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Dragonlance: Dragons of Fate Review

Dragonlance: Dragons of Fate picks up the time-travel adventure shortly after the Dragonlance: Dragons of Destiny ended, but with a brief, in-character recap to remind readers where things left off.

Like last year, the second book in the Dragonlance Destinies trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman arrives in time for Gen Con. Dragonlance: Dragons of Fate picks up the time-travel adventure shortly after the Dragonlance: Dragons of Deceit ended, but with a brief, in-character recap to remind readers where things left off.

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Where Last We Left Our Heroes...​

In the last book, Destina Rosethorn decided that the solution to losing Castle Rosethorn to deceit and trickery is to find a legendary artifact, travel back in time, sabotage Sturm Brightblade during the War of Lance in the hopes that her father will then survive the war, preventing his estate from passing to a greedy, lying relative. Only Destina also acquired the Graygem of Gargath, which literally holds chaos. As a result, Destina and Tasslehoff Burrfoot are thrown into the past with versions of Raistlin Majere and Sturm from the War of the Lance period, and the Device of Time Journeying is shattered.

So now our heroes are trapped during the Third Dragon War with no way to get home, fearful that their very presence could change history and cause the forces of evil to win the war.

Can you guess what will happen by the end of Dragonlance: Dragons of Fate?

The Journey, Not the Destination​

The good news is that the journey to get there was much more enjoyable than the prior book's. I reread Dragonlance: Dragons of Deceit before starting DDoF and while last year I gave it a B, I was too generous, probably because of nostalgia. After rereading it, I feel even more strongly about the problems I cited in my review.

Paired with the new book, it really feels like DDoD was just setup to get readers to this book, where things become interesting, and the characters are more engaging. Worse, the problems in the first book could have been smoothed out or explained better, but they didn't put in the effort.

Thankfully, the bulk of DDoF is more engaging. Raistlin and Sturm get to meet their idols Magius and Huma, who turn out to be less the paragons of lore and more human, with their own quirks. With Magius, Raistlin forges his first genuine friendship, and Sturm learns through Huma that there's more to life than The Measure while still upholding the Solamnic code.

Tas, meanwhile, is off to “preserve the song” which takes him on an adventure. And, of course, the forces of evil are scheming to further the ambitions of Takhisis. Once they know the Graygem is in play, it becomes a fight for the power of chaos.

Character Study​

After DDoF gets rolling, I cared far more about the characters than I did in DDoD. It probably helped that far less of this book focused on Destina. In the first book she whines about having to save her father to rewrite history so she doesn't lose her home. Here, she whines about the death and destruction caused by her selfish actions. I wanted to like Destina, but she did act like a spoiled brat who didn't care about the impact of her actions on history until it was too late.

A few things still bother me. The shattered, one-of-a-kind time travel device is resolved with surprising ease. The time travel plot device feels like an excuse to bring back from the dead (well, another timeline) fan favorite characters to do a remix of events Dragonlance fans already know. Seeing a less driven Raistlin helps as does an epic love story for anothet set of characters. And Tas' side trip is amusing as intended.

But this is the second book of a trilogy so you can guess the sort of tone it'll end on. Whether it wraps up well or not, we'll discover next year.

To Be Continued​

The hardcover version is pretty with a map of Ansalon as the endpapers by Philip Ulrich. Cover design by David G. Stevenson.

If you prefer audiobooks, DDoF is again narrated by Kristen Potter, who does an excelent job creating the character voices. It's a fairly hefty novel, clocking in at more than 13 hours unabridged.

While I still think my tastes have changed since I originally read the first Dragonlance trilogy, I did enjoy this book more than the last one. But unclouded by nostalgia, that still translates Dragonlance: Dragons of Fate to a B. If you liked the first book better than I did, you'll probably like this one too.

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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels

I'll give this one a chance, but I'll be honest. I despised the first book. The first half was filled with nothing but bloated exposition and one of the whiniest and most selfish characters ever written that just reaks of being a Fan Fiction insert character, and the second half just felt like key jangling in an attempt to milk the franchise for nostalgia dollars. I like Weis and Hickman but frankly the last good book they've written of any series was the War of Souls trilogy. They are simply not in their prime anymore and it shows.

And that is before we even get to what is likely the entire purpose of this trilogy: to retcon out the Age of Mortals in it's entirety. As I've said many times on these forums, the Age of Mortals was objectively good for the setting and progressed it forward for the modern gaming systems. Frankly the best decision they ever made was to kill off Takhisis. She's had her time, let the other gods get their chance in the spotlight. Bringing her back is only going to stifle the setting, not enhance it.

Bought it via Amazon on preorder for my wife’s 42nd. She finished it yesterday, and I just finished it.

Overall, I enjoyed it more than the first. The first did have interminable first half which was made far more palatable close to the end. This one read much faster, and had a lot of points I really enjoyed.

As mentioned by the reviewer, it was nice to see another side of Raistlin that is new, but which is explained within the story and maintains consistency with what was previously known. If that doesn’t make sense to folks who haven’t read the first book, well, the first book sets it up, and makes it make sense.

Destina was far less annoying in this one. Hated her in the first, but now I actually like her.

I should have known what would happen with that, but I didn’t account for something, so had to wait a little. Good job both subverting and meeting expectations at the same time.

Some very nice takes on other characters. I liked that.

Ending surprised me a bit. Wasn’t quite expecting that result, though did expect something similar. Should have known that would be the case, as it’s the River not the stream.

Anyone know if third book has been submitted to the editors yet? Wife is asking, and I, too, want to read what happens next.


Just finished, and I'm on the same page with everybody else.

The book is better than DoD but still shallower than I'd like. I kind of feel hosed with many of the scenes at how hand-wavy quick things seem to play out. Big examples are the hunter subplot, the spy, Magius's chumpy ending, and everything Tas. It felt like a watered-down drink to me. Maybe the depth ended up getting cut in editing as these books are probably more young adult than adult (do any of us really identify as one?) Far better than the last, though!

I really liked the idea of Sturm and Raistlin getting their life perspectives and decisions rocked a bit to see what they'd do. The authors had a second chance to add more dimensions to both characters, and they took it. Reader's expectations are very high, so I don't view this as an easy win.

The Staff of Magius stuff was fun. I don't think I ever played in a Dragonlance game where somebody didn't tinker with it a bit.

Destina is still very flat, but I'm hoping this is purposeful for the reason of a big surprise later on or something similar (hint, hint!).

The alternative history spin at the end was great. It gave me hope that the next book will be better.



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