For me to finally read the books that center on of one of the fantasy genreâ€™s most beloved characterâ€™s (and one that I think everyone who ever played D&D in the Forgotten Realms world wanted to be) was a fait accompli. I had generally enjoyed many of the books I read under the Forgotten Realms banner (though many were little more than two-hour, "while Iâ€™m eating a sandwich," reads) and yet had not read anything including R. A. Salvatoreâ€™s dark elf gone good, Drizzt Doâ€™Urden. I was bound to find them in my hands eventually.
The Legend of Drizzt was recently re-released in collectible hardcover format and now also paperback. It spans at least six novels that focus on Drizzt, though there may actually be more forthcoming. The books themselves are gorgeous and the new artwork offers Drizzt as beautiful and principled and tormented as I am sure Salvatore intended him to be.
Having read Homeland, the first in the series about a year ago and enjoyed it but not considered reading any further, I didnâ€™t approach Exile thinking that it would be too compelling.
I liked Homeland but I found the names and political intrigues in the Underdark city of Menzoberrazan to be exhausting. Everyone was so evil and there was all this talk of Lolth the Spider Queen and the women (Dark Elf society is matriarchal and these are some nasty evil murdering women) were little more than one-note nasties. It was pulp fantasy fiction, entertaining but offered little else to urge me to move forward in the series.
Fortunately I did move forward and found the story really opened up in the second book.
You definitely need to read Homeland first and when you get to Exile you will reap the reward of watching Drizzt Doâ€™Urden come to life, as well as develop into a character of principle and compassion. That was what got me the most. Seldom have I read fantasy where a character acted in such a truly compassionate manner. It caught me immediately off-guard. I was not expecting to disappear into this book. I was not expecting to feel so much for this character.
He is tormented. He fights an internal battle against the society he was born into. And yet with compassion he faces nearly every situation he finds himself in.