Dragons of a Lost Star by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman CoverReturn to Krynn: A World in Trouble

Authors: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Returning to a tumultuous world in flux, the second offering of the War of Souls trilogy jolts back into the four-storyline motif, spiraling political complexities with mystical difficulties and our usual characters with the requisite baggage. Considering that I read the first installment, Dragons of a Fallen Sun, back in 2011, this has been quite a gap. The first book captured the beauty and ingenuity of the fantastical world of Krynn, but the multiplicity of complicated stories, none of which truly intertwined, juxtaposed against the slowly moving pace put me off delving into another 800 page installment. The idea was grand, too grand, and while the delivery wasn’t devoid of beauty, it was a bit like diving into World and Peace, the Sequel, had the universe been cruel enough to produce such another sizable Russian novel. Instead, I took some time off from Dragonlance. My recent graduate class was blessed with a brave soul willing to do a submission beyond the typical run-of-the-mill drama aka literary malarkey. This fantastical world had me longing for days and dreams of dragons. I jumped back into Dragonlance.

I’ve previously read The Chronicles series, the Legends  series, and portions of the Preludes I somehow missed the Chaos Wars series, which directly precedes War of Souls. It’s not an easy transition, and readers not familiar with Chronicles, Legends, AND Chaos Wars will be floundering. Interestingly, Weis and Hickman provide a massive first chapter in Dragons of a Lost Star getting readers up to speed concerning events from Fallen Sun which made my gap of three years in this series less painful.

Dragons of a Lost Star is around 550 pages, which considering the heft of its predecessor isn’t too bad. The five story lines continue, namely: Goldmoon’s restored youth

Dragon Tower

By David Revoy / Blender Foundation (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

and calling by the dead, Tas’s reluctance to use the device of Time Journeying to return to his proper death, Gerard’s seemingly aimless rambling, Laurana’s fight to keep Qualinost from the Green Dragon Beryl, and the Knights of Neraka’s unification under the mysterious Mina and her One God. Each plot thread is given a seemingly equal amount of space on the page, with each chapter telling a different story. Unlike Dragons of a Fallen Sun the stories start to come together and interrelate here, building toward a more cohesive book with a central story. Still, some of the old problems still exist, namely pacing and too much Tas.

Tas takes up a great deal of the story, and nothing is truly resolved as per the Device of Time Journeying, which mostly provides for the typical humor associated with

Kender stories. While in the Chronicles Tas was a delightful device to lighten the mood when the realm and the characters had a tendency to become too gloomy, as a main narrator he provides irritating and unwelcome interruption.

Goldmoon’s story, while intriguing, does not have a truly satisfying ending. There seems to be something missing. The entire consummation of her trip wrapped up quickly and with no seeming purpose. She went through all that, her entire calling, for a revelation that, while powerful, could have been better delivered without making Goldmoon trek across two books, an equivalent of exactly  1,350 pages. While I cannot give away the grand revelation itself, lets just say that Goldmoon’s part seemed too small and too quickly over.

What does work, however, is the story of Mina and the story of Qualinost. I was especially interested in the fate of the Elven Nation, which had not previously proved that compelling too me. The largely political focus of the entire elf story, once shifted into survival mode, provided for some powerful and literally earth shattering moments that change the entire destiny of Krynn and excite readers for the last novel in this trilogy, Dragons of a Vanished Moon.

Mina’s creepiness continues to grow and a final revelation as to her One God’s identity is made, satisfying readers and opening the pathway for further continuance. Other characters, known from the Chronicles and Legends series make appearances, furthering the depth and portrayal of this new depiction of our beloved Krynn.

Dragon

By Mac m 13 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The pacing, as I said, is still pretty slow and it’s a hefty novel to plow through. As stories combine, however, the strong writing and amazing depiction of place, keep readers grounded and just happy to reconnect with Krynn. The world is so real that we can touch it and feel it. The character’s strife, along with the political and racial turmoil that marks Krynn, has long been established and continues to be effective, making a fantastical realm more real than the day to day world we trudge along with. This is probably why I keep returning to this series and this world. Krynn has long since become a tumultuous but much loved home away from home, and its denizens are like family, friends, and enemies to us, keeping readers attached to a growing realm which has long held a place on the best seller list.

While the speed should definitely increase, and the Tas story needs to start moving toward some resolution, Dragons of a Lost Star is a strong offering in the War of Souls Trilogy and one that holds many surprises and plot twists for readers. The more reasonable page count also helps. Recommended for all those Krynn connoisseurs out there who need another dose of magic, mayhem, and giant dragons attacking Elven cities.

–          Frances Carden

 

 

Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman at Gencon. Picture from: Violetofthevalley at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons


Dragons of a Lost Star: War of Souls Trilogy, Volume Two (The War of Souls Book 2) (Kindle Edition)


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Frances Carden

Frances has a Masters in Fiction Writing from Johns Hopkins and works as a technical writer during the day, where she attempts to make software exciting.
Frances Carden

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