Rise of the King by R.A. Salvatore

“We seek goals as if their achievement will grant magical happiness and unending fulfillment, but is that ever the case?”

3/5 stars.
ebook, 368 pages.
Read from June 22, 2020 to July 5, 2020.

Book 26, I never thought I’d make this far in the series. Salvatore has recently published his 33rd book in the Legend of Drizzt series, meaning that I still have a comfortable number of books for my guilty pleasure series to fall back on for at least a little while longer.

Drizzt continues on with his companions to free Pwent before continuing their journey towards Mithral Hall. The Orcs, driven by the manipulative Dark Elves, are rallying to start a major battle against, well, everyone. No one yet knows the threat that’s coming. Drizzt still wonders if the whole expedition is the right thing to do but he owes it to his friends. Jarlaxle makes another appearance again as well as he attempts to reunite with Drizzt and his friends while also trying to avoid getting to caught up in the Dark Elve’s plans.

Regis was by far the most badass character in this novel and I hope that we get to see his character continue to expand. Dragons also make another appearance in this book adding some much needed excitement to the plot. Despite that, this story felt a little muddy, as have the last few books in the series since the Companions have returned. I feel less invested in the majority of characters or the reemerging battle that is coming against the Orcs again, a plot point I never thought needed to be brought up again. I’m not convinced that Bruenor and Cattibrie are correct about the Orcs and I’m disappointed that the Many-Arrows plot is continuing this way.

Here’s hoping the last book of this particular trilogy will bring what the last two books have lacked. I’m also excited to get to some of the newer books that Salvatore has published in this series as I think they will have the vigor and passion that these last few books are missing.

Night of the Hunter by R.A. Salvatore

“Is that not the whole point of gaining experience, to use it to make wiser choices, to temper destructive instincts, to find better resolutions?”

3/5 stars.
ebook, 410 pages.
Read from September 4, 2019 to September 11, 2019.

You know, I never thought I’d make this far into the series. I really should slow down the rate I’m reading this series as I know I’ll mourn not being able to fall back onto these new adventures when I need to escape reality. Though it has probably been more than a decade since I read the first book so at least I can look forward to re-reading it.

After a miraculous rejoining, The Companions must return to Gauntlgrym to help their old friend Pwent escape the curse of his vampirism. Bruenor is also convinced that he erred in his previous life and that making a truce with the orcs was a big mistake. Everyone else seems to agree too, though Drizzt only reluctantly because there isn’t much that he wouldn’t for his friends. Artemis and Dahlia have also found themselves wrapped up in Gauntlgrym too unfortunately so have the major houses of the dark elves. The dark elves are plotting something big as they scheme over Gauntlgrym and of course, themselves, in order to please and understand their chaotic goddess, Lloth.

I have to say, I am surprised that Bruenor is going to go after the orcs again and that everyone seems to be on board with the idea. It just doesn’t seem like something these wholesome characters would do but maybe they’re right, that the orcs are just biding their time to attack…regardless, Salvatore is going to have to do a lot more to convince me that this isn’t out of character for the companions and that it’s a smart decision going forward in the next few books. I also have to say, I really enjoy this laidback version of Wulfgar as he has shed all the burdens and seriousness of his past life he finally has a chance to live his best life in this one.

I did enjoy that a good portion of this book focuses on some of the big houses in the dark elf realm as it made for an especially gruesome and exciting read because the creatures of the Underdark are always nightmarish to envision. I’m interested to see what direction the plot takes next and hope that there are few twists and turns with the anticipation of Bruneor eventually returning to Mithral Hall. Overall, another solid Salvatore read.

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.