I got this book (hardcover) on release, and felt it deserved a review now I've had a chance to use it.
Full disclosure, I am a big fan of the Baldur's Gate series (which this take a lot of its lore/cues from).
I think the book overall is great; I love the group patrons, the 5e versions of some classic FR monsters, the 'snapshot' cities with useful and flavourful shops
The thing I think lets it down for a BG video game fan (and why I'm docking it a star, you may feel stronger about the following and consider it a 3, or not care at all and consider it a 5) is the bizarre direction the established characters take, likely just to get them here to 5e, 100-odd years after those original games take place:
- Vaylgar taking longevity potions, in the video game he has personal (familial) beef with magic users and magic use over life and death.
- Kivan and Cernd being a couple where the games had zero indication Kivan was gay; his main plot revolved around revenge for his dead wife (Vaylgar was hinting to be gay, but this isn't explored here or on the games other than Cernd of all people making fun of him for it in the game dialogue!) I mean Cernd was just a huge ass in those games, I'm amazed anyone would want to marry him, let alone Kivan.
- Sarevok in the games knows he didn't need his father/god's approval or help, just his power, and now he's just a shell of a man?
The lead on this was a part of the writing team for those games, so I think we're possibly seeing the direction he would've taken with them had he been sole-creative lead, but for most of us these characters are the game versions, and a 'where are they now?' book.
I don't want to end on a sour note, so I will just reiterate the book OVERALL is great, and if you don't really character about the characters and writing from the BG series, you'll have no complaints here, it's certainly worthy of being an 'official' 5e product.
[4 of 5 Stars!]