Anyone who’s ever been a fan of Drizzt should probably read this book. You might feel like you’re getting robbed if you don’t read the rest of the Neverwinter Saga, but if you’re short on time, this book is the one you want to read.
That sentiment was very surprising to me, because I initially had a lot of issues with this book. But after I finished, a lot of those issues disappeared and were replaced with a new understanding of the book and what it was trying to do. The events in The Last Threshold and even earlier parts of the Neverwinter Saga took on a whole new meaning when I looked at them in this light.
The problem? The end of this book is a major spoiler that shouldn’t be revealed to anyone still reading the Saga.
So here’s what I’m going to do. In the first part of this review, I will have a spoiler-free discussion of the book as best as I can. Then there will be a page break and a bunch of warnings, and I will discuss the spoilers and what they mean for the books. I should also let you know that we received a free complimentary copy to review this book in advance.
OK? Here we go.
The Big Review
Most of The Last Threshold is rambling. The characters don’t have an epic, fate of the world emergency on their hands and on the whole are kind of lost. Drizzt, Dahlia and Entreri have picked up a monk, Afafrenfere, and an endearing dwarf cleric, Ambergris. Part of the reason I find Ambergris endearing is that she’s the only person in the party that bothers to be nice to Drizzt. Most of his companions either regard him with skepticism or contempt. This is often contrasted with the warm relationships he had with his old companions and it makes me sad that Drizzt has been reduced to traveling with such a bunch of killjoys. The funny thing is that I rather like most of the characters on their own, I just don’t like how they interact with Drizzt.
Despite the events at the end of Charon’s Claw, Drizzt and Dahlia are still together, but because of them—and other things that are eating Drizzt—their relationship is not going well. Their chemistry is toxic and neither one of them seems willing or able to understand and connect with the other. I can’t wait for them to break up already so they can stop being jerks to each other.
Despite all of this, Drizzt either convinces or bribes his companions to help him repair the damage to Port Llast—a charity case if there ever was one. Drizzt uses this opportunity to find purpose and try to change his companions for the better. While this is going on, the warlock, Effron, is still at large and working for his master Draygo Quick. The Shadovar appear to be plotting something nefarious with Drizzt’s poor panther and there are a bunch of young and powerful drow on the hunt for Drizzt as well.
Jarlaxle is at his Jarlaxlest and while I am not entirely caught up on his various exploits, he really outdoes himself in this book when he takes on the Shadovar. I can’t imagine him winning in a more thorough or fantastic way than he does here.
I am notoriously bad at picking up on subtext, so as often happens, the momentous change that arrives in this story came as a surprise for me.
And the ending is a pretty big deal, so I suggest you go find it and read it as soon as it comes out. Then come back here and we’ll have a long conversation about what it means. If you’d like to pickup the book you can purchase it from Amazon here, purchasing from this link will also help keep our site up and running.
Warning, the following text contains major spoilers.
The kind of spoilers you hate yourself for reading.
I’m not exaggerating. If you’re reading any part of the Neverwinter saga, stop reading this now, go read The Last Threshold and then come back.
I expect everyone closely following the story since Gauntlgrym and/or anyone opposed to spoilers is now gone and if not, you have only yourself to blame. Click the above tab to see the spoilers.
Throughout the Neverwinter Saga, Drizzt’s monologues are often about his increased feelings of isolation and a sense that the world has become a different place, a place where he doesn’t—can’t—belong. When left to his own devices, he always thinks back to the good times he spent with the friends that became his family; of Wulfgar, Breunor, Regis and Cattie-brie. This constant nostalgia and reflection at the expense of the present is frustrating until you realize why it’s happening:
It is happening because this is Drizzts last adventure. Because he dies.
Is this the Death of Drizzt?
There will be other Drizzt books about Drizzt’s friends and companions, but Drizzt will not be in them, because Drizzt no longer is.
Is this a fake out? I don’t think so. Drizzt doesn’t die as the result of a stunt or a sacrifice. The whole book is a eulogy to his life and adventures. His actions in the second half of the book seem mostly about getting closure. He distances himself from his companions and spends more and more time alone with his thoughts and memories Meanwhile, his last acts are those of goodness—helping right the wrongs he’s seen in the world, showing his rough companions that there is another way to walk, and, of course, going home one final time.
Nothing lasts forever, and there comes a point for a character where he’s no longer capable of moving on from the tragedies that he’s faced. You can see it at the end of David Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor, and at the end of the Tir Alainn Trilogy by Anne Bishop. Sometimes a character is just done, and it’s time to say good-bye.
Such is the case with Drizzt.
Who killed Drizzt Do’urdin? Obviously someone had to strike the final blow (and I’m not telling you who), but I can’t help feeling that there was more at work in his demise. Drizzt doesn’t feel at home in this time and place that is so changed from what he once knew. And these changes were brought about primarily by 4th Edition. Did 4th Edition kill Drizzt? Not on purpose, I’m sure. But I can’t shake the feeling it played a part.
Drizzt is more than just a character, he’s an icon. A symbol. A constant. Many people know him, not just from his novels, but from his presence in the Forgotten Realms play setting. He has survived a quarter century, which is a long time to keep having new adventures, even for an elf.
I find myself thinking often of R.A Salvatore’s warning that no one is safe—even Drizzt. It’s not that I didn’t believe it, but knowing that Drizzt could one day die is not the same as realizing his death is imminent. Though of course, it makes sense: Aren’t Wulfgar, Cattie-Brie, Regis and Breunor already gone? Doesn’t Drizzt want nothing more than to be with them?
I trust we’ll see more of his former companions, as they deal with his legacy and the start of their new lives. Will there ever be another character, deserving or not, who uncovers Drizzt’s signature items: The figurine of Guynehar, Tamauril, and of course, Twinkle and Icing Death? Or will these things, like Drizzt himself, now pass into Forgotten Realms legend? Will a new warrior rise to take Drizzt’s place? It’s too early to say. What we do know, is that Drizzt’s chapter if this story is now closed and it is time for a new one to open. As stated before you can pick the book up from Amazon here. The possibilities for this new chapter in the tale of Forgotten Realms is full of wide and wondrous possibilities, but it will always feel the absence of a certain drow.