Starting a new series that spans a lot of books is hard…..Where do you start? Do you read them chronologically or by publication date or in some other order that the author suggests or in the order that the publisher suggests? The many stories written by Mr. Salvatore is one such example. I have chosen to read these in order of publication, which is also the order suggested by the author. This is in direct contradiction to chronology and publisher suggested order. You can find the order I will use on my extensive book list here.
Title: The Crystal Shard
Series: Forgotten Realms; The Icewind Dale Trilogy; Book 1
Alternately: The Legend of Drizzt; Book 4
Author: R. A. Salvatore
ROTS Setting: UU, Higher Magic, Medieval, Dragons
Synopsis: Icewind Dale is a desolate, and nearly forgotten, part of the world. Home to those who have reason to hide and those whom others would prefer to stay hidden. A crystal shard from another realm, a drow in self exile, a halfling of questionable character, and a dwarf long to return to his fallen homeland will converge on the brutal windswept tundra of Icewind Dale.
Recommendation: I liked it. It was a good read. There was something lacking when compared to Dragonlance, but it was still very enjoyable.
I have been eyeing Forgotten Realms since I first ventured out of the youth section of the library. As you can imagine I’m quite excited to have finally taken the plunge. Only 34+ more to go……..oh boy.
Before going too far I want to bring up two points. First, I was surprised at how much was just straight up told to the reader in comparison to what was actually shown. It created a bit of a disconnect and I wasn’t as invested in the fates of the characters. Second, the main characters were very OP (OverPowered). Again, I never thought they’d actually die or be seriously harmed.
Since we’re talking about characters, they were a little flat. I honestly have a hard time thinking of them as actual people. In any given situation I don’t really know what they’re going to do or how they’ll react. I don’t feel a connection with any of them so I’m not invested in their well being.
Drizzt, the dark elf (drow), is the main character and while his past is intriguing I ultimately don’t like him. He’s arrogant, OP, prideful, emotionally stunted, emo, lone wolf, and Houdini……..so pretty much like every other main character.
I’m not going to get into the others I consider main or important secondary characters because their stories are intimately tied to the main storyline and I don’t want to have to dodge spoilers this early in the morning.
The storyline is fairly well done if a little simplistic. However, this is the first book so there is plenty of room for more complexity in the future. Part of the charm, really. I would like to add that the story was written into so many corners with impossible odds before being lucked or deus ex machina’d out of it that it was painfully lacking in depth or tension.
I do want to comment on the world as a whole. It sounds amazing. This tiny little corner makes me beg for more. I want to know about the places and cultures and people and histories, and I want it now. This is one of the key parts about what makes this book as good as it is.
So, in summary, the plot was a tad simple, the characters were OP, and the world was colorful and well crafted. Sounds like a fantasy classic to me.