Exile Book Review
“Spirit. in every language in all the Realms, surface and Underdark, in every time and every place, the word has a ring of strength and determination. It is the hero’s strength, the mother’s resilience, and poor man’s armor. It cannot be broken, and it cannot be taken away.”
The above quote captures the motif of this novel. It opens ten years after Drizzt has gone into self exile from Menzoberranzan. Instincts rule his every move in the dangerous Underdark. The principles he held dear are buried deep inside. Drizzt longs to rekindle those principles, in essence to reawaken his spirit once more. This leads him to Blingdentstone, the home of the deep gnomes of the Underdark.
Here, Drizzt meets an very unexpected friend, the gnome he spared 10 years earlier, Belwar. Belwar brings Drizzt into his home and nurtures his spirit. Drizzt fears the hunter inside. The two bring out the best in each other. Together both of their spirits are awakened. When Drizzt feels that he is a danger to deep gnome community he sets out back into the Underdark, but this time he is not alone. Belwar joins him in his adventure to keep his spirit alive.
Drizzt’s is not the only spirit that faces challenges in the Underdark. Matron Malice will stop at nothing to bring back her son and punish him for leaving on the eve of battle and disgracing her family. She takes control of Zaknafein’s body, Drizzt’s friend and father in Menzoberranzan, and uses her control to send him after Drizzt and kill him. Deep inside, underneath all the spells the Malice uses to control Zak’s actions, his spirit fights against her. His principles of good moral fight against killing his son.
Can the true spirit of these characters win out in the treacherous Underdark? Will instinct rule their actions and rob them of their spirit? Or can the friendships these characters share keep them alive and reimind them of their full potential?
This novel was an epic read from start to finish. I liked seeing the struggle of these characters to be themselves and not allow their situation to rule their actions. The dangers kept me on the edge of my seat and made it difficult to put the book down. I look forward to the next book in the set, Sojourn.