Homeland was selected for me by Sam Sykes for his bravest challenge. Not one to back down from a challenge I was still at first perturbed by the selection. I've remained a virtual shared world virgin for many years having only read two Star Wars novels and one ST:NG. At least from what I can recall, but the DnD/Forgotten Realms/Drizzt books were definitely new territory. That said I didn't enter Homeland with too many preconceptions, which was probably for the best.
I knew that Homeland was actually not the first written Drizzt book that was The Crystal Shard, but the first in a prequel trilogy to explain his origins. At first I was surprised because Homeland begins before Drizzt is even born, but gives a great portend of the future in the actions that proceed his light being brought into a very dark world. Most characters in Menzoberranzan, the City of the Spider Queen, do bad things because doing good would show weakness which can not be abided. Salvatore has gone to great detail about nearly every facet of Drizzt's upbringing, which caused an immediate connection to the plight of this young Dark Elf. Homeland is not a challenging book in the least, but it sure is entertaining a good window into the Dark Elf society.
The underworld society is a place where malicious intent is looked upon fondly in this society and much revered if done stealthy. It was also interesting to see such a matriarchal society from the perspective of a young boy who is often left in the dark about the whys. The story is very politics heavy, which got to be too much at times. But when training and life beyond service to the aptly named Matron Malice of House Do'Urden gets going for Drizzt things move at a much quickened pace with the Swords & Sorcery aspect coming to the fore. The training of the Drow was particularly interesting and seems to be setting of things for the future. Most of the other characters are not focused on enough to make them more than one sided, but Drizzt is the lone wolf you want more of as seeds are sowed to make him something very special, especially with his panther companion.
All in all Homeland is much deeper read than I expected from a shared world novel and certainly shows why Salvatore and the first couple Drizzt arcs are so well revered with its sometimes breath taking action that I know will only get better over the course of the next few books, but I'm hoping some of Drizzt's aloofness wears off as he ages. I give Homeland 8 out of 10 hats. With more than a couple hundred Forgotten Realms novels now out this story doesn't make me interested in reading a lot more in the wider world, but Homeland does make me interested in Drizzt's further adventures. I have a feeling I'd like to see him a little older so jumping ahead in the series (Crystal Shard maybe) might be in order as I'd like to get to more action instead of politics and family squabbles. This is a series the 15 year-old in me loves and I need to keep the slacker happy a few times a year.
So, Mr. Sykes I have bested your challenge and I thank you for initiating me into the world of Drizzt.
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