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Dark Elf and Icewind Dale Trilogies

BullioBullio Registered User regular
edited November 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm a bit ashamed to say it, but I haven't read any of R.A. Salvatore's stuff. I'm looking to rectify this by starting with these two trilogies. I'm wondering which is better to start first, though. I know IWD was written before DE, but it makes more sense to me to from the beginning of Drizzt's life. Is this the correct choice, or does it really not matter?

Bullio on
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  • LorekLorek Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The way I read it (accidently) was the Dark Elf trilogy and then the Icewind Dale trilogy. It worked out fine for me; I think I would recommend it that way. You get way more background on Drizzt's life that will make the Icewind Dale trilogy a little better for knowing how this odd dark elf came to be around.

    The only jarring thing about reading the later books first is that in between each major section of the book (usually about 3 per book), there is sort of a journal style-entry written from Drizzt's perspective. While the Dark Elf series is a prequel, these journal entries are written as if just after the Icewind Dale trilogy. I don't recall any spoilers from the journals in the Dark Elf books, but there are some primary character names mentioned who are introduced in between the timeline of the Dark Elf and the Icewind Dale books. You just won't know who those characters or their relationship to Drizzt yet.

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  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    My suggestion is not to read anything beyond those 6 books at most. Drizzt and co. become staggeringly less charming as time goes on.

    Spoiler:
  • Red RaevynRed Raevyn Ooga booga booga Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I agree with Gaddez. I decided to read a bit of it after seeing the 8 millionth person with a misspelled version of Drizzt for their name. I read one trilogy (I think I would have chosen the one written first), and by the third book I'd had my fill. They were fun, but nothing that could last. The character is too invincible, and the writing quality just isn't there. (I'd put it a little below the Weis/Hicock Dragonlance books). For reference, my three favorites in the genre are George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Tad Williams (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn).

    To answer your question directly, I think it's always best to read books and series in the order they were written in.

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Yeah, just read Name of the Wind instead.

    Spoiler:
  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Red Raevyn wrote: »
    I agree with Gaddez. I decided to read a bit of it after seeing the 8 millionth person with a misspelled version of Drizzt for their name. I read one trilogy (I think I would have chosen the one written first), and by the third book I'd had my fill. They were fun, but nothing that could last. The character is too invincible, and the writing quality just isn't there. (I'd put it a little below the Weis/Hicock Dragonlance books). For reference, my three favorites in the genre are George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Tad Williams (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn).

    To answer your question directly, I think it's always best to read books and series in the order they were written in.

    I Kept slogging on and on through the books, enduring the unending diatribe about drizzt's web of steel and dance of death for so damm long, even after it became apparent that salvatore didn't really know what to write about anymore.

    Frankly, the Duel with Obould is what broke me. Obould wasn't just a big scary orc; he was effectivley an avatar of gruumsh (who is a god surpassing that candy ass bitch lolth by a fair margin) and it was heavily implied that the only reason he didn't lose to drizzt was because he was healing back too fast.

    It's not even just Fonz Do'urden though. Every central character in his bibliography has plot armor that an exploding sun couldn't penetrate.

    Spoiler:
  • Ash of YewAsh of Yew Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I agree with others, but I think they're still fairly fun reads. That said I stopped after one of the latest orc ones. Imo the series is a lot like DBZ and other recent anime (Bleach, Naruto) in which maybe at first you have some sort of tension but as it goes on you realize, as said, the characters are just invincible and so any suspsense is lost. I think they're mostly fun books though, and the writing style is rather action packed and doesn't really drag much.

    As for the OP's question, I think it doesn't matter much. I read The Icewind Dale trilogy first, but I had a friend who read the others first. You'll get more background on Drizzt reading the prequels, but it was fun for me to go back and read about the character after reading Icewind Dale. It's been so long since I've read them but I guess personally I'd recomment Icewind Dale first since I feel like that was a stronger story.
    If you enjoy them I also recommended checking out The Cleric Quintet.

  • RadicalTurnipRadicalTurnip Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I would recommend reading the IWD first only for the fact that I did it the other way, and I was a bit jarred by the less-experienced writing-style.

    That being said, just reading the "prequel" trilogy (Homeland, Exile, Sojourn) is a good way to go. In my opinion, they're the best books of the series.

    However, I still enjoy reading the Drizzt books simply because I read them somewhat like the transcript of a D&D game, and for a D&D game, it's pretty cool. But I also enjoy the far-too-powerful hero trope for some reason.

  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I read further on because I found Entreri and Jarlaxle pretty interesting (The Silent Blade, Servant of the Shard, i think there are others) - same sort of plot-armor/powerful characters, but not as virtuous as Drizzt's gang, so they can be more fun.

  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The Entreri/Jarlaxle parts of the end of the third/beginning of the fourth trilogy/(quadlogy?) are the only parts worth reading after the end of the Icewind Dale Trilogy.

    The rest of it is just utter rubbish.

    Spoiler if you haven't read:
    Spoiler:

    But the first two trilogies are pretty good reads... except Sojourn, which is pretty awful.

  • NightslyrNightslyr Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Chanus wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    This. Fuckin'-a, this.

    The first two trilogies are decent. The IDT is a solid, if very standard, D&D series. There's a party, they fight evil, yay. The DET is far more interesting, and really sheds light on the Drow themselves. After that, though, you get into Dragon Ball Z territory.

    RE: spoiler
    Spoiler:

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  • JadedJaded Registered User
    edited November 2010
    I might get ripped for this. But if you read the first six books you should then check on the Clerical Quintet. I find Cadderly, Danica, Pikel and Ivan to be far more intersting then Drizzt and troup... aside from the books involving Artemis and Jarlaxle mind you... those are great reads.

    I can't think of anything clever.
  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The Cleric Quintet lost me when:
    Spoiler:

  • NightslyrNightslyr Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Chanus wrote: »
    The Cleric Quintet lost me when:
    Spoiler:

    Two words:
    Spoiler:

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  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    wiki spoilers
    Spoiler:

  • JadedJaded Registered User
    edited November 2010
    Chanus wrote: »
    The Cleric Quintet lost me when:
    Spoiler:

    Very true... also...
    Spoiler:

    I can't think of anything clever.
  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Jaded wrote: »
    Chanus wrote: »
    The Cleric Quintet lost me when:
    Spoiler:

    Very true... also...
    Spoiler:
    Spoiler:

    Spoiler:
  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Gaddez wrote: »
    Jaded wrote: »
    Chanus wrote: »
    The Cleric Quintet lost me when:
    Spoiler:

    Very true... also...
    Spoiler:
    Spoiler:
    Spoiler:

  • LorekLorek Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    KalTorak wrote: »
    Gaddez wrote: »
    Jaded wrote: »
    Chanus wrote: »
    The Cleric Quintet lost me when:
    Spoiler:

    Very true... also...
    Spoiler:
    Spoiler:
    Spoiler:
    Spoiler:

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  • November FifthNovember Fifth Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I am going to echo some of the previous posters. Start with the Icewind Dale Trilogy and then read Homeland and Exile from the Dark Elf Trilogy. Skip Sojurn and all subsequent novels.

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  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I guess I'll pose my question here as well. As someone who has just recently gotten in to playing D&D I wanted to read some of the lore and a friend suggested I get into the Dark Elf trilogy - starting with Homelands.

    I'm about 3/4 through the book and, well, it's terrible. It feels like something I might have enjoyed when I was thirteen but the lack of any sort of depth of character really causes me to not really give a damn. So, my question is does it get better? If I'm not enjoying this book should I bother continuing?

    Further to that, it can't be possible that all of the D&D books would be that vapid. Is there something that's a bit more mature in the line that one might enjoy?

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  • NightslyrNightslyr Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The D&D books of the 80's/90's are largely aimed at the 13-16 demographic. Salvatore's work, even his DBZ-esque shit later down the line, is still better than most of what's out there, at least, for the Forgotten Realms. Remember, you're reading books set in a game world, many of which feature remnants and echoes of the authors' own D&D gaming sessions. Don't expect works of art. For a comparison, try reading Ed Greenwood's Elminster stuff. If you don't start dry heaving by page 50 of any one of his books, you'll be in good shape.

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  • moocowmoocow Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    SIMM: Having read many of the Forgotten Realms books, I feel qualified to answer your questions.
    No.
    No.
    No.

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  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Nightslyr wrote: »
    The D&D books of the 80's/90's are largely aimed at the 13-16 demographic. Salvatore's work, even his DBZ-esque shit later down the line, is still better than most of what's out there, at least, for the Forgotten Realms. Remember, you're reading books set in a game world, many of which feature remnants and echoes of the authors' own D&D gaming sessions. Don't expect works of art. For a comparison, try reading Ed Greenwood's Elminster stuff. If you don't start dry heaving by page 50 of any one of his books, you'll be in good shape.

    The Finders Stone trilogy > Dark Elf books 1-6

  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    moocow wrote: »
    SIMM: Having read many of the Forgotten Realms books, I feel qualified to answer your questions.
    No.
    No.
    No.

    Hrmm, perhaps I will look for my fantasy fix elsewhere then. Thanks for the help folks!

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  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Yeah, most people will have missed the boat on these books if they didn't read them as teenagers. I pick one up now and then in a bookstore for a trip down memory lane, but most of the enjoyment i get from them is nostalgia.

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I enjoyed them.

    All of them =)

    It's nice to just read a fluff book sometimes.

  • NightslyrNightslyr Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Nightslyr wrote: »
    The D&D books of the 80's/90's are largely aimed at the 13-16 demographic. Salvatore's work, even his DBZ-esque shit later down the line, is still better than most of what's out there, at least, for the Forgotten Realms. Remember, you're reading books set in a game world, many of which feature remnants and echoes of the authors' own D&D gaming sessions. Don't expect works of art. For a comparison, try reading Ed Greenwood's Elminster stuff. If you don't start dry heaving by page 50 of any one of his books, you'll be in good shape.

    The Finders Stone trilogy > Dark Elf books 1-6

    Eh, I only really enjoyed the second book. Giogioni, Nameless, and the Wyvernspurs in general are cool. The rest, not so much.

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  • JadedJaded Registered User
    edited November 2010
    Nightslyr wrote: »
    Nightslyr wrote: »
    The D&D books of the 80's/90's are largely aimed at the 13-16 demographic. Salvatore's work, even his DBZ-esque shit later down the line, is still better than most of what's out there, at least, for the Forgotten Realms. Remember, you're reading books set in a game world, many of which feature remnants and echoes of the authors' own D&D gaming sessions. Don't expect works of art. For a comparison, try reading Ed Greenwood's Elminster stuff. If you don't start dry heaving by page 50 of any one of his books, you'll be in good shape.

    The Finders Stone trilogy > Dark Elf books 1-6

    Eh, I only really enjoyed the second book. Giogioni, Nameless, and the Wyvernspurs in general are cool. The rest, not so much.

    I agree with your comments on the Finders Stone Trilogy.

    Also, I suppose the Daughter of the Drow books featuring Lireal aren't all that bad... I like Christie Goldens work though.

    I can't think of anything clever.
  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The Wyvernspur is so awesome as light fantasy goes; If you don't enjoy it then there is somthing fundamentally wrong with you. :)

    Also: having read most of the priests series I can attest to them being very solid.

    Spoiler:
  • NightslyrNightslyr Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The thing that fascinates me the most about Salvatore is his limited range. He has very clearly defined roles that he's comfortable writing, and doesn't deviate much.

    To put it another way, many of his main characters have the same voice. Drizz't isn't all that different than Cadderley, Lucien, The Nightbird, etc. Hell, even Luke Skywalker. Cattie-Brie and Pony are nearly identical to me.

    After the DET, he falls into the same generic rut. There are a couple exceptions - Jarlaxle and Entreri - but for the most part, if you read a Salvatore novel, you know what characters to expect.

    Not that it's entirely horrible. His best work tends to have a lot of spectacle, just not mych beyond that. He's fantasy Michael Bay - lots of explosions.

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  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Yeah, David Eddings had the same issue. All his fantasy series had the same characters. Comforting (as long as you like back and forth snark), but not particularly original.

  • soxboxsoxbox Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    In terms of Forgotten Realms novels, the Finders Stone and The Avatar Trilogy are the two I remember most fondly. The Avatar trilogy is really good for getting a grounding in the forgotten realms cosmology if that interests you at all.

    Note: Memory is almost definitely tainted by 15-20 years of nostalgia, but the avatar books were certainly good enough to make me name pretty much every CRPG character 'Mignight', 'Adon' or 'Kelemvor' for most of my teenage years.

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