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 Elminster Must Die -- Prologue & Chapters 1 - 5

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
The Sage Posted - 03 Aug 2010 : 05:29:05
Well met

This is a Book Club thread for Elminster Must Die (part of "The Sage of Shadowdale" saga), by Ed Greenwood. Please discuss the Prologue and chapters 1 - 5 herein.
30   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Scout Posted - 06 Jul 2013 : 05:47:37
Looking at the dates of these posts I see I am late to the party, but I wanted to say that I agree with this statement...
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

...Though I really feel sad for El, and specially for the Simbul. I'm used to seeing her blasting Red Wizards and anyone foolish enough to mess with her, not to her 'begging....'


... seeing El, Storm and The Simbul in this condition really makes me feel bad for them.

Kinda reminds me of the reality of age...
Thauranil Posted - 18 Nov 2012 : 06:57:14
No kidding. They are a disgrace to Vangey and the old gang.
Though Ed has always seemed to enjoy killing off war wizards for some reason. But even so with their present attrition rate I wonder how the organisation can expect to survive.
Dennis Posted - 18 Nov 2012 : 02:32:34

You're right about the War Wizards. With an abundance of incompetent fools wrongly named the War Wizards, it's no wonder Cormyr is falling into pieces.
Neo2151 Posted - 29 Sep 2012 : 07:33:32
Well, ever since around the time of 4th edition, I've been avoiding WotC, and unfortunately, FR as well. The former because... well, let's not, shall we? The latter because the novels just stopped looking interesting when I'd pick them up off the shelf and read the back cover.
Simply put, it stopped feeling like new Realms novels and just felt like new "generic D&D" novels. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's the impression I got.

Well, fast-forward to today, and finally finishing A Dance With Dragons, and I find myself in need of a new book, so why not replace some of my old favorites of my long-lost FR collection and re-read them?
Well, bookstores are awful these days! Couldn't find any of the novels I was looking for, but I noticed Elminster Must Die and thought, "Why not?"

==========

Well, Ed hasn't changed a bit it seems, and that's both good and bad I'd say.
In my personal opinion (and it's one that many I know seem to share!) that his stories are amazing, but his writing style is hard on the eyes. This is true of EMD just as it is true of his older works.
And while I'm enjoying the story, and the main characters are just as intriguing and fun as they've always been, I can't help but feel his "background" characters all suffer, just as they always have. Every Cormyrian War Mage is a carbon-copy of the next: Hot-headed, quick to blast, and utterly unlikable in that they have no real character. Yes, they're all technically soldiers, but they've also had to have the patience to study magic. Flinging a fireball makes you so bold that none dare challenge your might? Can every War Wizard truly be so utterly brash?
Ditto the Knights and Highknights, although their arrogance is more forvigable, since El and co. technically are the wrongdoers and the Knights technically are just "following" orders. The problem I have isn't that they persue El because they have to; it's the attitude they have when they do (much like the War Mages, very hot-headed, very brash, and almost always dishonorably done, even though these are knights we're talking about! Surely not all, but SOME at least should hold to their honor, yeah?)

I think my issue here is that this isn't unique to Elminster Must Die - It's true of most Ed books: That is, the mages are all over-confident and the only characters that ever seem to have any sense of "honor" or "decency" are the main characters, and the main characters alone.


ALL that said, I still look forward to the rest of the book, and I'm sure I'll read the following ones to come. Nitpicking aside, I do still enjoy tales of everyone's favorite Sage of Shadowdale (and most importantly, I must find out what Ed's done to fix this "Mystra is really dead this time" nonsense! )
Blueblade Posted - 05 Aug 2012 : 19:30:01
I've been re-reading all of the Realms novels I own (pretty much everything) in as close to chronological order as possible (some of them overlap), and reached ELMINSTER MUST DIE. And on this re-reading I'm struck by how powerful, moving, and brutal these opening chapters are.
(Not to mention being a poke in the eye to all the "El is Ed's Bobby Sue" types. These chapter make that abundantly clear to anyone with a basic grasp of English who bothers to read them. Just sayin,')
Gripping, so far.
BB
Dennis Posted - 11 Nov 2010 : 12:00:27
I'm still in chapter 2. And enjoying it so far...Though I really feel sad for El, and specially for the Simbul. I'm used to seeing her blasting Red Wizards and anyone foolish enough to mess with her, not to her 'begging....'
Iluvrien Posted - 19 Sep 2010 : 11:16:28
Thank you for your response, Lady Hooded One!

I understand what you mean with respect to the stalwarts of Cormyr. Much as the experience has been less that comfortable at times, the first five chapters arguably had to unfold as they did. In setting the scene for Newcomers to the Realms they had to provide an outline of the elements in play, and to those of us who are returning they had to indicate those people and places that are no longer extant.

We've had the appearance of "The villain who only thinks he is the villain" (M. S.), the "True villain unless someone else is using him (probably)" (M), The beleagured but resolute defenders (El, Storm, Al), and the neutal parties that may be drawn one way or the other (Gan, Vain, Am). I have suspicions about the Silent Shadow... I think they may end up being a force for good in spite of themselves.

I truly hope that Ed gets the chance to tell more tales featuring Filfaeril and Alusair, they were among my very favourite characters from Ed's works. I say among because so many of those he wrote about became dear to me through the manner of his telling. As I said before, I shall also miss Laspeera and Myrmeen. Though the list is not even limited to those four! Tessaril Winter I am looking at you.

I am looking forward to seeing who comes to the aid of the Forst Kingdom even as I mourn those who have gone.

I would agree that this book is one of Ed's best and a pleasure to read, even if that pleasure is sometimes a little painful .

I am just coming to the end of chapter 10 so I will move to that thread now!
The Hooded One Posted - 18 Sep 2010 : 03:08:51
Hang in there, Iluvrien!
The passage of time has taken away some of the stalwart characters of Cormyr ("the good guys on the side of the Crown"), and what happened in the Spellplague has brought Mystra's Chosen down hard . . . but the rest of the novel will show you some new champions, and - - most importantly - - that in some ways, Cormyr hasn't changed very much at all.
It's been less than a century, after all.
I know Ed laments the loss of good chances to tell some of the tales of Filfaeril's later years, Alusair's regency, and so on . . . but he's working on ways to get a few of those into print for us all, somewhere and somehow.
Enjoy the rest of ELMINSTER MUST DIE!, I hope, and come back to tell us more of how you felt about it. I think it's one of Ed's best Realms books so far, and can't wait for the sequel, BURY ELMINSTER DEEP. Ed, of course, can't wait to write the third one.
love,
THO
Iluvrien Posted - 18 Sep 2010 : 01:13:42
I have just finished Chapter 5 and my primary responses have been ones of bittersweet pleasure and mild horror. I would sound my own voice in support of those scribes who found this latest work of Ed's to be wonderfully written.

If it was badly constructed it would evoke nothing from me. This, sadly, has not been the case. I wish I was not feeling the suffering of some of my favourite Realmsian personalities quite so keenly. Poor El, poor poor Storm...

... that is the source of the bittersweet pleasure. To see them again and alive is the pleasure. It is marred in no uncertain terms, however, by the manner in which they are seen. Beset and far from home, comfort and what little companionship a few stolen days may have provided.

That Laer also seems to have been confirmed as residing in the past tense is also a blow.

Alusair's appearance, though I always preferred dear Fee, was welcome. Not the least because it seems that although she is no longer free to range across Cormyr as she once did, she retains much of the character she once held.

And how that character is needed! The source of my mild horror is in seeing just how far the Forest Kingdom seems to have fallen. Always a hotbed of viperous nobles, at least there were dependable souls such as Mother Laspeera, my favourite Fee and Mreen about to (in Alusair's words) "Defend Cormyr from itself".

As wonderful as these Chapters have been (and I shall be starting on Chapter 6 immediately after this post) I do feel that I have been proverbially Jedi'd. This is not the Cormyr I was looking for.

...a beautiful job as always though, Ed!
Sith_Lord_Drizzt Posted - 09 Sep 2010 : 15:27:56
quote:
Originally posted by The Red Walker

quote:
Originally posted by Garen Thal

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I just realised that the "teaser" snippets on the WotC website were chapter header flavour pieces that were cut from the novel. Considering that every chapter starts on a new page with a fair chunk of blank, white stuff there, it just makes you want to shake your head. If the novel is worth publishing in hardcover, then it's worth doing it properly. I just don't get it sometimes.

-- George Krashos
Apparently, they were cut on purpose, to be reintroduced later as an incentive for folks to pick up the paperback as well.

Not my favorite decision in the world, but there it is.



It just inspired me to write them into the book with my own poor penmanship! I've never been one to buy in to obvious marketing ploys like that. Especially one that targets only the most loyal of Ed's readers.



I must be missing something here....where are these "teaser" snippets located? Anyone have a link?
IanVeers Posted - 21 Aug 2010 : 14:17:51
Yeah I noticed that too. I'm not sure whether to find in annoying or amusing to see such a well defined character suddenly get cacked. On an emotional level though, it does make me hate the villain even more. It also keeps me on the edge of my seat, sometimes I feel myself cringing when certain characters fall into those situations. Because I never know who will die next. I supposed that's the reason Ed writes characters like that.

As for his descriptions of places and things, it's almost like reading an anthropologist's personal journal on his travels. Not that dry crap that they make you buy for the classes but his personal journals. That sort of stuff intrigues me.
Captain_Ron Posted - 20 Aug 2010 : 16:53:54
I have been waiting for this for a while and I have not been let down yet. I know that for some people Ed is hit or miss, and I can understand that. I think his writing style is not for everyone. Personally, I love when he writes about Cormyr.

My only 'beef' with the novel so far is the fact we seem to be jumping into the middle of conversations with some of our main characters and I can figure out what/who they are talking about. I end up re-reading a page trying to figure it out. It's not a big beef, but just something I've picked up on.

I would say that when I read an Ed book, the thing I look forward to the most is getting a couple pages about a character that you believe may have a decent amount of impact due to the amount of sentences written about him/her, then Ed killing them off immediately. It's usually a Wizard of War, but it always makes me chuckle. I do not believe it has happened so far(at least not up to where I am in the book) but I have a feeling it will happen.
The Red Walker Posted - 18 Aug 2010 : 23:00:03
quote:
Originally posted by Garen Thal

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I just realised that the "teaser" snippets on the WotC website were chapter header flavour pieces that were cut from the novel. Considering that every chapter starts on a new page with a fair chunk of blank, white stuff there, it just makes you want to shake your head. If the novel is worth publishing in hardcover, then it's worth doing it properly. I just don't get it sometimes.

-- George Krashos
Apparently, they were cut on purpose, to be reintroduced later as an incentive for folks to pick up the paperback as well.

Not my favorite decision in the world, but there it is.



It just inspired me to write them into the book with my own poor penmanship! I've never been one to buy in to obvious marketing ploys like that. Especially one that targets only the most loyal of Ed's readers.
Garen Thal Posted - 18 Aug 2010 : 14:09:55
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I just realised that the "teaser" snippets on the WotC website were chapter header flavour pieces that were cut from the novel. Considering that every chapter starts on a new page with a fair chunk of blank, white stuff there, it just makes you want to shake your head. If the novel is worth publishing in hardcover, then it's worth doing it properly. I just don't get it sometimes.

-- George Krashos
Apparently, they were cut on purpose, to be reintroduced later as an incentive for folks to pick up the paperback as well.

Not my favorite decision in the world, but there it is.
George Krashos Posted - 18 Aug 2010 : 13:27:38
I just realised that the "teaser" snippets on the WotC website were chapter header flavour pieces that were cut from the novel. Considering that every chapter starts on a new page with a fair chunk of blank, white stuff there, it just makes you want to shake your head. If the novel is worth publishing in hardcover, then it's worth doing it properly. I just don't get it sometimes.

-- George Krashos
The Red Walker Posted - 16 Aug 2010 : 13:35:02
I dont think this particualr novel is poorly edited, and Im pretty sure Ed would agree....I think it is more a matter of there are so many of us who want soooo much from an Ed novel...each of them, we wants everything they want, and when the stuff that is secondary to their wants gets in the way of their interests......thats where most people thaink...'Ed stuffs too many storylines" or stuff into his novels.

It is an insanely unfair standard Ed is held to, and I think all things considered he did a great job yet again!
althen artren Posted - 14 Aug 2010 : 19:14:23
Now we can say that Ed's books could be poorly edited, as in his stories
shouldn't be edited at all. Shadows of the Avatars comes to mind and
a poorly edited and directed trilogy.
Dennis Posted - 13 Aug 2010 : 11:24:20
quote:
Originally posted by Malcolm


"literary vomit"?
Well, one reader's diamonds are another reader's dog dirt, I suppose, but to call this the worst book in FR history makes me think the poster hasn't read all that many FR books. (I mean, there IS stiff competition for THAT crown.)



Agreed. The worst FR books for me are a tie between Phil's Watercourse Trilogy and Ward's Pools of Darkness. So far, there are no books that Ed wrote (and I read) that I would consider poorly written---well, in FR at least, because the Falconfar saga is another story (Sorry, but book one of that series really bored me to near-death...)
Blueblade Posted - 12 Aug 2010 : 23:24:25
(Wince) Now THERE'S a visual.
BB
Sage of Stars Posted - 12 Aug 2010 : 21:46:55
Another enjoyable read from Ed's pen. These opening chapters are the most "gamer-ish" (I suppose another possible term would be "Salvatore-like") in that they feature more "don't make me fight you"/sneer/WHAM big fight" scenes than the rest of the narrative.
Looking across the current living and actively-writing SFWA membership, I count Ed in the top handful of a group of writers that wins few awards and writes few "ground-breaking" or seminal works, but instead tells good yarns that invite re-reading. Of the dead writers in this group, I can readily name Randall Garrett, E.E. "Doc" Smith, James H. Schmitz, and H. Beam Piper . . . but the living writers in this group are headed by Joe Lansdale, Christopher Moore, and Ed.
For Realms fans, this book is more than a solidly enjoyable re-read. It "gives back" a living, interesting, colorful Cormyr to the fans, introduces some great new characters whom I hope we'll be seeing a lot more of, and showcases some old favorites in ways that make it clear to everyone that they're still "in play," very much on the table.
Ed delivers. Well worth the money, and one more step of improvement in his Realms books. Since he started the Knights trilogy, each successive book has been better written. This one is rushed at the end (not that such pacing doesn't fit the tale well, mind you); I look forward eagerly to the sequel, and (despite having turned out more than a dozen sf and fantasy novels of my own, over two decades) energetically envy anyone who can write this well. His dialogue is deft when it doesn't sparkle.
So, I'll dine on this particular literary vomit, with sauce.
Malcolm Posted - 12 Aug 2010 : 19:40:33
Great book thus far, great beginning.
Though I suspect, having read previous Ed books, the fighting will slacken for a bit as we get more conversation and coloring in the characters.
"literary vomit"?
Well, one reader's diamonds are another reader's dog dirt, I suppose, but to call this the worst book in FR history makes me think the poster hasn't read all that many FR books. (I mean, there IS stiff competition for THAT crown.)
I'm delighted with my purchase, and will be reading right along to the end, expecting more superb entertainment. And I DO expect it to make sense. It being Ed, there will be subtleties and hints, not everything stated baldly...but then, that's what I'm expecting and hoping for.
I'll check in again when I get to the end.
Tonight, perhaps...
Jorkens Posted - 12 Aug 2010 : 11:45:03
Well, now I am actually looking forward to reading the book, that review made it seem like a book I would like. The longer sentences and longer descriptions the better.
Brimstone Posted - 12 Aug 2010 : 11:41:16
Thanks for sharing.
Josh82 Posted - 12 Aug 2010 : 10:04:36
One of the worst written books that I've ever had the misfortune of reading. What pisses me off more is that I actually had to drive to the book store and buy it since it isn't available in Kindle format! Such an utter waste of time/money.

Why use 50 sentences when 1 would have done? Now everything needs 50,000 moronically written descriptions. My eyes were bleeding after reading the same old stupid quotes like "For the good of the realm" or "I am an agent of the crown, you will obey me"...then 2 seconds later the person dying. The book really made no sense at all. This book is literary vomit.

....No offense but this really is the worst FR's book in history.
Dennis Posted - 12 Aug 2010 : 04:11:56
quote:
Originally posted by Longtime Lurker

dennis, there's nary a Zhent in sight, except Manshoon.



My worry, exactly. As I love him so much!...Fortunately for me, no cockroach (yet) is strong enough to thwart me from reading this book.

Longtime Lurker Posted - 12 Aug 2010 : 03:41:31
dennis, there's nary a Zhent in sight, except Manshoon. Unless some of the nobles or other attendees at the feast or on the Palace staff are secretly Zhent agents, of course (and if they are, it's not even hinted at). Some characters are Manshoon's agents/pawns/mind-controlled dupes, but that's a different thing.
And from the tone of Ed's writing, I'd say he's hinting that at least one of those agents is going to break free/get out of hand, in a later book.
Ah, this book is FUN. It's got me excited about the Realms again, and I didn't think that was possible . . .
Dennis Posted - 11 Aug 2010 : 19:56:10
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

dennis,
remember this, always, when regarding Ed's or anyone else's Realms novels: they are all "work for hire." Authors (yes, including Ed and Bob Salvatore) write about characters they are told to write about, not "whoever they may feel like" writing about.




That I know. You mentioned that in one of your replies to my query in Qs for Ed. The purpose of my question is only to know what to expect, because I don't like annoying surprises, and the cockroach's sudden presence in any book is nothing but. Besides, my insect repellent spray is not unlimited; I'd have to order more from Japan.
Dennis Posted - 11 Aug 2010 : 19:48:09
quote:
Originally posted by The Red Walker

quote:
Originally posted by dennis


I haven't read this book yet, (still waiting for the shipment) but one quick question: (Ed's novels usually involve the cockroach Manshoon and far too many Zhents, whom I really tried to like or at least spare a mote of liking but always failed to.) Does this book feature them again ? Or are there other equally strong or greater power groups that desire and scheme for the ultimate demise of our beloved El?





I could be wrong, but it seems Manshoon has been in less than half of Ed's Novels. I understand you do not like him....so why do we need to see some variant of "that cockroach Manshoon", which your posts usually feature?




The fact that this book is "about" El is more than enough reason for me to read it. It's just that I hate annoying surprises...I'd undoubtedly be annoyed if I suddenly read the name of the cockroach in this novel without knowing before hand. At least by knowing what to expect, I'd be ready with my insect repellent spray!
The Red Walker Posted - 11 Aug 2010 : 18:34:04
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

dennis,
remember this, always, when regarding Ed's or anyone else's Realms novels: they are all "work for hire." Authors (yes, including Ed and Bob Salvatore) write about characters they are told to write about, not "whoever they may feel like" writing about.As for your query: if there are any Zs included, that's not confirmed to the reader. Yes, "M" appears. One of the themes of the book is the manias/toll of surviving for centuries and using/abusing/overusing/becoming ravaged by magic. El and the other Chosen aren't the ONLY characters affected by this, that Ed is comparing and contrasting in the book.
Nor is this the only game Ed is playing, in EL M D!
Heh. Wait'll you see BURY ELMINSTER DEEP . . .
love,
THO


Emphasis mine..that's what I was clumsily trying to convey!
The Hooded One Posted - 11 Aug 2010 : 17:08:04
dennis,
remember this, always, when regarding Ed's or anyone else's Realms novels: they are all "work for hire." Authors (yes, including Ed and Bob Salvatore) write about characters they are told to write about, not "whoever they may feel like" writing about.
As for your query: if there are any Zs included, that's not confirmed to the reader. Yes, "M" appears. One of the themes of the book is the manias/toll of surviving for centuries and using/abusing/overusing/becoming ravaged by magic. El and the other Chosen aren't the ONLY characters affected by this, that Ed is comparing and contrasting in the book.
Nor is this the only game Ed is playing, in EL M D!
Heh. Wait'll you see BURY ELMINSTER DEEP . . .
love,
THO

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