|The wallpaper from the JR1/AP49 cover by Wayne Reynolds|
Paizo's Pathfinder Adventure Path subscription is, dollar-for-dollar, one of the best buys on the market today for the fantasy gamer, crammed with art, setting material, a bestiary, and serial fiction along with the adventure itself. On top of that, your subscription gets you discounts and a free PDF in addition to the print volume. The just completed AP has a real treat inside when it comes to the fiction.*
When I heard that Dave Gross was penning the fiction for volumes 49-54, Jade Regent, giving us a prequel to his Master of Devils novel, I knew that I had to set the volumes aside and wait until the final copy to read them. (Yes, marvel at my six months of Iron Will.) Sometimes I can wait a month between episodes and sometimes I can read them on-screen instead of waiting for the USPS, but this time I knew I had to read them all together in one sitting and off the sumptuous pages put together by Paizo's excellent art department, led by Sarah Robinson, as I held their slick, sensual, eye-dazzling goodness in my greedy pickers. Bloody, flavorful, and fast -- I can still feel the soy/mustard/MSG sizzle on my tongue from Teppanyaki master Gross throwing some of everything you want on the griddle and stirring in his heroic duo with his usual aplomb. Set in Minkai before the events of Master of Devils, this will satisfy your yen for some Japanese analogue adventure before setting sail for Golarion's China analogue. If you are wanting something to help tide you over until Gross' next novel or are just looking for fun oriental fantasy, you've found it. Follow master and man (and dog) as they are confronted with a mystery that stands between them, their mission, and their return home. The recasting of classical detective and noir conventions in a fantastic East is a formula that I loved in the novel, and that I love here as well. In short space, Gross does for samurai, geisha, ninja, and yakuza what he did for three varieties of Chinese cinema in Master of Devils.
|Fire Yai by Jim Nelson|
For a recent interview of Dave Gross with a rather different view of his characters than my own, head over to Flames Rising.
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* This feature is called "The Pathfinder's Journal," and is written by a different author in each six-volume AP.