Streams of Silver by R. A. Salvatore
|Book Name:||Streams of Silver|
|Author:||R. A. Salvatore|
|Publisher(s):||Wizards of the Coast|
|Release Date:||January 1, 1989|
We’ve dug our holes and plumbed the depths
Carved our views of novels as epithets.
This day my work has just begun
In the mines of silver and rum
Beneath the moors
In the blackest lores
Behind the veil
Runs the river of silver pale
Hammers chime on Mithral pure
And fingers click on keyboards sore
A reviewer’s work is never done
In the world of fantasy where silver run
To writing gods we sing our praise
Put another Twilight rip-off in a shallow grave
We know our work has just begun
Into the second Icewind Dale book we run
The Hobbit is perhaps one of the most timeless and recognizable tales in the fantasy genre. A simple, humble person basically ripped from their home and drafted to join a bunch of dwarves as they march ill-equipped and unprepared for their quest to retake their once-mighty and rich citadel, which was taken from them by the dragon that currently resides there. The path from there to here is fraught with perils that test them, tentative allies, and glory at the cost of much pain and suffering.
Oh, wait, excuse me one second. Pardon this interruption; apparently I’m not reviewing The Hobbit, but the second of the Icewind Dale Trilogy: Streams of Silver.
So yes, Streams of Silver is the follow-up to The Crystal Shard and tells of how Bruenor, Wulfgar, Regis, and Drizzt go off on a noble quest to take back Bruenor’s old home from the dragon who resides there. Drizzt, as he has said in the previous novel, has no desire or motivation to go other than the fact that he swore he would join Bruenor. Although I’m more inclined to think that he knows his friends would be hopelessly lost without him and possibly beaten to death in a tavern brawl the moment they made it to civilization.
Regis on the other hand, as Drizzt is so keen to know because he must have looked over the rough draft, is not so much coming with them as he is running away from something. Yeah, you remember when I said in the last review that Regis had liberated a mind-controlling gem from his previous boss before making his way to Icewind Dale? Yeah, turns out even the frozen wastes of Forgotten Realms cannot hold his former employer back, as the man sends his most skilled assassin: Artemis Entreri, to hunt for our favorite Halfling. Well… tenth favorite. To this end, Artemis captures Catti-brie and carries her along as he travels to find Regis. When we first encounter Artemis, we see that he appears to be a human copy of Drizzt Do’Urden: his fighting style, his grace, and his demeanor all echo the drow, but there is something more sinister and cold behind his talents.
Streams of Silver is a classic fantasy road trip: a band of companions traveling the realm, taking in the exotic landscape, meeting brand new people, and occasionally stopping to battle a horde or two of trolls, orcs, and other less-than-savory creatures that seem to have nothing better to do than wait for some adventurers to stumble into their midst. To make matters worse, Bruenor was only a child when he fled from Mithral Hall, and so his memories of his home and the route his people took to escape are a bit on the fuzzy side. To this end, part of the story is focused on trying to unlock Bruenor’s memory as they travel to the approximate location. Throughout the journey, Drizzt muses about how the journey is quite possibly less about reclaiming Mithral Hall and more about nostalgia.
As much as I enjoyed reading Streams of Silver, I could not help but draw allusions to The Hobbit. The plot is similar, down to the reluctant hero who doesn’t want to accompany the dwarf on his supposedly suicidal quest to reclaim a fallen glory from an evil dragon. Perhaps the twist in this would be how everyone they meet has reservations about Drizzt, to the point that he at one point has to wait outside of one of the nicest towns in the north. While I appreciated what R.A. Salvatore was trying to do with this, I could not help but feel like it got far too heavy-handed and was starting to grate on my nerves.
Annoyance to this subplot and how the main story was ripped right from one of the most classic fantasy novels of all time, I feel like the strongest moment of the story was the battle of Drizzt and Artemis. Much like in The Crystal Shard, the two contesting forces are parallels of one another, though in Streams of Silver this allegory is much less subtle.
Overall, I enjoyed Streams of Silver, though not as much as The Crystal Shard. It is very much a middle novel as it leads into the conclusion of the Icewind Dale Trilogy: The Halfling’s Gem.
Heroes: Drizzt takes center-stage as the hero in this one, with Bruenor serving as the driving force for the party’s quest. – 4/5
Villains: Although there are a few villainous characters, Artemis is the true bad guy. – 4/5
Narrative: Not much has changed in the way of story-telling. The fights are again the highlight of the narrative. – 4/5
Plot: Have you ever read The Hobbit? I have too, and while it isn’t a perfect match, it’s just close enough to be a bit grating and slightly insulting to me. – 3/5
Magic: Score stays the same. – 5/5
World: It’s nice to see more of the world in the north of Forgotten Realms, and some of the locals are quite enjoyable. – 5/5