Three days and I’ve finished the second book in the Dark Elf Trilogy – Exile by R.A. Salvatore. As when I first read through this series over a decade ago now, I’m devouring these novels like there is no tomorrow. However, the big difference between when I read these novels before and reading them now is I read every line with an author’s eye. I’m always watching to see how the author is doing what he/she is doing on the page. I’m seeing how the feelings are being shown, how the characters are being described, and why I’m getting so damned connected to them.
Exile picks up ten years after Homeland. Drizzt has survived in the Underdark all these long years. But in surviving, he’s lost sight of what made him so different from the other drow – his principles and honor. He realizes this and befriends a svirfneblin, or a deep gnome. But not all is well, as Matron Malic Do’Urden, his wicked mother, hunts him in order to regain Lolth’s favor. The ensuing adventures take Drizzt throughout the Underdark in an attempt to avoid his vengeful kin. And by the end of the novel, he has come to the realization that he must flee the Underdark and make for the surface, where he will hopefully be able to escape the Spider Queen’s wrath.
The novel is right up there with Homeland, with Drizzt finally learning what true friendship and loyalty means. And these first friendships that he makes with Belwar and Clacker foreshadow the greater friendships that are to come with the Companions of the Hall.
While the novel is well written, the pacing seemed a little off for me, slowing a bit too much with the chase through the Underdark. It was a bit too much cat and mouse for my tastes, but in the end, the payoff was worth it. Still earns this book a solid 4/5.
I’m taking a break from Drizzt while I wait for Soujourn to arrive at the library. So instead, I’ll be reading Jim Butcher’s The Aeronauts Windlass.