Well, I finished Forgotten Realms: Homeland, the first book of the Dark Elf Trilogy this morning. I couldn't sleep, so I read the last 80 pages in succession.
I have to say I just couldn't put this book down for long. It's odd that it took me so long to get into The Crystal Shard, yet this book, from the same author about the same characters, came so easily for me. Of course, The Crystal Shard was R.A. Salvatore's first novel in the series, so maybe there was some stumbling there that detracted me at first. As I've said, though, once I finally did get into that book I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Homeland is a prequel detailing the birth and growth of the star of all the books in R.A. Salvatore's corner of the expansive universe, Drizzt Do'Urden, the dark elf (or drow). After reading The Crystal Shard, which only hinted at Drizzt's past throughout, this book was an incredible revelation into the past of the popular character. All the trials he went through being the sole moral light in a world full of evil and vile creatures, including his own kind, made for a very compelling read.
It was intriguing to see this powerful warrior from The Crystal Shard growing up as a wide-eyed and naive boy in a world full of evil cultists with bloodlust and greed for power. You got the sense through the book's duration that Drizzt was very special and possibly even blessed and created for a far greater purpose than to dwell in the Underdark and become one of the many murderers as the rest of his people are.
Salvatore crafted a brilliant tale of a complex and compelling character in Drizzt, showing the tragedy that was his life in Menzoberranzan, the city he called home, and led us expertly to a new beginning that could bring more trials to the skilled warrior.
Exile is the next book in the trilogy, and I'll be starting that one soon. If it's nearly as good as Homeland was, in a week or so there will be a similar post of praise about it.