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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"The Shadowmask: Stone of Tymora Book 2" by Geno and R.A. Salvatore (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit R.a. Salvatore's website here
Read FBC's Review of The Stowaway here
Order The Shadowmask from amazon here

Author Introduction: Geno Salvatore's writing career began over a year ago when he penned Stowaway, book 1 in the Stone of Tymora trilogy. He has co-wrote this trilogy with his father, R.A. Salvatore. R.A. Salvatore is the author of numerous novels set in the Forgotten Realms world. His most well known character is that of the drow, Drizzt.

The Shadowmask is the second book in the Stone of Tymora trilogy, that is penned by both Geno and R.A. Salvatore.

Overview: After being robbed of his precious gem by a unknown masked assailant, refuses to leave the theft alone. Maimon sets out on a journey to find out who exactly stole the stone and retrieve it back. Going based off a tip from a talking raven, Maimon decides to cross a dessert in order to catch up to the legendary drow, Drizzt, whom Maimon believes is in procession of his stone. While in the dessert Maimon faces a group of bandits, in which he must first fight off.

After successfully crossing the dessert and reaching
Calimport, Maimon reunites with Captin Deudermont and the crew of the Sea Sprite. With the help of the crew, the Captain, and Drizzt and his group, Maimon prepares to go out in search of his stone.

Maimon armed with a magical cloak and sword, encounters many adventures and difficulties while searching for his stone. Asbeel, an evil demon is also searching for this very special stone. Maimon must find the stone before Asbeel, and along the way must avenge the death of his beloved mentor.

The Shadowmask brings readers further into the world of Marimum and starts to unravel some of the mysteries of the first book and is filled with many adventures from crossing the dessert to facing life on the rough seas, and even dealing with pirates and dragons.

Format: The Shadowmask, is the second book in the Stone of Tymora Trilogy. It's a YA adventure/action novel that stands at 304 pages. It was released by Mirrorstone, November 10, 2009. The third and final book is scheduled for release in late summer/fall of 2010.

Anylasis: I have been a long time fan of Drizzt and the Forgotten Realms series. It's one of the first fantasy series that I got into when I was in high school and really sparked my love for reading fantasy. So when I heard that the Salvatores were working on a YA series that centered around the world that I loved so much I was eager to see what would come of this series.

When I read the first book,
The Stowaway, I was left oddly disappointed. The writing seemed a bit off to me, there were long areas of no action followed by nonstop action. Despite my feelings for the first book, I gave the second book in the series a try, and my opinion has been changed drastically.

The Shadowmask, is a definite turn around from the first book. It feels as though the Salvatores have finally found their groove. It's been said that Geno Salvatore, a debut author, is the main author with occasional help from his father, the veteran writer. The growth as a writer is very evident when reading the second book.

The pacing of the novel feels as if it's changed. There is just the right amount of action mixed with information gathering. There isn't a lot of down time but there is enough to learn about the main character,
Maimon without getting tired or feeling the story is slowing down. The book starts out with action and ends with action. While the first book had action and adventure, I felt it was slightly unbalanced. However, this problem is easily rectified in this volume of the book.

One of the most notable
Forgotten Realms character makes a cameo appearance. He serves as a mentor like character to young Maimon. This time Drizzt serves for a small moment as a central character to the plot. This leaves fans of Drizzt a little less disappointed in that he is around for more then a few pages, but also allows Geno Salvatore to carry on with the story of someone else besides Drizzet.

This series is very much a YA novel. From the action of the characters to the writing, everything is very much for the YA range. For that matter this book serves perfectly as an introduction to the
Forgotten Realms world, to younger readers. In The Shadowmask, readers are slowly introduced to the familiar world of cities such as Calimport, Baldur's Gate, and Waterdeep. As stated I believe this series is a great appetizer of such to the rest of the Fogotten Realms series. It's got a similar world, but doesn't focus on the main characters that the readers will "step" up to in later years. That way there will be new characters to learn about but have the same central world. Also audience wise, The Shadowmask is meant to attract to readers 8-12 so that leaves a door wide open for them to step up to a bit more complex novels that are found in the Forgotten Realms series.

As with the first book,
The Shadowmask ends with a cliffhanger. Authors want to leave the readers wanting more, however in this book it's a case of the enemy coming up and boom the book ends. Not that I think endings like this take away from the book, I just wish there was a more complete form of closure to the book then what is offered, instead of making me hang in limbo waiting for the next book.

Readers looking to start this series, will definitely want to start with the first book,
The Stowaway. Many of the characters are found in both book, however when they appear in The Shadowmask there is very little explanation of who or what they went through in the first book. So it takes a bit of memory searching to remember what happened to each person. If the first book isn't read there might be a bit of confusion and a feeling of being lost or not know what is going on when things are referenced.

In the end, I really enjoyed
The Shadowmask. It completely changed my opinion of this series and I eagerly await the third book in the series. Skeptics of the first book really should try out this book, because it changed my opinion of it. I can't wait to see where Geno and R.A. Salvatore takes this series. From an author standpoint, It'll be fun to see Geno Salvatore's writing grow as it's very clear he has a tremendous amount of talent.


world poetry said...

I was always a DragonLance man, so for many years I figured reading Forgotten Realms books would be treason. How silly is that? Of course, they never made a DragonLance videogame worth its salt, though attempt car s were made on the 386! Did I date myself or what?!


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