4.5 stars out of 5
The Dark Elf Trilogy has been my favorite series before. There are three books here by R. A. Salvatore that tell an intense story that opens up the way for more books. The first is Homeland, the second is Exile, and the third is Sojourn. All of them really require the others and could be considered their own novel together, which is one way it is printed.
They are very dark stories and Drizzt’s humble desires stand out like a flame in the dirt. I love his character more than anything and how he battles society, family, and prejudices that are all against him. He isn’t perfect, you get to read of his many inner conflicts, but he is a true hero to me. He never gives up, and part of that is because he has found peace in the path he walks, even if the way is harsh.
In The Beginning
The Dark Elf Trilogy is the first series and almost all of Drizzt’s character is created here. He does change some as he grows older and experiences other things, but these first three books are the classics. Everything stems from them and I find the most enjoyment from reading them. The story is still new and fresh while Drizzt is still discovering his place in the world.
These books also hold the most darkness in my opinion. Nothing Drizzt faces after this (except maybe a girl’s death) can even touch the twisted-evilness of his homeland. It is just so sad to read of how his own family hurts him. And yet that pain is so important to who he is. In literary terms, this is the book with the most conflict and it shows.
A Lengthy Adventure
Salvatore has written beaucoups of books. Just in the Legend of Dizzt books alone there are thirty-six, and there may be more planned. And these are not short novels. Although I love Drizzt, I don’t love all the books. In fact, I haven’t even read them all, only twenty-two. I do wonder about the missed story line, but it gets tiring to read these books and I haven’t found the inspiration yet to finish.
And that is part of my critique. The length of the series is daunting and a lot of the plot tends to feel repetitive at times. Every book is about Drizzt fighting against how society sees his skin. Every book has deadly monsters that Drizzt defeats with extraordinary scimitar skills. In every single book, Drizzt fights to protect his friends after finding the trouble in the first place. The situations vary, the scenes change, the details are new. But there is so much of it that I wish it was shorter.
I actually skip over reading a lot of the battle scenes. While fighting is tense, it doesn’t actually move the plot along very much, except for the conclusion. Some people find it refreshing to find an author who can describe battle scenes with expert clarity, but I see it as being too technical. I don’t need to read about every single sword strike in the hours of fighting they do. Only some of them. There could be less monologueing too.
Games and Stories
I do find it really interesting that Salvatore starting writing these books after playing dungeons and dragons. His written world is built off of the classical D&D world and he takes inspiration for his battles from the conflicts within his own game playing. His characters are likely based on his co-gamers and their characteristics are deep. While this may be a bit unoriginal, and I do wonder if that is why he struggles with repetitiveness, I don’t mind so much. The storylines in games are almost as interesting to me as the games themselves. I am glad he wrote his down.
I have played some D&D finally, this year. The Drizzt books definitely made me want to play for a long time. I got really excited about the character creation and made elaborate backstories for them. I even tied in details and characters from the books. My friends may not have gotten the references, but they applauded how well I took to the storyline scenes.
So these aren’t the best books in the world, but Drizzt’s character has left an imprint in me. I continue his story in my own fan fiction and play games with it. If anything, I would suggest reading the first three books and then continue for as long as you like.
Books in The Dark Elf Trilogy
The city of the drow is full of betrayal, intrigue, secrets, and pain. How can Drizzt survive without being tainted?
Determining that Menzoberranzan is not the place for him, Drizzt wanders the Underdark in search of a place to call home.
Drizzt is pushed to leaving the world he knows and walking on the surface where he may never be accepted.
Other Books and Series in The Legend of Drizzt
Just in case you wanted to know.
Books 4-6 The Icewind Dale Trilogy
Books 7-10 Legacy of the Drown
Books 11-13 Paths of Darkness
Books 14-16 The Sellswords
Books 17-19 The Hunter’s Blades Trilogy
Books 20-22 Transitions
Books 23-26 Neverwinter Saga
Book 27 The Companions
Books 28-30 Companions Codex
Books 31-33 Homecoming
Books 34-35 Timeless and Boundless
Short Story Collection The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt