I just finished reading The Giants of Shattered Swamp by my long-time friend, Eddie Patin. It's another exciting romp through fantastic worlds, encountering fantastic creatures.
I enjoyed it immensely, up until the denouement. That's where it finally hit home: This book is really a D&D adventure. This series is a D&D campaign.
This isn't entirely a bad thing. RPG-based fiction has a solid audience and is a legitimate genre. The plots, encounters, and environments in these books would be great inspiration for any Dungeon Master or Game Master.
But in Giants, it really became less about the plot and more about the accomplishments and rewards. Defeating the Titan was a somewhat contrived solution for a not-quite-logical problem, and then the characters were rewarded with magic item enchantments that looked like they were pulled from a RPG sourcebook and didn't make much sense in the context of the story.
This didn't stop me from enjoying the book, overall. The MC really developed his rifting powers to make creative solutions to problems, and the side characters teamed up in new, developmental partnerships. The action is still exciting, and the dialogue is smooth and natural. The setting is richly described and full of the monsters that roleplayers like me are familiar with.
If you've been reading this series, check out #4. Click on the pic for a link to Amazon!