Unholy (The Haunted Lands #3) (Forgotten Realms)

b5ad29da1ba3d809ac8ba656e7227e7bThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Unholy

Series: The Haunted Lands

Author: Richard Byers

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 342

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

100 years have passed since the last book. Szass Tam has completed his domination of Thay with the building of multiple fortresses, which turn out to be the keystone for a massive magical spell. A spell that will unmake the Universe and potentially remake it, with Tsazz Tam as the new head honcho god. Theoretically.

So the gryphon rider and undead bard from the previous books set out to stop him, with the help of the former Zulkirs of Thay.

Throw in Tam’s insane but powerful top lieutenant who wants only the first part of the spell to succeed and you wind up with a pretty fantastic story.

 

My Thoughts:

Sometimes Forgotten Realms books really stink. The plot is as pulpy and the characters as wooden as the paper they are printed on. But sometimes you run across some that are really a good story that keep you coming back for more. This book, and trilogy, have been one of the good ones.

The plan behind the plan, that was hinted at in the previous book, comes to full light here. Tam’s deal with Bane makes sense. Why worry about your soul in 1000 years if you’re going to remake the universe with you at the head? You can just unmake the god that you made the deal with and negate it’s consequences.

Just like in the previous 2 books, the “heroes” are the underdogs and Tam is a pretty sympathetic antagonist. The bard and mercenary [and for the life of me, I can’t remember WHY the mercenary is so long-lived] and their little ghost friend all finish their fight, but it ends up being against their former ally turned Szass Tam lieutenant instead of Tam himself. All part of making Tam the “not really the bad guy” bad guy.

Because I’ve enjoyed the majority of Byer’s work in the Forgotten Realms universe, I’m thinking I’ll go track down the rest of his stuff and put it into my tbr pile instead of just some random FF trilogy/series like I have been doing. We’ll see if he can continue to entertain.

Undead (The Haunted Lands #2) (Forgotten Realms)

145670c19b6ae5361ae1d5b4e084e5d7This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Undead

Series: The Haunted Lands

Author: Richard Byers

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 352

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The battle for Thay continues. Tsazz Tam obviously has some ulterior motive in taking over Thay, but we the readers aren’t privy to it.

With cunning and treachery, Tsazz Tam takes out the other rulers even as they flee.

The story is told from the losing side though, so it is quite interesting.

 

My Thoughts:

In many ways, Tam is a sympathetic character even while being the antagonist. It makes reading this trilogy just a tiny bit different and I like that.

The 2 other main characters are now entwined and so they’re not nearly so different as in the previous book. The vampire girlfriend is much more interesting than she was just as a maiden in distress. The revenge ridden mercenary just exudes mindless hatred and the griphon rider has definitely developed as a leader.

The battles were awesome with huge amounts of magic getting thrown around. Tsazz makes a deal with a god and pledges his soul in the bargain. Once again, he knows something we don’t and he hints that he’s got the better of the deal. At the same time that all of this is going on Mystra is killed by Shar and the other god previously mentioned [I forget his name to be honest] and the plague of blue fire starts running across Faerun. Magic is wonky, in a land filled with undead. It was more than zombies and vampires and Byers does a great job of coming up with imaginative ideas.

Good times!

Unclean (The Haunted Lands #1) (Forgotten Realms)

3265f183a696710a1f8bb08b61eccf6fThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

Title: Unclean

Series: The Haunted Lands

Author: Richard Lee Byers

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 352

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Following a griffin rider/mage, a mercenary and the machinations of several Red Wizards of Thay, including Szass Tam.

Some power is raising hordes of undead, some not seen for centuries and invading the Kingdom of Thay. The griffin rider is the survivor of 2 attacks and becomes a de facto general in the new army raised to fight the hordes. The mercenary is trailing a band of rogue Red wizards who have taken his betrothed, along with hundreds of others, for experimentation. And the Wizards council is playing games as Szass Tam, the lich wizard, attempts the long game of taking over Thay.

 

My Thoughts:

This was pretty standard fare. There seemed to be a couple more POV’s than I was used to in a Forgotten Realms book but since they all advanced the story, it made for the scope of the story to be told in a wider sense. It worked even while annoying me for not staying strictly with 2-3 characters like I am used to in a FR book.

My issue [and I always seem to have at least one with any of these churned out stories] was the plot line dealing with the mercenary and his kidnapped love interest, who ends up being turned into a super vampire. His pov and adventures added nearly 1/4 of what we see and while it was necessary, the whole “love interest” part just didn’t ring true. It would have worked better if the love interest was a family member instead of a love interest.

And at the 90% mark, I realized I had already read the end of the story arc in the book The Crimson Gold, a stand alone book in the Rogue series. Which was kind of a downer, as the suspense is gone, but at the same time was neat as I now had a destination already in mind and I just needed to see how the author would get to there.