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The Dungeons: The Howling Delve

Hey All,

I made a post a decent while back about the 1st installment in The Dungeon series, Depths of Madness. The rest of the books in this series are not necessarily related to one another but are in fact their own little story within the Forgotten Realms setting from Dungeons and Dragons.

Anyways, The Howling Delve, second book of the Dungeons series, by Jaleigh Johnson is a story of vengeance. The story is set in the Forgotten Realms wizard-hating land of Amn and follows Kall, a powerful gem merchant's son who escapes the bloody betrayal of his father's guard captain. After stumbling through a magical portal Kall finds himself in the midst of a digging camp led by a dwarven priest. A parallel story tells of an orphan named Meisha, who is taken in by a curious wizard that discovers her latent talent in fire magic. She becomes a Harper agent and fire elemantalist bent on vengeance also, for the murder of another agent. Both Kall and Meisha find homes in their respective situations and grow to become strong characters.

Meisha and Kall meet when Kall tries to return to his father but finds him completely wasted away in both mind and spirit. Meisha arrives on the scene and attempts to kill his father for murdering a Harper agent during the captain's betrayal. Kall pursues vengeance against the guard captain and Meisha reluctantly follows suit.

The Dungeon series is meant to elaborate on particular Realms lore, in this case an ancient, underground dwarven stronghold that holds a dark secret. The story is well done and fluid. It's full of fast paced action and great characterization as it reveals more and more of this ancient complex. The characters themselves are well done and make sense, feeling lifelike and plausible, even the villains and side characters.

Jaleigh's word usage and style are a delight to experience; the rhythm of her writing carries the reader through the entire novel marvelously. In fact, her rhythm carried me through several pages before I realized I noticed an inconsistency. It may have been implied from the beginning of the story and was mistakenly forgotten to remind the readers later on. It wasn't something that would drive the reader nuts over though. As I said, her rhythm is wonderful and is very smooth. You only stop to realize how much you've read when you have to put the book down to use the restroom.

Aside from the two issues above I enjoyed the book immensely. It ended on a most exciting note, one in which I hope Wizards of the Coast allows her to explore - it certainly has the makings of giving the Shadow Thieves of Amn a much needed remodeling, in my opinion. I am most anxious for her to return to the Realms and tell more tales. A great book, a fast read, and an enjoyable way to idle away the time!

Keep it real...
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