Book Review: Dragons of Spring Dawning By Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragonlance

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Dragonlance: The Chronicles
Author Info: http://www.margaretweis.com | http://www.trhickman.com

This is the third and last book of the legendary Dragonlance Chronicles.

Review for the first book

Review for the second book

This one took me longer to read and dragged more than the first two books but nonetheless it was an entertaining read. The whole series was a nice light reading break after all that serious grimdark.

The adventures are quite good and the companions splitting up and going on different adventures is fun to read. Kitiara is a compelling character, my personal hate for her notwithstanding. She is quite well written and not one-dimensional like most others. Fizban is my other favorite here and the surprise twist was well done too (even though I saw it coming from the earlier hints) and Laurana’s character growth was also well done. The love triangle between Tanis, Kitiara and Laurana was a bit more in your face and annoying in this book.

The most shocking thing for me was the tragic deaths of two of the main characters, but then again Harry Potter gets a lot darker and many characters die.

The humor is what makes this series cool. Things get dark and bad stuff happens, but the humor is always there. Most modern fantasy I read has little humor if any (with the exception of Mark Lawrence) and the light humor aspect is what makes Dragonlance Chronicles a perfect summer read.

I think Raistlin is the best character in the entire series. The world is more interesting than the characters except Raistlin and Fizban. All in all it’s a nice summer read and I think every fantasy geek, D&D and role playing nerd needs to read it as part of the must-read essentials stack.

I can’t wait to read the sequel series Dragonlance Legends and Raistlin Chronicles.

Verdict: Read the whole series!

Book Review: Dragons of Winter Night By Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragonlance

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Dragonlance: The Chronicles
Author Info: http://www.margaretweis.com | http://www.trhickman.com

This is the second book of the legendary Dragonlance Chronicles.

Review for the first book

I have been feeling quite ashamed for not getting around to reading the fantasy classics everyone read as teenagers, so I’m fixing it one book at a time. Dragons of Winter Night is more of a page turner compared to the first book, it’s thick with action, tension, suspense, twists and turns with a touch of humor. The scenes with Fizban and the gnomes were hilarious.

In this book things were surprisingly more grey than I expected. There’s no black and white and even the most honorable, utopic factions are marred with greed, infighting and political intrigue.

The development of the characters is quite intriguing to read. We get to see the inner struggles of Tanis, Laurana, Sturm and even the Kender Tasslehoff. Raistlin’s power and magic skills keep increasing and his relationship with the companions somewhat improves (at least that was the impression I got.)

We finally get to meet Tanis’ love interest Kitiara and I must say it came as a huge surprise and plot twist. For the sake of keeping this spoiler free, I can’t say more but I didn’t expect that at all, even though I read plenty of plot twists. Tanis is torn between the human woman Kitiara and the elf maiden, his childhood crush Laurana. I absolutely hate love triangles but the love triangle here was negligible enough so I was able to tolerate it.

The Silvanesti scenes are bone chilling unless you are an experienced grimdark reader. I have to say the dark and creepy atmosphere was well done.

Even though it has been 30 years since the publication of the Dragonlance Chronicles, the books still hold up today. This book is a page turner and a great read, I’m looking forward to reading the third book and then the Dragonlance Legends series after that. I really wish I’ve read those books as a teenager, but nevertheless they are still quite enjoyable, even at my age.

Verdict: This is a must read for all fantasy readers, young and old alike.

Book Review: A Darkness At Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist

A Darkness At Sethanon

Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Riftwar Saga
Author Info: http://crydee.com

Warning: May contain mild spoilers for the previous 3 books of the series.
Review for the first two books (which were combined into a single big book in later editions)
Review for the third book

This is the last book of the Riftwar Saga, where the epic conclusion of the battle between Arutha and Murmandamus takes place. Pug and Tomas return in all their glory, Macros the Black also makes a cameo, while Jimmy the Hand truly shines as a character. We finally see a strong female character in the series: The badass warrior lady Briana. She is not a beautiful princess like Carline and Anita, nor is she a damsel in distress. I really liked this character.

Guy de Bas Tyra, who was the horrible villain in Magician, displays some hardcore badassery in this book. I am not going to say more for the sake of keeping this review spoiler free, but I was impressed with his battle skills. Villain or not, the man is the finest general in all the Western realm as they say!

The fortified city of Armengar (and I mean really fortified!) was another element in this book which made my epic battle geek self drool. It is quite original both with its structure and its culture. I have not seen any place quite like it in any other fantasy book I have read to date (and I read a lot of fantasy books!) It’s perhaps one of the best cities in the entire fantasy genre. The battle there was truly magnificent and I know for a fact that any military/battle geeks will appreciate it.

The other awesome place featured in this book is the City Forever and its garden where Pug and Tomas travel to sort out some chaotic situation. The other new character we meet is the dragon Ryath, Tomas’s ride. The epic battle waged by Pug, Tomas and Ryath in the garden of City Forever is well done and a great joy to read.

We get to learn more about the elf races and the mysterious godlike race of Valheru through Tomas’s flashbacks, and those scenes are quite interesting also, with a tinge of dark fantasy.

All in all, this is a great book, packed with action, neatly wraps up everything from the previous books, features a strong female character, dragons and epic battle scenes.

Rating: 4.5/5 Roman Solidus

solidussolidussolidussolidussolidus

Book Review: Magician by Raymond E. Feist

The Thousandfold Thought

Genre: Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Series: The Riftwar Saga
Author Info: http://www.crydee.com/

First published in 1982, the Riftwar Saga has been one of the classics of the fantasy literature for decades. I have re-read this series a few times, as I did Harry Potter, LOTR and the Icewind Dale Trilogy. It’s one of those timeless, precious classics. The characters are very lively and reading their development is quite enjoyable. Krondor has always been one of my favorite cities in fantasy literature. It is magnificent and very realistic with its rich and poor quarters, and it has that legendary Thieves’ Guild which has no doubt influenced the Thieves’ Guilds in many video games.

Raymond Feist has done something different here and created two entirely different worlds. Midkemia, which is the main world, is based on medieval Europe, but the other world Kelewan is somewhat similar to Japan with its Samurai-like culture, however its complex political structure and some elements of the culture are not even remotely like anything we know in the real world. It’s very foreign and quite different. It also has a completely original non-human race. The originality and the meticulous details of the world are quite striking.

My favorite characters from this book (and the Riftwar series in general) are prince Arutha, Amos Trask (whose presence is not much in this book but he gets to steal the show later in the series), Pug, Tomas, Macros the Black and the mysterious huntsmaster Martin.

If you love D&D you will appreciate this book (and the series in general) cause Feist’s D&D background is evident in his writing. If you are a lover of the fantasy genre and still haven’t read this, I suggest dropping everything else and getting a copy right away, for it’s one of the finest pieces of the entire fantasy genre. It’s also available on Kindle, unlike some other books by Raymond E. Feist, which are available only as hard copy due to copyright issues after the publishing house mergers (I asked Raymond Feist on Twitter why they were not available in Kindle/Nook, and he was kind enough to explain the reasons.)

So even more reason to read it, since the author is such a nice and down to earth person.

Rating: 4.5/5 Roman Solidus

solidussolidussolidussolidussolidus

Book Review: Dragons of The Autumn Twilight By Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

dragonlance

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Dragonlance: The Chronicles
Author Info: http://www.margaretweis.com | http://www.trhickman.com

Celebrating the 30th year of Dragonlance on Twitter, I have realized that many people haven’t read classics of the fantasy genre in the book blogger/indie author scene so I feel the obligation to review some of the great classics of the genre.

Dragons of Autumn Twilight was first published in 1984, 30 years ago. The mysterious and charismatic supporting character Raistlin Majere, whom we see the first time in this book, became a milestone and a cult character in the fantasy genre. The Dragonlance series sold millions, translated to many foreign languages and introduced many youngsters to the world of fantasy literature and role playing games. A whole generation of fantasy and role playing geeks grew up with Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms series.

This book is the first book of this classic series and it introduces us to the world (Krynn) and the main characters. The story is well paced and doesn’t let up even for a moment, it’s full of wonder and surprises. The quests and adventures the main characters go through are pretty well done. The authors used elves and dwarves, and most of the characters are typecast, hence the 4 solidus. I really have a pet peeve about Tolkien cloning. But there is an interesting original race called the Kender (not sure if this was from the D&D literature or the original creation of the authors) and one of the landmark characters of the whole fantasy genre (Raistlin.)

I am pretty sure I’d give it 5 gold solidus if I read this as a teenager 20 years ago, but unfortunately I’ve read it a bit too late in life. It is still a great read even after all the other awesome fantasy series I’ve read.

Long story short: If you are a fantasy author or a fantasy book blogger, especially a lover of YA fantasy and still haven’t read it, put everything aside and start reading now! In fact I highly recommend you to read the sequels where Raistlin really shines. Then you might become a fan and add ‘Kender’ to your Twitter bio.

Rating: 4/5 Roman Solidus

solidussolidussolidussolidus