on 15 October 1998
First I wish to state my tremendous respect for RA Salvatore, an author who has been an inspiration to me. His skill and vision helped give me the desire to try my own hand at the art of words. I have enjoyed his Drizzt books and the Demon War series, finding them skillfully written with equal measures of action, humor, and reflection.
This noted, I must say I found Silent Blade a dissapointment. The players were all on stage but the plot and script wasn't there. As always Mr. Salvatore, through Drizzt's words at the beginning of each part, strikes home with messages of life so that even if you disagree, you can respect what he writes. I wish the rest of the book was as well done.
Much of this book, getting into Artemis Enteri's black heart, was the true joy of Silent Blade for me. It was new and the action surrounding the assassin was far more exciting than Drizzt's trials during most of the book. My only problems with these portions was I felt a lack of the memorable characters RA Salvatore always creates. No one really stood out at all. In addition the city of Calimport never came alive to me, the descriptions lacking their normal vibrancy. The rest of the book focuses on the trials of Drizzt and his friends. With one exception I never felt any of them in any danger. They are simply too skilled and powerful. Nothing came even close to the edge-of-your-seat sequence of Streams of Silver when the Companions fled the troll-infested swamps. With no danger there is no suspense.
The plot felt thread-bare, the desire to destroy the crystal shard recovered form the last book. New readers are given little idea of how dangerous it truly is, given along a thin backstory for the nefarious crystal. Also as complications ensue, I feel the choices made become unrealstic involving the crystal. I recognized the characters but felt nothing new came from them with the exception of Wulfgar. I want to see them grow and change. Bruenor is the same as he was in the Crystal Shard. Some development would be nice. As always Drizzt is too perfect, easily sublimating his love for Catti-bre due to Wulfgar's return. Nobility isn't perfection but the attempt to overcome flaws. I want to see the dark elf struggle with his passions, not dismiss them intellectually as is the case here. I feel Drizzt has degenerated from a flesh and blood character the reader can indentify with to a cipher that is a great swordsman and spouts words of wisdom.
Admittedly this review is harsh but only due to the greatness we have seen before. Most other author I would deem this an acceptable book but not with RA Salvatore. He has shown us too much in the past. I feel as if he has grown too comfortable with the characters, unwilling in most cases to stray their course from what they have done before.
Ind the book's defense, many of RA Salvatore's touches are still there. The battles are well done and the new characters are compentently created even if little is done with them. Jaraxle as always is entertaining and the dialogue is first rate with humor scattered liberally but without detracting from the novel. The elements were there, they just needed to cook longer
on 21 January 1999
"The Silent Blade" is definitely a step-up from the previous book, the nearly insufferable "Passage to Dawn." However, it still pales in comparison to his better works such as "Homeland" and "Siege of Darkness." Wulfgar's return, which even a tundra yeti realized would happen in PtD, is made a little more tolerable in TSB, since Salvatore does a pretty good job of detailing the barbarian's tortured mind and bringing more depth to him than just depicting him as the stereotypical barbarian. And the assassin Artemis Entreri, whom I originally was loathe to see again after so many failed attempts to kill Drizzt, really saved this book, as he struggles to understand his role in the world through some heavy introspection (though he thankfully never contemplates complete redemption). However, "our heroes" are worse than ever (well, maybe not as bad as they were in PtD). Regis has become utterly pointless, Bruenor provides no insights into his mind at all other than he is a completely stereotypical dwarf, and Drizzt remains flawless as always to an annoying degree. What happened to the Drizzt of earlier novels who actually questioned things? What does Salvatore think is interesting about a character who already has everything figured out? The best Salvatore books were "Homeland" and "Siege of Darkness," in my opinion, because they dealt with the fascinating, wicked politics of the drow city of Menzoberranzan, their evil goddess, Lloth, and their conflicts with Drizzt. Matron Baenre seemed like a suitable opponent for Drizzt, but Entreri and his ignorant gang of thieves just don't. I wish the series would return to the Underdark, where Drizzt is less sure of himself, both morally and physically. All the "heroes" are just too invincible; even "sweet Catti-brie" can take out a whole army with that magic bow of her's (and by the way, what ever happened to the evil sentience of her sword, Khazid'hea? Was it asleep this whole novel?) Jarlaxle does make a return here, but part of the charm of his easy-going character was seeing how he survived in the harsh environment of Menzoberranzan. Here there is none of that. Simply put, this series is really faltering; I no longer care about the characters, and I really think I'm only reading them still because I've been through 11 or so already and I have some nagging impulse to see it to the end. Salvatore should only continue the series if he can think of good plots to justify doing so; right now I feel like he's only still writing Drizzt novels for lack of any better ideas, or the money, perhaps. Improve the series or end it, I say. Oh, yes... one more thing... Mr. Salvatore, why in the world have you allowed such absolutely ghastly cover art on all your books since "Legacy?" Find a new artist, show him the depiction of Drizzt on "Streams of Silver," and maybe the books will at least *look* halfway decent, if anything else.
on 18 January 1999
Like almost all the Drizzt books I've read, I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Silent Blade'... But before I go into that, I have to say: I am sick to death of the lousy cover pictures of Drizzt that abound (esp on The Legacy et al) When I read the books I have to studiously avoid looking at the covers, in order that the Drizzt in my head jumping round with his scimitars is the Drizzt Mr Salvatore describes, rather than a dodgy looking, wizened ugly old guy. PLEASE, if you have any creative control at all, Mr S, get some decent cover art? Please? I adore the written descriptions of Drizzt, and would love to see a faithful visual portrayal of him, for once. Anyway...this book really turned me back on to R A Salvatore's work-- I'd been disappointed and alienated by the abysmal 'Passage to Dawn'. With 'the Silent Blade' however, I am well and truly hooked again, and loving the more introspective, deeper looks at the characters (esp the 'villains' like Entreri) the continuation of the love triangle (I was tearing my hair out when Wulfgar returned in PtD-- screaming 'No!' But Salvatore has redeemed the barbarians return here in my eyes, by making him less of a 'golden boy' and giving him psychological trauma after his time in the abyss.) and the wonderful action scenes! My only complaint would be that after making Entreri a more three-dimensional character, the same 'humanising' (so to speak) treatment needs to be given to Drizzt and co. They come across as a little too invincible and perfect. Complete invulnerability does not make for a great character IMHO. But of course, I still enjoyed the book, rated it highly, and am biting my nails till the next one comes out!
on 27 November 1998
In this latest chapter of the dark elf saga, Drizzt and his friends take on depth, nuance, and complexity. Conflict becomes something that is both more difficult and more compelling than the next really cool monster encounter. Although there are numerous actions scenes, each imaginatively chorographed, the most important battles take place within the hearts and souls of the characters.
There is resolution in this story--a long-term rivalry is settled in an unexpected fashion, the evil artifact that first brought the companions together falls into highly appropriate hands--but there are no easy answers. The hero does not necessarily get the girl. Friendship, even love, does not ensure a tidy end to every problem. Emotions are complex, often contradictory, especially in the "love triangle" between Wulfgar, Drizzt, and Catti-brie. This particular conflict is depicted with admirable delicacy--not once does it fall into the shallow, the predictable, or the realm of soap opera. Issues of sexuality are presented frankly but never lightly, and without the leering, salatious tone present in far too many current fantasy novels.
One reviewer called this book "compulsively readable." That has always been one of Salvatore's strengths: a story that draws you in at once and keeps you turning pages. His battle scenes are simply the best in the business. With this story, it is apparent that his characters are maturing. It stuck me that with this story, the author pays his readers the compliment of assuming that they can keep up.
I've noticed that reviews--including and perhaps especially those written by professionals--are often essays written to support a preconceived notion, or a diatribe against the book for not being something other than it was. In my mind this book deserved a five-star rating because it accomplished precisely what it set out to do, and did so in a highly entertaining fashion. Those who love the Realms, who enjoy fantasy, and who wish to learn some important lessons about the art of storytelling should definitely read this book. Twice.
on 19 May 2001
In Silent blade we see more development of other characters in this ongoing Epic. We spend rather a lot of time with Ertemis in this worthy sequal to Passage to Dawn. On returning to Calimport, he finds the underworld in turmoil with various guilds holdinging a stalemate on overall power.. and Ertemis is an unwelcome and unwanted Wild Card. However you find yourself pitying the fools who dare to cross the deadly assassin as one attempt to kill him after another fails.
But Artemis still appears a shadow of his former self, and in one startling scene, spares one of his victims.
Great development of some major characters, and a seriously damaged Wulfgar finally goes his own way (to appear in the Fantastic Spine of the World).
The final confrontation between Drizzt and Artemis, on equal terms, no magic or escpae routes is so well written you literally forget to draw breath.
My only disappointment is the naive way in which our hero's lose the Crystal... not convincing enough for my tastes.
No matter what reviews you may have read about this book, it is no way deserving of anything less that 4 out of 5...
Read and Enjoy, once started you will not put this book down
on 6 February 1999
This was a great book from beginning to end. I will admit that I read most of the reviews that had been printed before mine and I must say that maybe I am putting to much into it but I thought that this was a great book, Drizzt can only be the main focus for so long. When Mr.Salvatore wrote the Crystal Shard the story was about four unlikely friends and their adventures, Drizzt was just such a compelling character that it took three or four books to explain him and it was masterfully done, but people you can only be the outcast for so long especialy for someone of Drizzt fame, it was nice to see Mr.Salvatore place him in the back for a book or two, Catti-Brie has had two to three books written to explain her growth and maturity. With this in mind it was great to let Drizzt have his wonderful Philosophical veiws of the over all story line, but not turn it into the wonderful world of Drizzt. Artemis Entreri has always been one of the most wonderful characters ever written, he is not a mindless thug driven by to much testosterone or the underlying quest for all power but a real man that saw a way to better his life by making himself into a perfect killing machine, there is a lot of comfort in knowing that you by your own hand control your destiney. It was a great and crushing blow to his pride and unsettled his selfconfidence to know that somewhere there was a person that could take away his hard fought freedom. It was very satisfiying to see him grow and regain his composure and self confidence back by knowing that even if he did lose to Drizzt again he had enough focus of will to kill a part of himself, as such Drizzt is the mirror image of himself. Incredible sub-plot! Wulfgars sub-plot was enough to make me weep from sadness because of the trials that he endured and the future that he is leading himself into. Mr. Salvatore did an incredible job of painting the troubled soul that was Wulfgar, it made me sad to see the reviews that stated that Wulfgars plot was pointless or boring, it made me wonder if the most tragic and horrifing thing the writers had ever endured and overcome was the lose of power on a good tv nite. Maybe I am reading to much into it but in the "Halflings Gem" Wulfgar and Drizzt met a huge fat drunken slob name Bunko that had sold his soul and his body for a bottle of forgetfulness and became the "King" of the barroom. The lesson that Wulfgar appeared to learn when Drizzt chided him for wanting to return and beat Bunko seems to have been lost on the mighty barbarian, Drizzt asked Wulfgar if it was the life that he would want, being a barroom champion and Wulfgar after reflecting stated that he most definitely did not want that life, yet in his fear Wulfgar is becoming something that he would have hated most to be, I hope that Mr.Salvatore will show the true strength that is Wulfgar and have him come to grips with his fear of Errtu and the abyss before it destroys him beyond any hope of redemption. All in all a GREAT book for those of us that are willing to let Drizzt surrender the stage. THANK YOU R.A. SALVATORE FOR BRINGING ME INTO YOUR WORLD AND LETTING ME SHARE IT. IT HAS BEEN SOME OF THE BEST TIMES OF MY LIFE AND I LOOK FORWARD TO MANY MORE!
on 25 January 1999
at first I was exited about reading the "brand new Drizzt Novel". I thought, "wow! RA wrote ANOTHER?". I was facinated by the drow since I got my copy of The Crystal Shard in Paperback. Then I got a hint of the plot..I dont know, it was ok..but when I read Drizzt novels usually, I'm drawn into RA's world..this book didnt so much have that feel. especially with the characters..they werent as deep or meaningful as they used to be. (needless to say, I still prefer the Dark Elf Trilogy to any of the other Drizzt books, but that's not the issue here). In no way am I thinking I can critisize Mr. Salvatore's work, I know from experience how difficult it is to write even one novel and keep the reader interested till the last page. he has done more than his share of writing, and I commend him for making Drizzt the icon of Forgotten Realms with a following of millions. The Silent Blade is worthy of Drizzt, IMHO, and I take my hat off to Salvatore for once again captivating the readers. I hope in the future to see Drizzt as his old self..but honestly, to all you hardcore fans out there, why would out friendly neighborhood Drizzt return to the mentally anguished, constantly on edge drow when his life has changed so much? give him a break people..there's only so much intrigue and mental instability one drow can take..even Drizzt. and to Robert Salvatore, I take my hat off..after eleven books, you deserve all the credit for making Drizzt who he is today.
on 13 February 1999
After breaking with TSR for a few years, beloved author R.A. Salvatore has finally come back to the Realms, to visit on his old friends. With his unique style, Salvatore will cease to amaze his readers. This book is no exception. Salvatore's progress as a writer shines through clearly in this novel. The story deals with three intertwined plots: The return of Wulfgar to his friends and his struggle against his inner emotional demons, the return of Drizzt's nemesis Artemis Entreri to his home of Calimport, and the quest by the old Drizzt gang to destroy the infamous relic, the Crystal Shard. In this book, Salvatore has chosen to focus more on the development of the characters Wulfgar and Entreri, giving Drizzt a lesser role. He does this superbly. Wulfgar and Entreri in this book are essentially made more "real" characters in that they do not represent the black/white, good/evil archetypes that are common in many fantasy novels. Instead, Salvatore gives them the shades of grey, such as the emotion of apathy(that can be ever so common today in people), making these characters rounded and relatable. While I hate to see Drizzt becoming a secondary character(as many do), three cheers to Salvatore for his ability to explore other aspects of his stories and keep his audiences attention. He's kept this reviewer's attention for 11 books, and I expect for many more.
on 19 October 1998
I started reading this book a 1:00 pm. I finished it seven hours later. This book would not let me put it down. Salvatore is the best thing to happen to fantasy since J.R.R. Tolkien. Of particular interest to me was the story of Wufgar, a man tormented by memories of his six-year imprisionment at the hands of the demon Ertuu. We also see Artemis Entreri back in Calimport. But all is not well with the assassin. Repeated defeats at the hands of Drizzt and the stay in Menzoberranzan have taken a toll on the killer. His only hope of redemtion is a rematch with the dark elf. Drizzt and friends travel to the Spirit Soaring to turn the Crystal Shard over to Cadderly, so that he may find a way to destroy it. Throw a certain dark elf mercenary, Jarlaxle, and you have one of the best of Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels. This is definately one to buy.
on 22 October 1998
As an avid reader of Forgotten Realms books and a huge fan of R.A. Salvatore, I must say I am a bit disappointed with Salvatore's last two efforts with the "companions of the hall". I think there was a blatant lack of anything that resembles conclusion in "Silent Blade", and Drizzt (previously one of my favorite characters) whines more than ever. I did like the angle with Wulfgar, and hopefully we will see more installments on this (although I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that he was brought back from the dead in "Passage to Dawn"). Also, it was cool to see Jarlaxle and Entreri working in concert in Calimport.
The book was captivating as with all Salvatore's works, but too open ended. That's great if there are to be more books, but if not...well.
Looking for a follow-up Bob.