I haven't read too many of the other DnD books (Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Ravenloft, etc) because I found them, especially the earlier ones, to be a bit too much like a bad gaming session. They also seemed to be written more for Young Adults than grown up gamers like myself.
That being said, I am really looking forward to this series. Sort of a back to basics gaming novel, without 20 years of history to have to muddle through.
I enjoyed The Savage Caves quite a bit. It sports a rather unique, though, as I said, basic, storyline. The iconic characters in this story are Regdar the human fighter, Jozan the human cleric, Lidda the halfling rogue and Naull the human wizard. The characters are well portrayed, if a little stereotypical (but what do you expect from DnD, which is rife with stereotypes). There is some genuine chemistry between the characters (especially Lidda and Regdar) and a little love interest as well (though not between Regdar and Lidda).
I have to say that my favorite character is Jozan. Though this is ostensibly Regdar's book, Jozan shines here, especially in his interaction with Lidda.
I do have two complaints about the book, though.
The first one is the length. It is a very thin novel and costs as much as a larger one. The print is small, though, so there is some meat to the story, and I didn't feel like I didn't get my money's worth, so that complaint is a small one.
The second is the slang. Lidda frequently uses what I consider to be current slang (i.e. "My bad" and the like) which interrupts the flow of the novel, in my opinion, and smacked me in the head with it. Although I don't expect a bunch of "thee"s and "thou"s from the characters, Lidda's slang (not to mention Naull's pumping her fist and exclaiming "Yes!" when she was able to cast a particularly well-timed spell) was a little disconcerting. I removed one star from my review for this, as it really affected the whole feel of the novel.
So, all in all a good start, with a few bumps, and I am really looking forward to "The Living Dead".