War! It has engulfed the Silver Marches in as tight a grip as the drow cast Darkening which smothers the very skies.
Across the land, the years of peace and plenty are a thing of the past. Nesme is now a burned out shell. Sundabar exists as a conquered city, filled with enemies. Elven Silvermoony lies besieged. The dwarven citadels of Mithral Hall, Felbarr, and Adbar are ringed about – above and below ground – with enemies too numerous to count. And the Companions of the Hall have been unable to stem the tide, finding themselves separated and fearful of their comrades survival!
Definitely, the fate of the Silver Marches appears bleak. The evil alliance of frost giants, white dragons, Many Arrows’ orcs, and the drow seemingly invincible. Yet even in apparent victory, the true designs of Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre has yet to be revealed – even to her friends and allies.
From this powder keg of fantasy warfare, Mr. Salvatore crafts another fine addition to the Legend of Drizzt. It has all the elements of an entertaining, fantasy romp that fans have come to expect from their favorite drow: a huge war raging, individuals acts of bravery, diabolical schemes, mysteries revealed, and more than a few moments of laughter. And here the author has even saw fit to add several moments of sobriety into the fantasy stupor that are both thought-provoking and emotionally jarring.
The best example of the latter is Bruenor’s reunion with his “mother”; a woman who reared him believing that he was not a long-dead king reborn but rather the infant child of her loving marriage. When the two face one another again with the truth of Bruenor’s resurrection between them, Mr. Salvatore does an excellent job of showing a realistic portrayal of a mother’s questions and despair at the fate of her own child – including the possibility that she might truly reject the son who was never really her son.
Even with all its positives, I have to admit that Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf did not entertain me as much as the last volume in the series, Rise of the King. The reason is simply that there was too much going on with too many characters, and Mr. Salvatore tried to wrap it all up too quickly. The frantic conclusion to this narrative so rushed that it was almost impossible for me to savor the grandness of the whole spectacle of diverse characters, races, and nations fighting a war to the finish. Something that marred an otherwise great Drizzt story.
At this point in my review of a Legend of Drizzt book I always seem to find myself saying the same thing: “If you are already a fan of the drow and his friends, then you will undoubtably enjoy this novel.” (Duh, right? I mean, it is a fantasy swashbuckling series whose longevity surely speaks to all those who love it.)
This first statement is unerringly followed by the “But, if you don’t like Drizzt or these types of classic fantasy fare (perhaps preferring more modern takes on the genre or narratives that diverge away from traditional elements) then there is nothing in this novel that is going to win you over.”
And I suppose I could say all that again, but I’ve decided not to. Rather, I’ve chosen to end this review by encouraging those who haven’t picked up a Drizzt book to go find one and give it a try. While Mr. Salvatore generally stays true to the traditional fantasy elements, the stories are always entertaining, blending fantasy fun with a very readable narrative that flows seamlessly. Not only that but he inevitably inserts moments in the stories when these seemingly simplistic characters are forced to stop looking at things in a black-or-white manner and contemplate the reality of their actions and their own personal views; their decisions then going on to actually mean something in the ongoing story. So before you cast disdain on this drow led caravan, you really should give it a go. I mean, you might find that you actually enjoy it.
Wizards of the Coast and Netgalley 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.