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Daughter of the Drow (Starlight & Shadows #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  2,825 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
A new version of one of Elaine Cunningham's most popular titles.

This rerelease of a top-selling title from one of the most popular authors writing in the Forgotten Realms setting debuts a new look for the Starlight & Shadows series, complete with all-new cover art. The recover of this title and its sequel, Tangled Webs, will precede an all-new concluding title to the s
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 1st 2003 by Wizards of the Coast (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 28, 2011 Kyleigh rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book for what it's worth. Liriel is a great character, and it was really nice to read a fantasy book with a strong female protagonist. This book really bothered me though. I don't like the idea of there being many drow who are not evil, or that there a many drow that live on the surface. Nisstyre's Vaehrun community didn't bother me as much as the Elistraee group. The whole point of the drow is that they are evil and conniving. It undermines that if there's a whole group of them o ...more
Jan 10, 2014 Zayne rated it liked it
Shelves: forgotten-realms
This book wasn't the best, but it was good enough for me to be entertained with. What really turned me off, and is the biggest reason why I gave it a 3-star rating is because of the writing style. It definitely wasn't the best, and really after reading Steven Erikson's novels, it was bland. Everything was constantly being explained giving the reader no chance to think for themselves. It was like Cunningham was taking me by the arm and dragging me throughout the novels, showing me where to go and ...more
Daughter of the Drow is the first book of Starlight & Shadows series, which was written by Elaine Cunningham in 1995.

I’ve bought Daughter of the Drow 7 years ago (2008) but could not find time to read it. This year I promised myself to read all unread books in my library.

Daughter of the Drow is an interesting book to learn the life of the Drow. Until this book I’ve only read R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt Do'Urden books and all my knowledge is written by one author. Reading a different author is re
Jun 14, 2015 Jacek rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Dungeons & Dragons
Nie ma co się z tym ukrywać. Jestem zarówno miłośnikiem fantastycznego systemu RPG, jakim jest Dungeons & Dragons oraz uwielbiam literaturę fantasy. Córka Mrocznego Elfa to jedna z licznych książek, których fabuła umiejscowiona jest w świecie Forgotten Realms (jednym ze światów wspomnianego przeze mnie systemu RPG), a skierowana jest tak dla ludzi, którzy czytują fantastykę, jak i do osób, które chcą zapoznać się nieco z klimatem tego świata.

Książka wypełnia swoje zadanie połowicznie. Jako
May 16, 2010 Travis rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M. Keep
Feb 26, 2012 M. Keep rated it it was amazing
I read this book after War of the Spider Queen and The Lady Penitent series at the encouragement of my partner. I felt very distanced from the Drow in most of the War of the Spider Queen books and felt that, in part, it was because of the lack of female perspective on the matriarchy.

In short, I greatly enjoyed this book. That isn't to say that I didn't feel there was flaws, but that I felt the good far outweighed the bad. It brought up interesting, new conundrums that weren't touched on heavily
Sep 03, 2007 Crystal rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of fantastical adventures and creatures
Shelves: fantasy
I only read this book because my brother, who is a massive sci-fi/fantasy fan, said I should. The book is great. I devoured it within 24 hrs. I wasn't sure if I would like it, because some of it, okay, most of it, is so dark. It is, after all, set in the Underworld, with dark elves and their culture. It was completely fascinating. Liriel, the main character, was likeable but flawed (like any good main character), and all the other major characters were interesting and well-developed as well. I f ...more
Darren Jacobs
Dec 31, 2012 Darren Jacobs rated it really liked it
I've read some other of her books and i really enjoyed them.
I also enjoyed this, but I found there to be some major flaws.
I'm not sure whether it's because WOTC made her edit the book down or not, but the pacing is really off.
New ideas are brought into the narrative that go nowhere or are red herrings, and this would work if it was a murder/mystery, but it's not, and it makes it feel sloppy and unbalanced.
I happen to like her lyrical style, but it does err towards being too passive...sometimes w
Jul 06, 2016 Jenae rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
As a fantasy nerd who cut her teeth on the Dragonlance Chronicles, I really wanted to like this book but the best I can say is that I shouldn't have had such high hopes for early-90s fantasy. Out of 300 pages, the first 250 suffered from mind-numbingly slow plot as the reader is immersed in the utter fanservice that is Drow culture. Once the action kicked in, I very nearly forgave all the tropes and cliches, but then we got to the 'sex scene'. I honestly thought we were going to make it through ...more
Aug 22, 2016 Dave rated it really liked it
Somehow I never read this trilogy, but found the hardcover at Half Price one week and the two prior books in paperback on another visit. As a fan of all things drow I enjoyed all the intrigue, back-stabbing ( literal and figurative ) and character building that author Elaine Cunningham brought to the book.
Liriel is as opposite of a standard female drow as Drzzt is a male drow. She is whimsical, full of laughter and joy, and quite a prankster. And yet, Cunningham doesn't totally neglect the de
A.M. Reynwood
Dec 02, 2015 A.M. Reynwood rated it it was ok
To begin with and as a heads up, it took me several months to read through this book, due to work and other interests, so it is not all fresh and warm in my mind. Nevertheless, the basic plot of the story follows a young elf, Liriel, seeking adventure and a way to carry her innate magical powers into places where such things are impossible. She is pursued by enemies who are such by various reasons. One person she meets is a young human named Fyodor, and as the story progresses, their divided sto ...more
Dec 03, 2014 Tony rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Dark Elf fans
3.5 stars for this tale about Liriel, a female dark elf whose curiosity takes her to the surface world, where she meets Fyodor, a man on a quest for a magical talisman to control his berserker rage.

Daughter of the Drow takes place after R.A. Salvatore's Siege of Darkness in the drow undercity of Menzoberranzan. It contains many dark elf characters created by Salvatore. However, the main characters are purely from the mind of Elaine Cunningham. I was pleasantly surprised that she stays true to th
Michael Fagen
Jul 06, 2014 Michael Fagen rated it really liked it
Shelves: would-recommend
Cunningham to me, at the time I read this book, was a new authoress. As such I was willing to give her a chance. She was writing in the all too familiar Forgotten Realms setting, or under it rather in the not often visited but often city of Menzoberranzan, This being the first book of hers I encountered, and not knowing what I was in for I was more than pleasantly surprised. Her plot was solid, and set up characters that you will come not only to really love, but to care about. You follow these ...more
Jun 23, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it
Having enjoyed the Drizzt Do’Urden series by R.A Salvatore I decided to give Daughter of the Drow a chance. I was quite impressed with Elaine Cunningham’s ability to draw me into the complexity of the lifestyles of the dark elves and their homeland of Menzoberranzan. Liriel Baenre provides the reader with a far different complexity of intrigue within the political structure and everyday lives that we were not given with Drizzt. The characters were well written and complex and Ms. Cunningham was ...more
Val Panesar
Jul 28, 2016 Val Panesar rated it liked it
Daughter of the Drow marks a good starting to Liriel and Fyodor's story. The characters are mostly enjoyable and the story gives another great look at Drow society.
Despite some great writing, there are some serious issues with pacing. The story doesn't feel like its started until Liriel and Fyodor meet for the second time, but by this point the book is all but over. There's also some issues with characters not staying in character - Shakti and Nisstyre in particular don't seem to develop as it a
Aug 14, 2012 Victor rated it liked it
Many people think that the drow are a species of corrupt, bloodthirsty surface hater elves. This is mostly true and the style of R.A. Salvatore legend of Drizzt has been critical in shaping that vision. People think of drow as war focused, machiavellian idealistic, yet Cunningham brings about another facet of dorw life than it is seldom explored, because it does not have a place in Drizzt stories.

I have read other materials from Elaine Cunningham, and was not dissapointed by her narration and s
Jan 06, 2009 Jesse rated it it was amazing
Shelves: forgotten-realms
This was the first book I read by Elaine Cunningham, and now I'm a big fan. I definitly have my favorites, mediocres, and loosers of the Forgotten Realms authors, and she is in the top three of my favorites.

She has several series that are much older than this one, and I look forward to reading those soon!

This story introduces a new character into the noblest of Drow families, Baenre!
Lireil is the daughter of Gromph, the eldest son in House Baenre and the High Mage of Menzoberanzan. Gromph has h
Oct 09, 2011 Steve rated it liked it
I started rereading through Daughter of the Drow at a somewhat slow pace, but that pace increased exponentially when I woke up sick. Having already been about 1/3 of the way finished with the novel to begin with, I wound up finishing all of it laying in bed reading. One thing, though, before I get on with the review: What is the first chapter about? My book literally is missing the first chapter, starting with Chapter Two, “Matron Baenre is dead, long live Matron Triel”. I must really have bum l ...more
Mairéad (is roaming the Undying Lands)
Hmmm.... 3.5 stars.

I had imagined this one differently. Yet its nothing like the other ones I've read -- basically being R.A. Salvatore in this central universe of the Dungeons&Dragons.

Still its a story nevertheless. It's characters are definitely interesting enough. However I was kind of missing the feeling that Salvatore gave.

But Cunningham's style almost gave me the remembrance of a high school drama, set in the world of D&D. It was kind of jarring in that sense. Yet it was interesti
Richard Poffenberger
Id like to start by saying that I love this trilogy, it is such an engaging story from start to finish. The characters are vary original and the progression seems to go at a vary well written pace. The detail that she tells with the scenery, characters and general goings on is again vary well written out. I also found that the character of Leriel is extremely well made; with no dependence on anyone else, she has carved out her own destiny from the depths of her own mind and will. From a feminist ...more
Bridgette Redman
Feb 01, 2012 Bridgette Redman rated it liked it
The drow make wonderful villains. They have ever since they first were introduced into fantasy literature. Elaine Cunningham crafts a wonderful tale by taking the quintessential villain and leading her to discover that there may be options outside of her evil paradigm.

What are the drow? For those who don’t dally in fantasy literature—particularly the TSR Dungeons and Dragons genre, drow are the evil cousins of the elves. Whenever they are introduced into a world’s ecology they are given their ow
David Leemon
I think this is a bit like what would happen if V.C. Andrews wrote a story set at Hogwarts.

Elaine Cunningham does an excellent job at creating vivid characters with the right combination of alienness to indicate they are not men and women, but a race of beings with their own complicated psychology and motivations. Even though most of the drow are evil, you sympathize with them and want to know more about them. Their subterranean city is described with the right amount of detail, not too much, bu
Feb 05, 2014 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book! Now, I always read the reviews, negative and positive, most of the negatives were comparing the book and the Drow to Salvatore's works. However I'd first point out that 1) Drow have been around long before the stories about Drizz't; and, 2) this just added nicely to the overall understanding of the Drow. Overall, this was a well-crafted novel, that is good on its own merits. That could be appreciated if fan of fantasy or not. I feel, the themes conveyed in the book have a reso ...more
Jul 23, 2015 Lana rated it really liked it
did not think i was going to like this book at the start but it quickly grew on me and i am loving the lovely and oh so courageous and so full of a spirit for adventure heroine, the drow elf maiden liriel and her strangely enough human friend who also does not lack either courage or sense of adventure. on to the next book hoping against hope that liriel will manage to outwit the horrible drow - her arch enemy back in the darklands!!!
D.R. Racey
Jan 14, 2013 D.R. Racey rated it it was amazing
I am a hardcore R.A. Salvatore fan and was initially reluctant when I saw another author building on the underdark and the drow. The reluctant was quickly pushed aside as I began reading the book and quickly became immersed into the story of Liriel.

Elaine Cunningham does a superb job and building a character living in Menzoberranzan and making the character her own while not changing the overall story and feel of the dark elf city.

The story flows nicely and you can feel what Liriel is going thro
Sep 13, 2011 Josie rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Mccormick
Dec 21, 2014 Mary Mccormick rated it it was amazing
I love this book!

I own nearly every Drow book printed and this is one of my favorites. This main character, Liriel Baenre, is amazing. She is a strong woman who captures the Drow spirit, but she is not quite evil.

The best Drow books contain characters who are not totally good and not totally bad. This is one of these books.
Paula Widows
Apr 10, 2014 Paula Widows rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at the library when I was in high school. It was the first forgotten realms book that I ever read. It introduced me to dozens of books from several great authors. I loved it. All these years later I still love to read all of the forgotten realms novels. Thank you for opening my eyes to this wonderful world!
The story is focused on Liriel Baenre, a female drow who, like Salvatore's Drizzt, does not wish to conform to what the drow society demands. But unlike Drizzt, who chooses to outright reject his dark heritage and live a path he believes is true, Liriel seeks to embrace her dark elven heritage but not its restrictions. Liriel is superbly portrayed as a very calculative, practical, devious, yet impulsive, character; a very complex character made very believable. Like the main character, dark elve ...more
Oct 25, 2008 Netanella rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy Lovers
I picked this book up at a used bookstore while I was finishing the Drizzt book "Seige of Darkness." I was a little cautious that it would be a rip off of Salvatore's works, and I actually returned the book to the dusty shelf once or twice. But, I kept picking the book up and looking at it, and decided then and there to buy it. I'm glad that I was not disappointed in the work.

Cunningham's style is much different than Salvatore's - she does not feel the need to move from one action-packed scene t
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Elaine Cunningham is an American fantasy author, best known for her contributions to shared-world settings such as the Forgotten Realms, Star Wars, EverQuest, and Pathfinder Tales.
More about Elaine Cunningham...

Other Books in the Series

Starlight & Shadows (3 books)
  • Tangled Webs (Starlight & Shadows #2)
  • Windwalker (Starlight & Shadows #3)

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