The Sapphire Crescent by Thomas M. Reid
Posted by travizzt on April 30, 2010
The Sapphire Crescent by Thomas M. Reid- This is the first book in The Scions of Arrabar Trilogy. The second book is called The Ruby Guardian and the third book is called The Emerald Scepter. The Sapphire Crescent is set in the Forgotten Realms setting. Thomas M. Reid’s other Forgotten Realms novels include; The Empyrean Odyssey (The Gossamer Plain, The Fractured Sky, and The Crystal Mountain) and one book in R. A. Salvatore’s War of the Spider Queen series called Insurrection. His other works include; Truth & Steel, Forged, The Temple of Elemental Evil, and Gridrunner. He has also contributed a number of short stories to various anthologies. The trilogy is currently only available used or from online sellers. The Sapphire Crescent was released in 2003 by Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Vambran Matrell returns home to Arrabar for his younger sisters’ sixteenth birthday party only to have both of them witness a murder by the city watch. Determined to revenge the slain, Vambran embarks on a mission to find out who is responsible for the deaths. As Vambran gets closer to learning the truth, his sister, Emriana, does some investigating on her own. What they find surprises both of them and could implicate their family and ruin their lives.
1) Villains. To be honest, I thought the main villains, that we see, were a joke. They presented themselves as more of a comedy duo then anything else and I just could not buy it. However, as the story starts to end, the other conspirators that were discovered were better and not as pathetic. The ‘starting’ villains were a sad joke and the ‘hidden’ villains were better and more menacing. However, even though the ‘hidden’ villains were better, they still were generic and obvious. There was really only one villain, who only appeared for about five pages, who was the most interesting, but I can’t really take a character that only appears for five pages into too much consideration, right?
2) The Last Third of the Book. To put it simply, the last one hundred or so pages were just frustrating. I found myself yelling at some characters because they just came off pathetic and dumb. The whole thing can be traced back to a huge plot hole. Late in the story, Vambran is chasing after someone who hurt a family member and winds up losing him in an alley. So what does Vambran do? Wait for the person to come back. Let me repeat that one more time. Vambran, instead of returning back to check on his family, waits for the thug to return. Why? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to hurry back to his family to keep them safe? There is some poor excuse that emotions clouding his judgment, but that felt forced and unreal. Speaking of stupid actions, we have another one that Vambran commits later. After hearing one villain say to his sister that he will have his way with her, Vambran comes into the room and threatens him with a drawn crossbow bolt. Honestly, if someone threatened a family member with rape, how many people would take the advantage away by threatening them and not just outright kill the guy? Sure, Vambran has this ‘ethical code’ that he can’t hurt an unsuspecting man, but he just threatened to rape your sister! Then he acts like the whole thing wasn’t a big deal. There are more problems that come up during the last third of the book and it just adds to my frustration.
1) Main Characters. The characters of Vambran and Emriana were really well thought out characters. The story felt like it was more character driven than anything else. Vambran was good. You can understand and easily see his views on certain actions. Yes, he does make some really stupid mistakes (look at the second negative above), but for the most part you understand his viewpoint. He’s written in a way that almost makes him into a living being. Emriana was the same way, but to a lesser extent. She still was great and she really seemed like a teenager at times. She also suffers from the stupidity bug, but it isn’t as bad. You can blame most of her ‘mistakes’ on being that age and being relatively sheltered. Emriana was still a good character. The big problem was everyone else felt shallow, unreal, and wooden. But at least the main characters were good.
2) Murder Mystery. I really did enjoy the whole murder mystery plot. It was really fun trying to find out who did it and who was involved. I’m not really going to elaborate much without giving away the plot, but it really was engaging and interesting, not to mention fun. Not to mention that it was a shock to see who was involved. But it does get a little ridiculous with the twists. It still is a fun mystery.
1) Containment. I really did like how, for most of the story, everything was contained. It felt like a stand-alone novel, up until the ending.
2) Hard to Follow. There were times when the story and actions were hard to follow. It didn’t really hurt the story, but it was just hard to envision these people doing some of these things.
3) Cover Art. It’s not horrible and it does do a good job in showing Vambran, but honestly, it looks like a romance novel cover.
The Sapphire Crescent is a fairly decent story. It’s mostly character driven and it does have an interesting murder mystery. But I just can’t overlook the flaws. The villains were awful for seventy-five percent of the story, and were only interesting in the last quarter. The last one hundred pages were just plot hole upon plot hole, and it makes everything frustrating and annoying to read. It’s not an awful book, but at the same time I can’t say it was great or good. If you like interesting characters and a decent mystery, pick it up.