Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: The Last Garrison - A Dungeons & Dragons Novel

The Last Garrison, a novel by Matthew Beard is a novel published by Wizards of the Coast in December 2011. This book happens to be the authors' first book.

The story begins in a little town in the middle of nowhere called Haven.  A town protected since the fall of  the Empire by the 'Old Stargazer'.  The Stargazer is a powerful spellcaster who traded his soul for the power to protect the people of the village.

Now his power is fading, the protection of the village is fading and the enemies of Haven are preparing an assault on the populace.

Nergei, servant and adopted son of the 'Old Stargazer', is thrown into an adventure, to accompany 3 other village children; Kohel, Padlur, Luzhon.  The children are taked with taking supplies to the town at the bottom of the hill to hire some seasoned adventurers to help defend the city against the invading force.

  1. Lack of Originality/Too Cliché: The novel is unoriginal.  'Nerd' is pushed around and comes out brave.  The hot girl turns into his love interest and the bullies learn their lessons.  It is a typical story.  I know I have not written one but looking at the other novels I have read, each one is different in their own respect. It seems like it was written in a flash, an adventure put on paper.  
  2. No Resolution to Most of the Main Questions of the Plot:  Do you know what Nergei's destiny is? Does he end up with his love interest Luzhon?  What is the history of Haven? What was the purpose of the Kenku invasion? No one knows.  Who was the 'Old Stargazer'? What did the Raven Queen want?  What was his source of power? What the hell is the Last Garrison?  Everything is assumption. Nothing is written about anything. The story just goes...  All the endings are open, with no answers to any of the questions that this book started with. It is very weak that none of this was resolved.  Maybe the author is going to answer the questions in future novels of the same characters.  Probably not.  In an interview with the author he states that: 'Writing-wise, we'll see', so it seems that nothing is planned for the future. I can go on!
  3. Editing:  The novel is sloppy at best in terms of editing.  I don't know if it was put out quickly, or if there was any editor at all (for example The Morcyth Sage, by Brian S. Pratt-self edited). 
  4. Too Many Characters: There are at least a dozen characters, all potential main characters in their own rights.  Padlur was going to be the great hunter, not liking what Kohler was doing and seeing that he was wrong.  He gets back to the village and then...nothing.  None of the characters are completely developed.  It is sad to say, but it take a lot away from the story.
  1. The Protagonists:  Although the storyline and the characters are stereotypical, the characters in particular are quite entertaining.  Too bad the story was so short and not able to properly develop these characters to their full potential.  I would like to have seen Nergei, and what his purpose was after the novel.  Same with all the others.  The potential was there.
  2. The Villains: Same as above.  I love that the kenku were the enemy in the novel.  Usually people put orcs, or goblins, but the addition of the kenku were awesome.  Too bad they got wiped in about 3 pages.  Tempest was an excellent villain also, but again did not last long enough to see some greatness.
Final Thoughts

Even for the first attempt a writing a novel, I have read enough first timers to know that this novel seems sloppy, rushed and badly put together.  I think the author tried to cover too much.  There were a ton of plot lines the novel could have followed and the author tried to follow them all without finishing more than 90% of them.  

I am quite disappointed with this novel.  I would not recommend people spend their money on this poorly put together piece of work. It may be his first novel, but it was a bad attempt at it.  If he ever writes another one, I hope that he reads the criticisms on the web and concentrate on one MAIN topic.

Burst 1.5/5

Other Novels by the Same Author: