Monday, December 2, 2013

The Last Threshold

The final volume of The Neverwinter Saga, The Last Threshold, left me with mixed feelings. On one hand, I really liked the character development and the amount of adventuring there was -- probably the best of Salvatore in awhile. But on the other hand, there were really poor parts in the book, and the story as a whole was quite uneven.

I believe in this fourth installation there was less need for background building for the Neverwinter game, and thus more freedom for the characters. The plot is more coherent than in the previous one as it only follows the storyline of Drizzt and his new companions. Who are quite a bunch, and probably that's why they don't really have a future together after this one. At least not with the drow ranger. The dwarf and the monk remind me of Salvatore's old characters, too. He kind of recycles them like one David Eddings did in his time.

Jarlaxle finally returns like nothing had happened -- no surprises there -- and with him Athrogate, who also died in Gauntlgrym; a fact I had totally forgotten. The Last Threshold makes a good job of reminiscing past events, though, and even sheds some light on what happened in That Curious Sword, which I still haven't read. The drow mercenary remains as cool as he's always been, but for some reason the secret of him once being of House Baenre seems to have spread around. Quite troubling.

The plot twist of Thibbledorf Pwent turning into a vampire in the previous book lead to nowhere, as after Drizzt and Dahlia find him, Pwent decides to get dusted in sunlight as undead life doesn't really excite him. Of course, no one stays to witness this event. I have a feeling Pwent will reappear in future.

Another oddball, or two, are the Errtu and Tiago Baenre subplots. After the novel's highpoint -- Drizzt & Co.'s glorious rescue by Jarlaxle -- I thought there actually would be no realization for them in The Last Threshold. However, there were still pages left and room for the silliness that the whole ending of the book is.

Errtu and Tiago ending up fighting was almost comical to me, and disappointing, too, as the young drow's new scimitar would not change its owner. And the 20-year time-travel into the future for Drizzt and the rest came completely out of nowhere. I did some research and I guess it was in preparation for the Sundering. Yet another world changing event as Dungeons & Dragons moves into a new edition. Again.

Then there was the oddity of the novel letting the reader understand that Dahlia manages to kill Drizzt after she learns that the drow no longer cares for her and won't be coming with the rest. But as the next book, The Companions, is already a thing, it's highly unlikely that he really died. And Drizzt didn't even get to benefit from his new ring yet. Jarlaxle made a huge point of it when returning it to the ranger.

I think that one might as well stop reading after they set for Icewind Dale. The ending is really not worth it.

Also, there were couple factual errors. Drizzt is described spotting sahuagin with his "low-light vision" when he should have darkvision, being a drow and all. It could've been just a careless choice of words, though. But Dahlia resisting a ghoul's paralyzing touch because of her elf heritage is utter nonsense. Elves have no such resistance. I don't think they have ever had.

And the cover art turned out to be nothing more than a depiction of the random encounter they had. A skull lord apparently.

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