Recently I decided to take a chance on reading through a few of the books from The Sundering series. The six part series is supposed to be a major event that will establish the new status quo for the Forgotten Realms. Fair warning if you have yet to read the books mentioned here there may be some spoilers ahead.
The Reaver by Richard Lee Byers
I started reading The Reaver earlier today and I am already hooked on it. The book introduces a new main character to the Forgotten Realms, a pirate captain named Anton Marivaldi. He’s not the most heroic of captains. In fact by the end of the first chapter his crew decides they’ve had enough of him and a mutiny ensues. Anton finds himself embroiled in a conflict between the chosen of two gods. Thanks in part to the rapidly swelling waters of the Sea of Fallen Stars the goddess Umberlee, Queen of the Deeps, is quickly expanding her influence. Raising an undead pirate captain named Evendur Highcastle from the depths to carry out her will she is trying to trying to seize power during the chaos. Meanwhile Stedd Whitehorn a small boy serving as the chosen of the newly returned Lathander, the Morninglord, is trying to spread a message of renewal and hope. Anton is one of many who have been dispatched to capture the boy and bring him to Evendur so that they can silence this message before it gains any converts. The Red Robed Wizards of Thay also play a part in the story as their agents race to capture Stedd for their own purposes. This is a great book because it portrays the setting well, gives readers new characters they can enjoy, and presents an interesting story that makes me care about what is going on in the Forgotten Realms during The Sundering.
The Herald by Ed Greenwood
After hearing Ed Greenwood discussing The Sundering and his new book on a podcast I knew I needed to see what all of this was about. I’ve picked up a couple of things Mr. Greenwood has written over the years, but until recently I’d never read anything featuring Elmister. Let me start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed Greenwood’s writing style and I found the beginning and the ending chapters terribly fascinating. However I was continually frustrated by the fact that I had no idea who many of the characters in the story were which really downplays the importance of the events in this story. Oddly enough Mirt, who only appears in a few parts of the book and never meets up with the rest of the characters, probably entertained me more than the rest of them put together. He spends most of the book playing a game of cat and mouse with a vampire sorcerer named Manshoon. Candlekeep is also a location that came of extremely well here, I want to spend some more time there without all of the chaos and intrigue. If you’re a longtime reading of all things Forgotten Realms you’ll probably get more out of this than I did, but for a casual reader or someone whose new to the setting in any way shape or form I’d suggest reading a few more books before picking this one up.
Overall these two installments of The Sundering left me with a very favorable impression and I will definitely be picking up the other books from the series as soon as I can get my hands on them.