The Dark Elf Trilogy Collector's Edition by R.A. Salvatore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
We've already been through the long boring backstory of how I found this book, so I'll skip it and you can read my review for the first one if you're curious.
I never considered myself the sort of person who would go anywhere near a D&D novel, and had I known what they were before I read them I probably wouldn't have. Luckily, I didn't figure it out until afterward, when I read the author's note (can I just say, Drizzt Do'Urden is a pretty awesome name to make up on the spot) and I read these.
The third book was by far my favorite (and so I'll mostly be talking about it). The first I liked but it was a bit awkward at times. The second... it was fun, but it felt a lot like filler. A lot of it is just Drizzt running around being awesome, which is of course great but didn't do much overall for the character. The only major complaint I have in the third is that I felt Drizzt kept losing and gaining swordsmanship points (no, I have no idea if that's a real thing) and while he was at some points epic as always sometimes he was beaten very easily. I guess it was more realistic than the first two books, but the precedent had already been established.
I'm not sure that I like Drizzt (there aren't really any other important recurring characters other than the cat if you read them all at once, which I actually didn't realize until now)- he's a bit too violent and tortured for my taste, but I understand and respect him, which I think is more important in a character. He spends just a little more time than is normal hugging his cat, but I guess even Dark Elves can be crazy cat ladies if they want. I liked that he didn't know what happened to his family in the end- maybe he didn't have to leave the Underdark, but he doesn't know that and I doubt he ever will. That was kind of sad.
His coming to the surface I thought wasn't handled awesomely- there are a few moments where the author deals brilliantly with his lack of knowledge ("Bring me a...limb!"), and the eye thing is consistent, but I think it could have been better. Of course, then it might have been tedious.
I'm sure by now anyone who's spent five minutes anywhere near me or anything I've written knows where I stand on the idea that GRRM kills too many characters... well, I think he could take a few lessons from this book. The characters who die are all fully-formed characters who I thought would become major characters, and then they were killed for no real purpose. Usually horribly (poor little sprite thing). I think a lot of it is that these are prequels, so any character in danger of needing to recur has to go, but since I haven't read the original three yet that's just speculation.
Anyway, in general, I found these very enjoyable, from the evils of Menzoberranzan (I don't think I spelled that right...) to weird svirfneblin (couldn't make it up if I trired) who thankfully were left behind at the end adorable small children saying "drizzit" (way to take out your aggravation with people mispronouncing his name, R.A. Salvatore...) to the weirdness of the ending (poor dog). And now that I've overloaded on parentheses, I think it's time to wrap up.
Yay for fantasy novels I could stop laughing at long enough to like. I hope the next twelve are as good. :)
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