Wednesday, July 31, 2013

And Erevis Cale Is Who?

And Erevis Cale Is Who?

Before I begin let me establish something first. I had zero, none, nada, zip, absolutely no clue who Erevis Cale even was until quite recently. Growing up I played way more than my share of Dungeons & Dragons and I am in no way ashamed to admit that I spent a lot of time doing so within the confines of the Forgotten Realms. I have always had a fondness for the setting and over the years have followed its shifting storylines. And yet somehow I had managed to never notice the stories of one Erevis Cale.

Now, Erevis Cale, for the record is a protagonist penned by none other than Paul S. Kemp. Who, also I should point out I had only recently discovered by reading his Egil and Nix books, which are great by the way. But other than that I hadn’t really read any of his established works. So when I received a random email from the book-brownies over at NetGalley explaining how I had magically been pre-approved for the first two novels in the Sundering Series I was curious to say the least. Especially since Paul S. Kemp wrote the second book in the series and it involves Erevis Cale.

To further explain things let me just say that like many readers I am often reluctant to jump into a long standing series that I have never read from the beginning before. Add to that the fact that it is part of an ongoing epic storyline set to reshape a known setting and I was doubly dubious. Even with the reassurance that each book in the Sundering Series was a ‘stand-alone story’ I was a little concerned. There have been several series to make such a claim only to find a reader later lamenting the fact that without reading them all they missed various details or plot elements.

So I tried my hand at the first in the series, and without getting into the gory details had to cast it aside and try my luck with the second. Like I said I had enjoyed some of Mr. Kemp’s other works enough that I felt the leap of faith worth the risk. But what I found waiting for me was a more than pleasant surprise. It was like walking blindly into a room full of friendly folk who allowed their story to unfold around me. I couldn’t tell you thing one about who some of these people were or what had happened to shape them before then and honestly it never once mattered.

Kemp skillfully manages to lay out an intricate and intriguing series of events that draw you in without asking anything of you to know before hand. Everything just blossoms around you to form and you find yourself curiously charging along. Instead of making you feel guilty or lost about missing what has already happened you are trying to figure out what is going to happen next.

I’ll compare it like this; imagine that you are a child who has just been handed what looks like a simple puzzle. But as you work at it you find yourself losing more and more track of time as you become engrossed in the enigma. That experience is not unlike reading The Godborn. And for me, that warm welcome was more than enough to secure it as a worthy read.

Now, I know for some the idea of a review is to analyze the plot, the characters contained within or even divulge a spoiler or three. Well, I am not about to even ruin a single aspect of this book by dancing around any such elements. All I will say is that it doesn’t make demands on the reader to research anything that came before. And if you are familiar with Faerun you will find some things that will easily catch your eye. However, with the nature of the beast being what it is – a part of an epic whole that is promised to bring about change, you will also find new things to enjoy.

So, whether you’re stumbling blindly in from the cold for the first time or you’re an old adventuring companion to the likes of Cale you should enjoy the tale either way. It is a rare find in an ongoing series and one I can honestly say that will have me return for any past or future exploits. Give The Godborn a try when you get the chance, no homework required.