Tag Archives: dragonlance

Dragons of the Dwarven Depths by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragons of the Dwarven Depths by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (unabridged audiobook read by Sandra Burr; 15 hours on 13 discs): If you miss the companions from the first DragonLance novels, this is the book for you. They’re all back, as this takes place between the first and second books of the original Chronicles trilogy. Our heroes have freed the slaves at Pax Tharkas and now find themselves with 800 refugees and nowhere to spend the fast approaching winter. It was kind of a fun walk down memory lane, but honestly I’m just not all that interested in Dwarven politics or Tanis’s angst. Don’t get me wrong – seeing Flint and Tasslehoff bicker is a hoot, and Raistlin’s scheming is always fun. I’m just not attached to the original trilogy enough to be drawn back in.

A note on the audio: Burr’s narration was kind of meh. She seemed to stumble over the unusual names, and her ridiculous voice for Tasslehoff was nigh unforgivable. I also question the wisdom of having a woman narrate a story with at least 80% male characters. It was enough that I decided not to listen to the rest of the trilogy.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Test of the Twins by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Test of the Twins (Dragonlance Legends, vol. 3) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman: This final installment of the trilogy was mostly about Caramon’s final development as a human being (he began the first book as a belligerent drunk), and Raistlin’s final descent into darkness as he faces the Queen of Darkness (one of three gods in this universe), hoping to become a god himself through her defeat. I admit I teared up a little bit there at the end, having against all reason become a bit attached to awful old Raistlin. I would suggest reading all six books (Chronicles and Legends) all through in one go; putting years between them kind of made things confusing for me, especially when Tanis showed up out of nowhere and I’d pretty much completely forgotten his story. But all the same, it’s a fun universe with interesting characters, and I am not surprised at its long-standing popularity among fantasy fans. I am sure to revisit Krynn one day.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

War of the Twins by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

War of the Twins (Dragonlance Legends, Vol. 2) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman: I need to not wait multiple years between reading these books, but luckily I was able to find my place fairly quickly. We rejoin all the characters from the previous book – Raistlin the crabby dark mage, his twin brother Caramon the somewhat dimwitted fighter, Crysania the beautiful and rather misguided cleric, and Tasslehoff the entertainingly amoral Kender – now one hundred years in the future from where they were (and still two hundred years before their own time). This time they find themselves re-enacting the Dwarfgate Wars, seemingly without any choice in the matter. And you know, as terrible as Raistlin is, I really like him. Well, perhaps “like” is the wrong word. I’m fascinated by him. He’s evil and cruel and selfish and yet still oddly sympathetic. I look forward to the final installment in this trilogy, mostly to find out if he ever gets over himself and lets himself love Crysania. It’s not a complicated story, but it goes quickly and I’m enjoying it very much.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Time of the Twins by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Time of the Twins (Dragonlance Legends #1) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman: It’s been years since I read the Chronicles trilogy, but I managed not to stay lost for too much of this book. (I do, however, strongly recommend one reads that trilogy before starting this one.) Basically this is Weis and Hickman accepting that Raistlin is the only truly interesting character in Chronicles and throwing in the second-most interesting, Tasslehoff, for good measure. Raistlin is hungry for power, and believes he can get it by traveling back in time to before the Cataclysm. His twin brother, Caramon, is sent after him, along with religious nut cleric Crysania, who finds herself strangely drawn to Raistlin. Tasslehoff joins them, much to the horror of everyone, because kender are nothing but Trouble. All in all, I rather liked this book. I doubt I would have if I didn’t like Raistlin so much, as I spent most of the book wanting to punch Caramon in the face. As has been noted by many, this is unquestionably written for young adults. If you know that going in, you’ll probably enjoy it more. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Before the Mask by Michael and Teri Williams

Before the Mask [Dragonlance Villains Series Vol. 1] by Michael and Teri Williams: This is the story of Verminaard, unloved bastard son of Solamnic Knights, and his road to evil. My husband adores the Dragonlance series and insisted I read this. He’d finished it in a weekend, so surely I, the voracious reader, would speed through as well. He was wrong. Though far from being a bad book, it just didn’t draw me in. Verminaard’s evilness seems to be inborne rather than reactionary, to the point that the supposed contributing factors – the unloving father, the loss of the beloved brother – seem more like asides and much less sympathetic. Likewise with his half-brother Aglaca, who is unfailingly upbeat and loyal for no apparent reason. I understand the story the Williamses were trying to tell, and it took a while to put my finger on what was wrong. Then I realized it was missing a vital element of all great drama: levity. The human experience is not serious all the time. Even in the grimmest tales there is laughter. The unrelenting depression of this book left me frankly unmoved.

Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman: Three books (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning) that comprise a single story, so I’m reviewing them all together. I’m not usually interested in multiple-author series fantasy, but this trilogy is one of my fiance’s all-time favorites and he wanted to share them with me. These books were inspired largely by a role playing campaign using the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons system. I wish I hadn’t known that beforehand, because too often I caught myself imagining not elves fighting dragons, but people rolling dice. It didn’t help that the map was obviously drawn on hex paper. Luckily, this feeling subsided almost completely after the first book.

This was a nice bit of “bubblegum fantasy” (not my term, and not meant to be derogatory either). Full of stereotypes – the half-breed with torn loyalties, the duty-obsessed knight, the healing priestess, the grouchy old dwarf with a heart of gold, the fearless thief who provides comic relief, the mysterious mage, the huge brute of a man who’s always hungry – but they are comforting and familiar, not shallow and cliche. Likewise with the plot: a group of unlikely heroes go on a quest to save the world. In this case, they are looking for a way to defeat the evil dragons and their minions through the discovery and/or recreation of the legendary dragonlance. Cheesy? Perhaps, but the characters are well-written and the action is almost nonstop. If you like your fantasy traditional and epic, this trilogy’s for you. As for me, no matter what other genres I read and adore, there will always be a part of me that yearns to go a-questing. These books fill that need.

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