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review 2020-04-13 22:30
THE FOREVER HOUSE by Tim Waggoner
The Forever House - Tim Waggoner

THE FOREVER HOUSE has to be one of the craziest books I've ever read and I mean that in the best way possible!

 

The Eldreds move into "The Blood House." That's what the neighbors call it, anyway. They call it that due to the extremely violent end to the Raines family, which used to live there. Standing uninhabited for many years, the Eldreds understandably cause a buzz of excitement upon their arrival. Shortly thereafter, the neighbors each receive an invitation to dinner at the Eldreds' house, and their lives will never be the same again!

 

I will inject a bit of real life into this review by saying that the whole COVID-19 thing was going on while I read this. I've had some real trouble concentrating on my reading during this time, EXCEPT FOR the time I spent reading this book. It was creative, funny and scary enough to provide a real distraction from life for me. For that I am extremely grateful.

 

That said, there was one portion, or perhaps I'll say one character, that was pretty damn silly. And maybe if I had read this during a different time, that would have put me off of this book. However, I DID read it through this terrible time and it provided a good enough escape for me that I was able to overlook that.

 

THE FOREVER HOUSE was quite a bit of fun, it was creative and original and perhaps most importantly, it distracted me from the horror that is the daily news.

 

Recommended!

 

*Thanks to Flame Tree Press for the paperback ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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text 2020-04-10 14:00
#FridayReads 4.10.20
The Forever House - Tim Waggoner
Dark Celebrations - Calvin Demmer
The Comeback by Bernard Taylor (2016-10-06) - Bernard Taylor

#FridayReads Today, I'm reading THE FOREVER HOUSE by @timwaggoner. I'm also reading DARK CELEBRATIONS by @CalvinDemmer. Lastly, I'm listening to THE COMEBACK by Bernard Taylor, and narrated by Virginia Ferguson. What are you reading? pic.twitter.com/QFx8He2ruN

— Char's Horror Corner
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review 2020-03-31 21:43
Lady Ruin by Tim Waggoner
Lady Ruin - Tim Waggoner

One of the very last Eberron novels published and in many ways the only true standalone novel, 'Lady Ruin' runs only 250 pages and does not make the best use of its brief time. 25 additional pages are given to the 'Abyssal Plague' prelude cross-over event, but as there's no sign of it having anything to do with Eberron I'm skipping it. Waggoner's 'Blade of the Flame' trilogy is strong writing, but I can't say the same here unfortunately. 

 

A Karrnathi warlord sponsors a secret weapons-development scheme involving bonding soldiers with symbionts to create a powerful army. The problem is that symbionts are creations leftover from the Daelkyr War nine thousand years ago. Products of chaos, the symbionts are dangerous to their hosts and nearly-impossible to control.

 

Captain Lirra is second in command of the effort, working under her father and supervising her artificer uncle in his experiments to master these weapons. An experiment goes wrong...and Lirra is the only one strong enough to do what must be done to prevent A Daelkyr from crossing over into Eberron and remaking the world in its twisted vision.

 

Lirra is our primary viewpoint character with only the occasional visit to other officers in the Outland Guard and the baddies scheming to unleash chaos. The story make little attempt to follow a "party" structure, Lirra is mostly on her own, and Waggoner can't seem to carry the story without it. There was little time for development of character relations, so when we reach climactic fight scenes I didn't feel any attachment to the characters. The book's saving grace is the examination of how symbionts behave with hosts and several scenes of horror as people and monsters are molded like play-doh to suit the needs of the villain.

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review 2019-09-04 20:36
Sea of Death, Blade of the Flame #3 by Tim Waggoner
Sea of Death: Blade of the Flame, Book 3 (The Blade of the Flame) - Tim Waggoner

 

Fear the Drowning Deep Square: A lich summons a plague of were-sharks to bring down civilization.

 

At the end of 'Forge' the party has befriended a war-forged with psionic powers, so you think that their missions would be getting easier. However, the dragon wand that was snatched from them and the loss of Makala to darkness means the party has a lot of work to do.

 

An ancient demonic curse, an island plagued with undead, unholy pacts, and just the existence of were-sharks makes for a compelling adventure on the sea. Waggoner fit a lot into these stories and provided satisfying conclusions to character's individual story-arcs, two romantic plots (and a bromance), and makes a case for returning to these characters.

 

I'm not sure they did. Waggoner wrote one more novel for Eberron, 'Lady Ruin', which doesn't name-check any of the characters from the 'Blade' trilogy. With these tie-in novels to D&D, Wizards of the Coast tries to be crafty and instead catches itself in a trap. 'Dragonlance' and 'Forgotten Realms' were dominated by characters created by one or two authors - this created internal consistency and reader loyalty, but also meant that the campaign setting was beholden to creative that may not want to write the stories they're told to write. To avoid this Wizards pushed out a LOT of novels in a short period by many different authors. This mixed bag probably created some short-term cash-flow, but the market was saturated and the books quickly went out of print.

 

I for one would have been happy to see a core story-line produced. It would only increase sales of the core product (the pricey D&D manuals) and keep the brand alive. There is a new Eberron Adventure coming out for 5th edition this fall, we'll see if there's any novel tie-ins.

 

Anyway, this is the strongest group of Eberron novels so far. Obviously recommended to D&D and Eberron fans, but also fans of fantasy-horror.

 

The Blade of the Flame

 

Previous: 'Forge of the Mindslayers'

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review 2019-09-03 18:33
Forge of the Mindslayers, Blade of the Flame #2 by Tim Waggoner
Forge of the Mind Slayers - Tim Waggoner

Some months after the events of 'Thieves of Blood' the remaining party members led by Diran take are on an aggressive campaign against evil. Their travels have led them across the Principalities into an obscure corner where two small baronies locked in a trade stalemate, an old curse prevents cooperation.

 

In the mountains they cross paths with the lich Lathifa in her lair, and she is fascinated by the dragonwand the artificer Tressler carries. It was apparently fashioned from a powerful and lost magical artifact. The lich sends her barghest servant after the party to get the wand at any cost. In those same mountains an orc rival of Ghaji is working for a mad assassin from Diran's past and a Kalashtar. The terrible trio are working to rebuild an abandoned experimental Cannith forge.

 

There are a lot of coincidences going on, but a lot of it can be explained as the manipulations of Vol, who, admittedly, has had 3,000 years or so to line things up. In the shadow of her plans the struggle for the psi-forged facility pales. Waggoner continues to dig deep into the character's pasts with well-timed flashbacks and broadens the character's relationships with each other. The villains are hardly bungling, but there was something funny about how these five scheming villains could hardly stop plotting and backstabbing and rubbing their hands together to get REVENGE and be the BEST at being EVIL!

 

This was really enjoyable - I had to dive right in to the next one. 

 

The Blade of the Flame

 

Next: 'Sea of Death'

 

Previous: 'Thieves of Blood'

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