Bret James Stewart's Reviews > Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis
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it was amazing

As I am a huge Dungeons and Dragons fan, it is no surprise I love this book. it was published by the same company that owned D&D and has many similarities with game themes. A role-playing version of the books was later released. Although there are some wicked rumours floating around that this series was designed to dominate the fantasy genre of the 80s, who cares? It did, and it should have because it is a great series of books. Dragons of Autumn Twilight is the beginning of the story.

Weis and Hickman have created a viable, living fantasy world as a setting. When you read the book, you feel as if you are there. As an example, the partially submerged/collapsed/underground City of Pax Tharkas is phenomenal. This city was destroyed in the Cataclysm (see below), and it is described in such a detailed and evocative way, you can see the city in your mind's eye, feel the mist and damp, and taste the tang of dragon stench and gully dwarf, and hear the waterfalls, streams, and workings of the inhabitants. They also had the foresight to bring together a cast of characters that are vibrant and real in their own right, but also play off one another, and not always in a positive way, so that there is ongoing tension in the party of heroes.

This is epic fantasy at its best. The characters have been searching for the gods that seem to have abandoned the world of Krynn. The goddess of evil has recently launched clerics (priests) into the world, and the god of good has responded. The group has to deal with this, encountering new and strange creatures of evil in the draconians, fell minions of evil created from the perverted eggs of the good dragons, as they attempt to deal with the earth-shattering changes in the world. Race is against race, good against evil, and heroic against the anti-heroic. Each character, except Kas, is also battling some sort of inner-demon or, in the case of Flint, old-age. Thus, the characters are definitely the underdogs. As far as creating realistic characters, I cannot think of another book that has flawed, believable, and loveable protagonists.

The plot is exciting, too. The authors have invested time and love into the setting and it shows. The world is very realistic, at least as good as Tolkien's, though not quite as much description is given. However, this difference is merely that--a difference, not a flaw. As with Middle-Earth, Krynn is one of the places I would live, if I could.

The history of the world is unravelled as you read, and it is a very in-depth and interesting past. The world has been rocked by a huge Cataclysm, destroying the primary cultures of the time. The gods "abandoned" Krynn (or did they?). A dark age descended on the world. The first stirrings of light and renewal are occuring with the protagonists and around them, and this adds an intensity to the novel, especially since the powers of evil are winning.

I fully recognize how difficult it is to wrap a world-spanning plot, personable characters, and epic adventure into one tale without it being unseemly or seeming contrived. Weis and Hickman have done just that. From the first chapter, I was hooked. Of course, I had experience with D&D and related themes, so it may have been easier for me to relate to it readily. Be that as it may, The Dragonlance Saga is my second-favourite series (behind The Lord of the Rings).

In this first book, the primary issues are covered, as you might expect. You are thrust into the adventure with a sense of longing and renewal from the onset. Intense adventure is interjected into the story almost immediately, so you are learning about the world, its peoples, and the macro-view of the setting and the gods and the battle for and between the same as you follow along with the characters. It is blatantly evident that this is a BIG world, with the events you're reading about only one small (but important) portion of the story. Hints abound about the future, and you know that, whatever happens, Krynn will never be the same. Neither will you.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 3, 2013 – Shelved

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