Dragonlance: Dragons of Deceit Review

Dragonlance is back, and not just with the RPG adventure book Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen (I expect a release date announcement on August 18). Dragonlance: Dragons of Deceit is a new novel by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman and the start of the Dragonlance Destinies trilogy.

Dragonlance Dragons of Deceit FG0Jpa2XEAYrJWm.jpg

Of course, Dragonlance has never really gone away. Even after Weis & Hickman left TSR and other authors were hired to write Krynn novels, the original duo have regularly returned to their fan-favorite series in addition to some novels written by Weis alone. Still, the last completely new novel by the pair was 2009's Dragons of the Hourglass Mage so it's been a long time.

If you're a Dragonlance fan, you'll be happy with DDoD. Weis & Hickman are still at the top of their game, and while this is a new story, familiar faces make an appearance with even more named. Prior knowledge of Dragonlance isn't necessary, but if you are a fan, you'll immediately recognize a lot of references.

Destina Rosethorn, daughter of a Solamnic knight, has been raised to follow The Measure, care for her hereditary lands, and maintain Castle Rosethorn as a line of defense against the forces of evil. Even when tragedy strikes her family, Destina continues as she was taught – until another loss strikes and upends everything she expected from life. Destina decides the solution is to go back in time, using the Device of Time Journeying, to save her father during the War of the Lance.

While I think Dragonlance fans (and I've always considered myself one) will enjoy or even love this book, that last sentence is part of the reason why I didn't enjoy this novel as much as I expected. I've been a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, and grew up on Star Trek time-space continuum shenanigans and Doctor Who, so time travel is not a deal breaker for me.

But...

dragonlance-dragons-of-deceit.jpg


Even in a world where dragons and magic exist, I trip over Destina's leap in logic. Citizens of Krynn have experienced magic, lived through the return of the gods and clerics, and likely have seen dragons fly overhead, but time travel is beyond rare. People view Tasslehoff Burrfoot's stories of his time-travel adventures as Kender exaggerations. I understand Destina's desperation, but that's quite the leap. Maybe it's just that Destina sometimes comes across to me as more immature than I expect from the Destina depicted in the early chapters.

Or maybe my tastes have changed since I originally read Dragons of Autumn Twilight. Both books open with a location description, but DDoAT focuses on Tika and her thoughts while also describing The Inn of the Last Home, whereas DDoD begins with a several paragraphs description of Castle Rosethorn before Lord Gregory even appears. It wasn't exactly a grabber.

I'm used to Tasslehoff being flighty, but his refusal to accept the truth of a plot-point, even after it's been repeatedly explained just rubs me wrong. There's a difference between being trusting and denying evidence.

Worse, I didn't feel an emotional connection to the characters or Destina's dilemma. I enjoyed DDoD, was interested in the plot, and I'm curious about the rest of the trilogy, but I didn't feel any tension or emotion like I did while reading Drew Hayes' NPCs or Travis Baldree's Legends & Lattes. Yet when I compare DDoD to Weis & Hickman's earlier Dragonlance novels they all fit together, so the disconnect is mine.

Also, time travel trilogies can be tricky to accurately evaluate while incomplete. I might look back when it's over and love this book. I hope so.

The hardcover is nicely made with end-papers that show the map of Ansalon. If you prefer audiobooks, reader Kirsten Potter is very good. Whether voicing Destina, her parents, Tika, Caramon, Tas, Dalamar, or others, Potter changes her voice so you know exactly who is speaking before you get to the attribution. Most fiction audiobook readers try to do that, but don't accomplish it nearly as well as Potter does.

If you love Dragonlance, Dragons of Deceit will likely be an A or an A+ for you even though for me, it's currently a solid B to B+. Fan of epic fantasy but new to Dragonlance? It'll be somewhere between a B and an A+, depending upon your exact tastes. And despite my hesitation, I am interested in the next book, Dragons of Fate, and I think that's a truer sign of my Dragons of Deceit review than a letter grade.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad

Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels




I feel curiosity about if WotC may allow oficially and within the canon the idea of alternate timelines. Dragonlance is not the tabletop game, but also the fandom writting their own stories "set in a parallel world".

WotC could publish a reshot of "Chronomancer" as a minisetting in the same way of Stryxhaven, Theros, Radiant Citadel or Witchlight.
 


DragonBelow

Adventurer
I feel curiosity about if WotC may allow oficially and within the canon the idea of alternate timelines. Dragonlance is not the tabletop game, but also the fandom writting their own stories "set in a parallel world".

WotC could publish a reshot of "Chronomancer" as a minisetting in the same way of Stryxhaven, Theros, Radiant Citadel or Witchlight.
It's already been done, in the 3.5 dragonlance book: Legend of the Twins, was precisely about time travel and alternate histories, etc. Of course it can be revisited :)
 



Dire Bare

Legend
I had largely the same response as @brimmels. I enjoyed the book, I enjoyed the return to Krynn, and I enjoyed revisiting some old friends . . . but a few things about character and plot bugged me and took me out of the narrative. I agree with all of Beth's criticisms, and . . . .

Destina was easy to like in the first few chapters, during her backstory. But once she sets out on her quest, she becomes very unlikeable, to me. Luckily, several of the characters she meets would agree, and they are a delight! I enjoyed Sable the copper dragon, and Wolfstone the Daergar dwarf, and Tasslehoff!

While Destina certainly goes through some mental anguish and loss, during the course of the adventure she isn't faced with a lot of physical peril. She acquires the two macguffins she needs rather easily. At no point did I feel that Destina or her companions were in a great deal of peril, with the possible exception of a castle siege in her backstory. Not even then really.

Something I picked up on and found interesting, related to the new focus on race in fantasy (and D&D) . . . W&H have several moments when characters go out of their way to point out that the racial stereotypes we've come to know in Dragonlance are just that, stereotypes. Wolfstone the Daergar goes off on Destina when she complains about the Theiwar being "evil" and asks her to consider that as not all Solamnics are good and just, not all Theiwar are evil. He also goes into the problems Theiwar society faces (extreme poverty and discrimination). When Tasslehoff meets a human polymorphed into a kender, he immediately picks up on their mannerisms being off, and just assumes they are a kender raised by humans! Meaning, the kender traits we've all grown to love (or hate) are culturally based. It's a bit on the nose, but it does contrast with most characters sticking to the old stereotypes when talking about other races, mostly the kender. This new revelation is weakened by all of the kender in the book (except for the polymorphed human) acting true to the classic stereotype.

I agree with Beth that if you are a Dragonlance fan, you'll likely enjoy this book even with its faults. However, I'll disagree with her that folks will enjoy it if they aren't Dragonlance fans! If you haven't read the original Dragonlance Chronicles, the time-travel elements and the meeting of classic characters will likely not grab you, and may leave you confused. The book is set concurrent with the War of the Lance (roughly, until time-travel) and references Chronicles heavily, and Legends also.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I feel curiosity about if WotC may allow oficially and within the canon the idea of alternate timelines. Dragonlance is not the tabletop game, but also the fandom writting their own stories "set in a parallel world".

WotC could publish a reshot of "Chronomancer" as a minisetting in the same way of Stryxhaven, Theros, Radiant Citadel or Witchlight.
As @DragonBelow mentioned, time-travel and alternate timelines has long been a part of the Dragonlance setting. And while our hero Destina and her, ah, companions travel back in time and begin to affect the timeline . . . this isn't set yet and there are characters working to stop Destina from changing time. Will W&H change the timeline of Krynn in this novel series? We likely won't know for sure until the third and final book! It's very possible that by the end of the story, all is set right and Krynn is put back on track.
 

Kronius

Explorer
I read the inside flap, read about the time travel and thought about everything that is getting overused and thought I would have issues with this book. I bought it still, even with my misgivings. I will read it of course because I love the world, who knows, I might love it.
 


I'm less and less excited the more I read about it......

It's better then the reviewer made it out to be, the reviewer left out a key point that makes it all make more sense. I don't want to spoil everything, but it's pretty simple really.

in basic terms Destina is the Chosen of Chaos/Greygem(I'm boring an FR word for lack of DL word), she ends up wearing the a cracked Greygem which leaking chaos, warping magic events, including a charmed Tas. [spoiler/]
 
Last edited:


rooneg

Explorer
It's not aweful the Reviewer is leaving out key info that helps make sense of it.
Honestly, the problem with the book isn’t that it doesn’t make sense. It’s perfectly consistent with itself as far as I can tell. The problem is it feels off because it’s not terribly consistent with the way the world has been portrayed in the past.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Honestly, the problem with the book isn’t that it doesn’t make sense. It’s perfectly consistent with itself as far as I can tell. The problem is it feels off because it’s not terribly consistent with the way the world has been portrayed in the past.
I don't really care about that last part at all.....If the writing is good.
 

Honestly, the problem with the book isn’t that it doesn’t make sense. It’s perfectly consistent with itself as far as I can tell. The problem is it feels off because it’s not terribly consistent with the way the world has been portrayed in the past.

Given the driving force behind things though, that actually makes a kind of weird, ironically logically sense.
 

rooneg

Explorer
I don't really care about that last part at all.....If the writing is good.
Honestly, it’s fine. It’s not great, but it’s fine. Like, if I was looking at the earlier Dragonlance books through eyes not clouded by nostalgia I’d probably also think their writing was just fine. That said, I’ve recently reread the original Chronicles and Legends, and I do feel like the writing here doesn’t quite measure up when I compare them.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
sounds awful. 2 bad as i was an original fan
The reviewer gives the book a "B" rating. How does that sound awful? @brimmels points out things that she likes about the book, and things she doesn't. She also makes it clear that, in her opinion, if you are a long-time Dragonlance fan, you're likely to enjoy this book even more than she did.
It's not awful the Reviewer is leaving out key info that helps make sense of it.
Nah. It does become more clear through the story that the macguffin (Graygem) has a mind of its own. But how much this is affecting Destina and those around her isn't clear. Which is okay, we're only on book one. But this is hardly "key info" the OP review leaves out.

This isn't W&H's best work, in or outside of Dragonlance. This isn't a "must-read" novel, unless you're a big-time Dragonlance fan. This is solid middle-grade fantasy fiction . . . which is okay. It's a fun and enjoyable read, especially if you love Dragonlance and W&H's earlier stories within it.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top