Written By: Cameron Deslaurier
Many of the D&D players in my life are also avid readers. So, inspired by Eileen Sholomicky’s four-part series, Recommending Books Based On Dungeons & Dragons Classes, here are three D&D-based recommendations for reads and accompanying reels.
Read: The Inheritance Cycle
If you’re enamored with dragons and ancient magic, or enjoy creating or being immersed in sprawling worldbuilding, I suggest a trip to Alagaësia. The world of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle is richly populated by humans, dwarves, elves, and a humanoid people with horns called Urgals. The cycle stands apart from other high fantasy thanks to gorgeously detailed worldbuilding and Paolini’s construction of the Ancient Language. Almost entirely lost to humans at the cycle’s onset, the Ancient Language takes the traditional notion of knowing someone’s True Name giving you power over them, and applies it to all facets of being. The more things one can describe in the Ancient Language, the more magic they can perform.
Eragon begins the cycle with a poor farm boy of the same name finding a polished blue stone that turns out to be one of the last remaining dragon eggs. With the dragon that hatches from it comes a “…legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself,” (Eragon) and the question of if Eragon can take up the mantle of the long-dead Dragon Riders… And how his choices in doing so will shape the history of the Empire.
Know going in that Paolini wrote Eragon when he was 17, and his writing visibly improves as the series progresses. And long-time fans… book five is finally on the way.
Read: Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom Duology
Reel: Shadow and Bone
For lovers of rogues and nail-biting heists. Leigh Bardugo’s duology centers around “The Crows,” a crew mostly comprised of a gang known as The Dregs, and led by notorious Dregs Lieutenant Kaz Brekker, otherwise known as Dirtyhands. The Crows are comprised of “A convict with a thirst for revenge, a sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager, a runaway with a privileged past, a spy known as the Wraith, a Heartrender using her major to survive the slums, [and] a thief with a gift for unlikely escapes,” (Six of Crows).
When an impossible heist offers Kaz riches beyond measure, he cobbles together a crew with the offer of a chance to change the tangled traps of their lives. The Crows brazenly do what no trained soldier or spy has done before: thug and thieve their way into the most secure fortress in Fjerda: The Ice Court. But getting out is another story. And with no one to count on but each other—and sometimes not even that—failure will mean “No mourners. No Funerals,” (Six of Crows) and possibly something even more deadly for the world.
The duology was also recently adapted/merged into a Netflix show with Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy set in the same universe.
Read: Kith & Kin
Reel: The Legend of Vox Machina
The actual play series Critical Role features “…a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors sit[ting] and play[ing] Dungeons and Dragons.” For long-time fans and those who’ve just found the franchise’s first campaign, Vox Machina, through Amazon’s recent adaptation The Legend of Vox Machina, I have exciting news. The half-elf twins, ranger Vex’ahlia (played by Laura Bailey) and her roguish brother, Vax’ildan (played by Liam O’Brien) are now gracing the cover of CriticalRole’s first full-length novel: Kith and Kin!
The audiobook version is narrated by Robbie Daymond, (voice of Dorian Storm in the latest Campaign 3) joined by Laura Bailey and Liam O’Brien themselves for their character’s speaking parts.
Written by Marieke Nijkamp “To siblings in all shapes and forms, whether by blood, by choice, or by shared stories,” this book offers us a look into Vex’s and Vax’s lives just before meeting the not yet legendary Vox Machina… and the first time that something truly threatened to pull the twins apart.
All images were photographed by Cameron Deslaurier. The cover image is an extreme close-up of Saphira’s Eye by Christopher Paolini.