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Drizzt Novels: Gauntlgrym by R.A. Salvatore

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Gauntlgrym is the latest and newest of the Drizzt Novels by R.A. Salvatore. It is book 1 of the Neverwinter Trilogy published by Wizards of the Coast publishing in 2010 and it takes place in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting originaly created for the

Gauntlgrym is the latest and newest of the Drizzt Novels by R.A. Salvatore. It is book 1 of the Neverwinter Trilogy published by Wizards of the Coast publishing in 2010 and it takes place in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting originally created for the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game system. With many new characters and some returning favorites it is a good read though as a long time Drizzt fan I have to admit to being put off by a few of the things in this book. As this is a new book, I will  skip my usual spoiler and just review the content. That is not to say that reading this won't give away major plot points, because it will.

SPOILER ALERT

The prelude in this book starts very auspiciously. King Bruenor fakes his death and passes the leadership of Mithril Hall on to one of his generals from the Orc wars so that he can go on the road with Drizzt and look for Gauntlgrym, the original dwarven homeland. Bruenor has assembled an interesting group around him and they hit the road. I was so excited, the suddenly as if the rug was pulled out from under me Salvatore says that twenty years goes by and they have lots of adventures. Really, thats it? I was shocked. Some of the group retire some just disappear and just like that, the face of the sword coast has changed and another 30 or 40 years go by. I couldn't believe it. Then the first half of the book is spent developing a bunch of new and marginally interesting characters that are the new bad guys. Then a bunch more time goes by with a few flaccid updates about Drizzt and Bruenor's failures to ever find the lost dwarven kingdom. Frankly I was annoyed and disappointed. 

So after 50 to 70 years after the events that start the book we find that Drizzt suddenly has some kind of mean streak and that he and Bruenor are inept at completing quests. Jarlaxle and others find Gauntlgrym first and create a disaster that once again, changes the face of the sword coast. Once the companions get on the road to the dwarven homeland, the book picks up and we get a good story. Although the interesting villain seems to have a change of heart and switches sides to fight next to Drizzt, which was also annoying. After a titanic struggle at the end which was the best part of the book, Bruenor dies and we are left with a new set of characters for the next several books which is fine, I just wish they were more interesting.

Not every book in this series can be a home run and this one is still better than The Spine of the World. I had just been looking forward to this book for so long that I had actually prepared for the fact that it might not be as good as I had hoped, but there was no way to be prepared for how little I actually liked it. Nothing will ever derail the fact that I am a huge fan of the series and will be the first in line to get the next installment, I just hope its better than this one.

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Creighton Smith

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