4 out of 5
Many fantasy gamers and readers will recognize Dungeons and Dragons. Gauntlgrym is the first novel in Salvatore’s Neverwinter series based on Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms. Having read several recent books based on mmorpg’s that were sorely lacking in depth and character development I wasn’t sure what to expect. The only reason I picked it up in the first place was the author. R.A. Salvatore is well known in the fantasy world and I crossed my fingers and hoped he would bring something that has been missing from gaming fantasy, a well told story. Salvatore is one of the biggest names to create Dungeons and Dragons novels. I wish some of the other role playing games would follow Wizards of the Coasts lead and hire real fantasy writers for their stories. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Not having never read any of the other Forgotten Realms books was not a hindrance in any way. The characters are well developed. The story flows smoothly. The ending is satisfying even with the obvious hints to the next book. The basic story is divided into two parts, the first dealing with how a catastrophe starts and the second half how it is fixed. The author follows several different groups of characters who converge by the end. This convergence is natural and doesn’t feel forced. The story is original and contains several twists and turns. My one complaint about the book would be that the author spends too much time giving us detailed descriptions of combat, especially the fights Drizzt is in. After the first 2 or 3 we get that he is good. Then the author then does the same thing when Drizzt and Dahlia become allies. It really doesn’t take a constant barrage of detailed fight scenes for us to get the idea that the two will become a team. Other than that I definitely recommend this series and am looking forward to the next installment that is due out in 2011.