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

(The Legend of Drizzt #4)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  52,547 ratings  ·  1,287 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?
Mass Market Paperback, 344 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Wizards of the Coast (first published 1988)
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Filbi This was published first, so new readers should have no trouble following along. The other 3 are really flashbacks.

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  52,547 ratings  ·  1,287 reviews

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Start your review of The Crystal Shard (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #1; Legend of Drizzt, #4)
Review of the audiobook narrated by Victor Bevine.

Between 10 and 20 years ago, back when I only read a handful of books each year, I read through most of this series (up to book 17 of The Legend of Drizzt). With my recent re-introduction to reading thanks to audiobooks I've had the opportunity to get to know a few of the more contemporary fantasy writers. With this, my first re-read in many years, I wanted to compare the old and the new with more than just faded memories.

The best part of this bo
James Geluso
Aug 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dragons
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.

Ah, the very beginning of the Drizzt saga. Such trope-ridden, archetypal innocence.

When a disgruntled and incompetent mage apprentice comes into contact with one of the most twisted, manipulative and overall evil artifacts in the Forgotten Realms, things go south quickly for the population of Icewind Dale. Enter Bruenor Battlehammer, Wulfgar the Barbarian and last, but certainly not least, Drizzt Do'Urden.

Having recently run The Legacy of the Crystal Shard, set a century later, for the 5th Editi
Sep 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

It doesn't matter. I will always ♥ love ♥ Drizzt & his trusted companion, Guenhwyvar


Drizzt Do'Urden trotted along silently, his soft, low-cut boots barely stirring the dust. He kept the cowl of his brown cloak pulled low over the flowing waves of his stark white hair and moved with such effortless grace that an onlooker might have thought him to be no more than an illusion, an optical trick of the brown sea of tundra.

In the first part of the book we find
Kevin Xu
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, re-read
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.
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My first dive into the Forgotten Realms, written in 1988. Salvatore‘s first novel. You can tell that he must be a huge Tolkien fan. For example Regis (cough*Bilbo*cough) sounds awfully familiar with his short height and furry toes... And we get an elf and a dwarf engaging in funny banter.... right!

Spine of the World twanged my memory as well. I checked and the first Wheel of Time novel was published two years later. That book also very heavily copied elements of LOTR.

Ok, so we have a halfling, a
Jason Koivu
Nov 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Meant to read this about 30 years ago. That is a looong time for a book to sit on a tbr shelf. Well, I'm glad I finally got around to reading this. It was a lot of fun. A good, solid adventure with dwarves, elves, giants, goblins, sorcerers, and what have you. ...more
Wanda Pedersen
I can see where this would have been an extremely popular book in its time. It does, however, very much show its status as first published book by this author and as a high fantasy published in the 1980s. It reminded me strongly of the Shannara series by Terry Brooks, which started off very dependent on The Lord of the Rings for races, imagery, and even some plot points, but which eventually moved off in its own direction. I think nowadays we could refer to works like these as LOTR fan fiction. ...more
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I’m glad to be back with Drizzt and his pals. This was a very fun tale filled with battles, evil wizards, giants, dwarves and a crazy demon. Can’t wait to start the next one!
" A dark elf! Sorcerous dog!... a decrepit race!" -Wulfgar meeting Drizzt for the first time.

The beginning of Drizzt's journey
It's been over twenty years since i first read this the beginning of my journey with Drizzt and his companions. I've read every book in this series. Salvatore's writing does improve. This was lite fantasy. A group of vignettes disguised as a book. It was like reading a AD&D module. The book doesn't have the depth of his later books and the characters don't have the person
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Definitely not my favourite so far; things felt a little too coincidental and almost silly at times. I'm hanging out for more appearances from Jarlaxle tbh.
Proper review to come later when I'm not tired AF.

Also: I love this world a lot, but the series reaaaaally needs some more well-rounded female characters. Catti-Brie has a few appearances, but the only other female characters are unnamed 'womenfolk' (who are treated like damsels in distress at best and 'seen but not heard' burdens at worst) a
Jarek "the Mistborn" Dąbrowski
After starting my adventure with Drizzt through the Dark elf Trilogy Iam back to the books that started it all. Icewind Dale. Although you can feel that this was Salvatores first book its still a great story and fun ride. It kinda feels like playing Baldurs Gate or Never Winter Nights:)
All the side characters are cool in their own way but I think i like Bruenor the most:)
These books are a great way to clear your head from the more "epic" stories out there.
I will continue to read this series for
Victor Hugo
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, rpg
After several years I did return to the roleplaying games, especially, Dungeons & Dragons. One of my favorite campaign settings over there is Forgotten Realms, known because of its diversity and how it portraits the best of High Fantasy tropes (and, of course, its clichés). But of all Forgotten Realms, I've always liked Icewind Dale.

Icewind Dale has this name because of the unrelenting snow storms and the harsh life style at the faerûnian tundra. The Ten-Towns can be seen as the last bastion of
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ralph Pulner
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very much a solid 4 but upgraded for the impact it had on how I read, play and search out fantasy to this day. I've never read past Sojourn amazingly. I'm hoping to change that at some point.

-I'm certain this was my first FR book as a teenager and solidified a lifelong pact with all things Realms.

-Though I couldn't recall specific plot before my readthrough I could name every character. First, last and nicknames...I'm horrible with names.

-RA Salvatore's first novel.

-Drizzt has spawned over 30 bo
Did I go into this book thinking I would enjoy it? Absolutely not. I had always heard the Drizzt books were lame and for 13 year old boys who want to be a cool emo sadboi drow. I thought I was going to roll my eyes a lot and read the equivalent of Baby's First D&D Adventure: Angst Edition.

I... really like Drizzt. He's a cool character with an interesting backstory and he has a really good heart. It's adorable that he loves his cat and wears a unicorn amulet. He has a good attitude and is an inte
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2013
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 from t ...more
David - proud Gleeman in 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
Steven Ure
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
A paint-by-numbers, cliched and sexist fantasy crammed with adverbs.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, games
As dull and uninspired as eating beige food while wearing beige clothes and sitting in a beige room. If I were to give a computer information on fantasy literature and program it to write a basic fantasy novel with the information given, it would produce something as cold and formulaic as this. A few more specific observations:

I don't get why everyone is so in love with Drizzt. He was just as bland as everyone else.

Everything the characters needed to know, they just happened to know. Everything
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Karolina Kat
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Yes it is very classic-fantasy-tropes heavy, and it may be slightly disappointing compared to the Drizzt trilogy of his time in Menzoberranzan.

Being aware of the context of WHEN the book was written, and that it was Salvatore's first published novel - it is a very enjoyable adventure reading. Ideal for one or two summer afternoons.
Greg Strandberg
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is probably the fourth or fifth time I've read this book since 1995. It's a good story and I'm sure I'll read it again in a few more years. ...more
Jan 08, 2021 rated it liked it
I’m actually surprised that it took me this long to read this book. I remember people talking about it when it first came out and I was no stranger to TSR published novels, but for whatever reason I didn’t read it until now. It was only relatively recently that I read the first three novels of the Drizzt’ Do’Urden series and I enjoyed them quite a bit. I also know those novels were actually written after this novel and perhaps that contributed to my enjoyment of them more so than this one. Not t ...more
Luke Scull
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
The bumbling wizard apprentice Akar Kessel is transformed into a tyrant when he discovers a millennia-old artefact of incredible power. Crenshinibon – the Crystal Shard – is a sentient relic that grants huge power to its wielder even as it bends them to its will. The frozen tundra soon shakes beneath the feet of the goblinoid army raised by Akar Kessel as he prepares to conquer the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale. Only a small band of heroes stands in his way: The strange drow, Drizzt Do’Urden, who ha ...more
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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 original hardcover, The Two Swords, Book III of The Hunter’s Blade Trilogy (October 2004) debuted at # 1 on The Wall Street Journal best-seller list ...more

Other books in the series

The Legend of Drizzt (1 - 10 of 37 books)
  • 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)
  • Streams of Silver (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #5)
  • The Halfling's Gem (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #3; Legend of Drizzt, #6)
  • The Legacy (Forgotten Realms: Legacy of the Drow, #1; Legend of Drizzt, #7)
  • Starless Night (Forgotten Realms: Legacy of the Drow, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #8)
  • Siege of Darkness (Forgotten Realms: Legacy of the Drow, #3; Legend of Drizzt, #9)
  • Passage to Dawn (Forgotten Realms: Legacy of the Drow, #4; Legend of Drizzt, #10)
  • The Silent Blade (Forgotten Realms: Paths of Darkness, #1; Legend of Drizzt, #11)

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  The glint of fangs in the dark, the sound of tap-tap-tapping at your window, the howling of wind (or is it just wind?) in the trees...that's...
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“Never confuse honor with stupidity!” 53 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.” 11 likes
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