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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Completed Series: Lost Empires

Lost Empires is a series of four standalone novels set in the Forgotten Realms. There is no overlap with the books like there is in Sembia, these novels are truly standalone united by a common theme of some remnant of a lost or legendary locale.

I started with the first book in early March before getting to the fourth at the very end of April. I did not finish until mid July.

Forgotten Realms: Lost Empires series

The Lost Library of Cormanthyr by Mel Odom (1998) - Acceptable
Faces of Deception by Troy Denning (1998) - Bad
Star of Cursrah by Clayton Emery (1999) - Good
The Nether Scroll by Lynn Abbey (2000) - Mediocre

Overall I did enjoy Lost Empires. I have always been fascinated with history and each story has world building associated heavily with the past.

The Lost Library of Cormanthyr was fun, quick and easy. While the main character, Baylee, never has a problem (he is a typical Mary Sue) he is still enjoyable to read about. There are so many places visited, LLoC acts as a tour through the Realms of sorts. We see Cormyr, Waterdeep, Candlekeep, the Dalelands, Cormanthor, the Moonshaes and even the bottom of the ocean.

It is basically Indiana Jones in the Forgotten Realms. I may bring my party to Selarrnym someday to potentially rediscover some of what was left behind by the ancient elves.

Faces of Deception is easily the most disappointing book I have read in my quest to read every Forgotten Realms novel so far. It's not the writing, I have read a handful of books by Troy Denning and is writing is easy to digest. The story goes somewhere, but it was honestly surprising that it did. Sadly it has the biggest non-ending I've ever read. It's not a cliffhanger, it's an impenetrable wall. The characters don't progress, and the story is left dangling with no wrap up. It was so interesting at times, the traveling and countries of the Far East of Faerûn. Promising, but fails.

Star of Cursrah is the shining point of Lost Empires. It is a dual story, something I have never actually read before. The are a group of three friends in 1369 DR and another three in -6048 DR. The one in the past tells the fate of the ancient desert city while the group of friends rediscover it's location and story. Don't be deceived by the cover, it doesn't depict anything from the story really. The biggest fault in the story are the characters themselves, they are all unintelligent, with one exception. This is not too surprising as they are all kids, but it is a little annoying at times. Overall it is a fun tromp.

The Nether Scroll took my three months to finish. For those looking for a story driven Forgotten Realms novel, this is it. The only problem is that the plot suffers. Oddly Forgotten Realms novels are almost always about 300 pages long. If this story had been longer I feel it would have been way better. It took me until about page 120 for me to feel invested in the story, and it's never taken me that long for such a short book. 

It is somewhat redeemed by the interesting character dynamics including a young man with bad habits, a tough wizard, a nicely dressed goblin, and a fierce warrior woman. The ending was also a nice, not-cliffhanger.

The verdict for Lost Empires is you should read what sounds interesting to you since it is such a diverse set of books. Hopefully my review helps those interested in more than Drizzt and Erevis Cale find something for them. Overall I would say Lose Empires is Acceptable. Feel free to leave me your comments and questions.

You can track my current progress here.

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