I feel kind of bad that I’m not doing justice to this book in this review, purely because I read it in July and I’m trying to write the review in December. I wrote the reviews of the first and third books close to when I finished them, but this one slipped by. I think I was in a rush to get to the next one, or something. Oops.
After escaping their home kingdom, our group of Adventurers moves on in search of, well, something. They hear of a village where everyone mysteriously disappeared. They hear rumors of another piece of the Bridge, and they feel that they need to investigate. While investigating the town, they realize that they may be a bit over their heads, and they need reinforcements. They decide to go to ask for assistance from the Wizards. As they are leaving, they come across a problem. Thistle is unable to leave the village where the evil resides – Grumble literally sticks him to the road, preventing his leaving. It’s one of the drawbacks of being a Paladin – the inability to leave evil. So our group must divide, with Timuscor and Eric staying with Thistle and Gabrielle accompanying Grumph. While Thistle and Eric and Timuscor search for answers for the cause of the great evil, Gabby and Grumph find a useful friend along the way. Grumph eventually gains access into the Hall of Wizards (?) and learns a great deal, while also turning the status quo on its head. As NPCs focused on Thistle, this features Grumph as more of a leading role. We also learn a bit more about how magic works in this world. Hayes’ world is expanding, and we get to see more kinds of people and places. And sometimes the characters have interesting reactions and manage to find creative solutions to their problems.
Meanwhile in the ‘real’ world, Russell has started a new group, with his sister and Tim still playing. After the last game, they are a bit wary, but Russell (mysteriously) received a new module in the mail that looks interesting, so they decide to play. New to the group are a quiet girl who chooses to play as a forest elf and a fairly large man who chooses a female dwarf gadgeteer as his character. The asshats from the last game are gone (for now), and we get to see this group start to become a team. We don’t really see all too much of them, but they play a much larger role in the next book.
The one thing that bothered me, and others might not have even realized, was that the narrator used a different voice for Grumble, the god of the minions. In the first book, his voice was very cultured, which seemed like a nice disconnect from his physical description. But his voice is gruffer now, and I miss his first voice. It was a bit jarring to hear the difference. (I think this happened in this book, but it might have been the next one. Either way, the same thing happened!)