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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Completed Series: The Legacy of the Drow by R.A. Salvatore

 The Legacy of the Drow is a four book series by author RA Salvatore. It is the third series comprising the Legend of Drizzt, and as such follows the adventures of The Companions of the Hall: Drizzt, Bruenor, Wulfgar, Cattie-Brie, Regis, and Guenhwyvar. Focusing in large part on Drizzt Do'Urden and his origins in the dark elf city of Menzoberranzan fans of the Dark Elf Trilogy would enjoy the mechanizations of the chaotic and evil drow society.

This is the last of the series that I had already started before starting on my quest to read every novel in the Forgotten Realms. I read the first book in March of 2019, and the follow up with the second a few months later. In April of this year I read the third book (review here), and I finished the fourth and last book in August.

the modern covers

The Legacy (1992) - Acceptable

Starless Night (1993) - Acceptable

Siege of Darkness (1994) - Good

Passage to Dawn (1996) - Mediocre

The Legacy of the Drow (TLD) is a conundrum for me. If you have read my previous reviews of Salvatore's Drizzt books you will know I generally find them overrated and often a little infuriating. Salvatore writes fight-scenes well, but his characters and plots are nothing praiseworthy. Overall TLD is a decent foray into the fun ride that can be the Forgotten Realms, it is not where I would start though, nor where I would end.

I readily admit it has been some time since I read the first two books in this series so I ask you take my opinions with a grain of salt for those two. I will try to keep the them as simple as possible.

The Legacy is okay. It is a story of Drizzt's past coming back to haunt him, for the evil worshippers of Lolth are not yet down with him. He is taken to Menzoberranzan. Wulfgar acts unlike himself in this book, his character arc being a little odd. Entreri is one of the most dull villains ever and I'm waiting for the day that Salvatore actually kills him, because it should have happened back in The Hafling's Gem.

Starless Night is basically the same as The Legacy. The Companions go back to Menzoberranzan. Entreri still is not dead.

Siege of Darkness was ironically the highlight of TLD. It focuses on greater cosmology of the Forgotten Realms with the Time of Troubles. The fated assault on Mithral Hall finally comes to pass and it has plenty of interesting combat. Interesting events happen in this book that I enjoyed reading. Overall it is a good book. Again, here is a more complete review.

Passage to Dawn is an odd book. I have a large amount to say since I just finished it at the time of this writing. The book starts off tremendously entertaining. Cattie-Brie and Drizzt are really the main focuses to begin with. This book does not involve the Drow at all, for which I am grateful. It is more of a proper sequel to Errtu's hatred of Drizzt and a proper sequel to The Crystal Shard. It is the first book to take place partially in Icewind Dale since The Crystal Shard (ironically the only book in The Icewind Dale Trilogy to take place in the Dale) and so deals with Crenshinibon, the Crystal Shard.

The beginning of the story is of adventures with Captain Deudermont of Waterdeep on his ship, the Sea Sprite. It is fun and exciting. The general endless fighting of Drizzt books is noticeably and pleasantly absent from the first half. 

Moving on the book changes and I will now get into more spoilers.

The companions eventually reunite in Icewind Dale. A seer on the mystical island of Caerwich tells a riddle of one held captive, someone important to both Drizzt and Cattie-Brie. The prologue of the book shows that Errtu has someone, but it does not reveal who. It was insanely obvious to me that this was Wulfgar. It makes sense, that is someone who was killed by a demon and is important to both Cattie-Brie and Drizzt. But no, Salvatore is so bad at subtlety and he makes the characters think it is Zaknafein; which does not make much sense if this prisoner is suppose to be relatable to Cattie-Brie. The entire book Wulfgar is hardly mentioned, and never as a potential prisoner of Errtu when it is obvious from page 1. 

At about the half-way point, I was thinking Salvatore was trying to come full circle with The Crystal Shard and the Companions of the Hall; his original story. Wulfgar is returned (though with the most lackluster reunion I have ever read, he doesn't even say anything for pages and when he does speak it is a smattering of a couple lines), and Crenshinibon is well in hand. I was hoping this would be end of the story for the Crystal Shard so I could study up on The D&D Next adventure The Legacy of the Crystal Shard before the release of Rime of the Frostmaiden in September. Sadly it is not so.

Salvatore shows great immaturities as a writer, the first half is littered with sentences ending in exclamation marks that sound like the author himself and not the characters. These could and should have been caught by an editor. Cryshal-Tirith, present in previous books, is supposedly the elvish word for "Crystal Tower". Considering the t in crystal was just changed to an h and Tirith was pulled from Tolkien's Minas Tirith, it seems rather juvenile. Also Khazid'hea's sentience seems mostly forgotten, with a few lines thrown in near the end. And apparently Salvatore forgot that Drizzt's scimitar is called Icingdeath (the companion to Twinkle). Salvatore also insists on repeating silly statements like "Creatures venturing out onto the open plain of Icewind Dale who were not careful did not survive for long." with little change.

Overall Passage to Dawn is a long road of going down and maybe should be called Passage Down instead. Thank Tymora Entreri does not appear in the book.

The Legacy of the Drow has it's ups and it's downs. The series does finish on a solid endnote, and I feel anyone could be satisfied finishing Drizzt's story here. Salvatore shows that he can consistently write Dungeons & Dragons novels but the quality is questionable. Sadly the series has more low points than high ones, and though I am surely biased and mayhap even ranting I would say that the series is Acceptable.

From here on out the reviews should be more balanced with each book getting equal representation. 


You can track my current progress here.

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