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Ascendancy of the Last review
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6/16/2008 8:53 PM
    Change can be good and bad. When it’s done properly, it’s a wonderful thing. When it’s handled incorrectly, it can totally ruin something, be it a television show, a book series, a game series, what have you.
    Lisa Smedman, one of the more prolific authors for Wizards of the Coast has been given the task of brining about profound change to the Drow of the Forgotten Realms RPG and novel setting.
    It’s a daunting task, there is no doubt about it, and her work will be met with both praise and wrath.
    What brings this up? The third and final book in the Lady Penitent trilogy – Ascendancy of the Last.
    Like the first and second novel in the trilogy that saw Drow pantheon change dramatically, this one has even greater repercussions than either of the first two books.
    I can’t give any spoilers away, as that is my policy when it comes to whatever I review. Besides anything I give away in this review would really spoil it for the potential reader.
    All I can say is this – change has come in a realm shattering manner to the Forgotten Realms.
    When you consider that Wizards of the Coast, as of writing this review has had the 4th edition of the venerable Dungeons and Dragons game just released, it’s not a big surprise that these changes have come around.
    I can’t vouch for the game, as I haven’t purchased it and I doubt that I will, but scuttlebutt from the internet has that the entire magic portion of the game has changed dramatically from the previous editions.
    I remember when the various editions came about, that the novels that were written at the time reflected the changes that occurred in each edition. So, it goes without saying that this must be the case with this trilogy… the changes in the novel are reflections of what has changed in the game and the campaign setting as well.
    Now, back to the review… I can easily state that this novel was probably the bloodiest of all three books. The body count was extremely high, and no one was spared the sword, be it the lowliest supporting character on up.
    Mysteries and fates are revealed at last. What has happened to some venerable characters from this trilogy and even from previous books is revealed as well.
    As I said before, this final book in the trilogy has major repercussions for the Realms.  Of course the question has to be raised… how will this affect future novels and game products?
    Only time will be able to answer that question. Well, and the head honchos at Wizards of the Coast.
    How will these changes be met by the fans of the game and novels? That too remains to be seen.
    I personally can say that I found the change to be a little disturbing. When you are familiar with something, and it’s comfortable to you, any change will be unsettling. You might be asking if I liked the changes that took place… Yes, and no. Again, I can’t go into details without spoiling it for any would be readers.
    But, again, as I mentioned before, one of the most beloved villain races in the realms has undergone drastic change, a anyone who has read the first two novels will attest to. This one takes the change right to the edge and pushes it over.
    Did I enjoy the book? Yes, I did. To me, it was far more entertaining to read than the second novel, and I had to say that I liked it pretty much on par with the first novel.
    Kudos’ to Lisa Smedman. She was handed a difficult task (or maybe she made the proposal to Wizards of the Coast and they liked what she had to offer) and she brought these drastic changes to one of the most venerable campaign settings in role playing history.
    I can see mixed reaction to this from the fans towards her. But this is something she must have known would happen when she sat down and began work on this trilogy.
    4 out of 5
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