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War of the Spider Queen: Book I

Author: Richard Lee Byers</a>
Title: Dissolution
Hardcover ISBN: 0786927143
Published 2002 by Wizards of the Coast
Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
320 Pages




The War of the Spider Queen books have been flying off shelfs for more than two years. I was hesitent to delve into this series due to R.A. Salvatore being the originator of the story and the fact that each book in the series is written by a different author creating continuity issues both in context to a slight extent but more importantly writing style which I mentally attach to the plot. With six books currently released in the series, I decided it was time to jump into yet another saga about dark elves *sigh*. Doesn't any one write about regular moon elves any more? Am I the only long time reader of TSR/Wizards of the Coast's Forgotten Realms series that longs for the day light? Seems like the popularity of R.A. Salvatore and his Drizzt Do'Urden character has created a real bias towards what sells instead of what articulates the land and characters the walk the realms.

Richard Lee Byers writing style and plot development is excellent. The book is a page turner from the opening of the cover with an adequte amount of intrigue and subtlety to keep me interested, but not enough to rival Elaine Cunningham who has set the bar for writing about the faeries and dark ones. Readers unfamiliar with the land and customs and habits of drow elves would be much better off reading R.A. Salvatore's Dark Elf Triology before beginning The War of the Spider Queen series as Byers makes several assumptions that the reader knows about the inner workings of the drow and their habits and customs. One could start here from strach, but really would not get a full appreciation for the characters or the story.

Here is the plot in a nut shell: the greatest drow city prized by it's inhabitents and it's god, the Spider Queen, suddenly loses contact with it's God. The city is plunged into chaos as it's social order can not sustain itself without the female preistess retaining God given magic. Plots spark up every where on how to best capitolize on the system and it is up to two drow outcasts to solve what the highest powers in the city can not or will not while those same higher powers attempt to hunt them down.

Solid writing and a page turning story line combine to form an excellent start for the series. R.A. Salvatore shines here since he is directing the macro story events without writing in 100 pages of boring, overhyped, and over rated fight scenes. Salvatore is best when he leaves the writing to his betters while focusing on what he does best, crafting an excellent story and plot line. Richard Lee Byers writes in a way that makes me want to follow up on his other titles. A solid start to a series I now intent to read through and wish I had started sooner.
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