The DragonLance Chronicles: Who can forget?

Dragonlance Chroniclesbook review  Margaret Weis DragonlanceTHE DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragons of Autumn Twilight, a classic work of high fantasy, marks the beginning of a remarkable 6-book tale (the Chronicles Trilogy, followed by the even more magnificent Legends Trilogy), which greatly increased the interest in the Dungeons & Dragons game throughout the 1980’s. It certainly does contain more than a few stock fantasy elements (e.g. dragons, elves, dwarves, an unlikely group of friends somehow being chosen to stop the conquest of Evil…). However, the straightforward, simple way in which the tale is told and, even more so, the distinct, “real” nature of most of its characters set it apart from the paperback fantasy pack.

Another wonderful aspect of the trilogy is the title sequence: autumn twilight, winter night, spring dawning. Why? Because this is the timeless pattern of fantasy tales: the strengthening of Evil compels weakened and bickering good forces to unite and strengthen, to become Good so that the glory of life may continue — weakness to death to resurrection, as with each turning year, as with us…

Who can forget the irrepressible Tasslehoff, the conflicted Tanis Half-Elven, or the cynical, ambitious Raistlin as they strive to carry word of the ancient, true gods to a war-torn land? Some of the other companions, particularly Sturm and Riverwind, are a little bland in comparison, and the comic relief with the gully dwarves and the magician Fizban is sometimes too modern-feeling and cute (like the ewoks in Return of the Jedi).

Nonetheless, DRAGONLANCE is worthwhile reading for the fantasy fan, often resounding with the true voice of a legend, greatly assisted by splendid songs and poetry throughout, leading onward into the heart of story, as one of the poems proclaims.

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ROB RHODES was graduated from The University of the South and The Tulane University School of Law and currently works as a government attorney. He has published several short stories and is a co-author of the essay “Sword and Sorcery Fiction,” published in Books and Beyond: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading. In 2008, Rob was named a Finalist in The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Rob retired from FanLit in September 2010 after more than 3 years at FanLit. He still reviews books and conducts interviews for us occasionally. You can read his latest news at Rob's blog.

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