Monday, May 21, 2007

Shadowbred by Paul S. Kemp

Just finish reading another Forgotten Realms novel, 'Shadowbred' by Paul S. Kemp. The story take place a year after the events from the Erevis Cale Trilogy. I strongly suggest you read the preceding books first before tackling this one. Though you can read this book without reading the Erevis Cale Trilogy first, the books are really a series together.

Who is Erevis Cale, you asked? Erevis Cale is a assasin turned cleric. Unfortunately, he became a cleric of Mask, God of Thieves. Worse, Mask liked him so much, he made Cale his Chosen. Chosen are like their gods point-man on the world. A job that grant great power and powerful drawbacks. This is the part of the book I liked. The only other Chosen we have really seem thus far in Forgotten Realms are the Chosen of Mystra, Goddess of Magic. A job that seems to have no drawbacks at all. However, Mask is a god of evil so he has no problem doing what needs to be done to get Cale to do his dirty work. That just seems more...godlike don't you think?

Kemp's Forgotten Realms novels are a bit different from the majority of the stuff set in the world. While the tone of the Forgotten Realms is high fantasy, Kemp usually tried (and mostly managed) to give a darker, grittier tone to the books. How many Forgetton Realms books are there that spotlight the evil faiths of the Realms? No more than a handful, at best. This is what makes the Cale's books different from the Drizzt's books or the Elminister's books.

However, it's not all roses for Shadowbred. Cale has always been a character that did evil things (lying, killing etc) for good purposes, however there is a shift to the good side for him in this book. Nothing wrong there, I understand Kemp need a likable main character to sell the book, but the turning of Cale to a 'good' guy seems very forced. Also, a main character from the trilogy did not turn up until the last third of the book. A big no-no in my view.

Overall, this is a good book that continued the Erevis Cale story. The dark gritty tone suits the book and the characters. Pick it up if you want something different from the Forgotten Realms.

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