I’ve been reading The Harpers series from the Forgotten Realms books. Next on my list was Crown of Fire, but it required reading the previous book, Spellfire, in order to really know what was going on. So much for an open-ended series of books. By “open-ended” they obviously didn’t mean “standalone”.
Spellfire was a very different book from the rest of the Harpers books in that the monsters were much more vicious — dracoliches, archmages, devils, beholders, and all manner of newbie-slaying critters. It was a decent book overall, but the nonchalance that the epic foes were treated with took a little away from the book. It’s obvious they expect you to have read a Monster Manual from cover to cover and don’t spend too much time on descriptions of creatures, their ferociousness, and all the horrible things they can do to a foe.
Most of the characters in this book are pretty one-dimensional, and the interactions between the main characters (especially Shandril and Narm) are pretty empty. Even so, it’s a good adventure tale and I give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars. I liked it well enough, but wouldn’t read it again. At least now I can read Crown of Fire and continue the Harpers series.
Its funny to hear another perspective on these books that I read so many years ago. I share your opinion of Spellfire and find that Ed Greenwood’s books all share this feeling of uber elite heroism to the point of detracting from the story. His books are worth a read for the first time but I rarely find myself picking them up again. Crown of Fire was a smidge better than Spellfire but its still Ed Greenwood. Its these damn books that got me into MUD coding in the first place. Damn them!