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Midnight’s Mask by Paul S. Kemp

Posted by travizzt on October 30, 2009

The god Mask’s plan is finally revealed, but is it worth the losses?


Midnight’s Mask by Paul S. Kemp- This is the final book in The Erevis Cale Trilogy. The first is Twilight Falling and the second is Dawn of Night. 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 or Dawn of Night!The story picks up right after Dawn of Night. The Weave Tap taps Skullport’s mantle, Drasek Riven has switched sides to join with the slaadi, and Erevis Cale, Magadon, and Jak Fleet are trying to escape Skullport’s skulls. After seeing the destruction in some areas of Skullport, the trio leave and return to Selgaunt, a city in Sembia, to figure out their next step. While in Selgaunt, they run into an old “friend” who rudely helps them find where Riven and the slaadi are going. Riven and the slaadi are looking for the sunken city of Sakkors, which fell into the Sea of Fallen Stars. The sunken city holds another mantle where another seed of the Weave Tap needs to be planted in order for the slaadi master, The Sojourner, to create the Crown of Flame. However, the two groups come across something bigger and very angry. Barely escaping and having the seed planted, The Sojourner starts casting his Crown of Flame. But can Cale, Magadon, and Jak stop the casting?

Negatives:
1) Crown of Flame. Honestly, it’s really simple and a little lame. You get this whole big idea of what it is and it’s a little disappointing in what it turns out to be. Why build something up so much only to make it so “uncool?” But then again, it was a good thing about what it turned out to be.
2) Middle Part Riven. In the first two books, Riven was a main character. Maybe he was a bit of a supporting one, but I really looked at him being a main character in those books. And I was really disappointed with the way Riven was down played in the middle section. Yes, he was still present, but it felt like he was the side character to the slaadi, with Dolgan and Azriim (the two slaadi) being the main focus. It really threw me off and it almost made me forget about Riven’s presence.

Positives:
1) Erevis Cale. What he goes through in this story really what makes him. Throughout the trilogy, Cale’s been changing into something he doesn’t understand or want to be, here it’s no different. He gains more and more power, at times loses himself to the darkness, and still is able to prevent himself from crossing that plain (mostly because of his friends intervening). Towards the end, he really changes into something that is, quite frankly, scary. But his continued growth and his changes were so well done and just very enjoyable to read about.
2) The Sojourner. Now, I didn’t like this character at all in Dawn of Night. He was boring and just dry. However, in this book, he is given some personality and purpose. You can really see his power and his desires much more clearly. Maybe this change is due in part because of the amount of times he appears in the book, which isn’t a lot but a perfect amount. Then towards the end, I became somewhat sympathetic towards him. Sure, he remained an arrogant jerk, but I just could help but feel sorry for him. There isn’t an easy why to put that really. He was pretty much built up as the biggest, baddest, evil villain that there could be… But at the end, it turns out what he wanted wasn’t so bad (aside from the many people he had to kill to gain what he wanted).
3) The Ending. It seems that I’m talking a lot about the ending, to put it simply, it’s just good. Everything (well almost everything) is all wrapped up in a way in which you felt like it should have been. Aside from the obvious things placed in it to gain the reader’s curiosity on certain things, the main story was told and told well. I really don’t want to give away much of what happens but to explain why it was such a good ending, I could just give away some “teasers.” Someone dies, and the death was totally unexpected, but it felt right how this character ended. Mask, the god of thieves and shadows, gained something from another rival god. And my last “teaser,” someone starts to call some people friends. I hope I haven’t given away that much…

Side Notes:
1) What happened to Riven’s ability to wrap shadowstuff into something that could heal? It would have, I assume, helped a certain character.
2) Cover Art. Horrible. Cale looks like an old man with wrinkles and just doesn’t look right. The “shadow demons” around the …whatever it is… the globe thing, are just distracting and once again, look like bad tattoo artwork. It’s ugly and a little plain.
3) I really liked how Paul S. Kemp really does stick with the small “cliffhangers” in this trilogy and places them in The Twilight War Trilogy. After reading that trilogy, and re-reading this one, I really appreciate how he did this. Nothing really seemed to be overlooked or forgotten and it is really nice.
4) Okay, quick question. Is slaadi the plural form of slaad? Or does it need an “s” at the end? I think it’s slaadi. But I not sure on this. Any information on this would be appreciated!

Overall: 5/5

Final Thoughts:
But wait! I had some complaints! So why is it a 5/5? Simple, the complaints didn’t really deter the story in the slightest. The only on that had an impact on the full story was the seeming “disappearance” of Riven in the middle, but he was still present and accounted for, albeit in a smaller role in these scenes. Overall, the story was great, the characters were wonderful, and it’s just an enjoyable story and trilogy.

One Response to “Midnight’s Mask by Paul S. Kemp”

  1. […] Review Note: This is the first time I’m reviewing an omnibus, and most likely my only. I have previously reviewed The Erevis Cale Trilogy before this, but I will be taking a whole new look at the books and giving fresh thoughts on them. You can find the other reviews at the following links; Twilight Falling, Dawn of Night, and Midnight’s Mask. […]

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