Legacy of the Drow Collector's Edition
Legacy of the Drow Collector's Edition Capsule Review by Jake de Oude on 19/11/02
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 3 (Average)
This collection of Forgotten Realms fiction has some issues, such as a sudden change of style after the first three books. Overall, however, it still is highly entertaining gaming fiction. Just don't expect literature.
Product: Legacy of the Drow Collector's Edition
Author: R.A. Salvatore
Company/Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Line: Forgotten Realms
Cost: US$ 27.95, CAN$ 42.95
Page count: 1077
Year published: 2001
Comp copy?: no
Capsule Review by Jake de Oude on 19/11/02
Genre tags: Fantasy
The short-short version of this review would be something like: "More of the same." With that, I'd mean "more of the stuff that made The Dark Elf Trilogy and The Icewind Dale Trilogy such entertaining reads." I could say "Read my review of The Icewind Dale Trilogy and replace the serial numbers with those found here on the left." I'm not doing that since it would be unfair to the book, to the author and to you. (Reading my review is probably a good idea nonetheless, since it gives you a better understanding of where I'm coming from.)
Although I did try to avoid them, there are some spoilers in the text ahead.
The Legacy of the Drow bundles as much as four books in a single volume, clocking in at a solid 1077 pages. The books found here are The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness and Passage to Dawn.
The Legacy is set in the Forgotten Realms, a high magic fantasy world with the usual trappings. Obscure creatures roam the land, as do elves, dwarfs, halflings, orcs, dark elves, etc. etc. There are vast kingdoms, evil lords, greedy merchants, damsels in distress and some dragons to boot. In other words: a great world for adventurers. Salvatore puts most of the action in only a few places: the dwarven stronghold Mithral Hall and the drow city Menzoberranzan places that aren't given much description. This is in stark contrast with The Icewind Dale Trilogy, where the heroes travel far and wide, and where most of the locations are described rather well. The Legacy is much more focused on fewer places that are given an overview in broad, sweeping strokes. It is telling that there's only one map in the quartet, and that's one of Menzoberranzan. No maps of the visited region of the Realms, no map of Icewind Dale, not even a map of Mithral Hall are given.
The bad stuff
The plot of the Legacy of the Drow isn't very impressive, but it's very entertaining. I'm not going to tell you anything about it, as it may spoil your fun reading it. There are some problems with it, however. Some of these I can't and will not hold against the book, others I will.
Drizzt isn't going to die anytime soon. And you're aware of that. Drizzt can do stupid things all he want and believe me, he does pull off some astoundingly stupid acts he isn't going to die. Therefore, it's not the question whether Drizzt survives or not that matters (he will), but how he survives. This complaint holds for the other major characters as well.
The good stuff
So why do I give the book such high marks while I list all these gripes? Because the collection is not pretending to be more. It doesn't pretend to be literature, or high art. It's just magnificent gaming fiction, with cool characters (both heroes and villains), a grand setting and written in an easily readable style. And for two additional things: the battle descriptions and some details about magic. One could argue that these are exactly the elements that make the Legacy gaming fiction.
The Legacy of the Drow accomplishes what it sets out to do: to provide high magic fantasy entertainment. While the quartet has its share of hiccups, they are far from ruining the book. I guess the reason I see all the wrinkles is that after two trilogies, the novelty is wearing off, leaving me with more attention for the little things. But hey, buy this collection let it entertain you as it did me!