This new installment in the seemingly endless series of Drizzt books continues from pretty much where we left off at the previous book Archmage. Following the theme Salvatore has done for a while, the story picks a few of the (vast) cast of character to follow closely – this time Entreri and Dahlia are back after being absent for the last few books.
The main plot follow from the previous book with Catti-Brie attempting to rebuild the Host tower of the Arcane while in the Underdark, Demogorgon wrecks havoc on Menzoberranzan while Entreri, Jarlaxle and Drizzt journey back to Menzoberransan to rescue Dahlia. There is a complex plot among the noble houses but again, unfortunately, it seems more like squabbling children than devious creatures. The author also has an annoying tendency to do a buildup of a huge plot only to overshadow it with another a book later or even allow it to fizzle out completely. While it may be true to form that all Drow eventually betray each other, it does not make for a very exciting read, and the cookie-cutter evil nobles do not make it any easier to enjoy these segments.
The two other main plots, those of Cattie-Brie and the Drizzt/Entreri/Jarlaxle sections are fortunately more interesting. Their plot is clearer and moves along nicely; and while I don’t like where Drizzt is headed in the end (a man of two centuries really should not mope like a teenager), as a whole the journey was more enjoyable than the previous outing.
In the grand scheme of things it also is starting to look like the field has been cleared a bit and the overall plot is now more concise and the amount of characters manageable. This makes me look forward to the next book more – and perhaps this time we’ll get to see what Regis and Wulfgar are doing. The series could do with some new areas, characters and plots rather than rehashing the old ones over and over again. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.