Hey, bear in mind manner again once we have been speaking about D&D novels and the way there’s a new one being launched to tie into the Honor Amongst Thieves film that’s popping out? Nicely, seems there may be a couple of. Whereas the Street to Neverwinter explains how Holga, Edgin, Simon, and Forge met, The Druid’s Name is a narrative that delves into the backstory of Doric, who doesn’t look like a member of the crew till the occasions of the film transpire.
If you happen to learn my First Impression of The Street to Neverwinter, you’ll know that I paid for these books out of my very own pocket, resulting from my very own private curiosity about what could be portrayed in these tie-in novels. No evaluate copies for me this time round. My first impression goes to be primarily based on the audiobook, which is how I consumed this story.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Amongst Thieves-The Druid’s Name
Writer: E.Okay. Johnston
Web page Depend: 304 pages
Narrator (Audiobook): Emily Lawrence
Runtime (Audiobook): 6 hours and 59 minutes
Younger Grownup Books
In recent times, sure style tie-in media has been marketed on a number of tracks, particularly relating to novels. It’s not unusual for there to be one “grownup” novel and one “younger grownup” novel to advertise the identical property, normally with distinct tales.
What makes this a little bit unusual is that always the properties that obtain this remedy don’t actually have “grownup” novels which can be presenting a considerably completely different expertise than the “younger grownup” novel. In reality, I’ve positively seen the “younger grownup” ebook be the superior tie-in novel up to now. Misplaced Stars continues to be top-of-the-line Star Wars novels to come back out within the Disney-era, and satirically, there may be much more “grownup” relationship growth in that ebook than most “grownup” Star Wars novels.
I don’t wish to get too far into the weeds on how corporations market books. I’m simply saying that the one vital distinction within the type of style story between The Street to Neverwinter and The Druid’s Name is that the protagonist of The Street to Neverwinter is an grownup man, and The Druid’s Name’s protagonist is a younger lady.
The Street to Neverwinter was written by Jaleigh Johnson, who had a number of Forgotten Realms novels underneath her belt going into this task. The creator of this novel, E.Okay. Johnston, hasn’t written a Forgotten Realms novel earlier than, however she’s been writing numerous Star Wars novels, together with Ahsoka, Queen’s Hope, Queen’s Shadow, and Queen’s Peril. I’ve learn Ahsoka, so I used to be wanting ahead to Johnston’s tackle the Realms.
The Coronary heart of the Story
The primary narrative weight of this novel revolves round Doric, a tiefling born to human dad and mom, looking for her place on this world. Shunned by her dad and mom, she leads to a group of wooden elves within the Neverwinter Woods. Whereas I don’t wish to delve too deeply into spoiler territory, Doric begins off not being and druid, and begins the upcoming D&D film as a druid, so that you could possibly surmise a few of what occurs on this ebook.
Like The Street to Neverwinter, whereas we don’t get a deep dive into the lore of a number of places within the Forgotten Realms, we additionally don’t ignore established places within the setting. The connection between the folks residing within the Neverwinter Woods and retailers from Neverwinter is a crucial facet of this story. We’re additionally handled to a change in geothermal stability because the motion shifts from the Neverwinter Woods to Ardeep Forest, close to Waterdeep.
The Street to Neverwinter was a 3rd occasion narrative that leaned into Edgin’s standpoint, but additionally instructed the story of the crew because it gained further members. The main target of The Druid’s Name is rather more private to Doric. Whereas there may be an ongoing battle that drives Doric and offers some stakes for her dwelling and adopted household, the narrative weight of the novel is rather more targeted on Doric, each in how she interacts with folks she meets, and together with her historical past, as we’re offered flashbacks to her childhood.
The trailers which have come out for Honor Amongst Thieves to this point have portrayed Xenk, the paladin character, as probably the most severe and herocially motivated of the crew, but when this novel is per Doric’s portrayal within the film, Doric shares a few of these traits with Xenk. She much less of an adventurer, and extra a personality pushed to do issues for the sake of others, and maybe to show herself, quite than being a thrill seeker or motivated by want for something, be it gold or magic.
For higher or worse, Doric’s most talked about capability, primarily based on the trailers, is defined within the novel, and is particularly addressed as not being a standard capability to druids. The novel throws in a good quantity of D&D particular issues like spell names and creatures distinctive to the IP, though there are some narrative mismatches in case you are paying shut consideration from the lens of recreation guidelines. For instance, a personality portrayed as being in coaching whipping out a named spell that’s fifth degree within the present version of the principles.
Whereas The Street to Neverwinter use a variety of in-world phrases, The Druid’s Name is a little more free with utilizing terminology that will or could not really feel diegetic. For instance, whereas The Street to Neverwinter refers to sorcerers as an outlined component of the setting, it doesn’t describe different bundles of abilities when it comes to class names. For instance, The Street to Neverwinter by no means refers to Holga, Edgin, or Forge when it comes to character class. Holga isn’t actually known as a barbarian, however the closest we get is realizing that she comes from the Elk Tribe of Rheghed barbarians.
The Druid’s Name doesn’t have an issue with saying that some characters are rangers or barbarians, and doesn’t actually trouble to outline these phrases after utilizing them. The implication is that rangers are good at looking, however barbarians aren’t actually outlined in any respect as a title, apart from noting that they generally affiliate with rangers and druids.
There’s a character that’s particularly not assigned a personality class all via The Street to Neverwinter that’s assigned one very casually on this novel, and truthfully, I believed they weren’t utilizing the time period within the earlier ebook to level out the distinction between somebody with the ability to do one thing properly, and being educated to do it magically. However I suppose not?
I loved the Street to Neverwinter a bit extra. It felt prefer it was a little bit higher at tossing in D&D-isms as parts of the world, versus tossing out phrases as if the world actually works precisely as the principles play out within the tabletop recreation. That stated, I feel Doric’s story is a bit stronger and extra participating than Edgin’s. The most important drawback is tha the decision to the continued battle in The Druid’s Name is sort of an afterthought, the backdrop to Doric’s character journey, whereas the climax to the Street to Neverwinter is a full blown motion set piece with its personal stakes.
Doric’s story, being mistreated by her dad and mom, and mistrusted as a result of she is born a tiefling, may be a narrative that’s troublesome for some readers to have interaction with, so I feel it’s necessary to convey up that there’s particular widespread bias in opposition to tieflings that could be a plot component. It’s value noting that each novels, nevertheless, painting a variety of humanoid creatures as being widespread and accepted in additional metropolitan settings.
It don’t suppose it rises to the extent of spoiler, since most of those characters aren’t even vital supporting characters, however its not unusual to see orcs, goblins, firbolgs, tabaxi, and different species referenced in crowd scenes. It isn’t a significant story component that anybody reacts poorly to orcs in a metropolis, for example. They’re one of many species you discover in Faerun.
General, this novel is pleasing, however I want the decision of the battle had performed a much bigger half within the novel, and I want a number of extra of the tough edges of referencing D&D guidelines straight might have been sanded down. However this novel continues to be a great distance from the Swimming pools of Radiance novel from the 80s referring to the “lawful good” alignment that Tyranthraxus needed to suppress when possessing a dragon, or the early Greyhawk novels throwing in references to alignment languages.