The Godborn: The Sundering Book II by Paul S. Kemp


Genre(s): Fantasy, D&D, Forgotten Realms
Format: Paperback, Kindle, MP3 CD, Hardback, Audible
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast

Description: The Sundering is a multi-author series that takes place in the storied setting of the Forgotten Realms. The opening book in this series was authored by none other than R.A. Salvatore, so you know the folks over at Wizards of the Coast mean business. Erevis Cale, the chosen of Mask has a son; a son that has inherited his all of his father’s shadowy traits and none of his father’s shadowy tendencies. This alone wouldn’t merit much of a tale if it were not for Mephistopheles and his need to erase anything Cale at any cost. Lucky for Cale and his son Vasen, Mask shielded Vasen from the arch-devil with none other than servants of the Lord of Light (I see what you did there Mask). These servants of the Lord of Light inhabit an abbey, hidden in the peaks of the Thunder Peaks of Sembia. Vasen never knew his father but is having dreams of him trapped in Cania by Mephistopheles and he knows that he will have a role in the Realm’s sundering events that will surely soon take place. The problem? He has no idea what that role is. Adding to all of this is Drasek Riven, an old crony of Claes who is almost a god himself. He knows that Shar, the goddess of darkness, is poised to destroy the world forever through her cycle of night. Riven knows that he must stop her and the only way to do it is with Vasen, but how?
Review: To call The Sundering: The Godborn Kemp’s triumphant return to the Realms is a mild way of describing this book. Momentous things are happening in the Realms and Wizards of the Coast doesn’t trust just any old hack off the street to make these things happen. Kemp has taken the whole light vs. dark struggle to a whole new level with this novel. The vessel that he has chosen for this task is Cale’s son, Vasen.
Vasen is a paladin of the Lord of Light, a holy warrior granted special boons and blessings because of his faith and dedication to the light. Vasen is one of the Lord of Light’s chosen, yet he is filled (literally) with shadowstuff, courtesy of his father. Normally you would expect someone in Vasens situation to be filled with dark thoughts and a need to act on those thoughts. Kemp took the path less traveled and made Vasen’s shadows more of a physical aspect rather than a mental one. I can’t recall a point in the book where Vasen did anything un-lawful. This type of struggle with the shadow, and figuring out how it could enhance the light or at least co-exist with it (after all you can’t have shadows without light) was a ray of sunshine. There was just enough tension created by Vasen’s shadowy nature without it causing distractions or feeling like an afterthought, and, as you can guess, it came into play later in the novel.
Erevis Cale has always been a character who, like his son, has walked that fine line between light and dark, but tightrope walking isn’t what has made Cale such a popular character. Kemp is what has made Cale such a BAMF (it’s written on his wallet). Many fans of Cale can’t get enough of him and even while trapped and inert, he has a huge influence on the course of this book. Even the people left behind in his absence remain loyal to him and are more than willing to drop everything to aid him or his son. Kemp has actually built a very strange but intriguing family to surround Vasen with, from the Oracle of Abby all the way to Drasek Riven. Each member of this motley crew represents a different aspect of Vasen himself and each, in their very odd way, fit tighter to make this story whole.
Kemp really knows how to write a fight. Even when epic beings are involved, Kemp makes fights feel dangerous and exciting. It is much harder to make a fight between a godling and an archdemon seem lethal than one might think, especially if you know the RPG mechanics that govern beings like this. Vasen is a competent combatant himself, and the ways that Kemp has him actually use his shield are yet another fresh aspect of this book. 90% of the novels I read that involve swords and magic tend to exclude the shield or only add them as afterthoughts. All of the shields that Vasen uses throughout the course of this novel are used to great effect. I hope that more authors will take Kemp’s cue and give shields the love that they deserve.
The Godborn is full of epic Realms changing events, but even with all of this epicness, it still reads like an exciting adventure rather than getting pulled down by the weight of its own greatness. The major events of this book are driven by people who are much smaller than everything that surrounds them. Yes, they are on paths that might not be of their choosing and in some cases victims of circumstance, but they are still the drivers. This little man perspective amplifies the already overwhelming events that each faction wants to come into play.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Forgotten Realms and the results of the Spell Plague, then you might want to surf the web or read some of the more recent novels so that you won’t feel like you are in the dark. Even with Kemp’s worthy explanations, the more you know about the state of the Realms, the more you will enjoy this book. Speaking of enjoyment, this book has everything a good sword and board novel should have, and it is all wrapped up in a package that will keep the pages turning well into the dark hours of the night.

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About Cape Rust

Cape has led a life of adventure and excitement. Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas he joined the Army where he served six years as a Military Policeman and six years as an All Source Intelligence Analyst. He served in such diverse places as South Korea, Germany, Bosnia, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Kansas, Alabama, Kentucky and Arizona. After leaving the Army he spent 4 years training African Soldiers for peacekeeping missions. After visiting ten different African nations (some several times) he developed training materials for counter IED training. He now builds web sites for the Army. He enjoys PC Gaming, Table Top RPGs, reading and shooting. He has been married to his wife Laurie for almost 18 years and has two daughters Mallie and Megan. He is currently the caretaker of one of the world’s largest corgis Truman and a clowder of cats that includes Midnight, Smokey and Tum Tum Monster Destroyer.