529582Ah Salvatore.  One of the few authors whom I will worship at their alter of writing no matter how awful their writing.  What can I say?  When I’m loyal, I’m freaking loyal.

And I have good reason to be loyal to R.A. Salvatore‘s work.  Thanks to his character Drizz’t Do’Urdern, I was introduced to the Forgotten Realms, and thanks to his work on the Stone of Tymora triolgy with his son Geno, he’s gotten one of my sisters into reading when she at first swore a blood oath against it.

So tell me how I could not back track along his writing career and read his older works, starting with the first book in his most infamous series to date next to the Drizz’t Saga?

And so ladies and gentlemen, I give to you The Demon Awakens, first in the Demon Wars saga by R.A. Salvatore.

First thing’s first, it took me about a month to read this book because there is just so much going on I had to take my time with it or risk missing something and having to backtrack.  Really, there’s so much going on here that I think it could have been easily chopped into two books that would have been a lighter read, but I think this one worked out pretty well.

So here we are introduced to Salvatore’s world of Corona.  Corona is little different from our world during the Medieval ages: there are knights, castles, kings, and little villages that don’t often have much contact with the wider world for months at a time.  There are a few differences between Corona and our world however, in the fact that this world is freely inhabited by goblins and giants in the north, prowies in the oceans, and elves hidden in the forest, hiding for so long they are viewed more as fantasy than reality.

And he brings us to a small village called Dundalis and two dear friends Pony and Elbryan, who are unknowingly celebrating the last few days of their childhood before their home is destroyed by goblins and giants, and the two friends are separated for almost ten years before being reunited in love and purpose.  Both experience trials and tribulations along their path back to each other, but each seem to walk parallel paths that mold them into the warriors they become, capable of taking on a great darkness that rises far to the north.

To the east we are introduced to a young monk by the name of Avelyn.  A man strong in the faith of his god, but weak in the faith of humanity, young Avelyn is quickly faced with a crisis of faith when the superiors in his church show themselves to be corrupt, murderous, and full of greed.  Grief stricken, the young monk steals some priceless treasures -stones with magical properties that are considered a gift from God- from the monastery he had called home and flees into the west, eventually crossing paths with young Pony and inadvertently guiding her back to Elbryan.

Along the way of these three finding each other and becoming friends, far to the north, along all these years, in a mountain that spews ash and molten rock, a great demon awakens and bands together the evil goblins and giants of the northern mountains to attack the villages of the south.  Calling forth also evil sea-faring dwarves called prowies, the demon -‘dactyl’ as he is called- is able to summon up a fearsome force indeed with the intent to destroy and rule the world.

However the three comrades, Pony, Avelyn, and Elbryan, along with a centaur, a handful of elves and a score of human refugees, recognize the threat in the north and set forth to end the war before it really begins.

So how’s that for a plot?

Like I said, lots going on, could have been broken down into two books to make for easier reading, but other than that I think it was done very well.  The only ‘problem’ I have is that the ending was kind of absolute.  Unless you know there’s a sequel out there, it’s a little hard to imagine where else the story could go.  Obviously, Salvatore had something in mind to extend the saga as there are several more books set in Corona, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how he opens up the second book.

Enjoy folks.

Coming up: Heart of Gold by J.R. Ward

12953293Her intense passion for unlocking the secrets of the past is what made Carter Wessex an archeologist. Now she’s been given a chance to dig on Farrell Mountain where a doomed party of minutemen lost their lives—as well as the gold they were carrying during the Revolutionary War. Carter refuses to let the mountain’s owner, Nick Farrell, rattle her, even though she’s all too aware of his sexy yet sardonic presence. Her work on the mountain could be the most significant find of her career . . . if she can pull herself away from the smoldering attraction that is undeniably growing between them.

Beneath the steely façade Nick Farrell wears like a well-cut suit, he is a man of hidden tenderness. From his first meeting with Carter, there’s an immediate flare—hotter than he has ever experienced before. But no one is more surprised than Nick when his desire for her deepens into something enduring. Now Nick must find a way to convince Carter that the real treasure to be found on Farrell Mountain is a true and lasting love.