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Showing 1-10 of 49 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on June 1, 2002
Before reading "Dragons of Autumn Twilight", I had been told it had a reputation as one of the finest novels based on Dungeons and Dragons ever written, and that it was good enough to stand on it's own as fantasy outside the world of gaming fiction. Having now read it, I found it was more like revisiting a somewhat well-run D&D game rather than a landmark fantasy epic.
Plotwise, the book cruises through a few pivotal weeks in the lives of nine main (and another four or five secondary) characters as they catalyze the greatest war that the planet Krynn has ever seen. In the nine, you find your typical D&D adventuring gang, some fighters (including a barbarian and a paladin), a rogue, a cleric and a mage. All we really needed to make this the stereotypical gaming group would be a bard - we've even got the standard backgrounds, romantic entanglements and character conflicts.
It's basically fluff, but it's certainly readable. Having been a former gamer, I found it nice to go back and escape into a D&D world briefly without having to write up a character concept or worry about whether or not I stocked up on trail rations in the last town. As a fantasy fan, I found it nice to have a good, old-fashioned meat-and-potatoes story of good vs. evil. However, the Tolkien and George R.R. Martin fan in me wanted a lot more from the characters. None of them really hit three-dimensionality and only one or two even made it past being total stereotypes. Even the story was rather straightforward - betrayals and love triangles happened rather than being formed and, in most cases, came completely out of left field.
Ultimately, I recommend this book to the fantasy fan looking for something very light to read on the beach during summer vacation or the lonely D&D fan missing his or her group. If you're looking for something more substantive, though, stick with Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan or even Terry Pratchett.
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on July 13, 2015
Didn't have the same pull as say Lord of the Rings. I didn't find the characters particularly interesting. Sometimes I found it difficult to visualize the world that was being described. Also, it took me like 6 months to finish because it wasn't always very exciting for the first 2/3 of the book. Nevertheless, it was just good enough that I may try the second book. The last 4 or 5 chapters were the engaging. The last 100 pages I read in 3 days. That says something about the previous 330 or so pages.
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on April 29, 2016
I have no idea why this is considered cannon for the genre. There are literally dozens of books that are better. This is a great story but moves really really really slowly, and the character development is inconsistent and often leaves you wondering "huh"?
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on July 15, 2011
The book was recommended by a friend who is a huge fan of the entire series. He swears by these books, so I decided to give it a try. Personally, I found it so-so. The writing was overly fast paced and the bridges between scenes either didn't exist or were abrupt. You can get lost easily, and sometimes it can be a strain to remember who was what or why a certain city was important. This happens when you have such a vast world and lore, though. There's so much to introduce and you can only get seemingly unimportant or unhelpful tidbits at first. But there's always the promise of more in the future lurking with each random piece of information.
Character development was at a minimum, but you were presented with a stellar cast from the get go. There is no denying that this is a unique band of interesting characters. Even years later, you just don't find characters like this. But the fighting and the bickering can be a bit draining. The comic relief character is adorable and definitely funny, but when the rest of the cast finds him annoying, you can't help but feel a little bit of the humor taken out of it. From an emotional standpoint, this is stellar writing. You really feel the nerves at their breaking point and the misery of the travelers...but that really isn't something people enjoy feeling.
Of course, there's more to this story than the first book. Whether you want to continue..that's its own story. I can say that there are some great scenes in the book. The fight scenes are worth the read alone. Also, this series has an amazingly large family of books to fall into. Even though I wasn't a huge fan of this novel, I look forward to some of the other books in the universe, not al lof which are by the same authors.
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on January 10, 2014
It's really nice to have the book in ready to go MP3s. It allows for a lot of flexibility with how you wish to listen to your book. That said, I think the choice for reader could have been mulled over a bit longer. Paul Boehmer reads the book but doesn't sound like he's really into it. Even though he does the voices decently, it's other things that he does which jolt you out of being pulled into the story. When I first previewed the audio, I thought, "Have we finally got the point where we can have computers narrating books in a way that sounds human?" Paul pauses in weird spots. He also stops between words that flow together naturally when spoken, like "Tanis Said".

A better choice would have been Peter MacNicol if they could have gotten him to do Dragonlance again.
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on March 20, 2013
I honestly can't finish this. I realized way too late why I couldn't follow this book: It's the narrator. I prefer books that tell the story from one character's perspective at a time. This book, however, is the "floating narrator," as I like to call it. It floats over the action and tells us everything that's happening and what everyone is thinking all at the same time. There's nothing to latch onto. It's like floating down a river. I'm halfway through and can't tell what's going on or why I should care. I love the book's cover, but that's the only good thing I can say.

And enough with the adverbs in nearly every paragraph. Barf!

Update:
I finally finished the 70 pages I had left when I wrote the above review. Overall, the book was cute, with imaginative imagery, but I still think it's a badly written novel. There were some instances when the authors went from a character's thought to narration, and I thought it was still thought because none of it was italicized.

And the villain is introduced at the very end of the book, and I didn't care one way or another if the heroes defeated him. There's just so much wrong with this book. I didn't hate it, but I'm in no hurry to read the next.
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on October 27, 2015
This book was my high school favorite book ( and series), to me back then it was better then lord of the rings.
However I read it now, and was surprised, what was so good in this book back in the 90's?
I really don't know... The story is ok, some of it is a complete copy from the lord of the rings ( instead of ring there is a wand, the group itself, the kender is the hobbit, the wizard Gandalf is Raist, the journey through the underground in the mountains and on and on...).
The characters are barely 2d, and not complicated as I recalled.
I guess that there are some books that you should not read again when you are older....:(
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on October 21, 2007
Too many years ago for my mental comfort I used to play Dragonlance. At the time I read the Dragonlance Chronicles and I recently decided to go back and pay a visit. It was much what I remembered, and actually it fared badly with the number of quite good fantasy books I've read since.

It does read like fictionalised role-playing sessions. The team are several different people with different reasons for what they do and I'm really not sure that in the real world they would be anywhere near each other.

Still it's fun to revisit, and it reminds me of my college years, I still like Raistlin and the team of half-elf, dwarf, kender, dark mage, barbarian, warrior and knight have appeared in a lot of books since. The cliches are the but many of the cliches started here. The Draconians are interesting and the path to the truth is starting to become clear.

It's an interesting story but it's not the best. Worth the journey back but I'm not sure I want to read more soon. Someday I may but sometimes forward is the only way to go.
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on April 6, 2016
It's amazing to me how popular this series has become. I suppose it was published a long time ago, so at the time there wasn't as much competition. This review contains minor spoilers.

Where to begin. First, the plot. The plot is a major weakness with this book especially, and to a lesser degree the following books in the series. Amazon asks how I would describe it and gives these options: "Predictable", "Some Twists", or 'Full of Surprises'. Well, that's hard to answer. At any given point in time, you don't know whats going to happen next, but that's not because the book has a complex plot, its just that anything can happen, and it isn't necessarily going to make sense. Example: The companions enter a haunted wood. They are led to a Unicorn which tells them to go to a faraway mountain range in 2 days. The unicorn never says why, and the forest is never mentioned again in the series. This is just laziness by the author. To continue the example, the unicorn gives them pegasus to fly them to the mountain range, but for no apparent reason, the Pegasus stop midway and leave. It is full of stuff like this.To be fair, they do a good job of shrouding it in mystery, but it is not enough. To the discerning reader, it just feels like the author is lazy and doesn't want to plot properly, so makes heavy use of random events to get the characters in whatever situation he wants them. The amount of Deus ex Machina is insane.

Another problem is that they are really good at building up suspense, but don't have many ideas to put in the areas they built up. For instance, the haunted wood. We hear about it from early on in the story, they do a very good job of building it up. But then, once they actually get there, they never encounter any evil monsters; only some misunderstood ghosts and a unicorn. With that amount of suspense I expect something like 'Shadar Logoth' from the wheel of time; someplace truly evil, not one set of guards and a unicorn. Also in the final area, it's the same story. They do a beautiful job of setting it up. "Death rides on black wings". The story about the barbarian and the quest for the staff. And when they get there, they feel evil in the air, and it keeps building until they discover the source of the maleficence, which is *drumroll* a dragon. Come on. Just because the settlement has a dragon shouldn't engender that much drama.

It has the feel of the author wanting to put the story in several different terrains to try them out. "OH I want the story to be in a haunted forest." "OH i want the story to be in a cavern system". It abruptly shifts from one terrain to another, with no warning, which would be fine, if the shifts did not feel so arbitrary. It feels like the characters are going on a world tour.

I will say the next book is slightly better, but that is partly because instead of making several moderate plot holes, it makes a only a few giant ones, and if you accept them, then the story makes more or less makes sense. An example without too much spoiling is who the knights of Solamnia choose to make their commander. A person is convicted of cowardice, and during the sentencing, they give him command of the Knights of Solamnia.

Lastly This is more of a series critique than of this book, but I'll put it here anyways. It seems like the authors have a hard time writing substance. Several times it gets to a really good part, and then it switches off of that story and skips the good part, leaving it to you to imagine what happened. *spoilers* A good example is when Laurana meets her father again, they end with them seeing each other, instead of writing the happy reunion scene. Or when Fizban is giving a speech, and Theros comes with the dragonlances, hurling one into the sacred stone and knocking fizban to the ground, it just ends the scene there.
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on August 24, 2013
I read this book originally more than 20 years ago. It is exactly as I remember it...a great into fantasy for the young adult that may not be ready for lotr or asoiaf. It does not try to be something out is not. I can honestly say that I enjoyed it.
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