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Review of City of Ravens by Richard Baker posted 19 January 2005 in ReviewsReview of City of Ravens by Richard Baker by Born of Fantasy, Commoner

By Algorath


Not to rant or rave but I decided to start this review with my personal thoughts on Forgotten Realms. A great multi-author world created by Ed Greenwood, also creator of Dungeons and Dragons and a literary genius, in the late 70's, Forgotten Realms was a innovation in the Fantasy genre. Forgotten Realms novels compose most of my library, for a long time being some of the only books I read. When Wizards of the Coast bought TSR, Forgotten Realms original publishing company, I noticed a decrease in the story quality in the Forgotten Realms series. Not for any lack of exceptional authors, but because it seemed that the authors were trying to press every character and storyline to its limits just to sell books. A great example of this, previously mention by Dalerone in his Lone Drow review, are R.A. Salvatore’s current works with Drizzt Do’ Urden. Thought Salvatore is one of the most renowned fantasy authors, and in my opinion one of the greatest, after Wizards bought TSR it seemed that he was trying everything he could to create more Drizzt novels. Whether this is just bad timing on Wizards part, or their attempt to sell as many novels as possible, I was turned off from the Forgotten Realms world. Another example, from another amazing author Ed Greenwood, was the Elminster novels. Personally when a character is either made “invincible” or the same story line is repeated I begin to think twice about buying the author’s next book. Richard Baker on the other hand has given me a new fervor for the Forgotten Realms series. His creation of a character, Jack Ravenwild, in a city that aside from its notorious reputation is not brought up often in the Forgotten Realms novels, showed me that some authors under the Forgotten Realms name are still working to create great novels instead of milking what is already there. But anyway . . .

This book has probably been sitting on my shelf for months, and I have never found the opportunity to read it until now. So I figured hey, it’s been four years since the book came out, what better time than while there is nothing else on my reading list. The novel, part of the multi-author Forgotten Realms world, takes place in the notorious city of Raven’s Bluff, where crime is just another part of business. Jack Ravenwild, a local thief, with a reputation that not only gets him good jobs, but also a lot of unwanted attention is the Hero of this story. Unwillingly thrown into a world of deceit, treason, ancient underground tombs, and magic Jack has to decide what is more important, money or life. When Jack is employed by a fanatic warlord, he seems to upset the wrong people, slowly making his life a living hell, forcing his hand in many unwanted directions. Baker also introduces many different character types, ranging from thugs to nobles, into Jack’s misadventures, incorporating an excellent multi-faceted plot over the length of the novel. With twists and turns at every corner, I was enthralled, and had a hard time putting the book down at 3 AM.

If you have never read a Forgotten Realms novel, The City of Ravens, is definitely a good intro into the Realms. A separate story without any ties to other series in the Forgotten Realms world, there is no need to wonder who these people are or what the author is talking about in reference to places, or past story lines. This novel was not only continuously action-filled, sporting a good dose of magic, melee, and mayhem, but also will keep you guessing with its multi-plot storyline. Though I personally have never read anything in the Forgotten Realms series by Richard Baker before, he handles the characters and story very well. I don’t think I would continue the series with Temple Hill, but as a stand alone novel The City of Ravens was an excellent read. Final rating for this exciting novel, 7!


Review by Algorath via:


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