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Book Title: Mortal Consequences|
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Reader ratings: 7.9
The author of the book: Clayton Emery
Edition: Wizards of the Coast
Date of issue: February 3rd 1998
ISBN 13: 9780786906833
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.38 MB
Read full description of the books:
So our heroes Sunbright and Knucklebones return from the second book of the trilogy- Candlemas is also here in a minor role, and we pick up almost exactly where the ending of Dangerous Games left off. Sunbright and Knuckles are traveling in search of Sunbright’s tribe, the Rengarth Barbarians. Meanwhile a “forgotten foe” (as stated by the back cover) seeks revenge on our protagonists.
Now I’d like to praise this book for having, possibly, the most focused story of the trilogy. Where the first book was awkwardly lurching from event to event, with the reader having little idea of where the story was going, and the second being a endlessly forward-driving romp towards the inevitable end of the story (with several awkward asides), Mortal Consequences maintains focus on the main goals of both the protagonists and antagonist straight through to the end.
However, this does not mean that there aren’t issues with the book. Despite the focus, there were several parts that hit a lull, and had me barely wanting to turn the page. Emery knew where he was going, but he at times goes through the doldrums to get there. I think this issue could have been fixed with some simple abbreviation at these parts, getting the reader back to the more interesting parts of the book sooner. That said, once the reader climbs out of these lulls the book is enjoyable until that next the next comes along, but it pales a little in comparison to the page turner that was the second book.
I enjoyed this book, but found that over the course of the series, I simply don’t care too much for the characters, and that in combination with the sometimes lacking pace, leaves this book with a lower score than it could have achieved otherwise. Overall, I’d say the Netheril trilogy is skippable. If you’re interested in the Fall of the Netheril, I’d actually recommend the AD&D Sourcebook Netheril: Empire of Magic and the tie-in adventure module How the Mighty Are Fallen. These two books tell the tales of the Netherese better than Emery did in his second book, albeit in less of a story and more historical or informational way than a novel.
What really brought parts of this book down for me was Sunbright’s brooding. The doldrums I spoke about? They are all parts of the book where Sunbright loses hope and mopes about. I understand that is part of his character (maybe why I really don’t care for him so much), but for the sake of the story, this could have been kept to a minimum. Acknowledge that he’s down in the dumps and move on. I identified with Knucklebones on this. I couldn’t imagine actually having to deal with Sunbright’s emo phases. Now after he comes out of these slumps, the book carries on fine and is actually rather enjoyable, but there is three different times when he’s just depressed for a chapter or two, which for me, is three or four chapters too many. With this simple problem addressed, this book could have been 4 stars.
Then there’s the characterization of Knucklebones, which I think again takes a turn for the worse. In the first half, maybe the first 3/4s of Dangerous Games, she’s represented as this cold, hard survivor. I understand that being around Sunbright, her lover, will bring out a softer side of this character. However, I cannot standby as a strong female character is reduced to nothing but complaining about feeling alone while with her mopy man. I understand that having someone you love be depressed will put a damper on your day, but this is ALL Knuckles cares about (aside from finding somewhere to belong, which I also understand, but…). This is what I think is Emery’s biggest weakness: character development. Sometimes he stumbles onto some great character moments, but overall, his characters just aren’t compelling or devolve into two dimensional stereotypes of character.
Wow, I didn’t really mean to rip Emery a new one in this video. I did enjoy the book, but… Anyway, that addressed, let’s move on to what I enjoyed about the book.
I really enjoyed the monster bits. I love how it turned out to be Sysquemalin from the first book -although I totally saw this coming from a mile away, in part due to the description of the book on the back cover. Nevertheless, the scenes where she was unleashing hell one one poor soul or the other were parts of the book that kept me turning the page. From her using the One King’s image to cause havoc for Netheril to her attack on Polaris giving us kind of a transition between the high and regal Polaris of the first book and the overweight and paranoid Polaris of the second, every time I got to read about monster-Sysquemalin, I was a happy reader.
I also enjoyed the parts where Sunbright was actually leading his tribe. Not all the times where they were failing to follow or he was failing to lead, but when he was actually making good decisions for the tribe and convincing his tribe to follow. I really liked the chapter detailing the success of the trifecta of Barbarians, Elves, and Dwarves in the Plains, Forest, and Mountains of their corner of Netheril. All of these parts coming together, it was as if Emery was setting up another story to follow. Like cogs in a clock, Emery described how each element developed the area and set a solid foundation of the groundland culture in Netheril.
The resolution of the book was also a highpoint. Sunbright defeats the monster using a sword crafted by the dwarves and blessed by the elves using elven steal. Of course, the true reason Sunbright was successful was because of the blessings the elves laid on him personally, but at the end of the day, he was successful. Greenwillow’s soul, which seemed to be bothering Knucklebones more than Sunbright, was revealed to be reincarnated in Knuckle (which I called back in the previous book). And finally Sunbright, becomes a true shaman, leaving the heroic fighting behind, and leads his people into the future by becoming horse riders with help of Halil and his horse trainers. All of this, even more, increased my want for a new story using these characters and this setting. Alas, there is no next book, and we will never see the superior story that it seemed Emery was about to tell.
Now we come to Candlemas. Poor, poor Candlemas. I was really hoping we’d get some great interplay between old ‘Mas and Sunbright, and I’m still disappointed that we didn’t. Especially considering the fact that in the last book Emery made great strides towards making them an unlikely duo archetype. Sadly, we see Candlemas for only a very brief time before he is dispatched by the monster. However, I really like his demise in its raw detail. He simply ceases to be. His mind, body, and soul blinking out of existence in his desperate last attempt to escape Sysquemalin. Having it happen so quickly and without recourse, makes a lasting impression. I actually was a fan of Candlemas and his bumbling, and his demise left a gaping hollow where closure should have been. This isn’t a superhero comic book. Characters can die. And permanently. And suddenly. It was just so…. So real. I enjoyed it greatly, even as I lamented the death of a good character.
Lastly, in this novel alone, Emery seems to somewhat abandon the magical side of the setting to focus on telling the story of Sunbright and his barbarians. Magic is still a part of the book, considering the monster-Sysquemalin’s attacks, but it takes a backseat and the story benefits as a result. However, considering the fact that I came into this series hoping to learn more about the Netherese, this comes as bittersweet to me. I still long for a good solid story about the ancient civilization, but I doubt it will ever happen.
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Read information about the authorClayton Emery is an umpteen-generations Yankee, Navy brat, and aging hippie who grew up playing Robin Hood in the forests of New England.
He's been a blacksmith, dishwasher, schoolteacher in Australia, carpenter, zookeeper, farmhand, land surveyor, volunteer firefighter, and award-winning technical writer.
He's a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America.
Clayton lives with his sweetie in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where his ancestors came ashore in 1635.
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