REVIEW: The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore

Slight spoilers contained herein.

Not my favorite thus far in the series. I felt like this story lacked the depth and development that the three previous ones did. I also felt like we saw a cocky side of Drizzt that simply betrayed his humble nature. The novel was derivative of Tolkien and Norse mythology. It was simply a novel written to have a lot of ass-kicking, which is okay to a point. The villains were not very convincing. Akar Kessell made me think of Orko from He-Man every time he was present. Errtu was a gigantic flop.

As for hero-characters, I thought Regis was a soft, lazy, sloth who I wouldn’t have minded seeing get his useless hide skinned. The section at the beginning of book two that started with him lazing about naked by a tree, taking in the sun, yawning, admiring his large belly, sighing contentedly because of the breeze, opening his heavy eyelids and being out before noon for the first time all year just made me hate him. I’ll be honest. He manipulated one of the men to allow his goldbricking self to live in his lavish home during the winter, and he had exploited his magic gem to find ways to get money off of people. How is this guy a hero? I wish Kemp would have stabbed him.

Bruenor, while I liked him, was just a parody of a cross between Tolkien dwarves and Grumpy of the Seven Dwarves. Wulfgar, despite being a complete and total Thor rip-off (without the bolts), was still quite likable. The battles drew out way too long and the ending seemed to just keep going and going.

One thing I can credit the tale for is the imagination of Ten-Towns and Icewind Dale. I very much enjoyed the richly described tundra, and could feel it’s chill whenever Salvatore began taking me there. The magic, as always, was well-played. Crishinibon (another thing I don’t like about Salvatore is the over-exaggerated names of characters and places)was an intriguing artifact. The blade that hates fire was a nice touch. As always, Guwenyhvar kept the battles mixed up. But, the best part of the whole book was the White Dragon and its lair. I would have rather the book been about that instead of Salvatore’s reimagining of Tolkien’s “The Battle of Helm’s Deep.”

There was some definite fun to be had reading this book, but it was much more adolescent than the Dark Elf Trilogy. The book was a lot of filler and I just didn’t much enjoy it. 

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