Monica's Reviews > The Highwayman

The Highwayman by R.A. Salvatore
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's review
Mar 25, 2010

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bookshelves: fantasy
Read in February, 2010

When Salvatore was pitching this book idea, I imagine his brainstorm chart began with the following question: what would happen if I took a dash of Robin Hood, a pinch of the Lone Ranger and more than a couple of helpings of Zorro, and threw it all in a blender with all the classic fantasy cliches?

To be fair, in the end, all of this wasn't really all that bad of a mix. Yeah, I'll admit that the whole premise behind the Bransen character might seem a bit overcooked and juvenile--even for a fantasy character-- but I've always had a soft spot for romantic heroes and the epic, far-fetched nature of fantasy fiction, so consider my review a lot more lenient in this assessment.

Mind, less patient readers will find that the first half of the book is rather slow moving. Establishing the background and the setting is always the tricky bit with fantasy novels. The main characters get a bit of a backseat as the panorama expands to include as much of the main ideas and points that will potentially be built up on as the series progresses. Salvatore is a bit clumsy in his pacing here, and it's clear he must have been frustrated with this part of the story, because as soon as all the players and key events are set in place, the narrative takes on a whole new character... and in the last hundred pages or so, you can't put the book down.

Especially if you're a bit of a swashbuckling adventure freak like me.

Salvatore isn't a very talented writer, but he is good at what he does and that is commercial science fiction and fantasy. His style is like one of grandma's no-name brand digestive sugar-cookies. It's a homely staple you wouldn't particularly go out of your way to buy on your own, but if it's right in front of you, it's flavorful enough that you won't really say "no" to second helpings... or the next chapter, as is the case here.

I can't say I was entirely overwhelmed by the originality in the ideas here, but "The Highwayman" was at the very least an entertaining read and I haven't the heart to give it any less than three stars.

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