I write this one up after a holiday and so I’m sitting with my book trying to remember just exactly what the hell happened in this part whilst the streets and hills of Los Santos are trying to pry me away.
What I do remember is that I certainly enjoyed the book and that the quality and feel of the series continues to remain high after The Shamutanti Hills, which I enjoyed a great deal. With Khare though, I did have a few problems too. The lesser of these problems was down to my own expectations if I’m honest. I was hoping for another City of Thieves style experience, but I seemed to spend most of my time in the outskirts of the city or underneath it in the sewers! Having said that, while the sewer section was a bit boring, the small, ramshackle huts scattered around the city outskirts were very colourful and I had some great encounters there, especially the bizarre Flayer chef. I think that I missed this one though, a great little bunch of characters were drawn for this group or half-orc children.
I think my biggest problem was some of the puzzles, as I mentioned in my read-through, the main culprits being the guillotine, rune puzzle and the order of the spell lines. I would be interested to know if the pulleys and ropes in the guillotine puzzle illustration actually correspond to the outcome? I simply lost interest when I realised how much time I was potentially going to waste trying to figure it out! I am informed by a reader that the rune puzzle corresponds to numbers on the face of a dice, personally I would have never made that connection in a million years. And with the spell, the lines seem to flow in any number of combinations making solving that puzzle pure guess-work, which I don’t think is ever a good thing. Unless I missed something that tells you the order in which they fit together?
Despite this though, the fact the book was a bit harder than The Shamutanti Hills made up for these issues, that there was actually something for me to work towards and search for meant there was a great deal more tension, especially as I neared the end of the book. It’s just a shame that I messed up and forgot my Flanker reference or I’d have made it all the way through in one uninterrupted go!
The illustrations generally continued to be of a high quality, but before I go onto some of the better ones I missed, there has to be mention of some of the half-arsed ones. Some encounters seemed to be accompanied by what should have been incidental illustrations to space out the text, but blown up to be full-page drawings, much like this one.
Compared to the supremely detailed scenes that decorate the rest of the book, it was a shame to see some pages with so much white space. To get us back on track, here’s one encounter that like the Harpies, I had previously only been aware of from Out of the Pit, the severely messed-up Living Corpse.
Images of the city itself were something I would have liked to see more of, like this brilliant, higgledy-piggledy scene with the wonderful little cat scampering across the street.
What there were plenty of though were interiors, lots of shops, inns and residences were detailed in this book and even though I encountered plenty, there were still many I never visited. The first one in particular looks very intriguing – so much detail!
And the last one there, with its magic paintbrush, very much makes me think of that wonderfully creative quest from Oblivion.
To finish up, here’s a happy looking fish to send you on your way.
Next step, the apparently hard-as-nails, The Seven Serpents. Never-fear though, I have a ring a blind man gave me!