Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Review: The Ghost King (Transitions #3, The Legend of Drizzt #19)

The Ghost King (Transitions #3; Legend of Drizzt #19)The Ghost King by R.A. Salvatore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Don't miss the gripping conclusion to Salvatore's New York Times best-selling Transitions trilogy!

When the Spellplague ravages Faerûn, Drizzt and his companions are caught in the chaos. Seeking out the help of the priest Cadderly–the hero of the recently reissued series The Cleric Quintet–Drizzt finds himself facing his most powerful and elusive foe, the twisted Crenshinibon, the demonic crystal shard he believed had been destroyed years ago.


This is hard for me, and for you to understand that, I have to tell you a story.

First I want to say it's amazing how much a person can love a work of art, a creation. That is why I will never fault fans, even if the work itself is extremely faulty with many issues that impressionable teenagers shouldn't be exposed to. (But that is a story for another time.)

My point is that R.A. Salvatore's work is the reason why I started to write fantasy. So, giving it three stars hurts a little. It hurts the remnants of that fourteen year old girl who finally found her place, and was terrified of it till college. It hurts the little girl who used to secretly watch anime on Cartoon Network without telling anyone at school. It hurt the little girl who read her adult mystery novels at home, while trying to read age appropriate books in front of other people.

You see, I was thirteen when I fell in love with Harry Potter. That made me realize I loved fantasy. So I went looking for more. Tried reading The Hobbit, and utterly failed. (It was boring, still is.) And then someone told me about the Drizzt books. Some kid online I used to do one of those post style roll-plays with.

So I bought Homeland, and to my surprise it was signed. I read it, loved it, and proceeded to read his Drizzt books and his Demon Wars Saga works. I started mixing in other fantasy, but most of it was different genres. Humor, urban fantasy. The occasional mystery. Then literary works once I entered college (aside from my Lord of the Rings class). I fell behind.

One day I bought the ebooks of the ones I hadn't read yet, this being the first. It took my a while to get through it. For a while I couldn't pin down why. Then it hit me. My nostalgia had bottomed out, collapsed, vanished into thin air. I had become too educated and well read, and these books weren't holding up to my new standards.

The first thing I noticed was that the writing just wasn't that special. It lacked the emotional detail I was looking for. It was straight forward fantasy narrative, but was all over the place. Most of the time it seemed to try to be shooting for third person omniscient, but kind of failing. It was honestly a bit annoying. I mean the writing wasn't bad, but not special. It was like reading Garden of the Moon again. It didn't hold my interest.

And the characters. Damn. How do I say this? When a writer has 20 years of work they need to do something with, I expect such finality to have more of a slow build. Instead I feel like it came on like a truck leaving a smeared mess in it's wake.

First, the falling apart of magic. That alone could get some serious mileage. It's changing how people live. I got broadsided with no reason why.

Instead I got to watch some people panic, favorite characters become absolutely useless, and Cadderly become a walking deus ex machina. I don't even know what really happened. I'm just confused and kind of upset. I mean these characters have always had a slight comic book quality, you know, feats of heroism that would make shounen characters clap in appreciation at the sheer ridiculous, but damn.

I don't even know how I can voice my disappointment anymore. I seriously have no more words. I want to downgrade to a two star, but I guess I have a small shred of nostalgia left over. I don't even know why that's still there. The leftover fan in me is very angry right now. I just realized that. I thought I didn't care about the events in the book, but I do. I feel cheated. Everything felt so sloppy and haphazard. Things just happened. They happened, feeling unconnected to everything else. That is what it was like. That is why I'm disappointed and a bit sad.

I'm angry (view spoiler).

I'm angry characters I loved were just kind of there.

I'm angry I wanted it to be awesome, and then it just wasn't.

Screw it, two stars.

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