20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2006
Road to the Patriarch by R.A. Salvatore is the third, and final, book in the Sellswords Trilogy. The first being Servant of the Shard and the Second being Promise of the Witch-King. This book takes place right after the events of Promise of the Witch-King and continues the tale of Jarlaxle and Artemis and their journey together as Artemis seeks to come to grips with his past.
As with most Salvatore books this one has a decent mix of characters and plot, however, no matter how well constructed this plot is - this book is largely about character development. Fans of Salvatore have watched both Jarlaxle and Artemis grow as characters through several books, aside from the Drizzt books, the growth of Artemis in this book may be the single biggest development in a character in one book I have read in a long time. We learn a little about Jarlaxle's past, but this book focuses mainly on Artemis. Jarlaxle is merely along for the ride. There are some things in this book that are not usually found in Forgotten Realms books, some of the content - but to say more about that would be giving spoilers. I will say that the journey that Artemis undertakes in the second half of this book is gritty and filled with heartache.
The plot of this book can really be divided into two parts. The first part focuses on Jarlaxle and Artemis' time dealing with Grandmaster Kane and the Citadel of Assassins in the Bloodstone Lands, while the second half focuses quite a bit of Artemis' individual journey that leads to some shocking moments. I will say that the second half of the book seemed, at times, slightly rushed. Mostly because Salvatore knew what he wanted to happen and needed to fit it all in. I am guessing this book could have been 400+ pages easily. The plot is well laid out and everything that happens makes perfect sense. Salvatore obviously invested a great deal of time making sure the story stayed true to the characters and their situation. This allows the reader to care that much more about what is going on in the story.
Salvatore has a knack for weaving a believable story with characters that seem so real. We all know Artemis is a very skilled assassin, yet, while reading this book you can't help but care deeply for his story and his past and how that played a part in who he is. If you are looking for large scale battles, this book may be a disappointment to you. If you are looking for wizard battles and lots of magic, this book may be a disappointment to you. However, if you are looking for an excellently crafted character driven story, I am pretty you will enjoy this. This is classic Salvatore and fans will surely find something in this book to enjoy.
Fans of the Forgotten Realms and Salvatore will find this book and enjoy it. New fans would be encouraged to go back and read the rest of Salvatore's Forgotten Realms books before reading this one, that way all the events and discussions will make more sense. However, picking up the Sellsword Trilogy should be ok as well. I will continue to recommend Salvatore as an author I enjoy a great deal. This was a ride well worth taking.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2006
I bought this book the day it came out, just as I have bought every other book R.A. Salvatore has ever published the day it came out...including the first of course. However, never have I been privaledged with being the first person to review any of his books on this website, and for that I am grateful. Not only that, but to write the first review of one of his BEST books...
However, I didn't come here to write an in-depth review of the book, go over everything I liked and disliked, or accidentaly reveal and therefore spoil anything for you. I will however tell you this, I have loved most of R.A. Salvatore's books, and even hated a few. I am also a minority in the fact that I kind of disliked the book before this one, the second book in the trilogy. That being said....
Not a single one of the books in this long and ongoing Forgotten Realms series made me laugh out loud so often, almost bring a tear to my eye several times, nor made my jaw hit the floor in amazement so frequently as this book has. This book was simply brilliant, a masterpiece. And what person reading this book out of the millions, would NOT want to learn who, why, and what Artemis Entreri really is?....because his early childhood was FINALLY answered! The beginning of this book was fun, the middle was confusing at first, the ending was one of the best endings to any book I've ever read. 5 out of 5 stars, more easily than any book I've read has earned it.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
as a long time (15 year) fan of R.A. Salvatore, I speak with some certainty that Road of the Patriarch as well as Promise of the Witch-King are hands down his poorest works.
no one wanted to like these novels more than myself. Artemis Entreri has always been my favorite character from Salvatore's world, with Jarlaxle close behind. so my disliking of these two novels has nothing to do with preference for his more goodly characters.
my disliking comes from a very solid belief that Salvatore had no idea where he was going with this trilogy. most of it was rushed, the intrigue was poorly planned and poorly executed, resulting in a sort of "Ta Da! I knew what I was doing all along!" kind of feel. like when someone trips and then attempts to play it off as if they meant to do it on purpose.
I didn't fall for it.
there was no reason for any of it. even the characters behaved as if they had no idea why they were doing the things they did! Jarlaxle should have been murdered by Kimmuriel for his horrendeous gaff at the castle. or at the very least, slinked into the shadows to leave his former master to his self made doom. Entreri and Jarlaxle never do ANYTHING without considering the repercusions, and without thinking 10 moves into the future. the entire adventure was them "winging it". those two do not "wing" anything. especially Jarlaxle.
the Heros of Bloodstone were annoying, cliche' characters with zero originality to any of them. I found their entire concepts trite and worthless. Salvatore excels at creating memorable characters that deny expectations and stereotypes. the Heros of Bloodstone were the living, breathing stereotypes of a generic campaign party.
overall, I expected much, MUCH more from Salvatore's Deadly Duo. the guile, cunning, and skill of Entreri and Jarlaxle are the thing of legend. and Road of the Patriarch and Promise of the Witch-King delivered neither.
Salvatore needs to take a breather from his own world, or hand the reigns off to someone with fresher ideas and a new passion for the characters. because both of these books read like a poorly planned MMORPG quest.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2006
Like other writers, I tend to focus the stories I write about on my characters more than the plot itself, and Salvatore does exactly this in Road of the Patriarch.
After being left off from Promise of the Witch King, I expected the third book to be about Jarlaxle trying to take over the Bloodstone Lands from King Gareth Dragonsbane. After reading this book (which only took me about a day) I was surprised at how little Salvatore had the drow mercenary "succeed" in the Bloodstone Lands and how the book seemed to be more focused on Entreri. Truth be told, I didn't look at this as one big book, but more like 3-4 short stories. The first one being about Entreri & Jarlaxle being rewarded by Gareth Dragonsbane, the next is the rising of King Artemis the First & banishment from the Bloodstone Lands, and the third is the assassin's return to his home to exercise the demons that has haunted him for so long.
Another thing I liked a lot about this book was how it gave some good history on the Bloodstone Lands. Salvatore catalogues many of Dragonsbane and his allies (particularly the ones who helped him defeat the Witch King). My suspicion is that Salvatore kind of fell for the paladin king like he has for so many of his other characters. Though he was belittled by Entreri most of the time, Gareth Dragonsbane remained a good and honorable man. Though I'll probably get yelled at for this, I was rooting for Gareth's men to take down Castle D'Athare.
Road of the Patriarch is a great read. It has its great action scenes as well as some emotional scenes that will leave a reader breathless. One thing I would like to see from Salvatore is a book about Gareth Dragonsbane. He talks about wanting to do a book about Menzoberranzen during the times when Zaknafein and Jarlaxle were friends, but I really think he should also write a book about the fall of the Witch-King.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2006
When I finished the last page of this book I actually felt sick to my stomach. I hadn't realized until that moment just how emotionally tied to the characters I'd become. This isn't just a story about lots of cool action, but one about growth of the individual, and the price that you sometimes pay by entering into a friendship.
While I believe the intent of the story was to really focus on Artemis, who he is and why he is the way he is, Jarlaxle goes through quite a lot of personal growth as well. There are several spots where he finds himself becoming increasingly empathetic to those around him. It surprises even him. His origins are much more clearly explained, and he even makes a few very humorous blunders (the bakery scene is priceless).
While the ending seems to be pretty final in one sense, I'm hoping that at the very least we'll be seeing more of Jarlaxle and his new dwarven companion. I just hope that Mr. Salvatore takes it easy on my emotions next time.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2007
Salvatore has the unfortunate fate of being a writer of some really great fantasy novels, and now each subsequent work will, no doubt, be compared to them. That said, this book is good, but not as good as "Servant of the Shard." R. A. Salvatore is one of my favorite fantasy writers, and I enjoy reading his books about Drizzt and Entreri. Reading this series of books with Jarlaxle and Entreri gives me a break from the other novels featuring Drizzt because these novels tend to be a bit darker, more chaotic, less moral, to some extent, considering the two characters around whom the stories take place.
The plot in this book was a bit weak. Firstly, there is an investigation into the events of the preceding novel, in which a number of notable characters are killed. After this, Jarlaxle manipulates an artifact and entices a king to enter a war against him to basically unite two realms into one kingdom. It's a stretch of manipulation, even for a drow like Jarlaxle. And there is this whole philosophical thread in the novel (voiced by Entreri) about the right to rule and such.
When the book should really end, there is a subplot at the end of the book, where we see a culmination in Entreri's reconciliation of his inner turmoil. It seems like the end of the novel should have been after their forced exit from the Bloodstone lands. The subsequent part could have been the start of another novel altogether.
There is a lot of serious to the book, particularly with Jarlaxle's manipulation of Entreri's feelings about his past (and, of a lesser extent, Athrogate's, as well). There is also a betrayal that Entreri has to face. But there is humor in the book, too, mainly between Jarlaxle's bantering back and forth with Entreri. The character of Anthrogate is a great addition to the novel. I love how he was developed, and I hope Salvatore brings him back in future books.
There are a variety of well developed characters in the novel that really give it a sense of being alive. It gives the characters a robust world in which they play out their parts. I particularly liked the powerful players with which Jarlaxle and Entreri have to deal. The dragon sisters were great (the bit where Athrogate tries unsuccessfully to attack one of them in a bar, not knowing they are dragons, is really funny!).
All things considered, it was a good read, an enjoyable escape into Salvatore's fantasy world, and I hope to read more books starring Jarlaxle, Entreri, and Athrogate. Don't skip this book!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
They may be a Drow and an assassin, but they played a critical role in the defeat of a magical construct--an entire castle that held the soul of a dragon. King Gareth decides that great rewards have been earned and he names the assassin, Artemis Entreri an apprentice-knight. Entreri's companion, dark elf Jarlaxle, has his own plans, though--plans that are deeper than Entreri, or even the other Drows dare imagine. He announces that Entreri is king of the construct--and the lands around it. Gareth has his own plans for the land around the castle and another King is not part of his scheme--the path seems to lead nowhere but to war. Still, Jarlaxle's plans go far beyond a simple battle for control of a dark and frozen land.
If Jarlaxle is unusual for a Drow, Entreri is stranger for an ex-assassin. He holds a burning distrust for authority figures and fears to connect to another person, yet he desperately craves that connection as well. Rounding out the strange group, dwarf Athrogate has his own secrets, his own past, and his own nightmares.
Author R. A. Salvatore continues his Sellswords series with a book that steps away from the 'quest' cliche to delve more deeply into character and motivation. Salvatore's always strong writing brings a complex world to life--as the multitude of races and societies of this fantasy world try to coexist or carve out a place for themselves.
Although the story was that of Entreri's growth, the active character through most of the book is Jarlaxle. Jarlaxle has decided to open Entreri's heart, after Entreri worked so hard to close it. Jarlaxle is the one who decides to create a new kingdom, with Entreri as king. Jarlaxle organizes the (pathetic) defense of that kingdom, then deals with the assassin guild to help Entreri escape from the consequences of that rebellion. Only at the end does Entreri really take a leadership role--and that is limited largely to learning the truth about his parents.
ROAD OF THE PARIARCH has everything needed to be a really powerful addition to fantasy fiction. But it was hard to identify with the characters, understand why they were making the choices they made, and hard to really care about the outcome since the characters, especially Entreri, didn't seem to care. It's a tough challenge for any writer to make us care about a character who really doesn't care whether he lives or dies. Unfortunately, Salvatore doesn't quite pull it off.
Fans of this series will definitely want to see how Entreri deals with his past. Salvatore is a capable writer and ROAD OF THE PATRIARCH is certainly worth the read--but it falls a bit short of what it almost was.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2006
Very seldom have I read a book or watched a film that didn't leave me on some level feeling alienated from--or indifferent toward--the main characters. Salvatore's books are the exceptions. About 15 years ago, while first reading the Icewind Dale Trilogy, I found myself eagerly looking forward to all the scenes involving Artemis Entreri. Something about the character really stood out to me. If I had known then that Salvatore would later bless us with an entire series of novels centered around the assassin, the anticipation would have eaten me alive. Today, having just finished Road of the Patriarch I can sincerely say that Salvatore has done an outstanding job. This is one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read. While reading it, there were a couple of moments when I mentally prepared myself for the worst, fearing that the events might play out with Entreri and Jarlaxle being represented more as nearly indomitable superheroes than as men whose successes are attributed to their cunning, wit and excellence. My preparation, as it turns out, was unnecessary, for Artemis and the other characters are represented as very real men with emotions, limits and depth. As the twists and turns played out, I found myself completely immersed in the story, unable to put the book down, wishing that it wouldn't end. The dialogue was very intense, with the exchange in the throne room and later in the cell second to none. The fight scenes are excellent. The ending is one I'll never forget. The intensity of this book is of a level not often achieved in Forgotten Realms novels, with the story, dialogue, introspection, turmoil and fight sequences all absolutely amazing. Most importantly to me, this book is about a man coming to terms with himself, his past, and all that that involves.
The character development through the series, especially in Road of the Patriarch, is so complete that I'm left feeling like these were actual people, with lives as real as anyone I've met. I care about these characters, where they've been, who they'll become. I even found myself liking Athrogate toward the end and would love to know what becomes of him and Jarlaxle. I hope that the author continues with this series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2006
Not the most exciting book from RAS but the story is packed with intrigue and deception. The story feels a little rushed at times, because so much ground needed to be covered, but little was lost. Best part of the book was that it wasn't predictable at all. The plotting will leave you scratching your head at times, but than again what doesn't that involves Jarlaxle. No great big battles or powerfull enemies if thats what your into. All the excitement comes from the deception going on in the background or the dialog between characters. My only complaint, without spoiling anything, would be that the ending is a little boring for such an exciting duo.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2007
I am a great fan of R.A. Salvatore, but this book is a disappointment. It starts off very well, only to die out in the middle. Salvatore does a great job of building up events to epic proportions, only to have an anticlimactic ending. For the rest of the book we plod along looking into Enteri's past. It could have been interesting, but it was too slow and drawn out. Maybe it was just out of place in this book. And don't even get me started about the strange handling of the love interest! Oh well, I guess you can't knock them all out of the park.