Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with rumors of war. They speak of tales of strange monsters, creatures of myth, creatures of legend. They do not speak of their secrets. Not then. Not until a chance encounter with a beautiful, sorrowful woman, who bears a magical crystal staff, draws the companions deeper into the shadows, forever changing their lives and shaping the fate of the world.
No one expected them to be heroes.
Least of all, them.
First Look: ***** I wasn't sure what I would think about this one. It didn't look amazing, but I knew there are about a million of these books, so I figured it was worth a shot. I'm still trying to figure out how I can be disappointed after reading this when I had no expectations.
Setting: ***** Yes, there was a rather nice map and all, but I really didn't care about the setting. I wasn't given a reason to care, so I didn't. I didn't find anything special about this word at all--just your too-typical fantasyland. It almost seemed to be borrowing from Lord of the Rings, but...more on that later. A lot more on that later, as a matter of fact.
And besides, the characters never even went to the one place that sounded interesting, that I wanted them to go. Frankly, the whole world should've been smaller so they'd spend less time traveling.
Characters: ***** I had no particular reason to care about the characters, either. They were developed alright, but they were soooooo stereotypical. For example, the moody guy that's been shunned from society (Tanis). The dour, old, rock-like dwarf (Flint). The powerful warrior who isn't the brightest bulb on the tree (Caramon). The sly wizard (Raistlin, though he has the coolest name). The beautiful woman that can do no wrong (Goldmoon). I felt like I'd read about all of these characters before, but with different names.
That being said, Raistlin was the interesting one. I actually started to care about him near the end, but I was disappointed because I never got to learn his full story. I really enjoyed reading about Tasslehoff's character, and he did make for some interesting comic relief.
Plot: ***** Meh. There was a war about to start, but since I didn't really care about the characters, I had trouble caring about the war itself. My main problem was that the characters spent way too much time traveling. As in, that was seventy-five percent of the book, or at least, that's what it felt like. We could've done with less than half the traveling, and more excitement and intrigue. But no.
Some elements were interesting, but the author(s?) didn't take them as far as they could have. For example, the staff. This awesome staff-thing is introduced, but after a while everybody just seemed to forget it existed, even though half the kingdom was looking for it.
Uniqueness: ***** It borrowed a lot from Lord of the Rings. A lot. Alot.* And that's coming from someone who likes their high fantasy a tad on the archetypal side.
Writing: ***** The main thing that bothered me was all the telling. There was a huge amount of telling, and to be honest, it took away from the story. I kept getting distracted by it. I also got distracted by some odd phrases here and there, where I had to read them twice to make sure I understood.
And the print was so small on the page! It fried my brain and made me feel like I was reading at half the speed that I usually read. And I found a pretty severe typo.
Not-so-great: I have no idea what the title has to do with the story.
Total Score: This wasn't a great read for me. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't spectacular, either. The characters did nothing to make me care about them, and they all felt like they were on loan from the Lord of the Rings cast. The action wasn't all that exciting. The whole thing didn't feel very original at all. I might try a few more, if I'm really bored, but otherwise, I'd pass on this one.
*Click that link. Now.