I remember this event from about 5 years ago where participants engaged in a favorite author quote off. Basically, everyone presented a quote by their favorite author, and the audience voted on the best. Whoever got the fewest votes each round was eliminated. The final round ended up with an English professor show specialized in Renaissance drama using Shakespeare vs one of his colleagues’ tween son using R.A. Salvatore. It was hilarious even though the eventual split decision of Shakespeare as the winner seemed a little predictable, especially since the tween’s performances were really in character and he was clearly having a blast. So when I decided to finally get around to trying the runner up, I had high expectations. I decided to start at the beginning with Homeland.
On the one hand, I like the world and key characters being set up. Drizzt and his upbringing make for an interesting sympathetic hero, even if things do seem to come to him a little too easily at times. Of course the hero’s the strongest, and naturally he gets the best training before heading off to school, and clearly he must never get fully tricked to his death by his several enemies who are really more enemies of his family, and not necessarily his fault. Making Drizzt usually empathetic and principled in a world where those things are viewed as liabilities and anti-drow elf (that is dark elf, his species), is definitely setting up some obvious conflicts for later, but it does mean that it’s interesting to watch how Drizzt’s views are challenged, and I suspect a few times where he shows mercy and then hides it, or tries to, is setting up for later encounters with those characters. Zak and Guenhwyvar make for good sidekicks, and while it was sad, the tragic ending for one was actually meaningful and well timed, but the introduction and development of the relationship with the other could have used a little more detail.
The thing that I wasn’t as fond of was the storytelling, by which I mean language. I just didn’t see the entertaining moments and language that I remembered. I was waiting for something like Terry Pratchett with the clever but still meaningful wit, and that’s not here at all. Instead, it’s a pretty straightforward dialogue driven adventure story, with a good bit of melodrama, both in the fighting and the emotional outbursts (usually of vengeance) by various characters scattered throughout the story, and also quite a few made-up words (mostly names) that don’t seem to have a clear real-world etymology or derivation. It’s not a bad story, and the pacing is pretty good, but I didn’t find anything that really grabbed me, and while I don’t rule it out, I don’t think I’ll keep going with the series. It just wasn’t as amazing as I’d hoped, and again while it’s decent, I don’t quite see how this was an NYT best seller.