Another Book Blog's Reviews > Homeland

Homeland by R.A. Salvatore
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Jul 11, 11

Recommended for: Fantasy fans looking for an action romp
Read from July 04 to 09, 2011, read count: 1

Maybe it's the deliberate hack-and-slash approach. Maybe it's that this book is intended for teenagers. Or maybe it's that George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons hits stores in two days and I can't think of anything else. But after ignoring the pleas of online fans and personal friends for years upon years, my eventual reading of Homeland was one of utter disappointment. This is as hollow a book as you're bound to find.

I feel for R.A. Salvatore. I really do. I truly believe that behind the obligatory fight scenes and overabundance of magic there is a good writer somewhere in him. Between the obvious evil and hit-you-on-the-head darkness of Homeland there are some genuinely well-written passages. But when he's in Forgotten Realms mode Salvatore knows his audience (and kudos to him for that ... he's been very successful with it), meaning he forces himself to move inside the tight constrictions of the genre — the often generic, bland, straightforward campaign setting of a role-playing game. 

This is a world of very clear dichotomies, where on one side you have the good and on the other the bad. There are more shades of grey on Drizzt's armor than there are in all of Menzoberranzan. This results in a world that presents very few surprises, where victories are assured from the very beginning, and the choice between good and evil couldn't be less interesting.

Homeland was released in 1990, right at the tail edge of the Dungeons and Dragons boom. At the time these books were a revelation in genre circles, but since, they've become antiquated and anachronistic. For a certain readership — one looking for the literary equivalent of a Michael Bay movie — Salvatore will give you exactly what you're looking for. Have at it. They're just not for me. Not anymore. 

I wish ... I just wish he would have went for it, you know? There are the makings of a terrific story here, of a boy who escapes the trappings of a society bent on indoctrination and lawlessness to become a beacon of hope for a world wholly different than himself. There's power in this story, there's meaning here. But, due to the nature of the genre, Salvatore never had a chance. 

Homeland won't challenge you, or provide you with amusement. But, ultimately it succeeds in its purpose: to entertain in a harmless, mindless fashion for a few hundred pages. But if you're tired of escapist, simplistic worlds where the only sell-points are sword-wielding and magic-dueling, move on. And if you were thinking of exploring the rest of The Forgotten Realms, well, Salvatore's the best you've got. So shudder at that thought.  
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message 1: by Ginger (new) - added it

Ginger Oh - I thought that was an actual title for a moment - "A Dance with Dragonshits" Instead it was just a typo. LOL!


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