An Enemy Reborn by Michael Stackpole and William Wu.
My initial review isn’t very critical but I gave it one star and I can still remember how I felt when reading and finishing it. If I can remember those feelings from 2003, then the book is deserving of the moniker “A Bad Book”.
This isn’t an angry feeling, but that feeling you get when a favorite author writes a completely amateurish piece of garbage that isn’t even worthy to be in the Forgotten Realms series. Kind of a melancholic sadness.
So, some history. I grew up with authors like Stackpole and Zahn and the such being favorite authors back in the very early 90’s through the mid ’00’s. Stackpole was my fantasy guy. He wrote books like Talion: Revenant and Once a Hero, books that I love and re-read multiple times. 4 times each since 2000 and once or twice before that. Therefore, Stackpole was one of those towering pillars of an author, the kind you get excited about, the kind that naive readers believe can do no wrong, until the author in question proves it beyond all shadow of a doubt.
An Enemy Reborn was originally published with ONLY Stackpole’s name on it and in the beginning was a little blurb about how this duology (A Hero Born was the first book) came from a gaming session. That should have been enough of clue and to my wiser and older self, it would have been. But to me in 2003, it wasn’t even a blip. So I read this piece of subpar garbage and wondered how Stackpole could write something so bad and in such a style that I didn’t even recognize. It wasn’t until years later when I was cleaning up my data that I came across the fact that this now had a co-author and was probably written by him with Stackpole’s name stamped on to sell. What a betrayal, a veritable sword in the back! Yet at the same time, knowing that it is actually written by someone else allowed me to begin the healing process and to allow the 5 steps of grief to truly begin.
Actually, I don’t. Stackpole’s career went on a slow downill trajectory after this book and to this day I pretend that a lot of his more recent books don’t exist.
So there you go, another story of how I survived even the Publishers lying to me and selling me bad dope, really mediocre, cut with white flour dope!