June 13th, 2008

there!, Hello

Othar's sense of smell returned first.

42) Royal Destiny by Morgan Howell (2007, Del Rey, 432 pages).

The final volume of the Queen of the Orcs trilogy follows the newest Queen as she is beset by suspicious orc matrons, the minions of a demonic sorcerer, and disgustingly speciesist human beings. Ah, politics! Of course, as this is a high fantasy book, it once again descends into (yet another) war, but hey, at least these moments are handled well. The best stuff is not the epic fighting, it's the engaging emotional landscapes found in its characters (take for example, a touching scene wherein Dar considers the many things -- writings, artistry, &cetera -- that will be ruined with the fated burning of the Orc's Great Hall comes to pass; she must choose what will be saved, and what must remain). I loved many of the characters in the book, I happily hated a bunch of them, I found elation at the rousing parts, chuckles at some of the funny banter, I got misty eyed at all the right moments, and I ultimately came away satisfied with the climax, which is far less conclusive than I might've expected, and the denoument... In a nice touch, evil is dealt with but not outright destroyed. Not that it feels at all like "Oooooh, now there will have to be a sequel trilogy to wrap this up!" It fits with the trilogy's aesthetic quite nicely.

While much of this book featured Big Moments that might have been written to John Williams scores, they resulted in very little actual eyerolling on my part. There was enough meat and darkness, hope and beauty to keep my attention. All told: Queen of the Orcs is quite an entertaining read.

Amazon tells me this author has another book due out in October '08 (A Woman Worth Ten Coppers). I'll definitely check it out.

Deadlands: The Big Finish

So, last night marked the big, big finish to the Salt Lake City/City of Gloom Campaign for the Thursday night Deadlands group. After crushing the souls of the players (as well as their characters) last week, there were plenty of rousing moments this time around. All that remains is a minor amount of denouement (far less than an hour of no dice, pure storytelling bits) and the subsequent dead dog wrap party, next Thursday (the one year anniversary of our campaign's beginning, surprise surprise).

Thank you:
for the great times.