One of the best things about reading a fantasy novel is being able to take the best parts of a book, whatever they may be, from imaginative plot ideas to fascinating locations, and introducing them into your own D&D games. Mistshore, written by Jaleigh Johnson, is the second installment of the new Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep series, each book detailing a different part of 1479 DR Waterdeep. Mistshore provides us with not only a great story but an excellent and most interesting locale.
Mistshore itself is basically an entire ward of the city of Waterdeep, completely comprised of rotting, half-sunken ships rigged together, more and more over time, within which is home to "the monstrous, the lawless, and the violent." The sort of place normal folk never see. The sort of place one would go if you wanted to disappear for a while, surviving only through wit and cunning. While reading this book I thought of over a dozen great ideas I'd use if I ever incorporated Mistshore into one of my games. If not playing in Forgotten Realms it's the prefect type of setting you could easily add to any city of your own to make it much more interesting - there are a lot of adventures to be had in a place like this, obviously. Ed Greenwood describes it as a corner of Waterdeep "much whispered about by the fearful, who believe all manner of sinister half sea-monsters , half humans lurk in its sagging riggings and rotten cabins. Creatures with webbed fingers, gills hidden under high-collared robes, and sly, stealthy tentacles waiting to throttle or snatch. Welcome to Mistshore."
The plot of the book revolves around Icelin, a beautiful young sorceress and street urchin with a haunted past, some of which she cannot remember and some of which she can. Icelin has been touched with the Spellplaugue, one of it's symptoms causing her spells to go wild - once causing a boarding house to catch fire, killing many people. Something Icelin has had to live with, and since then she has avoided using magic as much as it is possible for her to do so.
Part of Icelins unrecollected past catches up with her in the form of a scar faced eladrin named Cerest in a chance meeting. Figuring out who he has just stumbled upon Cerest takes it upon himself to abduct Icelin at any cost, including the murdering of Icelin's great-uncle and caretaker. Not knowing why she is being pursued by Cerest and now wanted by the Watch for the murder of her great-uncle Icelin flees to the shadows of Mistshore, with the help of a few allies along the way.
Ever worried about revealing too much in these posts, I don't want to give away too much about this book but the bulk of this novel follows the hunted Icelin and her few companions through the darkest corners of Mistshore, all the while dealing with her cloudy past and dealing with her spellscar. There are plenty of unexpected twists and plenty of action. One of the strengths of this book, and Jaleigh Johnson's writing in general, is most definitely bringing the characters to life. The personalities, the dialogue and the development of characters over the course of the book is done very well, to a point that other writers in the game should take note.
This one is definitely a recommended read.