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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book with tons of action & character development!
This was the first ever public offering of R. A. Salvatore's writing ability. It's no wonder he's written so many others since! He's a great author, and this book showcases his writing ability. It's filled with plot twists & subplots & everything else that makes a story interesting. Anyone who is interested in reading through the Drizzt Do'Urden storyline, I...
Published on December 30, 1999 by Kevin Hooper

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but predictable
The main problem with works that are inspired by or that borrow from RPG is predictability. After all, what adventure would be complete without a warrior, a rogue, and a sorcerer. Not to mention the party must include a gruff dwarf and a light-hearted, pleasure-loving halfling. The Crystal Shard has got all that and more, but it also brings to life an original in the...
Published on March 13, 2003 by Dinh Yen Tran


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book with tons of action & character development!, December 30, 1999
By 
Kevin Hooper "havenmyst" (Salisbury, North Carolina United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This was the first ever public offering of R. A. Salvatore's writing ability. It's no wonder he's written so many others since! He's a great author, and this book showcases his writing ability. It's filled with plot twists & subplots & everything else that makes a story interesting. Anyone who is interested in reading through the Drizzt Do'Urden storyline, I advise reading "The Dark Elf Trilogy" first to get more of a chronological progression in the character's developement, however, nothing is lost by reading this book first. It's a great story by a great storyteller.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drizzt the Dragonsbane, Demonslayer . . . a great character, March 28, 2000
Salvatore knows how to create truely unique and interesting characters. Drizzt Do'Urden is my favorite by far, his fight agaisnt racial walls is intriguing and its interesting how Salvatore makes Drizzt react to it. The Crystal Shard continues directly after the book Sojourn, in the tundra of Icewind Dale. Drizzt, Wulfgar, Bruenor, and countless leaders and people of Ten-Towns fight in a famous battle that made me read for hours straight, wondering waht would happen next. The pure cunning and trickery in this book is both interesting and humerous, I reccomend this book to any D & D fan, and even those just interested in Fantasy books.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Surprising, July 5, 2000
By 
John (Houston, TX) - See all my reviews
I first came upon this novel thinking very little. I expected it to be nothing more than some typical fantasy trash. I just could not stand "The Hobbit" at all, yet I wanted to venture into fantasy, so a friend (who hasn't read this) referred me to the novel itself. He had mentioned that "Homeland" by Salvatore was better than decent. But still, I was rather skeptical. All in all, this is a tremendously great read.
Adventure Value: 9/10- This book contains numerous battle scenes and heroic combat moments
Romance Rating: 3/10- Wulfgar the Barbarian does do a little hitting on the female protagonist, but nothing more.
Character Development: 7/10- Drizzt, Bruenor, Regis, and Wulfgar are well developed, but there is some slacking on the antagonist: Akar Kessell.
Climax: 8/10- The ending of the read draws to a beautiful close.
Plotline: 6/10- The plotline was thin at random points, though at times it was as thick as molasses...
Creature Feature: 8/10- there are barbarians, goblins, orcs, ogres, giants, and even an ice dragon...it's well done...
My overall commentation on this book is that it is very good, and I recommend anyone new to the genre read it soon!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy "Shard" for what it is: Fun Popcorn Fantasy, July 24, 2000
By 
Andres R. Guevara (Aurora, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The great thing about this book is that you can accept and agree with many of the negative comments and still shrug your shoulders, say "who cares" and enjoy this fun book. Believe me, its not a great investment of time to read this book, because you'll breeze through it pretty quickly. Yeah, its got problems: the dialogue can be silly at times, plot twists can pop up without much development, and the characters aren't as well developed as some posters argue. And yet, in spite of all its faults its a very fun read! The plot is quick paced and covers a lot of ground. Salvatore's first novel shows terrific style (which he develops and masters later on). "Shard" is like a large popcorn at the movies: Its not a full course meal, but if you are in the mood for something light, it will satisfy your hunger better than you think. Pick it up, you won't be disappointed.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Derivative genre fiction but great fun anyway..., January 12, 2001
By 
Nick Kapur (Cambridge, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This is one of those books you just can't help loving in spite of yourself. This was Salvatore's first book ever, and it shows. The plot is workaday, the writing is uneven and amaturish, and the characters are stereotypes. Even so, Salvatore brings such sincerity and honest exuberance to this tale that you will find yourself getting caught up in the excitment anyway. Ultimately, the characters have such humanity that they transcend the sterotypes that they are and the plot is damn exciting in spite of itself.
From the beginning Salvatore shows the mastery of writing action scenes and creating memorable characters that has made him famous and so beloved as an author. This book is the first in a very entertaining series that is up to 13 books and counting. I've read it three times now and it's still my favorite book in the series despite its faults.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but predictable, March 13, 2003
By 
The main problem with works that are inspired by or that borrow from RPG is predictability. After all, what adventure would be complete without a warrior, a rogue, and a sorcerer. Not to mention the party must include a gruff dwarf and a light-hearted, pleasure-loving halfling. The Crystal Shard has got all that and more, but it also brings to life an original in the form of Drizzt Do'Urden, who's undoubtedly one of the most well-known and beloved characters in fantasy. That may be the most enduring legacy of this fun if otherwise unremarkable series.
The story is set in the Icewind Dale, a barren, wind-swept region nestled in the armpit of the Spine of the World. Thanks to its remote location, Icewind Dale is largely ignored, until our present story that is, in the lores of the Forgotten Realms, that fabled realm of the vast Dungeons & Dragons universe. Icewind Dale is home to Bruenor, a old, curmudgeonly dwarf (who's ever heard of a happy go lucky dwarf?), who fled here after the destruction of his ancestral home, and the halfing Regis, an epicurean who's on the run from some trouble in the south. Befriended to both is Drizzt, a drow-elf ranger on an self-imposed exile from the underground realms of his people. Highly principled and strongly disturbed by the evil and self-serving ways of the drow, he willingly makes his home on the surface world despite the fear and revulsion of almost everyone he comes across. Drizzt's background and emotional complexity makes him a deeper characters than one would expect from a series like this. Rounding out the group are Catti-Brie, a human girl adopted by Bruenor, and Wulfgar, a fierce barbarian warrior taken under Bruenor's tutelage. Trouble brews when Akar Kessell, a bumbling wizard's apprentice, stumbled into possession of Crenshinibon, an almost sentient crystal imbued with vast powers. Aided by the crystal, Kessell assembles a vast army of goblins, orcs and giants to invade Ten Towns and establish himself as the tyrant of Icewind Dale. Drizzt and company must rally the squabbling inhabitants of Ten Towns and gain the help of the hitherto hostile barbarian tribes if everyone is to have a chance.
As transparent as the plot may seem, there are memorable moments such as Drizzt's confrontation with the demon Erttu and Wulfgar's journey to the lair of the ice dragon. This was RA Salvatore's first major work and there are some rough edges here and there. The battle of Bryn Shander somehow lacks the fury and scale of a climactic clash (face it, few are going to be able to outdo the battles of Helm's Deep and the Pelennor Fields). Nevertheless, the author does an excellent job to bring excitement to one-on-one swashbuckling; one can almost envision the blur of Drizzt's dual scimitars or Wulfgar hammering everything into smithereens with mighty Aegis-Fang.
The Crystal Shard has something about each character. While I would have wished for less stereotypical portrayals and a little more depth, it's a satisfactory introduction and launches us immediately into the companions' even more exciting second adventure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salvatore's First and yet the Best thus far!, February 5, 2000
"Night befell the tundra as orcs crept near. One could have smelt their foul stench as far as a poronkusema* away. The threshold of the forecoming nocturnal slaughter was broken in a sudden fiery fury, however, as a belch and a battlecry manifested the sudden arrival of the Savior of the Ten-Towns, Bruenor Battlehammer. With the skill and prowess of a veteran of a thousand battles and more, he drove is blood-stained axe into the very guts of an orcish invader after another. As the snow-dust finally settled, the Field of Honor hosted a hundred slain orcs and more, the slaughter manifesting the grim deadliness of the warrior that had brought these vile monsters to their deaths; lying as once-alive-and-breathing monuments of the cruel might of Bruenor Battlehammer." (This is no quote from this book, but rather a personal praise from me for Bruenor Battlehammer.)
Bob Salvatore's first novel, taking place in the Icewind Dale, a paradise of frost hidden in the very northwest corner of the Forgotten Realms, is a captivating saga about friendship, adventure and heroism. The debute of such legendary champions as Drizzt Do'Urden, Artemis Entreri, Wolfgang and Bruenor Battlehammer, this story once reset the standards of fantasy literature for generations to come and created the concept for adventures that would reshape the Realms.
All the way from the epilogue to the epic climax of incidents, the reader is kept in a firm grasp by thrilling battle scenes, touching manifestations of loyalty and true valor, and crystal-clear descriptions of the enchanting sceneries of the everwinter in the Icewind Dale. Salvatore's indisputable skill of creating dazzling battle excitement and profoundly inspiring contemplation makes this book, as well as a long line of its successors, an unforgettable experience of reading pleasure. Salvatore's ability of ingeniously finding his characters a way out of the deepest pit of trouble and through the deadliest of monsters also fascinates me over and over again.
And finally, one individual indeed worth mentioning is Bruenor Battlehammer. Whenever he grasps his deadly axe and raises it to strike, whenever he proudly roams wearing his glittering mithril armor and the shield of Foaming Ale Mug symbol, whenever he opens his mouth for a brief grunt of experience and wisdom - then I know that is all I have ever wanted to be. To become him is the purpose of my life. Thus this Dwarven hero shall always dwell in my heart as the repsesentative of everything good and pure in the world.
* Poronkusema (Finnish): "An ancient Lappish measure of distance, equal to the length of journey a running reindeer can make between two urination sessions."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The story I was hoping for, but nothing more, July 21, 2010
This review is from: The Crystal Shard: The Legend of Drizzt, Book 4 (Forgotten Realms) (Mass Market Paperback)
First off: THIS IS NOT A SPOILER. Some folks could use a lesson in the difference between a review and a summary filled with spoilers.

I read the prequel trilogy (Homeland, Exile, Sojourn) BEFORE reading this book. Thus, I read the story in chronological order. However, this is not the order that the author wrote them in. Salvatore wrote The Crystal Shard first, followed by many sequels, and then wrote the prequel trilogy after years of maturity as an author.

I was afraid that there would be some disconnect in story since the prequels were written years later. I was afraid there would be some mismatches in facts or somethings, since the author needed to think up the details of the prequels after already cementing the story of The Crystal Shard in stone. However, I was pleased to find no disconnects at all. As a reader, the transition is smooth in terms of storyline. It all makes perfect sense, and The Crystal Shard really picks up where Sojourn left off. In terms of story, you cannot tell at all that this book was actually written FIRST.

My only complaint is that Salvatore was clearly a less practiced author when writing The Crystal Shard. He was CLEARLY better at some thing while writing the prequels than he was in The Crystal Shard. In The Crystal Shard, I felt a little more disconnected from the characters, less connected to the emotional rising action that I had felt in Homeland and Sojourn. In terms of authoring skills, you could tell that this book was written first.

Because of my lack of connection to the story or characters, I did hit a lull-point in the book where I set it down and didn't read from it for 8 months. I finally picked it up and forced myself to read through the lull point. After that, the book picked up and became every bit as exciting as I had hoped for, but it's never a good sign when it takes nearly a year to read a book. The turn-off for me was when drizzt and company were just slaughtering and killing monsters without any real emotion or flair. It just seemed like Salvatore was having fun detailing the tasteless gore of a classic D&D game, without any real purpose. This might actually turn you on as a reader, if you're into that. Luckily for me, it only last a few chapters. Later descriptions of battle were more of the epic, tasteful, exciting kind.

Never the less, it was a good read, and a fun adventure with Drizzt. There was action, adventure, a lot of fantasy in the D&D setting, and nothing more than that.

A fun read :)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved It, November 15, 2000
I have read many, many books in my lifetime, and the Icewind Dale trilogy is some of the best I have ever read...second only to (or tied with) the Dark Elf trilogy. I personally believed it was much better then Lord of the Rings - I just enjoyed it more. R.A. Salvatore seems to let us get closer to the characters, and feel more emotion, then any of Tolkein's works. That's just my opinion, however.
These books have a great storyline. It kept me turning the pages from the first to the last. You can feel the evil that is the Crystal Shard, and you quaver as the thousands upon thousands of monsters attack the people of Ten-Towns, who must ally with each other in order to defeat them. You feel poor Drizzt's agony as he strives to gain acceptance in the surface world. You laugh as proud Bruenor hands Wulfgar the mighty warhammer, then tries mightily to make it appear as if it doesn't mean much to him. You really understand the tentative bond and fierceness, and the heirarchy, that keeps apart (and ultimately brings together) the towns around the three lakes - Ten-Towns.
All in all, these are three books that I am very glad to have read. However, if you don't like fantasy, I would perhaps steer away from them - first, read the Dark Elf trilogy and see if you fall in love in Drizzt, as I did.
Oh, and by the way - the very last scene caught me by complete surprise, and sent me from tears to laughter like no other book did in a very, very long time.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Light Fantasy, February 6, 2006
I'm sure if I read this when I was younger I would love it. In fact, I'm hanging on to the series for my future children. The characters are excellent role models and there's plenty of adventure.

Now that I'm older, I want to be challenged a little more. I want twists and turns. I want the heroes to fail once in a while to prove they're not perfect.

Let's look at the characters. You've got Drizzt the dark elf, Wulfgar the barbarian, Bruenor the dwarf, and Regis the halfling. (Cattie-Brie becomes a more important character in later books but really doesn't do anything of significance in this book).

Drizzt, Wulfgar and Bruenor are warriors. And man, are they good. Way too good in fact. They can kill anything with relative ease receiving a few bumps and bruises. A horde of goblins? No prob. A lair of giants? Piece of cake. An Ice Dragon? Don't make me laugh. An ancient demon? Yawn.

And so it goes. No matter what villain gets tossed their way, you know who's going to win. I don't like predictability. The story is fun and Salvatore isn't a terrible writer. It's just not what it could have been. And maybe that's because it wasn't written for me, but for a younger generation. And if that's true, then it's decent.
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The Crystal Shard: The Legend of Drizzt, Book 4 (Forgotten Realms)
The Crystal Shard: The Legend of Drizzt, Book 4 (Forgotten Realms) by R. A. Salvatore (Mass Market Paperback - January 9, 2007)
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