Book Review: The Companions

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.

Firstly, there is no map. And while I understand from talking to people who know a lot about the Dungeons and Dragons world that the world is absolutely huge I still would have liked to seen even a basic map. With so many placed mentioned so early in the book I had no idea where these various places were in the D&D world, how far from each other they were or their overall significance.

I’ve found that books like this one that have a prophecy at the beginning tend to say the exact thing thing in these prophecies but use different terms to do so. I’m not sure if including these prophecies are truly needed, we all know things will happen in the book and often times prophecies give the general gist of what all will happen over the course of the book/series so there isn’t much of a surprise as you read. That being said I went into the book doing my best to ignore what the prophecy said and concentrated on what was happening within the actual story.

Add to this that there were far too many character names, be it mortals or Gods, thrown at the reader within the first few chapters it was incredibly hard to keep track of them, know who was who, know the connections between them, who was bad and who was good. I know that fantasy novels tend to have a larger number of characters in them generally but this book took it to the extreme and I found myself being introduced to new characters every page or so and it was fairly overwhelming.

I found the prologue to be quite long and while I read through it fast and was to a certain point interested in the story so far I also felt that I was missing something as well, as if there is some other book that should have been read before this one to help me know all about the lands, people and characters mentioned so far in this book, and having no prior knowledge of the Dungeons and Dragons world, in which this book is set in, I did feel lost from the beginning. However I can say that the writing style had drawn me into the story enough that I was able to push that feeling aside and continue reading, for a while at least.

Let’s talk about switching narratives for a moment because that happens in this book. I know some people don’t mind when narratives switch in a book but to me it incites so much anger, I just want things written under a single narrative for the entire duration of a book. While I can understand why the author did this I still found myself being more turned off by the story when the first switch happened. Now granted it doesn’t happen constantly but it was enough for me to keep setting the book down each time it happened.

Around the quarter way through mark I still found myself fairly lost. So far it seemed that these three characters had were in the process of/had been reborn so that they could ultimately help their friend Drizzt. However with so many names and locations still being tossed around, and it seeming like every few chapters would only progress the story ahead a year at a time I felt like I was in for a very long and confusing ride if I was to get to the end of this one. Add to this the bouncing around in the time line, with the prologue events happening later on in the book, then the timeline backtracking fives years, then working it’s way back to directly after the prologue’s events.

I found that the more I read the less interested I became in the story, which is pretty bad considering my interest was low even at the beginning.

In the end I feel like the overall story was lost to me because of the unfamiliarity of such a well established world and the overwhelming number of characters listed/involved in this story. Though I didn’t enjoy it I will be reading the next book in the series to see how things turn out but I feel that I might have to reread this one first to try and get a better understanding of what all has happened and to reintroduce myself to the main characters before diving into the next book. Whatever you do don’t ask me what happens in this story because I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you, that’s how little this story stuck with me.

This book is not for those who have no knowledge of the D&D universe. There is just far too much to know as far as characters, history, places, Gods and everything else to truly dive into this world with this book. Even with my husband telling me about the world, since he has played a number of D&D games in the past, I still felt more lost than anything in this book. For those who have read other books set in this world and played the games then this book would likely appeal to them as they would already have a greater understanding of what has happened and who these characters are. I will likely read the other two books in this trilogy but I’m not sure how much I will get out of them after this.

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