While this is technically a review, I suggest that the reader take this particular one with a grain of salt. See, I’ve never played the game this book is based on which in turn is based on a long running series. Being a novelization of a video game, I’m trying to keep in mind that it may not be of the same quality as the full-fledged stories in the series. So when I say that this was a solid if forgettable story, that’s a critique of this sub-set based on a game series and not the Riftwar Cycle series itself. I still intend to read the “real” series starting from the beginning and reserve judgement until then.
Being the first in a series, I really felt that I was missing out on a lot of background by not starting from the beginning of the Riftwar Saga. Oh sure there was plenty of exposition but you can’t fit twenty years of story into one novel’s attempt to bring the reader up to speed. For that, the characters suffer as well because it’s hard to truly understand them. I’ve never read a “Book 1″ that felt so unfriendly to a new reader. Setting that aside for a moment, the story itself was decent with a lot of action and mystery. I found switching from one main protagonist to another who pretty much took over the rest of the story, jarring to say the least. A hundred pages of getting to know someone and then you hardly see them again in favor of someone else. That’s near a quarter of the book invested into one character you’re following before they take a bow and fade into the background.
Hopefully sometime in the years to come, I’ll re-read this after catching up with the Riftwar series as a whole. It’ll make more sense and be much more enjoyable. If you’ve played the games, you’ll probably enjoy this novelization of that story. If like me, you are new to the Riftwar saga, set this one aside for a while and start at the beginning.