Sunday, March 2, 2014

Book Review: The Companions by R.A. Salvatore

Title: The Companions
Author: R.A. Salvatore
Series: The Sundering #1
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Length: 378 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Literary Awards:
Goodreads Choice Nominee for Fantasy (2013)

This latest installment in New York Times best-selling author R. A. Salvatore's beloved fantasy saga, The Companions moves Salvatore's signature hero Drizzt into a new era of the Forgotten Realms. As Drizzt's fate hangs in the balance, he reflects on the lives of the trusted allies who stood by his side throughout his early life--the friend now known as the Companions of the Hall. Meanwhile, the first stirrings of the Sundering begin.  


I am a big R.A. Salvatore fan, first of all, and read his first three series in highschool. While I haven't read ALL of his books leading up to this one, I have recently come to own more of his fantasy novels and will continue on where I left off or possibly begin re-reading the entire series. They are that good. I have always been hooked on his characters as well as his superb fight scenes.

The Companions, while still being about Salvatore's famous dark elf, Drizzt, is mostly about the friends he had throughout his life (and Salvatore's many series). In this novel, they are all at the ends of their lives, or have already died, but are brought together in a sort of spirit realm. They are then reincarnated or reborn into the future where they are dead but Drizzt still lives so that they can help him in some way. They still have their intelligence and memories but are stuck in the growing bodies of newborn babes and have to live out their first twenty years hiding that fact. It is impossible to hide a Dwarf King's battle skills or a young spellscarred sorceress's magic.
Bruenor, Regis, and Cattie-Brie grow up in new bodies, in new lives, to new parents, in new parts of the Realms but they know that they will need to travel back to Icewind Dale and the Spine of the World to find and save Drizzt.

It is impossible for me not to immediately love any new Drizzt story. They are all so adventurous and epic. They are books that I am easily lost in and never really want to come out of. The worldbuilding is magnificent, although I'd hope it would be when more than just one author has built it to what it is.
Forgotten Realms, from what I understand, was originally created as a sort of Dungeons and Dragons fantasy world for roleplayers but soon became quite a bit more than that. I have never played D&D except to be the 'Dungeon Master' for someone playing solo only once so I really don't know anything about the role it played in the Forgotten Realms world but I am glad for it because I love reading fantasy.

This new series, The Sundering, is 6 books long, all by different Forgotten Realms authors. From what I've deduced, The Companions is just a small glance into a bigger scheme in what is happening at this time in the Forgotten Realms 'Sundering' series. Instead of focusing on the little corner of the Realms that Salvatore's stories revolve around, we are looking at the entire fictional world.  I've only ever read one other book from another author on the Forgotten Realms (Ed Greenwood) so I don't know if I will be completely lost reading the other books in this series. Will 'The Godborn' (Book 2) be about characters from a Forgotten Realms series that I haven't read? And will it be the same for the 4 books after that? Do I need to catch up on all of these authors to understand what is happening in The Sundering? That is my biggest concern for finishing this series but I think I will enjoy it regardless. 

My Rating:
4.5 stars

If you are fantasy lover and want to delve into the Forgotten Realms books, I highly recommend starting with R.A. Salvatore's 'Icewind Dale' trilogy. 

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