Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Legend of Drizzt: "The First Notch," read by Felicia Day

R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden stories were once among my favorites, but I really haven’t thought about them in about a decade. The last few I read seemed to be really losing steam, and I drifted away.

It’s funny that, of all things, it would be Ice-T that would bring me back around to Salvatore and Drizzt. A few months ago a blog post from the rapper/actor got some attention online with him cracking wise about being hired to read a Dungeons and Dragons book and the issues he encountered. We didn’t know at the time that it was for the audiobook version of “The Legend of Drizzt,” a collection of Salvatore’s short stories about his drow hero. 

I’ll be honest. I’ve only tried an audiobook once before and didn’t really care for it. One of the joys of reading a book for me is, well, reading. But once upon a time I felt the same way about e-books, and now I read about four or five e-books for every physical book. So, who knows?

I decided to give it a shot because Audible was giving the collection away for free and, more importantly, I couldn’t resist the lure of hearing Ice-T read about pegasi.

Aside from Ice-T, there’s an intriguing cast to these stories that includes Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), “Weird Al” Yankovic, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) and Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), among others. So over the next few weeks, I’ll listen to one of the stories, when I have the chance, and offer my thoughts. We start today with “The First Notch“ read by Felicia Day of “Buffy,” “Eureka” and “Supernatural” fame.

The first story of the collection actually doesn’t include Drizzt at all. Instead, it’s a tale of a young Bruenor Battlehammer, just entering his threens (that would be his third decade) with not a whisker yet on his chin.

He and a group of other young dwarves venture out of Mithral Hall in search of an ettin, a two-headed giant, that threatens their people. They are surprised by a goblin attack, but end up, oddly, in an uneasy truce with their old enemies when the ettin finally does make an appearance.

The story itself is a vignette piece that helps to establish the early leadership qualities displayed by Bruenor, heir to Mithral Hall. Day reads it with quite a bit of enthusiasm. She’s animated and really gets into the characterizations, though her goblins, admittedly, do sound a bit Gollum-ish.

It was an entertaining half-hour or so, and I think Day was the perfect choice to start the collection.

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