To an experienced rogue like Krunzle the Quick, the merchant nation of Druma is full of treasures just waiting to be liberated. Yet when the fast-talking scoundrel gets caught stealing from one of the powerful prophets of Kalistrade, his only option is to undertake a dangerous mission to recover the merchant lord’s runaway daughter—and the magical artifact she took with her. Armed with an arsenal of decidedly unhelpful magical items and chaperoned by an intelligent snake necklace happy to choke him into submission, Krunzle must venture far from the cities of the merchant utopia and into a series of adventures that will make him a rich man—or a corpse.
From veteran author Hugh Matthews comes a rollicking tale of captive trolls, dwarven revolutionaries, and serpentine magic, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
I struggled with whether to give this one 3 stars or 4, but decided to be generous because it was an entertaining read. Then I wrote my review and went back and changed it to a 3. But it's a high 3.
Likes: A fast and entertaining read. A couple of the characters (Skanderbrog the troll, Chirk the serpent necklace) are great.
Problems: Despite ultimately dealing with one of Golarion's core mysteries, the book suffered from feeling too generic, and only tangentially tied to established Pathfinder lore. I had the feeling that it was a story Hughes (or Matthews, as it were) had at least partially written, then plunked into Druma (an area as yet undeveloped in Golarion lore) after being tapped by Paizo to write a novel. The inclusion of the (spoiler ommitted) at the end felt strange as a result, not to mention something we've seen before in a series of stories about a certain exiled Pathfinder (not to mention, an entire Adventure Path...)
The tone, too, feels off. It's a little too goofy, a little too fable-ish, at times.
Krunzle, the protagonist, is unlikable and lacking in any sort of redeeming quality. Gyllana, likewise, is lame (a slutty, shrewish nobleman's daughter, how original) and I don't care enough to look up the name of the generic dwarf prince (he's bald!) they meet up with later. Still, the book provided enough entertainment that I didn't resent spending $6-7 and a couple of evening's reading it. How's that for a rousing endorsement?
Got it, opened it, didn't put it down, 7 hrs. later done
An engrossing story of adventure and destiny in the land of Druma. That features a host of interesting characters that make strange bedfellows; that wittingly and unwittingly follow a path they were all destined to follow. Another fun addition to the Pathfinder Tales series!
My only criticism is the that different creatures normally speak different languages yet Song of the Serpent had every creature speaking what I assume is Taldan.