Title: Neverwinter, The Neverwinter Saga, Book II
Author: R. A. Salvatore
Published: October 4, 2011
Author’s Website: http://www.rasalvatore.com/
Genre: Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy
Spoiler Alert: Character-based
Review: Having successfully prevented the primordial from escaping at the cost of his good friend Bruenor Battlehammer’s life, Drizzt and his new companion, the beautiful and deadly elf, Dahlia, head to Luskan so that Drizzt can learn whether Jarlaxle truly perished in Gauntlgrym. Along the way, Drizzt gets to know his new companion a little better, and she provides quite the quandary for him. Throughout most of his life, his decisions had been mostly uncomplicated because he saw things as fairly black and white as it pertained to right and wrong, but Dahlia questions his decisions and motives, forcing him to re-evaluate his thinking…how many different shades of gray are there? Another piece of her personality that draws him to her is her reckless, excitement-driven attitude toward everything. Why be completely stealthy when being mostly stealthy provides a bit of risk and excitement? And her desire for that excitement leads Drizzt to realize that the rush of being on the edge of dying is something he’s been missing for a while.
Over the course of this book, we learn, with as much certainty as is possible in fantasy, that Jarlaxle did perish in the battle in Gauntlgrym. We also meet Barrabus the Gray, an incredibly skilled fighter and assassin who is tortured and not allowed to die by his connection to a sword held by his “master.” During a conversation with Drizzt and Dahlia, Barrabus discovers his own identity that he’d lost long ago due to the swords control: Artemis Entrerei. If you know the name, you’ll know that spells big problems for their mutual enemies. If you don’t know him, his backstory could take pages.
Bottom Line: Another solid book. I liked the first one in this series better, maybe because it had Breunor, but my problem is the same as I find in many movies and TV shows: The final battle, the cliffhanger, just doesn’t have any real “gotta keep reading,” “I wonder they survive” suspense. I knew Drizzt wasn’t going to die, but I was almost 100% positive his companions in the final battle weren’t either.