Pool of Radiance

“An apprentice mage who’s accidentally transformed herself into a buff amazon, a retired thief mourning his dead lover, and a fervent young priest of Tyr walk into a bar… stop me if you’ve heard this one before.”

Waterdeep

“It’s not perfect — the pacing drags at points, Adon’s survival feels more preposterous than miraculous, and there are a few duds among the supporting cast — but it’s still a marked improvement over the previous couple of books.”

Tantras

“I’m intrigued by how Ciencin tries to take Shadowdale’s established “peaceful utopia” characterization and twist it into something darker and more cynical. It doesn’t actually work, but it could have if it had been handled more deftly.”

Shadowdale

“The setting was only two years old at this point — it’s not like it was growing stodgy and needed some sort of shake-up to make it feel fresh again. All it accomplishes is to show you the bones of the tabletop ruleset poking through the fiction like a compound fracture.”

Darkwell

“It’s as if Niles needed some sort of generically evil Dark Lord for his plot, so he scanned through the long list of Realms deities, saw a god of murder, and thought “Yeah, that sounds evil. He’ll do!” without actually thinking it through.”

Streams of Silver

“This book follows Bruenor Battlehammer as he drags his friends around the northern Realms on a search for his clan’s ancestral home. It’s like The Hobbit, if there was only one dwarf and he had no idea where his home was.”