Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book Review: The Herald

The Herald by Ed Greenwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of The Herald through NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

The Herald is the 6th book and final of The Sundering series published by Wizards of the Coast and is written by Ed Greenwood. In this final book, Mystra (the Goddess of Magic) and Shar (the Nightseer) finally get to have their ultimate battle. Shar's army of Shades are pitted against the elves of faerun as Shar wishes to drain the magic that surrounds and protects Myth Drannor in order to use the power to destroy Mystra.

Mystra's chosen, however, are trying their best to make sure that the Shadovar do not win. Elminster and Storm Silverhand, along with El's protege Amarune, are trying their best to secure all the magic around many of the most powerful anchors they can find. However, because Telamont Tanthul the Most High and ruler of Thultanthar (the enclave of the Shades) is trying to make use of all the powerful magic he could find, Elminster decides to visit the vast libraries of Candlekeep in order to find out how to go about his mission.

In Candlekeep, El finds that the Shadovar has gained entry and is murdering monks and taking their place by changing their appearance to that of the deceased monks. And, he finds that the Moonstars are actually trying to destroy all the powerful magic protecting Candlekeep to thwart any attempts to drain or steal it. In the confusion, El meets with a powerful Lich, Larloch, who dupes El into channeling the power of the wards of Candlekeep for himself.

Meanwhile, Storm goes to Myth Drannor to help the elves fight off the seemingly unending supply of mercenary armies hired by the Shades. The Elves are losing the battle though they staunchly refuse to give up. But as the battle rages, specially trained agents of Tanthul are hard at work draining all the energy stored withing the many vaults of the Elven crypts.

The Herald is actually somewhat confusing. For one thing, it is not a stand alone book and it will be very difficult for someone who has not read the earlier books to understand what is going on. Another thing is that there is simply too many things going on all at once. The narrative shifts so many times between so many different characters that the reader needs to takes things really slow to keep up.

To be perfectly honest, the first part of the book drags. It is only after El arrives at Candlekeep that the pace gains some momentum. There are also way too many characters that I was almost dizzy at times. I have no idea why Mirt and Manshoon suddenly had to appear as their existence seems to have no impact on the battle for either Candlekeep or Myth Drannor. They seem to be just inserted in the middle of things.

Having said that, The Herald does manage to keep me glued the moment the battle at Myth Drannor really gets going. The idea that Storm Silverhand is able to use her living hair to help her slay enemies is interesting -- imagine each strand of hair holding a knife or sword!

All in all, The Herald was not really what I was expecting. It did not really deliver a big finish to the series but it was a good ending nonetheless.

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Posted by: Bames Pabla
Bames Live, Updated at: 2:01 PM