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on 5 June 1999
Golden is a terrific writer. It's been years since I've read any AD&D books, and in retro perspect, only few of them stand out - RA Salvatora's Homeland, ElfShadow, and both of Golden's ravenloft books that I've read, The Dance of the Dead and this one. It's a very good book, one that can compare favorably with 'real' Fantasy and horror. I'd take Golden over Rice every day. This one is way better then 'An Interview with A Vampire'
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on 12 August 1999
Christie Golden is one of the few female writers whose work I really enjoy. Of the 3 novels by her I've read, none were disappointing. Each had enough suspense, action and drama to keep you interested right to the end, and leave you wanting more; with satisfying endings. I can't recommend her highly enough!
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on 5 September 1998
The first (and longest) RL novel is a great one, on the same level as later releases such as Dance of the Dead, Baroness of Blood, and To Sleep with Evil. However, after reading it, I came to the conclusion that it wasn't as good as it was hyped up to be.
Yes, the novel is fantastic, giving us one of the greatest anti-heroes (Jander Sunstar) of all time as well as several other intriguing characters (Leisl, Sasha, Katrina, etc.) and the greatest villain in the entire demiplane, Strahd Von Zarovich. Only, this Strahd, a far cry from the debonaire former nobleman we see in later novels (specifically I, Strahd and its sequel).
The story is simple enough, but I think we could have done without the history of Strahd in the first novel. It sort of took away from the mystery that is the Count. Also, parts of the story dragged and I think it spanned too many years too soon. It should have almost been two books, 1 taking place in the first 20 years or so of Jander's arrival and the other being the last few of his existence in Barovia.
The best part, though, was the history of Jander, including the transformation of Merrydale into Daggerdale. Also, the Cult of the Morninglord was a nice touch. In all, the book is exquisite, and Golden's first romp through the demiplane is a good one indeed. But, it isn't good enough to be among my creme-de-la-creme list. Her next novel, DotD, was much better.
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on 5 June 1997
I knew from the first sentance that I would love the book, and I was not disappointed.

A unique spin on the otherwise overdone tormented vampire theme, Jander Sunstar is a light and nature loving elf, now cursed to eternal darkness. And how much more terrible is his agony when, in the confines of Ravenloft, he finds his touch now kills the very plants he loves so well? He has lost everything now, every semblence of the mortal life he yearns for. All he has left is the memory of a woman he loved, and soon Ravenloft warps even that.

The main villain is a memorable one as well. Strahd Von Zarovich is a classic vampire, but he is no one-dimensional evil. He has a personality, albeit a chilling and disturbing one, and even a touch of nobility. By the end of the book I had been captured in his spell -- I ended up a bigger fan of Strahd's than Jander's! His evil is tangible, as is his tragedy. As his story unfolds, one is drawn deeper and deeper into his web, and by the end, there is no escaping.

I highly reccommend this book to all fans of vampires or gothic fantasy in general. It is the best take on the classic vampire I've seen, and one of the best books I've ever read.
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on 10 August 1999
I was enthralled with Golden's character Jander Sunstar. I first read her short in Realms of Magic. The character was a compelling hero that seemed to discover that life sometimes doesn't hold the best for those who give their best. But this young hero trudged on under his new development and becomes an icon that many of the populace can identify with. I too after discovering that Mrs. Golden wrote a book was totally ecstatic. The story is free flowing and captivating. I yearned page by page to discover the climatic ending but was somewhat disappointed in its finale. We never learn what happens to the Little Fox. Did she get well? Does she fall in love with Sasha? Does Jander actually die? He is a character that is capable of being as popular as Blackstaff and Strahd. He is unique. We knew that Strahd could not die but that does not mean Jander should. He has numerous adventures still before him. Mrs. Golden's accomplishment is not her first novel but that she was the medium to bring us the hero Jander and she should carry him on. I still would like to know what happened at the end. I looked hoping to find the last chapter but it still remains unwritten.
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on 8 February 1999
I found the Elf vampire of this book to a soul mate to Drizz't, the heroic Drow of the Dark Elf series. Both characters strive to overcome their dark heritage. Both characters are thoughtful and love Life, yet seem to be doomed to a stoic life (or un-life) of constant struggle. I highly reccomend this book for anyone who loves a story of a heroic but troubled hero and his efforts to beat the odds.
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on 29 March 2011
Allright Christie Golden, you are realy talenetd.
This Ravenloft book contains everything. Jander Sunstar is one of the most developed characters I have ever seen.
The horror of the Lands is added nicely, the Vistani fit perfectly, the scared townsfolk meddle natuarally with the horrors ahead. Two have passed since I read it for the second time and memories come and go as I write down this review. The orphanage, the party of "heroes" that Jander Sunstar is gathering, if I continue I will spoil the fun, so I pause myself and concluding with this final thing. Can you imagine what it takes to be an elven vampire, to be something so elegant and luminous in the former life and be such a grotesque horror in your present state of life? Christie Golden brings it alive.
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on 26 January 1999
First off I would like to say to the "critic" who didn't like this book, If you can't spell - don't judge other peoples writing!! With that out of the way I can tell you how absolutely enthralling this book was!! I am a loyal fan of the D&D and Forgotten Realms books, so when my husband gave me this book I was sure it wouldn't be something I wanted to read. I have played Ravenloft campaigns and found them to be too dark and evil and I thought the book would prove to be the same. It wasn't!! Wonderfully deep and lovable characters(especially the tortured Jander) ,an exciting story-line and an almost sympathetic villan. I couldn't put the book down and when I was finished I searched the web for more of Mrs.Goldens' books!!
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on 30 August 1998
Science fiction has never held any great interest with me until I found the Ravenloft series. Being a Horror fan, specifically vampire fiction, it is not often I wander into the Sci-Fi section looking for a good read. Then I found this book. Jander Sunstar captures your attention and alerts your compassion like no other character has before. I have read over two hundred vampire novels, and this by far is my favorite. The magic of the tale draws you in and keeps you reading well into the night. The antagonist-protagonist relationship between Jander and Straud is incredibly well-matched, with even the villian (per se) having a well of expositional emotions to draw on. A reccommended read for an escape from reality.
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on 24 November 1997
Jandar Sunstar, his name says it all. Bright, shining and uncorruptable and, yes, a vampire. Count Strahd Von Zarovich evil incarnate with one weakness. Two vampires weaved together in an evil web of romance and obsession for one woman, Tatyana. Christie Golden, the author, has an uncanny way of bringing a feeling of tragic romance into the cold, hard world of Ravenloft. The language is exquisite and the story blends so well together that the book is impossible to put down. The story leads you down a road of suspence and watching and waiting. But, you soon learn to never "hope" in the realm of Ravenloft because though evil can never prevail, nor can good ever hope to overcome.
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