Book Review – Homeland

darkelftrilogyHomeland

Author: R. A. Salvatore

Series: Forgotten Realms: The Dark Elf Trilogy #1, The Legend of Drizzt #1

Genre: Fantasy

Published 1990

Review Copy: Paperback omnibus bought new

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Goodreads Description

In exotic Menzoberranzan, the vast city of the drow is home to Icewind Dale prince Drizzt Do’Urden, who grows to maturity in the vile world of his dark elf kin. Possessing honor beyond the scope of his unprincipled society, can he live in world that rejects integrity?

Review

Homeland is the first book in The Dark Elf Trilogy, and is considered the first book in The Legend of Drizzt by R. A. Salvatore.  It’s part of a much larger Forgotten Realms world where several authors are writing in the shared universe.  Although not the first book to feature Drizzt, it is considered the first book to read related to his life.  He is, after all, the most famous character in all of Forgotten Realms.  And there are many books about him.

This book opens in Menzoberranzan, the underground city of the drow elf, where Drizzt was born.  It’s a brutal world filled with deception, evil, and darkness. That’s the way of life there.  But then Drizzt Do’Urden is born and there’s something special about him.  Through this book, we see him grow up and become an unrivaled warrior, though he doesn’t share his people’s bloodlust.  How can someone like him survive in such a treacherous place like this?

The main character is, of course, Drizzt Do’Urden.  He was born into a high-ranked family as the third son.  He develops into a very compelling character. He has compassion, a good heart, and a sense of justice.  He’s a bit naive in the beginning, but he grows.  I really like this character, and enjoyed watching his development.  His mother is Matron Malice, a purely evil woman who thinks nothing of her family’s feelings, but only her family’s status.  His sisters, Briza, Vierna, and Maya, are all priestesses who have incredible power.  They are all very dedicated to what they do.  His brothers are Nalfein, a powerful wizard, and Dinin, a fellow warrior.  We get to know Dinin quite well, and he’s the complete opposite of Drizzt.  Then there’s Zaknafein, the weapon’s master, a kindred spirit of Drizzt’s, and another likeable character.  In the academy, we have several people to mention, including Masoj Hun’ett and Alton deVir, but I won’t go into any detail about them.  They’re not exactly what I’d call friends to Drizzt.  And who can forget Guenhwyvar, the black panther that comes from the Astral Plane.  She plays a major part.  I really like the cast of characters, even though only three of them are likeable characters.  But very compelling.

The setting is quite good, too.  I enjoyed being immersed into Menzoberranzan.  I had vivid images of the city in my mind, and I could feel the atmosphere clearly.  It’s a dangerous place that’s filled with wonders and amazing sights.  The map doesn’t do it justice, I feel.  We do venture out of the city a couple of times, but the majority of the story takes place in the city.  It doesn’t get boring, though.

It’s not a complex story by any means.  It’s fairly short, which means it’s quick to read.  I didn’t feel that it was particularly unpredictable.  There aren’t many surprises, as we know what’s in the minds of the antagonists.  I felt this was more about Drizzt’s development and coming of age than the actual story.  What we have here is a character story.  Through his many struggles and challenges, I was able to enjoy the strong character development in Drizzt.  Other characters tended to remain unchanged and not nearly as deep.  That was one of the main weaknesses, a lack of depth in secondary characters.

Overall, it was a very good book, one that I enjoyed thoroughly.  Great character, good story, and incredible setting.  For anyone getting into Forgotten Realms or Drizzt’s story, this is where to start.  I give this 4 out of 5 stars.  Definitely recommended to fantasy fans.

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