A direct follow-up to Dissolution, Reid is given the challenge of being faithful to the first book and maintaining the reader’s attention. The stage has been set and it’s left to Reid to push the story further.
In certain ways, the novel is consistent and different from the first novel. For example, language is more or less the same, since the writing-style is that of generic fantasy. Reid’s writing style though doesn’t really employ the gaming-rules writing that Byers had for the previous book, which is fine with me. There’s also multiple shifts of perspective in this book, but while the first novel did that in order to gather the main protagonists, that’s not the case here as the protagonists are now the typical Dungeons and Dragons party, and the shift in perspective is used to give a foreshadowing of things to come and to reveal to the readers what’s really happening in the world around them.
There’s also been a change in the characterization of some of the characters. They’re not drastic, but it’s evident, as the writer favors his or that character, while some characters are less wittier than the used to be in the previous book. I guess it’s to be expected since the War of the Spider Queen features a variety of writers, and so far, the writing has been more or less consistent, characterization aside.
The plot thickens, as usual, and it pretty much follows the same formula as the first book. There’s closure at the end, but it merely hints at the bigger picture, and whets your appetite for the next book if you enjoyed the novel before that.
Again, while not exactly literary-level fantasy, Insurrection and the rest of the books in the series shows how to weave a tale of epic proportions in a well-known setting, without resorting to blowing everything up. If you’re a fan of Forgotten Realms and dark elves in general, go ahead and get a copy of this series. Otherwise, if the first book didn’t convince you, I doubt this one will either.