This review is from: Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, Dragons of Spring Dawnin (TSR Fantasy) (Paperback)
The Dragonlance series is one of my favourites when I was a teen - and Chronicles is what made me an avid reader.
The story is set in a high fantasy world were the long forgotten gods are re-emerging. The evil gods are gathering their armies to take over, the good gods are finding champions to re-establish a balance. The main story arc follows a band of adventurers who inadvertently get caught up in the whole affair, and are tasked with helping a woman find a lost relic of the old good gods to. So it essentially begins with the old overused Quest storyline, but from there it evolves as the characters go forth on their own, splinter into groups, meeting up again, go off in new groups etc and partake in various roles within the overall war. Basically you never really know where the story is going, and it has many turns and twists.
The characters are interesting and each is different, although they are fantasy archetypes and so most never truly break away from some of clichés (e.g. the gruff dwarf, the honour bound knight etc). Tas offers humour and the trials of other characters offers tragedy and heartbreak. Raistlin is without doubt one of the greatest characters of all time. The imagination in bringing him to life and his story arc alone is genius, and he deserves to be listed with Gandalf as an icon fantasy character - except he's nothing like Gandalf; Gandalf defined the archetype mould for wizards, Raistlin looked at the mould, laughed at it, blew it up and decided to become the single most epic depiction of a wizard put to paper.
The book's relatively short compared to some other fantasies (Wheel or Time, Game of Thrones etc), and not as difficult to read as say Lord of the Rings. Therefore its an easy, enjoyable read. Although this is only when you consider the original Chronicles trilogy, as there are hundreds of books in the Dragonlance franchise, including prequels, sequels, midquels, side stories. Its amazing how many of the minor characters in this book actually have their own spin off novels. You don't have to read them however to enjoy Chronicles.
I did first read this series 15 years ago, and tend to read them every five or so years and I will admit they aren't as quite as good as I remember. Many of the characters are rather more cliché now that I've read other fantasy series, and sometimes I think there is far to much telling not showing. For example, one character later becomes the Golden General and we are told his/her soldiers will follow him/her even to death.... why? What inspired such loyalty. Seriously, one chapter the character is named General and the next has the unquestioning allegiance of an army? Why not develop it? Show the character earning their loyalty through leading them to some amazing victory.
Anyway, despite its flaws I still love it, its a good series and still one of my favourites. High Fantasy fans should read it.
If you liked it I would highly recommend Dragon Wing (The Death Gate cycle) by the same authors.