The Godborn (Forgotten Realms: The Sundering, Book Two)

The Godborn (Forgotten Realms: The Sundering, Book Two)
Paul S Kemp, 2013

New Release! I received an electronic copy of this book via Netgalley for review.

Premise: Dungeons and Dragons is coming out with a new edition next year. This series of books (each focused on a different set of characters) take place during the in-world adjustments necessary so that the abilities of the characters in the novels will match the adjustments to the rules of the game. Insert eyeroll here.

Okay, remember how I said that the first one of these books wasn’t a good jumping on point? This one is worse. Now, my reaction is probably partially due to the fact that rather than starting with a bit of poorly-remembered background on the characters, I had nothing going into this one. However, these books were not only offered to Netgalley reviewers, they were specially promoted to them, so it’s Wizards of the Coast’s own PR department’s fault if new readers are reviewing these.

This book was confusing and boring, but my biggest problems with it was the testosterone was too thick throughout, sticky and unpleasant like chewing tar.

Here’s a little synopsis of the premise: This dude whose mother dies in the first chapter is a paladin and he’s also the son of a dark warrior who is maybe dead or maybe trapped in Hell and there was a god whose powers got split amongst a bunch of guys in some previous book, some of whom are barely mentioned until the end, even though I guess they’re really important to the plot? Other dudes decide to adventure with the paladin because why not. And there’s an evil goddess who wants to destroy the world, but mostly we hear about the priest dude who wants to help her and how his brother hates him for maybe killing their mother and there’s another couple of dudes who were horribly cursed and go about raping (magically-metaphorically, but the metaphor is way too horrendously obvious) and slaughtering people.

It’s all a bit... bleck. And bleak. And blah.

I started skimming about two-thirds of the way through, and only finished the thing through sheer perversity. Who the main character was seemed to change abruptly near the end, and the whole thing was just boring when it wasn’t gross.

I’m going to go on a little side-note here, because I’m not always one to be hard on books for their gender representation, but this was ludicrous.

Female character count: (spoilers, naturally)
  1. Mother of the main character: dies in childbirth after being on stage for a handful of pages, kid grows up w/adoptive father.
  2. Mother of priest-dude: killed before book to motivate priest and brother.
  3. Wife of supporting character: only on-screen long enough to create desire for vengeance/reason for questing when she dies horribly. Husband's desire for vengeance fades inexplicably after a few chapters.
  4. Daughter in peasant family: appears only to immediately die horribly to prove the bad guys are bad.
  5. Pilgrim mother: lives through her brief appearance, her entire purpose is to worry about her son, who almost dies horribly.
  6. Evil Goddess: wants to destroy existence, is only a force with no personality and no dialogue, we only know anything about her through her priest.
I think those are all of the named women in the entire book. Every one an adjunct to a more important male character. Four of them die to serve the male characters' motivation. I just... I can’t even... ugh. (Incidentally, The Companions, for all its many faults, had one major female protagonist and at least five major supporting female characters, all of whom had their own interesting motivations, and none of whom were fridged.)

Some of the writing was fine, but I was by turns pissed off and grossed out for most of this book. Not a winner.

1 Star - Do Not Read.


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