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The Ghost King by R. A. Salvatore

Posted by travizzt on November 23, 2009

A time of change and sorrow has struck Drizzt Do’Urden. Now the question remains, can he continue on?


The Ghost King by R. A. Salvatore- This is the third and last book in the Transitions trilogy. The first book is The Orc King and the second book is The Pirate King. The trilogy is a part of the Drizzt Do’Urden saga, this being the most recent installment.

The story starts with Jarlaxle, a drow mercenary leader, and his traveling companion, a dwarf named Athrogate, traveling to around. Jarlaxle gets troubled by dreams he has in which a dragon and an ancient artifact, thought destroyed, threaten to find and kill him. At the same time, Drizzt Do’Urden and his wife, Catti-brie, are returning to Mithral Hall when blue fire consumes Catti-brie. The fire puts her into a lethargic state in which she is oblivious to everything around her and at times recalls past experiences and conversation. Drizzt, in obvious shock and terror, quickly returns to Mithral Hall and tries desperately to figure out what is happening. Catti-brie adoptive father, Bruenor Battlehammer is in the similar state of disbelief. With nothing working, Regis, with his magical ruby, tries to reach Catti-brie but instead gets trapped in the same nightmare with her, only more violent and destructive. Jarlaxle thinking that the cause of his problems could be solved by a priest of Deneir named Cadderly Bonaduce, persuades Drizzt and company to help them, by saying that Catti-brie could be helped by Cadderly as well. The reason Jarlaxle needs Drizzt and Bruenor’s help is because Jarlaxle can never return to Spirit Soaring, the cathedral of Deneir. So desperate to find anyone or anything that could help them, the group embarks to Spirit Soaring. At the same time, Cadderly and a meeting of mages and priest are trying to understand what is happening to the world and magic. But soon darkness and a creature more powerful than anything imaginable descends upon the cathedral. Can Cadderly help Catti-brie and Regis? Will Jarlaxle find answers? And can Cadderly protect his family and home, and figure out what is wrong with the world?

Negatives:
1) Missing Dialogue. There were parts and times when something was left unsaid and it seemed like it wasn’t supposed to. Then there were other times when dialogue didn’t even fit into what was actually being said. For example, there was a scene when Danica, Cadderly’s wife, is talking to Jarlaxle and Drizzt about something and bursts out with something so random that it made me take a double take.
2) Cadderly’s Children. Honestly, I didn’t really care to read their parts. Sure they were interesting in their own ways, but it just felt at times to be more of the stories focus. It didn’t help that other scenes with other characters were so engaging that when the children’s scenes came up, I honestly didn’t really care. Not to mention that they seemed so general. Hanaleisa, the daughter and twin of Temberle, is a basic carbon copy of Danica. Temberle, the fighter, was just so underdeveloped and plain that I just didn’t really care. Rorick, the youngest child and a mage, was the most different and therefore, the most interesting, barely had anything to say. They just weren’t as engaging as say, Athrogate and Pwent or Jarlaxle, Bruenor, and Drizzt.

Positives:
1) “The Group.” To put it simply, when Jarlaxle and Athrogate meet up with Bruenor, Drizzt, Pwent, and a lethargic Catti-brie, it was just amazing. The utter fascination that Pwent has with Athrogate’s hell boar was just funny. Then you had the fighting styles between the group. When the first fight happens, it was neat to see how Jarlaxle and Bruenor fought, side by side, than later on how Jarlaxle and Drizzt complimented each other. They were the main focus of the story, and I really could have used more.
2) The Ending. It really leaves you on a sad, depressing note. I’m not giving away anything, but I know people who have teared up and cried about it. After going in, knowing what happens, I even got a little upset. It’s so powerful and written so well. Even the last line, “… for guests who never came”, was just so powerful and sad that you couldn’t believe it.

Side Notes:
1) The illithid. What happened to him? I mean seriously. Did he just get consumed by the Ghost King’s other desires?
2) Cover Art. Simple, but good. Seeing the Ghost King trying to chomp Drizzt and seeing Drizzt just jump away is beautifully drawn.

Overall: 5/5

Final Thoughts:
This is a really hard book for me to review. The whole Drizzt series is my first foray into fantasy, not counting The Hobbit. So after a good eight or nine years of my life, Drizzt and company were in them. And losing even one of them is a little hard. But overall the book was great. It’s funny and powerful at the same time. It really keeps you interested and invested in the story, and it almost forces you to keep reading it. Even the faults I mentioned weren’t terrible. Cadderly’s children were still pretty good, albeit general and the bit of missing or confusing dialogue didn’t hamper the experience the slightest. The story is was the driving force of this book.

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