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The Rose of Sarifal (Forgotten Realms) [Mass Market Paperback]

Wizards of the Coast
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 4.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

21 May 2012 Forgotten Realms
Cloaked in mist and layered in magic, the denizens of Moonshae Isles move in secret circles as capricious rulers vie for power. High Lady Ordalf wanted her niece, the princess known as the Rose of Sarifal, dead. Instead, the young regent was secreted away by the high lady s opponents. For years the eladrin queen of Gwynneth Isle has searched for evidence of her niece s death, and word has finally come in the form of a castaway s tale. The princess lives on the island of Moray a mad beauty who leads a nation of lycanthropes. As long as her niece is alive, Lady Ordalf cannot rest secure in her claim to the throne. Enlisting a band of adventurers to seek out the princess is the first step toward stemming the Rose of Sarifal and her tide of wolves. Will those heroes see the same threat the queen sees in the beautiful young maiden?

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The Rose of Sarifal (Forgotten Realms) + The Gilded Rune (Forgotten Realms) + Brimstone Angels: Lesser Evils (Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (21 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786960264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786960262
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 10.3 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 688,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother buying this book 2 Oct 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read nearly every Forgotten Realms book ever produced, (I have missed three titles, I have also read every Dragonlance novel produced) The Rose of Sarifal is probably the worst I have ever read. I thought the Alabaster Staff was poor, but this one was awful.
If the biog for the author is correct, and one reviewer seems to confirm this, then I think it is awful that it has been published and glorified, if it is not true then WOTC should act more responsibly....
The concept of this novel promised great things, I enjoyed Douglas Niles early Moonshae novels, and expected this to be a continuation of those good things, how wrong was I !!!!
The writing does not present itself as that written by someone well educated, with thoughtful prose, it contains far too many uses of words that could be better expressed in less vulgar terms, related to bodily functions.
There are too many innacuracies (continuity errors for my liking) since when were avarials, child size?, since when did D&D have pastry chefs? her descriptions of the deities seems off key, since when did nagas become big snakes? and also her references to eladrin doesn't seem to tie in with other recent novels.
As for the plot, it meandered, and I had to constantly refer back to previous pages, to understand what she was trying to confer to the readers, the ending was very poor, and there seemed to be too many big gaps that just jumped to another part of the story leaving readers to guess what happened in the interim....

My advice would be DON'T buy this book, unless its just to complete the set.... it adds little, and as I have said previously, is in my opinion really badly written, other reviewers seem to agree wholeheartedly with my own views as well.....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.7 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rose of the Sarifal - worst Forgotten Realms book EVER. 28 Jun 2012
By Butch Hanscom - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This book was nearly impossible to read as the author seemed to think she was writing a book of poetry, not a fantasy novel. The plot was nearly non-existant, there was little-to-no action - basically the characters floundered in self doubt, mired in hate, for the entire book. I LOVE the Forgotten Realms books but this one...was burn worthy at best. Horrid. Read it at your own peril.

If you like poetry, perhaps you'll like it. Me? Not so much. Not at all, in fact.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately not a Forgotten Realms novel 5 Dec 2012
By Thomas Lau - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately this is not a Forgotten Realms book. While I applaud Paulina Claiborne for being a good author, I am giving her the benefit of the doubt here, this book missed by a significant margin. The primary problem appears to be that Ms. Claiborne is rather new to the Forgotten Realms and D&D in general. Thus she ignored a vast amount of background knowledge. The key problems of this book are as followed:

1) There were 15 'main' characters that we were introduced to. That is a rather staggering number of people we get to know for the very first time in a 371 page book. The obvious problem is character development. With only 371 pages in this book, every character gets the barest personality and background pasted on top of them. Yet we are expected to care. It did not work. Their motivations are rather generic and in some cases random. This prevents reader immersion and makes their behavior rather strange.

For some of the characters this causes a problem. Some of them are introduced and we have some basic understanding of them, their motivations, and actions. And a good number of them are killed off in the book. So why care about the characters?

One primary example of a complete change in personality comes from the Rose of Sarifal who goes from innocent to 'F*** it, I want power and be as corrupt as the family that has been trying to kill me.' While i understand that she suddenly realizes she is immortal, this does not mean she suddenly has to be amoral.

2) The Gnome in the party uses to much 'terran / earth' terminology from our own world. This disconnects the reader from the Forgotten Realms immersion and instead makes it feel like the author tried to hard. I have never read a Forgotten realms book where the character says 'then they can sue me'.
Similarly, near the end, comparing a cyclope's eye to a camera lens does make sense and gives the reader the concept Ms. Claiborne trying to convey........ where the hell did the Forgotten Realms get a camera? Keep 'terran' ideas on earth and Forgotten Realms concepts to the Forgotten Realms.

3) Ms. Claiborne did not do her due diligence, nor did the proof readers and D&D staff, on the pantheon. In one part we meet a Lolth priestess (the Drow goddess) who supposedly worships Lolth and is a priestess of Lolth. Yet somehow this priestess is dominated by a male father figure that apparently bullies her around. The priestess has no significant personality that would justify her being a Lolth priestess. Worse was her 'motivation' in regard to why she planned the sacrifices. Apparently Drow secretly want to return to the surface world without any delay, being nice and cuddly and dance under the stars......... once again a complete disconnect from all Forgotten Realms lore (as far a Lolth priestess is concerned). How did this character ever becoming a Lolth priestess? I never learnt that Lolth embraced weak minded female Drow.

4) This is the first time the leShay have been introduced in a book. After some quick search online I learnt they are supposed to be this fey 'creator race' (yes, I noticed there is debate on that too). But in this book the two evil leShay are pathetically incompetent. They used two types of generic magic: mind illusions that make you think other things are in the way. A giant hold spell that was powered by the ring. The creator race is less equipped than a Red Wizard. Even for outcasts there should have been something more.

5) The ending is so none-everything that it literally is the last page. The best way to describe the ending to this book is like a Souffle that just before eating deflates.

If Ms. Claiborne reads this: please do not take this as an insult but a key learning lesson. The Forgotten Realms are a vast mountain of background story that shouldn't be taken lightly.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sadly the worst D&D book I have ever read 5 Sep 2012
By Gloria Prestwood - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read every D&D novel since I was younger I was hopeful to hear something new regarding the Moonshaes. This book was a sore disappointment. I finished it because I felt obliged to but I was relieved when it was over. The author takes liberties with the FR world and creates characters that are uniquely her own but fail to fit into the continuity of the realm pre or post Spellplague. The ending is atrocious, it is abrupt and provides no closure. This is definitely one I would avoid.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Strangest Realms Novel You'll Read (But in a Good Way) 31 Oct 2012
By Matthew J. Koch - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you're looking for a D&D/Forgotten Realms novel that is truly different, this is the one for you. Rose of Sarifal is unlike any Realms novel I've read before, and probably unlike anything else Wizards of the Coast will publish. The author brings a unique voice to the prose and with it comes a much more lyric story that reminds me more of a dark fairytale than a sword & sorcery novel.

Many readers (myself included) won't have read the original Forgotten Realms trilogy by Douglas Nile that took place in the Moonshae Isles. For those that have, I'm sure there are a lot of connections to be made, but I didn't find that it took away from the story not having read the originals.

Paulina Claiborne, as her strange bio implies, seems to be a different breed of D&D author, and from a writing standpoint, she's much more literary in her ambitions with this novel than her counterparts in the Realms. The caveat here is that you have to be open to a different writing style, one that may grate a little on the reader who consumes sword & sorcery novels as their main reading diet. Her characters are both deeper and stranger than most in the Realms, sometimes stepping outside the genre with their actions and dialog. In parts this is delightful, and it parts it feels like you're on some strange fey trip through wonderland that balances precarious on a plot cliff (which can be equally delightful).

I feel like Rose deals with certain aspects of the Realms and Dungeons & Dragons that haven't been dealt with well yet, particularly the Feywild and the fey in general. For the first time, you get a sense of what it would be like to be an Eladrin or and elf and live for hundreds of years. It might be easier to draw comparisons to Shakespeare with this story than it is to draw comparisons with other D&D novels.

I can see why there have been some negative reactions to this book in particular. It reads slow in some chapters and I found myself scratching my head more than once trying to figure out where the plot was heading and discerning true character motivations. The writing is poetic in parts and experimental in others, and this isn't everyone's cup of fantasy tea. If you're looking for a good old Forgotten Realms yarn, this isn't the book for you. But if you're looking for something different, and you're tired of the same old same old in the Realms, give this book a chance. Although I found the reading uncomfortable in parts (I didn't breeze through this book like many other Realms novels), after I was finished I kept thinking about this novel for days, and it's one of the few Realms novels I feel like I should go back and re-read for the nuance and beauty of the story. I also find myself recommending this novel to other non-fantasy or non-D&D readers more than others in the Realms line.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A New Voice in the Realms 21 May 2012
By Stefan - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was anxiously awaiting the release of The Rose of Sarifal because it was set in my favorite place in the Realms, the Moonshea Isles. The Moonshea Trilogy by Douglas Niles (Darkwalker on Moonshea, Black Wizards, and Darkwell) was the one of the first series written in the Forgotten Realms. Longtime realms readers will recognize names and places from the previous series but will see that some things do not stand the test of time.

Ms. Claiborne gave a unique voice to the realms with The Rose of Sarifal. It was dark and gritty, and fans of Joe Abercrombie will like this book, with bloody battles, torture, but at the same time some very heart warming and touching scenes. The characters are not necessarily dark and flawed; many are simple on hard times and looking to make a better way for themselves.

The driving force behind the group is Lukas, the captain of the Sphinx. All look to him as their leader and follow him (for the most part) without question. There are a mix of races in the group; human, gnome, elven, shape-shifter, and genasi. One of the things I like most about this diverse mix was the way they were portrayed. Their different ideologies and mannerisms were well written into the story. I especially liked how the genasi was portrayed in an almost alien fashion. Another unique aspect to the book was how the leShay and the gods were treated. The leShay are so long lived that one cannot begin to understand their actions and Ms. Claiborne works this well into the storyline. A few times I was left scratching my head as to why one of the leShay acted in a certain manner, but after looking back through the book it made sense. Again it added to the alien feel of the race. The godss Chauntea and Araushnee were portrayed in a much different manner than I have seen in the past. This was one parts of the book that did not make sense to me, but I think when taken in a Greek context, one could see that the gods are capricious and their ways are not to be understood by mortals. Again, this was one of the parts of the story that did not work for me. I would have liked to see their goals explained a little more clearly.

The group is separated early in the book and from there we get to know the characters better. We discover more of their backstory and how they came to be aboard the Sphinx. I especially liked the parts dealing with the Savage, the elf. Long time readers of the Forgotten Realms will notice some pre-Spellplague references. There are some excellent characterization and dialogue in these sections and which are some of the crowning achievements of the book.

Ms Claiborne's prose is magnificent and her descriptions were quite vivid. Here is one of my favorite examples, "The drow were beautiful, elves of the black night, eladrin of the shadows."

I was not pleased with the ending, it did not feel rushed so much as incomplete. It was abrupt and gave no sense of closure. I wonder if there was more of the story to tell but due to space constraints had to be left on the cutting room floor.

I enjoyed this book but I do not recommend it for readers new to the Forgotten Realms. There is quite a bit of history (Moonshea geography, past royalty, and deities) referenced throughout the book that, in my opinion, are critical to the story. Readers more familiar with the Forgotten Realms may enjoy the book more. If you are looking for a different kind of Realms book, give this one a try.
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