Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor Review

Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor is a 2001 fantasy novel written by Carrie Bebris, published by Wizards of the Coast.  Based on the D&D computer game of the same name, the story follows four unlikely heroes who are sent to Myth Drannor to stop a dracolich and his sorcerer queen who have seized control of the Mythal, from attempting to taking over the region.


Positives:

  • Good characters
  • Good story
  • Clever dialogue
  • Great writing

Negatives:

  • Cliche villain
  • Too simple a story
  • Unnecessary side stories

Plot: The story is pretty clear for a fantasy novel.  The story follows an independent thief named Kestrel, who witnesses the reformation of the once destroyed Pools of Radiance, after a man stumbles into it. While planning to escape the city, she is tricked into embarking on a quest to stop an evil cult believed to be behind the pool’s reappearance. Traveling with her are three strangers; a moon elf wizard Ghleanna Stormlake, paladin Corran D’Arcey, and fighter Durwyn..  The quest is full of twist and turns yet the overarching story feels too simple despite how high the stakes are and the various characters involved.  The climatic battle was really good, though it doesn’t seem long enough. (3 out of 5)

Characters: The novel does feature some awesome characters although they initially start off as troupes.  The main protagonist is thief and rogue, Kestrel, who is reluctantly tricked into going on this quest.  She is perhaps the most grounded person, acting as a voice of reason in the group.  She’s smart, resourceful, and definitely has a smart mouth.  Her companions consist of moon elf wizard Ghleanna Stormlake, paladin of Tyr Corran D’Arcey, and a fighter Durwyn.  Kestrel’s pessimism and D’Arcey’s optimism cause the two the clash often. Ghleanna’s more level header demeanor was a great mediator to both Kestrel’s and D’Arcey’s stubbornness.  Durwyn’s silence often makes him feel less important but his decisions and actions make him just as prominent a figure as the others.  All in all, the main group, their dynamic, and development are the highlight of the story.  The main antagonist could’ve gotten a little more shine.  What are her motivations? What is her goal? What is her backstory? There’s nothing really addressing this.  So, for as cool of a villain as she is she is the typical troupe. There are several other characters who join or aid the group and their really good too.  (4 out of 5)

Writing:  However, as a book based off a game, it is written well enough to feel grounded. The writing does support the differences between the characters as there is a lot of internal squabble among the group.  The dialogue is written well, particularly from the standpoint of Kestrel. Battles were well written, forming a clear picture.  There wasn’t an over abundance of description, but enough to paint a clear picture of the characters, settings, and events.  Bebris does a great job of adapting the game, especially since the established rules of the game also apply in the story.  A big example of this is Ghleanna’s abilities and how she could only do certain spells and recharge after using others.  There are some conveniences when it comes to the writing that do make it feel like it’s based on a video game.  For example, a certain object or person will appear when they are needed upon for a situation in which they specifically needed for which felt like side quests that don’t necessarily fit into the main story. (4 out of 5)


The Verdict: In the end, Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor is a solid read.  Fans of the game will undoubtedly enjoy this read while it will also appeal to fans of the fantasy genre.  Despite some of the unnecessary side stories, the story has a fantasy cast of characters, Kestrel is just awesome, and writing that is really good by a talented author.  Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor gets 4 out of 5.

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