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Book Review: Neverwinter by R.A. Salvatore

Title: Neverwinter

Author: R.A. Salvatore

Series: Neverwinter #2, Legend of Drizzt #21

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Overview: SPOILERS: with the last of his trusted companions having fallen, Drizzt is alone–and free–for the first time in almost a hundred years. Guilt mingles with relief, leaving Drizzt uniquely vulnerable to the persuasions of his newest companion–Dahlia, a darkly alluring elf and the only other member of their party to survive the cataclysm at Mount Hotenow. But traveling with Dahlia is challenging in more ways than one. As the two companions seek revenge on the one responsible for leveling Neverwinter–and nearly Luskan as well–Drizzt finds his usual moral certainty swept away by her unconventional views. Forced to see the dark deeds that the common man may be driven to by circumstance, Drizzt begins to find himself on the wrong side of the law in an effort to protect those the law has failed. Making new enemies, as his old enemies acquire deadly allies, Drizzt and Dahlia quickly find themselves embroiled in battle–a state he’s coming to enjoy a little too much. -Goodreads

The Review:

It feels good to be back with Drizzt.

I set the series aside almost five years ago. Coming off a major high from the brilliance that was The Ghost King, I found myself struggling to get into Gauntlgrym. It was a decent Drizzt novel, but I don’t think I was ready to embark on a new chapter in Drizzt’s world quite yet. So I tabled it, knowing I’d get back to it eventually. What I hadn’t expected was how prolific Salvatore would continue to be in this series – I find myself now at least ten books behind the latest publication. So between series FOMO and a stellar review I read for the most recent release, I found myself eager to dive back in. Even more so since recently reading Child of a Mad God and marveling at how beautifully that was written. It was time.

But I have to admit it was a struggle at first.

I’ve waited all this time to get back with Drizzt and was disappointed that the first third of Neverwinter only had a couple of short scenes with him. It was more focused on villain POVs which, even though Salvatore does them well, I often lose patience with. These types of ongoing stories have a tendency to follow the pattern of: meet a villain, fight the villain, kill the villain, then meet a bigger/badder villain, fight and kill it, etc. So when reading endless passages about bad guys, I can’t help but feel uninvested. After all, their fates might already be sealed to perish at the end of a scimitar… every now and then I get surprised, but for the time being, those sections were a struggle to get through.

Somewhere around the middle, things started picking up. There were a couple more of those amazing introspective Drizzt interludes (my favorite component of this whole saga), and the focus shifted more to what he and his companions were doing. It frankly saved a potential DNF.

And then, Salvatore dropped a bomb. And, sir, you now have my full attention.

Yes! This is what I needed. To be surprised. To remember why I loved these novels in the first place. And now I end Neverwinter with a spring in my step – ready to pick up the next book sooner than later.

Overall, this book had a couple of great moments, but it was definitely not the strongest I’ve read from the author. There’s a lot of setup for what looks to be the next era in Drizzt’s life, which takes some time to develop.

Recommendations: Drizzt might seem an intimidating series to start, but it’s unique in that each progressive set of 3 and 4 novels are really self-contained and satisfying, so you can stop at any given point if you feel you’ve had enough and still have that sense of reading a completed story. I’d recommend starting with the Dark Elf Trilogy – one of my favorites and one of the few I’ve reread more than once (a strong endorsement, as I’m not a rereader – I’ve too many amazing titles to get to!).

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Mini Book Review: Gauntlgrym by R.A. Salvatore

gauntlgrymTitle: Gauntlgrym

Author: R. A. Salvatore

Series: Neverwinter #1

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3/5 stars

The OverviewDrizzt joins Bruenor on his quest for the fabled dwarven kingdom of Gauntlgrym: ruins said to be rich with ancient treasure and arcane lore. But before they even get close, another drow and dwarf pair stumbles across it first: Jarlaxle and Athrogate. In their search for treasure and magic, Jarlaxle and Athrogate inadvertently set into motion a catastrophe that could spell disaster for the unsuspecting people of the city of Neverwinter–a catastrophe big enough to lure even the mercenary Jarlaxle into risking his own coin and skin to stop it. Unfortunately, the more they uncover about the secret of Gauntlgrym, the more it looks like they can’t stop it on their own. They’ll need help, and from the last people they ever thought to fight alongside again: Drizzt and Bruenor. -Goodreads

The Mini Review: 

Salvatore strikes again! I took a little break from this saga after The Ghost King (which ripped out my heart), but picking up Gauntlgrym after all that time felt like coming home.

Salvatore is known for his detailed hand-to-hand combat scenes, which pack a lot of excitement into his books. I have to say, after 20 or so novels of the same back-and-forth swordplay, I started to get a little… bored isn’t the right word, but let’s just say it lacks a bit of the thrill it once had for me. That said, I can’t imagine a Drizzt book without intricate fight scenes, so you really can’t win with me. ;P

Gauntlgrym’s storyline required an unusual passage of time compared to others in the series, which was a cool change of pace that kept me interested throughout. I also loved the mix of new and old characters – the elf woman (cover image), among my new favorites.

Overall, Gauntlgrym (I am proud to say that I can finally spell it without having to look it up– go me!) was a fun installment and excellent continuation of the series. Although it was nowhere near my favorite of the saga, I’m still excited to start Neverwinter sometime soon.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

 

Coming Soon: The Last Threshold

Mar 5.Title: The Last Threshold

Series: Neverwinter Saga #4

Author: R.A. Salvatore

Release Date: March 5, 2013

As mentioned in my review of “Homeland“, R.A. Salvatore is one of my favorite authors in the fantasy genre. One of the best things about him is his ability to deliver one great book after another and “The Last Threshold” should be no different. If you haven’t picked up a Drizzt book, you are sorely missing out!