Review of VOIDHAWK by Jason Halstead

As a gamer since I was fifteen years old, I’m fond of Dungeons & Dragons novels. From Ravenloft’s Strahd Von Zarovich to Dragonlance’s Raistlin Majere to the Forgotten Realms’ Drizzt Do’Urden, I’ve followed the stories of some of the most legendary characters of these worlds for some twenty-three years. Of the campaign settings that I’ve enjoyed in that game, I would say that my second-favorite would be SpellJammer. This awesome idea threw modern physics out the window and gave us pirate ships that flew through space with our characters able to walk on the deck and look at the stars. We were able to pilot these vessels between the worlds of the D&D game, which existed in different solar systems. I read five of the six novels from the series and they were okay. Not really anything to match the epic appeal of the other, longer series.

So, when I found out about the Voidhawk series, I was stoked. My biggest worry was that, since it was only based on a licensed property, he would have to move too far from the original source material.

I was wrong. Halstead makes the book so close to the campaign setting that it’s a wonder that Wizards of the Coast hasn’t filed a lawsuit yet. At least, as far as the mechanics go that is. Where he falls short was the area that caused me to have to stop reading halfway through. It was all the sex.

Characters in Wizards’ (formerly TSR) novels do have sex. But it’s not so blatant as to make the novels anything more than, I’d say, PG-13. That was just not the case here. Characters parade around naked. The captain is always ogling the low-cut shirts of pretty much every woman in the story, with the exception of the bald half-elf, and she expresses an interest in experimenting with bisexuality. I had to stop reading the story. I have too vivid of an imagination and an addiction to pornography.

I really wanted to like this story. I really did. The author is an incredible writer. Personality-wise, the crew of the Voidhawk are mostly likable. Halstead’s detail is vivid, which would have been great if he hadn’t tried to write a story that played out like an epic D&D novel set to play on Cinemax after-hours.

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