Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book report, Soth version

Knight of the Black Rose

Well I picked this up again, because I have been missing the Dragonlance stuff as of late. This is not a pure Dragonlance tale, but it does involve one of the best characters from the series, Lord Soth.

This is/was a crossover novel at the time. Dragonlance was stupid popular and TSR (the D&D people back in the day) had introduced a new realm, Ravenloft. This was their gothic horror/Universal monsters world for D&D. I guess they thought it a good idea to pull a popular Dragonlance undead guy into this world to stir interest at the time.

Enough of the why this book happened and to the book.

We get a new tale on Lord Soth one of the cooler tragic characters in fantasy literature. We get a look at the ending events of the “Twins” Dragonlance series and what Lord Soth was up too after the closing of those novels. Then just throw in a rando curve ball and transport Lord Soth to Barovia (not Transylvania) via some magic creepy fog. Why? Well why not? It is never truly explained, but you just go ahead with it.

Lord Soth now has to find a way home. This means dealing with not Dracula/ Count Strahd Von Zarovich, the vampiric ruler of Barovia. The become friends, then enemies and then frenemies with a common goal. Toss in a gypsy woman and dwarf werebadger as Soth’s companions for good measure. Why? Why not?!

The real crux of the story is that Soth is trying to leave and Ravenloft and has to work with/against Strahd to get that accomplished.

A not terrible story since I love me some Lord Soth and Strahd. Sure it was a pretty lame attempt to drum up interest in a now defunct D&D realm, but it is just wyrd enough that makes for a fun read.

Spectre of the Black Rose

Is the sequel to Knight o’ the Black Rose. Where the first book was fun this was a mess.

Alright Lord Soth’s world is crumbling both literal and figuratively. He is still stuck in the world or Ravenloft and has just stopped dealing with everything. His werebadger buddy is running the day to day realm business. There is an elven rebellion going on in his land lead by a lady known as the White Rose. IS she the soul of Kitiara made flesh for no reason whatsoever?  There are gypsies running about causing problems. There is a guy called the Bloody Cobbler cutting off feet. There is a beast that whispers ,or the Whispering Beast, to crazy people and gets them to do his bidding. Hey there is a giant that has a role, and then doesn’t. Then there is a minor dust up with another kind of rival Lord. All this and a lot of meaningless side characters doing stuff as well.

This story is drek. Where Knight of the Black Rose was fun this is a hot wheel of garbage.

Why? Well…..

There is way too much crap going happening. There are basically four stories going on here: the werebadger tale, the love sick guy trying to fix his crazy girlfriend tale, the gypsy gone crazy tale and short story with Lord Soth. One of these would make a good story, but all of this in one book make for a mess.

The story meanders for so long and then suddenly has to wrap up everything in the last 20+ pages.

By the end I just didn’t care. The White Rose McGuffin was bad. The Ravenloft setting was not utilized here. Under used cool characters and over used lousy characters. An ending that was both interesting and a ploy to get someone back into some universe where they can be used again. A guy called the Bloody Cobbler who was the best and creepiest part of this story. A Lord Soth tale where he wasn’t prominently featured and really needed to be.

I’m just done with this I could rant more, but I won’t. Terrible book, just terrible.

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