Relentless by R.A. Salvatore was a duty, more than a delight. I’m sorry to say.
The Thousand Orcs by R.A. Salvatore was my introduction to fantasy and really the first book I’d ever read because I wanted to. Prior to that, it was all for school or incentives like free Pizza or some other bribe from my parents to get me to read.
But I chose to read The Thousand Orcs and thereby I discovered the world of Drizzt and subsequently devoured every existing Drizzt book starting back with The Crystal Shard.
I fell off the Drizzt wagon at some point. Perhaps I grew fatigued, but more likely it was that I’d reached the limit of all existing books, and when I tried to re-enter the world when next I discovered a new book, too much time had elapsed and I lost touch with Drizzt and the Companions of the Hall.
When the opportunity arose to get an ARC of the newest Drizzt book, I said “why not?” To be honest, I didn’t even believe I’d be approved for it. But to my surprise, I was approved.
I hadn’t read Timeless, and so I did, and I loved it. It was everything I wanted from a Drizzt book. You can read my Timeless review for more details.
When I got to Boundless, I read the first chapter or two, excited for what lay ahead. But I was so put off by the opener that I made the decision to skip Boundless entirely and hop straight to my ARC of Relentless.
It was slow. Mind numbingly slow.
The format for these three books did not help my dilemma.
If you’ve been reading them, which I’ll assume you have, then you might understand that it’s a bit difficult to get into a story when you are removed from it after reading only 6-8 chapters.
Just as I was getting into the story of Jarlaxle and Zaknafein, I was taken to the “present” and forced to forge a new path, learning to care about what’s going on.
By the time I had a handle on the future and was invested, it would switch back to the past and I’d have to ask myself “now what was going on here again?”
Not to mention, the Houses of Menzoberranzan are so mixed up between the two timelines. The past I understood. This was the hierarchy I was used to.
But the future?
I couldn’t wrap my brain around matron’s bearing the Do’Urden name, but not being Do’Urden’s at all.
This is probably because I missed about 6 books in the Drizzt timeline from where I ended to where Timeless picked up.
Yes, yes, Timeless had this same format, but it bothered me then as now, but at least the pacing kept me absorbed then. It did not here.
The plot or story of Relentless is pretty poor.
The heroes are beset on every side by the biggest challenge they’d ever faced.
But it really felt like Salvatore was running out of big bad enemies for the heroes to face and he was grasping at straws to keep things interesting.
The only redeemable aspect of the story is that Salvatore ties up a lot of loose ends. And he gives us a lot of insight into events that occurred twenty years or more ago for us, and hundreds of years before for the characters.
Whether Salvatore knew these details 20 years ago, or only recently came up with an explanation for their significance is unknown to me.
But these revelations and nuggets aside, the story is flat and predictable.
The heroes need to come up with a way to survive.
Oh look, they survive (spoiler).
So, apparently in skipping Boundless, I missed where Drizzt was killed by the retriever.
This came as a bit of a shock in the opening pages of Relentless, but hey that’s my own bad for skipping Boundless after all.
The problem here, is that authors have a hard time parting with their children.
That should have already been evidenced by the plethora of revived characters including Catti-brie, Regis, and Zaknafein.
So Drizzt bit the dust.
Is Salvatore going to leave him dead? If you think he might, you’re deceiving yourself.
I don’t usually put spoilers in reviews. And I won’t reveal any details about the who, what, where, when, why, and how, but it’s a MAJOR mark against Salvatore for not leaving Drizzt dead.
In my opinion.
Perhaps he wants to keep writing these books. And if he writes another, I probably won’t be reading it.
Not because I don’t love Drizzt. I do.
But because I’m just done.
We had a great run. Drizzt and me.
But it was a slog to finish this book and I did so more out of obligation for the ARC than I did out of a want to know what happened.
I already knew what happened.
Because I’ve learned that Salvatore is incapable of killing his characters and leaving them dead.
That doesn’t mean there needs to be a sad ending.
I’m not saying that the heroes need to lose or the bad guys win, but what I’m saying is that there could have been some pain along the way.
Not a single major character–not a single one–dies over the course of this book.
In fact, I don’t remember ANYONE dying in this book. Bad guys or good guys alike.
A couple of demons, sure, but actual antagonists?
How does that work?
Well I’m not going to ruin it, but if you’re looking for the most epic showdown and biggest battle scene you’ve ever read, you will need to look elsewhere.
Relentless does not have what you are looking for.
I’m glad Relentless is over. Now I can dive into Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty.
2.5 stars out of 5 for Relentless.
Looking for more reviews?
Check out my review of The Last Druid by Terry Brooks.