand for one is definitely there. If you love Chessenta, Mulhorand, and Unther, try and get your hands on a copy of the Old Empires Accessory (it is Second Edition AD&D, out of print and it will take a bit of searching, but it's well worth it).
In conclusion, despite its flaws, Shadow Stone is a book highly recommended to all Fantasy and especially Forgotten Realms fans. Those with a soft spot for the Old Empires and Chessenta in particular will have a ball.
The beginning of this book was believable enough-but it was very slow. Things seemed to take forever, and the plot kept going around in circles. The characters, most of them, were very detailed and had good lives, descriptions, etc.; but I was not fond of this plot. I am not one to continue reading something if the crisis has not set in by one hundred pages into the book, and it doesn't in this book. It is about the same length as all the books in the Cleric Quintet by R.A.Salvatore, but nothing starts happening until after 100 pages...in those books, the crisis happens only about 50 pages in.
Maybe you'll like this better than I did, and maybe I'll go back some day and finish it-or at least try to.
The plot moved quickly, keeping my interest. The ending was predictable, but consistant with the overall storyline. This book is not my favorite from the Forgotten Realms setting, but it was pleasant to read.