Blackstaff Tower Review

June 8, 2009

Alright, this is kind of a cop out I know, but I’m going to start my Monday reviews with a repost of a review I posted back in September. ¬†Some may have read it, but those new to the site (or at least my blog since really everyone is new to this site) I hope will enjoy it. ¬†Without further ado I present to you the repost of my review of “Blackstaff Tower” by Steven E. Schend.

Here’s the first in my hopes of many future reviews.

Blackstaff Tower
by Steven E Schend

Right now I sit at my in-laws. It is 10PM CST and I have just set down Blackstaff Tower, finishing it’s Epilogue with a great smile on my face. This book and Mistshore by Jayleigh Johnson are the first books to give us an inside view of Waterdeep — The City of Spenldors, as it appears in the 4th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Now I hope that last statement does not turn anyone off to this wonderful tale. Whether you love or hate the changes to D&D or the Forgotten Realms, this book is well worth reading.

After the shock that hit me during the Prologue it was actually about two days before I was able to move onto Chapter One (but for that I do truly blame work). I fell in love with Renaer Neverember. He reminded me of me, which one always sees as a positive when picking up a new book. Renaer likes to know things, he researches, he collects, but in the end it’s all about the knowledge and its what makes a difference.

Now for those who are coming in fresh, Khelben Arunsun is dead. He died in the year 1374 – The Year of Lightning Storms while participating in a ritual of high magic to bring about the City of Hope — Rhymanthiin. Upon his death, Tsarra Chaadren took up the mantle of the Blackstaff leading us into the whirlwind that begins this book. I’ll avoid the history lesson further (while I may post some later) except to say at the beginning of the book, Samark Dhanzscul is the fifth to hold the title of Blackstaff.

I went into reading this book sitting of the opinion that I was reading it purely for information … I had no interest whatsoever in what has happened to the Realms. I was expecting the same rich and informative writing that Steven has brought to us in his previous novel (Blackstaff) and his other game materials. I went into this book hoping to see the history of Tsarra Chaadren. Well what can I say except that I was thrown for a loop.

Steven has continued to impress me with his fiction writing (as opposed to game writing — which tends to blur together at times). His references to minor characters of the Realms’ past have always driven me to research … I like knowing what I’m reading about, and this book was no exception. How many people can make me constantly wonder about a penguin?

As for information on Tsarra? It’s there, but as I previously mentioned the book begins with the fifth Blackstaff … it was a small shock to me, but knowing how some things have been torn apart recently it wasn’t completely unexpected. The fact that her history was still gotten across decently with her being deceased for such a long time was impressive.

Now I get back to my previous mentioning about the Forgotten Realms of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. I had no interest in it, and still have very minor interests. Upon finishing this book, not only do I want to do some research on some of the mentioned characters, but I want to dive straight into Misthore, re-read this book, and am seriously considering checking out the rest of the “Ed Greenwood presents Waterdeep” series.

My only complaint on this book is it seems too short. It’s wet my appetite and I want more. The characters were all intriguing and I would love to see Steven write more about them. They are far too interesting to be left alone.

I give this book a 5 out of 5. It is by far one of the best pieces of fiction that was not a sequel that I have read this year. It also includes something unseen in most current fantasy books … a Glossary.

Bravo Steven! As Ed Greenwood says in his introduction — “I couldn’t wait to read it the first time through — and when I was done, I couldn’t wait to read it again.”

Comments are closed.