Last Updated on November 16, 2020
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The Forgotten Realms is, without a doubt, the most popular D&D settings. For the uninitiated, D&D stands for Dungeons and Dragons in the fantasy world setting. Ed Greenwood created it around 1967. The fantasy world where powerful deities and creatures with supernatural powers ruled was a part of writing his stories as a child.
The world of Forgotten Realms is not exclusive to humans, unlike on Earth. Elves, dwarves, orcs, and goblins, along with humans, share the lands. Although there is a close connection between humans on Earth and those in the other realm, they grew apart. This is the explanation for the Forgotten Realms name.
In no particular order, below are some of the best Forgotten Realms books that are in publication.
Homeland by R.A. Salvatore
This book by R.A. Salvatore is the first in the series of The Legend of Drizzt. Although the protagonist, Drizzt Do’Urden, is popular in the genre, Homeland takes an in-depth look at the Drow’s background.
It is in this book that the writer reveals how the dark elf began his life’s journey. Here, his victory in the struggles to leave the underworld with an evil society is vivid. Not surprisingly, Homeland also talks about Drizzt’s family, who wanted him dead.
- Review: In true Salvatore fashion, the book is a stellar presentation. The book, with its dark societies and the hidden world, is both intriguing and threatening. In some ways, this book prepares Drizzt for all the adventures and missions for the sequels. The thirst and competition for power in Menzoberranzan draws a lot of parallel between the inhabitants of Earth. The book is a fantastic example of Salvatore’s mastery over describing fantastical worlds. However, the constant battle between the dark elves and the main hero’s struggles with external influences and his doubts can be a bit too much. Overall, Homeland is an excellent book, both for beginners and veterans in the genre.
- Author: R.A. Salvatore. Born in 1959 in Massachusets, US, Salvatore is an acclaimed Forgotten Realms novelist. Apart from publishing several best-selling novels, he has also written stories for video games. Among the notable ones are for Xbox and PS2. The net worth of Salvatore is about $8 million.
- Pages: 352, Paperback.
- Publisher: TSR Inc, December 1990.
Dissolution by Richard Lee Byers
Dissolution is the first novel in the series called War of the Spider Queen. It is an inspiration from the Forgotten Realms by Salvatore. The four main characters of Byers’ book fight numerous battles to save the dark elves from Dissolution.
This book is the one that sparks the War of the Spider Queen. The high-ranking females of Menzoberranzan and their ruthlessness cause many male Drows to flee – this is the main plot of the book.
- Review: The most outstanding aspect of Dissolution is the crisp description of the dark, enchanting world of Drows. For many readers, the author’s balance of vivid description while leaving room for the imagination is highly appealing. Another significant achievement from Byers in this book is the addition of subplots that bring more context and interest to the book. Some critics have pointed out that the characters in Dissolution lack depth. The absence of redeeming qualities is also a drawback Byers’ relaxed style of writing is also a topic of contention. However, this book is fantastic and will delight the fans of the genre.
- Author: Richard Lee Byers. Richard Lee Byers is a novelist of the fantasy and horror genre. He has authored more than forty novels. Byers also take a keen interest in poker as well as fencing. He was a background in psychology; he also has experience working in the mental health industry. Byers was born n September 21, 1950, and is a resident of Tampa Bay, U.S.
- Pages: 384, Paperback.
- Publisher: Wizards of the Coast, January 7, 2002.
Spellfire by Ed Greenwood
Spellfire follows the journey of Shandril. She is an orphan and the protagonist of the series, Shandril’s Saga.
She leaves her home and the land full of evil sorcerers in search of love. Shandril eventually finds love as well as Spellfire in this epic book. Her journey of discovery takes place in the settings of the Forgotten Realms.
- Review: Greenwood’s Spellfire is a setting that is closer to a game setting rather than fiction. It is an excellent book in many ways – it sets the tone for the series and is a testament to the writer’s ingenious mind. Spellfire has numerous characters and plots that make it fascinating. However, this is also the biggest drawback. For ardent fans, the multitude of plots and characters is even more reason to love the genre. However, for readers who are foraying into the mystical realms, it can be confusing and an effort to read the book. Ironically, Ed Greenwood has stated that the original book contained more pages and possibly more characters.
- Author: Ed Greenwood. Ed Greenwood is the father and creator of the Forgotten Realms world. Greenwood imagined a world of magic and wonder that eventually led to the creation of multiverse as a child. He has written many of the bestselling books in the genre. Greenwood is also a game designer and contributed to numerous projects in video gaming and books, including modules for TSR, Inc. Greenwood was born in Canada on July 21, 1959. He lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada.
- Pages: 282, Paperback.
- Publisher: TSR, Inc, July 1987.
Waterdeep by Troy Denning (Richard Awlinson)
Waterdeep is one of the novels in the Avatar series. This book takes you down to the streets of Waterdeep. Here, the avatars of the gods hunt for the Tablets of Fate. However, their mission is not without trouble, of course.
The streets are full of all types of danger. It leads to lengthy arguments between the avatars. In the end, a new pantheon of gods will rise to decide the fate of the world.
- Review: Waterdeep is the best one in the Avatar series. It is different from the other books due to its fast-paced action. It also incorporates a lot of interesting characters and locations, making the book very effortless to read. Denning’s smooth writing style is also a hit among readers who were not so taken by other books in the series.
Nevertheless, before the characters make it to Waterdeep, the beginning parts of the book can be a struggle to plow through unless you are a diehard fan of the series. Some sections in the middle that involves lengthy arguments between Midnight and Kelemvor can also seem unnecessary.
- Author: Troy Denning. Troy Denning is an author who writes fantasy novels as well as science fiction. He wrote Waterdeep under the pen-name Richard Awlinson. Denning has written more than a dozen books with considerable success. He is also a game designer for TSR, Inc. Born in 1958, he lives an active lifestyle and engages in hiking, skiing, and martial arts. Denning lives with his wife in Wisconsin, USA.
- Pages: 341, Paperback.
- Publisher: TSR, Inc. August 1989.
Daughter of the Drow by Elaine Cunningham
Like several novels in the genre, the Forgotten Realms world is the setting of this book. Daughter of the Drow follows Liriel Baenre as she attempts to escape the shadowy world of Menzoberranzan. It is the first book in the Starlight and Shadows series.
Everywhere she turns, there seems to be an adversary hell-bent on sabotaging her plans. She finds an unlikely hope in one of the enemies pursuing her. This takes her on a quest to find a talisman and perhaps, even love.
- Review: The best thing about Cunningham’s book is its protagonist. Liriel Baenre is as brave and spellbinding as she is beautiful. Daughter of the Drow is also one of the few books in the genre that depicts the lighter side of these dark and evil characters. The book is full of drama, spectacular fight sequels, tension, and romance. However, if you are looking for heart-stopping suspense and fear synonymous with Forgotten Realms’ book, you may be disappointed. The terminology used in the book might also be an issue if you are just dipping your toes in the fantasy world.
- Author: Elaine Cunningham. Born on August 12, 1957, Elaine Cunningham is an accomplished American author. She writes science fiction as well as fantasy novels. She has made significant contributions to the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing. Cunningham is also among the elite NYT bestselling authors. She resides in New England with her husband and two sons.
- Pages: 342, Paperback.
- Publisher: Wizards of the Coast, February 1, 2003 (2nd Edition)
Darkwalker on Moonshae by Douglas Niles
Set in the Moonshae Isles, Darkwalker on Moonshae describes the attempts of Tristan Kendrick to rally the creatures of the Isles and prevent the spread of evil. Many contenders, mainly incarnations of the Beast on the evil side, plan to destroy peace and balance. On the other hand, children of the Goddess, along with others, unite to form an excellent team. The heir of the High Kings legacy attempts to join them all.
Initially, this book from Niles was standalone. However, after the sequels became a reality, it formed the first part of the Moonshae trilogy.
- Review: Darkwalker on Moonshae is everything that you would expect from an acclaimed fantasy writer. Niles’ vivid description of characters and locations reflects his ability to translate imagination into words. The book is full of characters, which can be a bit of an effort to keep up. The sheer number of characters may also be why the heroes seem to lack the depth of character. Nevertheless, Niles’ ability to get the reader hooked to the story is impressive.
- Author: Douglas Niles. Born on December 1, 1954, Douglas Niles is a fantasy novelist. He is one of the first writers about the Forgotten Realms and one of the creators of Dragonlance. Niles is also a game designer who has created several modules for D&D games. Apart from writing, Niles enjoys playing the guitar, hiking, and cycling. He calls the countryside of Wisconsin his home.
- Pages: 365, Paperback.
- Publisher: TSR, Inc. May 1987.
Resurrection by Paul S. Kemp.
Resurrection is the sixth novel in the hexology of the War of the Spider Queen. It follows the quest of Danifae Yauntyrr and Quenthel in search of the Queen spider to become her chosen ones. However, the Queen, with her hellish world, would not give up her location easily.
At the same time, Halisstra Melarn has also undertaken a conquest to locate the Queen. However, she has sinister plans, and she has a mighty sword in her possession.
- Review: The characters, as well as the plot of Resurrection, are nothing short of magical. The battle scenes are spectacular, and the book is relatively easy to read. It is the best in the hexalogy and a fantastic conclusion. However, the pace of the book can be slow if you are used to fast-paced action. The fact that the characters have to summon powers and cast spells, repeatedly, is the main reason. In some areas, the stories can also seem disjointed, which makes it easy to lose track.
- Author: Paul S. Kemp. Born in 1969, Paul S. Kemp is an author of fantasy novels. His most notable work is on the Forgotten Realms. He practices corporate law in Detroit but also enjoys playing Dungeons & Dragons. He enjoys drinking scotch and smoking cigars during his leisure. Kemp lives with his wife in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
- Pages: 352, Paperback.
- Publisher: Wizards of the Coast. April 1, 2005.
Forgotten Realms novels are an on a league of their own. Set in a magical, however, dark world with fascinating and sinister characters, they inspire awe. Ever since its inception, there are many fantastical books in this genre all over the world. A good number of these books have also been adapted for video games with phenomenal success.
Sadly, after Wizards of the Coast become a subsidiary of Hasbro in 1999, new contracts to write Forgotten Realms have not been set. But of course, you can still read the published novels like the ones we have listed here.
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