Far less taxing than the first two entries in the series, Empire of Blood does offer up a slew of typos the deaden the pace of the final third of the...moreFar less taxing than the first two entries in the series, Empire of Blood does offer up a slew of typos the deaden the pace of the final third of the book. While this ends up being fine light fantasy, it is clear that Knaak either cannot write engaging political machinations and schemes into his stories or that he could not do it in a setting not his own. I often have to remind myself that Knaak's Dragonrealm (as opposed to Dragonlance) novels I love so much were ones I encountered when I was 15. I may be going into these books with wildly unrealistic expectations, but this trilogy is far from his best work.(less)
Another generous instance of my giving a book two stars, Tides of Blood is only marginally saved in the last third where Knaak stops devoting most of...moreAnother generous instance of my giving a book two stars, Tides of Blood is only marginally saved in the last third where Knaak stops devoting most of his energy to wasting time and filling pages with nothing of import to the story or characters. What really hurts this book is the production/editing. Was the author not sent a proof-copy? Could he not be bothered to read it? Several times parts of words are missing (has becomes as, for instance), entire words are missing from sentences (though pesky verbs just get in the way), and most frustrating is the occurrence of the one-eyed character having both of his eyes swimming in blood. The missing one, sure, because it isn't in the socket. And the one he has, maybe, as part of the descriptive metaphor. But both of these things are not happening at once, and any writer or editor who let that go through should be swimming in shame.(less)
I feel that even the two stars is generous, but somewhere past the halfway point Knaak gives up on awkward insertions of exposition (or at least limit...moreI feel that even the two stars is generous, but somewhere past the halfway point Knaak gives up on awkward insertions of exposition (or at least limits them to somewhere near the level of acceptability) and lets this abbreviated tale of murder, mayhem, backstabbing, and revenge start to take shape. Mostly, I blame WoTC for the shape of this book. Perhaps they (and Knaak included) wanted their own version of the intrigues that provide the backdrop to Frank Herbert's Dune or seems to be the whole of the tale in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. (Michael A. Stackpole's use of similar devices in his BattleTech novels would probably be a better example to measure against, as both as bounded to the game world's from which they sprung. Where Stackpole managed to develop most of his characters in short order, Knaak seems content to do rough sketches of a few and reinforce them sporadically.) This is a book that probably should have been close to 600 pages. It would have allowed for explaining the world and history of the minotaurs through the actions of the characters rather than odd proto-chapters. Likewise, characters could have been developed to the point where the reader would not have to reference the glossary in the back to make sure who the character was. At the same time, a lengthier, more balanced telling of the story would have allowed for a better sense of time and hardship for the characters. Everything in this version feels rushed an incomplete. There is a workaday story going on, one that is mildly interesting once the distractions are dealt with. (less)
Well, clearly much has happened since I last visited Krynn. The end of a series was probably not the best place to start, either. However, I've been a...moreWell, clearly much has happened since I last visited Krynn. The end of a series was probably not the best place to start, either. However, I've been a guest in Jean Rabe's house and she's offered to feed me a couple of times, so the least I could do would be to finally getting around to reading a novel written by her.
Personally, I think this would have been a stronger story if Rabe didn't have to work in as much of the expanded backstory and world setting as a Dragonlance book is apt to require. It would have allowed for a slightly smoother transition from place to place and a better examination of the characters. I liked it, though. For licensed fantasy adventure fiction, it was better than solid. There only complaint I would have is the somewhat formulaic twist at the end, but that has more to do with how briefly it matters at all.(less)