Although I’ve long been a Dungeons and Dragons player (or, rather, was a D&D player long ago), I have never read any books from the D&D press. I’m not sure why that is… I enjoy enjoy that fantasy and sword & sorcery genres. This, however, gives me a little bit of a clue as to my initial hesitancy… the need for a scorecard to keep track of all the players…
Although this is book 2 in a series, all indications lead to the fact that there is no need for anyone to read book 1 first…it is set in the same realm, but is not part of the same story. Note, please, that this does not come from my having read book one yet — only what I’ve noticed from other reviews on goodreads!
I started out totally captivated. Author Paul S. Kemp hits us with an earth-shattering bang and catches our interest, but I quickly lost hold of that bang as I tried to make sense of who all the different characters were, where in this world they were, and how the stories might ultimately come together. This is not an unusual story-telling technique Diverse characters and diverese stories that ultimately come together), I think Philip Pullman and Roger Zelazny and Kim Stanley Robinson have done this very well. But for some reason, this was a distracting issue with this book.
It took me nearly half way through the book before it captivated me enough that I trusted it would come together and make sense in the end (and it did). But what holds the book together through that point is Kemp’s writing and characters. In fact, it is many of the seemingly minor characters or the ‘villians’ who have been fleshed out by Kemp so nicely that we want to continue reading their story. There is also the wonderful blurring of the lines of black and white and good and evil. There seems to be a little darkness in the good, and possibly a little light in the evil.
The end does manage to bring it all together, but this book is not so much a series of obstacles to get to the ending as it is a following of characters who learn a little more along the way.
Looking for a good book? This book will take some effort, but could be a wonderful read if you give it the chance.
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author: Paul S. Kemp
series: The Sundering, book 2
publisher: Wizards of the Coast
hardcover, 336 pages