Wednesday, June 3, 2015


by R. A. Salvatore

Story Summary: The birth and youth of a young dark elf, struggling against the dishonour, corruption, and malice of his homeland.
First book in "The Legend of Drizzt" series.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Cool world building for a dark, amoral society, and cool character building for a complex and unusual protagonist.
  • There are awesome fighting skills. Seriously awesome.
  • Also the training to get those skills. (I love training scenes.)

And Why You Might Not:
  • It takes place in the very familiar fantasy world  of elves, dwarves, halflings, etc., despite the interesting world building for the dark elf society.
  • The dark elf society is definitely unpleasant. I enjoyed it, but others might not.

Thoughts: I was delightfully surprised at how interesting I found this book. I'd seen R. A. Salvatore's books around bookstores for years, and always assumed they were completely clich├ęd fantasy books, the kind people parody and make fun of. And in many ways, this book was one of those. The actual world itself was one you could easily find in a D&D guide. But moving the focus to the dark elves meant there was more room to explore an unusual culture, as well as the character arc of the only dark elf who manages to find a conscience amid his culture's shadowy cruelty.
Also, the fight skillz were awesome-sauce and the spider god was terribly creepy. Well done there.

I actually want to try the second in the series now, which I totally didn't expect.

Grade: 3 1/2 stars


Aquinas' Goose said...

The Forgotten Realms books are all based off of D&D actually, and are some of the books that do actually create the cliches that are now spoofed. Salvatore entered the series in 1988 (Ed Greenwood created it in 1975) with The Icewind Dale trilogy, The Dark Elf no-longer-a-trilogy came next (the first of which you read here).

I think that the important thing to keep in mind when reading these books is the fact that Salvatore did create some things that have now become cliched. They weren't cliched when he was writing this stuff.

Personally, I don't like some of the later books (I stopped reading when one of the main characters was given the wrong color eyes and had a talisman that stopped doing what it was originally meant to do when it was first created) but my sister is a big Artemis Entreri fan, so you may want to take a peek at some of those books after reading his first trilogy.

RED said...

Thanks for all this information. Some of it I knew a bit, but some of it was new. I'll put the second Dark Elf book on my TBR list, at least, and see how far I want to read after that.