Chy's Reviews > Sojourn

Sojourn by R.A. Salvatore
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Apr 09, 2012

really liked it
Read in April, 2007

We finally get to go outside! Yay! This book should have been my favorite of the Dark Elf Trilogy. It’s what I was waiting for the entire time. I even thought it would totally live up to my expectations in the beginning. I couldn’t wait to see how Drizzt fared on the surface, where drow are one of the most hated and feared races in the Forgotten Realms.

His first attempt at making friends showed us that Drizzt had good instincts, because he figures out that gnolls are not good guys. (We’re talking half-dog-looking goblinoids here. Man, am I ever driving Word crazy.) Now, here’s the deal, you see. He learned about gnolls back home, and even learned that they were evil, but his people also called surface elves, humans, and just about any race besides drow “evil.” So you can imagine why he’d hesitate to assume every race he’d been taught was evil was actually evil.

Through his short dealing with the gnolls, he found a farmhouse that he eventually comes to stand guard on, in a way. Thus we enter the first part of the tale, which deals with demons in a cave, angry townspeople who blame this drow a few people sighted for a massacre, and a recurring character in the Forgotten Realms books, Dove Falconhand. Only Salvatore gives her more personality than I’ve seen the other FR authors give her. Okay, more than Ed Greenwood did, since that’s the only other Forgotten Realms author I’ve seen write her.

When Dove comes to investigate the reports of the “dark elf,” she brings her crew, which includes a wood elf. Now, surface elves hate drow more than anybody else does. And drow hate surface elves. It has to do with the history and the mythology, which I’m not getting into here.

I was so excited. The fist time Drizzt and Kellindil met, I had to get on my haunches in my chair, because I couldn't sit still. This is the kind of thing I live for. Misinterpretation. Racial enemies becoming friends when they find out they hold the same values. Awesome!

But no. They had very little interaction. It was still pretty cool, though.

Then we enter the second part of the story, where Drizzt finds the old ranger in the forest that has a problem with orcs, Montolio. McGristle (Yes, McGristle), the strongest advocate of drow-killing in the township Drizzt fled, hooks up with the orcs just after Montolio starts to teach Drizzt the ways of a ranger. Doncha just love it when the protagonist's enemy teams up with the protagonist's new friend's enemies?

And then something stupid and pointless and unbelievable happened and it still really pisses me off. I mark it as the point of downfall for the book. Because everything goes to shit for me after that.

When Drizzt finally makes it out of the freakin’ forest, I got a little excited because I thought I was finally going to see how he really made it on the surface, not tucked away on the outskirts of a village or swinging from the trees of an old ranger’s place.

But no. Salvatore skips it. Drizzt is on his way “down the mountain trail, toward the wide world of pains and joys” at the end of Chapter Nineteen. Then Chapter Twenty starts us up five years later. The part of the story that I had been looking forward to since Drizzt was freakin' born doesn’t exist.

I’ve been waiting to do this review until I had somewhat forgiven Salvatore and I did get through pretty well up until now. But now I realize I’m still not over it.

The end of the trilogy was rushed and telly. What should have been the climactic confrontation between Drizzt and McGristle (seriously, McGristle) was a total zerbertfest and none of the characters Drizzt met were very interesting.

Honestly, I could see a neon sign flashing in my mind as I read, and on the sign was a note from Salvatore: “I’ve told all the parts I wanted to tell and now I’m just getting Drizzt to where he is at the beginning of the Icewind Dale Trilogy as quickly as I possibly can.”

Now, I’m not saying the ending ruined the journey for me. I feel cheated, yes, but it won’t keep me from rereading everything up to that point. The journey was spectacular. Rather, the character taking the journey was captivating. Up until the author pushed him out of the way.

Another note to writers our there: If you write a prequel to any of your current stories, you do not by any means have to end the prequel at the beginning of the original story. Not at all! Hey, dude, we’re readers. We have imaginations. (A bold statement, I know, but bear with me.) Your job is to give us enough so that we can see the path back to the original story, but if it’s not “right” to go all the way there, don’t. You don’t have to. If you know your character is more in charge than you are (and Salvatore’s style suggests he knew), then don’t push the character! Let them do what they need to do.

Thank you. That is all.

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