Sunday, November 29, 2020

Evermeet: Island of Elves


This standalone Forgotten Realms novel opens with a fictitious letter from the bard Danilo Thann, who writes Athol of Candlekeep, his master, regarding the gathering of elven history, with other characters communicating with the minstrel as well at certain intervals in the story. Each “book” into which the novel is divided is preceded by a prelude, the first of which, beginning in the year 1371 Dalereckoning (compressed to just DR), focuses on a silver dragon flying above the Trackless Sea, noticing ships sailing for Evermeet containing elves that seek the overthrow of the island’s queen.

The first book tells of the Godswars, before time began, before the fabled realm called Faerie started to descend towards twilight, an elven pantheon known as Olympus holding sway led by Corellon Larethian, whom the orc lord Gruumsh pursues. The elf Araushnee knows that new races are on the rise, and meets one of the primary antagonists of the story, the Beast Lord Malar. Before dawn one day, the gods of the Anti-Seldarine coalition traverses the forest around Arvandor, with the elven and invader deities battling one another, with Aerdrie Faenya surveying the damage afterward.

The second book of the novel opens in the time of dragons, when the elves of Tintageer are decimated, and a flood necessitates their evacuation. The elf Sharlario Moonflower expresses concern about the red dragon’s return to wreak disaster, with the Abyss where the dark goddess Lloth rules erupting, her minions preying upon the children of Corellon. The High Magi plan a Tower where students will be instructed in magic, and the elven people rebuild from war. The island of Evermeet suffers several invasion attempts, with Malar considering no wild lands beyond his domain.

The novel occasionally goes to the distant past of the Forgotten Realms universe, one time to -9000 DR, when elven nobles from all over Aber-toril gather in the forests of Cormanthyr for the ceremony of the claiming of king-making swords, with special moonblades disintegrating those they deem unworthy. Millennia later, the elven student Amlaruil is believed to have potential, and eventually becomes queen of Evermeet, having several children and suffering many tragedies in the latter portion of the story, ending with one of her sons, Lamruil, and his love Maura, have one final conversation.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed this Forgotten Realms novel, given its depth and elaboration on the history of the elven island of Evermeet, and focusing on various periods of the world’s backstory. There’s also plenty of politicking in addition to fantastical action and occasional adventure, with the religion of the Forgotten Realms somewhat touched upon as well. The author for the most part did a good job distinguishing the novel from others within the fantasy genre by mostly using original names, although Olympus definitely brings to mind Greek mythology. Regardless, I would recommend this as a good diving board into the Forgotten Realms franchise.

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