This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Series: Forgotten Realms: The Wizards #1
Author: Steven Schend
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Khelben Arunsun, better known as the wizard Blackstaff and chosen of Mystra, “began a great work” and now he will be “certain to complete it”. With the help of an apprentice, a dead apprentice, a former apprentice who is now an evil lich, a rogue and a host of veritable potentates in the magic community, Blackstaff will unleash The Killer Storm that could wipe out all of Faerun and channel it in such a way as to bring back an ancient city that has been buried for 12 Millennia.
Of course, Blackstaff has to manipulate almost everyone, find out that he’s the expectant father of twins and then sacrifice himself “because of reasons” to complete the city raising ritual.
Nothing makes one’s life more complete than dying for “reasons”.
While Khelben is the ostensible main character, as he’s the titular Blackstaff, it turns out that some nobody apprentice named Tsarra Chaadren is actually the main character. She gets part of her friend’s soul when a magical test goes wrong because of an attack and then at the end she has to take on Blackstaff’s memories and become the new Blackstaff. No pressure. I didn’t like or dislike Tsarra because she was such a nobody. She might have been an up and coming nobody, but she was still a nobody.
In the same vein, the rogue Raegar Stoneblade [oh my bloody phrackingness, WHO comes up with these names?!?!] is as bleh as she is. Him and Tsarra falling in love was predictable as was his “you killed my friend so I’m going to get you” schtick against the villain.
Which brings us to the Lich. Priamon “Frostrune” Rakesk. At least Frostrune is a cool name. He does a good bit of manipulating of the others and things seem to be going his way. Of course, he’s putty in the hands of Blackstaff, so his eventual eternal torment [because you can’t die if you’re already dead] in the hands of an evil underlord came as no surprise.
Storywise, this was one of the more decent ones that I’ve read recently. It gives me hope for the next 3 books in the The Wizards tetralogy. It was also nice to just read a standalone story. These “vaguely related by one idea” kind of books in the Forgotten Realms [The Citadels, The Cities or The Rogues
for example] are so hit and miss that it is a real crapshoot if you are going to get a decent one or a stinker. Thankfully, this was one of the more decent ones.
I think it helped that I had read The Archwizards Trilogy relatively recently and while not really liking it, it did introduce me to Blackstaff, the Phaerim and other such characters so that I didn’t go into this blind. Also, Arilyn Moonblade and Danilow Thann are mentioned, who I met in the second The Harpers book. It is tying little pieces like that together that help in my enjoyment of the overall Forgotten Realms books.