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Sojourn
The Legend of Drizzt, Volume III
Reviewed by Matt Cowger, © 2006

Format: Book
By:   R.A. Salvatore
Genre:   Fantasy
Released:   Hardcover December 2004, mass market June 2006
Review Date:   April 06, 2006
RevSF Rating:   6/10 (What Is This?)

Sojourn is the last book in the Legend of Drizzt trilogy that describes the early history of one of the Forgotten Realms' most beloved characters. Throughout the series we've followed young Drizzt from his troubled youth in the dark underground city of Menzoberranzan (city of the Drow or dark elves) to an escape into the Underdark. During his stay in the wilds of subterranean Forgotten Realms he cemented his moral beliefs, learned friendship and said goodbye to his father.

In Sojourn, Drizzt has escaped to the surface of the world and attempts to learn the ways of aboveground life. He makes some enemies and of course also makes the acquaintance of some of the characters we met back in the first series to feature Drizzt, The Crystal Shard.

Fans of that series will find this one leads almost directly into the earlier; a nice full circle for longtime fans. (And Drizzt becomes Darth Vader. But everyone knows that is the fate of all prequel series.)

Sojourn is definitely a step up from the previous volume Exile, and slightly better then the first book, Homeland. A lot of the chest beating that made Exile sometimes a chore to read is largely gone as is some of the pathos and grim attitude of Homeland. What we have in its place is a pretty straight up action/adventure story with, surprisingly, some moments of lightheartedness as Drizzt discovers the ins and outs of a very unfamiliar world.

As always, Salvatore is a competent writer and his action descriptions are often fun and exciting. He is a lot quicker to cut to the chase here, with a nice sense of momentum that was lacking from a lot of the previous two books.

The ending is predictable to anyone who has read anything else in the Drizzt series, but fun nonetheless, and a nice letup from some of the dreariness that Salvatore poured into the previous two books.

The book follows in the steps of the last expanded editions, with a preface and an afterword Q&A with R.A. Salvatore. Each chapter has the new excerpts from Drizzt's personal journal that serve to expand on some of the themes and ideas in the chapter that follows. The preface is written by the always wonderful Margaret Weis and is a nice inclusion; the Q&A, as in the previous books, is really only there for the die hards.

For the fans, this is a long awaited final stop in the early journeys of a long time favorite. For the average fantasy reader, it is a nice capstone on an otherwise middle of the road fantasy series.

Sometimes, reviewer Matt Cowger lives in the surface world -- whether or not that world is Earth is the subject of some speculation.

 
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