It seems as though all the reviews I’m doing lately are books that I finished sometime in the last couple weeks and didn’t write reviews for as I finished them. This is remarkably accurate. I think it was just about a week ago that I visited a friend’s house and borrowed the three Dragonlance Legends books. I’d meant to read them last year while I was on my latest extended research trip but ran out of time and one of the books was missing which makes reading the trilogy rather complicated. So when I found these three buried in stacks of disorganized readings, I borrowed all three of them.
I finished reading Time of the Twins (fantasy 421 pages) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman about a week ago. I’m pretty sure this is another one that I started one day and finished the next. I mean, really, who needs things like sleep when you have a great book to read?
I suppose it’s more accurate to say that I reread this trilogy because these are books from my childhood. I hadn’t read them in many, many years and my recent experience with the Dragonriders of Pern series helped to motivate me to read more books with dragons in them. Although this book differs from those in that it uses magic and gods instead of science.
I like this book because it reflects my own views on the world, that the world must be a balance between the forces of good, evil, and neutrality. This book takes place in the world of Krynn and starts shortly after the end of the War of the Lance. But then the dark mage Raistlin manipulates events such that his brother Caramon and the holy cleric of Paladine Crysania get sent back in time to meet with him just prior to the Cataclysm wherein the gods throw down a mountain and throw the world into turmoil. The Cataclysm is mentioned several times in the previous trilogy, but here, the reader is shown that the gods punished the world for the arrogance and pride of the people, specifically the Kingpriest of Istar. This is a unique look at people that are “too good” and don’t understand that the actions and behaviors that they are participating in are actually selfish and hurtful. The clerics are buried in riches and believe that they are just and holy even though there is still hunger and suffering. They don’t even realize it, but they have become a form of evil. They exterminate other races just because they are different. They punish the poor and less fortunate instead of showing mercy. In a lot of ways, it mirrors things that I see in our world today where those who could affect great and positive change are too self-involved to do the right thing.
One of the other things I really enjoyed about this book is the seriously flawed characters. The story starts out with a holy cleric who believes that she is the chosen one and that only her power can remove evil from the world. She is unfeeling and uncaring, which is in stark contrast to the good she believes she is demonstrating. She is guarded during her trip to the past by a severely drunk human who fell so far into his love for his brother that he stopped living his own life. And then there is the dark mage who brought them all together so that he could challenge the gods themselves. He sees the gods as incompetent and the world as terribly unfair. He never says either of those things, but you can tell in the way he interacts with the world that the core motivation for his journey started as something positive but somewhere along the lines got twisted into something less so. Along for the ride and the adventure is a kender, a race on Krynn that has a reputation of thieves and child-like behavior.
This is definitely one of those books that you want to make sure you have all three books in the trilogy when you start the first book. The ending of this book isn’t really much of an ending at all and leaves the characters in a very ambiguous place. Overall, I suspect that this is a series that I will continue to reread periodically because I enjoy the story and the characters.