Siege of Darkness (The Legend of Drizzt #9)

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Siege of Darkness Book Cover Siege of Darkness
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
Wizards of the Coast
December 30, 1993
Paperback
378

Gods Walk the Realms!

Rising up from the black depths of the Underdark, the drow once more meet the dwarves of Mithral Hall. Bruenor Battlehammer, with Drizzt at his side, won't go down without a fight--but they'll have to fight without Wulfgar or Catti-brie at their sides.

 

Ok, so, some background information on D&D that gives this book some extra context. There have been a few different editions of D&D. When the game updates to a new edition, there’s some big calamity in-universe to explain the game’s new rules and mechanical changes. Siege of Darkness came out around the time the game switched from Advanced D&D, the original, to D&D 2e. The calamity here was called The Time of Troubles. In a nutshell, a pair of gods get up to some shenanigans, tick off the head god, and the head god believes in collective punishment, so he banishes all the gods but one to the mortal world in mortal form.

Now, Siege of Darkness doesn’t really touch on this topic too deeply. Everything else you’ll need to know for this story gets explained in the book. But I find the added context helps. Aside from all that, Siege of Darkness picks up where Starless Night left off. Drizzt and co. know the drow are coming for them. So, the first part of the book deals with them contacting allies and shoring up defenses. Then the Time of Troubles kick in which, among other things, makes magic somewhat unreliable. Which itself drives a lot of the plot.

The Time of Troubles don’t last this whole book, they’re wrapped up by the time Part III starts. The rest of Siege of Darkness is the actual siege and it lives up to the name. Huge fight sequences, armies battling for survival, it’s all very epic. And it really wraps up this story arc. I know there’s another book in this arc, but really 90% of the plot is wrapped up by the end of this one. So, it’ll be kind of interesting to see how the cliffhanger we’re left with here resolves.

June 13, 2021

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 7

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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 7 Book Cover That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 7
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Fuse
Light Novel
Yen On
December 24, 2019 (English) | April 28, 2016 (Japanese)
Paperback
288

News of demon lord Clayman's defeat by Rimuru shakes the Holy Empire of Lubelius to its core, especially since the Chief Knight of their Holy Imperial Guard, Hinata Sakaguchi, had once attacked Rimuru not long ago. In an attempt to avoid total warfare at all costs, Hinata shoulders the blame for all the bloodshed and decides of her own accord to head for Tempest...!

 

So, Volume 7 is something of a transition point in the series. On one hand, it’s wrapping up some sub-plots that started as far back as Volume 4. On the other hand, it also establishes a bunch of new world-building and characters for future volumes. And while that sounds like it could be cramped, FUSE actually makes it all work very well. The book feels balanced even with so much stuff going on.

Hinata returning is great because she’s a good character and it’s been a while. Plus seeing her reaction when she realizes Rimuru not only survived their fight but is now stronger, by a lot, is fantastic. Granted, it really helps that he won the superpower lottery and very rarely has to actually struggle for his accomplishments. Still though, great to see her still capable of being the badass we saw in her debut.

As far as the other characters…well, even if this review was 4x longer I still couldn’t address them all. This seems to be a fairly regular problem in light novel series; the casts get huge. I have no idea how many named characters there are by this point, but each book can really only do something meaningful with a handful of them. Rimuru is obviously a given as the MC, but aside from that, you might as well draw straws to see who any given book is going to focus on.

But at its core, this series continues to be fun. It’s no great work of literature (I find it comparable to an average western Young Adult series), but it’s fun. If you’ve ever played a video game and turned on God Mode, you should get it. Cause that’s basically what Rimuru is doing.

And honestly, him being overpowered in fights and looking for non-violent solutions to problems is part of the draw. There’s a surprising level of politics and it’s refreshing to see characters solving problems by means other than punching them. The next book seems pretty light-hearted too and I look forward to it.

June 6, 2021

Grizzly II: Revenge

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Poster for the movie ""

Grizzly II: Revenge

The Stage Is Set... And The Dinner Is Served.

20201 h 14 min
Overview

All hell breaks loose when a giant grizzly, reacting to the slaughter of her cubs by poachers, attacks a massive rock concert in the National Park. [This sequel to "Grizzly" (1976) was left unfinished after production wrapped prematurely in 1983, and was not officially released until 2020, though a bootleg workprint version had been in circulation for some years prior to this.]

Metadata
Director André Szöts
Runtime 1 h 14 min
Release Date 17 February 2020
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Not that bad

I have seen a lot of creature features, they’re my favorite type of movie, and you know, there really aren’t that many films about killer bears. Nature horror tends to stick to crocodiles and sharks (especially after Sharknado came out). Other animals are rare, even something that is an obvious big threat like a bear. So, it’s refreshing to see an animal that’s so rarely used as the monster. And that’s just about the only positive thing I have to say about this film.

My god, where do I even start for the rest. First, some history. The original Grizzly movie was released in 1976 and was basically Jaws with a bear instead of a shark. While it was a truly terrible film (it’s a creature feature, were you expecting The Godfather?), it did well enough to spawn a sequel. Kind of. They didn’t actually finish filming this movie back in the 80s, but the unfinished version did get leaked. It circulated for years because a few big names (George Clooney, Laura Dern, Charlie Sheen, Louise Fletcher, and others) were in it before they were big names. Which isn’t too unusual, a lot of actors & actresses get their start in low-budget horror.

But the film itself is truly awful. I loved every second of it because I’m a masochist when it comes to cinematography. Normal people will probably feel their brain cells dying as they watch this film. It basically just cuts between the town setting up for a music festival and the bear killing people in the woods, badly. Kudos to the town mayor, who apparently used the mayor from Jaws as a role model. That’s right, ripping off Jaws doesn’t stop at the first Grizzly, it extends to the sequel!

If you like campy creature features, Grizzly II will be perfect for you. Everyone else, avoid at all costs.

May 30, 2021

Storm Surge (Destroyermen #8)

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Storm Surge Book Cover Storm Surge
Destroyermen
Taylor Anderson
Sci-fi
Roc
July 2, 2013
Paperback
512

In the Pacific, as USS Walker is repaired and updated after a previous battle and Matt Reddy is healing from his wounds, planning begins for a bold raid on the very heart of the Grik Empire.

But time is running out for the Alliance army in Indiaa, and the Allied forces in the west must gather in an unprecedented land, air, and sea campaign to destroy the mighty Grik battle fleet and break through to their relief. All other plans go on hold when the attempt proves more difficult—and more heartbreakingly costly—than anyone imagined.

Meanwhile, the struggle continues on other fronts near and far: in the jungles of Borno in distant southern Africa and in the Americas, where the Allies are finally learning the terrible truth about the twisted Dominion.

The Alliance is on the offensive everywhere, but their enemies have a few surprises, including new weaponry and new tactics...and a stunning geographic advantage that Reddy never suspected.

Until now.

 

So, Storm Surge is really the point in this series where we enter full-on World War level of conflict. Despite Captain Reddy and his crew initially being alone in this new world, we keep seeing more new civilizations. And each one is inevitably dragged into the growing conflict between the Alliance and its enemies. Mainly because the villains’ ultimatums tend to be either “join us or die” or just “die”. Remember kids, being neutral only works until they start dropping bombs on you anyway.

Like any war, this one has spurred major technological developments. Both sides are working on new, better weapons for the next battle. We are rapidly approaching the point where both sides have WWII-level hardware. And the fighting doesn’t just stop while all that’s happening. All sides are working to deploy their new weapons fast and gain the upper hand before their enemies do. With the fanatical devotion of both the Dominion and the Grik, these are going to be battles to the finish. Which is something neat that can only happen in fiction. In real-world battles, no one fights to the last man. Typically, the losing side either retreats or surrenders. In small-scale skirmishes, one side might get wiped out, but a big battle never ends with a whole army dying.

As far as the quality goes, Storm Surge is as standard as the rest of this series has been. If you’re eight books in and still reading, you should know what to expect by now. I don’t think anyone is picking up this series and expecting it to be All Quiet on the Western Front level of quality. But Anderson is very good at worldbuilding. The big battle scenes are impressive, but in between, we get to see history, politics, religion, art, and everything else that makes up a culture. It makes all these different civilizations feel real instead of just a backdrop.

Honestly, sometimes I forget this series is sci-fi because of how low-key the sci-fi elements are. This very easily could have been an alternate history series with all human characters. A little harder and creepier to justify some of the villains’ behavior that way, but not impossible as the Dominion has shown us. Anyway, Destroyermen is definitely one of my guilty pleasures. I read Storm Surge for the same reason I watch Syfy Channel Original Films: because I like it. And beyond that, I can’t really explain it. But heck if it isn’t fun.

May 23, 2021

Starless Night (The Legend of Drizzt #8)

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Starless Night Book Cover Starless Night
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
Random House TSR
July 30, 1992
Paperback
320

I can find no answers in Mithril Hall....The apparent serenity of Drizzt Do'Urden, the brooding quiet, will show me nothing of the future designs of the drow. yet, for the sake of my friends, I must know those dark intentions. And so I fear that there remains only one place for me to look...

The Underdark. A place of brooding darkness, where no shadows exist, and where Drizzt Do'Urden does not wish to go. The noble dark elf must return there, though, must go back to find his friends in the gnome city of Blingdenstone, and on to Menzoberranzan, the city of drow. Only then can Drizzt discern what perils might reach out from that dark place to threaten his friends in Mithril Hall.

he finds allies where he least expects them and enemies he htough long gone. His scimitars slash at monsters too evil to reside under the sunlight of the surface world, while his inner strength wrestles with the tumult of emotions assaulting the noble drow when he looks once more on his dreaded homeland. All the while Drizzt must fend off the weight of guilt he carries for a dear friend lost to him forever.

 

Along with being the 8th Drizzt book, Starless Night is book #2 in the Legacy of the Drow storyline. We saw in the last book that the drow are very interested in Mithral Hall. And Drizzt, being the edgy protagonist that he is, feels like it’s all his fault. If they weren’t after him, they wouldn’t have come here, and his friends wouldn’t have died. Unfortunately, Drizzt is playing up the wrong trope with this particular logic thread. So, he goes off, alone, to deal with a problem that is tens of thousands of foes strong. And of course, his friends must chase after him to prevent this foolishness.

I make it sound all dramatic and sappy because it is. While this series has gotten generally less trope-y as it progresses, the tropes are strong here. I don’t think I’ve been this unsurprised with how events play out since The Crystal Shard. The writing is better, you can see how Salvatore improves over time, but the story is fairly bland. Granted, we readers know from the start that Drizzt’s assumptions are wrong thanks to the epilogue at the end of the last book. And a character with flaws is always better than a Mary Sue.

Now, despite the fact that the Legacy of the Drow is 4 books, the first three read like a trilogy. Even though this is book 2 of 4, it feels like a middle book. At the same time, it’s still a fairly self-contained adventure. Yes, it follows up the last book, but you could skip over book #7 and still understand this one well enough. And while plot threads are left hanging by the end of this one, it’s not really a full-fledged cliffhanger. Which is nice; I like being able to pick a book up without feeling like I need to re-read the last one.

But on the whole, this is kind of a low-point in the Drizzt series. This book is more about Drizzt himself than a greater story. Which we’ve already done in his backstory trilogy. I get that these series can’t be big plot all the time, but the character development felt weak. It’s like if you took an episode of a 30-minute show and stretched it out into a 90-minute special. Like, it works, but, it could have just been 30 minutes without anything lost.

Nonetheless, the quality of the series overall is enough to convince me Starless Night is just a pothole. I’m fairly confident the next book will get back to the big battles and other good stuff.

May 16, 2021

Flag in Exile (Honor Harrington #5)

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Flag in Exile Book Cover Flag in Exile
Honor Harrington
David Weber
Sci-fi
Baen
September 27, 1995
Paperback
443

Hounded into retirement and disgrace by political enemies, cut to the heart by the murder of the man she loved, and bereft of confidence in herself and her abilities, Captain Honor Harrington has retreated to the planet Grayson to take up her role as Steadholder while she tries to heal her bitter wounds.

But the People's Republic of Haven is rising from defeat to threaten Grayson anew, and the newborn Grayson Navy needs her experience desperately. It's a call Honor cannot refuse, yet even as she once more accepts the duty whose challenges she fears she can no longer meet, powerful men who hate and fear the changes she's brought to their world are determined to reverse them. They have a plan ... and for it to succeed Honor Harrington must die.

Two irresistible forces are rushing together to crush Grayson between them, and only one woman uncertain of her capabilities, weary unto death, and marked for murder-stands between her adopted planet and its devastation.

 

Flag in Exile follows up Field of Dishonor with Honor returning to Grayson after her duel with Pavel Young. Now while we still get to see Honor doing her thing commanding ships, this book is interesting because it also puts her in a government role. We’ve pretty clearly established at this point that she knows how to lead from a military position. But now instead of sending ships into battle, she’s leading reforms on an underdeveloped planet. A planet that’s in the middle of political and cultural upheaval thanks to her own actions back in book 2.

Now, the last book showed us that Honor is damaged. She’s been through a lot both throughout the series and beforehand. Paul Tankersley’s death pushed her barely controlled temper over the edge in the last book and we saw how much that anger fueled the fires of her vengeance. But…the vengeance is done. She’s had revenge and now she has to keep living. And with everything she’s been through, there’s a lot of survivor’s guilt going on here. Throwing herself into a constructive project is downright therapeutic for her at this point. Until, of course, something goes wrong.

Anyone who picks up a real-world history book can tell you that when a society goes through a big change, there are always people who do everything in their power to prevent it. Usually, these are the people for who the new change is bad. Your career is copying manuscripts by hand? Destroy those newfangled printing presses! Burn them! Same thing applies to cultural changes. You’d think those people who are in positions of power want to share that power? They didn’t get there through years of walking over other people hard work to make other people’s lives better. What are you, nuts?

But when evolution is suppressed, it makes way for revolution. And it helps that Honor is something of a Mary Sue. Seriously, look at the body count this woman has left in her wake. Look at the reason she’s hanging out on your planet right now! Why do you think messing with someone like that is a good call?

Anyway, another solid entry in the Honor Harrington franchise. Space opera at its finest but with a different focus to stop the series from getting stale. Looking forward to seeing where Honor’s adventures take her next.

May 9, 2021

The Wheel of Osheim (The Red Queen’s War #3)

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The Wheel of Osheim Book Cover The Wheel of Osheim
The Red Queen's War
Mark Lawrence
Fantasy
Harper Voyager
May 5, 2016
Paperback
656

From the international bestselling author of the Broken Empire Trilogy, the thrilling conclusion to the Red Queen’s War...
 
Mark Lawrence’s “epic fantasy” (The Washington Post) continues as a reluctant prince returns from the bowels of Hell to engage in his greatest battle yet—among the living and the dead.

All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri Ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth, getting back out alive and with Loki’s key is all that matters. Loki’s creation can open any lock, any door, and it may also be the key to Jalan’s fortune back in the living world.

Jalan plans to return to the three w’s that have been the core of his idle and debauched life: wine, women, and wagering. Fate however has other plans, larger plans. The Wheel of Osheim is turning ever faster, and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. When the end of all things looms, and there’s nowhere to run, even the worst coward must find new answers. Jalan and Snorri face many dangers, from the corpse hordes of the Dead King to the many mirrors of the Lady Blue, but in the end, fast or slow, the Wheel of Osheim always pulls you back. In the end it’s win or die.

 

The Wheel of Osheim kicks off a fair amount of time after The Liar’s Key…kind of. Remember back in the Broken Empire trilogy where there was a time skip but also flashbacks to the time skip? The same thing happens here. Important things happen during the time skip, but we readers don’t see them until they become relevant to current-day events. Mark Lawrence really seems to enjoy doing this and it’s kind of fun cause not many other authors do it.

Speaking of the Broken Empire trilogy, there’s a lot more intersection with it here than in the previous two books. I still wouldn’t call it necessary to read the Broken Empire books first, but stuff makes a lot more sense if you have. And it’s a lot more fun when you understand the full scope of everything that’s happening.

Jalan continues to be thrown from one hard choice to another and this prince handles it like a king. Even taking to account that he’s the main character, Jalan has gotten a lot of character development. More so than you typically see in most stories. It’s not that his personality shifts, it really doesn’t, it’s more that he just grows up. Instead of going with the flow, he decides he’s tired of being led around and to control his own destiny. These changes are gradual, stretching over the course of the whole trilogy, but he’s a different man for the better by the end.

Snorri is around too, but not as much as in the first book. His disappearances are fewer than they were in book two though, thankfully. His story is much less complex, essentially just more viking stuff, but sees a fitting conclusion by the end. And all the shoutouts to Norse mythology mixed into all that were super fun.

Now, let’s talk about the ending. I will preface this by saying endings are hard. It doesn’t matter what genre a story is in or what medium you’re using to tell it (books, movies, TV shows, etc.), it is really hard to do a good ending. And if you’ve read the Broken Empire trilogy, you have a vague inclination on how things are going to end here.

I thought the ending here was ok. Not good, not bad, just ok. But I don’t really know what to say on how it could have been done better. It was upbeat, which fits this trilogy in a way that would not have fit the Broken Empire books. But it also felt a little too standard. It wasn’t quite “happily ever after” but it was close. Still, the Red Queen’s War remained strong throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Certainly worth the time spent reading it and more than good enough to get me to follow Mark Lawrence’s work for a long, long time.

May 2, 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong

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Poster for the movie ""

Godzilla vs. Kong

One Will Fall

20211 h 53 min
Overview

In a time when monsters walk the Earth, humanity’s fight for its future sets Godzilla and Kong on a collision course that will see the two most powerful forces of nature on the planet collide in a spectacular battle for the ages.

Metadata
Director Adam Wingard
Runtime 1 h 53 min
Release Date 24 March 2021
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

Ah, Godzilla. You are my guiltiest of pleasures. Great cinematography it is (usually) not, but is that what any of us expected here? If you’ve ever seen a Godzilla film, or even know them by reputation, you know what to expect here. Two city-wrecking monsters duking it out plus some plot with human characters that no one cares much about. The formula has worked well for the last 67 years, so why stop now?

So, let’s talk about the monsters. We know who our stars are here: Godzilla and Kong. But despite them both being title names, the film does not treat them equally. This is not so much a Godzilla & Kong film as it is a Kong film with Godzilla in it. Which is fine. The G-man got his time to shine last time around, so let Kong have some post-Skull Island spotlight. And after the last few movies, it was nice seeing Godzilla in more of an Anti-Hero role. While he wasn’t exactly a paragon of good in the previous films, this time around he’s much more of a force of nature than an ally to humanity. More OG Godzilla, less of the competing-with-Gamera era stuff.

And then we get the humans. They…do stuff? Basically, we have two groups, one that hangs out with Kong and another that does other things. The Kong group was by far the more interesting of the two. Honestly, Group B could have been cut from the movie and it wouldn’t have made too much of a difference. Their sequences were there pretty much for no other reason than being a convenient plot device to give the audience information. “Oh hey, we’re doing this thing and by the way – world-building!” But this is par for the course for every Godzilla movie; gotta give a reason for the big kaiju fight.

Objectively, this was the strongest of the MonsterVerse movies so far. I personally liked King of the Monsters a bit better because it had a bigger array of classic monsters, particularly King Ghidorah. This one took what was established in Skull Island and expanded on it by mixing it with the Godzilla films. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to have seen the previous films, but there are a lot of callbacks. I watched this with a friend and had to explain a few things because he didn’t remember the last few movies that well.

And the big kaiju fight at the end is one of the best choreographed fights I have ever seen. Not just for a kaiju movie, for any film. The fact that they did that in a kaiju movie makes it even more impressive. That plus everything else makes Godzilla vs Kong a close second for best Godzilla film (that honor still belongs to Shin Godzilla). Definitely a step up from the original King Kong vs. Godzilla. Memes notwithstanding. And a must-see for any kaiju fan.

April 25, 2021

Iron Gray Sea (Destroyermen #7)

Published Post author

Iron Gray Sea Book Cover Iron Gray Sea
Destroyermen
Taylor Anderson
Sci-fi
Roc
July 3, 2012
Paperback
448

n Taylor Anderson’s acclaimed Destroyermen series, a parallel universe adds an extraordinary layer to the drama of World War II.

Now, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy, the crew of USS Walker, and their allies battle an ever-growing host of enemies across the globe in a desperate battle for freedom …

War has engulfed the—other earth. With every hard-won victory and painful defeat, Matt Reddy and the Allies encounter more friends—and even more diabolical enemies. Even, at last, in the arms of the woman he loves, there is little peace for Reddy.  The vast sea, and the scope of the conflict, have trapped him too far away to help on either front, but that doesn’t mean he and Walker can rest.

Cutting short his “honeymoon,” Reddy sails off in pursuit of  Hidoiame , a rogue Japanese destroyer that is wreaking havoc in Allied seas. Now that Walker is armed with the latest “new” technology, he hopes his battle-tested four-stacker has an even chance in a straight-up fight against the bigger ship—and he means to take her on.

Elsewhere, the long-awaited invasion of Grik “Indiaa” has begun, and the Human-Lemurian Alliance is pushing back against the twisted might of the Dominion. The diplomatic waters seethe with treachery and a final, terrible plot explodes in the Empire of New Britain Isles.  Worse, the savage Grik have also mastered “new” technologies and strategies. Their fleet of monstrous ironclads—and an army two years in the making—are finally massing to strike...

 

Man, this series is really getting complex. In a good way, though, in a good way. The last book showed that while the core of Grik battle tactics is still quantity over quality, they’re starting to evolve beyond simple Zerg Rush strategies. The Allies’ technology is advancing, but so are the Grik’s weapons. And as real-world wars have taught us, with new weapons come new tactics. This isn’t a super-big surprise for our human characters, but the natives of this alternate Earth have had little to no technological development for centuries.

But before we get back to the war, it’s time for the Wedding Episode! While the love story here doesn’t quite approach space opera levels, it’s still a nice thing to have. I’m a sucker for anything even approaching star-crossed lovers territory and seeing Matt and Sandra finally (formally) together is wonderful. But more importantly, the romance feels real. It’s not the contrived “perfect romance” you see in a lot of movies. Matt and Sandra are adults who realize their situation does not make this easy. Being in a strange new world, the war and both of them being reasonable adults are all factors here. But at the same time, they’ve still had that awkwardness of two people who are in love and nervous. Great to finally see some real payoff after 6 books of that.

Iron Gray Sea also gives us a bit more worldbuilding. Not a ton, because the focus is mainly on the war now, but it’s there. Namely, more details (or at least hints) on people from Earth getting transported to this world. I wouldn’t say any of those lingering questions are fully answered here, but we’re getting there. It’s probably something that’ll never be explained in full since it’s really just a plot element. But at the same time, it’s cool to see that the characters are still speculating about it. I can’t stand one-and-done “adventure of the week” style stories where past events are just never mentioned.

Anyway, the rest of Iron Gray Sea is pretty standard fare for the Destroyermen series. We got some naval battles, the army doing stuff, Silva being Silva…you know, the works. As with all war series, the war is getting more complex as the series goes on. Things kind of have to slow down as the page count gets split between different fronts and different characters. But that’s just how war series are. The series is still a fun B movie-esque romp and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

April 18, 2021

The Legacy (The Legend of Drizzt #7)

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The Legacy Book Cover The Legacy
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
Wizards of the Coast
October 1, 1992
Paperback
334

Life is good for Drizzt Do'Urden, better than it ever has been for the beleaguered dark elf. His dearest friend, the dwarf Bruenor, has reclaimed his throne, and his adventuring companions, Wulfgar and Catti-brie, are to be wed in the spring. Even the halfling Regis has returned. All the friends are united in the safety and prosperity of Mithril Hall, where streams of silver mithril run deep and dwarven hammers bang out the solemn rhythms of ancient and unending songs.

But Drizzt did not achieve this state of peace without leaving powerful enemies in his wake. Lloth, the dreaded Spider Queen deity of the evil dark elves, counts herself among them and has vowed to end the drow's days of pleasant security.

 

The Legacy picks up a little after the end of The Halfling’s Gem. With the previous plot points wrapped up, our heroes are now living easy and enjoying some peace and quiet. Until they aren’t because the plot has to come from somewhere. Most of the plot threads from the previous books are already wrapped up at this point, but not quite all of them.

Now, this is the point where the series truly becomes about Drizzt. Remember, he wasn’t intended to be the main character of the Icewind Dale trilogy. His popularity convinced Salvatore to focus on Drizzt with the prequel trilogy. While those books were good, they did have some limitations since they were prequels. Yeah, they were about Drizzt, but they were just bringing readers up to speed on his backstory. One of my personal grievances with prequels is knowing certain characters will be ok because we’ve already seen them fine and dandy further down the timeline. It just makes it harder to convey a sense of danger and suspense.

Anyway, The Legacy has a few advantages over the previous books. Now we’re focused on a single main character instead of splitting attention equally(ish) between the party. So, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Drizzt’s backstory is what drives the plot here. Being on a sociopathic deity’s shit-list tends to be problematic, especially when said deity’s followers are almost equally sociopathic.

The fact that this isn’t the first book is also a big advantage. The Icewind Dale trilogy had to do what all first books do and establish the worldbuilding and characters. Then the prequel trilogy kind of had to do it again since it’s chronologically first. This time, all that stuff is established from the get-go. We start already knowing the characters and setting, so we can get right to the plot. It gives the page count a lot more time to actually do stuff, which is wonderful.

The set-up of The Legacy is also nice. The book is broken into five ‘Parts’, which give it an almost episodic feel. The later parts aren’t quite as disconnected as the earlier ones, but they still mark stopping points in the story. Which works surprisingly well considering The Legacy as a whole is a ‘Part I’ in the new story arc. The standalone feeling of The Crystal Tower is nowhere to be had here and it’s great. You can read this book knowing we’re going to get more.

It took a little time for The Legacy of Drizzt to get rolling, but this seems to mark the point where it’s grown the beard. Looking forward to the next book for sure.

April 11, 2021