I’m glad you’ve read Hunter (Review/Reply) now, though. It’s a bit of a disappointment. You should definitely read the next one though. We need to know if it gets better or not…..plus, better you than me.
On a more immediate topic, first one down, too many to go. I knew this was going to be a long-term project reading Dragonlance, and I know that these books are hefty. Somehow I still wasn’t entirely prepared for the reality of it. This book was long, but still so good.
Title: Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Series: Dragonlance Chronicles; Vol. 1
Author: Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
ROTS Setting: UU, Medieval, Higher Magic, Dragons
Synopsis: The companions return after five years apart. They’d separated to find an evil they’d felt growing in the world. Unbeknownst to them evil had crept into the home they’d left behind and it doesn’t take long before they become embroiled in an adventure with implications reaching the width and breadth on the universe.
Recommendation: Adult, maybe late teens. Any admirer of high fantasy should be familiar with this series.
If this had been any other book I probably wouldn’t have liked the style in which it’s written. The POV is third person, omniscient. Not my preference, especially when information comes from outside of the main characters. There was also a lot less world details than I was expecting, especially for the first book in the entire series. Really, I like to view and experience the world through the characters.
The length was also something I had to grapple with. It felt like it was never going to end. On top of that it’s been awhile since I read anything this hefty.
My last struggle was with how long ago I had previously read this. So long, in fact, that I kept second guessing that I’d read it at all. I was constantly jumping from familiar nostalgia to disbelief when something new popped up. My younger self was both immature and impatient so I’m not entirely surprised that I had forgotten or didn’t understand much of what was happening. Just as a reminder, I probably read this in middle school/junior high between the ages of 9 to 14.
Ok, on to the good stuff.
If there had to be a single main character that would have to be Tanis Half-Elven. He’s the leader of the group, although herding kender might be a more accurate job description. His strengths and weaknesses make him a good person for the job but he largely falls into a mountain of cliches. Flint Fireforge, is largely forgotten and overlooked due to his lack of martial prowess when compared to others. Usually he only pops up when he’s whining or causing problems. He needs some positive page time. Tasslehoff “Tas” Burrfoot is my favorite character of the book and one of my top characters of all time. He’s so happy-go-lucky with such shockingly deep moments too. Sturm Brightblade, is one giant cliche at the moment as the stalwart knight but there are hints of complexity which (if I recall correctly) will be developed sometime later on.
The Majere Twins are such a puzzle. It’s no wonder that they get so much page space both here and in the series as a whole. I would have to say that they make up one of the core pillars of the series. Their similarities and differences play of each other splendidly.
Goldmoon and Riverwind aren’t one of the original companions but they could be considered one at the end of the book. While Riverwind is very flat, Goldmoon is pleasantly complex and adds a good dynamic to the group.
I really felt the books roots in the tabletop RPG genre. It actually enhanced the story for me and made otherwise annoyances into endearing strengths. For example, the expositional information about the world or characters instantly reminded me of a DM/GM (Dungeon or Game Master) providing important information to his players. Similarly the lack of details beyond the characters immediate surroundings puts the focus on the characters and the events they’re experiencing, which is exactly where the focus would be if this was being role played. Some of the situation or events are completely improbable but it’s all about the experience you have with your friends.
But the subtle nuances didn’t end there.
The actual plot is surprisingly complex and yet simple to follow. It’s a classic good vs evil story on the surface, but when you focus on the “little things,” to quote our kender friend, we see it’s a lesson that the little things shape us in ways we usually don’t notice. There are grand acts of bravery, sorcery, evil, love and betrayal but the little things often make the biggest of differences in the end.
We’re left with a world set to be torn apart by war. God and mortals alike are vying for power in all across Kyrnn. The pieces are moving but the end is nowhere in sight. In summary, it’s a good story with interesting, if slightly flat, characters, and a vast world lacking depth but it more than made up for in the experience.