“Gauntlygrym” by R.A Salvatore

Gauntlgrym (Forgotten Realms: Neverwinter, #1; Legend of Drizzt, #20)Gauntlgrym by R.A. Salvatore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To preface, I have always been a huge fan of R.A. Salvatore, especially his work concerning his reoccurring hero, Drizzt Do’Urden. He is a magnificent character that has always intrigued me, and Salvatore’s plots concerning Drizzt have remained strong throughout the years.

Gauntlgrym” marks the first in a new trilogy of novels dubbed, “The Neverwinter Trilogy.” This particular novel jumps a round a bit in terms of chronology, but in general it follows Drizzt and the Dwarven King of Mithril Hall, Bruenor Battlehammer. The two are on a last ‘hoorah’ as they search for the original Dwarven kingdom of “Gauntlgrym.” Amidst their tale another Drow/Dwarf duo (Jaraxle and Athrogate) fall into work with Dahlia Sin’felle who works for a lich lord hell bent on creating death and destruction.

Overall, I thought Salvatore’s technique was tight and fluid. If you read his first novel and then “Gauntlgrym” you can see a remarkable improvement over the years. Personally, I found the plot to be a rehash of his more popular trilogy, “The Crystal Shard Trilogy.” Similarly both follow Bruenor and companions as they seek a supposedly lost Dwarven kingdom to reclaim, and coincidentally enough both books end on the same note.

The inclusion of Dahlia Sin’felle is definitely the high note of the novel. She is a great addition to Salvatore’s cast, and adds symmetry to Drizzt’s character. Longtime fans will remember Artemis, Drizzt’s nemesis from the early days of Drizzt, who is reincarnated as a Tiefling/Shade in this newest trilogy. It’s good to see a familiar face and hopefully Artemis will be strong enough this go around to directly oppose Drizzt.

Also, word on the wire is that the “Neverwinter Trilogy” is going to be the precursor to a new video game. As an avid reader and gamer this slightly distresses me and makes me feel as if R.A. Salvatore is copping out. The two should be separate. Nevertheless, “Gauntlgrym” is an enjoyable quick read that is sure to thrill any fantasy or Salvatore fans, and I look forward to reading the second novel.

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