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The Crystal Shard (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #1; Legend of Drizzt, #4)
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The Crystal Shard (The Icewind Dale Trilogy #1)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  25,254 ratings  ·  442 reviews
Akar Kessel, weak-willed apprentice mage, starts events that find a magical device, the crystal shard. Dwarf Bruenor rescues barbarian Wulfgar from the ruins of Ten-Towns, for 5 years of service - and friendship. With help from renegade dark elf Drizzt, Wulfgar becomes a warrior with brawn and brains. Can the trio stave off the crystal shard forces?
Paperback, 344 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Wizards of the Coast (first published January 1st 1988)
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Pawn of Prophecy by David EddingsMagician by Raymond E. FeistThe Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyQueen of Sorcery by David EddingsThe Elfstones Of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Best Fantasy of the 80s
16th out of 216 books — 265 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienMagician by Raymond E. FeistLegend by David Gemmell
Best Heroic Fantasy
41st out of 444 books — 654 voters

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Community Reviews

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Kevin Xu
How many books do you know that a side character has more time than the main character then becomes the main character? That was the way for this book, which mean the character of Drizzt rather than for Wulfgar. One of the many reasons that why this book is different from most books in fantasy. This reason is the biggest reason that this is different from most of the book out there.
This book sucked. Seriously, this is a classic? The story is good, and I can see why the character is popular among 12-year-old boys. He's a tormented drow! So he's cool-looking, but good! And he has a magic panther! And he can do just about anything, including run for days and command demons and all that.

The story, overall, isn't horrible. It's better than the base narrative of The Hobbit. But the writing, the writing, the overwrought writing, the exposition, the journal entries... argh.

Jul 02, 2013 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of high/heroic fantasy
Shelves: fantasy
This harks back to an earlier age of fantasy -- before "gritty," "grey" and "gory" became the norm -- where the heroes are larger than life, good and evil are clearly defined, and the fate of many hangs on a singular magical macguffin. Seen through this lens, this novel is a rousing success.

The setting, Icewind Dale, was surprisingly well developed, with ten towns surrounding multiple lakes, and clans of dwarves and barbarians living on the outskirts. Our heroic party contains Drizzt the dark e
This beginning to the Icewind Dale trilogy is a guilty pleasure at best. I fully admit that I've read eight books in the entire Drizzt series, and that this kind of novel is just the thing I need to curl up with sometimes. But the sad truth is that it is books like this one that, in my opinion, sometimes give fantasy a bad name. Mr. Salvatore is undoubtedly more talented in writing than the format of these books might suggest (I'm sure he's writing for a fairly young audience), and the success o ...more
An elf, a dwarf, and a halfling walk into a bar...wait you've heard this one before?
Yeah, okay. There's nothing truly original here. Nothing we haven't encountered before. But I like it.

A little different than the usual "quest" style of fantasy this one concentrates on a group of settlers trying to save their home from an invading wizard who has been possessed by an ancient artifact.

If you've read Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn first you will notice a difference in style. The Crystal Shard was wri
Michael Ramm
Still as great as the first time I read it. It is a fast read but well worth it to setup the adventures of legendary drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden and his 'fellowship' across Faerun in search of the legendary Mithril Hall.
Harold Ogle
After reading a chapter or two, I realized to my surprise that I have never actually read this first Salvatore novel before. It's a strange experience, because I know the story of Drizzt so well from other books and other media, to the point that it feels like I must have read this previously...but I definitely hadn't.

Back when TSR published this novel in 1988, it was trying to distance itself from a lot of the pre-existing gaming properties that it had published when Gary Gygax was running the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was not at all what I expected, and for that reason alone I could almost give it four stars. I always thought that I couldn't possibly enjoy this book as an adult. Based on the things I had heard about it (D&D origins and all) I was afraid that I had missed my window where I could enjoy it (somewhere in my late teen years I assumed). Apparently I hadn't missed that window though, this actually turned out to be a fun read. It maybe wasn't the best fantasy I've ever read but it was far fr ...more
This book is still as good as the first time I've read it more than 10 years ago. Having read more stories about Drizzt and going back it seems he is more chaotic in this one. His actions are more reckless and his skills seemed to be worse than he was in the Underdark. It seems strange that Drizzt managed to get knocked over unconscious by a barbarian king when his skills match that of Zaknafein. I also notice that Bruenor loves to mention about some ancient forgotten homeland dear to his race, ...more
Steven Ure
A paint-by-numbers, cliched and sexist fantasy crammed with adverbs.
I knew that this was the first Drizzt book that Salvatore ever penned, so the Drizzt that I knew from the "first three" books wasn't going to be the same Drizzt that I followed here, and I'm glad that I knew that going in. Drizzt had a few more, uh, pre-occupations in this story than I preferred, but he was still more-or-less the same drow I had grown so attached to.

The thing I really like about this story are the characters. Drizzt has finally found a place for himself in the world - not a perf
It took me at least 100 pages to feel fully engaged with the story but the lengthy intro was truly necessary character and story development. Even with his brief introduction of Drizzt, Bruenor and Regis, Salvatore created tangible characters that colored the war tactics, battles, and subsequent survival (since "victory" is only in the eye of the beholder) with clear depth and breadth. He was true to their character throughout the entire story and it allowed for the events that took place to be ...more
David "proud member of Branwen's adventuring party"
"The Crystal Shard" is R.A. Salvatore's 1st major published novel, and he made sure to include all the classic fantasy elements in this epic tale. Unfortunately, that turns out to be the book's one major flaw, since the overall story just seems so generic. Let's see, we have an evil artifact that possesses the mind of its owner, a dwarf and an elf who banter and keep score while they fight common enemies, and even a hobbit halfling who joins in the quest. Gee, does any of this sound familiar?!? ...more
This book introduces two more important characters into the series. First, a fat lazy halfling named Regis. He becomes the quindisential troublmaking theif. Secondly, a human barbarian named Wulfgar(beowulf?).
Salvatore spends a lot of time working out the polotics of Icewind Dale, and specificly the area of Ten Towns (which has, as you may have guessed, 10 towns located around 3 lakes). Unfortunatly, after this series, the characters don't spend much time in this area...mores the pity.
Greg of A2
Book number four in the overall Drizzt series of books (though actually the first book published) and it was everything I'd hoped it would be. Salvatore introduces readers to Icewind Dale and the Ten Towns that exist within its borders. Politics and evil conquest are the main focus. New beloved characters like the halfling Regis and the barbarian Wulfgar are introduced to great effect. This is top-notch, pulpy high fantasy delivered at a snappy pace. Wizards and Ice Dragons and Demons oh my! It ...more
Alright, hear me out on this one. It's not terribly written. It's competent at least. Well, competent compared to a lot of other novels I've read in the same skein.

There's just not much unique to it. 70% of the novel itself is action scene after action scene. I'm thinking Salvatore figured if the book is full of action scenes, people will think it's fast paced. All I got was a slog through scene after scene of how awesome Drizzt is as he bashes and slices his way through another generic orc, gob
-fun and quick
-great main characters
-conclusion doesn't leave unsatisfying loose ends

-good vs evil is too simplistic for my tastes (and my tastes aren't all that demanding. I'm happy with a fun popcorn book every so often. This was truly a simplistic tale)
-victories were won too easily and too often. After flawless victory #3 I had no doubts or tension through the rest of the story. I knew the good guys would win every battle and the war without a hitch. While this can be fun, when vi
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Hylton J Abrahams
this was my first taste of The Forgotten Realms.i really liked the adventure of Drizzt Do’Urden,Bruenor,Wulfgar and Regis.
it was a quick read/listen with plenty of action and battle was far from deep but sometimes a book like this is refreshing after 700 plus epic door stops
Lori (Hellian)
I'd been looking forward to reading this and decided that this Labor Day weekend, my last hurrah of summer ie fucking off would be just a perfect time. But hmm, I dunno, it failed to engage me. And I'm tired of fantasies that are pretty much reworkings of LOTR. The writing itself is good workmanship, but not more than that. Admittedly I'm in a weird inbetween phase right now - I wanted a full escape before the mad start of my son's school year and all the battles and aggravations that entails )g ...more
Alexander Draganov
Very entertaining fantasy novel, which introduces readers to one of the most popular characters in the modern fantasy genre, the dark elf ranger Drizzt do Urden. Full with action, dazzling swordsplay and memorable characters, it's a wonderful adventure, although not as great as "Homeland", the novel about how Drizzt turned into a good guy.
Xoxe Garcia
El primer libro de la segunda trilogía de El Elfo Oscuro aunque, la verdad es que fue el primer libro de los Reinos Olvidados escrito por R.A. Salvatore y se nota en ocasiones cuando ves que hay pequeñas discrepancias entre esta trilogía con la de El Elfo Oscuro.

Realmente no son nada alarmantes y pasan muy desapercibidos. Tras esta primera saga y tras su éxito con el personaje de Drizzt, Salvatore decidió hacer la precuela como la Leyenda de El Elfo Oscuro con muchísimo éxito.

Pese a ser la prime
The Crystal Shard has an interesting pedigree. It is the first in the "Icewind Dale Trilogy", the first book Salvatore published featuring Drizzt Do'Urden, but it is the fourth in the "Forgotten Realms" series. Depending on where you start reading, Drizzt may take on a slightly different perspective. I started with the prequel "Dark Elf Trilogy" where the focus was nearly all on Drizzt and his growth as a ranger and protector of good. When I got to The Crystal Shard, Drizzt was still an importan ...more
I loved the Drizzt Do'Urden stories when I was in my mid-teens. For a long time I've been looking forward to revisiting the dual-scimitar-wielding dark elf character in this Icewind Dale trilogy. By a reasonable metric this trilogy would be the first Drizzt series: chronologically it comes after the Dark Elf trilogy, however it was written first and introduces some of the supporting cast -- characters who, when they appear in the Dark Elf trilogy, are treated like familiar faces even though you' ...more
Michael Conrad
This is the first book written for the Icewind Dale Trilogy and is the first book written in the Drizzt series which spans several trilogies and roughly 20 books. The next trilogy set actually precedes this one however. I read in an interview that this book series came from Salvatore reading Weis and Hickman's Chronicles series set in the Dragonlance universe and thinking that he could do better than them. He even alludes to that in the foreword of their last book for the Dragonlance series, Dra ...more
In The Crystal Shard , an wizard with an inferiority complex named Akar Kessel discovers Crinshinibon, a sentient crystal shard that, in its evil desires, seeks to control and destroy. While Akar gathers his armies, the people of Ten Towns face attack from barbarians. Bruenor, a compassionate dwarf who already has an adopted human daughter (Cattie-Brie), takes another under his wing who later becomes a mighty warrior. There's Regis, the halfling with a hypnotic gem. And let's not forget Drizzt, ...more
One day i was browsing through the Fantasy section at the bookstore looking for a new book to read and came across this title. What actually caught my eye was the beautiful cover art. It goes without saying that most books in this genre are often part of a series so before investing the time I decided to look online and see what others thought about this book. I found out that not only did this book have a lot of stellar reviews but Drizzt is a well known classic character in the world of Dungeo ...more
An immersive adventure and a strong recommend to anyone who loves the genre
The Crystal Shard, the first book I had ever read to the end of. I remember being a youngster and my father handing me a rather large book entitled "The Icewind Dale Trilogy" by R. A. Salvatore, I looked at the book thinking I would never be able to read such an enormous book.

As I flipped the book open and began read the prologue my world slowly transformed and I found myself being swept into the wonderful world of the "F
The Icewind Dale Trilogy is one of my favorite fantasy series from my teenage years. The adventures of Drizzt and company were and are right up my alley.

I’ll admit that my first thought upon re-reading The Crystal Shard was, “Huh, you can tell this was Salvatore’s first novel.” That’s not a dig so much as a critical observation. Once I finished this one, I went ahead and read Streams Of Silver and The Halfling’s Gem immediately, so I know his writing got better. But The Crystal Shard suffers fro
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As one of the fantasy genre’s most successful authors, R.A. Salvatore enjoys an ever-expanding and tremendously loyal following. His books regularly appear on The New York Times best-seller lists and have sold more than 10,000,000 copies. Salvatore’s most recent original hardcover, The Two Swords, Book III of The Hunter’s Blade Trilogy (October 2004) debuted at # 1 on The Wall Street Journal best- ...more
More about R.A. Salvatore...
Homeland (Forgotten Realms: The Dark Elf Trilogy, #1; Legend of Drizzt, #1) Exile (Forgotten Realms: The Dark Elf Trilogy, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #2) Sojourn (Forgotten Realms: The Dark Elf Trilogy, #3; Legend of Drizzt, #3) The Halfling's Gem (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #3; Legend of Drizzt, #6) Streams of Silver (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #5)

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“Never confuse honor with stupidity!” 36 likes
“I do not know why I care," Drizzt answered honestly. His eyes turned back to his ancient homeland, where loyalty was merely a device to gain an advantage over a common foe. "Perhaps I care because I strive to be different from my people," he said, as much to himself as to Bruenor. "Perhaps I care because I am different from my people. I may be more akin to race of the surface...that is my hope at least. I care because I have to care about something.” 10 likes
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