There’s absolutely no reason we should be reading the 25th book in the saga of Drizzt Do’Urden, the elf who really did come here just to make friends. But thanks to a late-night gentleman’s pact and a $2.00 sale, here we are. Which just goes to prove what I’ve always said, don’t make pacts. Sure, promising never to speak of what happened last summer seems like a fun character-building exercise. But the next thing you know, the transient you accidentally killed is back from the dead, murdering your friends one by one, and you’re reading a Dungeons & Dragons novel.
Catching up with The Companions a year ago turned out to be a lark. RA Salvatore was my gateway to non-funny fantasy. I probably read about 10 Forgotten Realms novels a year between 1990 and 1997, in addition to Dragonlance novels, Dark Sun novels, Ravenloft novels, and the Spelljammer series. I was a very loyal geek. So it was fun to jump in and see the lengths he went to keep his characters alive despite an editorial mandate to move the timeline ahead 100 years. It was ridiculous, but also very D&D.
So what’s an antonym for lark?
Books discussed this episode: Night of the Hunter by RA Salvatore.
I’m sure there are fun role-playing game tie-in novels out there, and I’d be happy to take suggestions for future reading. But this book is everything you’d imagine officially licensed fan-fiction to be– plotless, full of 10-page sword fights with random monsters, allusions to an unexplained history that’s taken for granted AND a world where when things are explained they make even less sense. It’s also overflowing with Salvatore’s usual indulgences, from unnecessary exclamation marks, clueless cultural insensitivity, a title that makes it indistinguishable from the last 15 books, and characters who will never die, no matter what he drops on them or how much he pretends they are dead.
You know the only character RA Salvatore has managed to drop something on and leave for dead? Chewbacca. His own characters are untouchable, but he killed Chewbacca with a moon.
Just before Night of the Hunter, I picked up Rise of the Spider Goddess by Jim C. Hines. It’s a story he wrote in college about an elf who longs to stare at sunsets and is pursued by an evil spider goddess. He published it in January as an example of what not to do. It has problems (the snarky author commentary is also an example of things not to do), but it’s considerably more fun than Night of the Hunter. If you ever get the idea that it might be amusing to go back and catch up on the exploits of perennial hero Drizzt Do’Urden, break the emergency glass and pull out Hines’ book instead.
Midnight Skull Sessions 41 is up on iTunes. You can also download it directly at the link below. But you should also rate us on iTunes! I mean, if you’re feeling nice.