Well here we are at the end of another great Realms novel. It looks like a big showdown here and there are still quite a few pieces of the story that should fall in place as Cerest and Icelin come together.
This forum will cover Chapters 18-21 and the Epilogue, pages 252-310. Remember you can use this forum for overall thoughts on the book as well.
Thanks to everyone who participated and to Jaleigh who was great once again!
Another great Jaleigh Johnson novel comes to an end! I enjoyed Mistshore and I’d like to learn more about Icelin and Ruen’s future adventures.
The thing I liked best about this novel was the gritty feeling of Mistshore. After reading the story, I feel like I can “check off” another area of Waterdeep as a location I’m familiar with – the sights, sounds, people, dangers, and opportunities. Similar to the cemetery City of the Dead I think Jaleigh did a great job introducing the reader to this fabulous part of Waterdeep.
My only complaint? I felt that the very end of the story – the spellplague burst and death of Cerest- was just a *little* anticlimactic. It’s hard for me to explain and put a finger on just what it was, but the climax left me just a little unsatisfied. The end of Unbroken Chain was just so amazing, I guess maybe I was expecting a mind-blowing finale along the same lines and I just didn’t get that feeling of wonder and awe I had hoped for. This is only a minor issue – the story is still an enjoyable page-turning experience.
Thanks to Jaleigh and all who participated in this great discussion!
Well, now that we're at the end, I can touch on some behind-the-scenes stuff that I couldn't earlier for fear of spoilers.
First, we talked a little bit about the sequel during the discussion, but I can now confirm (if it wasn't obvious before) that Icelin, Ruen, and Sull will all be returning for Spider and Stone in November. They'll be confronting not just the drow but also a dwarf king and a city that stands on the brink of destruction. But, you know, Icelin's used to being in over her head by now. And gold piece, you might get a little bit more of a sense of stuff blowing up and big climaxes in that book. Mistshore is a very personal story, so the climax is very focused and less epic than the Unbroken Chain series.
The second thing, in talking about Sull getting hurt in the previous section--I can say now that Sull almost didn't survive the book as I first wrote it. My original intention was that Sull would probably not survive that last encounter. I changed my mind because a) Obviously, I love Sull, and by the time I got to writing that scene I knew I was too attached to him to kill him off. I freely admit that I'm often reluctant to kill characters--it cuts off all possibility of continuing their stories and exploring their lives--so I only do it if I feel it serves the story well. But if it does serve the story, I'll do it no matter how much it hurts. But in this case, b) I also didn't kill Sull because I felt it would have taken too much away from Icelin. She needs Sull, and I thought I'd already put her through enough pain. So that's the story behind that scene. What do you all think? Should Sull have died a heroic death in that encounter, or are you happy he lived to adventure another day? *sharpens her meat cleavers in case anyone picks option 1*
Since we're at the end, let me say that I've thoroughly enjoyed hearing your thoughts as always, and thanks for sticking with the book through the crazy busy times of summer. I also haven't forgotten the book giveaway! Like last time, I put the names of all the discussion participants in a hat and the winner of the ebook copy of Spider and Stone is: our fearless leader, Dadocollin! I'm afraid you'll have to wait until November to get your copy, Dado, but in the meantime, please shoot me a private message with your email address and what type of device you have so I can send you the book when it's released.
Again, thanks to everyone for participating, and feel free to keep firing off questions and discussion on these or previous chapters. I'll probably be hanging around until Marcy kicks me out for Skein of Shadows.
So we have come to the end of another enjoyable Realms novel. It is sad to see some of these books that I have really enjoyed reading come to an end, but it is exciting when you get to start thinking about their sequels that we could be reading very soon.
I am very glad that I found this book club and joined up. For one, I have enjoyed discussing the novels with the group because you get other people's takes on things like the characters in the stories and their mysterious pasts. Second, I have really enjoyed having the authors involved to give us some of the "behind the scenes" of the creation of the novels and also how they feel about the characters and the things that happen to them. Lastly, it forces me to pick up novels that I might not normally grab. I am one of those creatures of habit that usually reads books by authors that I have read before and know I enjoy. I usually don't grab a novel by someone I have never read unless someone recommends it, or lends it to me. Because ofyou guys I have been able to add some new names to my list of authors that I know I enjoy reading. Thanks
On to the book now. I enjoyed the ending because it was much different than what I expected. Like Goldpiece, I expected a more climatic battle between Icelin and Cerest. It didn't happen that way and while I agree that it did seem a bit "anti-climatic", I enjoyed it because I wasn't expecting it. Did anyone else have this sad, low, classical composition playing in your head as Cerest lay there dead.
The best part of the book for me was Mistshore itself. The setting at times almost seems like it could have been it's own character. This place just seemed so very alive to me. Thinking of the plights of some of the residents there and maybe some of the fiendish acts of some of those hiding from the Watch, really made Mistshore this place of mystery and terror for me. I loved the setting of the story and hope that I may be able to read more about it in the future, either in a novel, or in a roleplaying supplement.
Thanks again everyone for a great experience with another great Forgotten Realms novel. Thanks Jaleigh for taking part and sharing some background and insights into the book.
Talk to you all in a week or two when we start Skein of Shadows.
Yey, I won! I won! (Sorry, I rarely win things.) I sent you an email, Jaleigh.
I think I liked the ending in this section a lot. Personally (and I'm not sure entirely why), I didn't need a big, climactic battle between Icelin and Cerest. I really like the touch with his face going back to normal. I guess the door is open for Cerest to be brought back in the future, maybe as some sort of undead. I liked Cerest because he had twisted motivations, but he wasn't purely evil. I think he might be a good tool for Lolth in her search for magic artifacts to create the Demon Weave. I wonder if we'll see the Lock sisters again. They specialize in finding magic artifacts as well. Now, I know they're elves (the enemy of drow), but they might find an interesting place in this whole thing as well.
I'm torn on Sull. I'm fine with him surviving and going along on the next adventure. If it were me, I might have killed him off, which would have changed to tone of the ending. Of course, Jaleigh would have had to know there was going to be a sequel to do this effectively. Otherwise, it would have been an unhappy ending, which isn't good for a one-off novel. This is why I'd like to see some return to signing authors for a trilogy. I think it provides for better multi-novel planning. With Sull dead, you might have a more Empire Strikes Back feel to the sequel. Not that this couldn't be set up with his capture or something, but I guess I like the desperate feel to Icelin - she's fighting for her life on a limited timeline. It creates a desperation for her character and for Ruen which drives the plot along. I'm interested to see the development of Icelin and Ruen, and wonder how this development could go with/without Sull.
I agree with the others that Mistshore as a setting was one of the highlights of the book. The setting as a focus was one of my favorite parts of the Waterdeep series. As Forgotten Realms shifts with the Sundering series to put more control of the world back in the players hands, I think novels focusing on things players can use (like a vibrant setting) are important.
Thanks again to Jaleigh for coming back to the Book Club. I know it wasn't easy with GenCon and all the distractions this time of year. We'd love to have you back again for Spider and Stone!
For all of you readers out there, we'll be starting with Introductions & Questions on Skein of Shadows next week.
Well, I did a lousy job of sticking to schedules for this one, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book. You can predict the path of some novels from the outset (and that needn't be a criticism; some of the best books build an obvious momentum that drives them forward) whereas Mistshore kept me guessing. The characters don't noticeably 'level up' during the course of their adventure; in many ways, they're simply lucky enough to escape with their lives.
As others have remarked, the last battle came as a bit of a surprise; I'd been expecting a more physical confrontation with Cerest, but in many ways it makes more sense that Icelin wins the battle with her wits and in her mind - the unlocking of the memories of her origin lead to Cerest's defeat and suggest that Icelin might be able to come to terms with the spellplague. Icelin doesn't conveniently discover the solution to her spellplague in the final act; instead she'll start the journey towards the sequel physically weaker, but with greater hope.
I'm pleased that Sull survived; I didn't really feel that the time was right for him to die (although as I read the section, I wasn't convinced he was going to make it). I used to think that killing off characters might be an easy way to provoke emotion in the reader, but now I think it's not something to be done lightly. (In fact, this has been influenced by my experiences of RPG campaigns - if the death of an interesting character doesn't have consequences for the rest of the world, or a message to convey, the illusion of depth is shattered.)
Talking of depth, I think my favourite part of the book was the section with Kaelin and his ghostly theatre troupe - I loved the shift in tone and the otherworldly nature of it all, and the way that there was a whole separate pocket of society running along in the background that Icelin and her party just happened to interrupt. I think Icelin, Ruen and Sull made a nicely non-conventional group, and Jaleigh did a fantastic job of bringing Mistshore alive and giving it great character. Jaleigh - thanks very much for joining in - I look forward to reading Spider and Stone!
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