Dawn of Night by Paul S. Kemp
Posted by travizzt on October 29, 2009
Dawn of Night by Paul S. Kemp- This is the second book in The Erevis Cale Trilogy. The first is Twilight Falling and the last is Midnight’s Mask. However, the first appearance of many of these characters are found in the Sembia: Gateway to the Realms series. There is a short story in Halls of Stormweather anthology entitled “Resurrection” and the second book in the series entitled Shadow’s Witness. Then after this trilogy, the story continues in The Twilight War trilogy (Shadowbred, Shadowstorm, and Shadowrealm).
Caution: Spoilers are present if you haven’t read Twilight Falling!
The story picks up right where Twilight Falling left off. We find Erevis Cale, now a shade, and the group in the Plane of Shadows. Somehow Cale transported his friends to the Plane of Shadows from the closing and disappearance of the Fane of Shadows, saving them all from drowning. On the Plane of Shadows, the group try to find their way out of a bog, Cale faces down a shadow dragon, and they come across a city full of the dead. Throughout this “adventure,” Drasek Riven slowly makes Cale embrace his “shadedom” which allows them to leave the Plane. Meanwhile, the slaadi and their master the Sojourner, plan on using the Weave Tap to tap into the magical properties of Skullport, an underground city beneath Waterdeep. The Sojourner wants to create a thing called the Crown of Fire and needs to plant seeds from the Weave Tap to cause this to happen. After discovering where the slaadi are, Cale and the group travel to stop them. But are they in time?
1) “Villain” Parts. They just are so boring. I hate to say it, but it feels like nothing happens and it just drags on and on. The Sojourner is the worst of them. His scenes are just so lackluster and just feel unimportant and a little forced. He honestly isn’t that interesting of a character. With the slaadi, Azriim I really liked in Twilight Falling, but here he just seems like he is just there. He doesn’t do anything and he seemed to lose all his quirks and everything that made him interesting up until the last 100 or so pages. It just felt forced and the scenes didn’t feel right. They didn’t have the menace or presence that they did in the last book. Like I said, the parts were really boring.
2) Grammar and Spelling Errors. Now, this isn’t a fault on the book, but rather an observation on a lot of recent Forgotten Realm books. They have been really sloppy. I think these books have editors, but they sure are missing a lot of these misspellings, grammatical errors, and errors in who’s who and what’s what. There were times when I honestly couldn’t believe what was in there, or missed rather. It just boggles the mind.
3) The “Love Interest.” The love interest between Cale and this random woman named Varra was just so sudden and unexpected that I barely believed it doesn’t fit in here. For one things, she’s just in one chapter, and yet Cale acts like he is in “love,” well to be honest not love-love but he cares about her. It’s just so random and unbelievable.
1) “Good Guys.” Now while the villains were boring and unexciting, the heroes are just wonderful. Cale’s fight against if he is human was beautifully done. His concern about what he has become and his worry about what he is done in a way in which you can sympathize with what he is going through. Riven is another interesting character. In the last book, Riven was a mean, cruel, yet likable assassin. Here he starts off as a bit of a nicer version of himself, but slowly comes to become the heartless killing machine he is. Magadon is the last character who I really liked. He reminds me a lot like Drizzt Do’Urden (of R. A. Salvatore fame) in his ideals and character. He is a nice foil to the two assassin’s in the group. Then being what he is, just makes him even more interesting.
2) Descriptions of Cities. I really liked the way that Paul S. Kemp described the cities of Elgrin Fau and Skullport. He paints Elgrin Fau as this lost deserted city on the Plane of Shadow. The emptiness and eerie feel really makes it feel lonely and creepy. And it only get worse (in a good way). Then with Skullport was given this view of utter corruption and horror. The Skulls (the enforcers of the city) were really brought to life. While other authors views of the city seemed to hint at the corruption throughout the city, Kemp really brings it to life.
3) Twist. The ending really comes at a shocker. You honestly never would have thought this is the way the second book would have ended. But looking back, you could see what happened and why it happened. It was perfectly executed.
1) Jak. While still a little annoying, the halfling did seem able to handle himself a little better in the book than the last. He didn’t come off as pathetic.
2) Explanations. I like how things were explained. There are some stories in which you don’t understand why this or this happened, yet here you get an explanation. For example, the exit out of the Plane of Shadows. Simple, yet you could see why it had to be done that way.
3) Cover Art. It annoys the eye. Cale’s face is okay. It is a little annoying with the frown, or at least I think he’s frowning, but he looks bland. Then what’s up with the globe? It’s barely mentioned in the story, yet bam! It’s on the cover again. At least the book Cale received would have made more sense. Then what’s the stuff coming off Cale’s face? Shadow? It just looks like a cheesy tattoo artwork with skulls.
The boring villain scenes really made parts of the book a chore to read through. But the story with our heroes really make it bearable.