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The DemonWars Saga #2

The Demon Spirit

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“Absorbing . . . This is one of the finest books yet in Salvatore’s prolific career.”— Publishers Weekly

Elbryan and Pony—soul mates from childhood who grew even closer over time—fervently hope that the tide of darkness is at last receding from the land of Corona. Yet if evil is on the retreat, why are hordes of goblins and bloody-capped powries slashing their way ever-deeper into civilized lands?

A sinister threat now looms over Corona, for the power of the demon dactyl was not entirely vanquished by the sacrifice of the monk Avelyn Desbris. Instead, its darkness has infiltrated the most sacred of places—as a once-admired spiritual leader rededicates his life to the most vicious, most insidious revenge against the forces of good. There may be no stopping the spread of the malignant evil . . .

“A gripping story . . . some of [his] best work.”— Booklist

532 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 30, 1999

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About the author

R.A. Salvatore

671 books10.1k followers
As one of the fantasy genre’s most successful authors, R.A. Salvatore enjoys an ever-expanding and tremendously loyal following. His books regularly appear on The New York Times best-seller lists and have sold more than 10,000,000 copies. Salvatore’s original hardcover, The Two Swords, Book III of The Hunter’s Blade Trilogy (October 2004) debuted at # 1 on The Wall Street Journal best-seller list and at # 4 on The New York Times best-seller list. His books have been translated into numerous foreign languages including German, Italian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish, Croatian, Bulgarian, Yiddish, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Czech, and French.

Salvatore’s first published novel, The Crystal Shard from TSR in 1988, became the first volume of the acclaimed Icewind Dale Trilogy and introduced an enormously popular character, the dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden. Since that time, Salvatore has published numerous novels for each of his signature multi-volume series including The Dark Elf Trilogy, Paths of Darkness, The Hunter’s Blades Trilogy, and The Cleric Quintet.

His love affair with fantasy, and with literature in general, began during his sophomore year of college when he was given a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings as a Christmas gift. He promptly changed his major from computerscience to journalism. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Fitchburg State College in 1981, then returned for the degree he always cherished, the Bachelor of Arts in English. He began writing seriously in 1982, penning the manuscript that would become Echoes of the Fourth Magic. Salvatore held many jobs during those first years as a writer, finally settling in (much to our delight) to write full time in 1990.

The R.A. Salvatore Collection has been established at his alma mater, Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, containing the writer’s letters, manuscripts, and other professional papers. He is in good company, as The Salvatore Collection is situated alongside The Robert Cormier Library, which celebrates the writing career of the co-alum and esteemed author of young adult books.

Salvatore is an active member of his community and is on the board of trustees at the local library in Leominster, Massachusetts. He has participated in several American Library Association regional conferences, giving talks on themes including “Adventure fantasy” and “Why young adults read fantasy.” Salvatore himself enjoys a broad range of literary writers including James Joyce, Mark Twain, Geoffrey Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante, and Sartre. He counts among his favorite genre literary influences Ian Fleming, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fritz Leiber, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Born in 1959, Salvatore is a native of Massachusetts and resides there with his wife Diane, and their three children, Bryan, Geno, and Caitlin. The family pets include three Japanese Chins, Oliver, Artemis and Ivan, and four cats including Guenhwyvar.

When he isn't writing, Salvatore chases after his three Japanese Chins, takes long walks, hits the gym, and coaches/plays on a fun-league softball team that includes most of his family. His gaming group still meets on Sundays to play.


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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 62 reviews
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
737 reviews1,260 followers
June 29, 2018
I may have stalled on writing this review a bit longer than necessary, but it should tell you something about my general lack of investment in this book that I can’t remember a single, solitary thing about it even though it has only been a few months since I finished it. Nada. Squat. Zilch. A big fat pile of nothing. So I’m left with only the vague memory of forcing myself through the book without retaining anything (because I was bored – the book didn’t have much resembling plot-advancement. That much I remember). This is not good. Despite love of Salvatore in general and my curiosity for everything that takes place between this book and Child of a Mad God, I’m seriously considering abandoning this series for the time being… or at the very least putting it on the back burner for other things. I just can’t bring myself to invest time in the final book of the trilogy when I had such an unremarkable experience with Demon Spirit. Especially when I have a laundry list of things I’m enjoying more. I’ll probably revisit one day, but not in the near future. Heck, I might even skip ahead just to reinvigorate my interest in the series. I own them all. :/ [update: I wrote this review. I meant every single word. But now I’ve changed my mind and want to give the final book a go… it’s a long story. Lol]

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com
Profile Image for Paul.
1,250 reviews192 followers
June 15, 2016
The Demon Spirit by R.A. Salvatore continues The DemonWars Saga. The demon is destroyed in his physical manifestation but he can still influence people in their minds. The demon dactyl infiltrates the religious leader Father Abbot Markwart and Markwart becomes obsessed with power. Salvatore creates a story that is more political/church court thriller and I think it would have worked much better as that story. Where the story really bogged down and suffered for me was with our heroes Elbryan and Pony. I had a very hard time having any interest in the fights they had with goblin #432 or giant #44. Where the first book had arch-nemesis that made it more interesting, this book just seemed to not have any real antagonist except for Father Abbot Markwart. Because of this, it just got boring at times during the fight scenes.

One thing I did love about this book was the introduction of Roger Lockless. Roger is a rogue with an ego the size of a giant. I thought his introduction to the story was great and I'm looking forward to having him more in the story. Master Jojonah is a great good monk against the evil that is Markwart and the entire monk storyline and intrigue was decent. I just wish Elbryan and Pony were more interesting. One of the characters from the previous book was sorely missed and there just wasn't enough storyline when it came to our heroes.

I just started the third graphic audiobook and I hope it is better than this one. I think it will be because there are many more characters being introduced and the political ramifications of everything Markwart does in this book are making a huge difference.

I just was disappointed in this second book and thought it was just OK. At this point, I'm not sure if I would recommend this series.

10/25 Possible Score
Plot - 2(OK)
Characters - 2(OK)
Setting/World Building - 2(OK)
Writing Style - 2(OK)
Heart & Mind Aspect - 2(OK)
Profile Image for Scott.
1,186 reviews106 followers
June 23, 2016
This is the second book in the Demon Wars saga and I was a little disappointed.
Salvatore does what he does best - he has great characters, tons of action and great fight sequences.

So why the disappointment? Way too much plot devoted to the church and the corruption within. I've always found religion to be a little bit silly to begin with but I understand that it's a major plot point in a lot of fantasy books but in this book it's really the main plot point. That the church would be corrupt was not surprising but the motivations behind the father abbott and his minions for their corruption didn't match their actions. The actions were extreme and the motivation not strong enough.

The characters are strong enough in the series to keep my enjoying the book nonetheless and I will definitely keep reading. Hopefully the church will not be as big of a "player" in the following books.
Profile Image for Ren Bedasbad.
489 reviews3 followers
May 20, 2016
The second book in the Demon Wars Saga focuses much more on the dissension of the monks. The monks story arc is a bit more aggravating as it is filled with strife and very little resolution. There is a strong focus on the villain, who is a bit too typical of a villain. The book is definitely a second book in a trilogy, as it is mainly a stepping stone into the next book. Overall, the war with the demon is still interesting and I'm sure third book will be a better read.

I listened to the book via GraphicAudio, which had a better improvement on their sound. It is much more balanced and kept the excitement going.
9 reviews1 follower
April 27, 2018
This book was about Elbryn and Pony, along with many other allies along the road, as they fight to push the evil from the land after Brother Avelyn Desbris' sacrifice to kill the demon dactyl. The demon dactyl wasn't entirely vanquished though, and it infiltrates the holy leader of the Abellican Order. As Elbryn, Pony, and their friends fight their way through the lands, they start to learn that the evil enemy they fight may not be who they originally thought it would be. Personally, I really liked this book. I wasn't so sure that it would be good after the first book, but it surprised me, and I really enjoyed it.
Profile Image for John.
410 reviews
January 7, 2014
Again, love the characters and his writing but for some reason just find myself hard pressed to get into and through this series and it's hard to put a finger on. I think I liked this one just a touch more than the first one but it was still a tough read. We'll see how long it takes me to decide to go on to the 3rd book.
Profile Image for David.
871 reviews45 followers
May 29, 2017
As with the first book, I was both flipping through this book as well as listening to Graphic Audio's rendition of it. I've sorted of gotten used to it. It's kinda nice in its own way, like listening to a movie. Although reading Salvatore's action scenes is where the writing really shines.

As for the story itself, I found it to be more palatable than the first book - at least, some parts of it.

The weak parts are again on the monster army. The scattered remnants (not that they were really united to begin with) of goblins, powries and giants are really nothing more than numbers to be slaughtered (way more "monsters" died than did humans) by the protagonists. The early parts about Elbryan and Pony were somewhat bland, since they're so overpowered; a bit nonsensical too (irritation: ). Thankfully, these bits are quite spread out so they never got to the point where they simply irritated me in the first book.

Protagonist-growth-wise, it's ok. I liked how the Pony and Elbryan are facing their relationship in an uncertain world. I especially liked the growth of Jojonah's character, and even a surprising return of another character. A new protagonist in the form of a young rogue with a huge ego was extremely irritating for the better part of the book. I found his arrogance and belligerence to be quite forced. It's only towards the end that my annoyance with this new character lessened, after a maturity spurt.

The best part of this second book was the fall (figuratively) of the leader of the Abellican Church. I think his descent into an ends-justifies-the-means kind of way was really quite well done. Even his sidekicks were done well too. What was really weak was how the rest of the church (as well as the rest of devout populace) actually reacted to these actions. The rationalisation and motivation was fine - it's just the way events turned out that defies belief. Most monks are more akin to robots than supposedly philosophical or religious fighting men. There's literally zero difference between generic monks and generic monsters that Elbryan and Pony keeps mowing down - they're just numbers.

The book ends with a cliffhanger of sorts, where the primary antagonist of book 2 is still at large, and a couple of good guys dead. I supposed we'll have a reunion of sorts for the remaining good guys in the next book and the revelation of the true evil. I hope it stays on the corruption-within theme that's just so much better than the monster-army-that-was-never-really-an-army theme.
Profile Image for Petros.
Author 1 book155 followers
October 29, 2018
The pacing remains as glacial as in the first book, and on top of that not many things happen to excuse its length. Most of the events were superficial even in the first book, but even that was half-decent at building up towards a resolution. The second book doesn’t even do that.

The cast is even less impressive than before.
-Elbryan’s cycle of the hero’s journey is over, and now he has nothing to do. He spends the whole book in skirmishes with monsters that offer nothing new to his already archetypical personality. He is left static and boring.
-Jil gets a level up by acquiring Avelyn’s magic stones and becomes a potent spellcaster. She is no longer worthless in battle, but still remains completely uninteresting as a personality. Also, mastering the use of the magic stones so fast cheapens the training others are supposed to be doing for decades. She remains a bland sex partner and nothing more.
-With Avelyn (the best character of the first book) dead, we get another antihero to replace him, named Roger. He too wants to do the right thing, and is far chaotic and unpredictable to the point nobody trusts him. He never comes off as particularly strong or needed in the team. It felt like they added him for the heck of it and then spend more time not trusting each other than fighting monsters.
-With Dactyl (the main villain of the first book) dead, the new bad guys become the corrupt priests of Avelyn’s monastery. They certainly do a lot more plotting and scheming, and come off way less one dimensional, but are far from great as they lack presence. I had a hard time remembering who was who, as they were all doing the same things. Also, they are not defeated at the end of the second book, so there was no pay as opposed to Dactyl.

The above take up roughly a fifth of the pages. The rest of it is boring traveling logs and skirmishes with the same 3 types of monsters. They never felt threatening and at this point each of the main characters can solo dozens of them, so there never was any tension. No matter how much they were trying to build them up, they were always a weak mob of leaderless buffoons getting mercilessly cut down by a handful of people.

As a whole, emptier than the first book.
Profile Image for Adam Belsha.
7 reviews6 followers
January 21, 2020
This one was dark.

The dactyl of the first book was a war-hungry demon who called together a massive army of the evil races to take over the world. He's your standard epic fantasy bad guy. When he does something violent, you're not really surprised. He's a demon.

Here, the villain is SADISTIC. Without giving too much away, this book implies that the essence of the dactyl from the first book still lingers and has found its home in the psyche of a paranoid holy man hellbent on preserving his legacy. There are no lengths he won't go to in order to get what he wants, all while spouting how everything he does is godly and for the greater good. But there is no piety there, only despair, torture, and murder.

The story mostly focuses on two perspectives: Elbryan, Pony, and Juraviel cleaning up the hordes left over from the first book; and the goings-on of the Abellican church, mostly focused on the above mentioned holy man and the monks who secretly oppose him. I felt like the book focused more on the church than the heroes, but that was effective in portraying the villain of the story as truly villainous. You get to see the build up from mild paranoia to full on sadism all the way up to the last page.

Oh yeah. The epilogue, Salvatore? Not cool.

Some of the minor characters from the first book make an appearance, but I can't say much without giving a lot away. Salvatore also introduces a new thief type character to round out the "good guy" group makeup (Elbryan the ranger, Pony the magic-user/warrior, Juraviel the archer, Symphony...the horse).

I don't know what to say about the mood of the book other than to say it's dark. You might wonder how I can five-star a book this depressing...it's because I'm big on world building. The depressing nature of this book will follow the heroes into the trilogy finale, resulting in an epic that pits a furious hero team against a psychopathic madman. Should be a...good read. ;D
Profile Image for Michael.
90 reviews1 follower
March 3, 2019
Underwhelming follow-up to the mostly-solid first installment. I was annoyed from the get-go, when it seemed R.A. saw goblins and had a knee-jerk reaction to put 800 fight scenes in the book. It felt like I was reading a Drizzt book but with different (were they, though?) characters. The set-up to this series was very strong, and to see Elbryan do mostly nothing except fight really bothered me.

That being said, the stuff with the Church was great. I enjoyed that.

Having trouble pushing through into installment 3...
Profile Image for Iantony.
102 reviews7 followers
May 24, 2017
FYI, the rating is for this book only while the review is for the whole saga. Reading the first book made me excited at first, this is a promising new saga, I said to myself.

Then as the story progressed I realized that these are basically very similar to the tales of Drizzt Do 'Urden and his companions. Yes they had different names and appearances, came from different lands, and fought against pretty much similar darkness with a different name.

If you have never read the exploits of Drizzt do 'Urden and his companions or if you could somehow read this saga with a 'blank slate', this saga is still worth to read.
Profile Image for Robert.
53 reviews
April 8, 2022
The Demon Awakens sort of left me with the feeling of having just read a formula I had read many times before. As a result I took 6+ months before picking up the second book of this trilogy: the reviews were even worse than the first...

... but after reading book 2, I have to say the formula kicked in just fine. Sure it's the same formula, but it works. Where book 1 was a story in itself, book 2 sets the stage for the ongoing story and while there are many clichés and moments that prompt me to roll my eyes, it is still an enjoyable read, even if the crafted story is predictable.
17 reviews2 followers
July 4, 2017
I finally forced myself to finish this, I started rereading many of my books on amazon over continuing this. Definitely a bad sign but I still cannot work out why it doesn't hold my interest. I think it is something about the villain and that plotline, it seems like they just get out of more situations than they really should and are surprisingly disconnected from the heroic storyline.
21 reviews
August 1, 2019
R.A. may be a crazy leftist but his writing does not really reflect that. I love his books! His writing style and characters are just soooo good. I will read pretty much anything from him.
Profile Image for Niclas.
46 reviews
January 19, 2021
Felt like an in-between episode in a TV series where there's no or very little progress on the big story. Perhaps building up to the third book?
Profile Image for Cassidy Crawford.
47 reviews1 follower
July 16, 2023
The graphic audio version is done so well. The magic system is pretty unique and fun plus the fun mixture of magical creatures makes a unique blend.
Profile Image for Seth Kenlon.
Author 8 books12 followers
May 11, 2016
This book picks up pretty shortly after the close of the first book, "The Demon Awakens". In fact, there are still goblin and powry armies attacking towns in the region, and the Abellican church is still recovering from the perceived betrayal of Brother Avelyn.

For the first half of the book, the main scope of the action is dealing with the aftermath of the Demon's (apparent?) defeat, and in a way in felt more action-oriented than most of the first book, which worried me a little. But gradually, a few new character development happens to or because of them.

And then the book really hits its stride. Surprises happen (BIG Surprises), plot points become clear, characters are developed, some amazing action sequences, conspiracies, politics. Everything you could ever want. Really good stuff.

There were a few times that the our antagonists were, I felt, going a little over-the-top, a little *too* evil. But then I'd put the book down, glance up at the news, and realise that actually, it's all believable. Every despicable deed, every evil laugh, every zany plan; it's all true to life. In fact, life has pretty much surpassed fictional evil at this point, so rest assured that the bad guys in the novel are believable.

Eventually, there's some excellent character development for some of our closest friends. It's satisfying and effective, but I won't betray specifics for fear of spoilers. In the end, the book is a perfect sequel to the original, and an agonising lead-up to whatever's to come in the next book.

The more I read of him, the I realise that Salvatore's writing style is everything I could have hoped for. I'm sure my perception is clouded because I know he's a key figure in some of the greatest RPG's out there and that he is a DM himself in real life, but his books come across like a really good, really engrossing D&D game. And I mean this in the very best way; his sensibilities and terminology just feels familiar and comfortable, the "mechanics" of his world are easy to imagine yourself into. It works like a charm.
Profile Image for Chip Hunter.
571 reviews5 followers
December 30, 2016
After reading the excellent The Demon Awakens (which I thought was Salvatore's best novel), I must say that I was disappointed in THE DEMON SPIRIT. Slower pace, more predictable, and more stereotypical characters make this one much less entertaining than the previous volume. Additionally, this one is not a stand-alone novel such as THE DEMON AWAKENS was, as Salvatore obviously made a stretch to extend that great (and complete) story into a trilogy. All that being said, there are still some things that I did like about this book, which I thought was better than most of his Forgotten Realms novels.

While Elbryan has become so 'perfect' and sure of himself as to be absolutely unlikable, a number of other characters developed nicely here to maintain the reader's empathy. Pony, Roger Lockless, and Conner Bidleborough in particularly become much more interesting in this book. While I was at first upset at the reemergence of Bradwarden (with nightmares of the Wulfgar fiasco in the FR series), I came to understand that it was Salvatore's goal all along and I'll trust that he has major parts in the story for the very intriguing and likable character. Also, Salvatore maintains the very real threat of central character deaths that pleased me so much in the first book. A number of times I found myself surprised at sudden-seeming and very final character terminations in this book.

The new story thread (which was really only introduced in this one) dealing with the intricacies and politics of the Abellican church was a bit boring at first, but as you get to know the various characters better and develop an understanding of the potential, it catches on. It seems to me that the final book of the trilogy should be satisfying, with undoubtedly world-altering conflicts and resolutions occurring. Hopefully we can shift away from the annoying Nightbird and focus more on the newer (and more entertaining) characters.
Profile Image for Conan Tigard.
1,134 reviews3 followers
November 16, 2015
Like the first book in the trilogy, the story in The Demon Spirit revolves around Elbryan and Pony, but Markwart and Jojonah now become major characters. In the first book, you could see that Markwart was not what could be considered a moral, religious leader. And in this book, he holds the power and the warped mind to become the ultimate epitome of evil. Him nemesis, Master Jojonah, takes the side of good in this story, but is almost powerless to stop Markwart. Even though the demon’s physical body was destroyed by Avelyn in The Demon Awakens, his spirit has survived and is manipulating Markwart. But to what end…that isn’t revealed…yet!

I have been waiting a while to read this book. And I finally picked it up with anticipation. I wasn’t let down. The characters are rich and well written. Markwart is pure evil and a character that you love to hate.

R.A. Savatore is one of my newest favorite fantasy writers. His stories move along at a fast pace and the storyline is captivating. Now, I didn’t have a problem with this, this is just something I noticed. The first book had a definite goal . . . to destroy the demon. But while I was reading this book, I wasn’t sure what the goal of the story was going to be. Not that this hurt the book, but this was just about Elbryan and Pony fighting the confused and lost giants, powries and goblins.

The story was still excellent and The Demon Spirit is a great read. I couldn’t put it down.

I rated this book a 9 out of 10.
Profile Image for Bob Koester.
Author 2 books10 followers
November 23, 2016
Sort of "what would have happened after Lord Of The Rings if the orcs hadn't all run away".

The surviving heroes are returning home from their desperate quest, but home is not what it used to be. Although the book is from 1999, it feels very post-9/11 if its examination of how the fight against evil turns some people into heroes and others into bigots, and every combination & permutation in-between.

It's never very subtle, but I give it a lot of credit for finding new ways to show how the bravest heroes might be willing to compromise their values for the promise of making their homes safe, while some of the worst villains are doing what they're doing for theoretically laudable motives.

The action isn't as gripping as in the first book (the "war against the dark lord" no longer being the central focus) and sometimes feels like a gratuitous attempt to keep genre fans on board, but I really appreciated the attempt to move in new directions, and the metaphor of the spirit of evil migrating from the defeated villains to those who defeated them is powerful (if depressing).
Profile Image for Kristin.
208 reviews7 followers
June 17, 2009
It was a good second book to the series. There was a lot of war and heartbreak. Good and bad things happened. Of course Salvatore always likes to have many surprises in his books. There is always something going on in his books to keep you intrigued.

Elbryan and Pony are still fighting for good. It is crazy that the thing that should be closest to their god is the closest to evil. The Abbot of the church (who is the head and leader of all the church) Markwart has felt the spirit of the demon dactyl. He thinks he is in the right and ends up doing some really horrific things. I swear I don't think I have ever despised a bad guy as much as I despise Markwart. This man is pure evil but is looked up to by MANY MANY people. His influence is strong in the human race.

So Elbryan and Pony are outlaws to the church and are being hunted down and are being threatened. Luckily, they have the power of god and their trusting friends on their side.
Profile Image for Samantha wickedshizuku Tolleson.
2,157 reviews59 followers
February 2, 2016
I had to start this book a second time because my copy grew legs and walked off. That or my house at it again, but I found it and have been entertained for days now.

We continue in the world of Corona following NightBird, Pony, and an elf. To hard to spell without the book in my hands.
On a whole different spectrum we follow the corruption of the church, and the desecration of the dogma. I would recommend that this become required reading for anyone aspiring to become a priest or any type of holy man. This was very enlightening, and drew very disturbing similarities to the Spanish inquisition. Similarities that I hope never come to pass again.

I wonder as to how long Salvatore planned this series? Extraordinary talent that makes me green with envy! Just Wow with the endings of both books!

That's all for now Pretties! Cheers and have a great week ahead!
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