Cry of the Ghost Wolf by Mark Sehestedt
Posted by travizzt on January 7, 2012
Cry of the Ghost Wolf is the final book in the Chosen of Nendawen trilogy. The first book in the trilogy is The Fall of Highwatch and the second book in the trilogy is The Hand of the Hunter. The Chosen of Nendawen trilogy is set in the Forgotten Realms universe based on the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. Mark Sehestedt wrote two other novels set in the Forgotten Realms universe, both set in stand-alone series. The first novel is Frostfell which is a part of The Wizards series and Sentinelspire which is part of the The Citadels series. He also edited an anthology based on the Eberron setting of Dungeons and Dragons titled Tales of the Last War. Cry of the Ghost Wolf was released December 2011 and published by Wizards of the Coast LLC.
After being captured by the Razor Heart hobgoblin clan, Hwelian and her recently acquired friends need a way to escape. Hwelian is partially successful, but soon finds that they are not allowed to leave the Giantspire home of the clan. But Hwelian must escape. She must stop Jagen Ghen, the demon responsible for killing her family and destroying Highwatch, from becoming a god, and she’s under a time limit.
1) Substance. Cry of the Ghost Wolf is primarily style over substance. The story relies heavily on action and falls flat with character and story. Due to this, the novel comes off as rather bland. It’s not boring, but rather lacks depth. The characters are weak because of the lack of depth and characterization given to them. Without any deep characters, the novel feels incredibly slow. There is no one to really root for. Another side effect of having style being the focus is that there doesn’t appear to be any stakes in the plot. There doesn’t seem to be any risk to the world or area, aside from a handful of people. It’s relatively small-scale, but instead of working for the story, it works against it. There is this feeling of “So what?”. In other words, Cry of the Ghost Wolf feels like a summer blockbuster, all flash but little substance and doesn’t leave you with much to think about.
2) Characters. With the focus on action, the characters of Cry of the Ghost Wolf never get developed. There are a few special cases where a character gets some depth, but for the most part, they are boring and hard to connect with. They are stereotypical heroes and villains. There is nothing that really defines them aside from basic character traits. The ones that did show some development and depth were Rhan and Hratt, two hobgoblins that accompany Hwelian in retaking Highwatch. However, they still didn’t make a lasting imprint. The other characters were just forgettable. Out of all the characters, only one comes to mind; Darric. Darric is the generic love interest and that’s about it. The weird thing about the characters are that most of them in the novel are new to the story and trilogy. Sadly, they don’t bring much to the story. The ones that returned are either the main characters, or were introduced at the end of Hand of the Hunter. There was no one to really connect yourself to in this novel, aside from Hwelian. With the supporting cast being as forgettable as they are, no one in Cry of the Ghost Wolf is memorable.
1) Action. Even without the substance and depth that Cry of the Ghost Wolf lacks, it makes up for it in style. The action in the novel is intense, exciting, and fun to read. Fights are beautifully written and are dramatic events. Some even leave you breathless. They are wonderfully entertaining to read through. The action scenes make Cry of the Ghost Wolf bearable and fun to read through.
2) Hwelian. The only character that stands out in Cry of the Ghost Wolf is Hwelian. She is the main character and that does have something to do with it, but realistically, she’s a fun character to read about. Her progression through this trilogy is interesting and really makes you understand how she is now. To see her go from a scared and frightened girl to essentially a killing machine is phenomenal. The best part about it is that it all makes sense in a way. To see her undergo all the changes she has gone through is amazing. Also she felt real. She makes stupid choices in Cry of the Ghost Wolf but it’s the choices that anyone would make. She can get frustrating with how she goes about things but instead of being annoyed by this, you see the depth in her character through her actions. Truth be told, she’s the only deep character in the novel and that makes her stand out. It’s her story and she takes a hold of it and doesn’t let go.
1) Frostfell. There are a lot of connections with Mark Sehestedt’s previous novel, Frostfell and this trilogy. They share characters and Frostfell feels more like a prequel.
2) Menduarthis. What happened to him? He was one of the better characters in the trilogy and he gets reduced to almost nothing in Cry of the Ghost Wolf. Why?
3) Cover Art. I’ve loved every cover of Chosen of Nendawen‘s books. They are detailed, action heavy, and extremely beautiful. Cry of the Ghost Wolf‘s is no exception. It’s visually interesting, detailed, and colors work well. Also the ‘widescreen’ aspect is really interesting. I wish more Forgotten Realms novels looked like this.
Cry of the Ghost Wolf is a disappointing way to end an otherwise interesting trilogy. That said, it’s not a terrible novel, it just lacked the depth it needed. There was no substance to the story and the characters. This made it hard to really enjoy and it never felt like there was something at risk. Honestly it never felt like there were any stakes. Then because of the lack of substance, the characters felt one-dimensional and you could never get behind them. They came off as transparent and cliché. But there were things in Cry of the Ghost Wolf that did work. The action was just amazing. It made the story flow because it was action on top of action. Also, Hwelian was great, mostly to see how far she has come. Her progression through this trilogy is amazing and really does make her a great character. She does do stupid things, but they are stupid things that fit her character and are things that you can see others doing. However, overall, Cry of the Ghost Wolf leaves you with a disappointed feeling. This trilogy could have been so much more, but it felt like it ran out of gas. It’s worth reading to finish off the trilogy and to see just how far Hwelian has come, but it would leave you rather disappointed. That said, I would love to see more of Hwelian in the future.