Fiction Review

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  • Authors: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 560
  • Price: $27.95


Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman are back

By James T. Voelpel     July 22, 2002

DRAGONLANCE: DRAGONS OF A VANISHED MOON by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis
© 2002 Wizards of the Coast
DRAGONLANCE, a name in fantasy that represents over 100 novels, supplements and adventure modules, began way back in 1985 with DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT. Authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have sold millions of copies of their DRAGONLANCE series, with the books appearing on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list umpteen times. Always a fantasy world a bit different then the norm, these novels have had a fanatical following akin to Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME series. With DRAGONLANCE, you either loved it or hated it, - there really is no in between.

This new series picks up right after the WAR OF CHAOS series with DRAGONS OF A FALLEN SUN. In the first book the people of Krynn, who have known war in their past ages, see a new battle on the horizon - a new war for the souls of all alive and for all who have died. With no gods to stop her Takhisis, the Dark Queen, will have the world for herself as the One God, reigning supreme. This war is for the very heart and soul of the world itself. It's followed with DRAGONS OF A LOST STAR where the Elven kingdom of Silvanesti falls to the forces of Mina, chosen of Takhisis. She leads her forces triumphantly into the conquered nation of the elves, only to face danger from friends and foes alike. But who is Mina? Is she villain or hero? The series wraps up with DRAGONS OF A VANISHED MOON, a book that will forever change the world of Krynn and all those who inhabit it.

Takhisis has duped all in the realm of Krynn. At the end of the Chaos War, she steals Krynn from the other gods to an unknown place in the universe, leaving the world at her mercy. In the conclusion of THE WAR OF THE SOULS trilogy we find all of Krynn on the edge of apocalypse. Through her chosen leader Mina, Takhisis (aka the Dark Queen) pretends that she is a force of good, healing the sick and comforting the afflicted all to take over the world. Many people turn to worshipping her, feeling the rest of Krynn's gods have rejected them - to them she is known as the One God.

Takhisis' most feared foe turns out to be the legendary kender, Tasslehoff Burrfoot. Many fans of DRAGONLANCE may remember him as one of the original band of adventures from DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILGHT back when the series first started. Although he is technically dead (read the book, you will understand) he still possesses the Device of Time Journeying, an instrument that could destroy Takhisis' carefully planned ambitions. Mina and her army of Dark Knights takes over city after city, adding more souls to her dread troop, and more fanatical followers from the side of good and evil. The Solamnic Knights send Sir Gerard to spy on Mina by passing him off as a Dark Knight, and even he can feel a crisis of faith. The elves of Qualinest and Silvanost find a common cause in the fight against the Dark Queen, their bitter split healed somewhat by their ancient foe. Along with the missing gods, Gerard and Tasslehoff must find the good dragons of Krynn if there is any hope of survival. At the city of Sanction, the series comes to a dramatic and surprising conclusion with a mighty battle to save Krynn from the talons of the Dark Queen and thus restore the world.

Although never quite a fan of the DRAGONLANCE novels, the WAR OF SOULS trilogy seemed quite different from all the previous books. The story line did not just deal with the typical battle of good versus evil but more of the grays in-between. This is especially true of DRAGONS OF A VANISHED MOON, where typical villains and heroes find themselves working together while age old allies seem to be at each others throat. This is definitely the strong point of the novel as many characters from past DRAGONLANCE stories are cast in a different light. We get a more realistic view of these famous people and why they are what they are. For fans of Weis and Hickman these will be the high points of the story.

The plot itself is even somewhat fresh (for this genre anyway), and Weis and Hickman's writing style has improved immensely since their beginning way back in '85. The novel really tries to explain how the line of good versus evil is so thin that sometimes you do not know where you stand. While the older characters are given a more thorough fleshing out, it seems the new lead characters suffered for it. Many of the characters are a bit one-dimensional, especially Mina and Gerard. Mina's misplaced love of the "One God" is transformed so quickly into typical evil villain that you feel cheated by the unexpected transformation. Gerard just seems to be doing all the typical do-gooder stuff for the hero with no real direction. That said, the end is very original for the fantasy genre, leaving you with more questions then answers - it is definitely not all happily ever after. For fans of fantasy, DRAGONS OF A VANISHED MOON is a pleasant surprise, and for the hard core DRAGONLANCE fanatics it is a must read.

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at feedback@cinescape.com.


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