Hell hath such fury...
On the world of his birth he's all but a god, but when an ancient evil banishes him to the depths of the Nine Hells, he's just another lost soul. Elminster, Sage of Shadowdale, Chosen of Mystra, faces his most desperate struggle - to survive, to escape, to cling to his very sanity - and all the forces of the inferno are rallied against him.
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I love Greenwood, but this was painful almost from beginning to end. He abandons his usual flowing style for a weird, broken framing device based on gruesomely detailed physical and mental torture.
The vignettes that are framed are often intriguing, but are all too short, and it's back to the torture, literal and figurative. I was not a huge fan of The Temptation of Elminster, either, but at least it was a single, if broken, narrative, and came to an unexpectedly tight conclusion. I could enjoy the style if not always the content. This book has none of those saving graces.
Sorry, Ed. I wanted to love it, I really did.
The story was simple... Elminster is trapped in Hell with a demon ravaging his mind for magic and memories. But, the implementation was awful (maybe because it was audio and you could not see page breaks/paragraph breaks). The first 7 to 10 chapters are rubbish. The demon sifting through El's memories about stories many of us have not heard of... with characters we do not know. I've read just under 40 FR books and this was truly hard to follow.
Only a few chapters progressed the story. It was nice to see how it ended and makes me want to read other books based on some of the characters but damn. This was not good.
I will continue to read other FR books but I'm starting to see the trend with Ed Greenwood that so many people have talked about. His style of writing can be tough to take.
Last few chapters tied things together. Knowing the characters who are trying to save Elminster and seeing who finally goes down there was pretty cool.
Literally, only a few characters you could say are "main characters." So, I would not cut any of them from the book. All the rest are fillers in stories that lead no where.
I'm blitzing the 5 books in this series. This book was the worst by far. Be warned... this is not a book about Elminster slaying and a tight story. He's mostly a vegetable hanging on for dear life the entire time.
Way too much of the book was the devil telling Elminster how unhappy he was because El was not giving him memories with magic. Every chapter was El sharing a forgettable story (on purpose) and then the devil saying "quit messing with me stupid human. I'm getting mad." As readers we get the idea after chapter 2... not chapter 22.
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