Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dragons of the Dwarven Depths

Dragons of the Dwarven Depths

Much to no one’s surprise, I am here today to review a Dragonlance book. Well, long time readers (if there are any) will remember that I used to review these guys all the time. And now I’ve finally gotten to the volume lingering in my To Read pile.

I really should have begun this review with the title, yes? Ah well. Bettter late than never. This book is Dragon of the Dwarven Depths by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

Tanis and Flint seek out a haven in the dwarved kingdom of Thorbardin while Raistlin is strangely drawn to the haunted fortress known as Skullcap. Sturm seeks the legendary Hammer of Kharas, and Tika embarks on a perilous journey to rescue those she loves from certain death.

But it is the dwarf, Flint Fireforge, who faces the most crucial test. The heroes race against time to save the lives of those dependent on them and Flint is forced to make a difficult choice, one on which the future of mankind may rest.

For those of you who are unaware, the Dragonlance books are based on classic fantasy role-playing games, so the many characters up there are most of the main “party” of characters. For those of you who are aware, bear with me for the next paragraph or so while I get these other guys caught up.

Tanis is the basic leader of the group- half elf, half human and constantly fighting his destiny and all that. Sturm is from an old family of knights who have been disgraced and it is his life’s mission to return honor to his family. Naturally, he’s a bit stuffy and stubborn and tends to be the one that they have to convince to go along with their mad plans. Twin brothers Raistlin and Caramon are the natural opposites of the group- Raistlin is thin and sickly and a red mage, while Caramon is big and strong and the simple warrior. And then, of course, there’s Flint, the surly hill dwarf who thinks the group’s all a bit mad to be doing what they’re doing, and Tasslehoff, the mischievous and unwitting thief. But kender are like that.

So there. Caught up? Good.

The first thing I really liked about this book is that there was a pretty equal balance of page time. There are some books where Tanis is the main focus or Raistlin is the main focus. In those books, you can sometimes forget about the other characters when you get focused like that. I like these books so much because of the party characters and the more focused books sometimes feel like they’re missing something. This book balanced out character background and development, so it felt like a complete story for me.

I also really liked that the title isn’t obvious. I won’t give it away, but the dragons of the dwarven depths weren’t the obvious choice, like the other “Dragons of” books. Those books tend to just indicate that there are, in fact, dragons hanging out. But this title refers to a specific moment in the plot of the book and I really enjoyed that particular reveal.

Also, this book is pretty easy to pick up and get into. The chronology of this series is confusing and twisty. Some of the Dragonlance books require knowledge or previous events, but this one does a good job of referencing events without making them absolutely necessary to understand the main story.

If you like Dragonlance, you’ll like this one. If you like fantasy, this one is worth trying out. It may not necessarily be the absolute best place to start in the series, but out of all the books I’ve read, it’s pretty good.

No comments: