I have to say that Neverwinter was a better book than Gauntlgrym, and, in fact, the last several Drizzt books. For awhile there, it seemed like Salvatore was tired of writing about the dark elf, and just kept at if for the sake of his fans. In the Transitions trilogy, he went on a killing spree, and it seemed like he was struggling to incorporate the Spellplague into the Drizzt legacy and was like 'hmm, how to do this? I know!' *zaps Catti-bree*. And let's not forget the prologue in The Orc King in which Drizzt scolded the elf for attacking the orcs, and he was talking to Hralien (who has not been in any of the following books). As someone who has read plenty of Forgotten Realms books outside of the Drizzt series, I understand some of the references, and I knew about Szass Tam from The Haunted Lands, but it seems as though the Drizzt books have been...separate from all the other FR books, and I know there are people who have only read the dark elf legacy novels.
This also applies to the short stories featuring Drizzt, such as Comrades at Arms (I think that's what its called), in which Ellifain's spirit is freed, and To'sun has his enlightening moment. Um...not everyone has read that story! I'm sure plenty who didn't know about it were disappointed that all Drizzt said in <i?The Orc King</i> was "she is free". And then we have the gods, who Salvatore doesn't mention much, except for a few. Maybe it's just because I like hearing about the gods and am a Corellon fan (who has only been mentioned in the afore mentioned short story), but he really doesn't address them, and The Orc King is the first and only time he has thus far mentioned Eilistraee. Again, this might leave some who have only read the Drizzt books going "wha...?" I love Drizzt, don't get me wrong. He is what started me on my Forgotten Realms craze. But I encourage people who haven't to step outside the Drizzt novels and explore of FR series. There are some good ones!
Just a couple more complaints and then I'll get to the positive, promise. This is only a minor detail, I guess, and probably not important in the larger scheme of things, but it is another inconsistancy. I like that "to be an elf", is to treasure each moment and enjoy the time we have with friends and not dread the future. But in Neverwinter, Drizzt mentions in one of his "entries" that elves rarely partner for life, when, according to some other stories I've read, this is not entirely true. Some elves likely do change partners after a hundred years or so, but love is important to the elves, and I don't think they just go "oh, it's been over a hundred years, think I'll find someone else. I'll always remember you though". Uh huh. According to Races of the Wild, which is a D&D book, that elves often have dalliances before they marry, because a partner is quite a commitment for a people who live so long. In the The Last Mythal trilogy, which I recommend to any elf lover, it states that when engaged, elves have a twenty year betrothel period to make sure their partner is "the one". This does not mean that after a hundred or two hundred years they go "hmm, think I should marry someone else!". I think further research is needed on this topic. Tis different obviously when elves partner with humans, because we have a tendancy to keel over after so many years.
All right, last bit of negativity. It concerns the beloved Jarlaxle. He did not die in Gauntlgrym, and in fact was planning to return to Luskan with Arthogate, but the stubborn dwarf is like, "no, leave me". I am complaining here not only because I love Jarlaxle, but also because of events that were set in motion in the book and not addressed at all in Neverwinter. If I remember correctly, Kimmuriel has gained too much control over Bregon D'earthe because Jarlaxle has been absent, and some, such as Valas Hune--who I also love! I thought he deserved more spotlight in War of the Spider Queen, but yeah--hinted that he looked forward to the day Jarlaxle returned. Basically, things were set in motion, or hinted at in any case, but like the prologue of The Orc King, they have not been addressed.
Perhaps it is too early to complain, because Jarlaxle has a tendancy to reappear, and maybe he will in the next book, or Salvatore will go on to write a separate series, like he did with Jarlaxle and Entreri. And speaking of Entreri (spoiler coming!), he's back! Drizzt's opposite has returned. When I read Gauntlgrym, Barrabus the Gray indeed reminded me of Entreri--or Arteries and Entrails, as my friend Treasa and I affectionately call him--but I forgot about it until this latest book. And ta da! I used to hate Entreri, but after reading the Sellswords trilogy, I came to like him, and now he has returned. I'm sure Drizzt and Entreri slash fans will love some of the scenes in Neverwinter. And, much to my relief, the angry Drizzt is gone, replaced with the dark elf we know and love. There are some differences, for instance the "wee, I'm invincible, let's fight!" attitude, but then again, he IS drow after all, and there is a part of him that truly likes fighting. He also seems a bit more...lustful than he used to. He truly loved Catti-brie, but he isn't sure of Dahlia (I'm not too sure what to think of her either, to be honest), and I think the earlier Drizzt would not sleep with someone he is uncertain of his feelings for. Again, though, I guess it is a drow trait, and a minor detail. At least he isn't so angry anymore! He's my lovely Drizzt once more.
On a final note, Valindra makes me laugh. She's a bitch and schemer to be sure, but she's also amusing, thanks to her insanity. I just chuckle every time she blurts out "Ark-lem Greeth!" So all in all, a good read, and a much needed installement in the legacy of our dearest dark elf.