Charon’s Claw by R.A. Salvatore

Will Drizzt act on his building jealousy? Where will this path of revenge lead him?

3/5 stars.
Hardcover, 352 pages.
Read from June 27, 2018 to July 5, 2018.

In anticipation of the newest release the in Legend of Drizzt series, I have been trying to make a bit of progress through this immense series. If I am honest though, I don’t really want to catch up. This series has always been a reliable go-to easy and enjoyable read that has almost always gotten me out of book slumps. While the last book in this series, Neverwinter I found a bit lacklustre, this book helped revive the story a bit.

Drizzt is still following his lover, Dahlia, on her path for revenge against the Netherese lord Herzgo Alegni. This is not typical behaviour for Drizzt as he has often followed a path of righteousness, or at least he did with his old companions. As in Neverwinter, you get to see a darker side to Drizzt that wasn’t present in the previous novels. Drizzt does not feel the same remorse while killing and he finds himself feeling something he has never felt before: jealousy. Dahlia and Drizzt’s frenemy Artemis have a connection and an understanding of suffering that he cannot relate to. A suffering that has lead the two of them to questionable lives, in Drizzt’s opinion, but is also drawing them closer together. Dahlia seems a little too concerned about the impending end of Artemis as the journey to kill Herzgo and destroy the sword that has enslaved Artemis well past his human lifespan. Will Drizzt act on his building jealousy? Where will this path of revenge lead him?

It’s kind of nice to see Drizzt have a few faults. I mean, the elf is damn near perfect otherwise and the darker themes lend well to developing his character. Do I like Dahlia? Not particularly. Do I feel bad for her awful childhood? Yes. Artemis, I have always had a thing for as he mirrors the other side of Drizzt. Unfortunately, there are a lot of side characters in this book that I don’t care for that convolute the plot, a problem I also had with this book’s predecessor. I am still, however, looking forward to the final book in this four-part series and will continue to follow Drizzt until the end of the total series in which I am still about 10 books behind in.

Neverwinter by R.A. Salvatore

I miss the Companions of the Hall but this is a necessary turn for the Drizzt series.

3/5 stars.
Hardcover, 346 pages.
Read from June 14, 2018 to June 20, 2018.

This series is my reliable go-to when I am in a book slump and this saga has, in general, been a good surprise and turn from Salvatore’s standard fare.

Drizzt has begun a new life. One remiss of his old companions. He is burdened by grief and anger but also a guilty sense of freedom that he was not expecting. This newfound feeling scares him as he feels himself becoming more primal, more dark-elf-like. He agrees to help his new companion and lover Dahlia on her quest for revenge, a prospect that he would never have agreed to before. Dahila intrigues Drizzt as she is a warrior and a woman that he has never known before. Their ventures bring them face to face with old frenemies that make Drizzy nostalgic and confused about his path and his moral choices.

After a solid start to this saga with Gauntlgrym, this novel was a little lacklustre. However, there is a great spoiler in the novel that confirmed my suspicions about Barrabus’ real identity that was exciting. I do have to admit though, I miss Drizzt’s regular companions and his old life but Salvatore had to make this move. When you are this far into a series you need to keep your characters dynamic and adaptable and this saga of novels delves deep into the core of Drizzt’s moral compass.

What works with this saga is that it is dark and that Drizzt needs to get in touch with his inner self again which mirrors what made the first books in this series so memorable.  This book, however, does seem weighted down with a lot of side plots and not-so-memorable characters making for a plot that isn’t as concise or fluid as others.

While I miss the old companions and mourn them I can see the necessity of this change. However, it doesn’t stop me from hoping that they will all magically make a come back at some point.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

“Of course it was Loki. It’s always Loki.”

“Odin blew some of the mead out of his behind, a splattery wet fart of foul-smelling mead right in Suttung’s face, blinding the giant and throwing him off Odin’s trail. No one, then or now, wanted to drink the mead that came out of Odin’s ass. But whenever you hear bad poets declaiming their bad poetry, filled with foolish similes and ugly rhymes, you will know which of the meads they have tasted.”

4/5 stars.
Hardcover, 297 pages.
Read from June 23, 2017 to June 29, 2017.

Short and easy read. Check!
By Neil Gaiman. Check!
About Norse Gods. Check!
Full mischief and debauchery. Check!

I could add a few more reasons as to why I wanted to pick up this book but I think those are great place start. Full of Gaiman’s charm, this novel recreates the stories of the Norse gods that is appropriate for nearly any audience.

Starting with the Norse version of Genesis, the creation of the world and the gods themselves, each chapter is a short story in and of itself. Odin is the highest ranking and wisest god, while his son Thor is strong but not the most tactful god. Loki, who is always mischievous and beguiling, causes more trouble than he is worth and yet somehow the rest of the gods keep him around. I suppose he is the best at manipulating after all. There are many other masterful gods, giants and even dwarfs mentioned in the stories.

Did you know that the names of the seven days of the week have a Norse influence? They also have a Roman influence but here is basic break down:

Sunday comes from Old English “Sunnandæg,” which is derived from a Germanic interpretation of the Latin dies solis, “sun’s day.” Germanic and Norse mythology personify the sun as a goddess named Sunna or Sól.

Monday likewise comes from Old English “Mōnandæg,” named after Máni, the Norse personification of the moon (and Sól’s brother).

Tuesday comes from Old English “Tīwesdæg,” after Tiw, or Tyr, a one-handed Norse god of dueling. He is equated with Mars, the Roman war god.

Wednesday is “Wōden’s day.” Wōden, or Odin, was the ruler of the Norse gods’ realm and associated with wisdom, magic, victory and death. The Romans connected Wōden to Mercury because they were both guides of souls after death. “Wednesday” comes from Old English “Wōdnesdæg.”

Thursday, “Thor’s day,” gets its English name after the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder, strength and protection. The Roman god Jupiter, as well as being the king of gods, was the god of the sky and thunder. “Thursday” comes from Old English “Þūnresdæg.”

Friday is named after the wife of Odin. Some scholars say her name was Frigg; others say it was Freya; other scholars say Frigg and Freya were two separate goddesses. Whatever her name, she was often associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility. “Friday” comes from Old English “Frīgedæg.”

As for Saturday, Germanic and Norse traditions didn’t assign any of their gods to this day of the week. They retained the Roman name instead. The English word “Saturday” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Sæturnesdæg,” which translates to “Saturn’s day.”” – Live Science

For those like American Gods, (spoilers) you can see where Gaiman came up with some names for his characters. This is the third book that Gaiman has written about gods and Norse gods in particular (American Gods, Anansi Boys).

Many of the stories in this book are very humorous while also offering some sort of moral or philosophical piece of advice to walk away with as well. The quote I have already mentioned above, about drinking Mead that came out of Odin’s ass, actually made me snort out loud on the bus. I may have received some funny looks.

Trickery, violence, mead and trying to get women to marry are the main themes in this book; accompanied with relatable, silly and inspiring gods at the centrepiece. Gaiman has managed to keep the content about the gods while interweaving an engaging and exciting story. You really can’t go wrong! If you like Norse mythology, gods, fart jokes, Thor, Loki or just a really easy story then you will appreciate this novel.