Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Orc King

Rolling right along with another Salvatore book, this one is the first of the new trilogy, Transitions. The Orc King picks off wonderfully right where the Hunter's Blades trilogy left off, with only a couple of months passing between them. The original party of well-known adventurers is present and the action takes place squarely in the Silver Marches region of the Forgotten Realms. This was a great book, plain and simple. It was wonderfully Dwarf-centric with a great deal of action, but not to the point of hollow distraction. Many split factions of the Orc hordes present themselves, and fringe elements, such as the Elves of the Moonwood are also in there. Salvatore even managing to return briefly to Auckney, the land from the novel Spine of the World.

Transitions is a trilogy title with so many implications too. Mainly, people will clamor for the information regarding the new shape the Realms are about to take as Wizards of the Coast get ready to change to their fourth edition rules. There is a prologue in the beginning where Drizzt, one hundred years in the future, speaks of the impending Spell Plague, the destruction of prominent cities, such as Luskan, and the chaos that has swept across the lands for over a century. Many characters undergo significant transitions as well, with at least one of them drastically changing character classes, and another taking a most divergent path to the rest of the heroes.

Salvatore plays with the emotions of the reader in a few, key, areas, making for some dramatic reading. During key battles, specifically in the end, the pace was so frantic, and tense, I found myself skipping words in the sentences just to reach the climax. I was caught off guard by many of the twists in the story as well, and am excited to see where the next book, the Pirate King will take us. It is clear that after the close of this book however, that this major story arc, four novels long in the making, has come to a clear conclusion. Five stars, two thumbs up, what have you, this one's worth reading for sure, even if you haven't invested the time to read the rest of Bob's massive library. Read the Hunter's Blade trilogy prior to it, because those books are excellently written as well, and combined with this one, make for a great tale.

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