The Chaos Curse - R.A. Salvatore The last book in the cleric quintet. It was a pretty good read, but not as exciting as some of the others in this series.

First, the series score: Overall Series rating: 4 stars. This was a fun, albeit cheap, trope-filled fantasy read. For a book series centered around non-fighter characters (i.e. a cleric and a monk), there's a surprisingly high proportion of battle scenes. This series was about 2/3 battles, 1/3 exposition. That's totally fine, but it makes it particularly fluffy.

This book in particular was fine, although I'd like to make some spoiler-laden observations-- these aren't required reading unless you just finished this book, too:

Observations:

*So is it just me, or does the level of tension in this series actually go DOWN from book to book? It's as if in book 1 we're fighting the bad guys' plan A. Book 2, it's plan B, and by the time we get to this book, it's plan E. The bad guys just seem a lot less threatening and the good guys seem a lot more powerful this time around.

*Dorigen is AWESOME. My favorite character. She should get her own series. Oh yeah-- she's dead.

*Has anyone ever counted the times either Bouldershoulder brother got stabbed/sliced/ran through with a sword? I get it, they're tough, but are they IMMUNE to STABS?

*Ultimate Evil / Agent of Chaos / Most Fatal Horror + human vessel = GENERIC VAMPIRE? lame sauce. There's not anything remotely interesting about the vampire in this book. Did you stop trying, Salvatore? The "chaos curse" in the first book had some interesting effects. I expected something like that to manifest itself in Rufo... not just boring fangs and aversion to sunlight.

*Catching the vampire in the bellows was awesome, though. Got to give credit for that.

*There's a real striking scene where Druzil the imp is painting bright lime-green and other colored runes on the roof of the library to desecrate it. Later in the book several (and I mean several) good guys come down from the hills from varying directions to the library. Not one of them can see the roof? There should've been lime green warning signs that something was wrong, yet every single character just waltzed in the front door...

*Speaking of Druzil, this guy has been 2nd banana to the bad guy du jour of all 5 books, and he just kinda slinks away? I wanted to see him get his comeuppance. Does he appear in later books? He's not that interesting of a character, I would think...

*Also, I understand it's a family-oriented book, but how far do you have to stretch coincidence to avoid a rape scene with obviously rapey Kierkan Rufo?

*Why, if Cadderly's supposed love for Danica is his motivation for fighting the bad guys, placing himself and his friends in grave danger, and generally kicking bad guy butt, why then does he so quickly abandon her once she's okay? I get it, he's dedicating his life to a higher cause.. yeah, but if that's truly the case why go through all the hassle of saving danica (at great peril to his own life and higher cause)


Anyway, all told, you can't ask too much of it-- it's a fantasy book, and it's a fine read, if a little flawed.