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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Dragons of the Hourglass Mage by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman 
21st-Aug-2009 04:55 pm
Weis, Margaret and Tracy Hickman. Dragons of the Hourglass Mage (The Lost Chronicles Volume III). Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009.
          Summary: Using the power of the Dragon Orb, Raistlin Majere abandons his companions, including his twin brother Caramon, to the Maelstrom. Now a Black Robe, he travels to Neraka to further his quest for power in the service of the Dark Queen. But before long he becomes a double agent, working for both Light and Darkness. And there's also the little matter of the bargain Raistlin once struck with Fistandantilus...
          Comments: My one complaint? It was too damn short! Reading from cover to cover took hardly the blink of an eye. Otherwise, Dragons of the Hourglass Mage was all Raistlin, all the time...and who can argue with that? Plus, it's nice to see him at a place in his life where he is still somewhat idealistic; in other books, he becomes almost a cartoon version of himself. Also, although you never really feel that the novel goes down psychological avenues that previous works, the story does clear up one nagging question that has been bothering me for almost as long as I've been reading the Dragonlance books: Why does it seem as though Raistlin worships Takhisis when the god of the Black Robes is Nuitari. Well, that's explained here. Along with why, after Raistlin takes over the Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, the Conclave doesn't openly go after him.
          If you're not already a fan, though, you probably won't find much appealing here. The way that Neraka is brought to life is pretty interesting and convincing, but I doubt that the well-described setting would be enough to satisfy the rookie reader by itself. Besides the obvious fact that it's written around the original Chronicles trilogy, there are some other gaping plot holes--most notably what happened to Ladonna when she discovered how draconians were being made. Also, the last two chapters felt terribly rushed. You don't get the poignant scene between Caramon and Raistlin that ended the Dragons of Spring Dawning, and, no spoilers or anything, but there is nothing to wrap up this trilogy with the affective power that fans have come to expect from Weis and Hickman at their best. On the other hand, it makes me want to get back into the franchise again, so I suppose in that this ambitious trilogy has more than accomplished its mission.
          Rating: 6/10 - Good escapist fun and a must for the diehard fan. Bonus half-point for being about Dragonlance's greatest character ever.
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