I've gotten back into reading over this past year, thanks in large part to my picking up the Path of Darkness book collection on a whim at a public library sale while attending a wedding in Milwaukee last August. It cost me a buck. I've read this collection of four novels in fits and starts ever since, and have read three other fantasy novels over that time. But while I still am not overly fond of Drizzt the character, the supporting cast in Salvadore's books is strong, the pace is fast, and the action is terrific. I'm sure that they are not fine literature, and there's no question that they are full of cliches and tropes. But they are fun. And that, in the end, is really what it's all about for me!
So...I thought I'd try my hand at penning a short book review over at goodreads. And, since I'm writing it there, I figured that I should post it here as well!
Sea of Swords as the conclusion to the Paths of Darkness collection. This fourth book in that series is an action packed adventure that sees most of the key story lines that began in the first three come to a satisfying conclusion. We see Wulfgar, who decides to come to terms with his demons, and ultimately chooses to go on a quest to reunite with the Companions of the Hall. Furthermore, we see those same companions set off on a quest to recover Wulfgar's enchanted craghammer, Aegis-fang. We also meet new characters. Sheila Kree, the pirate captain who purchased the stolen hammer earlier in the series. Bellany, a powerful sorceress who works for Kree and a former companion of Morik the Rogue. And we meet Le'lorinel, an elven assassin who has made it a life's mission to hunt down and kill Drizzt.
The book is full of action and adventure, punctuated by excellent character interaction. There aren't a lot of major surprises, but there are a few--enough to keep you on your toes and turning pages. The remarkable thing to me is just how satisfying the book, and the Paths of Darkness series as a whole, managed to be. Between the Servant of the Shard and the Sea of Swords, virtually all of the major plot lines are brought to a close (one way or another!). Though he obviously did not, Salvadore could have walked away from Drizzt novels at the end of this book, and I don't think anyone would have complained. It's not that there isn't anywhere for these characters to go or develop. As someone who has not read much of his subsequent work, I can imagine grand adventures to come for all of the (surviving) characters. But the immediate concerns have largely been resolved, freeing these characters to venture into new adventure. It was a fast and very enjoyable read.
While I am doubtful that I will read much of the intervening work, I am greatly looking forward to reading The Companions when released in August. The sample chapter on Wizards' site, which I assume to be Drizzt's opening reflections, seems to pull heavily from the events in the series that I just completed. It looks like I chose a great place to sample this vast storyline!