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Books - Book Review - Dragonlance Chronicles - A Fantasy Feast

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Dragonlance Chronicles - A Fantasy Feast

Genre

Fantasy

Released By / Year

Wizards of the Coast / 1984

Book Review

It all started with an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons gamebook called The Soulforge, discovered in the local library when I was just a little dude. I was intrigued by the story and found that it was continued in a trilogy of novels called The Dragonlance Chronicles. I imagined that books titled "Chronicles" could only be immensely boring. Fortunately I gave them a chance and the rest is history.

The Dragonlance Chronicles were the first fantasy books I ever read. The experience was a revelation and made me realize that books were capable of transporting me to another time and place and make my imagination run wild. It was an experience that I've treasured since and never forgotten.

Whether it was zombiefication from lack of sleep, nearly fainting because of the righteous storytelling or crying my eyes out when a main character died in book three, there was no way I was putting this trilogy down. After reading the books in Danish, I bought the original English versions and I'm sure these books are to thank, at least partly, for me learning English very quickly (a special mention also goes out to Stephen King and Infocom). I was enthralled from the first page and thought it was the most amazing thing, I had ever read. The story was so cool, the characters were exciting and each had traits I could relate to and understand in some way, the setting was one of adventure and magic and above all: There was lots of action.

Now, close to thirty years down the road, the experience of reading the Chronicles is somewhat different, but most importantly, I still enjoy them and the magic lingers on. I see that as the sign of a classic. It is also clear that these books have soul. Enough soul that I can forgive any flaws they have. If you are looking for flaws you can find plenty and not everybody will be as forgiving as I, when the authors repeatedly sum up already established character traits between books and chapters and neatly fit characters into boxes. But reading these books with a critical angle would be missing the point. These books are pure entertainment and on that level, they are unmatched. I find the flaws I mentioned only slightly annoying, yet strangely charming.

Any flaws are diminished by the sheer brilliance of the storytelling element. The world, the events, the drama, the humor and the imagination make the books pure joy for me to experience time and time again. I have visualized pretty much every scene in the books and I'm certain this trilogy could be the most brilliant assembly of movies ever made. Peter Jackson, if you read this, PLEASE look into it.....

In the land of Krynn, eight friends of different races meet in their hometown after 5 years apart. What is supposed to be a peaceful reunion is soon shattered as they are filtrated into a brewing war by means of a long lost religious artifact and a search for answers. Dragons of Autumn Twilight opens the trilogy in a very direct way. Before the story even begins all eight main characters are given a short description. This helps to establish an impression of the characters very quickly so the books can move straight to the action. The first book has the challenge of keeping track of all eight characters in the same place at the same time and that would be a pretty big mouthful for any writer. However, it manages to introduce the world and set the stage in a fascinating way. What the book also does is tickle the imagination of the reader and I often found myself imagining how scenes not in the book had played out or how characters not described in scenes had reacted.

I get the impression that the authors were not sure if this would be a trilogy when the first book was written. Fortunately it did and with the follow up Dragons of Winter Night and the concluding Dragons of Spring Dawning, things only got more complex, darker and altogether more epic. Not far into Dragons of Winter Night, the characters are split up by some dramatic events and this gives the story a deep impact and made me realize how much I cared about these people. There is a thrilling sense of danger and a certain pleasure when the stakes are constantly upped in favor of drama. The books are real page turners.

There is also a great sense of humor throughout the books and many scenes are bound to get a laugh.

Another enchanting element in these books is the cover artwork, painted by Larry Elmore. The covers of the first edition books are beautiful and extremely well done. That art is part of the intrigue for me and adds atmosphere in a great way. Every chapter is also introduced with a small drawing by Dennis Beauvais, a small thing that I like. Later editions of the books had the cover paintings exchanged for new computerized drawings and they don't hold the same magic. Sadly my first editions ended up being destroyed in a flood of the basement of my old apartment, but I did manage to save my copy of "The Art of The Dragonlance Saga", a book that is recommended to anyone who wish to explore the art further and get some background information as well.

The bottom line is that these are the most enjoyable fantasy books I've read. The fact that they are easily read is probably the main reason that I keep revisiting them year after year. Three decades and counting.

If you want to begin your journey into the Dragonlance universe, then this is trilogy of books is the first step. They were followed by the Dragonlance Legends and I will get back to those at a later time.

Below you will find the song "The Ballad of Goldmoon" by Mary Kovarik. You can read more about how I found this album at this Youtube link, but this song provides the perfect introduction to the trilogy. It sets a special mood and sums up what happened to two of the main characters just prior to the beginning of the trilogy. Enjoy! (I know I have...)




Written By Steen
Online: Friday, February 28, 2014




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Legacy Comments


Monday, April 14, 2014 - Gizmo

Hi Steen If you like song based on dragonlance then if you do not already know them check out Evertale with their album Of Dragons and elves. Especially the song Brothers of war (forever damned) about Raistlin and Caramon, is an epic masterpiece. Gizmo



Monday, April 14, 2014 - Steen

Wow, thanks for that suggestion! I had no idea they existed. I found their website, listened to a few opening moments of a couple of songs and ordered the album right away. Sounds very promising and can't wait to hear the album.



Friday, April 18, 2014 - Gizmo

Exactly i did the same thing ;0) They have gotten superb reviews everywhere. The album is selffinanced which makes it even more impressive with the sound they have. Recently they signed a deal with a japaneese label so hopefully not long before a new album. Gizmo