The Sentinel by Troy Denning: Review

The Sentinel by Troy Denning
Title: The Sentinel
Author: Troy Denning
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publication Date: April 2014
Length: 304 pages
Series: The Sundering (#5)
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: ARC

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the fifth book of the multi-author Sundering series, New York Times best-selling author Troy Denning sends an embittered paladin, Kleef Kenric, on a quest to stop evil forces from taking advantage of the chaos rolling across the land of Faerûn and claiming dominion over the entirety of the Realms. 

Stubbornly clinging to his family’s worship of a long-forgotten god, Kleef Kenric soon discovers that his god has blessed him with divine gifts, making him one of a new group of Chosen cropping up around the Realms. This divine gift makes him an excellent ally—and a target for those who wish corral his powers. 

After battling his way out Marsember, a city besieged on all sides in the wake of the Sundering, he becomes swept up in the mission of a group of odd allies—a warrior noblewoman, an accomplished thief, and a mysterious short pudgy man exuding a faint odor of decay. With the forces of Shade tracking their every step, they travel to the Underdark to thwart the rise of the goddess of Death, but before long Kleef learns that his allies hide dangerous secrets—secrets that could destroy not only Kleef but the very fabric of the Forgotten Realms.
Kenric is a good guy who wants to protect his city. As Marsember is being besieged, he meets Joelle and Malik who are on a journey to return an item and Lady Arietta Seasilver who is trying to save her family. As the adventuring party gets to know each other better and get closer to their individual endgames, priorities and alliances change.

My husband and I enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons with our friends. Over the last two years, we have been beta testing the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons (i.e., D&D Next or D&D 5th edition). So what does this all have to do with this book? When a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons comes out, a series of novels comes out to explain the changes in world building from one edition to the next. It is rather clever that Wizards of the Coast explain changes in world building through the novels. It smooths the transition from edition to edition. I haven't read a D&D book in years, but I decided to give this book a read, because I had been playing the up-and-coming edition. The Sundering series consists of six stand alone books. Although each book is a separate book, together they show how the universe is changing.

The Sentinel was a fun adventure book to read on a Saturday afternoon. I liked imaging what the character sheets for Kenric and the rest of the gang looked like. Every time a new character appeared on the page, I would guess if the person was a fighter, rogue, or other type of character. It was a real kick. At the same time, if you are not familiar with D&D, you don't need to know if a character is a "rogue" or what their character sheet would look like. I just "geek-ed" out a bit reading the book.

I really liked the characters in this story. It was nice to have an adventuring party with four characters and with an even gender split. I found all four characters to have interesting backgrounds and to be fairly three-dimensional (the book is only 300 pages and is written as a straight-up adventure story). My one complaint was that both ladies ending up having a crush on Kenric at one point or another. Both Arietta and Joelle were not just defined by their love for Kenric, but I found it a bit silly even though it was explained within the book. 

In regards to the plot, it was your typical drop the Mcguffin off at Location X plot; however, the adventure was made interesting by the four characters motivations and constantly changing alliances. I was rather pleased with how well written the story was and the intricacies of the characters' plans. My one complaint is that the book had a rather long info dump early on in the book. I found myself just scanning the text. I don't think I missed too much by just glancing over the relevant background information.

Overall, The Sentinel was a fun Saturday afternoon read. If you are excited about the new and up-and-coming D&D 5th edition, this book (and series) is for you. If you are interested in trying a D&D book, I would recommend giving this book a try.

I give this book a 3 out of 5.

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