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Avenger by Richard Baker

Posted by travizzt on March 5, 2010

Hulburg’s ruling family has been usurped! It’s up to Geran Hulmaster right the wrongs and save the family and the city, but is it enough?


Avenger by Richard Baker-  This is the last book in the Blades of the Moonsea trilogy. The first being Swordmage and the second book is called Corsair. This trilogy is set in the Forgotten Realm universe. Richard Baker has written numerous novels for the Forgotten Realms and others. Some of his notable works in the Realms include; The Last Mythal trilogy (Forsaken House, Farthest Reach, and Final Gate), The Shadow Stone (part of The Adventures series), Easy Betrayals (a book in the Double Diamond Triangle Saga), The City of Ravens (part of The Cities series), and the third book in the War of the Spider Queen series called Condemnation.

Warning Spoilers for Corsair will be present, but there will be little to no spoilers present for Avenger.

The story picks up a few months after the events at the end of Corsair. We find that the Hulmaster’s were usurped out of ruling Hulburg by an elven mage driven towards revenge. During the forced exile, the Hulmaster’s are staying at a summer home in the nation of Thentia, a neighboring kingdom to Hulburg. During this time, we learn that the Hulmaster’s have been building an army to take back Hulburg from the fake harmach, or ruler, and the mage controlling him. We soon learn that Geran Hulmaster is entering into the city to cause unrest and problems for the ruling power. After one such mission, Geran returns to the family and during the night they are attacked by assassins, in which Geran learns that the assassins were commanded by a priest of Cyric, the god of madness. After a devastating blow is dealt, the remaining family is now convinced to take back the city, after Geran gets revenge and the first blow. During his trip to take down the assassins master, Geran meets up with Sarth Khul Riizar, a tiefling mage and friend, to help him take down the leader. After succeeding, Sarth and Geran are split up in order to escape the elven mage Rhovann Disarnnyl’s runehelm warriors, which are indestructible. In order to take back the city, Geran must try to find a way to disable the warriors, which leads him into a deal with someone better left alone. Do the Hulmaster’s take back Hulburg and overthrow the usurpers or are things more complicated than they seem?

Negatives:
1) Bad Clichés. There were a number of awful, painful to read scenes involving just terrible clichés. For example, early on in the story we have Kara Hulmaster, the leader of the Shieldsworn and Geran’s cousin, make a speech to her war captains to bolster their cause. In essence and thought, it’s reasonable. Yet, the execution was awful. Basically, take all the cheesy and silly movie speeches you ever saw and combine them into this speech here. It was painful and quite silly. And do people really applaud and cheer after what was meant to be meeting to discuss strategy? It would have been understandable if she was speaking in front of her troops but to five or six people, it just was cheesy and silly. Then you have the epilogue… At first it was decent and good, then you have what is by far the worst way to end anything ever. Without giving it away, imagine a generic romantic comedy about two people in love and what would happen if they announced something in a crowded room. Basically, it doesn’t fit at all within the story. There are other examples, but those two just were plain stupid.
2) Wounds. I don’t remember if in the previous two books if the injuries the characters contain seem to vanish or barely hinder them, but here it seem like anything short of a decapitation is deadly. If that isn’t enough, the words used to describe the wounds couldn’t be more severe sounding. What bothered me is that Geran seemed to always be scored or have flesh ripped off yet, a few days later he is fine and dandy. It just bothered me like nothing else. What makes it worse is something that happens late in the story that should have made Geran unable to do anything, yet what does he do? Grin and bare it, and I’m sure if you were in his position you wouldn’t be able to move let alone continue on. It’s like the injuries are nothing. At least at the end, one injury does hamper someone, so at least that’s good!
3) Dialogue. This is a minor complaint that really only appeared here and there. Some of the dialogue seemed utterly emotionless. It seemed like there was not a trace of anger, excitement, fear, or determination in some scenes. It just seemed like there was meant to be some added, but things were forgotten. Then to go along with that problem, you have dialogue that doesn’t seem to really match up and had an odd, weird feeling to it. This really only happens maybe a few times in the story, but it still felt weird to read.

Positives:
1) Pacing. The pacing is just great. The previous two books had a slower, dragging pace that never really seemed to enthrall me for to long. In Avenger, it’s faster paced and doesn’t get bogged down in needless details or story lines. I felt that the story was more contained a focused instead of the branching, many arched plots in the previous books. Basically, it’s one giant plot with little subplots that actually feel like they belonged and were relevant to the overall story. Then the action was done will enough that it made things flow and happen quicker.
2) Geran. In the past two books, he never really seemed all that deep or insightful, even though he was written as such. Here he just becomes a little deeper and actually seems to have a personality. When Geran has to go revisit his past later in the story, you can really see him develop into a more interesting and deep character. Then the “love-square”, to put it simply, Geran is in love with three women, was handled well enough that it never felt forced or rushed. You generally believes he loves who he chooses.
3) Rhovann. He is probably the best and most believable villain in the trilogy. In the first book, we had a poor excuse of a villain, or more correctly, a few horrible villain characters. They never seemed menacing or evil. In the second book, there was slight improvement with Rhovann being a secondary villain and the main villain had the menacing down but was hardly used. Here, we have a villain that is just out to make Geran’s life miserable and he succeeds in almost every possible way. He does things to him that are extremely vile but at the same time not. He just works for pay back for everything wrong in his life that was caused by our hero. He’s one person you wouldn’t want to wrong.

Side Notes:
1) Predictable Events. I have to mention that a lot of the events were very predictable. You really could tell where one scene was going after a few paragraphs in. However, it doesn’t detract from the story as a whole.
2) Short Story. There are some events that happen that are found in a short story in Realms of the Dead. The short story is called “The King in Copper” and it can fill in some of the back story you find in Avenger.
3) Cover Art. As with the previous covers, this is just as good, if not better. The heroic pose is wonderful and actually seems it could be real. Then you have Hamil, Geran’s ghostwise halfling friend, along with Geran on the cover. I don’t know why, but I just like this. It really catches my eye.

Overall: 4/5
Final Thoughts:
Everything that plagued the first two books were either fixed or replaced in here. While Swordmage and Corsair was slow, Avenger isn’t. It’s a better paced story. The only huge problems I have are that the wounds are like mosquito bites and that there are a lot of horrid clichés found within. At least the main character and villain were wonderful. Geran becomes likeable and deeper, and Rhovann is someone not to be messed with. It’s a good ending to a decent trilogy.

One Response to “Avenger by Richard Baker”

  1. […] Avenger by Richard Baker « Read Between the Lines […]

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