This book marks the end of Paul S. Kemp's The Erevis Cale trilogy. After a second volume that was somewhat lackluster because I felt it relied too much on action rather than storytelling, Midnight's Mask finishes things off with a certain flair.
Those of you who followed the Tie-in fiction vs Non-tie-in fiction discussion are aware of my thoughts pertaining to the Forgotten Realms line and its authors. Still, I would rank Kemp among WotC's most talented authors, past and present, such as R. A. Salvatore, Elaine Cunningham and Troy Denning.
The worldbuilding, understandably, is not a major factor. It never really is in a FR book. One of these days, I'd love to see someone given free reign to roam across Ed Greenwood's universe.
The prose continues to be superior to what is currently the norm in today's market. Paul S. Kemp is a good author, a fact that many people probably don't even appreciate.
Like the previous two books, Twilight Falling and Dawn of Night, this third volume is another character-driven novel. And as such, the characters make or break the story. At first, it appeared that Kemp had seemingly elected to stick with the traditional clichéd FR characters, but he turns things around a bit in this one. And just when I thought he would ruin everything with the ever-popular "all is well that ends well" kind of ending, Kemp shows that he has a few surprises up his sleeves.
And although the storylines are rather linear and simplistic, the author still manages to add a few twists and turns to keep things interesting. Also, he leaves the door open for a number of sequels.
As I mentioned before, this series should please fans of R. A. Salvatore. Indeed, it's very Salvatoresque in tone and rhythm. Fans of the action-packed novels by David Gemmell (may he rest in peace) might also find this trilogy to their liking, though Gemmell's books possessed more depth.
In retrospect, this novel/series is a good effort by an author who will likely make a good name for himself in the genre. However, I feel that The Erevis Cale trilogy will appeal to a younger audience, or one that is more action-oriented.
The final verdict: 7/10
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