I listened to The Demon Awakens on graphic audio. These are audiobooks that have music, sound effects, and a full cast of voice actors. Things that can be explained with sound are sometimes overlooked in the narration to create a more cinematic experience. I think that the graphic audio definitely added more to the story.
The Demon Awakens is a typical fantasy romp from R.A. Salvatore. Those that are familiar with his Dark Elf Drizzt books will be familiar with Salvatore’s writing style. The biggest difference in this book is that this is Salvatore’s own world where as the Drizzt books are a part of the D&D Forgotten Realms world. This allows Salvatore some level of freedom to create his own world but a lot of it is still very Forgotten Realms in feeling.
The Demon Awakens follows three different characters as they converge to stop an ultimate evil that has awoken, sending goblin, giant, and dwarven armies to destroy the towns and cities of men. The first half of this book have our characters apart and it is during this part the strength of the book happens. The world and the characters are much more interesting in their own setting and stories than they are when they come together, and it becomes mostly about fighting. Avelyn is a monk that can wield the power of gemstones to create magic. When he learns his abbey of monks is corrupt he flees with a cache of gems and warnings of the world’s impending doom. Elbryan is a human ranger that lives with the elves after goblins destroyed his town as a child. He grows up learning the ways and powers of the elves to protect the countryside. Pony is from the same destroyed town as Elbryan but she can’t remember her past because of her traumatic experience. She finds herself adopted in a city by a tavern owner.
The characters are all rather cliche’ character archetypes but Salvatore makes it work. I think that is one of R.A. Salvatore’s strength, even though the characters are familiar he figures out a way for the reader to end up really liking them. Even though I knew these characters were less than stellar I still really liked them. Pony’s character is definitely the weakest of the three main characters and my main criticism of Salvatore is that he bases value of female characters off of the male characters a lot. If you are looking for a good female character look somewhere else.
This is really an action packed adventure once the characters come together. The backstories and discovering the world is fun but people read Salvatore books for the action. Salvatore just writes combat scenes that readers love and this series is no exception. The graphic audio elements gave the book an even more epic feel when the fighting happened.
I was hoping for a little bit more in this book and less of the expected. I wanted to be surprised but everything just seemed rather by the numbers fantasy. Regardless I still enjoyed it, and if you like Salvatore’s Drizzt series, you’ll probably enjoy this too. I’m hoping for more complexity in future installments.
11/25 Possible Score
Plot – 3(Good)
Characters – 2(OK)
World Building – 2(OK)
Writing Style – 2(OK)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 2(OK)