Maestro by R A Salvatore

Maestro by R A SalvatoreMaestro by R.A. Salvatore
Published by Wizards of the Coast on April 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 330
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Something terrible, unspeakable, immense, has come to Menzoberranzan and is leaving death and destruction in its wake. The primordial of Gauntlgrym stirs, sending Cattie-brie and Gromph to Luskan, and the ruins of the only power that can keep the beast in check. The damage of the Darkening, of war, and of a demon-ravaged Underdark has sent cracks out across the North. Some of this damage may never be repaired.
And Drizzt is going home. But not to Mithral Hall. Not to Icewind Dale. He’s going to Menzoberranzan. Bruenor is ready to march with him¾bringing along an army of dwarves¾to end the scourge of Menzoberranzan, but Drizzt needs to see what’s happening there. The dwarf army may not be necessary. The City of Spiders might already have fallen to the demons and their wicked prince. But even if that’s true, what’s to say the demons will stop there?
Maestro picks up where Archmage left off, plunging Drizzt into his most dangerous adventure yet, and with all the action, adventure, beloved characters, dark elves, monsters, and demon princes Drizzt fans adore.

Maestro is the second book in the Homecoming trilogy, the first of which I reviewed recently. Although I was not that fond of the first book, thinking that it got away from my ideal Drizzt story, which revolves around him and his mates against the world. I was therefore quite happy when I discovered this novel was ultimately a tale of Drizzt, Jarlaxle (the eponymous Maestro) and Artemis Entreri going on a rescue mission to the heart of Menzoberranzan. Sure there is the side story of the dwarves, Cattiebrie and assorted others trying to rebuild an ancient magic tower, and the political shenanigans which were going on in the Drow ruling families, but the heart of the story is with Drizzt.

For me this was an improvement over the previous book, but I believe it is still a long way from the heights of Salvatore’s series. In some ways I feel like the characters have long ago jumped the shark through their multiple deaths and resurrections. They were always virtually unkillable, but once you have characters who are either basically immortal, or who have lost all fear of death, they lose some of the intensity and danger in the story. I used to rather enjoy Drizzt’s diary musings at the start of chapters, but now they seem to have turned from philosophical musings to something more like schoolboyish love letters.

I said in my last review that I felt it was time that Drizzt perhaps retired from the adventuring life, and his relationship with Cattiebrie has reached a point where they are conveniently looking to settle down and have a family. If Drizzt and friends weren’t there to save the world, I am sure that others would step up to the mark.

I enjoyed the sections of this novel which followed Drizzt, Jarlaxle and Entreri, but the Drow sections were just complicated, and the rebuilding of the Host Tower were infrequent and difficult to follow. For different reasons to the previous novel, I am going to give it the same rating.

three-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-half-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-half-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Overall: four-stars

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