The Crystal Shard by R. A. Salvatore
Series: The Icewind Dale Trilogy #1; Legend of Drizzt #4
Published: January 1, 1988
Drizzt Do’Urden has settled in the windswept towns of Icewind Dale. There, he encounters a young barbarian named Wulfgar, captured in a raid and made the ward of a grizzled dwarf named Bruenor. With Drizzt’s help, Wulfgar will grow from a feral child to a man with the heart of a dwarf, the instincts of a savage, and the soul of a hero. But it will take even more than that to defeat the demonic power of Crenshinibon, the fabled Crystal Shard.
It kills me to not read a series in order but my friend highly recommended that I read these in the order they were published for whatever reason, and I decided to trust him. This was the first book I’ve read by Salvatore, and also the first work that he published. There are many aspects of this book that remind me of what I consider to be fantasy in the late 80’s, with a lot of complicated names and Lord of the Rings-esque references/characters.
While this was originally published as the first of a series, it truly does read like a fourth book with a lot of characters and vague backstory dumps. This may be due to the fact that apparently this entire book was written based on a Dungeons and Dragons campaign the author completed with his friends.
The storyline and characters were interesting enough to encourage me to finish; however, everything in it seemed very tropey and similar to so many other things. Again, in the 1980’s and the years before fantasy and fantasy films became really popularized I’m sure this book was a revolution in it’s own right (heck, this was published 8 years before A Song of Ice and Fire).
A lot of the parts felt like an RPG videogame, which I enjoyed. The main character, Drizzt, was a misunderstood and often-hated dark elf which is always the character I pick in RPG situations. Wulfgar the human, Regis the
hobbit halfling, and Gimli Bruenor the dwarf contribute to this mighty gang and are a force I’m interested in following through their adventures.
While I will continue this series, I’m in no rush to do so with all the other amazing fantasy series I need to start. Have you read anything by Salvatore, and if so what were your thoughts?