The epic conclusion to the long-awaited trilogy featuring one of the most beloved characters in all of fantasy—Drizzt Do'Urden—a rollicking tale of life, death, intrigue, magic, danger, and the timeless bonds of family and friendship from New York Times bestselling author R. A. Salvatore.
Displaced in time and unexpectedly reunited with his son Drizzt Do'Urden, Zaknafein has overcome the prejudices ingrained in him as a drow warrior to help his son battle the ambitious Spider Queen and stem the tide of darkness that has been unleashed upon the Forgotten Realms. Though Zaknafein has endured the most difficult battles, survival has come at a terrible cost, and the fight is far from over.
Facing demons and driders, Zaknafein carries the entire weight of Menzoberranzan surrounding Gauntlgym on his shoulders once more. But the chances of survival for him and his old friend and mercenary Jarlaxle look bleak. Trapped in a desperate and seemingly hopeless situation, the legendary warriors must reach deep inside themselves to face the impossible.
While the burdens Zaknafein bears are more than enough for one of Menzoberrazan’s greatest warriors, fate holds further challenges. When circumstances take an unexpected turn, Zaknafein discovers he must not only conquer the darkness but learn to accept the uncontrollable: life itself.
The stakes have never been higher for R. A. Salvatore’s most beloved creations in this final volume of his latest bestselling trilogy begun with Timeless and Boundless. A story of brave heroes filled with dangerous thrills, Relentless also considers eternal questions about morality, purpose, sacrifice, and the definition of harmony. Exciting, imaginative, and thought-provoking, it takes fans on an action-packed ride that will challenge their assumptions and leave them breathless and satisfied.
The exhilarating conclusion to Salvatore's Generations trilogy (after Boundless) illustrates the power of family, both born and chosen. When dark elf Zaknafein Do'Urden, weapon master of House Do'Urden, becomes a father, he's determined to keep his son, Drizzt, the hero of Salvatore's Forgotten Realms series, from being corrupted by Drizzt's evil mother and the hate-driven underground society of Menzonberranzan. But when Zaknafein grows afraid that his enemies will use Drizzt to get to him, he leaves Drizzt in order to keep him safe. Jumping forward centuries, Salvatore shows the long-lasting consequences of choices made by both Zaknafein and Drizzt. Drizzt's wife, Catti-Brie, is about to have a child, and the family she's created with friends and loved ones from all different races of supernatural beings are in the midst of their most fearsome battle yet against the powers of the underworld. The question of Drizzt's survival will be on the minds of all returning readers, and Salvatore expertly draws out the suspense en route to an ending that is sure to satisfy series fans. Amid epic sword and sorcery clashes, Salvatore makes a powerful case for love and compassion conquering even the strongest of evils. Fans will be sad to see this fantastic series end.
So much emotion
If you’re invested in the story of Drizzt this book will bring forth so much emotion across the entire spectrum. Salvatore has done it again, leaving me craving more and more!
We begin with the positives. There is some beautiful writing to be found here. Bob has been at this for a long time, and his skill is evident. You may find yourself about to purchase this book because you’re a fan of Drizzt, or the Realms, or perhaps the author in general, and have already made a commitment in time and funds in the many novels it took to get here—to say nothing of the other stories Bob’s had a hand in for the Realms, such as “The Cleric Quintet”, “The Stone of Tymora”, or the “War of the Spider Queen”.
When anything Forgotten Realms or Dungeons and Dragons is mentioned, Salvatore comes to mind as a titan among the hive that made it what it is.
I marked it one-star after the first reading, and spent the next few days reading it twice over to make sure I felt the same before I started writing this review.
I won’t dare try to refund that purchase, because that’s foul—if you read a story to any degree of completion, you own that in mind and wallet.
If you aren’t a stickler for details then you may very well love this (alleged) final chapter in the Legend of Drizzt. If you’re something of a lore-hog like me, then you might come to the same conclusions I did. Read on, if that’s the case.
The negative review comes down to three factors: pacing, plot holes, and the deus ex machina.
Up till around the middle of the novel, the pacing was fine. It was impressive, honestly, considering there was a balance between two vastly different timelines that continued the trend from “Timeless” and “Relentless”. Then, in the midst of what appears to be an increasingly hopeless situation, the war we’ve been following for a few books is seemingly abandoned after a certain Chosen goes “Fwoosh”.
What follows are some mostly bizarre attempts at character building in scenes that felt either out of place or poorly handled, and I’m still not sure where my final opinion falls on that.
The book ends, and apart from a scene reminiscent of the Lion King whereupon Simba gets raised to an adoring throng and Yoda kicks in the door before credits roll, there’s no actual conclusion. What happened?
To start, I get that books and products coming out of Wizards of the Coasts are related. When I got “Waterdeep: Dragon Heist” and looked at the year it took place I already knew, well in advance, that Jarlaxle was alive and kicking. And to that end, Luskan still stands, and Bregan D’aerthe maintains its autonomy. The good guys won, and this should surprise nobody.
What’s less clear are the implications. Bob teased in a tweet to expect big changes in the Realms, and I finished reading “Relentless” with absolutely zero indication of what those changes might mean in concrete world-building.
Which brings me to the plot holes. When dealing with the Forgotten Realms, they happen. A lot. Some things are minor, such as the relationship between Uthegental and Mez’Barris; in the books immediately preceding the Generations Trilogy (“Archmage”, “Maestro”, “Hero”,) it’s mentioned that he’s her beloved son. In “Relentless” he’s her lover/patron, and allegedly she has no idea what he is or where he came from. Minor, but an annoyance. In the “War of the Spider Queen” books, Kyorli is consistently female. In Generations, she is now a he.
I’m not about to speculate after Gromph’s opinion on whether his familiar has a set of dingleberries, but one assumes a level a consistency from that one.
On a larger note, there was a book published in 2007 titled “The Grand History of the Realms”, with Drizzt ON THE COVER, wherein Menzoberranzan was around for a few millennia longer than the whole “Yvonnel being as old as the city” narrative suggests. That particular point stuck with me not just through Generations, but nagged in other novels where she was mentioned.
Was this retconned? Why?
I’ve followed Bob on social media for years. His views on current events and his personal journey come as no surprise, and regularly revealing themselves in portions of writing that he once jokingly referred to as the Dao of Drizzt. They were welcome, endearing snippets that felt like a wave from writer to reader in passages advancing his stories throughout the years. My main issue is that this came across as a heavy-handed slap in the final third of “Relentless”.
Jarlaxle’s mentioning of “better angels”, this notion of Charon and the “arc” of heaven. I felt less and less like I was reading a Realms novel, and more like I stumbled upon a fanfic of his twitter feed. His views and opinions don’t surprise me. I agree with them. But they glared at me here with the intensity of a televangelist shoveling convenient scripture down my throat.
Yvonnel has ever been a character that was methodical, well-written, and marvelously sinister even in her seeming benevolence. Fantasy demands suspension of disbelief, but I found her sudden acceptance of these supposed truths jarring—to say nothing of Quenthel. What was the impact here? When people are presented with evidence that contradicts their entire worldview, the realistic response would be to dig in harder. Sos’Umptu was somewhat more believable in this respect. But I was asked to believe a race so convinced of their own superiority suddenly had their preeminent examples say, “Meh, I was wrong. Let’s laugh about it,” and get away with it all?
If this is indicative of greater changes for the Realms at large, I grow even more uneasy. I haven’t had such a visceral response since I sat down to find out what “Spellplague” meant, and proceeded to fight off tears.
I love the Realms, but though Relentless has the names and faces I, and others, have seen countless times before, I don’t recognize them. What could have been glorious and profound and meaningful comes across as rushed and self-indulgent.
All in all, I was here for the journey with everyone else who got to this point. I don’t regret the laughs and tears along the way. I know I’m in the minority when I say I feel a little betrayed, and very hurt.