The Bloody Eye
The Bloody Eye Capsule Review by Alex deMorris on 12/01/03
Style: 3 (Average)
Substance: 3 (Average)
The Bloody Eye is the fifth book of the “Iconics Series.” While not the best book to read, it makes some fun reading if one avoids the lessons of the clerics in the story. A clunky action story, the Bloody Eye feels disjointed in parts while advancing towards the story’s obvious end.
Product: The Bloody Eye
Author: T. H. Lain
Company/Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Line: Dungeons & Dragons
Page count: 192
Year published: 2003
Comp copy?: no
Capsule Review by Alex deMorris on 12/01/03
Genre tags: Fantasy
Here is the line that starts the spoiler warning: please be wary of people who review novellas, for they may ruin your enjoyment of it.
When a fallen cleric of Pelor turns to Gruumsh for power, the soldiers of the sun send in Jozan, former student of said fallen cleric. Despite the Alhandra cover, most of the action focuses on the cleric and his former mentor. Krusk returns to the story as well, as a barbarian bend on revenge and rescue. Several bits of characterization may confuse readers that have read the earlier books of the series.
Joining the story’s plot is a one-eyed barmaid, and together the foursome beat back the abominations and the clerics of Gruumsh. The action of the story is clunky, bits and pieces of cut scenes and shifts of point-of-view characters happening wildly in the book’s short chapters. Despite this, the plot builds quickly to its conclusion—an aborted summoning of Gruumsh.
Several bits of the story stuck out poorly, as why Gruumsh’s clerics would need the undead troupe of the Black Carnival in the first place, when it could easily send out loyal troops to get the same results—the captured town of Pergue
Using these slaves to excavate the Sanctuary of Gruumsh, the lead cleric forces a morality lesson on his converted ally—that earlier mentioned cleric of Pelor. It seems that the clerics here have felt abandoned by their gods and seek power to rectify it. They view the power coming from Gruumsh as viable to their plans of domination.
Several skips ahead, the reader gets handed a morality lesson, much a kin to the choice given Jozan’s mentor, that makes it feel that this book couldn’t focus on what it was trying to be—either a Dungeons & Dragons novel or a shorthand way of viewing the Judeo-Christian mindset (“God helps those who help themselves.”).
I enjoyed the parts not dealing with the clergy philosophy, as I don’t like a force-fed theology lesson. It wouldn’t have been bad, if the book was longer and the lesson was better masked with other events in the story, but as the book is very short, this “insight” from the mentor beats itself into the reader’s mind.
I still feel that the series would be better if Wizards opened up the novellas length and allowed some recognized names to grace the story’s cover. The Bloody Eye wasn’t a great book, but its fun enough to carry away the brief time it takes to read it.