Tag Archives: Forgotten Realms

Do You Like Heroic Fantasy?

Lord of the Rings, Shannara, Forgotten Realms, all standard fantasy involving heroes, elves, dwarves, and so on.  They’re quite popular.  But are you sick of it?  Do you prefer other kinds of fantasy?

wot01The Wheel of Time is a pretty typical heroic fantasy.  The main character is from a small village and goes on a quest with friends and magic users to defeat the evil overlord.  And he’s also got some big destiny waiting for him.  That’s pretty typical fantasy there.  It’s a long series, too.

A Game of ThronesA Song of Ice and Fire is the hot thing today.  It’s not your typical heroic fantasy.  In fact, I’d say there are no heroes at all.  It’s very dark and gritty with lots of sex and violence.  Many people die.  No one is safe.  It’s less fantastic, more medieval.  It has some magic, and it has dragons, but it’s mostly humans, giants, and the undead.

gardensofthemoonMalazan Book of the Fallen is another atypical fantasy.  It’s quite original in terms of the races.  Everything is original about this, except humans, and there are dragons.  From the unique magic system to the intriguing god/Ascendant based religions, we have a very interesting world.  It’s also very violent, dark, and has a lot of death.  And yes, there are dragons, too.  No heroes here, though. This is military fantasy.

wizardsfirstruleThe Sword of Truth series is another fantasy series, though the races tend to be only humans.  But there are dragons!  And swordsmen, wizards, and other magic users.  And the main character is a typical from-the-countryside-you-have-a-destiny type of hero.  This is very typical hero fantasy.

darkelftrilogyForgotten Realms, and in particular, the very long series about Drizzt Do’Urden, is another fantasy series with a hero.  And here, we have the very standard races, elves, dwarves, and so on.  This is about as typical as it gets, to be honest.  Drizzt is our hero, a dark elf hero.  Not quite typical, as he’s not some naive farm boy.  He does grow up to be something great, though.

There are many more examples.  So, do you like heroic fantasy?  Please answer the poll below, and leave a comment explaining your choice.

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.

Extensive Multi-Author Universes

Fantasy and science fiction are known for having long series based in very detailed fictional worlds.  On TV, the biggest is probably Star Trek.  It’s probably rivaled only by Japan’s Gundam universe.  But in literature, there are some that have several different authors.

Let’s look at fantasy first.  I recently started reading R. A. Salvatore’s Homeland, the first book of The Dark Elf trilogy.  I’ve already read The Icewind Dale trilogy, though that was a few years ago.  Forgotten Realms is based on Dungeons and Dragons, and has a very extensive universe.  There are more than 200 books at the moment. Another series is the Dragonlance series.  This is also based on Dungeons and Dragons.  It also has more than 200 books.  I have yet to read any of them, but I am interested.

On the science fiction side of things, let’s take a look at the two big ones.  First is Star Trek.  This consists of episode and movie novelisations, as well as original stories based on the characters and series.  There are more than 500 novels, some canon, others not.  That is huge.  I do have one novel, but it’s a novelisation of one of the movies. I should be reading it very soon, actually.  The other big one is Star Wars.  Again, I haven’t read any of them, but this is another multi-author universe that’s become big.  It has more than 200 novels.

I’ve only read three of the Forgotten Realms books, though I’m reading one now.  I haven’t read any of the other series.

Out of all of these series, which have you read, and how many?  Which ones do you prefer?