107 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2005
Of many fine Forgotten Realms novels R.A. Salvatore has written, this one is probably the most creative and easily the most important. In Homeland, Salvatore fleshes out an entire race for D&D by giving us the first deep look into drow or dark elf civilization. By doing so, he also gives us new insights into the enigma that is Drizzt Do'Urden, the dark elf ranger and Salvatore's signature character.
Homeland begins the Dark Elf Trilogy and follows Salvatore's Icewind Dale Trilogy, serving as a "prequel" to that series. We learn of Drizzt's life from birth to early adulthood in the malevolent society that is Menzoberranzan, the City of the Spider Queen. Equally important for the FR world, Salvatore introduces the important institutions, noble houses and religious practices of the drow, which sets the backdrop for many other novels in the FR setting.
Salvatore does not seek to develop deeply any particular characters here besides Drizzt. Instead, he develops the entire drow culture, showing the amoral, individualistic and sadistic behavior of the drow, with an emphasis on the oppression of males in the matriarchal society brought about by the worship of Lloth. Drizzt's struggle as he matures to harmonize his own ethos to that of the drow culture is the central plotline of the book, and when the naive, sincere and ethical Drizzt finally resolves the struggle in three fateful encounters with his father, his enemies and his family, Drizzt as we know him is born.
Some suggest Homeland should be the first book someone new to the Drizzt saga should read. However, I recommend reading the books in the order written, as Drizzt's past is even more engrossing when the reader knows of his present.
Highly recommended. Popular fantasy doesn't get any better than this.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2000
"Homeland" is one of the most excellent novels I've ever read. I read it for the first time 9 years ago and I've not come across another novel yet that has touched me in the manner this book has.
The novel, about the childhood and past of one of the Forgotten Realms' most beloved characters, Drizzt Do'Urden, is a novel of intense passion, of intense inner turmoil, of intense character. It's a prequel to the The Icewind Dale Trilogy and explains why Drizzt is the way he is - stoic and burdened yet content and happy with his life. The storyline and plot are solid and phenomenally detailed as is the character development. The descriptions of the settings, the characters, the battles, the _emotions_ create a novel that is gripping and exciting, while at the same time conveying a feeling of reflection and self-examination. Through his use of amazing detail, Mr. Salvatore allows the reader to feel Drizzt's pains, his triumphs, and his insatiable search for something good in his life.
This is a complete novel; all aspects work well together and create a timeless Forgotten Realms story that is enjoyable on many levels. I highly recommend this book and consider it Mr. Salvatore's best novel.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 1999
I am an avid reader of every genre. I have read all the great Fantasy authors from Tolkein to Jordan, to Brooks. R.A. Salvatore is far and away the best. I have read all 10 of his books that deal with Drizzt (the main character) and plan on reading the next one. This book masterfully paints you pictures of swordplay, emotion, and the interesting settings. I read the first two of his books in one day, because they were so good, and finished all 10 in a week. ANYONE who hates this book is because they have an inherent fear of being a follower. This is not some hyped up review. I first picked up this book because I was going on a long car drive. I knew nothing of the author or the book. I had never even had heard of them. 10 hours later I stopped at another bookstore to get the sequel. All my friends love this book and my mom, who hates fantasy, loves it. This book makes me wish that I was not such a fast reader so that the experience of living the story would last longer.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2004
In a community, individuals must work together. They must work as one single unit in order to achieve the ultimate goal: survival. However, in the great city of Menzobaranzan, this basic rule of survival is not obeyed, quite the opposite is followed in fact. Instead of working together as a coloney, dark Elves, or Drow are killing each other to gain personal elevation on the mountain of social status that makes up Menzobaranzan. The Dark Elves thrive in a world that rejects integrity, all except one, that is.
The first book in the "Dark Elf Trilogy", "Homeland" relates how one Dark Elf rebels against the chaotically cruel world of the Drow. Drizzt Do'Urden is a skilled warrior and a noble of house Do'Urden, 9th house and only one step away from a seat on the ruling council of Menzobaranzan. There is no apparent reason why he should not thrive in the murderous society that is his home, however, by reading the first chapter of this book, one can easily tell that Drizzt Do'Urden is not an average Dark elf. For some reason, this one is different.
By the time that he was just one decade old, still considdered an infant by drow society, Drizzt knew that his society was sick and twisted. How can a society hope to survive when they are busy attempting to assassinate each other? It is no secret that Drow Elves have numerous enemies. Drizzt knows he has to escape, but as the time of his escape draws nearer, an impending threat to his house becomes more obvious. Should he help fight in the epic battle that could make or break house Do'Urden, or should he flee to the dangerous enexplored terrain of the Underdark?
R.A. Salvator's method of writing has a way of making one feel that he or she is trapped inside the Underdark along with the treacherous Drow. I would reccomend this book to any reader who has a strong love for fantasy, or who feels alone or out of place in their environment. This book demonstrates that there is more than one place to find acceptance, and that there are no ties that can't be broken. The complexity of this story has as many layers as the Dark Elves hatred, and there are as many twists and turns in the plot as there are tunnels in the Underdark. R.A. Salvator's talent is apparent in this wonderful story of acceptance and escape.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2008
This book's a poser to review. First of all, the book's goals (and it's rare to find those in a work of fiction): on page 323, R.A. Salvatore says he wanted to
"...go back and tell Drizzt's story and at the same time define the dark elves in the FORGOTTEN REALMS world."
Mostly, he achieved that. "Homeland" is a prequel to the Icewind Dale trilogy that starts out just a tad before Drizzt's birth. It physically explains Drizzt's early existence and does a very good job giving a feel for the society of dark elves (drow). Unfortunately, the explanation for Drizzt, himself, is entirely implausible. For some reason, Drizzt is essentially born good from an evil race (there's no ambiguity or subtlety on this -- the drow are evil). For his first 10 years, he's raised (alone, as far as I can see) by one of his evil sisters (the least evil one, admittedly). He gets no education except in how to be a servile male. His next five or six years, he spends similarly as a servile male to the whole evil clan (again, no education). Following this, he spends five years learning to fight (and nothing else, apparently) from the family Weapons Master (his actual father -- who also appears to be good). Then, he spends the next 10 years in the Academy learning to be a true drow warrior. Yet, thoughout this, constantly exposed to and indoctrinated in his race's evil ways, he remains "good." Not only does he remain good, but he's constantly surprised when the drow around him do evil things. It's just not plausible. If he had been raised by a good society for several years, or if he had been exposed to some kind of philosopher, there might have been some basis for his goodness. But, as it is, he shouldn't even have the vocabulary to come up with the concepts that are the core of his being.
But, I still have to go back to what this book is. It's not literature for the sake of literature. It's a story to give some background to a main figure and race in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Keeping that in mind, the writing is actually very good. It's fairly fast paced and pretty engrossing. There are still some pretty big logical inconsistencies, and the characters could certainly use more depth. But, for what it is, it's pretty good. If you're a D&D type of person, I highly recommend it. If you're looking for literature, you'll probably be disappointed. So, I rate the book at an OK three stars out of 5.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2000
I absolutely loved this brilliant piece of work. For one let me tell you that this was the first time I read one of Mr. Salvatore's books and I was absolutely blown away by the amount of detail and depth there is in this book. The characters are all unique in their own way and the descriptions are all very real and vivid. My favorite character would be Drizzt all the way. He has very real feelings and you feel how trapped he is in the drow world of Menzoberranzan. His dark kin are ruthless in their pursuit of their dark desires and Drizzt can't comprehend how evil they are. I would highly recommend this book to any fantasy reader out there who enjoys a good adventure packed book with deep characters.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2004
Definitely a great fantasy epic and one of my personal favorites, The Dark Elf Trilogy-Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn, brings to life the story of a good hearted dark elf ranger named Drizzt Do'Urden and his adventures in the Underdark Drow city of Menzoberranzan in the World of Faerun. The books are so incredibly well written that the reader feels that they have been transported to another universe and are actually present among the characters, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel, sensing what they sense. RA Salvatore has truly outdone himself and has presented us with a masterpiece of literature the likes of which we have seen only in JRR Tolkien's work and in authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends trilogies. Duty, honor, bravery, magic, and swordfights are all about. A great trilogy indeed and a "must read" along with RA Salvatore's The Icewind Dale Trilogy!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 1998
"Homeland" is possibly R.A. Salvatore's finest work written to date, with the possible exception of "The Legacy". A beautiful story set in perhaps one of the most creative settings ever in a fantasy story, this story both tugs at one's heartstrings and pulls at one's imagination. Menzoberranzen is presented in such intricate, almost loving, detail that one wonders if Salvatore has created the world or is merely reporting on it. The morality of the book, so often overdone in many of his later books, is perfectly presented in this story as the main character, Drizzt, must begin to make his own decisions as to what is wrong and right. Salvatore as well, writes of a very intricate relationship between Drizzt's father and his son, a relationship that is much more complex and intricate than many in his later books. The characterization in this book is superior to many of his other books, and the reader can come to believe that the characters are real people in a real world, so vividly are each painted. In general, this book is excellent in every way, a complex and gripping story set in a detailed and wonderous world. Any fan of fantasy, and many people who are not fans, will love this story. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2005
I heard about this book from a friend and was doubtful, so I went to the library to check it out and couldnt put it down until I finished. The most in depth characters of any book I've ever read and the detail of the story is top notch. I would recommend this book to anyone.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2002
I rarely read books twice, but a just finished this one a second time. R.A. Salvatore has a gift for ensnaring his audience with his style. Homeland starts the life of Drizzt Do'Urden. Raised in the evil society of the drow elves deep in Menzoberranzan, Drizzt struggles to come to grips with his own convictions and the world that battles to warp them. The life of the Drow is a viscous life, oddly mimicing our own at times, where deciet and ambition reign. But not so for Drizzt. His is a life of compassion in which he struggles to find the answer to why he exists.
This book covers the birth and childhood of Drizzt. The reader gets to walk with him as he learns the evils of drow society and the magnificent use of his weapons: the twin scumitars. The book culminates with Drizzt decission to leave Menzoberranzan after killing his advasaries Masoh Hun'ett and Alton DeVir and the lose of his father and mentor Zaknafien.
If you love action, adventure and science fiction this book is perfect for you. Salvatore brings Ed Greenwoods fantasy world to life and you will not put this book down until you have to.