Inheritance can always cause strife in a family, siblings vying for position and influence over each other with parents or relatives, striving to attain some legacy from them, either monetary or property. How much harder must it be if the property involved had its own goals?
This is the twist in the typical story that we are treated to in Cutter. The name of a magical (some might argue cursed) blade wielded by a Drow who has escaped the Underdark to live with his Elven wife, there are already a lot of strings being pulled as we hit the first pages. The Drow’s children are fighting for the right to wield the powerful sword, but the sword has its own designs.
Through treachery and subtle manipulation, the sword pushes the players into dancing to its music, leaving one child firmly in its grasp. Isolating them, the sword becomes the chosen spawn’s only companion, and one with a forceful and persuasive personality. Add to this a stunning betrayal that staggers the reader into a whole new world of a twist, and you’ve got a heck of a recipe put together in this trade paperback.
The story is fantastic and has a wonderfully fated and tragic feel to it once the action really kicks in, though I wouldn’t say that it starts slow. There’s a great balance of pace to not only the story, but the machinations of different characters’ arcs, and each major player has their own timeline that creates some fantastic revelations and wonderful story moments. There’s a wonderful structure at work here by Salvatore, hidden so well that you feel on the edge of everything seeming to fall apart. R.A. Salvatore is no stranger to this world, and his mastery of it shines clear here.
The art is reminiscent of Avatar or Legend of Kora, lending it a feel of exploration and youth, aligning you with the young characters and letting you learn with them. There are some really lovely panels here, tone and action are never diluted and feel as compelling as the story itself.
If you’re a Forgotten Realms aficionado or have wanted to get into Salvatore’s work, this is a great place to start. I would also recommend this highly to anyone who’s setting up a new group for Dungeons & Dragons, as this book has exactly the kind of hook that shows how typical stories can be turned on their heads when you add a little magic and a lot of imagination.