Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Prince of Wolves by Dave Gross

I tend to enjoy fiction based around a pre-existing setting. Things like gaming novels ranging from the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance to computer gaming novels ranging from Diablo and Halo, to well, novels that follow off of movies, like Star Wars. They generally fall under the old 'popcorn' reading. Light and sometimes informative and expanding the setting sometimes.

So when Borders was going out of business, I picked up Prince of Wolves by Dave Gross.  It's not the first paperback I've seen at $9.99, but it is one of the few fantasy ones. A trend I'm not looking forward to seeing continue mind you.

Dave has two heroes here, Varian Jeggare and Radovan. The former a half-elf wizard-noble, the later a thug tielfling. The two have a boss-bodyguard relationship that has many elements of friendship and evolves as the book continues.

The book is fair. It could be that I'm not that familiar with the Pathfinder setting yet, and there are no 'big' style characters here. No armored fighters, no 'wizardrly' spellcasters, etc... but another thing could be the use of second person. Varian talks about "and you and you and you" and that style of writing really pulls me out of the book. It's essentially addressing the reader and for me, serves no good purpose. I've seen it work well in a handful of times and this isn't one of them for me.

The one thing that did work for me though, is Varian is searching for one of his fellow Pathfinders. These individuals seek out lost or forgotten knowledge and bring it to light. When they find the pathfinder, she has passed. They bury her. It's an actual nice scene where the dead person is honored, the mood is sombre and serious, and things get back to the action.

In role playing games, often the role of death itself is overlooked in the hunt for bigger, badder treasures. But it doesn't have to be. Are there certain roles that religion plays? Do people prefer burial? Are members of the national military service buried somewhere else?

Adding little details like that doesn't require a lot of time and adds a different book end to the game.