Series: Forgotten Realms, The Sundering
Published by Wizards of the Coast on October 1, 2013
In the 2nd book of the multi-author Sundering series launched by New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, the shadow legacy of Erevis Cale lives on even as his old foe Mephistopheles seeks to stamp it out at any cost. Cale’s son Vasen—unmoored in time by the god Mask—has thus far been shielded from the archdevil’s dark schemes, alone among the servants of the Lord of Light who have raised him since birth.
Living in a remote abbey nestled among the Thunder Peaks of Sembia, Vasen is haunted by dreams of his father, trapped in the frozen hell of Cania. He knows the day will come when he must assume his role in the divine drama unfolding across Faerûn. But Vasen knows not what that role should be . . . or whether he is ready to take it on. He only knows what his father tells him in dreams—that he must not fail.
Enter Drasek Riven, a former compatriot of Erevis Cale, now near divine and haunted by dreams of his own—he too knows the time to act is near. Shar, the great goddess of darkness, looks to cast her shadow on the world forever. Riven has glimpsed the cycle of night she hopes to complete, and he knows she must be stopped.
At the crossroads of divine intrigue and mortal destiny, unlikely heroes unite to thwart the powers of shadow and hell, and the sundering of worlds is set on its course.
I should start this review by saying I’m a huge Paul S. Kemp fangirl. His books are insta-buys for me, regardless of if they are Forgotten Realms, Star Wars, or original fantasy. So my review of THE GODBORN might be a wee bit biased. But I think it’s safe to say this book is fantastic, especially if you’re a fan of dark, gritty fantasy.
THE GODBORN is the second book in the six book Sundering series. This is a series where you don’t have to read all the books in order, or even all of the books, as each is a standalone. Each book is by a different author, and takes some of that author’s Realms’ characters to explore the effects of the Sundering event. In short, the Sundering is the separation of Abeir and Toril, and the gods and other powerful people are jockeying for position and trying to use it to their advantage.
THE GODBORN features Vasen, the son of Erevis Cale. Raised in the Abbey of the Rose, a hidden stronghold of Amaunator in the dark, destroyed lands of Sembia, he’s a servant of the light, devoted to doing the right thing. But Vasen has a more important role than just shepherding pilgrims to and from the Abbey — he needs to save his father, who is trapped in a level of hell. Vasen is also key in stopping the Cycle of Night.
THE GODBORN does build off Kemp’s previous novels in the Realms, but if you haven’t read any of them, don’t worry. There’s enough background so that you won’t be lost. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read The Twilight War trilogy, and I had no trouble getting into or following this book.
So! All that said, THE GODBORN is freaking fantastic. I’m writing this review about 2 weeks after finishing it, and I’m still remembering some of the characters and plot twists. The author has both a gruesome imagination and a way of making me care for and remember his characters. Take Gerak and Elle, farmers from Sembia. Essentially two nobodies. Yet they go through some very horrible things, and I really felt for both of them, and I’m still thinking about them. They were just as important to me as the “big name” characters.
The only quibble I have with the book is I would have liked the events of the last few chapters to be spread out more. There was a lot of necessary buildup to get to the climax, but once I got there, I felt like it was over almost too quickly.
Otherwise, as I’ve probably said a dozen times, I enjoyed every second of THE GODBORN. The fantasy is dark, the characters are all interesting (good and bad), and the action is top-notch.
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