Despite saying that I’d take a break after Sojourn, I ended up moving straight on to The Crystal Shard and the Icewind Dale Trilogy. I have to say, I’m glad I stuck with it. The opening sequences worried me a little, partly because of the narrator (I was listening to the audiobook again). She was not necessarily bad, just very different to the narrator of the Dark Elf Trilogy, with different pronunciations for the names of different places and people. What did annoy me was the mispronunciation of the word ‘lich’ (or what I think was supposed to be lich). The set-up also initially seemed very derivative, with the big bad enemy in his tower, and the good guys blissfully unaware. It was very reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings particularly, even with the imagery of the evil tower falling at the end.
There was initially a wide and seemingly disparate cast, but Salvatore managed to bring them all together well by the end, even if there were a few character inconsistencies, and somewhat jarring switches of point of view. As well as this, it suffered from perhaps my biggest bugbear, which is an unnecessary propensity for throwing weapons. It makes literally no sense, essentially throwing away a weapon. I will concede that there are times when throwing a weapon of a certain type might make sense, but the way it seems to happen as a matter of course really annoys me. I mean Wulfgar literally just seems to be Thor. (Rant over).
In spite of these, I did enjoy the story massively, and enjoyed the slightly bigger cast that the Dark Elf Trilogy. Having experienced all three of them, I’m not sure I’m really a fan of books with just one central character. I also very much enjoyed Drizzt taking more of an auxiliary role in the story, again probably because I’ve just spent three books with him and very few others. The story in general was on a much larger scale, and much more like the traditional epic fantasy that I love.
‘The Crystal Shard’, by R.A. Salvatore is the first in the Icewind Dale Trilogy.