I read a lot of EPIC FANTASY as a child, and currently it helps me get bored and fall asleep at night.
This was no exception.
These books are fucking garbage. I cannot believe that R.A. Salvatore is a bestselling fantasy writer, and that I actually stomached my way through the entire trilogy (I was drunk most of the time, and I almost puked on the heavy tome during one sordid evening).
The stories follow the journeys of Drazzt Drowploixtation, Generic Dwarf Warrior, Man-Man the Barbarian, and Hot Ass-Archer Sniper Bitch as they generally murder everything throughout Icewind Dale and beyond. The prose is simple and languid, owing more to the worst Hemingway imitator you could imagine. Salvatore constantly tells the reader and does not show, leaving you with no question as to what is arising, but also with great questions as to what is even going on in any scene.
The book begins where an evil acolyte is double crossed and then finds a magical crystal that immediately is announced as a magical crystal and then something dubiously and quasi-sexual happens. It doesn't get much better than that.
EPIC FANTASY, like most genres, is good even with a David vs. Goliath approach, that is a bildungsroman where the protagonist acquires power in a suspenseful setting within an extremely detailed and fantastical world. Nothing like this happens. The characters are already immortally powerful, and they dispatch every challenge with a modicum effort.The heroes are often severely injured and yet are still being able to commit genocide against entire gangs of brigands, races of trolls, and kill at least two dragons, which all happens in the first two books. There is no suspense. The good guys will always win and it is not even close.
I understand that these books are essentially "My First Fantasy Novel," aimed at readers ages 12-15, but the writing is so simplistic and awful, the story so utterly boring and inconsequential, that I was basically miserable during the times I powered through the books. At the very least, most of the terrible Dragonlance books I read as a child stand up to my strict scrutiny of fantasy writing. Most Dragonlance books have characters with a wee bit more depth, plot devices which do not unfold simply to give the heroes more cardboard enemies to kill, and generally have more cohesion and clarity.
If you'd like to buy the entire Icewind Dale trilogy for five dollars, please let me know!