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Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Dragonlance Chronicles, Volume I) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2000
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Think of it as A New Hope for the world of Dragonlance: Sure, maybe it's a little rough around the edges, maybe it's got one cliché too many, but this baby is pure magic. The first volume in the Dragonlance Chronicles series, this classic from Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman started it all for Krynn, eventually spawning a bestselling 90-plus book series. (And, frankly, you'd do well to stick to the Weis-Hickman titles.) All the heroes that you've likely heard of already--the creepy, hourglass-eyed Raistlin, the noble half-elf Tanis, the comic relief Tasselhoff Burrfoot, the curmudgeonly dwarf Flint Fireforge--they're all here, starting the good fight against the Dark Queen Takhisis as the War of the Lance begins. Pick up Dragons of Winter Night when you're done. --Paul Hughes
From the Inside Flap
, ground-breaking, highly imaginative tale from the most phenomenonally popular fantasy authors since J.R.R. Tolkien.
Creatures of legend, the dragons have returned to Krynn. Now, the darkness of war threatens to engulf the land. Then hope appears -- a blue crystal staff in the hands of a beautiful bar barian woman. The promise of this hope forces a group of long-time friends into the unlikely roles of heroes: Tanis Half-Elven, their leader, a skilled warrior who detests fighting and is tormented by love for two women; Sturm Brightblade, Knight of Solamnia, driven to restore the honor of the knighthood; Raistlin Majere, the powerful and unsettling magic-user, whose hourglass-shaped eyes conceal dark mysteries; Caramon, Raistlin's twin, a genial giant both loved and feared by his brother; Flint Fireforge, the gruff old dwarven fighter, almost a father to them all; and Tasselhoff Burrfoot, a kender, the nuisance race of Krynn, immune to fear and followed by trouble wherever he goes.
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There are problems to be sure. The writing is often clunky and, as the authors admit in their notes in the “Annotated Chronicles,” they fell into the traps associated with TSR producing a series of RP modules at the same time as the books, especially where “Autumn Twilight” was concerned. Characters often make strange decisions so the plot can flow and the humor goes from funny to forced in the blink of an eye. There are far too many heroes at the end of the book with almost 15 characters in the main party. Needless to say, some of the characters simply get lost (including one who was crucial at the start of the book and basically ignored by the end of it). Going through TOR’s reread of the books--which is worth looking at--I found myself nodding my head far too often as the reviewers pointed out the various problems.
But these problems pale in comparison to a fine book. Weis and Hickman do an amazing job at introducing the characters at the start of “Autumn Twilight” and do a fine job of guiding them through various adventures. The battles scenes are often excellent. Many of the heroes stand out as do some of the villains. Readers who enjoy fantasy novels should enjoy this book and exploring the lovingly crafted world of Krynn.
Sure, there are too many cliches. Yes, Weis and Hickman keep tripping over TSR’s modules. There are way too many characters fighting for attention toward the end of “Autumn Twilight.” These kind of problems would undermine most books. That doesn’t happen here thanks to a fun plot in constant motion and some strong and intriguing characters. Even after three decades, “Autumn Twilight” holds up very well. Highly recommended.
The first half of the "Dragons" (book 1) feels rushed and amateurish. The characters seem stale and one dimensional. You might get the impression that you're reading D&D fanfic, and you wouldn't be too far from the truth! I can't recommend skipping it, because the backstory is helpful, but I will say that readers should not consider its quality representative of the series.
The second half of the volume is a definite step up and the prose begins to chart a course back into the happy waters of Entertainment Bay. This continuous scaling upward of quality continues as the series goes on, with each new novel better than the one that came before.
I highly recommend this beloved classic of the 1980s for fans of the genre who don't mind a bit of cliche, and who enjoy clearcut white hats vs black hats fantasy.
There were some minor issues I had with the book, such as the story dragging in some places, multiple viewpoints in the same scene (not staying with the primary character's point of view), and different scenes bleeding into one another (no scene break in some instances). However, it didn't diminish my reading pleasure enough to give it four stars. I would probably rate it 4-1/2 stars, but it's still deserving of five stars when all is said and done.
I also plan on reading some of the other related series, which provide background/back stories for some of the individual characters. There are so many books to read, which is a good thing!
The world of Krynn has been recovering from the Cataclysm. A world shattering event that changed the world and her people when the Gods abandoned the people. Now a group of friends reunite after five years wandering the world in search of any sign of the true gods. But home has changed and dark tidings hint a war and worse for the haven town of Solace and the world of Krynn. The unlikely heroes; Tanis Halfelven, Flint Fireforge, Tasselhoff Burrfoot, Sturm Brightblade, Caramon & Raistlin Majere quickly become fugitives when the aid two barbarian strangers carrying a blue crystal staff. The barbarians Goldmoon and Riverwind join the group and they begin a journey that will reveal the truth many of them seek. Dragons and Gods return to the world and the one spark of hope is in the blue crystal staff Goldmoon carries.