Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Herald

The Herald finishes The Sundering -- both the novel series and the actual event. Abeir and Toril finally separate and all is good in the Realms again. First the Shadovar, the offspring of ancient Netheril, need to be stopped, however. The Shades serve Shar and are her last hope to bring her reign onto Toril by draining the Mythals protecting Candlekeep and Myth Drannor to bring down the Weave and power up Shar's own shadowy version of it.

As it should be, the final volume is written by Ed Greenwood. If anyone was the right person to tell the conclusion, it would be Greenwood. For he is the one who created the setting in the first place back in the day before selling the rights to TSR.

The Herald feels like a direct sequel to Greenwood's previous novel, Elminster Enraged. Which on one hand is good for continuation but on the other, a bunch of the characters are of little relevance to the story in this book.

Arclath and Amarune make no difference in defending Myth Drannor from the mercenary army of the Shadovar. Their main purpose seemed to be bringing in some light-hearted joking. Even less of relevance are Mirt and Manshoon who sit idle in Suzail and do not affect the events in any way.

With the exception of the deceased Alassra and Qilue, the Seven Sisters also appear in the book. I guess there were quite a few of Mystra's Chosen still alive after all. (Well, Syluné is not really alive being a ghost and all.) Dove ends up dying on the battlefield, though. I found it bit unsettling that not her sisters nor Elminster get to know of her death.

Short-lived viewpoints in this Greenwood title are populated by various princes of Shade who progress the destruction of Myth Drannor and Candlekeep. I guess Greenwood just does not want or cannot change his style.

I am not sure to whom the book's title refers to. I thought it would be Elminster but I think instead it might be Larloch, a two-thousand years old Netherese lich. He proclaims himself as a herald after all. He also ends up getting destroyed and his plans of becoming a god thus fail. His destruction is caused by The Srinshee -- who was a baelnorn (elven lich) as old as Larloch -- sacrificing herself. That is the two most powerful beings (as far as I know) in The Realms gone. Maybe that puts Elminster closer to the top again.

The Old Mage actually seemed to have a shadow lifted from over him in this book. In The Sage of Shadowdale trilogy he seemed to have grown tired of protecting The Realms and The Weave. I thought we might see his end in this book. But maybe he was just momentarily depressed for losing so much of his might with the Spellplague.

Greenwood has evidently already written another Elminster novel, titled Spellstorm. Judging by its synopsis it is once again of the same old. I do not look too much forward at reading it but I probably will at some point.

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