Volume 1: Dragons of Autumn Twilight
By Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Creatures of legend. Stories told to children.
But now dragons have returned to Krynn. The darkness of war and destruction threatens to engulf the land.
Then hope appears – a blue crystal staff in the hands of a beautiful barbarian woman. The promise of hope, as fleeting as smoke upon the autumn wind, forces a group of long-time friends into the unlikely roles of heroes.
Knight and barbarian, warrior and half-elf, dwarf and Kender and dark-souled mage; they begin a perilous quest for –
The legendary Dragonlance.
You may have noticed how much of an RPG lover I am. I’ve recently been playing D&D with my boyfriend and his friends, the two of us are hooked on Critical Role and are still working our way through the videos, and then there’s the video and board games that deal had an RPG style to them. Well, despite all those likes I’ve never read any of the D&D books before now. I’m so glad my boyfriend had these DragonLance Chronicle books on hand that I could read whenever I’m ready. I’m happy to announce that I’ve just finished the first volume – Dragons of Autumn Twilight.
I will say this first and foremost – I wasn’t expecting the style that they were written in. Don’t get me wrong, the story is amazing, and the characters all great. I was just a little put off when the POV continued to change between the six plus characters that appear in the pages. After a while I got used to the Third Person Omniscient tone and fell into place with the story. I haven’t read a lot of stories in that style before, and I liked it. It was different and given it’s theme as part of the D&D board game, made sense to get into everyone’s head as such games deal with multiple people playing their own character against each others. Still – I had to laugh as my writing resources always seemed to go against this style.
One to the story. I don’t even know where to begin. We have our group of travellers, all reuniting in their hometown Solace, already I feel like I’m missing a book as old friends reunite. Yet, the start picks up so quickly that you accept their personalities and move on with the story. Tanis – the half elf and Flint the dwarf are the first two we are introduced to. It’s clear Tans is the leader of the group, not to mention one of the oldest given his elven blood line, as with Flint and his age as a dwarf. We are next introduced to Tasslehoff the Kender (not knowing much history of D&D my boyfriend had to explain Kenders to me). I love Tass, he is a bubble of energy and can’t help himself from picking up anything shinny, making him a good thief. There’s Strum a Knight of Solamnia, a lawful good character that can be difficult to deal with. Next came the twins, Caramon the warrior and Raistlin a dark soul mage who wears the red cloak of neutrality. That’s the pre-existing group that gathers in Solace, everyone coming back on a set determined date after five years have passed. There is one missing, the twins’s older sister Kitiara who has gone north to be a hired sword for some other purpose. We don’t get to see her in the book, but Tanis mentions her ever so often, as well indicating a love interest between the two.
But wait, there are more characters to introduce! Besides what sounds like the original crew, we are also introduced to two more members of the party that is added by the end of the first chapter. Two Barbarians Goldmoon and Riverwind. There’s a lot of characters so you get when I mention how often they switch POVs through the chapter. Grateful they start a new paragraph whenever that happens and the transition is smooth. But I have to hand it to the writers to be able to achieve everyone’s viewpoint when necessary and still make a great narrative.
So, the group reconnects at an inn in Solace, but the reunion is short-lived as Goldmoon’s staff becomes a vocal point and can heal others. The group is almost arrested just on that matter but escape in the nick of time. They are chased across the wilderness and learn of a prophecy and how important Goldmoon’s staff is against a coming evil over the land – Dragons.
There’s actually so much that is covered in this one volume, from finding the ancient gods and Goldmoon becoming a cleric for one, to being placed on a new quest to find the leader of man who will stand up and defeat the ancient dark goddess and the dragons.
Besides the main quests that push the characters forward there is a lot of dynamics played out within the group. Raistlin being a focus point. His character has dark tendencies – well not dark but he has this thirst for power to become stronger than his twin brother and the others. There are a number of times he comes out and says that with so much hatred to the group that you’re always wondering if he’ll betray them at some point. It doesn’t help that his twin brother will never leave his side, and his body is frail, weak and after his test for wizardry now having gold skin and hourglass golden eyes. He freaks me out sometimes but surprisingly he’s yet to betray any of the party members. But then again this is only the first book.
There’s also the Goldmoond – Riverwind dynamic of their love for one another that is kept being pushed off and tested over the book for one reason or another. They do get the happy ending at the end but I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to read these books yet.
In the second half of the volume more characters are added. There’s Tika the barmaid turned fighter, another wizard named Fizban – who’s mystery is never revealed and I’m still upset about that – and a couple of elves from Tanis’s past. Our half elf Tanis is faced with his elven blood and we feel there’s some closure for him on that account, but by then the Dragons have revealed themselves and created a war among all other races on their world Kern. The elves are forced to leave their home for safety, and the group attempts to help them escape by attacking their home base on Pax Tharkas and bringing back their forces. It’s the climax of the book and a good one I don’t want to spoil.
In the end the book is a wonderful adventure. Full of your epic fantasy style characters and quests – I enjoyed it immensely. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read these way back when, and are really into fantasy and adventure – I recommend picking up a copy somewhere. You’ll have a great read on your hands.