Some of the parchment pages were the color of cream, thick and substantial, made to last many, many lifetimes. Other pages were thin and desiccated, positively yellow from age, and crackled alarmingly as Van Richten turned them over. There were no ornate illuminations, no fussy borders, only lines of plain text in hard black ink. The flowing handwriting was a bit difficult to follow at first; the writer's style of calligraphy had not been in common use for 300 years. No table of contents, but from the dates it looked to be some kind of history. He turned to the first page and read:
I, Strahd, Lord of Barovia, well aware certain events of my reign have been desperately misunderstood by those who are better at garbling history than recording it, hereby set down an exact record of those events, that the truth may at last be known....
He caught his breath. By all the good gods, a personal journal?
©1993 TSR, Inc., 2006 Wizards of the Coast, Inc. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I read a lot, sorry I mean listen to a lot, of the Forgotten Realms novels, there are so many and a Ravenloft novel had to be listened to. Questions I had, who is Strahd? What is Ravenloft like? Where did it all start? The novel answers all these questions in great detail. The narration is really on point, and I loved that. The big issue I had was the story, which for a D&D fan was fine, however I think your average reader while find the story very similar to Bram Stokers Dracula. There are definite crossed lines in that respect. However understanding that Bram Stoker influenced the creators of Ravenloft must be noted.
I would recommend to any D&D and/or Ravenloft fans without hesitation, and any Vampire lover may find the book interesting because of the fantasy setting yet I can say as a horror novel there are far better novels. Suitable for Teens.
"Not your normal paranormal story...."
Intense, logical and riveting.
The story works- yes, it's a vampire story, so there are parts you have to suspend belief in reality some, but it's a sensible suspension, a logical thing. The intensity of the characters, the building of the story made me stay with it and waiting for the next part. The viewpoint is from the main character and remains true to his station and background, and historically, is pretty true to the times.
The emotional content is also fierce, as is the main character, so you would expect no less. Sex, often over used in many novels, is almost not here at all, except for alluding to , not describing it. I'm not a prude by a long shot, but it was nice the author didn't just put in excess sex scenes that didn't work in this story as per the times and mores, and that the story ran smoothly for that exclusion in this book. This was a book more about revenge than sex,but love plays a role, too.
It held my attention all the way through the book and I'll look for the next one.
The entire book was excellent, no one scene was the "everything" scene and all downhill after that.
No, but I could "see" the characters, wonderfully detailed and yet not bogged down.
Worth the money.
"A good gothic vampire story"
This is a wonderful narrative about the becoming of a vampire, and why, as told by the vampire himself. He's an evil entity, but you can't help but feel compassion for the guy, as true love drags him into the depths of hell. Which is a good complement for the author, because Strahd, the commander is heartless, but you understand why he is the way he is, and how that makes him a good ruler of Ravenloft. His downfall is falling in love, giving up his soul and humanity, for 'His heart's Desire", thus the painful existence begins for an eternity. The narrator does an excellent job taking you back hundreds of years to hear the story, kinda gives you the same feel as "Interview with the Vampire" from Anne Rice.
I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. I found it rather interesting how in the Ravenloft series each book is written by a different author. In this addition Strahd Von Zarovich has lead his men through the war and now they are on their way to claim his land and property. When he arrives at his newly acquired castle his younger brother is there to greet him along with some of the locals. The two brothers eventually fall in love with the same young girl and because Strahd is so much older she chooses, falls in love, and plans to marry Strahd's younger brother. He is heartbroken and in a desperate hour tries to evoke black magic. This is when he is approached by what he considers "death itself", and is promised that he will have all of his hearts desires for a price; in his weekend state he accepts. Strahd is forever changed and lives an endless life in search of his one true love until.....
All in all a pretty good, non sappy vampire story that is a definite throw back to the old, scary kinds of the undead. Paul Boehmer does a great job with the narration. I was not aware until I was finished listening that he also narrates the Nicholas Flamel Series.
"Love it...just one complaint...."
Gene DeWesse's King of the Dead and Lord of the Necropolis. As well as the anthology called Tales of Ravenloft.....but sadly, see below....
very adequately done, hard to compare to the abridged version read by the late incomparable Roddy McDowell though.
I actually did listen to this in one sitting.
By far one of my favorite books. I can't tell you how often I had listened to the abridged audio read by Roddy McDowell. I actually have the first 20 or so pages memorized I have read this so much. My only real complaint isn't so much about this book, as it is about the series. I, Strahd 2: The War Against Azalin is offered on Audible, but the two excellent Azalin books written by Gene DeWeese are not. The second book in the series ties directly into events from both Strahd novels. Likewise other "iconic" Ravenloft novels as well as ones for other lesser known Dungeons & Dragons worlds like Spelljammer, Planescape and Darksun are also missing. I feel like these should be added. At the very least the books I mentioned by Gene DeWeese, the excellent and rare anthology called Tales of Ravenloft which has another Strahd short story in it, as well as books from different worlds by J Robert King, Simon Hawke, and Nigel Findley should be added. I urge fans of these books or even the curious to request them through audible. Hopefully someone will listen to us some day.
"A fantastic story brought to life!"
Yes, the story is incredible and engaging.
From the first few pages, the reader quickly gets into the heart of the Ravenloft world...
As nice as Paul Boehmer's voice was, the original (abridged) version with Roddy McDowall was PERFECT. I really wish McDowall would have read an unabridged version of the book.
"Best book I've read years"
It moves along quickly, more drama than neck-biting. It moves quickly I've had to read it three times.
I've been a Tom Clancy , Dan Brown, and reading latest on Kennedy killing so I can't compare the books. The right Kennedy book is book but I would love to have one of the vampires bite LBJ and HH.
No, but I'll try one now I do hope there are follow ups to this one.
Great book. Oh, I'm 65 years old .
"An interesting take on a darklord"
The narrator does a good job most of the time. The accents are enjoyable and you get some good swapping between characters with the voices the narrator tries. The one issue I have is that Boehmer's voice is somewhat stilted in some of them like he's trying to enunciate too much, you can ignore it most of the time, but there were a few points where it bugged me a little.
The moment when it becomes clear just how Strahd's curse is going to work. You just know he's screwed and this will only end badly for him and his insane delusion that he will succeeded after the failures start being measured in the triple digits.
I'd recommend it, it was an interesting book to listen too.
"An excellent classic vampire story"
I don't know. I haven't read the print version.
Brad Stoker's Dracula unsurprisingly
In this book, the moment Strahd finds Tatianna's killer and condemns him to a nightmarish death.
The same as the book's undertitle, because it mostly just explores how Strahd became a vampire and how it was being an vampire.
This book is good, but the second book is even better. It's worth listening to this just to be able to listen to the sequel.
"Great Ravenloft book."
This book really encompasses the setting and characters of Ravenloft. Though it is one of those books that makes more sense on a second reading to catch those little details you didnt know were important till later in the story.
My only negative was the narrator could have been better but unfortunetly frequently goes into monotone drumming through the story. I would repurchase this if they used someone more talented like Sean Magan, Wayne June or James Marsters.
"Great preparation piece for Curse of Strahd"
Great preparation piece for anyone looking to run a CoS game. Which is exactly what I intended to do buy purchasing this book. It's a great look into the history and mind of Strahd himself from his own point of view.
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