|Submitted by Steven Wilber |
(May 27, 2007)
As with any anthology, some of the stories in Realms of the Elves were good, some were bad, and some were just average.
The first tale in the books was "Traitors" by Richard Lee Byers. I enjoyed this story as I thought the author did a good job of exploring the conflict between the characters' beliefs and what they learn as the story progresses. The characters were interesting and the story was engaging. (4 stars)
The second story was the "The Staff of Valmaxian" by Philip Athans. This one started out quite good and really grabbed my attention but I found the ending a bit clichéd. Although it was well written, I found this story to be just average. (3 stars)
The third tale in the book, "Necessary Sacrafices" by Lisa Smedman, was my favorite. As others have mentioned this is a tragic tale. You really feel for the main character and see where his road is leading him, but still in the end you are left thinking "no that can't be happening" (5 stars)
The fourth tale was "The Greater Treasure" By Erik Scott de Bie. As Beezer mentioned in his review, this story is the hardest to rate. While the story started out good the characters' motivations were unclear to me. The dialogue was hard to follow and in the end I was left feeling a little disappointed. Overall, just average (2.5 stars)
I enjoyed the fifth story in the collection, "Comrades at Arms" by R.A. Salvatore. But then again I am biased as Salvatore is one of my favorites. I liked that the story was not just about the action. I think the story was a nice bridge between The Two Swords and The Orc King, but might not stand so well on its own. (4 stars)
"Tears so White" by Ed Greenwood was the sixth story and was my least favorite. All action and no substance. The story felt repetitive and the dialogue was not good. (1 star)
Finally, we have "The Bladesinger's Lesson" by Richard Baker. Although a bit clichéd at times, the story is well-written and interesting. The main characters showed development, which I think is hard to do in 50 pages. The dialogue was good and the action well done. I found myself eager to read what would happen next and wondering how the characters were going to get out of their predicament. (4.5 stars)
Overall, I gave the book 3 stars but would definitely recommend it to fans of the Forgotten Realms and fans of R.A. Salvatore.