The Road to the Patriarch by R.A Salvatore

“Those who rely on certainties are certain to be disappointed.”

2/5 stars.
ebook, 267 pages.
Read from May 15, 2019 to May 21, 2019.

This is the final instalment in the Sellsword’s Trilogy that follows the two “bad guys”, Jaraxle and Artemis. Jaraxle’s plan starts to become clear as the two of them make some very ambitious decisions and dare to challenge a king as well as two ancient dragons. Jarlaxle’s ambitions and outrageous schemes are always almost enough to get them killed, almost.

I wish I were into the premise of this story more but it just didn’t do it for me, as was most of this trilogy, unfortunately. The series lacked the character work that I loved so much with the Drizzt series. Both Jarlaxle and Artemis are at constant battle with themselves in terms of their partnership, or rather, friendship. Their experience tells them that they shouldn’t be friends yet this also seems to be a challenge for them despite the two of them being generally cold-hearted. Artemis becomes especially vulnerable in this book as well which is puzzling for the reader as his tough exterior seems to break. He starts to question the meaning and purpose of his life as well as his relationships with other people. What will this new cracked exterior mean for the assassin? Of course, all is revealed in the end… Spoilers ahead.

Jarlaxle’s motives don’t seem as clearly defined in this book, or at least they’re not as robust as Artemis’ and for that, Artemis has the more interesting narrative of the two. I do appreciate that at least Jarlaxle is still mostly true to his conniving and manipulative ways, even to those closest to him but then I found myself disappointed in Artemis for not being able to catch on to what Jarlaxle was doing. I appreciate that Artemis’ newfound vulnerability in this book was not necessarily of his own doing and I know that will eventually make him a very dynamic character but he just didn’t seem as badass in this book.

Salvatore could have had a whole offshoot of stories with Jarlaxle and Artemis but it felt as if he wasn’t as heavily involved or invested in the stories as much as he has been with Drizzt and his companions. Considering their shallow development within this trilogy, perhaps it’s best that they remain secondary characters for the time being. I know that they appear later within Drizzt’s storyline (Neverwinter Series) and it does help to know their stories from this trilogy going into those books, so I hope that they continue to present themselves within the Drizzt storyline.

 

Promise of the Witch King by R.A. Salvatore

This book has a lot of battles and fighting, which if you’re a big fan of reading Salvatore’s battle scenes, is a major plus.

2/5 stars.
Hardcover, 244 pages.
Read from May 9, 2019 to May 15, 2019.

This is the second book in The Sellswords’ Trilogy featuring the adventures of Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxle as they search for artefacts from the notorious and terrible Witch-King Zhengyi, seemingly under the request of their alluring dragon patrons. New characters are introduced and new partnerships (friendships?) are made within a new and dark landscape. All the while the pair work to meet their own gains, usually from one of Jarlaxle’s elaborate schemes, that he doesn’t fully reveal to Artemis until the end.

I am heavily disappointed in this trilogy so far. The characters of Artemis and Jarlaxle seem much more developed and intriguing within the stories of Drizzt than in this trilogy of their own adventures. Jarlaxle and Artemis are the supposed bad guys and their characters are meant to be a refreshing change from the goodness of Drizzt. Somehow the adventures of these two should have lent itself to a more enticing story but instead, it’s falling flat. The formula for this book is that same as the first book in the trilogy, in which the two of them partake in some crazy scheme that Jarlaxle has come up with, that puts them, and others in great peril, for their own gains. Well, mostly Jarlaxle’s actually. Artemis starts to explore his own motives within this most book, making for the most interesting part of the story that’s isn’t touched on enough. Despite all that, it’s obvious that Artemis and Jarlaxle have a friendship or at least an amicable partnership, that they’re reluctant to part from and have some sense of messed up loyalty to each other that works with their morals and life choices.

This book has a lot of battles and fighting, which if you’re a big fan of reading Salvatore’s battle scenes, is a major plus. However, if you’ve fallen in love with Salvatore’s books for his character work, this book, or trilogy may not be for you. I will continue with the last book in this trilogy and hope that the final instalment turns the trilogy around for me.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

Don’t let the brevity of this book fool you.

2/5 stars.
Paperback, 152 pages.
Read from January 11, 2018 to January 15, 2018.

It is amazing to me that I have not read anything by Pynchon up until this point. His works are common in University classes but perhaps my professors had more wherewithal than I gave them credit. This is your typical ‘English major’ read that most general readers hate. This novel is a challenging read despite its short length and I think for most people, myself included, no one really fully understands what this novel is about by the time that they finish it. This is the type of novel that needs to be dissected and discussed within the post-modern genre to be fully appreciated and unless you are a big English nerd, most people don’t have the desire or the time to do that so the hate that many people have for this novel is warranted. angtft.jpg

Oedipa Maas has recently found out that she has become the executive of a former lover’s estate for which she does not know why. As she proceeds to carry out the will, it leads her down a strange path of new friends, drugs, hallucinations, sex and philosophy.  And yes, I would say all of those things go very well together.  She also discovers a secret mail delivery service and a century-old feud.

“I am having a hallucination now, I don’t need drugs for that.”

This book has some very clever and funny moments. I did enjoy the bit where Oedipa, in an attempt to win at a game of strip poker, dresses in as many layers of clothing that she possibly can. While in the bathroom she knocks over a can of hairspray and it goes flying around the room at high speed causing her to hide. When all that commotion is over and she finally leaves the bathroom, she is wearing a ridiculous amount of clothing, so much so that she falls asleep during foreplay while her partner attempts to remove it all before they have sex. She only wakes up during the act of it, kind of rapey, yeah. Shortly after, Oedipa discovers the symbol of the secret mail service in a bar bathroom and after, I lost all clue as to what was going on and it is where I started to lose interest in the book.

“[Oedipa Maas] awoke at last to find herself getting laid.”

The novel is a perfect example of a postmodern piece of literature. The movement took place after WII and focused on surrealism and a stream of consciousness type of writing. However, for most readers, it is hard to appreciate that timeframe as we did not live it so a book embodying this genre definitely comes across as strange and even unnecessary.

As I found little enjoyment out this book I cannot rate it higher but I am curious as to what I reread would entail if I knew a little bit more about the background of the book and genre. The book is not long so I would say that it is still worth reading if you already have it on your shelf and have been curious about reading it.