Oct 23, 11
Read in August, 2004
"Our last hope, thought Tanis - a dark elf. This is insane! It can't be happening.
Leaning against the stone table, he let his head sink into his hands. Name of the gods, he was tired! His body ached, his wounds burned and stung. He had removed the breast plate of his armor - it felt as heavy as a gravestone, slung around his neck. But as much as his body hurt, his soul hurt worse.
Memories flitted about him like the guardians of the Tower, reaching out to touch him with their cold hands. Caramon sneaking food off Flint's plate while the dwarf had his back turned. Raistlin conjuring up visions of wonder and delight for the children of Flotsam. Kitiara, laughing, throwing her arms around his neck, whispering into his ear. Tanis's heart shrank within him, the pain brought tears to his eyes.
No! It was all wrong! Surely it wasn't supposed to end this way!"
Test of the Twins is the final novel in the Dragonlance 'Legends' trilogy. Originally published in 1986, it has enjoyed unusual longevity for a Dungeons & Dragons trade novel - testament to its benchmark quality.
The edition reviewed is the latest release and the first time that the novel has enjoyed a hard cover. Illustrated with the same Matt Stawicki painting that graced the most recent paperback edition, this release continues the hardcover releases of the Dragonlance Chronicles in 2003.
The authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman should need little introduction to fans of Dragonlance, between them they have written all of the core books of the Dragonlance novel line, creating some of the best known and most loved characters of Dungeons and Dragons literature (many of whom, beside the twins - Tanis, Kitiara, Lord Soth, Lord Gunthar, Tika - continue their roles in this novel). They have also collaborated on such projects as the Darksword Trilogy, the Death Gate Cycle, the Starshield novels and the Sovereign Stone Trilogy. They have enjoyed a great deal of success outside of their well-known collaboration with books such as The Immortals and Requiem of the Stars (Hickman) and the Star of the Guardian novels and The Soulforge (Weis).
The Test of the Twins begins where the previous book left off with the unlikely allies, dark wizard Raistlin Majere and the devout cleric Crysania, about to open the portal to the Abyss in order to enter and confront the Queen of Darkness. Raistlin, through his time-traveling endeavors, has assumed the mantle of a legendary evil wizard of past times and is following - literally - in his footsteps on a dangerous path to re-write history in his favor.
Chasing behind Raistlin is his twin brother Caramon accompanied by the kender Tasslehoff Burfoot. Caramon's heart-wrenching quest to save his brother if he can, but to ultimately stop him at any cost is the test that the twins must face.
Although the conclusion of the trilogy, Legends is so closely tied to the previous trilogy that the six books could be viewed as one saga. As the climax, Legends does not disappoint. Gathering momentum and building to a satisfying conclusion, the authors truly manage to make you feel for the characters - both the good and the evil - and as such are able to deliver some truly poignant scenes and genuine tugs at the heart strings.
Test of the Twins serves not only as a gratifying and compellingly exciting climax to the trilogy but also to the story that began six books ago, with the start of Chronicles. If one has invested the time (and you should) to read each of the novels in succession, you are able to truly appreciate the depth of the characters, to care for them and share in their joys and sorrows.
The characters themselves are written with outstanding clarity and development - even Tasslehoff, lovable to some but irritating to others, has evolved beyond mere comic relief to become a sadly mature person scarred by personal loss and grief.
Not really a fumble, but a word of wisdom to the new reader. Do not plan to pick up this book, having read none of the others in this trilogy and hope to appreciate it to its fullest. Although the plot would not be difficult to pick up, the characters and the story deserve to be read in full.
Begin with The Soulforge (by Margaret Weis), progress from there to the Chronicles Trilogy and then the Legends trilogy. To do otherwise, would be to do the Test of the Twins (and yourself) a great injustice.
I would highly recommend this and other Dragonlance novels to anyone who hasn't yet discovered them. They are a cut above most of the rest of the Dungeons & Dragons novels, and it was not for nothing that these were the books that began it all. Or, if like me, you have fond memories of these books but have not picked them up in some time - then that time has come. The new editions are beautiful re-releases and the words on their pages more than stand the test of time.
Buy this book if you (a) enjoyed the other books of the Dragonlance Chronicles, Legends, or War of Souls, or (b) enjoyed the Sovereign Stone trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
Final Grade: A+