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Homeland - R.A. Salvatore A buddy read with Kristen, Gavin, and Kaora. Please let me know if I missed somebody.

For those unfamiliar with Forgotten Realms and the whole Dungeons and Dragons thingy I have just one question: what rock have you been living under? Anyway welcome to Menzoberranzan (I will award my very special bonus points to anybody who was able to pronounce the city's name correctly on the first try). The underground city is the home of dark elves who call themselves drow. They are not nice by any stretch of imagination and make Darth Vader look like a kindergarten bully wannabe. To put it simply, drows who are less evil than Sauron, Shai'tan, and Wicked Witch of the East rolled in one simply do not survive for long.

An unusual child is born in one of the families; I am using word "family" in very loose sense here. He was supposed to be sacrificed to the local deity The Spider Queen, but was saved from this by some very fortunate - or unfortunate depending on point of view - timing. His name is Drizzt and he will grow up to become a legend:
Drizzt the Dark Elf

This book is about his youth and constant struggles for survival. This was actually the main point of attraction of the novel for me. I was very curious to see what happened to Drizzt to make him grow up a normal human (sorry elf) being. He did not become Mary Sue - not yet at least, but compared to the rest of the drows he is Mary Sue.

The (under)world is great. I am not sure how much of it came from the author and how much from already existing standard Forgotten Realms settings, so I will not attribute all of it to Salvatore's creative writing. Let me just say that if you are looking for a completely bleak and hopeless world, look no further.

Other than the world itself I found the intrigues and constant backstabbing of the drow society fascinating.

Usually in any literature the best written characters are the ones written in different shades of gray (sorry no pun intended). In this book the vast majority of the characters are written in different shades of black with an exception of Drizzt and possibly his mentor Zak. I would not call them very well developed - again with the exception of Drizzt himself, but there were some interesting two-dimensional ones who actually serve their purpose in the story nicely.

I began reading this story not expecting to find an example of high literature but hoping to be entertained. This is exactly what I got in the end. I look forward to read the next book as this one while not ending in a cliffhanger still leaves things in fairly unsettled state and I am curious to see the further development. My rating is 3.5 stars rounded down.