The Crystal Shard: An ambitious novel

The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore

The Crystal Shard, although technically preceded by THE DARK ELF TRILOGY according to the new reading order, was actually Salvatore’s first Drizzt novel and in fact his first novel, period. The Crystal Shard does have a lot of the usual first-novel bugs (mechanics sometimes don’t work out the way they should, dialogue is frequently hamfisted), but it also has something that I feel began to fade out of THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT after a while: ambition. Ambition doesn’t usually go hand-in-hand with shared-world novels for obvious reasons, but there it is. The Crystal Shard feels raw, in content but also in tone. There’s a sense, by DARK ELF at least, that Salvatore is beginning to be comfortable with his success and thus more prone to taking it easy. The Crystal Shard has more of an edge, reaches a little further, tries a bit harder. Occa... Read More

The Shadow Rising: Starts to slow down

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

In The Shadow Rising, things start to slow down. In fact, it often feel like the reading of the story must take longer than it took for the events to actually occur.

Part of the problem is that Mr Jordan tells us nearly everything except when the characters make a bowel movement. Also, he regularly launches into pre-set spiels in which he re-describes something or someone who we've encountered numerous times before or re-explains something we've been told dozens of times (e.g., Loial sounds like a bumblebee, Perrin likes to think things through, wet bowstrings are bad, trollocs eat anything as long as it's meat, Aes Sedai never lie but... ). Every time a Tinker shows up, you may as well skip the next two paragraphs because they invariably describe first the "eye-jarring" wagons and then the even gaudier clothes. The format is nearly the same each time. This is especially... Read More