Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: The Companions (The Sundering #1) by R.A. Salvatore

The Companions
The Companions (The Sundering #1) by R.A. Salvatore

This latest installment in New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore's beloved fantasy saga, The Companions moves Salvatore's signature hero Drizzt into a new era of the Forgotten Realms. As Drizzt's fate hangs in the balance, he reflects on the lives of the trusted allies who stood by his side throughout his early life--the friends now known as the Companions of the Hall. Meanwhile, the first stirrings of the Sundering begin.
Publishes in US: August 6th 2013 by Wizards of the Coast
Genre: adult fantasy
Source: Netgalley

Buy it: Amazon  Barnes & Noble IndieBound  Book Depository

(Manly) bio: Allan is my husband, and will be an occasional guest reviewer on my blog. He's 30 and a nerd who loves (mostly) adult science fiction, namely space operas.

I have to admit that although R.A. Salvatore has been a favorite of mine for a long time, I wasn’t exactly bursting with anticipation to get my hands on this latest book. My hesitation however, was long gone before I even finished the prologue. Salvatore took this book in a completely different direction from what I was expecting, and I couldn’t put it down.  Unlike this one, I will be eagerly awaiting the next book.
Allan’s review: 4 out of 5
For me, the highlight of Salvatore’s previous books has always been his character development, and in that respect, The Companions does not disappoint. This book follows the exploits of three new characters: Spider, Reginald, and Ruqiah. In typical Salvatore fashion, the reader gets pulled inside the heads of all three central characters. You come to know them intimately, their thoughts, their fears, and their motivations. You rejoice right along with them during their times of joy and triumph, and you fear for their lives whenever they come near death.
Salvatore is an excellent storyteller, and his writing style helps this book go quickly. He provides details about the world and the places his characters encounter, but does so without going overboard and bogging down the story. Dialog is written as the characters would actually speak, and is liberally laced with humor that fits his characters’ attitudes and personas. Even in the midst of trouble, you’ll find yourself laughing along with Spider, Reginald, and Ruqiah as they make the best of whatever the universe throws at them.
Another hallmark of Salvatore’s writing is the descriptiveness of his fight scenes, and The Companions continues that tradition. He provides detailed descriptions, down to minute movements of individual characters’ hands and feet as they fight. He manages to keep you on the edge of your seat as he takes you through the fights, making you wonder if the character you’re rooting for is going to come out of the fight grievously wounded, or with only a small scratch.
The characters and action in this book combine to make it the most enjoyable book that Salvatore has penned since the Hunter’s Blades Trilogy (See below for a complete chronology). Not since the time of the original “Companions of the Hall” has Salvatore assembled such an enjoyable cast of characters for his readers to adventure with.  I can’t wait to find out what’s next for Spider, Reginald, and Ruqiah.

For those interested in visiting Salvatore’s corner of Faerun from the beginning, here is a list of the books that have come before. It’s long, but worth the effort. The list is ordered according to the chronology of the story, not publication.
The Dark Elf Trilogy – Homeland, Exile, Sojourn
The Icewind Dale Trilogy – The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, The Halfling’s Gem
Legacy of the Drow – The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness, Passage to Dawn
Paths of Darkness – The Silent Blade, The Spine of the World, Sea of Swords
The Sellswords – Servant of the Shard, The Promise of the Witch King, Road of the Patriarch
The Hunter’s Blades Trilogy – The Thousand Orcs, The Lone Drow, The Two Swords
Transitions – The Orc King, The Pirate King, The Ghost King
Neverwinter – Gauntlgrym, Neverwinter, Charon’s Claw, The Last Threshold

My question to you, my lovely readers:

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  1. I love when a book inclues great details about the world and the places the characters encounter. Especially in a fantasy because otherwise I'm usually confused. LOL I haven't heard of this author before but wow that is a lot of books he has.

  2. I did wonder when I saw Salvatore and was all..wait Brandi! No way..ha, it was your hubby

  3. Not something I would usually read but you make it sound damn awesome. Might have to check this one out.

  4. Not what I would read, but I have to say that I loooooveeee that your husband reads and blogs!

    If I could only find a man who reads...My work on earth would be done.

    My son refuses to read. I offered to pay him $1.00 for each chapter book he read. The little devil said he would do it for $5.00!!

    He dislikes reading so much, that when he actually does (either that or I kill him) he ends up throwing up. We obviously need therapy :-)

  5. I've not read any of the author's books, but I love a story with great character development :) Great reviews!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  6. Brandi, I can tell from Allan's writing that he is totally into sci-fi fantasy! It's always fun to read a fight scene that is vividly descriptive. I look forward to reading more of Allan's reviews in the future.

  7. I love Drizzt Do'Urdin. One of my fave literary characters ever!!! Will definitely have to check this new series out.
    Fab review hubby!

  8. That is awesome that you got your husband involved. I am always up for a book with great world building! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Great review! That's great this one surprised you more than you thought it would. :)

  10. I"ve never read anything by Salvatore before, and it sounds like that's been a grave omission from my reading life. He sounds like a wonderful writer who can suck you in and have you caring deeply about his characters. Lovely review, and thanks for putting this author on my radar!

  11. So great to see you have your husband blogging too! :) I haven't heard of R.A. Salvatore, and that is one lengthy backlist, but I'll definitely check a few of those series out. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Wonderful review, I read a few high fantasies each year and your description of the panoramic battle scenes had me drooling. I have not yet tried this author, but am adding to my list.

  13. This is new to me, but it does sounds like it is a good sci-fi book. Great review.

  14. LOVE Salvatore. I have all the series you mentioned except the last two. I will have to check these out. I stopped buying them in order to give other authors some space on my shelves. Excellent review! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven

  15. I love fantasy! I haven't read Salvatore yet, but I recently got one of his books for review, I just don't recall which one. Sounds like I need to get busy and read some of his stuff!

  16. I don't know if I know this author, but it's been a long time since I've read a book in this genre. I need to go back to it... one day

  17. Oh hey, this was a great review, Allan! I will definitely have to try out Salvatore's works at some point.

  18. I love the Drizzt books so much. I am always reading them (and reviewing them). This series is AMAZING. You don't even have to play D&D to love them!

    Angela's Anxious Life

  19. I don't read much adult fantasy but Salvatore is a name I've seen around-glad to hear that this one was very good.


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