Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Note on Salvatore.

So, there seems to be some division in 'fantasy fans' regarding the works of RA Salvatore, and I can sorta see why. Bubblegum sword and sorcery, plots that seem to revolve around cool fight scenes, Drizzt. Now, I have to admit, I am a fan of the Forgotten Realms Dungeons and Dragons setting. I've been reading the novels since, like, eigth grade or so, after picking up Elminster: The Making of a Mage by Ed Greenwood at a small bookstore next to a grocery store in the small town of Topsham, ME. I read that book in a day, devoured it. It was the third fantasy novel I had read, Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony being the only other two. Ed Greenwood's breakneck pace through the plot, the mage duels, dragon fire, and overall cheesiness appealed greatly to me. In fact, it still does. One of my favorite bands is Hammerfall.

The first book by Salvatore that I read was Streams of Silver, book two of the Icewind Dale Trilogy when I was working at both Shaws (a grocery store in Maine), and WalMart. I finished it that night, and bought the boxed set of the trilogy the next day. From there, I went out and purchased all of the others, in order, going back to the prequel trilogy (Homeland, Exile, Sojourn), and then the one after that, and the one after that. (It was nice being young and having disposable income). The stories of Drizzt and gang had captivated me, and I dove in with relish (no mustard, sadly) with their daring fights. The Hunters Blade Trilogy came next, and those were neat, and then I took a break from the series.

They... don't... they don't really stand up to rereads. The Sellswords trilogy (or... well, two, since the first one was really part of the Drizzt series at one time) was alright, they read more like a dungeon crawl than anything else, and Selune is a goddess, god damn it. The Transitions trilogy was alright. Nothing special. And then I took another break.

The Neverwinter quadrology (or whatever) I read in a week, just a couple of months ago. I enjoyed the slightly darker tone, but it did nothing special for me. Have I grown up? Am I unfairly comparing it to A Game of Thrones, or Malazan, or the Black Company? And yes, it would be unfair to compare the Forgotten Realms works with these other works. And of course Barabus the Gray was Entreri. That was obvious.

There will always be a place in my heart for Drizzt. Always. It's just I like fantasy that stabs me in my guts much better now.

And Wulfgar was much cooler than Drizzt.

His work in his own setting, Corona, is a bit better, though it does seem to follow the same formula, not that I'm faulting him for that. (Still, a character named Pony...)

Are RA Salvatore's books worth reading?

Yes. Of course they are.

Are they worthy of having every gaming table have a drow ranger?
Sigh.

Maybe.