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.

Gauntlgrym by R.A. Salvatore

“Even the short-lived humans divide their lives into segments, though they rarely recognize the transient truth as they move through one or another stage of their existence.”

4/5 stars.
Hardcover, 345 pages.
Read from June 4, 2018 to June 8, 2018.

Yup, 20 books into this gigantic series now.  It is actually really nice to have a reliable series of books to fall on that you know will be an easy and comforting read but will also offer a margin of excitement. This book seems to have revived some new life into the series and I haven’t enjoyed a Drizzt book like this in a long time.

Drizzt and Bruenor have been through a lot together as friends. So many doors have closed in their old lives but Bruneor wants one last adventure. The adventure will help Bruenor with the grief he is unable to shake and Drizzt to begin to finally process his and what the future will mean for him. The two set off to find the legendary dwarven hall of Gauntlgrym, which is reminiscent of the time they set off to find Mithral Hall, however, the lack of their regular companions weighs heavy on both of them. In their search for the mysterious hall, they encounter a looming catastrophe that if not dealt with will envelop and destroy the area of Neverwinter completely. During their adventures, they run into Jarlaxle and Athrogate who have found themselves deeply caught up in the disaster looming below Neverwinter. While Drizzt has never considered Jarlaxle a friend he isn’t an enemy either. Drizzt feels a renewed energy in having a connection to his old life around and he begins to have a better understanding of the moral compass that drives Jarlaxle as he begins to question his own.

This storyline of this book is dark and has some unexpected twists and finalizing deaths which, as a fan is hard to come to terms with. Drizzt’s character dynamics take a stark turn in this book and I imagine it will only continue to unfold. I also have my suspicions about a villain character called Barrbarus the Grey as he sounds too reminiscent of a character that had a prominent role in previous Drizzt books. I have not figured out how it would be possible considering how much time has passed but I am eager to read the next book to find out.

A lot of fans did not seem to be happy with this book but I think it is because Salvatore intentionally took Drizzt’s story in a new direction to keep his story fresh. I personally think that this book was a success and I am interested to see how this new storyline progresses. Overall, it has made me excited about devouring the next few books in this series and already have them checked out from the library.