This new Dragonlance novel, the first in a decade, is a fantastic entry point to the world and a lovely return for old fans!
Book: Dragons of Deceit by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Publication date: 2nd August 2022
Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Del Rey Books. All opinions my own.
Content warnings: violence, injury, and death (nothing particularly graphic).
Destina Rosethorn—as her name implies—believes herself to be a favored child of destiny. But when her father dies in the War of the Lance, she watches her carefully constructed world come crashing down. She loses not only her beloved father but also the legacy he has left her: the family lands and castle. To save her father, she hatches a bold plan—to go back in time and prevent his death.
First, she has to secure the Device of Time Journeying, last known to be in the possession of the spirited kender Tasslehoff Burrfoot. But to change time, she’ll need another magical artifact—the most powerful and dangerous artifact ever created. Destina’s quest takes her from the dwarven kingdom of Thorbardin to the town of Solace and beyond, setting in motion a chain of disastrous events that threaten to divert the course of the River of Time, alter the past, and forever change the future.
When I was much much younger, I used to grab Dragonlance books whenever I saw them in the library or charity shops, paying absolutely no attention to series order or whether I’d read them before. They were pretty much guaranteed to be light, pacey, fun fantasy adventures – and that’s exactly what you’re getting with this return to the series, Dragons of Deceit, which opens a new trilogy in the world. It’s got the perfect amount of new and old characters, so whether you’re an old fan or completely new to the Dragonlance series, you should be well-served; I had only the vaguest of memories of the old characters, not having read one of these since I was about 14, and was perfectly at home without any effort (but with just a touch of nostalgia).
The main thing about this book, and the series in general, is that it’s readable as hell. The prose is workaday rather than beautiful, but it gets you hooked and it keeps things rolling along. You have dragons, plucky determined girls, magical artifacts and more right from the start to the final page, and the tone is rollicking, a real adventure, rather than anything terribly deep. There’s a large smattering of humour, but it’s not exactly a comedy; there’s plenty of epic moments, but it’s not exactly an epic fantasy. It’s just a good questing time! I will say though that this ends on a real cliffhanger, and is definitely the first book in a series rather than a full story – I realised with about 60 pages to go that there was no way we were wrapping this all up in time…
I really liked Destina, and the first part of the book which focuses mainly on her and her coming-of-age. It’s classic fantasy fare, the noble daughter who longs to follow in her father’s footsteps, and it’s played well here with a likeable set of main characters and the feeling that Destina is at any moment about to be dragged into a big adventure. I loved Saber, the copper dragon who hoards only gaudy jewellery, and while it would be a little spoilery to tell you who their adventure through time brings them into contact with, old fans will be delighted to see some favourites again (though they also work out of context!).
Basically, I’m fully back in my Dragonlance feels, and I really recommend this as a jumping in point if you’re daunted by the dozens of previous books. It’s nice to read a fantasy novel that isn’t too complicated or intense, but just reminds me of that classic magical adventure feel I always used to love. Four out of five cats!