David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party's Reviews > Exile

Exile by R.A. Salvatore
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's review
Aug 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, forgotten-realms, bad-girls-are-awesome
Read from August 10 to 21, 2012

While I enjoyed “Exile”, I can’t say I liked it as much as Book 1 of the Dark Elf Trilogy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to like about “Exile”…it’s filled with action (much more than “Homeland” had), and features a compelling story and interesting characters. However, I couldn’t help but feel that the second chapter of the Dark Elf Trilogy was too dark for its own good, but more on that in a moment…

What Salvatore does well in “Exile”, he does very well. I was afraid Drizzt wandering the Underdark would get old quickly, but Salvatore never ran out of imaginative creatures to throw at Drizzt and his allies. Also, I’ve always said one of Salvatore’s greatest strengths is his incredibly detailed action sequences, and he does a great job with that here (sometimes TOO good a job, as some of the gorier moments are definitely not for the squeamish). Also, Drizzt’s dysfunctional family makes a return, and they are so deliciously evil, they make for great antagonists. Wicked Matron Malice, cruel Briza, manipulative Dinin, they’re all in rare form and their machinations are captivating to behold. I can certainly say I was never once bored reading “Exile”!

But, as I said before, the overly dark tone did detract from my enjoyment. One major problem for me is that Salvatore’s trademark humor is almost completely absent this time around, and without a little levity thrown in, the book just feels grim and depressing. Drizzt himself spends the first few chapters as “The Hunter”, which has him reacting almost solely by instinct and displaying very little personality. Later, Drizzt encounters some allies, which introduces more likeable characters to the mix, but also adds to the grimness of the tone…one character in particular is so mired in tragedy, that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if more than a few readers were reduced to tears! I can’t deny Salvatore’s effectiveness as a writer, as his ability to make me empathize with his characters is a testament to his talent. However, despite “Exile” being a great novel, I can’t say I’d recommend it to anyone looking for any kind of “feel-good” story.

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Reading Progress

08/11/2012 page 68
18.0% "4 chapters in...Wow! So far, Book 2 of "The Dark Elf Trilogy" is even darker than Book 1 was...and Book 1 was pretty darn dark!"
08/12/2012 page 122
32.0% "Read chapters 5 thru 8 this weekend...wow, Matron Malice's plan to eliminate Drizzt...that's seriously messed up! Definitely didn't see that one coming..."
08/18/2012 page 183
48.0% "Man...Salvatore has been coming up with some really imaginative creatures to haunt the Underdark, but those dire corbies might just be the freakiest ones yet!"
08/19/2012 page 235
61.0% "I have a feeling things aren't going to end well for Belwar and poor Clacker :( Hope I'm wrong!"
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