by Paul S. Kemp
Book One of the Erevis Cale Trilogy (Forgotten Realms)
I really enjoyed this book. I've never actually read any of the Forgotten Realms' series before, but I picked this book up from the library while waiting for my mom to pick me up--and one I stated reading it, I found it hard to put down.
Erevis Cale is drawn into a sinister plot when a group of bad dudes invade his late master's home, after a strange, seemingly ornamental sphere. When the sphere is split in half and one of the guards is kidnapped, Cale teams up with the assassin Riven and the halfling Jak, to get the guard back and find out why this sphere is so important--and why the ones who want it are willing to do anything to get it.
As the story progresses, there are hints that some of the villains are far more than they appear, that there are bigger plots at work that involve more than the sphere and the wizard who wants it. There's a great cliffhanger ending, too.
It's well written, has very good characterization and is an interesting story (which I didn't explain very well… sorry); over all, it's a fun romp of a fantasy adventure. While on occasion the magic is a little… convenient, it's set up well enough that it's not completely a plot device. The fight scenes are quite good, and aren't hard to visualize at all.
But I think what I found most appealing about this book is the characters. Kemp's villains are very cool and most of them well done! I especially liked Azriim, the half-drow with a thing about fine clothes. His humor makes me grin, too. He may be something of a sadist, but his quirks and other traits make him very fun to read about.
Kemp's heroes aren't perfectly good, either, and the assassin, Riven, is especially a gray character. (I like him. A lot.) I'm half way through the second book, Dawn of Night and I know I won't be able to wait until book three, Midnight's Mask, comes out in 2005.
I don't know about any of the other Forgotten Realms series, but I'd recommend Twilight Falling to those who like fantasy.
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