Dragons Of A Vanished Moon
Book Three of The War Of Souls
by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, fantasy (2003)
Wizards Of The Coast, $7.99, ISBN 0-7869-2950-2

The first book in this series is Dragons Of A Fallen Sun, followed by Dragons Of A Lost Star. This book concludes the trilogy. I won't be touching too deeply the plot details of this book because let's face it, this book cannot stand alone and readers wanting to know more about this book should go back and read the synopsis for the first book in the series.

I'm not too pleased with the first and especially second book of this latest Dragonlance trilogy, but Dragons Of A Vanished Moon is a breathtaking adventure. I just cannot stop reading this book until I'm done with the last page. The authors' trademark proficiency in building up scenes and creating heroes out of unlikely characters resonate even more strongly here than before, resulting in a very satisfying read. Provided I don't think too hard about matters like continuity, logic, and timeline. Also, I'm pleased that the authors have really wiped the slate clean with this book - nothing of the old Dragonlance era - think Tanis Whine-Elven, Caramon the Cumbersome Doraemon and his incestuous hoyay affair with my darling Raistlin (Caramon+Raistlin+Bunnies=4eva!!!), Riverwind and his Goldmoon, everybody and their annoying children are pretty much finished, kapish, kaput, out of the picture, hello retirement, bye bye by the last page. Since I'm so sick and tired of the useless whiny and inept Second Generation (except for Sturm Majere, and he has the nerve to die on me in Dragons Of Summer Flame - bastard), I'm in heaven.

Also, the main cast of this book are very likeable and unlikely heroes: the loyal Gerard and his love interest, the conflicted Odila, the loyal minotaur Gardar, and the doomed Mina. Even Tasslehoff Burrfoot is not irritating in this one. Palin Majere is still as annoying as ever but Gerard and Odila make up for him - these two are flawed characters Palin can only wish he is halfway as good. Gardar's loyalty is his strength as well as weakness, while Mina actually makes me feel for her as her relationship with Goldmoon and the One God are finally revealed. There are the usual unlikely friendships and bondings, this time between a good Silver Dragon and a Blue Dragon who travel together to discover the fate that befell the Silver Dragon's kins.

The authors' mastery is nowhere more evident in the last few chapters when everything just builds up to a screaming tension... but then things go wrong. Things have been going wrong since early in this book, but the overreliance on coincidences and deus ex machinas finally blows up in the authors' faces when these flaws become too big to be ignored. Raistlin is back, and while I am glad to see him, he's strictly deus ex machina. Paladine, the good deity, makes a moving sacrifice here, but he does it from a stage lowered down from the roof of the hall by ropes and pulleys. He's a literal deus ex machina. This book is also what fans will call a retcon hell. Tas' time-travels at this point has completely ripped apart any semblence of continuity. The world of Krynn has completely changed - heck, it is not even in the same point in the galaxy anymore (don't ask)!

But the biggest cop-out is the One True God. The authors choose to go the tired black-and-white path, turning poor Mina into a one-dimensional delusional nitwit by the end of the book.

Oh, and still too much elves. Those annoying, whiny, useless, passive creatures really get on my nerves. The genocide that they richly deserve never came though.

This book is very enjoyable to read because damn, the authors can really tell a gripping story. They do take a risk here - fanboys still unable to get over Kitiara's breast cups will really hate the way the authors stick a dynamite into their creation and blow everything apart so that the franchise can start anew. In a way, this book is a closure - old friends like Lord Soth the cursed knight and even Raistlin and Tas finally find their peace and move on. (Although I do wonder why Raistlin is granted peace when Kitiara is still languishing in Underdeveloped Plot Hell.) Maybe it's time for me to move on too. With the whiny failure that are the Second Generation, actually my one foot is already out the door. It's just too bad that my goodbyes with Raistlin, Tas, and all those adorable gnomes are marred with so many plot contrivances and illogical non-continuities.

Rating: 84

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