Dungeons & Dragons Honor Among Thieves – The Druid’s Call review | Books | Entertainment

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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is still in cinemas and is absolutely fantastic. Considering the roleplaying game (RPG) source material has such expansive worlds and ideas, it only seems natural for the movie to have a couple of spin-off novels. The Druid’s Call acts as a direct prequel to the Chris Pine movie from the perspective of Doric (the, uh, druid), while The Road to Neverwinter shows how Edgin and Holga’s life went before the events of the movie. If you’ve seen the film, you no doubt came away from the blockbuster yearning for more information about the MVP of the group of heroes: Doric.

Doric’s origin story isn’t the most original in the fantasy realm – a tiefling born to human parents who hide her away and abuse her before she runs away and is raised by elves – but it’s a story deftly told in The Druid’s Call. In fact, the overarching plot of The Druid’s Call is not why you’ll be telling your friends about this book. Readers who want to experience the kind of outlandish hijinks and antics seen in the D&D movie may want to look elsewhere. Instead, it is the wonderful care and detail delivered by author EK Johnson that will have you telling your friends about this experience.

First of all, Doric feels as if she is totally real. The minute character details peppered throughout the story are visceral, palpable, and utterly enthralling. You may have become intrigued by Doric in Honor Among Thieves, but The Druid’s Call is where you’ll fall in love with her (even when she’s, frequently, down on herself). 

Johnson’s enrapturing use of language in dragging Doric through her dishevelled life is fantastic, and a real testament to not only her skills but the character’s design, as well. I feel like I know her a little, now. And I would love to see where her story goes in the future. 

Doric is not the only three-dimensional person in The Druid’s Call, though. Various characters who popped up throughout the story were also completely believable and endearing (save for one – but I’ll get back to that). It isn’t all sunshine and Neverwinter rainbows, though; Doric’s heart-wrenching tug of war between her adoration for her best friend and her fear of abandonment set off ripple effects in everyone she meets. As a result, you can almost feel each hero reaching out to Doric, trying to let her know: “It’s going to be all right.”

Furthermore, although Johnson didn’t create this D&D setting (The Forgotten Realms) she certainly brought a slice of it – the Neverwinter Wood – to life. From the Emerald Enclave to Doric’s sect of wood elves and the creatures that dwell between the lines; the Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves tie-in feels like an emotional sight-seeing experience (where you’re sure to get misty-eyed once or twice).

Johnson’s attention to detail is perhaps most thrilling during her exceptional descriptions of magic and Wild Shaping (an ability Doric has to transform into animals). The RPG players will adore feeling how Doric first clawed her way into the skin of the ferocious white owlbear from the movie. 

With that said, the only frustrating portions of The Druid’s Call seem to come when it feels like a movie tie-in. Simon the Sorcerer dips in and out of the story seemingly randomly, deflating tensions and distracting from the plot. That isn’t to say Johnson has done anything wrong (and I’m sure Simon would have been far more enjoyable if he had time to be fleshed out) it just feels heavy-handed. Like the movie studio was looming over the keyboard, inching ever closer to turning the book into a soulless cash grab. Thankfully, it never gets to that point, but Simon feels totally out of place. Especially when Doric puts such emphasis on not trusting outsiders.

With that said, The Druid’s Call is a wonderfully descriptive adventure that fans of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves are going to lap up. It is a magical and delicate glimpse into D&D, The Forgotten Realms and what it feels like to be a true outsider.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: The Druids Call is out now, priced £16.99

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: The Road to Neverwinter is out now, priced £20

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