D&D novels that are actually readable?

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Hi!

I am looking at reading D&D novels again especially Forgotten Realms novels. The problem I have is I want to find the good ones from the dross. I find Drizzt ones bad and Elminster far too self-congratulory (yes this is my way of pre-empting the Salvatore and Greenwood recommendation).

Are there any further recommendations?
That which does not kill me, makes me stranger.
This is of interest to me as well.

and like OP I tried... tried to read some Salvatore and couldnt do it.  Maybe im expecting too much from game based novels.  I mean its the same thing for Warhammer novels, Dan Abnett is their version of Salvatore I suppose, but I coudnt finish reading - forgot the name... it was one of the Inquisitor omnibus.  I should probably give them another chance though (both Salvatore and Abnett).

A friend of mine says I should read Steven Erikson's Malazan novels.  Might not be actual D&D, but I was told it was based on his d&d homebrew campaign, not sure if thats true or not.  Anyway, my friend says its actually good writing, he says its up there with Glen Cooks' Black Company, and thats saying alot (to me at least).

Oh also, I just read 2 issues of the IDW D&D comics and thought they were great! (for comics that is...) So maybe its about expectation.  They are light hearted, not too serious, hammy yet campy in a good way.  And thats what is needed in a d&d comicbook.

As for a novel, it might work as well.  I remember enjoying the Myth-Adventure series by Robert Asprin.  The writing was not literary genius, but it was good fantasy comedy, much like the kind of D&d sessions I remember from the past.  I prefer gaming with campy witty fellows, rather than wannabe amateur actor thespians.  I dont know if Robert Asprin is alive, but they should let him write a d&d book or two.

But if I had to choose a serious D&D novel to start reading blindly, this looks promising, but it doesnt come out til tuesday...

Untold Adventures
www.wizards.com/dnd/Product.aspx?x=dnd/p...
If you're willing to look beyond the Forgotten Realms-based novels, the Eberron novel line seems to have a good reputation overall. Pop down to the Eberron setting forum and ask for specific recommendations.

Outside of that... most of the early to mid-era FR novels I've seen suffered from the inclusion of gamespeak or overt rules references in the narrative and even the dialogue, so avoid those.
The 'Dragon Below' & 'Heirs of Ash' Eberron trilogies were both pretty good, IMO.
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This is of interest to me as well.

and like OP I tried... tried to read some Salvatore and couldnt do it.  Maybe im expecting too much from game based novels.  I mean its the same thing for Warhammer novels, Dan Abnett is their version of Salvatore I suppose, but I coudnt finish reading - forgot the name... it was one of the Inquisitor omnibus.  I should probably give them another chance though (both Salvatore and Abnett).

A friend of mine says I should read Steven Erikson's Malazan novels.  Might not be actual D&D, but I was told it was based on his d&d homebrew campaign, not sure if thats true or not.  Anyway, my friend says its actually good writing, he says its up there with Glen Cooks' Black Company, and thats saying alot (to me at least).





I found Eisenhorn to be the better of the two. Ravenor is the other. But the difference between Abnett and Salavator is that Abnett has a vocabulary and is not afraid to use it. I tried reading Pirate King and couldn't get past the first 20 pages. It was clumsily written segueway for nonsensical combat.

But yes, what about Forgotten Realms novels? Or are we saying that outside of two hallmark writers. Nothign worth reading?
That which does not kill me, makes me stranger.
Ditto, but those are Eberron awesomeness, rather than FR awesomeness. Uhhhhh......Elaine Cunningham wrote some good books, IIRC.....I never really bothered much with the Realms, sorry.

edit: Eisenhorn is a fantastic trilogy, and I'm a fan of Abnett. He's quality. Also for 40k, I like Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphus Cain books. However, those are both sci-fi, so its not really what the OP is looking for. However, I guess it is a similar problem; a lot of 40k books are drivel, as are quite a few D&D books. To be honest, some of the Eberron books are crap as well, though there are quite a few more that are just all sorts of fantastic.

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The Lynn Abbey Darksun ones are good and an old one called the Iron Throne from the TSR days for Birthright.

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I found the first two series of the Dragonlance chain to be enjoyable when I read them when they came out.  It might depend on your age, however, as they haven't aged well in my mind.  But good for light popcorn reading if you will.

I would also mention Paul Edwin Zimmer.  He wrote four books before he died & built a marvelous world that was heavily influenced by the Lovecraftian mythos.  It isn't a D&D book but the combat portions are written by a man who understood them and we loved them so much in high school that a friend created a whole D&D campaign based on Zimmer's books.

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I quite enjoyed 'The Dreaming Dark' trilogy. It's Eberron based.
I want to chime in and say that the Drizz't novels I read were a huge waste of time, except for the very first one, which is a brilliant book. The author manages to describe the underground setting and perverted society in vivid detail and makes it very believable. If you have wondered, how can evil societies actually survive? This book has the answer.


The follow up novels were just really average or below average fantasy stuff. Clearly the result of wanting to cash in on the frenzy the first book has caused. The author should have worked harder on creating a series that is as strong as the first book. He didn't take the time to do it right, unfortunately.  
Generally speaking, any D&D author who has gone on to write for Star Wars  is worthwhile (Troy Denning, Elaine Cunningham, and I can't remember the rest), but the best work is done outside the Realms.  The best Realms novel from a literary standpoint is actually one of Salvatore's (Spine of the World) but it's too depressing to reread.  The one that I found most fun, though not very well written, was the first Moonshae book.  I'm told by my wife that the Avatar series is good, but I've never read it so I can't confirm.

Across all lines, Don Bassingthwaite is by far the best writer in their stable.
I started reading  Swordmage but honestly umm couldnt get in to it and I like Swordmages.... sigh.
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The follow up novels were just really average or below average fantasy stuff. Clearly the result of wanting to cash in on the frenzy the first book has caused.



Just pointing out that the 'first' book was actually the fourth to be written, and he's acknowledged that the Icewind Dale trilogy is not very good.  The Legacy of the Drow series is pretty good in an 'epic war movie' kind of way, as is the Hunter's Blades trilogy except that it ends without actually resolving its main plot.  The second two books of the Transitions series are also good (the best part of the first book is the prologue).  And the one where he's a pirate hunter is just fun (I forget the title).

Drizzt himself is a somewhat two-dimensional character, as are most of the main party other than Regis, but the real power in Salvatore's work is the ancillary characters (Pwent, Harkle Harpell, Deudermont, Robillard, the Bouldershoulders, and especially Jarlaxle).
I am actually reading a pretty good realms Novel at the moment called Mistshore. Its part of the Ed Greenwood presents Waterdeep standalone series, but he did not write anything in it. Mistshore is pretty good and has some great great characters that are not just your typical adventurers including a pretty cool Butcher character. I also read some Ravenloft recently and read I Strahd which is actually pretty good too. Their good books, as their good tiding me over till "A Dance With Dragons" in July.
The one series that I can read again and again is the Cleric Quintet. The descriptions, combat and characters are really well done and well worth the read.
I remember the Moonshae series being enjoyable (Darkwalker on Moonshae, Black Wizards and Darkwell), but outside of those, any Realms novel I've ever tried to read loses me.  I want to enjoy them, but just cannot get into them.  Salvatore is (to me) the most over-rated writer out there.

If you look beyond the Realms, the original Dark Sun books are pretty solid.  Troy Denning and Lynn Abby in particular.

And if you look at Dragonlance, the orginal three Dragonlance books (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night and Dragons of Spring Dawning) are all very fun, light, fast reads that really do have a very "D&D" feel to them.  Great fun.  And the follow up is solid as well (Time of the Twins, War of the Twins and Test of the Twins).

After those first six, they can be hit or miss, but there are some fun ones sprikled in there (I liked Kaz the Minotaur and Darkness and Light)
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Oh, side note, as a previous poster mentioned, if you really want and engrossing read, with richley detailed characters, Glenn Cooks Black Company series is the way to go.  I only read the first Malazen book, and found it to be difficult to follow, though enjoyable.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old...we grow old because we stop playing" George Bernard Shaw "That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger" Friedrich Nietzsche "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 My Gaming Sites World of Shantryl, a high fantasy homebrew world Darksun, the Lands of Athas
I highly recommend the follow book series:

The Dresden Files

Elric of Melnibone

George R. R. Martin books

The first six books in the Dragonlance Series (Chronicles and the Twins Trilogy)

Forgotten Realms (Return of the Archwizards Series)

The Lord Soth books when he was in Ravenloft (Knight of the Black Rose and Spectre of the Black Rose.)

Forgotten Realms (Realms of Infamy, Realms of Valor, and Realms of Magic).

There are a few more but this is all I can think of at the moment.
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I enjoyed the Cormyr saga by Ed Greenwood and others.  The first book was especially interesting for the way it revealed the history of the nation via 'flashbacks'.  I really liked the story that tells why there are lots and lots of cats running wild in Cormyr ;).
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I've really enjoyed the Core World novels thus far – The Mark of Nerath, The Seal of Karga Kul, and Temple of Yellow Skulls.  Notably, there are Dark Sun and Forgotten Realms novels that tie into these (The Abyssal Plague crosses the boundary of three worlds), but I haven't checked those ones out yet. 

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I really liked two of the lesser known dragonlance series.  Children of the plains (Dragonlance barbaian trilogy) is about a barbarian community that lives near a good dragon and that was a different take on a d&d novel.  I thought the defenders of magic trilogy was fun too, where the first novel focuses on a wizard going through his apprentiship.
But yes, what about Forgotten Realms novels? Or are we saying that outside of two hallmark writers. Nothign worth reading?


I read a lot of D&D fiction as a teen, and to be brutally honest, not a page has stood the test of time. There may be a gem or two hidden among those I didn't read, but I doubt it. Industry fiction lends itself to formulaic plots and predictable characters, plain and simple.

If you're ready to branch out into other fantasy fiction, I can recommendation you some great books.
Across all lines, Don Bassingthwaite is by far the best writer in their stable.


+1. I can' t believe I forgot to mention this. I tend to buy books by Bassingthwaite on sight, because they are always engrossing.

If you'd like some unofficial D&D fiction with an old-timey fantasy feel, I enjoyed most of 'The Deed of Packsenarrion' by Elizabeth Moon. 'The Kingkiller Chronicle' by Patrick Rothfuss is all sorts of fantastic, though only the first two books of the trilogy are out, and is only vaguely D&D-ish in a few respects.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
I highly recommend the follow book series:



George R. R. Martin books




Its obvious your not familiar with Martins entire bibliography, but this would be confusing as a reccomendation. Martin does not just write or have written " A Song of Ice and Fire." First and foremost he has written several stand alone novels, which are "Fevre Dream", "Windhaven(Co written with Lisa Tuttle", "Dying of the Light" and "The Armageddon Rag". He also co wrote "Hunters Run" and also created the "Wild Cards" Series, which he is head editor of and usually this long running Super Hero series is comprised of other stories written by other authors with martin Contibuting his own stories, but basically he is the head editor and overseer of that series. Also as for "A Song of Ice and Fire", alot of people also forget about the three Dunk and Egg Novellas that he wrote as well. These are set in the Ice and Fire universe and take a place a good century or so before the beggining of "Game of Thrones." He has also written numerous other novellas and short stories and spent a whole decade in Hollywood writing for television. You should suggest a specific series as opposed to just Martin books because he has written alot more other than Ice and Fire.

Hi! I am looking at reading D&D novels again especially Forgotten Realms novels. The problem I have is I want to find the good ones from the dross. I find Drizzt ones bad and Elminster far too self-congratulory (yes this is my way of pre-empting the Salvatore and Greenwood recommendation). Are there any further recommendations?



I love Richard Bakers Moonsea Series. The hero is a Swordmage. Each book is an enjoyable read.

I havent read the recent Bruce Cordells stuff yet, but theyr on my reading list.
This isnt D&D, but I highly recommend this less-known author,

Kathleen Ann Goonan

Her book: Light Music



It is set in the near future, and it extrapolates from the reallife cutting-edge scientific technologies that are going on now.

On the one hand, the future setting is realistic. On the other hand, it is surreal. I feel it is the first science fiction book that authentically portrays how *weird* (and fun) our reallife future is going to be.

Almost all of the other scifi authors cheat. Either 'postapocalypse' novels destroy the technology, or else 'alternate universes' lack it. In other words, most scifi authors cant imagine what its really going to be like.

This is a rare book that honestly tries to imagine what the reallife future will be like. Theres some background alien activity that isnt necessarily realistic, but it sets a mood thats ok for the story. The setting itself tho, is eyeopening.

Googan writes one of those books that really changes how I look at our world.
Hi! I am looking at reading D&D novels again especially Forgotten Realms novels. The problem I have is I want to find the good ones from the dross. I find Drizzt ones bad and Elminster far too self-congratulory (yes this is my way of pre-empting the Salvatore and Greenwood recommendation). Are there any further recommendations?



I liked Drizzt, when I was 9.  He hasn't aged well.

My recommendation:  Avoid D&D-branded novels.  They are mostly.... not good, aimed at adolescents and missing, mostly enjoyable by pre-teens.

That's not to say there aren't readable ones in the bunch, but you should observer the same rule that all game-tie-in fiction must observe:  As soon as you name a game mechanic, especially if you Capitalise It, the story is over and the book sucks.
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This isnt D&D, but I highly recommend this less-known author,

Kathleen Ann Goonan

Her book: Light Music



It is set in the near future, and it extrapolates from the reallife cutting-edge scientific technologies that are going on now.

On the one hand, the future setting is realistic. On the other hand, it is surreal. I feel it is the first science fiction book that authentically portrays how *weird* (and fun) our reallife future is going to be.

Almost all of the other scifi authors cheat. Either 'postapocalypse' novels destroy the technology, or else 'alternate universes' lack it. In other words, most scifi authors cant imagine what its really going to be like.

This is a rare book that honestly tries to imagine what the reallife future will be like. Theres some background alien activity that isnt necessarily realistic, but it sets a mood thats ok for the story. The setting itself tho, is eyeopening.

Googan writes one of those books that really changes how I look at our world.


Personally while I respect your opinion, I myself did not like it. The reason is that the book was a bit more monotnous and repetitive. While I appreciate the vision of the future she wrote, I did not care for it myself. It seemed a little pretentious as well, and also the scientific babble was way too overbearing, while this can be said of other authors,  I thought that her babble did not add to the story but was more fluff.

This isnt D&D, but I highly recommend this less-known author,

Kathleen Ann Goonan

Her book: Light Music



It is set in the near future, and it extrapolates from the reallife cutting-edge scientific technologies that are going on now.

On the one hand, the future setting is realistic. On the other hand, it is surreal. I feel it is the first science fiction book that authentically portrays how *weird* (and fun) our reallife future is going to be.

Almost all of the other scifi authors cheat. Either 'postapocalypse' novels destroy the technology, or else 'alternate universes' lack it. In other words, most scifi authors cant imagine what its really going to be like.

This is a rare book that honestly tries to imagine what the reallife future will be like. Theres some background alien activity that isnt necessarily realistic, but it sets a mood thats ok for the story. The setting itself tho, is eyeopening.

Googan writes one of those books that really changes how I look at our world.


Personally while I respect your opinion, I myself did not like it. The reason is that the book was a bit more monotnous and repetitive. While I appreciate the vision of the future she wrote, I did not care for it myself. It seemed a little pretentious as well, and also the scientific babble was way too overbearing, while this can be said of other authors,  I thought that her babble did not add to the story but was more fluff.



Heh. The difference is tho. Her 'technobabble' is plausible.

Whether it is plausible is not is irrelevant when I read a book I enjoy. If it adds nothing to the story, it is a chore to read. It brought down the story for me, and killed it. Perhaps they are good ideas, and plausible, but at that cost it killed the book for me.
Hi! I am looking at reading D&D novels again especially Forgotten Realms novels. The problem I have is I want to find the good ones from the dross. I find Drizzt ones bad and Elminster far too self-congratulory (yes this is my way of pre-empting the Salvatore and Greenwood recommendation). Are there any further recommendations?


Didn't read the rest of the thread, so I apologize if it has been posted already, but I enjoy reading Thomas M. Reid. Right now I'm reading his Empyrean Odyssey, not too bad IMHO. 
Magus,

Its possible Googans strength as a writer is as a 'world builder'.

While I found some of the decisions of the hero frustrating, her sabotage is interesting enough. I suspect the character is subverting the archetype of Eve in Paradise. Not wanting the ideal, or at least unsatisfied with only a partial ideal.



In any case, she is the only author of her kind. The only other one I know who seems close is Cory Doctorow, in his Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.
Magus,

Its possible Googans strength as a writer is as a 'world builder'.

While I found some of the decisions of the hero frustrating, her sabotage is interesting enough. I suspect character is subverting the archetype of Eve in Paradise. Not wanting the ideal, or at least unsatisfied with only a partial ideal.



In any case, she is the only author of her kind. The only other one I know who seems close is Cory Doctorow, in his Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.



Perhaps, I just found it distracting from the main narrative. Perhaps I did not find her world personally interesting, because I love world building mysefl. I mean I enjoy Martin, I enjoy Tolkein, and I enjoy the realms, and those are all examples of great world building. But again its good you enjoyed the book. I am outspoken, and personally I did not enjoy it, but if you did its good. While I do not agree with you, unlike most people on internet forums this one included I know people are different and we enjoy different things.
Perhaps I did not find her world personally interesting, because I love world building mysefl.



Heh. Then I think you should worry. Because I suspect the reallife is going to be something like that world that Goonan describes. Something truly difficult to imagine.

Maybe you should consider writing some novels yourself? To plant the seeds of a future that you yourself can live with?

Perhaps I did not find her world personally interesting, because I love world building mysefl.



Heh. Then I think you should worry. Because I suspect the reallife is going to be something like that world that Goonan describes. Something truly difficult to imagine.

Maybe you should consider writing some novels yourself? To plant the seeds of a future that you yourself can live with?



Heh, well if I donot like the future world, than I will do what I do now...play DnD to escape the real world lol.

Awesome response!
Heh Now while I did not agree with you on the book, it was nice that I am not the only one that read it. I have been to tons of forums and I never met anyone else that has read it.
Hi! I am looking at reading D&D novels again especially Forgotten Realms novels. The problem I have is I want to find the good ones from the dross. I find Drizzt ones bad and Elminster far too self-congratulory (yes this is my way of pre-empting the Salvatore and Greenwood recommendation). Are there any further recommendations?


The War of the Spider Queen books take place in the Forgotten Realms, do not feature Drizzt or Eleminster, and are very well written. I highly recommend them.
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