I grabbed this one because the blurb said it was written for people who were new to Forgotten Realms and was showcasing Waterdeep. It fails utterly.
It constantly references things that you'd need to be quite familiar with Forgotten Realms to understand, and up to date with it's constantly evolving story line. It showcases WaterDeep in much the same way that a really great performance of one of Shakespeare's plays showcases the excellent carpentry of the stage being performed on.
The narrator does numerous voices, mostly intensely silly. They meld a bit later, as three characters seem to use the same "Big, dopey guy" voice.
In short, this is a worthwhile read. I enjoyed the narrator immensely. Whether he intended to capture the hokey voices done by DM's, GM's, Referee's and ST's everywhere or not, he did it. I'd swear to having done a few of those voices myself around table covered in inscrutable bits of paper claimed to be character sheets, and many, many dice.
I'm just not sure this is actually gamer humor, as opposed to someone with passing familiarity with gamers making fun of them. The main characters are funny and their interplay is fun, but they are seriously unlikable. The author takes pains to heap it on with lots of sad loser traits on them all too. You could think a C&C player beat up the author and took his girlfriend if the author didn't belabor the point that no C&C player could ever know the touch of a woman.
The story is far from an original idea, but I've never known it to be more than smoke break and downtime musing by most players. It's greatly redeemed by the ending, which was actually great and unexpected. Also, I'm confident that this book contains more instances of the words, sh*t and vomit than it does instances of the main character's names.
Celia Imrie is a fine narrator, but she was never suited to Discworld material and I'm surprised they let her try it on twice.
This was the novel that made me quit reading Discworld books for years. Literal years, about five or six of them. I read the first two novels as fast as anything and then ran into this. Having now finished every other Discworld novel, this is the worst. It really seems that this was apparent to Pratchett too. Pretty much everything in this novel is sort of non-canon.
Other than the later appearance of a rather different Granny Weatherwax almost nothing in this novel is connected to any later works. If Esk hadn't made a little appearance in I Shall Wear Midnight, I'd swear this novel had been blotted from the history of the disc.
I didn't like this book the first time. I still don't like it. If there is any other discworld book you haven't already listened to, listen to it instead.
This was not a great story. Not quite the worst, but hardly a stand out in a collection of cutting room floor stories.
And then they got Ice-T narrate it. And it was AWESOME.
It's not a clinical Books for the Blind reading. It's Ice-T reads D&D, and it sounds like it. Ice-T brings something magical to Forgotten Realms. I've certainly never heard violence and combat narrated with such power.
The whole collection was worth it just to hear this piece of narration.
Having only read 3 of the 14 or so Drizzt's novels that preceed this, I felt a little lost. The story's are alright on their own merits, but I'm sure a lot of significance was lost on me. Also, it's rife with spoiler material.
Most importantly though, Ice T narrates one of the stories, and it's amazing. I hadn't even finished his bit when I started looking to see if he'd done more books. Positively steals the show. Following directly after Melissa Rauch, I was terrified about how his female characters would sound, but there was no need to worry. He nails it.
And while I'm mentioning her, Melissa Rauch is terrible. Her Catti-brie sounds like a leprechaun on helium and hard drugs. Seriously, I kept expecting her to shout about her Lucky Charms. On a positive note, the story she was narrating was so ludicrous that her performance sealed it as a slapstick comedy piece.
Well worth a credit to hear Ice T read D&D and laugh as Melissa Rauch fails to be able to do a credible female voice despite having presumably having spoken in one for most of her life.
The narrator change is jarring but it wasn't a deal breaker. The new guy isn't Jefferson Mays by a long shot, but he's not actually that bad. He just pales by comparison.
The story is dreadful. Several rather long subplots are introduced and resolved randomly, often contributing nothing to the story for their entire runs. We get to meet bit characters from previous novels, now starring in this one and revealing why they should have remained bit characters.
Minus padding, and pointless subplots, this could have been a novella. And it still wouldn't have been a good one.
I'm beginning to get the Lost/X-Files/Twin Peaks sense that they're just making crap up at random with no plan to resolve any of it. We're never really going to learn more, only get more mysteries added until the series chokes on them.
I listened to this right after I finally managed to finish the second book in the series (of which no review of mine has been printable). To be honest, just don't read it. You probably shouldn't read any of them.
If you finished the first two novels in the series and are still even considering buying this book, then feel free to consider this review ignorant, uninformed hate-speech, but do remember later when you're feeling bored, let-down, and taken-advantage of, that you were warned.
Without reading "The Mark of Nerath", this book makes a lot less sense. Everything in this book was established in "Mark of Nerath", except the titular Temple of Yellow Skulls.
Ignoring that, it's a decent adventure (if those elements were actually removed so it could stand alone, it would be an excellent adventure) and it is easily better than the next book in the series. I just can't escape how much it refers to the previous book. It fills in all the details, the characters spend a lot of the adventure talking about the events of the last adventure, which isn't marked as part of the series, or available on Audible.
Honestly, I'd skip this one unless you've read "Mark of Nerath". If you have read "Mark of Nerath", you probably won't need me to tell you that you ought to skip this book. If for some reason you read this first, it completely and utterly spoils "Mark of Nerath" as they rehash, in detail, all the major plot points.
Also, the second book has a different author. I blame this for ruining the second book (Oath of Vigilance", and I feel it's worth knowing about before you potentially become invested in the series.
I understand that the purpose of this whole series was to create novels around classic dungeon-crawl adventure modules, and that they have to work with some of the boring, predictable elements that were included in those modules, but this book was garbage, and not because of the original Tomb Of Horrors.
The fallen paladin literally cries and whines through the entire book, displaying not a single redeeming characteristic, occupying about 8 of the 12 hours of listening time with descriptions of what a lousy piece of crap he is, and then, the author having murdered everyone else off just has the hand of god step in, and make everything better. Now here, Have your magical super-sword back, and one-shot the remaining bad guys, we've got to wrap this up in about six minutes.
I've read better fan-fiction. written in sharpie. On truck stop men's room walls.
The story really is great, but I'm in love with Stina Nielson's narration. She really brings Georgia to life, and reminds me of some of my favorite comedians from BBC Radio 4. I enjoyed the diary/journal format, as well. It kept things punchy and succinct, so Georgia never becomes as annoying and hate-able as a silly, self-obsessed teenager ought to be. As she as can manage to do something dreadful, you're into another entry where she's correcting her actions, or at least suffering for them.
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