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Realms of the Elves (Forgotten Realms Anthology) [Mass Market Paperback]

Philip Athans
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Feb 2006 Forgotten Realms Anthology
The story of the elves of Faerûn stretches from the dawn of history to the battle for the future of a world in constant upheaval.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (11 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078693980X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786939800
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 10.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 17 Mar 2006
By Rylin
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The stories in this anthology are quite interesting, though anthologies isn't neccesarily my thing. Each story is well written however and kept my attention. would reccomend it to anyone who loves elves.
If you like books like this one, might I suggest another I've recently come across. The Unsuspecting Mage by Brian S. Pratt. It's another fantasy adventure sure to please. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seven stories of the elves 16 Nov 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The history of the elves stretches is a long one and the stories in this book cover a number of important times in the history of the Tel'Quessier. The stories in this book run from the time dragons ruled Faerūn, through the Elven Retreat and their recent return to their ancient lands. Authors included in this book include R. A. Salvatore, Richard Baker, Ed Greenwood and Richard Lee Byers, among others.

All the stories are well written and entertaining but my favourites have to be `Comrades at Odds' a Drizzt story by the always competent R. A. Salvatore and `Necessary Sacrifices' by Lisa Smedman, both of which were brilliant but ended too soon. This anthology would be good for any fan of the Forgotten Realms but if you love elves then this is definitely the book for you.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Anthology - nothing really special (Except Ms. Smedman's story) 15 Feb 2006
By Andrew Gray - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Realms of the Elves is the latest anthology released by Wizards of the Coast and is set in the Forgotten Realms. Like most of the other anthologies WotC releases there is a central theme to this one, and that is Elves. This anthology is supposed to drum up more interest for the final installment of Richard Baker's Last Mythal trilogy.

Instead of giving a full review for each short story, which would take entirely too long, I will try to say a few words about each story. I will do so in the order they are in the book.

#1- "Traitors" by Richard Lee Byers. This is an ok story. For whatever reason, Mr. Byers can't stay away from dragons right now. Everything has to have something to do with his The Year of the Rogue Dragon trilogy. See his last novel Queen of the Depths for what I mean there. I had a feeling dragons would appear and they did. I was disappointed by this story. Average at best.

#2- "The Staff of Valmaxian" by Philip Athans. Athans was the editor of this book, so I am a bit surprised he found time to write his own short story as well. Decent short story here. As with most short stories they either grab you quick and interest you, or you have to drudge through and finish it to move one. I enjoyed this story, but not to the extent I was hoping. Slightly above average for this one.

#3- "Necessary Sacrafices" by Lisa Smedman. This story, I think anyway, is the crown jewel of this anthology. It was a fantastic read. It has a small compact plot, interesting characters and a very, very good ending. In fact I gasped at the ending of this. This story grabbed me right away and didn't let go the whole time. Excellent read in my opinion.

#4- "The Greater Treasure" By Erik Scott de Bie. This story is the hardest to rate out of this anthology. There were some things I liked, the Character Twilight for example and some things I didn't like, the character Yldar for example. The actual story, plot etc, is pretty good. I still think Mr. de Bie's short story in the last Realms of the Dragons anthology was better. This story does have some good moments though. Above average for this one.

#5- "Comrades at Arms" by R.A. Salvatore. This story is probably the most anticipated short story in this anthology because it features Drizzt. However, some Salvatore fans may be a little disappointed in that it's not the classic hack and slash Drizzt we see here. This story is all character development for Drizzt. Saying that other Salvatore fans will absolutely love it. Myself, I would have like to see a mixture of both, but that is merely my opinion. Very good story none-the-less.

#6- "Tears so White" by Ed Greenwood. There are few books or stories by Greenwood that I have ever liked. This proves to be no exception. I did not finish this story because, to me, it had very little flow and even less purpose. I will withhold a rating on this one for fear personal bias would cloud that judgment.

#7 - "The Bladesinger's Lesson" by Richard Baker. Mr. Baker does a very good job in writing this short story. He captures the readers attention right away and keeps the plot moving at a pretty good pace. Not only is the plot good, but he made me care about the main character in just a few pages. While I don't think this story is as good as Ms. Smedman's, I think it is right up there with Salvatore's. Very good read.

In my opinion there are four good stories in this anthology. Most are fairly quick reads, so even if you don't like them you didn't waste too much time at all. I recommend this anthology to fans of the Realms, but if you have no connection to the Forgotten Realms there are probably betted books out there for you to buy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good 14 Mar 2007
By Neso - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Here are my reviews of these seven not-so-short stories.

1. Traitors by Richard Lee Byers. I'm not a big fan of Byers' works, because I find his novels way too action oriented for my liking, with plot and character development often completely disregarded. I was pleasantly surprised by this story. A very strong story of conflicting loyalties. He kept a nice pace through all of 70 pages, and gave us a good ending. Indirectly touches the events in his Year of the Rogue Dragons trilogy. ****

2. The Staff of Valmaxian by Philip Athans. This story didn't sit with me, to be honest. Had a promising start, by completely faded towards the end, which was a big cliché by itself. **

3. Necessary Sacrifices by Lisa Smedman. A beautiful, sad story. The idea was simply great, but got a bit drawn out. Could have been shorter. A very good story, nevertheless. ****

4. The Greater Treasure by Erik Scott de Bie. The author shows us again that his storytelling is brilliant. The characters are interesting (if a bit annoying) and well fleshed out. It is worth the mention that this is maybe the most erotic story ever published by WotC. Very good.****

5. Comrades at Odds by R.A. Salvatore. Besides some good, deep dialogues on the nature of orcs, this book also gives some flesh to one potentially important character in the upcoming books. A good Drizzt short story. ****

6. Tears so White by Ed Greenwood. I've given up on trying to decipher Greenwood, so I simply skipped this story.

7. The Bladesinger's Lesson by Richard Baker. While reading this story, I had a feeling of déjà vu, and that is never a good thing. Don't get me wrong, it's not boring or anything, but it really offers nothing new or unique. ***

As you can see, there are only seven stories in the 340 pages of this book, so you can do the easy math and see these stories are significantly longer than usual WotC short stories. I must say I like to see a greater number of shorter stories. The book offers a number of very good stories, but none of them are brilliant. They just lacked that something extra.

A very good anthology, check it out.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Realms of the Elves anthology 14 Jan 2011
By Travis Eisenbrandt - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Realms of the Elves Anthology

Realms of the Elves is edited by Philip Athans. It was released in February 2006 and was published by Wizards of the Coast, Inc. This anthology is based on the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons and Dragons. The Realms of the Elves anthology ties into Richard Baker's The Last Mythal trilogy. There are seven stories included in this anthology and are written by Richard Lee Byers, Philip Athans, Lisa Smedman, Erik Scott de Bie, R. A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, and Richard Baker. The Realms of the Elves anthology focuses on the elves of Faerūn.

"Traitors" by Richard Lee Byers
Rhespen Ash has been a councilor to the gold dragon Orchtrien for over a hundred years. After barely surviving an ambush by a group of rebellious elves, Rhespen is put in charge of overseeing a hostage named Lady Winterflower. After time passes, Rhespen falls in love with his ward and goes to Orchtrien only to be sent away on a mission to raid enemy land. When he returns, he finds out things he would have rather not known.
Overall: 4/5
"Traitors" was a good way to start this anthology. It had a great main character in Rhespen. Everything that he goes through develops him into a wonderful protagonist. The story was really good as well. It relied more on the relationships the characters had to carry it along and that added something unique to the experience. However, the whole 'hostage' situation didn't sit right with me. Why would an enemy send their daughter to their enemy? It just seemed too convenient and lessened the overall enjoyment of the story. Also, a quick side note is that "Traitors" ties into Richard Lee Byers' The Year of Rogue Dragons trilogy and the story could have done with less dragons in it. "Traitors" is a fairly entertaining story and is worth the read.

"The Staff of Valmaxian" by Philip Athans
Valmaxian is an apprentice mage who crafts magical equipment and weapons. After countless failures, he goes against his teacher's wishes and warnings to summon a demon. The demon offers him power in exchange for something to be named at a later time. Valmaxian agrees, but is power worth the sacrifice?
Overall: 2/5
"The Staff of Valmaxian" is a cliché, basic, and widely known story. The premise has been told countless times in various medias, and with this story, nothing new is added. It's a very formulaic story. The way it was written felt like someones notes and there wasn't much depth to anything. Valmaxian was decent character. He was cold and uncaring, which made him really stand out. This story is readable, but you can skip it.

"Necessary Sacrifices" by Lisa Smedman
Sorrell is seeking revenge. Two years have passed and all that's been on the elf's mind is vengeance. Two years prior, he lost his wife and son to drow and has sworn vengeance against them. He joins the order of Shevarash, whose goal is to eradicate all drow. After a drow scouting party was discovered, he joins in the hunt to prevent the drow from returning to wherever they came from, only to find out that cruelty wears many faces.
Overall: 5/5
"Necessary Sacrifices" is a fantastic story that everyone would enjoy. The characters are wonderful, the story is just fantastic, and the ending will leave you at a loss for words. Everything about this story is done right. I don't even want to say anything else because this is something you should experience blindly.

"The Greater Treasure" by Erik Scott de Bie
Yldar and Cythara Nathalan arrive in the city of Elversult in search of an ancient relic called the Bracer of Ynloeth. The brother and sister find information in the form of a mysterious moon elf named Fox-at-Twilight. However, their information leads them to a cult of a demon-god and power the cult could give.
Overall: 4/5
"The Greater Treasure" is a good story but it felt like there should have been more. In fact, this story felt more like a preview chapter for an upcoming book than a short story. It just makes you want more. Twilight is a fantastic character. She's unique and had something that a lot of characters don't have, unpredictability. There were times when I had no idea what she will do next. The tone of the story also was something that I didn't expect. It was darker and more disturbing, but able to blend in some good humor and lightheartedness. This story just left me wanting more.

"Comrades at Odds" by R. A. Salvatore
Drizzt Do'Urden and his friend Innovindil go on a journey to recover the body of Ellifain, who Drizzt mistakenly killed. Along the journey the two friends discover that the orcs who are at war with the dwarves of Mithral Hall are seemingly starting a kingdom. Strange behavior for orcs. On the outskirts of the newly established orc kingdom, a drow named Tos'un Armgo is slaughtering the orcs with the help of the sentient blade, Khazid'hea.
Overall: 3/5
"Comrades at Odds" is really a mediocre story. The ending made me feel like I was ripped off. It just ended, but there could have been so much more. Also, if you are at all unfamiliar with the Drizzt series, you would be lost. This story will definitely not make you want to check out the previous books. Thankfully, Tos'un is a real highlight. He's interesting and gives the story something very different. It's welcoming to see a new character being focused on, I just wish the story would have just been about him. Also, this story ties in nicely with The Hunter's Blade Trilogy, so it would be worth reading if you've read that trilogy.

"Tears So White" by Ed Greenwood
The Knights of Myth Drannor are sitting around having dinner with Storm Silverhand, until Eliminster arrives. The Old Mage takes a few of the knights and goes to stop something from happening.
Overall: 1/5
"Tears So White" is a boring, broken, and a pointless story. It doesn't seem to belong in an anthology about elves. It may have tied into elven things, mythals for example, but this story never seemed to focus on that. The dialogue is horrible. Conversations didn't flow and seemed to be broken. When someone talked, it never seemed to make any sense. Finally, the story was just a big fight. There isn't much more than that, and for as long as this story was, it was disappointing. This story put me to sleep.

"The Bladesinger's Lesson" by Richard Baker
During the elves battle against the daemonfey army, a small contingent of elves were tasked to watch for the Sembian army from flanking the elves. The contingent's leader, Daried Selsherryn's families ancient home in the forest of Cormanthor lies in ruins. After investigating his former home, he finds evidence of thieves and sets off to the nearest human settlement, Glen. In Glen he learns that the town's mayor, now dead due to a raid on his house, had a sword that was felt for Daried's family to watch over. As he sets off to find the ancient sword and to take it back, he learns that not all humans are thieves.
Overall: 4/5
"The Bladesinger's Lesson" is a good short story, but is cliché. It feels like you've seen or read something similar hundreds of times. There things within the story that may make you groan because they are just that cliché. Thankfully this isn't a huge deterrent. It just makes the story not seem that original. Daried does help with the cliché feeling. While his story is something that you may have seen countless times, you really see him develop and that causes the cliché feelings to die down. He's just an interesting character that goes through a natural and realistic change. Another thing that helps the story is the pacing, which is perfect. You don't want to put the story down for too long. I found myself just tearing through half of the story before I even known I was that far in. It's a good and fun story.

Final Thoughts:
Realms of the Elves is a decent anthology. Most of the stories are fairly good and entertaining, but there are a few that do ruin the experience. Most of the stories do focus on the elves of the Forgotten Realms, but there times when I felt that the stories could have been more focused on the elves. There were a few that focused on other races, but it didn't really take away from the overall experience. All in all, this was a decent anthology. It may be worth picking for a few stories, but you could also skip it.

Stories Worth Reading:
1) "Necessary Sacrifices" by Lisa Smedman
Stories Best Avoided:
1) "Tears So White" by Ed Greenwood
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good, some bad 25 May 2007
By Steven Wilber - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As with any anthology, some of the stories in Realms of the Elves were good, some were bad, and some were just average.

The first tale in the books was "Traitors" by Richard Lee Byers. I enjoyed this story as I thought the author did a good job of exploring the conflict between the characters' beliefs and what they learn as the story progresses. The characters were interesting and the story was engaging. (4 stars)

The second story was the "The Staff of Valmaxian" by Philip Athans. This one started out quite good and really grabbed my attention but I found the ending a bit clichéd. Although it was well written, I found this story to be just average. (3 stars)

The third tale in the book, "Necessary Sacrafices" by Lisa Smedman, was my favorite. As others have mentioned this is a tragic tale. You really feel for the main character and see where his road is leading him, but still in the end you are left thinking "no that can't be happening" (5 stars)

The fourth tale was "The Greater Treasure" By Erik Scott de Bie. As Beezer mentioned in his review, this story is the hardest to rate. While the story started out good the characters' motivations were unclear to me. The dialogue was hard to follow and in the end I was left feeling a little disappointed. Overall, just average (2.5 stars)

I enjoyed the fifth story in the collection, "Comrades at Arms" by R.A. Salvatore. But then again I am biased as Salvatore is one of my favorites. I liked that the story was not just about the action. I think the story was a nice bridge between The Two Swords and The Orc King, but might not stand so well on its own. (4 stars)

"Tears so White" by Ed Greenwood was the sixth story and was my least favorite. All action and no substance. The story felt repetitive and the dialogue was not good. (1 star)

Finally, we have "The Bladesinger's Lesson" by Richard Baker. Although a bit clichéd at times, the story is well-written and interesting. The main characters showed development, which I think is hard to do in 50 pages. The dialogue was good and the action well done. I found myself eager to read what would happen next and wondering how the characters were going to get out of their predicament. (4.5 stars)

Overall, I gave the book 3 stars but would definitely recommend it to fans of the Forgotten Realms and fans of R.A. Salvatore.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, I think 20 Mar 2007
By fiction diction - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I must say that Ms. Smedmen's story was the best in this book, which is saying something considering I'm a big Drizzt fan. Still, "Necessary Sacrafices" is a deep, compelling story that grabs you and doesn't let go. Even after I finished the story, it didn't let me go and I actually cried for the both the seen and unseen tragedy. To me, all of the characters were tragic, most especially in what they themselves didn't see or realize.

"Comrads at Odds" was a nice character builder and sneak preview. I was surprised to see the development of a heretofore minor character, but now I'm anticipating him playing a much bigger role in The Orc King. In fact, the potential for this guy is pretty damn good, and I hope he gets used more even if it isn't what I want/anticipate.

Most of the stories here are about average to good, and the reviewers before me have mentioned all the really good ones. This book is worth your time, if only for the nice little fiction bites it provides.
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