Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Books: Queen of the Demonweb Pits

Queen of the Demonweb Pits
by Paul Kidd
Published 2001
Part 3 of the Justicar Trilogy

The final book of this trilogy is just as good as the previous two.  The first book, White Plume Mountain, introduced us to the Justicar and Escalla.  The second book, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, gave us Escalla's background story and had her face her past.  So naturally, this third book does the same for the Justicar.

Unfortunately, his origin story is fairly mundane.  While Drizzt's beginnings took an entire trilogy to tell, the Justicar's backstory doesn't even make up a quarter of this novel.  That's too bad, because I like these characters a lot more than anyone in Salvatore's novels.

This book also gives more screen time to Henry and Enid.  Henry has taken a level in badass, having trained with the Justicar between novels.  Enid was always a monster, but she never got to do much fighting in the previous books.  Even Polk gets a couple of chances to be a hero in this one, though he's still mostly there for unfunny comic relief.

It's interesting how the gods are represented.  I don't know if this is true of Greyhawk, or just this author's interpretation of it, but the gods in this book are basically just really tough mortals.  Lolth reminds me a lot of the Queen of Hearts in Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland: she has a huge ego, is very demanding, and a bit whiny.  Her marilith secretary, Morag, reminds me of Kif from Futurama.  There are a lot of funny interactions between the two.

The story itself is epic level.  I don't know what levels the characters would have been in the previous books, but in this one they're traveling to other planes to directly challenge gods.  It seems like an especially huge jump for Henry, who was extremely green when he was introduced in the second book.

Again, the series is written in a modern style that might annoy a lot of serious readers, but I enjoyed the lightheartedness.  The author sneaked in a lot of movie quotes and other little geek jokes.  If the nearly fourth wall humor bothers you, just think of it as an aspect of Escalla's fairy magic.  She comes from a race that specializes in planar travel, so it's no surprise they pick up language from all over the multiverse, including the real world.

I'm sorry to see the end of this trilogy, and I wish the characters had appeared in more books.  If you're looking for some D&D books for some light reading, you could do a lot worse than this trilogy.

No comments:

Post a Comment