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Last Call at the Inn of the Last Home Made Worse in Kindle Version
on September 7, 2012
This review looks at the Kindle version of "Dragons of Dwarven Depths" by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
Fantasy readers should not begrudge Weis and Hickman for returning to the story that started the Dragonlance franchise but they should have concerns. Far better writers have failed to recapture past magic when they returned to past subjects (for example, Hemingway's "The Dangerous Summer" simply can not live up to the same ground he covered before in "Death in the Afternoon"). Thankfully Weis and Hickman avoid the major pitfalls. This book does not take any luster off the original Dragonlance Chronicles.
"Dragons of Dwarven Depths" is a solid if unspectacular addition to the series. There is a certain joy in seeing beloved characters interact with one another and the writers send more than a few knowing winks the reader's way since we know more about the plot than the characters do at this point.
Some of the best parts of the Dragonlance series focused on the intimate moments; when the companions seemed more concerned with their own survival and what was in front of them than the epic wars for control of Krynn. Weis and Hickman are able to present some very good scenes when they can think small; when Tika and Tas face dangers; when Raistlin, Caramon and Sturm explore a dungeon; when Tanis and Flint look for a lost city. When Weis and Hickman try to show the bigger picture (for example, Riverwind leading an army of refugees or an in-depth take on dwarf tribal politics), the authors simply lose the narrative and the reader loses interest.
There remain some problems with the book. This book suffers from poor editing; poor copy editing and poor plot editing. One of the chief reasons Weis and Hickman split the Companions apart in "Dragons of Winter's Night" is they could not focus on character development when there are too many actors on the stage at once. That's a problem here since Tanis, Tas, Flint, Caramon, Raistlin, Laurana, Tika, Sturm, Riverwind, Goldmoon, Elistan, Gilthanas, even Hedrik the Theocrat. not to mention a host of new dwarven characters and villains, fight for page time. Tolstoy may have been able to pull the strings on so many puppets but Weis and Hickman simply are not up to that level. For example, the first part of the novel shows more focus and depth on Tika than almost any other part of the series. She's invisible the second half of the book. One has to also concede that the first half of the book is much more gripping than the second half-and no, that has nothing to do with Tika.
Despite these flaws, the authors are able to hold the book together through good characters and a decent enough plot. If Weis and Hickman did nothing to take the series to greater heights in this book, they at least did not tarnish their previous glories.
I gave the book four stars--but I have to give a lower ranking to the Kindle version. Words blend into one. Spelling mistakes not in the original book can be found in the Kindle version. Spacing is atrocious as paragraphs are jammed together. This comes off as amateurishness and readers should expect better from the published of a well established series like Dragonlance.