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review 2018-03-19 17:58
Sojourn / R.A. Salavtore
Sojourn - R.A. Salvatore

Far above the merciless Underdark, Drizzt Do'Urden fights to survive the elements of Toril's harsh surface. The drow begins a sojourn through a world entirely unlike his own--even as he evades the dark elves of his past.


Third volume of back-story for Drizzt Do’Urden, drow fighter extraordinaire. This is the volume that connects to the Icewind Dale novels which Salvatore wrote before the Dark Elf Trilogy.

Our hero makes the shift from living as an exile in the Underdark to an existence in the unfamiliar world above ground. While he wasn’t accepted in his birth society because of his sense of morality, he is now judged according to his racial background by those who he meets along the way. Can he find people who will acknowledge that he is not an evil drow? Will he finally find someone to call friend and assuage his life-long loneliness?

Once again, the plot is driven by fight sequences, something which Salvatore seems to prefer writing. There’s a lot of dark brooding, but not much real self-reflection by the characters. Perfect for the brooding teen, not so great for the non-brooding older woman. Still, the books are fun to read and short enough to be ideal for a quiet evening at the end of a work-week.

Book 276 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.

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review 2018-03-19 16:32
Gap into Vision / Stephen R. Donaldson
The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge - Stephen R. Donaldson

Beautiful, brilliant, and dangerous, Morn Hyland is an ex-police officer for the United Mining Companies--and the target of two ruthless, powerful men.  One is the charismatic ore-pirate Nick Succorso, who sees Morn as booty wrested from his vicious rival, Angus Thermopyle.  thermopyle once made the mistake of underestimating Morn and now he's about to pay the ultimate price.  Both men think they can possess her, but Morn is no one's trophy--and no one's pawn.

Meanwhile, withing the borders of Forbidden Space, wait the Amnioin, an alien race capable of horrific atrocities.  The Amnion want something unspeakable from humanity--and they will go to unthinkable lengths to get it.


Although this is the first series by Donaldson that I can stand to read, I still can’t say that I love it. I’m not sure that I even like it. There really isn’t one character that I can actually identify with—there are one or two that I’m interested in and want to know what happens to them, but I can’t say that I like them. Mind you, that’s not necessary for a novel but it does make it easier reading.

The aliens in this universe seem to take a cue from Octavia Butler’s Oankali in her Xenogenesis series. Donaldson’s Amnioin also seem to be rather echinoderm-like and are interested in acquiring humans for genetic purposes. Selling someone to the Amnioin is seen as the ultimate evil in human trafficking. But when there’s money to be made, you know that some human is going to try to make deals with them—and it’s rather like trying to make deals with the Fae. You need to watch your wording and make sure you know all of the ramifications before you sign on the dotted line.

If you’ve got any issues with rape scenes, you won’t have made it past the first book. That said, don’t expect that to stop in this book. Morn actually has to go to sick-bay at one point, to get repaired after particularly rough treatment by Nick Succorso. Donaldson doesn’t go into graphic detail, thankfully, but there are more than enough hints to be horrifying.

The cynicism evident in the book is a bit depressing too—everyone seems to be on the take somehow, even the police force that Morn used to belong to. She followed her parents into that occupation and had taken pride in their upstanding reputation—this is yet another thing that gets taken away from her, along with her personal agency.

Book 275 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.

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review 2018-03-12 14:21
Exile / R.A. Salvatore
Exile - R.A. Salvatore

Hostile in ways that a surface-dweller could never know, the tunnel-mazes of the Underdark challenge all who tread there. Among these souls are Drizzt Do’Urden and his magical cat, Guenhwyvar. Exiled from his drow homeland, Drizzt must fight for a new home in the boundless labyrinth. Meanwhile, he must watch for signs of pursuit—for the dark elves are not a forgiving race.


The books in this series have the virtue of being quick & easy to read, perfect for a Friday evening after a long work week. This is book two of Drizzt’s back story—wherein he lives by himself in the tunnels of the Underdark until he can’t take the solitude anymore and seeks companionship with mixed results.

As one of my cousins pointed out to me, Salvatore writes great fight scenes and they are very much on display in this installment. In fact, the book is basically a series of fights, stitched together with a very little bit of plot. I will also give Salvatore credit for inventing some great Underdark creatures and cultures for Drizzt to fight with.

Book number 274 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2018-03-01 21:40
Tigana / Guy Gavriel Kay
Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay

Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered country struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the tyrant king Brandin that even the very name of their once beautiful home cannot be spoken or remembered. But years after their homeland’s devastation, a handful of men and women set in motion a dangerous crusade—to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the world the lost brightness of an obliterated name: Tigana.

Against the magnificently realized background of a world both sensuous and brutal, this masterful epic of a passionate people pursuing their dream is breathtaking in its vision. A spellbinding novel in which myth comes alive and magic reaches out to touch you.


Those of you who read my reviews regularly know that Guy Gavriel Kay can do no wrong in my eyes. I adore his novels and this one is no exception. The bonus this time? I met Mr. Kay at a convention last August and I can now hear his voice in my head, reading the novel to me (he has a very nice voice).

Tigana is a kingdom under a curse: the people were conquered and the name of their country can no longer be heard or remembered (except by those who lived through the conquest). When a former citizen says “Tigana,” others hear only a garble or an empty spot. Can those who remember find a way to break the curse and restore Tigana to its former glory? Their lives get braided together in some convoluted and heartbreaking ways.

As with any sweeping tale like this one, there are casualties along the way, some expected, some surprising. The ending was a bit messy, something I appreciate in a book, as I find that real life endings are rarely neat. I read most of the novel on a long plane flight and it was the perfect distraction—I was able to submerge in this fantasy world and ignore the passage of time.

Book 271 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project

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review 2018-02-23 17:38
Homeland / R. A. Salvatore
Homeland - R.A. Salvatore

In exotic Menzoberranzan, the vast city of the drow is home to Icewind Dale prince Drizzt Do'Urden, who grows to maturity in the vile world of his dark elf kin. Possessing honor beyond the scope of his unprincipled society, can he live in world that rejects integrity?


This novel relates the first installment of Drizzt Do’Urden’s back story, namely his birth into Drow Elf society. As I have come to expect from Salvatore, it is melodramatic in the extreme. Drow society is over-the-top evil, bad in every way. Despite the fact that Drow females don’t produce many offspring comparative to their extra-long lifespans, Drizzt was conceived as a sacrifice to the horrible spider goddess Lloth and he is spared this fate when one of his brothers murders the other. Lloth’s supremacy as spider goddess has yielded a matriarchal society, where women are dominant and, like female spiders, are quite willing to dispense with a male once his purpose has been served. There is nothing resembling honour in Drow circles—not even between family members. So Drizzt’s violet eyes and moral sense set him apart from his own society.

We also learn how he became involved with his side-kick, Guenhwyvar the black panther and how he became the fighting machine that we are familiar with from previous books.

I can see where in a gaming situation, OTT characters such as these would be fun to play. It’s often more fun to be a villain than a hero because you get to do the awful things.

Book number 273 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.

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