MAESTROMaestro by R.A. Salvatore

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Homecoming #2 | Legend of Drizzt #29

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (April 5, 2016)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 330 pages

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Continuing the epic Legend of Drizzt series, Mr. Salvatore presses on with this newest chapter entitled Homecoming; a title which probably gives away (at least, to frequent readers) the focus of this tale.  But even if you might guess where the author is taking you, he keeps the story fresh by mixing together new characters, old faces, familiar places, and unique ideas to create yet another story which Drizzt fans will adore.

Beginning right where Archmage ended, Drizzt and Catti-brie are each presented with seemingly overwhelming tasks, which neither is sure they are strong enough to face.  Tasks that will require them to part ways for a time; both understanding that death might separate them again after fate has so recently given them this second chance.

Drizzt’s appears to have the darker, more formidable road to travel: Jarlaxle concocting a daring plan to lead a force into Menzoberranzan (the drow city where Drizzt was born and reared).  Artemis Entreri and Drizzt being the key members of this task force, and though Jarlaxle attempts to sell it as a rescue mission to save a friend from the clutches of the Matron Mothers, Drizzt realizes this master of duplicity always has more than one reason for his actions.  But determined to walk his own road, define his own truth, and never betray those he names friend, Drizzt takes leave of his closest comrades to travel the underdark yet again, not completely sure of either Jarlaxle or Artemis; demons and the vile Matron Mothers awaiting him, as he demonstrates (yet again) that he is a true champion — whom death itself cannot defeat!

Meanwhile, Catti-brie remains in the world above.  After aiding her foster father ‎Bruenor Battlehammer in conquering Gauntlgrym, a new threat has immediately arisen: the Fire Primordial held inside the mountain itself.  This being of immense destructive power trapped within a fiery prison created by the magical Hostower, which keeps a steady stream of water elementals coursing into the mountains to quench the Primordial’s destructive power.  Now, though, the Hostower is failing, and only the combined magical might of all Faerun has a chance of rebuilding it before it destroys Gauntlgrym.  But can Catti-brie forge this diverse group into a group able to accomplish such a spectacular project?  Especially when the wizard she must depend on most is none other than Gromph Baenre, the most powerful Drow wizard who has ever lived!

As I always say when reviewing a Drizzt book, you either love this drow and his world, or you don’t.  Mr. Salvatore has spent several decades perfecting the Drizzt tale, and he never strays far from his chosen mold.  So if you adore sword fights, vile drow machinations, magical mayhem, and heroic camaraderie, then this novel will give you yet another fix of those things — with one extra thrown in.

This “extra” ingredient is what other reviewers have labeled “legacy.”  That might not be the word I would use, but it will definitely serve, because Drizzt does spend a fair amount of time here dealing with his place in the world.  Being reunited with the Companions of the Hall has made our heroic drow think closely about his life for several books now: what he has accomplished, how he has made a difference in the world, how he wants to live out the remainder of his life, and how he can justify all his actions — both good and bad.  But in Homecoming, he is shown a different perspective, a different view of his life, where he recalls the people he has hurt, those he has betrayed, the ones he could not save, and how he might embrace that seemingly evil side of himself to do a greater good.  All of this inner contemplation leading Drizzt to a decision about what his legacy should be.

The only criticism I can level at this novel is that I really missed the dynamic of Drizzt interacting with the other Companions of the Hall.  I went into this story knowing they would probably not all be together, but I just did not find Drizzt’s adventure with Jarlaxle and Artemis nearly as rousing as any he has shared alongside Catti-brie, Bruenor, Wulfgar, or Regis.  That may just be my personal preference, but it was still there, and I really struggled at times to feel the same passion for this adventure as I have others in the past.

Homecoming is a Drizzt novel which every fan of this heroic drow craves: non-stop action, emotional contemplation, wicked dark elves, and even more wicked sword fights.  And if you love sword and sorcery tales of this nature, you will not be disappointed by this twenty-ninth installment in The Legend of Drizzt.

The publisher provided this book to me for free in return for an honest review. The review above was not paid for or influenced in any way by any person, entity or organization, but is my own personal opinions.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

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