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SFF Author: R.A. Salvatore

book review R.A. Salvatore fantasy literature(1959- )
Besides these fantasy epics, R.A. Salvatore also writes short stories, Star Wars novels, comic and graphic novels, and he writes for the gaming industry. Besides the Forgotten Realms: Drizzt novels, Salvatore oversees production of Forgotten Realms: War of the Spider Queen, which is written by several authors. You can read sample chapters of Drizzt at R.A. Salvatore’s website.



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Homeland: Fun For Your Inner Fourteen-Year-Old

Homeland by R.A. Salvatore

R.A. Salvatore’s brooding, noble hero Drizzt Do’Urden is almost inarguably the most popular character in the FORGOTTEN REALMS universe (which is to say, the Dungeons & Dragons tie-in novels). It has become a general joke through the years that half the new D&D players of the world incorporate something of the dark elf warrior into their first characters, and — tellingly — when Suvudu did their initial fantasy character popularity contest some years ago, Drizzt beat out such classic characters as Aragorn,


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Exile: Cheesy fun

Exile by R.A. Salvatore

Exile, the second novel in THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT series, is a sequel to the first book, Homeland, in the same way that The Two Towers is a “sequel” to Fellowship of the Ring: technically you can call them separate stories, but when you come right down to it they work more strongly as one complete narrative. Exile picks up where Homeland left off to tie up the plot threads left dangling at the end of the first novel.


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Sojourn: A transitional novel, and it shows

Sojourn by R.A. Salvatore

Sojourn is the last book in Salvatore’s DARK ELF TRILOGY, the prequel novels he wrote to establish Drizzt’s origin story after the success of his earlier trilogy ICEWIND DALE. While the first two DARK ELF novels, Homeland and Exile, are charming enough little stories to entertain on their own merits, Sojourn is the point at which the story begins to suffer for the necessity of ticking certain narrative boxes to get Drizzt where he needs to be by book four.


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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.


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Streams of Silver: Not great, but good enough

Streams of Silver by R.A. Salvatore

Streams of Silver, the sequel to The Crystal Shard, breaks no new ground for THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT, and to be honest I’m finding it difficult to review because there is so very little to say about it (having already reviewed the preceding works). Like The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver has issues with wooden dialogue and cluttered prose but almost makes up for it on the basis of swift-moving action and a general sense of enthusiastic fun.


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The Halfling’s Gem: In Which Salvatore Takes a Machete to his Own Plot, and Everything Still Works Out Somehow

The Halfling’s Gem by R.A. Salvatore

The Halfling’s Gem is the finale to the ICEWIND DALE trilogy, and as such is tasked with tying up the dangling plot threads from parts one and two, by this point no easy feat. The dwarven homeland of Mithral Hall (can’t you just hear Tolkien spluttering indignantly from the hereafter?) has been found but it remains in the hands of the grey dwarves, different from regular dwarves in that they are grey. And evil. Apparently the two coincide. Bruenor has gone toppling to his demise locked in combat with the dragon that’s standing in for the Balrog in this particular spin-off,


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The Legacy: Distilled Action. Nothing Else. Seriously, nothing.

The Legacy by R.A. Salvatore

As I’ve been doing these reviews, I’ve tried to point out a few things about THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT series. First, these books are fun, diverting, and lively. Second, they’re… uh… not very good. Now when I say “good,” I am of course referring to the Literary definition of good (that’s Literature with the capital L, Literature the genre, that I’m discussing now). It’s problematic in a number of ways that one genre has set the standard for what constitutes “good” writing, but that’s just where things are right now,


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Starless Night: Prepackaged and pointless

Starless Night by R.A. Salvatore

While reading THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT series, I’ve developed the grim suspicion that every time R.A. Salvatore looks at his characters and thinks “time for some development, lads and lasses,” he immediately starts trying to shoehorn in an adventure to go along with it. Apparently one simply cannot have development through conversation or work or leisure or for that matter anything else that does not involve leaping off the hunched shoulders of your barbarian friend to stab an ogre in the face. Granted,


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Siege of Darkness: Needs more siege. Also more darkness.

Siege of Darkness by R.A. Salvatore

The major problem with Siege of Darkness is not, hopefully, R.A. Salvatore’s fault. The issue is that this is the point in THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT saga when a particularly noxious example of the “Shared Universe Event” decided to rear its ugly head, getting in everyone’s way and disrupting the meta-narrative. Its long-dreaded appearance does absolutely nothing aside from ticking a box on a checklist, so much so that I’m giving Salvatore the benefit of the doubt here and imagining that the material “had” to be there on the word of the mighty Wizards of the Coast,


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Passage to Dawn: An uptick for the series

Passage to Dawn by R.A. Salvatore

Passage to Dawn, fourth and final book in author R.A. Salvatore’s LEGACY OF THE DROW quartet (and the tenth in his broader LEGEND OF DRIZZT series), is pretty good, by Drizzt standards. Hurrah! Cue the Triumph through Rome! Bring on the cheering throngs and falling rose petals! All right, so it may sound like I’m damning with faint praise here, but given the overall shakiness of the quartet it seems expected to tie together,


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The Silent Blade: A Drizzt novel only in name

The Silent Blade by R.A. Salvatore

The Silent Blade is in every regard an improvement over the LEGEND OF DRIZZT’s preceding installment, Passage to Dawn. The plot is tighter, the characterization is subtler, and – stressing this point most of all – the prose has taken leaps and bounds forward. However, this is also the installment of THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT that finally convinced me that the series has not only jumped the shark, but is doing Evel Knievel motorcycle flips over whole tanks of great whites.


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The Spine of the World: Never mind, bring back Drizzt

The Spine of the World by R.A. Salvatore

R.A. Salvatore’s The Spine of the World tries so hard that I actually feel a bit bad for giving it low marks. It’s akin to how I imagine a judge at a dog show must feel when sizing up that one dog who’s a bit too flaky for the event. It won’t stand on the podium or heel properly and it gets singed going through the fiery ring (this might be a good time to own up to the fact that I’ve never actually watched a dog show),


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Promise of the Witch-King: Homage to Leiber

Promise of the Witch-King by R.A. Salvatore

Promise of the Witch-King is the second book in R.A. Salvatore’s Sellswords series, a spin-off/repackaging of his famous Drizz’t series. While the title may sound like a rip-off from Tolkien (and indeed, Dungeons & Dragons does name Lord of the Rings as one of its influences), Salvatore is actually paying homage to Fritz Leiber.

The novel follows the anti-hero adventures of Artemis Entreri, a mellowed-down assassin, and the dark elf Jarlaxle,


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Road of the Patriarch: Rousing adventure

Road of the Patriarch by R.A. Salvatore

The previous book in R.A. Salvatore’s Sellswords trilogy, Promise of the Witch-King was disappointing. Road of the Patriarch redeemed Salvatore in my eyes after that previous lackluster effort.

Road of the Patriarch follows Jarlaxle and Artemis Entreri as they wrap up their sojourn in the Bloodstone lands. Jarlaxle is especially in fine form as he sows chaos in his wake with what seems to be very little effort. Many of his actions seem random (he is a drow after all) but when his schemes coalesce,


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The Orc King: Welcome return to the Drizzt legend

The Orc King by R.A. Salvatore

Picking up where The Two Swords left off, The Orc King continues the adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden and the Companions of the Hall. King Obould Many-arrows seeks to create a kingdom of orcs, at peace with its neighbors, a thing unheard of in Faerun. Tosun Armgo continues to seek to be a new Drizzt, a dark elf of good character while fighting off the advances of Khaizid’hea the evil sentient sword. And Wulfgar, recently widowed, sets out to find his lost daughter Colson.


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The Stowaway: A YA adventure in the Forgotten Realms

The Stowaway by R.A. & Geno Salvatore

FORGOTTEN REALMS books are good for a quick, fun read, where I don’t normally expect a lot of character development and the world has been built so well that you can download maps of the different cities. The Stowaway is a perfect example: a quick, light YA adventure through well-known areas of a well-developed world.

The Stowaway begins with a young child being saved from certain death by a group of noble, powerful people.


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SHORTS: Shu, Lemberg, Salvatore, Bradbury, Pinsker

Here are some of the stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about, most of which are free to read online. This week we continue focusing on 2015 Nebula-nominated short fiction, along with some other stories that caught our attention.

“Everybody Loves Charles” by Bao Shu, trans. Ken Liu (2016, free at Clarkesworld magazine; Kindle magazine issue).

I listened to this novella in the car on the way to WriteFest in Houston,


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Justin reports: GenCon Indy 2010

Just reports about his visit to GenCon. Comment for a chance to win a FanLit bookmark signed by R.A. Salvatore.

Each year in Indianapolis, thousands gather for what’s called “The Best 4 Days in Gaming.” Gencon Indy was held from August 5th to August 8th, 2010. This gathering of nerds is the largest of its kind in the country. If you are into Dungeons & Dragons or board games, this is your Mecca because over 8600 gaming-related activities are held over four days. Gencon is awesome, but you may be wondering how much it relates to fantasy.


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Next SFF Author: Jeff Salyards
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