A very different tone than the Chronicles. The peripheral characters are kept 1 dimensional - even Quarath and the Kingpriest, Kiiri and Pheragus are...moreA very different tone than the Chronicles. The peripheral characters are kept 1 dimensional - even Quarath and the Kingpriest, Kiiri and Pheragus are just charactcatures. This is due to the intense focus on Caramon, Raistlin, Crystania and Tasslehoff. I do like the "cameo" from Tanis and Riverwind and Tika at the first. The gladiator writing is a bit cheesy and juvenile, the caution against the Kingpriest is well written. Tasslehoff is pretty much the star.(less)
I liked that this book took us back to the War of the Lance. However, it didn't really succeed in taking us "back there." I expected the writing to be...moreI liked that this book took us back to the War of the Lance. However, it didn't really succeed in taking us "back there." I expected the writing to be a similar style to that of Autumn Twilight and Winter Night. The characters were different, the lens of the authors was different. Instead of getting a story that seemed like it was written back then, and happened back then, it was a story that was bandaged together 20 years after the AT and WN and tried to fill in what happened between these two original chronicles.
I mean, it was good. Factual wise, it stayed true to the story most of the time. But I didn't like how it "gave away" information about other DL books that come chronologically later, but were written before. It made the characters learn things that in later books they don't know, so that was messy.
But my biggest beef was that the characters had slightly different personalities. Almost like refined personalities you'd expect 20 years later, but not given the context in which this story was supposed to take place. Goldmoon was phobic of heights, and Tanis was phobic of closed in spaces - I felt betrayed. I felt like they were trying to ruin Tanis for me.
I just finished reading the Chroniciles, Legends, Soulforge and Brothers in Arms and then I launched into Dragons of Dwarven Depths. I probably should have read them before the Raistlin Chronicles, so that the Chronicles and Legends were more fresh in my mind.
There was some good - I like how Flint finally becomes a main focus. It was as good as any dwarven story was likely to get. I made me understand some of the things that happen in Winter Night a bit better. But some of it was just Weis and Hickman trying to wrap up and pull in loose threads that have developed in Krynn. They gave homage to later developments, like the elaborate subspecies system of Draconians (not to mention Dwarf clans). I know that was needed, and fans of the Draconians would care - but I felt like a lot was wrapped up in tying those loose ends.
The start was terribly slow and domestic and mundane. The girl talk between Tika and Laurana and Goldman nearly drove me mad. Once they ditched the women and got on with the adventure, that was all good.
All in all, it was likely a very hard task to write this and keep all the facts straight. So I do applaud their work. It was a fun story, it was an interesting story. I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. I just would have pushed for one or two more editorial revisions. The middle and end is better than the first - which makes me hopeful that the Dragons of Highlord Skies will be better. (less)
This was a lot more slippery and sloppy than I remember. Perhaps Hickman is the cleaner voice behind Chronicles and Legends, or there was just a bette...moreThis was a lot more slippery and sloppy than I remember. Perhaps Hickman is the cleaner voice behind Chronicles and Legends, or there was just a better editor in the 80s. Weis clearly doesn't know how to give "age appropriatness" to her story. 16 Raistlin spoke like 28 year old Raistlin. 13 year old Caramon spoke like 25 year old Caramon. 6 year old Raistlin was a creepy little guy, but some of this stuff was just too unbelievable. And cushioning the early chapters with hints of Raistlin's later ambitions just showed a sloppy author-voice. I wanted the story to take me back in time, not to be some half-awake rambling from the author who couldn't get her facts straight on her own novels. Yes, I *just* read the Chronicles and Legends this summer - but Weis should have reread her work before writing this. The last chapter with Astinus was pathetic. "Oh err, here's a lame excuse for why the story isn't coherent." Please. And I was honestly let down by the Test, I expected more "rounds" or something.
There were some good points. I mean, it does get 3 stars. The Belzor story was good, the stuff with Flint and Tas was good. Early Kitiara was written beautifully. Lemeul and Weird Meggin were nice additions. It's just that early childhood stuff that was terribly written, and the choice of words that the teenage characters would use that didn't suit them.
I'm not sure if I should bother rereading Brothers in Arms of if I should finally launch into the Lost Chronicles. (less)
Two stars seems harsh - but compared to the other Dragonlance books, this one really dropped the ball. Yes, I liked it, I guess. I was kinda bored. I...moreTwo stars seems harsh - but compared to the other Dragonlance books, this one really dropped the ball. Yes, I liked it, I guess. I was kinda bored. I just re-read the Chronicles Triology, and they blew my mind. Then I re-read the Legends Trilogy and discovered new twists and understanding and emotions, and it was great. But The Soulforge and Brothers in Arms are let downs compared to the original six. I mean, the War of Lance is a world wide war, with lots of twists. Both of these books are just childhood back stories.
Naturally, one person's childhood should not be as exciting as a world war, so I didn't want to judge The Soulforge too harshly. But Brothers in Arms was the prequel to the war. It was the warm up. It had the potential to be more. The plot was basic, the characters were painfully predictable. In Chronicles, they surprised me. In Legends, I was excited to see what they would do. In BiA, I was bored. It should have been shorter and condensed, and they maybe I'd give it a better rating. But the longwinded prose that said too much was just bad.(less)
I liked this better than Armstrong's book on The Prophet, and it was probably as good as any 160 page on the total history of a religion could get. Bu...moreI liked this better than Armstrong's book on The Prophet, and it was probably as good as any 160 page on the total history of a religion could get. But 160 pages is not really a good length to write the entire history of a 1400 year old religion.
Also, some of Armstrong's biases completely frustrate me. Of course, I've read her "History of God" and "Jerusalem" and I know where her biases lie. As such, I completely anticipated her motivation for writing this book - to make Islam more palatable to the West.
However, she failed. In both this and her book on the Prophet, she only confirmed my critiques of Islam.
She's an amazingly intelligent author with the ability to write with superb clarity. I just wish she'd realize that shutting down her sensibilities like this is just repeating the same mistake twice. Once with Catholicism, now with Islam. (less)