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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

City Under The Sand - a review

I'm moderately familiar with the Dark Sun setting. I've read the other Dark Sun novels, ages ago and I recently started running a D&D 4.0 campaign in the Dark Sun world, so I picked up this book to help re-familiarize myself with the setting.

Overall, it did accomplish that, in a limited way. The book takes place in Nibenay and a neighboring expanse of desert that includes a formerly buried city, a small town and a bandit outpost. The book does a more interesting job of describing Nibenese politics and the court of the ruling Sorcerer King, his templars and the expected jockeying for position that occurs between the Templar Wives.

There is a fair amount of combat, which was interesting and fairly well detailed. The ensemble cast is introduced and eventually brought together over the first few chapters. Not a lot of backstory on most of the characters, but you get a feel for them fairly quickly.

The storyline was somewhat predictable after the first third of the book. Some of the reviews on Amazon complain about the 2-dimensional characterizations, and yes there were some... but it's easy to ignore because there is a lot going on in the book... several interwoven plotlines that all eventually converge.

Where the book falls short...

First, it appears to have been edited by a 4th grader who knows how to use spellcheck but lacks the attention to detail to notice the frequent occurence of incorrect words that often don't make sense or change the context of the entire sentence. It happened just enough to be distracting, and honestly I expect better from WOTC.

Second, there is a lot of buildup to the end of the story... the big fight, the confrontation between good and evil, etc... which is handled in just a few pages and then the story basically just ends. Kind of a letdown, honestly. There wasn't a big finish, and it wasn't a cliffhanger, it just wraps up neatly and ends. It felt pretty rushed.

Overall, aside from the very end, I enjoyed it. I really liked the insight into that region of Athas and it gave me some good ideas for fleshing out my own campaign. In that sense, the book served its purpose for me.

If you're looking for a light read (got a 5-6 hour flight somewhere?) or you want to learn more about the Dark Sun setting, then I'd recommend this book.


Posted on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 11:34 PM Reviews , Dark Sun | Back to top

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