The price was a little high, I thought. I realize it was illustrated, but I can buy a 300 pg Kindle book for the same price. I would have liked more detail, especially about elven death and culture. It would be nice to have a full book about the elves of Golarion, at the very least like AD&D Complete Book of Elves.
I’ve always loved elves, even though they can be arrogant and xenophobic (and the elves of Pathfinder are no exception). Thus, I was excited to read Queen of Thorns. I am still fairly new to the Pathfinder setting, having been a long-time resident of Forgotten Realms.
I am not a huge fan of Calistria (I prefer the Seldarine from FR), and I wish she wasn’t a favored goddess among the elves. What I did like however, was that elven society doesn’t seem to care much about the gender of a lover (I am always looking for books with inclusiveness). Half-elves are looked down upon, though that doesn’t stop elves from having romantic relationships with humans. While the racial choice of lover can be frowned upon, or at least regarded with skepticism, the gender doesn’t seem to be. We first get a hint of this in the beginning at the Midsummer Masquerade. Varian notes that the masks and the gender mingling would be viewed as “scandalous” in Chelix. Varial is also bisexual, and while this doesn’t mean all elves are, there is no mention of his “preferences” being abnormal. He and Fimbulthicket (who I thought was rather charming, in a cute, gnome sort of way) may just be friends, but I at least, got the impression they were more than that.
Based on the summary, I initially thought more of it was going to take place within the elven city, but such is not the case. I wanted to learn more about the elves. While there are certainly lore bits, it wasn’t what I was expecting. Still, the adventure was exciting.
Radovan’s witty comments made me laugh, as usual, though I am starting to tire of his womanizing ways. Even though hellspawn are viewed with derision throughout Golarian, many women seem willing to sleep with him. In Queen of Thorns, we learn more about his fiendish heritage, and the more we learn, the more plot points open up for future tales. While the previous Varian and Radovan books seem fairly self-contained, this one leaves an opening for future events and stories.
And finally, as a dog lover, I must say, I adore Arnisant.
I know this was meant to be a short story, but there was so much going on. It has potential, and I would love to see more of these two characters as they continue to adventure and develop a relationship (whatever kind it turns out to be).
Having been a long-time reader of Forgotten Realms, I have recently delved into the world of Pathfinder. I enjoyed the first book in the Salim series, Death’s Heretic, and this one was even better. I love seeing the different planes, and the theological debates. Salim is a flawed but fascinating character. I’m not a religious person, but I don’t really understand the Rahadoumi (sp?) philosophy. Paying tribute to the gods doesn’t mean you have to be yoked to them. They would rather spend eternity in the atheist graveyard than in a true afterlife, all for the sake of pride? It doesn’t make sense to me, but it adds to Salim’s character. In The Redemption Engine, we see him continue to grow.
Aside from Salim, my favorite characters in this book would have to be Roshad and Bors. I loved the idea of the Iridian Fold, and the inclusivity of this book (I hope to read more like it). Their love for each other was palpable, and it was refreshing to see.
And of course, there were the angels. Being a fan of angels, I enjoyed seeing the Pathfinder’s take on them, and the idea of “redeemed devils” is something that comes into play in my own writing. Aruzethiel was an interesting character, and I wish he had been featured more prominently.
All in all, a great read, and I hope to read more about Salim’s adventures in the future.