In an effort to read more this year (Yes, a silly New Years Resolution) I decided to start with a series that has been with me for a very long time. The Legend of Drizzt.
I was first introduced to Drizzt and his companions back in 1989 when I bought my first book ever, The Crystal Shard, when I was 9 years old. (At least, I remember it being the first book I ever bought myself.) From then on, I’ve always had a love for High Fantasy tales of many kinds ranging from Conan, to Lord of the Rings to Magician and everything inbetween.
Homeland, the chronological start for the Legend of Drizzt (If memory serves, The Crystal Shard was actually the first novel published by R.A. Salvatore) tells the tale of Drizzt Do’Urden’s birth, childhood and upbringing in the underground Drow (Dark Elves) city of Menzoberranzan.
It’s funny coming back to a book from my own childhood/teenage years to see that if my nostalgia for a series still holds up, and in some ways, it does. While the book is fairly well written for the most part, I found a couple of times I had to back track a paragraph or two since the flow of events seemed to be missing something. Salvatore’s sword fights have always irked me a little, in the fact that sometimes it’s very hard to picture the movements he writes since they’re fairly vague “Up and out went his blades” and while it works fine, personally I’d like a little more clarity in the movements.
The story of Drizzt working to find who he is among his race of evil Drow, an indoctrinating race bent on serving the evil (Yes, everything is evil down here in the Underdark) Spider Queen Lloth is… Fine. The part I find disappointing about going back to Drizzt’s origins is that I miss his companions. They’re stuck in my mind from all the other stories and it’s hard for me to ignore the lack of friendship Drizzt has in this world in his early years. While he has Guenhwyvar towards the end of the book, their initial meeting and friendship is more glossed over in favour of the political warrings of his family against the other houses of Menzoberranzan.
The only other thing that felt off to me was how “perfect” Drizzt is here. He rarely has to struggle with anything physical or even magical, he is the greatest swordsman, coming first every year in his training etc. (This is not to say he doesn’t struggle emotionally with his feelings towards his people.) While it’s great to have a skilled fighter as your hero, you never really feel like he’s in any real danger. He suffers some cuts and scrapes and even some broken fingers, but he brushes it all off as nothing more than he would a speck of dirt on his clothes. It could be the fact that I know there’s 30+ more books of stories involving Drizzt that will never make me think he’s capable of being injured though. 😀
Overall, this is a fun read, following Drizzt through his early years, learning who he is apart from his race, learning about the Drow and their evil ways, seeing glimpses of other creatures and beings in the Underdark helps set the stage for Drizzt’s long adventure for many years to come.