The Crystal Shard - R.A. Salvatore This one was actually better than I remembered it.

Sure, it's escapist fantasy fiction. The characters are cariacatures... but it's fun... they slay a dragon, have epic battles, magic, sorcery, swordfighting, revenge...

totally fun.

One thing I was really impressed with is that the prequels were more-or-less true to the book. That rarely happens in books of this caliber. It's obvious that Salvatore had done his homework and made his notes about Drizzt before going off and writing a prequel trilogy.

Usually in series like this, a careful reader catches inconsistencies and flaws. I only caught one-- Drizzt referring to his "centuries" in the underdark (as opposed to "a half century") -- other than that, I caught more spelling errors than continuity errors. Sure, the book should have neither, but how high are your expectations for pulp fantasy anyways?

So anyway, this one's highly recommended. It works well on its own, as a starting point, and it works well as a continuation of the Dark Elf saga (starting with Homeland).

Just a fun summer read.