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'Witch King' written for Salvatore faithful

Published: Thursday, November 10, 2005

Updated: Monday, August 9, 2010 14:08

"Promise of the Witch-King" seems to hold a lot of promise when it comes to fantasy books.

Salvatore puts an interesting twist in this series by using anti-heroes as his main characters. The definition of an anti-hero is a character which acts or has characteristics that are usually attributed to villains.

This throws an interesting twist into the moral and ethical dilemmas presented in the story. In typical literary style, the effects of their behavior on those they meet is a major theme in the book, usually because they end up killing them.

Well, let's start at the beginning. Wait, it appears that unfortunately I have no idea where the beginning is. The two main characters are actually taken from previous books written by Salvatore which feature his "signature character" Drizzit Do'Urden. It seems that when he gets a character he likes, Salvatore refuses to let go. Unless of course, he decides to kill them off.

Several other fantasy authors, such as David Eddings, also take an epic proportion of novels to complete a story. The problem is when the story turns out to be less than epic.

The "Promise of the Witch-King" begins with our two anti-heroes battling in a castle at the bidding of two dragon sisters. This is the premise of what follows in the book as another mysterious castle is found and another, even more powerful object is expected to lie within.

It appears to be a promising story, right? There are lots of battle sequences, intrigue, and even a bit of romance thrown in the mix. The problem is that the characters Salvatore has constructed are somewhat hard to follow.

The drow dark elf Jarlaxle is a complete enigma as he always seems to have an ulterior motive, which is never made clear to the reader. This blocks the drow's ability to connect to the reader or even just to his fellow characters.

Salvatore's feminine characters are just plain frustrating. At first, they appear to be really cool - soldiers, bounty hunters, and wizards - but in the end none of them are really fleshed out and almost all of them die.

It is really hard to get attached to any of the characters when they are all just dying or doing all the killing. By the way, Salvatore is praised for his battle sequences, which might explain all the death.

The redeeming character has to be Entreri. He is a companion to Jarlaxle and although he does kill a lot of people he at least reflects about it a little bit. The emotions given to this character are complex, and it makes it interesting to see how he reacts to the situations thrust upon him by Jarlaxle's scheming.

Salvatore fans will want to read this addition to the Sellswords series, as it progresses the familiar characters through an interesting story and gives further the dimensions to the characters of Entreri and Jarlaxle. For the rest of you who are only marginally interested in fantasy, can't figure out which book you should read first or just flat out don't care - you aren't missing out on anything.

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