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The Two Swords, by R. A. Salvatore
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Published: 2005
Review Posted: 5/29/2007
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 7 out of 10

The Two Swords, by R. A. Salvatore

Book Review by Mark Deniz

Have you read this book?

Salvatore is easily one of the most popular authors around when it comes to the gaming franchise as novels, and Drizzt Do'Urden, without doubt one of the best loved characters within this sub-genre.

It has become such that neither Wizards of the Coast or Salvatore need any promotion tactics when it comes to this, the latest instalment of the Drizzt saga, as the author, and the character, sell themselves. Ironic enough then that this book, in particular, was given the red carpet treatment extraordinaire prior to its release.

Personally I believe that this prior (almost prophetic) knowledge of the book's success before pen even goes to paper leads to the possibility that the author may not put his all into the novel, concentrating on quantity (which equals more sales) over quality. It is this that I firmly believe happened with the last two books in the "Hunter's Blades" trilogy, and most obviously with this instalment.

The book begins immediately after the end of "The Lone Drow", with the dwarves having just taken back the entrance to Mithral Hall from the orcs under the leadership of god-favoured Obould. Drizzt and his new elven friend Innovindil prepare to attempt a daring rescue, that of one of a pair of pegasi, taken by Obould and given to the frost giant Gerti, as a thank you to the giants for their help in the war.

The final part of the trilogy sees all of the old favourites in action, with a few new characters to entertain us along the way

There is much to prepare for a grand finale, a worthy climax to another Drizzt trilogy and the loyal fans must be eager for this and wonder if this is the novel in which a hero well-loved is ready to hang his twin scimitars up for good.

Unfortunately the novel is extremely problematic in theme, being as it is small interludes between big battles, all so excruciatingly detailed that I found myself eager to flick through to find out what happened after, only then realising that would leave me around 30 pages to read.

Salvatore seems to have been reading, or studying, combat recently as his last two books in the trilogy are overwhelmed by combat scenes, to the point of irritation and I couldn't fully get myself into the stories, trapped as I was in lengthy descriptions of spins and kicks and parries and dodges.

I have enjoyed Drizzt as a character, I enjoyed "The Icewind Dale" trilogy and especially "The Dark Elf Trilogy" for these books worked with Drizzt as a troubled renegade from his homeland, where evil and chaos are the order of the day. These books dealt with Drizzt as an individual, and also showed his fighting prowess. "The Hunter's Blade" trilogy was nothing short of a grand scale war, seemingly influenced by Jackson's visions of Tolkien's Minas Tirith.

Something else that Salvatore seems to have gotten lazy with is the christening of his characters, as there were some really awful names out there, Nanfoodle the gnome, Pikel the doo-dad (apparently a humourous word for druid and one of the most irritating characters I have ever read in literature), Dagna and his son Dagnabbit, Proffit the troll along with countless others that grated every time they appeared on the paper.

I feel that Salvatore has dropped his target audience age group as this felt like a book written for 14 year olds, rather than people who have stuck with Drizzt from the beginning. The prose felt younger, the characters were more two dimensional than earlier, there were no dilemmas or moral quandaries within the trilogy and the whole thing just had an empty, hollow feel to it, especially when reaching the ending to find one of the most anti-climatic conclusions to a series ever.

As I said, I have been a fan of Salvatore, along with countless others, but here I feel that Salvatore has let his faithful readers down by giving us a sub-standard trilogy, that doesn't fulfil any expectations. Granted there were some enjoyable moments and Drizzt's thoughts at the beginning of every chapter are always welcome. Apart from that however, the book was one long drawn out battle that didn't even give any sort of closure, setting Salvatore up for a new money spinning series, that I, for one, will make a point of avoiding, if it is anything like this trilogy.
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Comments on The Two Swords, by R. A. Salvatore
Posted by Killa_IN_The Shadows on 12/10/2009
I sorta have to agree with this assessment of the series. While there are many fun fights and many memerable moments in these many times can someone be life threatingly injered and then pull out...still I loved the books from the Dark Elf Trilogy on, this series seriously lacks in most aspects of what I would have antisipated