Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SPOILER FREE Book Review - Lord of Runes by Dave Gross

Lord of Runes
By Dave Gross

From the back of the book:
" Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan are no strangers to the occult.  Yet when Varian is bequeathed a dangerous magical book by an old colleague, the infamous investigators find themselves on the trail of a Necromancer bent on becoming the new avatar of an ancient and sinister demigod - one of the legendary Runelords.  Along with a team of mercenaries and adventurers, the crime-solving duo will need to delve into a secret world of dark magic and the legacy of a lost empire.  But in saving the world, will Varian and Radovan lose their souls?"

My thoughts:
My favorite Pathfinder duo are back, and without gushing too much, I think I found my new favorite Pathfinder novel!  For the longest time, Queen of Thorns had been a personal favorite, but this latest novel tops it for a couple of reasons. Queen of Thorns was pretty epic in a number of ways, and really enjoyed the first hand look at the elven lands/culture, but if you've played the Pathfinder ACG, I think you'll definitely find something enjoyable in Lord of the Runes.

As with each of the other novels, the two character's opposing personalities and backgrounds just seem to work well together.  One of my previous complaints in some of the other novels have been that the characters seemed to have forgotten their martial arts experience from Master of Devils, but this time around in Lord of Runes there were several instances and references to that past training, which makes me happy.  To me, those references to past events just add credibility to those past events and training, so I'm glad to see them in there.  Also, as with the past novels, there are plenty of references to events in previous books that you'd miss out on if you skipped them, but shouldn't ruin your enjoyment of the overall story.  With this one, I'm going to highly suggest you read the past books, only because some of the events in Lord of Runes will have a much greater impact if you've developed a connection to the characters.

It also explores one of my favorite fantasy character classes, the Necromancer, as well as the Runelords that I'm somewhat familiar with thanks to the Pathfinder ACG... All pluses in my opinion!  Also as with several of the other books, I really liked this novel's secondary characters, especially Eando and Illyria.  I'd love to at least see Illyria make a return in the next novel!

I really liked the overall story, lots of drama, and lots of significant outcomes for the characters.  That said, the only thing I did not really care for was the final battle on the plains.  It felt a bit anti-climactic in its resolution, but I'm reluctant to say more so I do not ruin anything.  (Hopefully those that read the book will know what I mean by "battle on the plains").  Aside from that one instance, I really enjoyed everything else.

So, there you have it!  Honestly, I think this one beat out Queen of Thorns for the title of "Favorite Pathfinder Novel".  As I mentioned above, good story, great characters, some really tense situations, and setting/lore that I'm a little more familiar with all help to push this one past QoT and into my favorites slot.  If you've read all the others, well, you are probably not going to stop now, are you?  You owe it yourself to read this one!  If you've played the Pathfinder ACG: Rise of the Runelords, then you'll probably enjoy it as well as it serves to breath more life into the Runelords story and setting.  If this would be your first Varian and Radovan book, I'd highly suggest going back and reading some of the other ones first, just to develop a bit of a connection to the characters and to get a sense of their history together.  (At least Queen of Thorns and Master of Devils)  All-in-all, I really enjoyed this one, and look forward to the next Varian and Radovan novel!

Until next time,
- WuhSawBe -

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