‘Books’: Homeland by R. A. Salvatore

I’m a sucker for any fantasy novel that has DragonLance plastered on the cover and the ones that say Forgotten Realms are no different.  Both umbrellas of fiction are published by Wizards of the Coast and share similar flora and fauna and races as both are D&D campaign settings.  So when my sister brought home ‘The Legend of Drizzt’ novels featuring a spider goddess called Lolth, a hero named Drizzt Do’Urden, and set in the Underdark I knew I was in for a treat.  The Legend of Drizzt novels are written by R.A. Salvatore, an author best known for his work with Forgotten Realms and The DemonWars Saga.

Homeland follows the birth and adolescence of Drizzt Do’Urden, an uncharacteristically compassionate and naïve drow elf (or dark elf, black skin, white hair, affinity for magic, ect.) who is, of course, amazing at everything except being drow.  The story takes place in the Menzoberranzan, a drow city in the Underdark.  In this particular drow society, women are seen as far superior to men, and as such the city is run by eight ‘Matrons’.  Drizzy is the third son of Matron Malice, born while House Do’Urden wipes out House DeVir in a power grab.  Malice’s goal is to be part of the ruling Matrons, but is still just outside that goal as the ninth House of the Underdark.

Parts One and Two of the novel focus on the aftermath of the coup, and Drizzt’s rearing by his sister Vierna, and the House’s Weapons Master Zak (I’m so glad everybody gets nicknames).  Drizzy is incredibly sheltered as he grows up which makes him totally unprepared to deal with real life.  He develops a strong bond with Zak and nobody else.  These two parts are actually quite boring.  I suppose that they are a set-up to help explain Drizzys actions later on, but I didn’t enjoy the pacing.  Oh yeah, there is also this secondary plot where the last surviving member of House DeVir steals another drow elfs job so he can exact revenge on House Do’Urden.  Part Three is where things get interesting.  Drizzy goes off to the Academy to train as a warrior despite his mother wanting him to become a wizard.  He soon realizes that he has no idea what the real world is like as teamwork, compassion, kindness, and curiosity don’t seem to exist for these creatures.  He is, however, the best student ever and excels academically rather than socially (though, I’m not sure any drow have friends).  Drizzy’s brother Dinin is at the academy as well to keep an eye on his brother and make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.  There are assassination attempts, drama between houses, and a very strange graduation ceremony that results in purposely-poorly-executed-attempted-murder.  Parts Four and Five follow Drizzt’s struggle to maintain some semblance of his moral code without raising too much suspicion from his family.  The side plot is still going on, but I don’t want to spoil too much.  Drizzy does become best buds with a panther, so that’s cool.  The story really starts to give you some insight into Drizzt’s feelings on what is and is not expected of him and that helps him to become a more likable character.  He also has a fantastic sassy streak.  Like, his sass in the face of his enraged, power crazy mother is amazing.  While typing, I have just realized that Drizzt is very similar a character to Tanis Half-Elven of DragonLance fame, a superior warrior who hates fighting…

I am interested in reading the rest of the novels, at least the first two trilogies (though I’m reading them backwards).  In retrospect, I would have rather started with the Icewind Dale Trilogy as I’m assuming it is more plot focused than backstory focused.  Not that Homeland wasn’t plot focused, and despite the lack of interesting characters (l swear everyone fit into three categories: Drow, Drow who hates Drizzy, Drow who is Drizzy) the story itself was interesting.  It is hard to get into liking/disliking characters who are motivated solely by anger at everything.  I mean, Masoj has absolutely no initial reason to hate Drizzt other than because drow hate everything.  Later when his pet prefers Drizz to himself he at least has a reason.

Regardless of any perceived flaws, I enjoyed Homeland.  It is a nice start to the exploration of a pre-existing characters backstory and I am looking forward to continuing the experience and sharing it with you!

(So I just found out this is a comic book and I might have to buy all of it)

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‘Book Haul’: 7/16

Sup Bitmunchers!

I have just returned from vacation and, since I have the day off, am working on getting back on track with this blogging thing.  Today is a sort of update on where we stand, Tuesday will be a music post (haven’t had one of those in ages) and Saturday will be the return of Horus Rising (I promise!  It got really boring again, and I’ve been having trouble staying motivated).

Enough of that.  As is the tradition of vacation, one buys a bunch of stuff.  Here is some stuff.  Also, I cut up the fabric I used for the last set of pictures xp.

The Shannara Chronicles Book One The Elfstones of Shannara, Terry Brooks20160716_150500

                ‘The magical Ellcrys tree is dying, loosening the spell that bars the Demons from enacting vengeance upon the land.  Now Wil Ohmsford must guard the Elven girl Amberle on a perilous quest as she carries one of the Ellcry’s seeds to a mysterious place where it can be quickened into a powerful new force.  But dark on their trail comes the Reaper, most fearsome of all Demons, aiming to crush their mission at any cost.’

                I like to think that I maintain my denial of hipster status fairly well.  I was bound and determined to never touch the Shannara Chronicles when I found out it was a somewhat popular TV show on MTV.  For some reason, finding out that the novel was originally published in the 80’s and Terry Brooks being the quite the prolific author pacified my concerns and I bought the book (avoiding the more expensive TV cover).  However, I must confess that the only reason I read Game of Thrones was because Sean Bean was on the cover and fourteen year old me was all ‘GASP!  Boromir!’

The back of the book touts The Elfstones of Shannara as ‘One of the most popular fantasy tales of all time’ which I’ve never heard of before since it was published before my birth.  Again, I must confess that I am well versed in Tolkien and Lewis despite those books also being published before my birth.  My parents just weren’t Brooks fans apparently.

One thing I immediately notice is the lack of ridiculous names which, while many a summer has been filled with tales of Tanthalas Quisif-Nan Pah and Lauralanthalasa Kanan, I am incredibly grateful for.  There is nothing wrong with creating these grand, universe appropriate names for your characters I JUST CAN’T PRONOUNCE THEM.  Also, Demons is spelled like that instead of the deamons I’ve been reading about in WH40K that don’t exist.  The premise also strikes me as similar to the premise of Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan) but instead of finding a golden fleece they just plant a new tree.  Of course I doubt Ellcrys is a person…

More Than Mortal Sagas Isu. 1, 2, 3; Sharon Scott, Romano20160716_150430

I didn’t buy this and I know nothing about it.  One of my sisters friends bought it for her thinking it was the first three issues of Vaughan and Staples Saga.  The characters and story seem to be based on Irish folklore and mythology which I can totally get behind.  Cool stuff.  Really, that’s all I have for this.

King of Kings, Leaves’ Eyes20160716_150541

While shopping we ran into a music store and they didn’t have letlive.  I was rather put out.  I did find this, however, an album by Norwegian/German symphonic metal band Leaves’ Eyes.   I assumed by the art they were symphonic, so I went with it.  (IT’S AWESOME).  No regrets here.  There will be a review up this Tuesday or the next, so stay tuned!

This has been According to Hatchet, thanks for being here.