Dance of the Dead (Ravenloft #3) ★☆☆☆½

danceofthedead (Custom)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
Title: Dance of the Dead
Series: Ravenloft #3
Author: Christie Golden
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Franchise Fiction
Pages: 310
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Raoul Dumont, captain of a paddle boat, steams up and down the rivers of Ravenloft bringing cheer and entertainment to all the small towns he visits. His troupe of actors regular perform a play he has written and Dumont’s young ward, Larissa Snowmane, is growing into her role as the villain of the piece.

However, while staying at an elven town, the main starlet of the show turns up dead and Dumont suspects the Elven Lord. He and the Crew make a run for it and pass through the mists. They come to a small town that Larissa recognizes as the one she grew up in many years ago before her father abandoned her to Dumont’s care.

Dumont begins to show his true colors and tries to take advantage of Larissa. She escapes, meets a young man named Willen and finds out that Dumont has a group of magical creatures as slaves in the hold of his boat. Dumont’s goal is to find a magical creature in this small town and in this he is aided by a Necromancer named Lond. Lond begins turning the crew into zombies that are directly controlled by Dumont. Lond wants out of the town, as he has made an enemy of the Lord of the Manor, a vampiric necromancer of immense power.

Larissa escapes into the swamp, finds out her white hair (hence the name Snowmane) gives her a special connection and is taught by the Swamp Witch. However, before they can attack Dumont or Lond, they must get permission from the Lord of the Manor, as nothing occurs without his personal approval. He teaches Larissa the Dance of the Dead and sends her on her way.

A battle ensues between the gang on the boat and denizens of the swamp. Things aren’t looking good for Larissa’s friends as Lond is just resurrecting them and using them for his side. Larissa dances the Dance of the Dead (which she was told would allow her to control all zombies) only to find out that not only can she control all zombies but she makes zombies of anyone who watches the dance. Willen gets zombified and Lond kills Dumont to try to escape. Lond ends up dying in a contest of wills and Larissa’s group wins.

The book ends with the remaining non-zombies asking Larissa to be the Captain of the Boat and she begins making eyes at one of the men.

 

My Thoughts:

What an utter piece of tripe. This had every cliché and trope possible for “Young Heroine Comes Into Her Own”.

Also, nothing about this seems to actually be in the Realm of Ravenloft. If Dumont could travel willy-nilly through the mists, he could have made himself king. This was just a Grl Power fantasy book with the name “Ravenloft” stamped on it.

A stinker of a book. If the next Ravenloft book is anything close to this I’m done with the series. I always knew this would happen but I have to admit I was hoping it wouldn’t happen until later in the series.

C’est la Vie!

★☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

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Knight of the Black Rose (Ravenloft #2) ★★★☆☆

knightoftheblackrose (Custom)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
Title: Knight of the Black Rose
Series: Ravenloft #2
Author: James Lowder
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 324
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Lord Soth was the highest in the Order of the White Rose. He was brave, virtuous, courageous and was a paragon. Until he committed adultery with an elf maid, had his first wife killed and then in a paroxysm of jealous rage burned his castle down killing his elven wife and new born son. For hundreds of years Soth wandered the land of Krynn as the Black Knight, a cursed, powerful, undead being in the service of the dark goddess. Soth met a beautiful general and even though she died, Soth plotted to bring her back. His plans went awry when he and his seneschal were sucked into the alternate realm of Ravenloft.

Told of a portal that will let him escape, Soth attacks Count Strahd’s enemy, a vampire duke of another portion of Ravenloft. Surviving all attacks, Soth survives only to find the portal is a fake. It leads nowhere. He heads off into the mists to force his way out. The dark gods of Ravenloft present him with a choice, renounce his pride and return to Krynn once again as a warrior of Light, or hold on to his damnable pride and be the owner of the Red Rose, a new portion of Ravenloft. Soth damns himself and vows vengeance against one and all.

 

My Thoughts:

I had read a Forgotten Realms book by Lowder a while ago, the Ring of Winter and it did not impress me. Therefore I lowered my expectations, already pretty low from the first book, and I made the right choice.

The first book was about a noble sun-elf turned vampire but he was still a good guy fighting against Strahd’s machinations. In this book we have someone even worse than Strahd and I was hoping to see some anti-hero action from Strahd. Vampire versus Undead Power Knight. A clash of Dark Titans, powerful destructive magic unleashed across the land. Nope. Strahd is a manipulator and he doesn’t change. He gets Soth to do some dirty work for him instead of clashing with him.

Soth wasn’t bad for a villain. He’s powerful, motivated by pride, hate and lust and yet has never forgotten his origins as a Knight of the White Rose. Unfortunately, he’s also as flat as a pancake. He had a few instances to shine darkly but his power was wasted. I don’t know if I hope he returns as a nemesis to Strahd or not.

Considering that Ravenloft seems to grow at the whim of the unnamed dark gods’ whims, I have this feeling Ravenloft will soon be full up of ultra-powerful badguys, who do nothing. Somebody powerful needs to die and they need to die spectacularly. Killing off gypsies just doesn’t cut it.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Vampire of the Mists (Ravenloft #1) ★★★☆☆

vampireofthemists (Custom)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
Title: Vampire of the Mists
Series: Ravenloft #1
Author: Christie Golden
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 320
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Jander Sunstar was a gold elf that was turned into a vampire 500 years ago. He’s been at the city of Waterdeep living off the insane asylums to slake his blood thirst. He meets a woman named Ana there and tries to make her life better. Something is off though as she doesn’t age in 100 years. Somehow she dies and Jander goes nuts and kills everyone in the asylum. He wanders away moaning and bitching like only a vampire elf could and goes through a mysterious fog bank and ends up in the land of Barovia.

Barovia is a land enshrouded by deadly mist that kills humans who try to wander through it. It is ruled by a Baron Strahd who is also a vampire. Jander has dreams of Ana urging him on to revenge her death and begins his search for her with the Baron’s help. Time passes, Jander gets nowhere and the Baron learns lots and lots from Jander.

Eventually a human gets sick of the vampires running around and with the help of Jander tries to destroy them all, including the Baron. Jander ends up dying, the human fails and Strahd continues his reign in the strangely removed Land of Barovia where the normal rules don’t seem to apply. Strahd is seriously hurt though and is out of commission for years, if not hundreds of years.

 

My Thoughts:

Even though I stopped reading the Forgotten Realms book last year, I had a relapse and figured I’d try this Ravenloft sub-series. It’s all gothic’y horroresque at the level of FR and not Lovecraft or Stoker. A decent time filler that I could poke a boat through the holes in it if I felt like. But I’m feeling rather magnanimous at the moment so I gave it a whole 3 stars. Now no one can ever say Bookstooge wasn’t generous, benevolent and merciful.

I believe that Strahd is a recurring character throughout this series and I thought he was going to be the main character. He is a main character but more of a villain than anything. He is a relatively young vampire and as such doesn’t have the wisdom to make the most of the situation he’s in. Nor does he seem overly concerned about Barovia ever returning to whereever it came from.

Jander Sunstar is also a vampire, but an elven vampire. I was expecting him to either be totally corrupted by his 500 years of being a vampire or to just get more and more bad ass and kick Strahd’s butt. I mean come on, a Vampire Elf? That just sounds cool. Sadly, Jander is a whiner and really isn’t much of a man. He just bends before Strahd like a reed in the wind until he learns that his Ana was a woman Strahd had sought in Barovia and destroyed. Then he gets all angry and whatnot but it doesn’t ring true. And Jander fails. I have a feeling most of these books are going to be adventures about various people/groups who go up against Strahd, and fail. Guess I need to psyche myself up for that.

This was Christie’s first book. However, from what I’ve read of her other stuff, in Star Wars, she hasn’t significantly changer her style or anything, from this one. A solid B-list author who writes well enough for Franchise books.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)