SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 559 Everquest: The Rogue's Hour, by Scott Ciencin Book Review | SFReader.com

Everquest: The Rogue's Hour, by Scott Ciencin cover image

Everquest: The Rogue's Hour, by Scott Ciencin
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: CDS Books
Published: 2004
Review Posted: 4/12/2005
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 8 out of 10

Everquest: The Rogue's Hour, by Scott Ciencin

Book Review by Adrienne Jones

Have you read this book?

Although I read a fair amount of fantasy fiction, I had no idea what to expect with The Rogue's Hour, based on EverQuest, the on-line role playing game. Luckily, the foreword by Executive Producer, R.A. Salvatore, answered all of my questions regarding the morphing of this gaming phenomenon into a series of stand alone fantasy novels, as well as offering a convincing and passionate testimonial in defense of 'shared-world' fiction, which apparently sparks some prejudice among readers.

Salvatore's goal in hunting for the appropriately skilled authors to take on Norrath, (the world that serves as setting for the complex game) was to focus on small, character-driven tales set in this imagery-rich world, with all its lively creatures.

So we've got a pre-created world, where countless gamers have quested, risking their virtual lives upon the same lands, seas, mountain ranges and Ogre villages we'll see in the novels. The novels, however, will have their own characters and spin their own tales, at the discretion of the author. So how did author Scott Ciencin do with this novel, The Rogue's Hour?

As with most fantasy, there are familiar elements to the knaves and elves and dwarves and whatnot, yet there is so much to this story that is unique in its telling. Our protagonist is Rileigh, a confident yet confused rogue who steps onto the scene having just lost his memory. With only a few clues and newly acquired allies to work with, he sets out to discover his own identity, and more importantly, why he is being stalked with threatening letters by the mysterious Draconis, who claims to hate him and vows revenge. Revenge for what? Rileigh has no idea what he's done to offend, as he couldn't even remember his own name before the first note arrived.

Through Rileigh and his plight, we are taken into the world of Norrath, and oh what a world it is. As we move from village to city to underwater thief strongholds guarded by rat-men, we can imagine being in a game, as the plot moves so fast we have to think on our feet to keep up. What keeps us intrigued the most is the quest that our Rileigh gets roped intoŚby a man who may or may not know him, we're not sure.

The 'Dragon of World's End' will rise again and pretty much scorch Norrath goodbye, unless they recover a set of stolen weapons (formed of the dragon's bones) that might be used in a resurrection ritual. From here we meet pirates, ogres, collect a company of traveling companions including a na´ve barbarian, a fiery dwarf, and a wolf with a delightfully cynical personality expressed solely through internal dialogue.

And of course there are villains. In fact, one of the most colorful aspects of this novel is the villains. All of Ciencin's characters are written with a degree of realism, a saucy wit that gives the dialogue a modernism, pleasantly contrasting the setting. But the jovially evil Bloodsaber 'Pergamalis' takes the cake. This is the character with the clever comeback, the right line in the face of mutilation, the joyful relish in his own sociopathy, laughable, yet far too intelligent to take lightly. The murdering megalomaniac's one-liners were so entertaining that I was hard pressed not to root for him over the protagonist.

This story is a wild and entertaining hell ride of imagery, and the only way to really experience it is to throw your arms in the air and let it happen. When I started reading, I was thrown by how many characters were being introduced, how often we shifted scenes, and how many different directions we seemed to be going in. My mind was struggling to grab plot lines, but unable to pin them down in time for the next shift. If there is a negative to this book, it's that there is too much excitement in a short span. You can really feel the author's passion for this world, and desire to give us a taste of as much of it as possible, despite Salvatore's claim in the foreword of 'the smaller scale, more personal' stories that abound in a world as rich as Norrath.'

I guess the real test is in this question: Would I read another EverQuest novel? The answer is yes. Partially because this world has drawn me in, and partially out of curiosity to see the unique result of another small, personal story executed in this vast playground that is Norrath.
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Comments on Everquest: The Rogue's Hour, by Scott Ciencin
Posted by teeg888 on 12/19/2007
My third grade son received this book in the holiday book exchange. I'm not sure if it is appropriate. He started reading it at school. Can anyone tell me anything about the content?
Posted by Kittin on 12/24/2006
As a player of the huge game, I didnt know what to expect from the everquest series. This book was top of the series for me though. It explained the elements that people who had never played everquest would understand as well as keeping it simple enough not to annoy the well-versed. Great book. I think I read it in one night....
Posted by Adrienne on 4/20/2005
You're quite welcome. Keep em comin.
Posted by Dave on 4/13/2005
Very well-written review. Thanks!