So what’s in store for our renegade hero, dark elf Drizzt, in this second volume of The Legend of Drizzt? Well, it’s the long dark of the Underdark I’m afraid. We have parted with Drizzt in the end of the previous volume, right after his dramatic exit from Menzoberanzan, the evil homeland. As we reunite with him in the second volume, we learn that he had already been wandering the cavernous Underdark for a whole decade now.
Amidst this monster-swarming wilderness, his superior fighting skills had kept him alive – but only for so long. Solitude and isolation are about to take their toll on him. Even his magical feline friend, the astral panther Guenhwyvar, is not an adequate substitute for humanoid interaction (There are actually no humans in the Underdark. Save for one human wizard swiftly introduced and then just as swiftly removed from the story, the only human-like creatures are the deep gnomes and the Drow – the dark elves).
What’s a wayward dark elf to do? He can’t go back to his murderous kin. He can’t go "above" where new enemies and unknown dangers await, particularly the intolerable ball of fire we call the sun. Drizzt decides to turn himself into the hands of the deep gnomes, who dwell in the city of Blingdenstone. Though they are usually sworn enemies of the Dark elves, the gnomes being the peaceful creatures that they are, accept Drizzt as a friend (there are also friendly creatures in the Underdark!). That is, until he is hunted again by the ghosts of his past – better said – the zombies of his past. His mother, Matron Malice, sends a very significant undead person to hunt Drizzt, thus he is forced to leave his transient home and newly acquired friends, once again.
This whole volume takes place in the Underdark wilderness; it is significantly less eventful than the previous volume. In a nut shell, we get to wander around the uncharted Underdark wastelands, meet some friends, meet some monsters and avoid undead hunter sent by evil family. The most significant story element in this volume is Drizzt’s life-changing decision to finally leave the Underdark and ascend to the world above (It is practically inconceivable for Underdark creatures to live on the surface).
In the lack of a truly engaging plot, I started to notice that the art — though drawn by the same artists as in the first volume which I liked (Tim Seeley on the pencils and Blond on the colors) — is somewhat wanting in the area of imaginative landscape and environmental detail. The Underdark is depicted as a generic, grayish-purplish rocky terrain, with no distinguishable landmarks, thus rendering it repetitive and even tiring.
Having said that, I deem the story lovable nonetheless. It is an okay, obviously not perfect, bridge to the next volume, where Drizzt finally walks the surface of the earth, to encounter new exciting adventures under the sun (and moon, and stars).Powered by Sidelines