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Title: The Ring of Winter
Series: Forgotten Realms: The Harpers #5
Author: James Lowder
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Artus Cimber, a former harper, has been searching for the Ring of Winter for over a decade with almost no success. However, when a fellow Adventurer member comes back from an expedition in the deepest, hottest jungles where dinosaurs live and tells of a freak snowstorm that saved his life, Artus knows he’s hot on the trail.
Taking off in the middle of the night with his only friend, an older mage, so that the Harpers can’t pressure him in any way, Artus’s journey doesn’t start well. The ship they paid passage to be on forces them to be regular sailors and the captain is an insane witch woman. Artus ends up killing her. Artus and Pontifex finally make it to Dinosaur Land, only to be attacked by members of the Cult of Frost, who are led by Kaverin Ebonhand. Kaverin also desires the Ring of Winter as it supposedly endows its controller with immortal life.
Pontifex dies, Artus is on his own. Sets off into the jungles with a local guide, only to find out it is a magician in thrall to Kaveron. Artus is captured by goblins, thrown into a pit of a monster that they worship and escapes with the help of 2 talking wombats named Byrt and Lugg.
I am NOT kidding.
Kaveron gets all the goblins to unite and attack the city of Mezro which had 7 magical guardians. One of them revealed that he had had the Ring of Winter but that he couldn’t control it and so threw it into the testing chamber where new magical girls, errrr, guardians were tested and chosen. Artus goes after it, gets it and saves the city because he CAN control the Ring.
Everybody who is still alive is happy and Artus realizes that he’s still a Harper at heart and now with a super powerful artifact he can do lots and lots of good things. Yippeee!
This was a perfect example of an author forcing the character to act like the author wanted without regards to any past actions, feelings or explanations. Artus starts out as an impetuous, selfish idiot. He hates the Harpers, puts others in danger without regard when searching for the Ring of Winter and generally acts like an ass. The shazaaam, he gets tested by the god Ubtao and suddenly he’s the soul of wisdom, discretion and goodness.
The talking wombats? Besides getting him out of the monster pit the first time, and talking in fake british accents, dropping all their “h’s”, etc, they were pointless. Which leads into all the side characters. There were so many that none of them really got to be “real” people. Kaveron was the perfect example. He’s the leader of the Frost Cult, has stone hands due to fighting with Artus in the past, is in thrall to the mad god Cyric and can make magical icemen assassins. Yet he loses control of a small goblin tribe? He was just a name attached to a vehicle that moved the plot forward. People are introduced and in a lot of cases, die off within 10-20 pages. I gave up trying to keep track because I never knew if someone introduced was a long term character or just another meat bag for the mill.
I felt like this had too many elements contained in one story and it diluted the whole focus on the Ring of Winter. Well, I’m giving the Harpers sub-series one more book and then if that book doesn’t get a 3.5star rating I’ll be done. I’m not 12 or 14 years old.
And the Ring of Winter? It should have been a wicked super awesome cool artifact. Kind of like this M:TG card looks. But no. It is as disappointing as the rest of the book.