12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Where Sharks Hold Court and Sailors Sleep,
This review is from: The Dragon Isles: Crossroads (Mass Market Paperback)
I don't know whom over at Wizards of the Coast, whether it was editor, publisher, or the author of this novel; but whoever plotted the Dragon Isles out came up with what I would imagine would be an extremely difficult story to write. And working on his first DL novel, Stephen D. Sullivan does an amazing job with that story. This one really surprised me with how good it was, I must admit I wasn't expecting much out of what I thought would be a boring mariner's tale.
Well it was a mariner's tale, all of this novel either takes place on a ship, under the water, or a few brief trips to port cites. However Sullivan nicely pulls this off without making it boring and does not rehash the fact that the characters are under the water, making into a central description device. Instead of tying it like an anchor around the plot-line and the story's development he uses it as a sail into the unknown.
This novel also got back to the core of fantasy and the Dragonlance shared world, with use of an ancient prophecy guiding the treasure finders, and the return of a dragon as our main villain. The sea dragon Tempest is an excellent villain, powerful, different than what we have seen before in other Dragonlance villains, and actually evil, always a plus.
The heroes are well thought out for a 300 pager like this novel as well. You have a roguish sea captain, a beautiful sea elf, a mysterious bronze armored knight, and a kender that all add something to the adventure, plus no complaining, they are always on the up. The Dragon Isles includes amazing location, some humor, plenty of action, a couple different plot-twists that are pretty good, and is even nicely broken into three labeled parts. Each part has a different tone and you can tell the action slowly increases until it is at a very high tempo in part three.
Only downside is that it was really a difficult story and sometimes it strains Sullivan. At a few points he has characters do things that would be almost impossible in water and what not, but other than that I think this is a really good first outing, I hope Wizards of the Coast has Sullivan writing plenty more Dragonlance novels.
Final Thought: Sullivan may be a squire under the sea, but with his legs set firmly upon the ground he'd be a Knight. Pick this one up for your Dragonlance fix!