The Shield of Weeping Ghosts (Forgotten Realms Novel: The Citadels) (Forgotten Realms: The Citadels) Mass Market Paperback – 6 May 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The book focuses on the soon to be exiled Rashemi wizard, Bastun, as he is escorted to the city of Shandaular by the ethran, Thaena, and a group of Rashemi beserker warriors led by Duras. However, when they reach the city all is not well as its secrets have been discovered and its ghosts have awoken. An added dimension to this novel is that the characters, Bastun, Thaena and Duras, have a connection from childhood that makes for a tense atmosphere between the characters and great interaction between them. The primary character of Bastun makes for intriguing reading as he does not fit into the typical 'heroic' mold and simply adapts to the situations presented which gives him a different dimension to heroes from other books.
Overall, this is a good book that I would recommend to anyone who has enjoyed The Citadels Series or is a Forgotten Realms fan. If you have enjoyed this novel then I would recommend the next book in The Citadels Series, Sentinelspire (Forgotten Realms Novel: The Citadels). You might also enjoy some of James P. Davis's other books such as Bloodwalk (Wizards) and ...Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The plot of this book is actually rather difficult to describe. Being that this is a book in the Citadels series there is certainly a story being the citadel in question. However, as I was reading this novel, and upon completing it, I was left more confused that satisfied with how the actual plot was laid out. There is also a plot line involving a group of the seldom written about Rashemi. Along the way there are a couple other subplots such as an ancient evil, some distrust among the Rashemi, and a mystery that has permeated the Shield of Weeping Ghosts and the secrets it is protecting. The reason I say I was left confused is due to the fact that there are parts of the story that take place in the past, but are meshed together with the present. This, at least in theory, sounds like an interesting concept. However, as it's written it seems jumbled and often confusing as the two story lines fight for the attention of the reader. Instead of reading a story that was new and refreshing (in principle), I was left having to re-read (sometimes several times) sections of this novel to try and figure out what was going on and who it was happening to.
The characters in this book are solid and fairly well written. In particular the character Bastun. There is great depth to his character and an equal amount of character development. In fact, I will even go so far as to say his character was the most interesting thing in this book for me. There are a couple of other characters that feature prominently in this novel as well. Characters such as; Thaena who is an ethran with the Rashemi, Duras is member of the ethran's guard, Syrolf who is also a member of the ethran's guard, and Anilya who is a durthan. All of these characters were interesting, some more than others, and all played an important part of the story. Some of the dialogue seemed a little `off' to me, almost as though it was trying to meet up two separate plot points with an explanation from a character. When done the right way, these explanations (which can be found in many books) are fine, but when they start discussing information that the character shouldn't know, or know little about, it becomes unbelievable and taints the novel and I felt that way a couple times in this novel. Aside from the dialogue issue, I enjoyed most of the characters in this book.
A few criticisms about this novel.
1 - For me there was a great deal of confusion with certain parts of the book. I understand the wanting to create a somewhat chaotic feel, but when a reader is required to re-read passages of a book. It tells me that the author didn't succeed in explaining the scene. It was frustrating to begin to get into the flow of the story only to have to re-read a section.
2 - As I discussed above, some of the dialogue seemed forced. It actually felt as though the character wasn't talking to another character, rather that character was talking to the reader making sure they got a plot point.
3 - The lack of tertiary characters. To me, those side characters (even if they are there for a scene or two) add a certain depth to the story. They are not just mindless, faceless, fodder to be killed off when a death is needed.
Some things I really enjoyed about this novel.
1 - Bastun. Plain and simple. I really liked this character. I liked his character development, and I like where (and how) he ended the novel. Bastun is certainly one of the more memorable characters I have read about in awhile.
2 - I enjoy Mr. Davis' prose. It's fluid and doesn't try to be overly flowery. It pretty much is what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything else. It allows the reader to get into the flow of the novel quickly.
3 - I really appreciated the degree of description hat Mr. Davis added to this novel, without being overly descriptive. Some authors tend to get caught up in over describing things that really make no difference. Mr. Davis on the other hand, describes things quickly and to the point then moves on. This allows the reader to get an idea of the author's vision, but doesn't bog them down with needless details.
Overall, there were things I enjoyed about this book but things that frustrated me as well. As a Forgotten Realms story it's about average. I was not wowed by this book, but I wasn't left feeling cheated by it either. Confused, yes - but not cheated. I think that since I am not, nor have I ever really been, a gamer there are some things that I may not have picked up on. It's a fine line for authors in the Realms to write novels that readers will understand and `get' and at the same time providing information that gamers will appreciate. For Forgotten Realms fan they may enjoy reading about a group, the Rashemi, which are rarely written about. Being that this is a stand alone novel it is also a book that fantasy fans can pick up having no knowledge of the Realms. A decent overall story, but with some flaws.
"Shield" is basically a story about an exiled Rashemi, an old citadel and a legend surrounding it. The atmosphere and the richness of lore are the strongest points of this book. Davis can really build up a dark and heavy atmosphere and keep it up throughout the novel. Makes the book feel more cohesive and even more intense.
Plot of the book is also very strong and well thought out. It has it's roots in a legend about the citadel, but where many similar novels just keep it as a beggining of the story, Shield keeps reminding the reader of the legend, and unravels it slowly through the plot. Nice indeed.
Characters are also interesting and while not very detailed aside from Bastun the main character, still solid and beleivable. To touch on Bastun a little. While being one of the most likable "heroes" (probably because not being a real hero) i read about in Realms novels, i would have really liked to read more about his history and training in the order of Vremyonni. We could say that his character is well defined, but his background not so much.
The biggest flaw of this novel, in my opinion, is that author goes into descriptive tirades at a number of occasions. Or to put it more simply, i felt this book was in dire need of some dialogue. It was description after description, introspection after introspection. Dragged it around a great bit for me.
All in all, a very good novel like previous ones in Citadels. Check them all out.